Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Due Respect for Authority, or the Lack Thereof...

On the mouths of religion writers across the country today is this piece in the Washington Post, whose storyline is wrapped around two of the "sexiest" (in the journalistic sense) poles of American news-gathering: race and the Catholic church.

Apparently, some insurrection is going on at a parish down in DC -- black parishioners clashing with a white pastor -- and a brouhaha has been occasioned....

Some snips:

The Rev. Michael Jones poked half of his body out the front door and shook his head disapprovingly. "Shame, shame, shame," he said. "You [protestors] were told to cease and desist."

"So, everything the bishop says is right?" Alston asked.

"Yes," the priest said. "That's what happens in the Catholic Church . . . . It's not a Baptist church. You obey the priest and the bishop."

That's right, people, that's what happens in the real, authentic Catholic church -- you obey the priest and the bishop. Screaming at the top of one's lungs that Bryan Hehir is The Real American Pope (elected, of course, by a clandestine cabal of abortionists, "gay-agenda" activists and Democrats at the ski lodge on Lake Champlain) does not count as justification for anyone to flout ecclesiastical law and order, acting as if they've got right to claim the authority and perks of the Cathedra.
[The pastor] said he has talked to critics, heard their concerns and has the authority he has been given. He suspended 17 people, including Alston, from usher and church duties -- they can now attend only services -- saying they didn't follow orders or the chain of command. He rejects the contention that he runs the church like a plantation. As a member of an order of priests devoted to black Catholics, Fest has been assigned to black parishes in Baltimore and New Orleans. "This is not a plantation," Fest said in an interview. "If I'm a racist, I have picked some interesting -- well, I didn't pick them -- assignments."
You have got to be kidding me. The word "plantation" is being thrown around in a Catholic milieu? That's it -- I have now seen everything. Almost.

Now all St. Blog's needs to do is admit that there actually are Black Catholics in this country (you'd never know it by reading most of these forums), and that they contribute so richly to the life of the church here, and that's it... Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine....
Letters have been sent to bishops and even to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington -- irking church leaders who said it was rude of parishioners to take problems straight to the top.
That's not rude -- "real authentic magisterial Catholics" do it all the time: banging and screaming at every door necessary until they get a response which tickles their ears.
What [parishioners] have learned is that butting heads with a 2,000-year-old institution is no easy task. People at every level of church hierarchy have told them the same thing: The Catholic Church is no democracy.
And hopefully that's not news to anyone.