Wednesday, May 31, 2006

SMITH SAYS:

ROMAN CATHOLICS.....TAKE BACK YOUR CHURCH

The LA Times, west coast media puppet of the ACLU, carried, on 05/26/06, a news item which should be a clarion call as loud as Tom Paine’s "Common Sense."

An RC church in Huntington Beach, Orange County (that's the wealthy county that went bankrupt rather than pays its bills) told a parishioner who knelt during part of the Mass (the Agnes Dei to be specific), he had committed a MORTAL SIN, and would no longer be welcome in the Church and could not receive Communion or other sacraments.

The church in question is in the diocese of Orange, which is composed of many churches. ( a Diocese is run by a Bishop).

Having 19 years of exposure to Catholic education, I was appalled by this quintessential stupidity on the part of the priest in question, and I should not have been. The Roman Catholic Church is composed of mortals, who all share the failings of that condition of being human. The Church has been witness to the entire range of stupidities and cupidities to which humanity is addicted. The fact that such basic faults and failings exist in the present world and have for the 2,000+ years of the Church’s history, has always been, for me, the best proof of the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, regardless of venal, corrupt Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Curates, schisms and any sin of which mankind is capable of conceiving, the Church has lived through it all, as it has continued its holy task.

Having said that, the question is, "Why am I so fed up?"

I am weary of incompetence rising up to, probably, just below the Papacy. I know of the criminal behavior of some clergy in the U.S., and the protective net thrown over the felons by too many of their superiors (?). We see the financial screw-ups from era to era (Luther's main appeal was Rome's addiction to simony) and, more recently, the Banco Ambrosio scandal, complete with the hanging of one of the Vatican’s bankers from a London bridge, supposedly a suicide, but perhaps murder most foul.

This is an extremely truncated comment on the failures of the humans who compose the Church. (I'm sure in many nocks and crannies around the globe, many are engaged in trying to be the next "Dan Brown, applying themselves with diligence .if not due... to their task! Just in passing, I might say that I admire the genius of Rowling, as compared with the competent technician attributes with which Brown is endowed.)

There are manifold difficulties with the Church, but the one that exists and subsumes all others is lack of modern organization. Roman restaurants would shutter by the dozens if a structure suitable for their tasks...as they define them...were created.

Am I suggesting the Church hire Booz, Allen? Why not...although they would have to find. if possible, an Italian counterpart. Roma does not readily embrace change; we, the "sheep" must force the issue.

Ventilate the issue all you sheep; especially those who bleet the most.

JONES SAYS:

AND START BY TAKING CONTROL OF THE MONEY

All that Jones says hits the mark. Far too many Roman Catholic Church clergy, who daily are charged with the challenge of guiding the spiritual lives of their members, can be found utterly failing in this task. Unfortunately, many, if not most, Catholics can cite one or more stories about erroneous, uninformed, heartless and even cruel actions taken by this or that priest that led members to seriously question, and even abandon their faith.

Clearly, as witnessed by the above-noted L.A. Times story, autocratic, uncaring and misguided priests regularly fail in counseling the faithful. The cardinal rule for all priests certainly should be, everything else considered, do no harm as they minister to the laity.

And how best to assure that injustice and malevolence is replaced by compassion, kindness and goodness? One obvious answer is to take charge of the money. At present, each local church in its supposed wisdom collects and dispenses the funds donated by parishioners. Of course, with the money comes power, power exercised from the secure position of financial independence. It is possible and necessary to change this equation. The simple answer is to create parishioner funding corporations.

Under such an arrangement, parishioners can set up their own not-for-profit charitable organizations, elect directors and officers, secure the appropriate tax exempt status and collect funds from their fellow worshippers- funds formerly directed to the church. The new parishioner funding corporation can then dispense funds to pay church expenses and the staff, as its duly elected directors and officers deem necessary and appropriate.

Under the parishioner funding corporation system, the priests no longer will have the power of the purse. Rather, they will have to make application to the parishioner funding corporation for allocations from moneys collected from church members. This new reality can, in turn, be expected to shape the advice and counsel provided by the priests.

From time to time, all social organizations can and should confront the need for change. The Roman Catholic Church is no different. One need only consider the plummeting number of priests, brothers and nuns, the continuing closure of Catholic schools and other institutions, and the criminal actions of an albeit small number of priests, to conclude that time is long overdue for adopting corrective actions and policies. The creation of local parishioner funding corporations should be seen as one such constructive step.

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