Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Last night, MY WIFE and I went to a candlelight vigil at Our Lady Help Of Christians, a Catholic church in Newton. It was held in support of Father Walter Cuenin, who is being railroaded by the corrupt Archdiocese of Boston.
The words "corrupt" and "railroaded" are not ones I would have associated with the Catholic Church up until a couple of years ago. I was a devout churchgoer. I was a lector - a reader of scripture, to the congregation, during mass - and took part in many church-related activities aside from mandated masses. However, times change. Today, you'd have to be blind to not see that the church hierarchy, at least in Boston, is as morally bankrupt as a convention of whores.
I'm sorry. That's not an apt comparison. It does whores an injustice.
Father Cuenin was asked to resign because of financial improprieties. It is alleged by the archdiocese that he accepted oversized stipends and that he drove a vehicle leased by the parish financial council. Of course, the council says that these same types of things were done with previous pastors and nothing was said. In fact, he is being asked to resign because he is an outspoken critic of the archdiocese and, in particular, Cardinal Bernard Law. He is to be replaced by Reverend Christopher Coyne, spokesman for the archdiocese during the recent sexual abuse scandals. There's a coincidence!
You may remember Cardinal Law. He was head of the archdiocese during the time when sexual abuse, perpetrated by some priests on altar boys and others, came to light. He has since moved on to Rome, where he doesn't have to answer any embarrassing questions. Questions like, "Why, when these heinous crimes were brought to light, did you not have these priests face the full brunt of the law instead of shipping them out of town where they could begin anew with a fresh crop of boys?" Questions like, "Why shouldn't you, Cardinal, and others high up in the church, be charged with conspiracy and face many years in jail yourself?"
Anyway, Father Cuenin, along with other courageous and righteous priests, stood up and said, in effect, "The Cardinal is wrong to be stonewalling. These victims deserve our compassion, not the back of our hand. We should be helping, not hiding." As a result, the archdiocese, now headed by the hypocritically holier-than-thou Bishop Sean O'Malley, has attempted to grind these priests into the dust.
I call O'Malley hypocritical not without reason. MY WIFE and I resigned from the Catholic Church as a result of one of O'Malley's actions. It wasn't the worst thing we saw done by the church, but it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Catholicism has many traditions, of course, and among these is celebration of "Maundy Thursday", during Holy Week, prior to Easter. On that Thursday each year, one of the things which is done in many churches is the washing of feet, which is performed by a priest. The priest will wash the feet of some parishioners. This is a commemoration of one of the ways that Jesus humbled himself. He washed his disciple's feet, to make the point that a leader needs to humble himself and serve his followers. O'Malley did this service, except he had some reservations concerning how much he would allow himself to be humbled. He refused to wash a woman parishioner's feet, saying something to the effect that Jesus only washed men's feet. Hey, Sean buddy, let me clue you in - you ain't Jesus. And if you think you're too good to wash the feet of, say, Mary or Catherine Of Sienna or any of the other thousands of women who built the church you seem intent on dissolving, you're dead wrong.
Before Cuenin was asked to resign, O'Malley called for the closure of many parishes, supposedly for financial reasons wholly unconnected to the sexual abuse scandals and the resultant lawsuits. Yeah, and I get dressed for reasons wholly unconnected to nudity. It just so happened - totally a coincidence, you understand - that many of the churches that were to be closed were pastored by priests bold enough to question the Cardinal's actions concerning the sex abuse scandals. Among these was the parish MY WIFE and I were members of, St. Bernard's in West Newton, pastored by Father Paul Kilroy, another of those good priests who sought justice, as well as a greater voice for the layman in the church. St. Bernard's was spared closure, but only after a vigorous protest. As part of the deal that would allow the parish to stay open, the archdiocese demanded the resignation of Kilroy as pastor.
Nothing to do with his being involved in groups that criticized official church policy. No, not at all.
St. Bernard's was, and is, a vibrant parish. If anything, Our Lady is even more so. During Cuenin's tenure, the parish has actually grown, whereas many other parishes have seen a devastating drop in attendance due to the scandals. So, they couldn't close him out. They instead have chosen to drag his good name through the mud and to accuse him of trumped up wrongdoings. Where's Herod when you need him?
Well, I'm not a journalist (there's news...) so I'm not going to attempt to recount every damned (and I do mean damned) thing that the Archdiocese of Boston has done to alienate Catholics. You can find these things quite easily by Googling the following string: "Bernard Law" "Sean O'Malley" "child sexual abuse". If you'd like to find out what the good guys have been doing to combat these hideous crimes, and how they've been routinely mistreated and vilified, Google "Walter Cuenin" "Paul Kilroy" or "Voices of the Faithful".
During the news conference before the vigil, during a moment of relative quiet, one of the parishioners, in response to something concerning the archdiocese, responded, "Bullshit!" All I can say to that is, "Bingo!"