Monday, March 13, 2006

Story or Non-Story?

The Toledo Blade runs a story on the small but notable growth of a community of the Polish National Catholic church in the wake of significant parish closings in the Ohio diocese:
Mass at Resurrection Church was in many ways identical to that of a typical Roman Catholic Mass. The most significant differences are ones that cannot be seen during a service.

For one, Father Nowak, 42, has a wife and two children. The PNCC allows married priests. Also unlike the 1 billion-member Roman Catholic Church and its strict hierarchical structure, Resurrection Parish is owned and controlled by parishioners, who can hire - and fire - their pastor.

The Rev. Michael Billian, episcopal vicar of the Toledo Catholic Diocese, said "it is important to note" that Father Nowak and the PNCC are "not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, or Bishop Blair."

He said in a statement yes-terday that he "joins with the other members of the diocese and pray that all members of the closed parishes can make the journey to a new parish community and find comfort through their faith and prayer."

The PNCC is in talks with the Vatican, Father Nowak said yesterday. Members of Polish National Catholic Churches can receive Communion and fulfill their religious obligations at Roman Catholic churches, and vice versa, Father Nowak said.

Leading the charge to start Resurrection Parish in Toledo are Sylvania businessman Jack Sparagowski, whose previous church, St. Anthony's in Toledo, was closed by Bishop Blair, and Toledoan Chris Cremean, who belonged to the now-closed St. Jude Parish.

"One reason I got involved is the fact that it is parish-controlled," Mr. Cremean said. "The parish builds it, maintains it, and owns it. You don't have to worry about somebody coming in and telling you that you can't have a parish."
Hmm.... Suffice it to say nationwide, the PNCC isn't the only out-of-communion communion which is reaping the benefits of episcopal tone-deafness.