Monday, November 16, 2009

The Persecution of Bishop Lennon

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CLEVELAND - A large portion of the congregation at St. Casimir's Catholic Church walked out on Bishop Richard Lennon as he said the parish's final mass...

As Bishop Lennon approached the podium, many people stood and turned their backs on him and walked towards the rear of the church. They then paused and sang a Polish anthem.

"It's terrible, terrible, terrible," said Eleanor Stanish, a long-time parishioner who hoped to have her funeral said some day at St. Casimir's. "I don't know what's wrong with that bishop."

Bishop Lennon has made it a practice to say the final mass at a church that is closing. He expressed his sadness at this day, and a few people offered words of understanding. One man said, "If you got to close it, you got to close it. All the families are moving out."

But many others expressed anger - especially because some people claim to still have an appeal pending with the Vatican to keep the church opened. "This church is still on appeal," one woman shouted at Bishop Lennon. "You have no business being here." - Source

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In his final words to the St. John congregation, Lennon said, "You are greater than any temple, church or cathedral that can be built by human hands."

Some in the protest group -- including Nancy McGrath of Endangered Catholics, a local coalition fighting the closing of churches -- said they would find another way to further the fight.

Before they were escorted out, Lennon approached the group sitting in pews and asked them to "kindly leave the church."

That request instigated a heated exchange as the protesters accused Lennon of trading "souls for cash" and of not including parishioners in the consolidation decision. - Source

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"Bishop Lennon is an uncaring, inconsiderate and coldhearted person. He is not worthy to lead the Cleveland Catholic Diocese...

I will not lose my faith in God, but Bishop Lennon is making it very difficult to have faith in the church itself." - Source
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"Today is a special day, a day of sadness, a day of wonderment and a day of anger for some," Lennon said in his sermon. "This is a story of God and men and women working together for over a century. May we rely on God in these days of darkness and sadness."


During the service, uniformed Cleveland police officers watched over the bishop. One followed him down the main aisle during the final procession. Then, flanked by officers, Lennon left the church and walked in the rain through a back parking lot, ignoring the protest signs - "Dis-Membering in Process," "This is Not God's Plan," "Keep Our Church Open."

Protesters Marta Fordos of Fairview Park and Hanna Gereby of Cleveland ran after Lennon, catching up to him. "I'm sorry you have to ruin our churches," snapped Fordos. "Judas!"

Lennon, his eyes downcast, did not respond, continuing his wet march toward his car. - Source

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I empathize with these people who will have to move from the parishes they've been at for their entire lives, where they were baptized, married, where funerals took place, but part of me would like to see Bishop Lennon present a slide show to them following the final Masses and the protests, showing the murders of Christians in Iraq, India, and other parts of the world, and perhaps describe the lives of the Saints and how they suffered, putting things in perspective for them.

4 comments:

Cathy_of_Alex said...

The treatment of their local Ordinary is nothing short of disgraceful. "What's he doing there?" Huh? He has every right to be there.

Parish closings are painful but there is no justification for treating him like this.

Joe Catholic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
a voice from the rustbelt said...

For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. — Matthew xviii. 20.

This constitutes, in canon law, the formation of a parish, and it is meant to be perpetual. This is the Will of Christ, and the formulation of Rome. Bishop Lennon uses secular management theory, and the powers of the state to suppress parishes.

Your title is absurd, your suggestion is at best a non-sequitar. Lennon is an unaccountable despot. We, in northeast Ohio, live in the diocese of Lennongrad.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Parishes are not perpetual in the sense that they must last forever. Parish closures and mergers are a reality for our times as more Catholics have migrated out of the cities, have failed to pass on the faith, and/or did not have enough children to keep the parishes viable.