Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We Are Not Alone

A letter to the editor in today's Scranton Times Tribune, although dealing with the Bishop of Scranton and his approach to Catholic schools, with a few minor changes in detail could just as easily have been written right here in DOR. 

Here is the letter in its entirety, with the areas of similarity highlighted.

Bishop’s true agenda

Editor: My husband and I have chosen, for the past 15 years, to send our children to Catholic school. Since the Scranton Diocese has taken over, so many changes have taken place that make no sense, unless it is simply because this bishop wants to end Catholic education in our area.

This bishop hides behind closed doors, refuses to explain a thing, and makes decisions that specifically hinder the growth of our schools.

Prior to the diocese taking over, St. Vincent’s [Elementary] School had a high enrollment and was financially quite stable. Since the diocesan involvement, that has all changed.

My husband and I support the teachers and their rights, but sadly, even if their union is recognized, a bishop who does not support Catholic schools is still leading us. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

To quote Pope Benedict XVI: “Everything possible must be done, in cooperation with the wider community, to ensure that they (Catholic schools) are accessible to people of all social and economic strata. No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.”

If only the pope knew who we were up against. We have waited patiently for this man and his advisers to show simple Christianity, simple respect. Wouldn’t it be the Christian way to sit together and make positive changes?

We have remained silent as we have watched friends pull their children from our school. Not one left due to the economy or “smaller family size,” as diocesan spokesman William Genello cited as the reason for the decline in enrollment. Everyone left because they see this bishop as totally unsupportive of Catholic schools.

We will fight for our beautiful school on the hill, for it’s teachers and it’s staff. They have stood beside our family for 15 years, nurturing our children, guiding them, helping us instill values that we hold so dear. Are we frightened? We certainly are. We live with no answers, no assurances.

We will continue to pray that priests, who have remained silent, speak up; that parents who feel as strongly as we do – speak up. We will continue to pray that the bishop’s advisers will speak up and do the right thing. We will continue to pray that this bishop has an awakening and realizes it’s not too late to undo the damage. We cling to the hope that Catholic education in this area can be restored to what it was – a shining example of a loving family in Jesus.

We will continue to attend Mass because our faith is steeped in something far stronger than a bishop. It is steeped in a loving God. At collection time, our envelope will be empty until we see a change coming from Bishop Martino. We urge every Catholic school family to do the same. Perhaps then we will get his attention.

BETTY and JOHN LAWSON

5 comments:

Rich Leonardi said...

We will continue to attend Mass because our faith is steeped in something far stronger than a bishop.

“Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude be.” -- St. Ignatius of Antioch.

While I sympathize with this couple's frustration, the fourth mark of the Church is a very serious, non-optional thing.

Dr. Knowledge said...

Maybe this person misspelled Rochester as "Scranton."

~Dr. K

Mike said...

“Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude be.” -- St. Ignatius of Antioch.

“The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” -- Attributed, with slight variations, to St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, and St. John Eudes.

Yes, the Church is Apostolic and we have the obligation to follow our bishops in all things save sin.

That, of course, does not relieve us of our obligation to warn our bishops when we see them taking the wrong path. They are, after all, only human.

"It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man." -- Psalm 118:8.

Rich Leonardi said...

That, of course, does not relieve us of our obligation to warn our bishops when we see them taking the wrong path. They are, after all, only human.

Without a doubt, Mike. But there is no Catholic faith without bishops.

The writer's faith is not "stronger than a bishop"; without a bishop, it doesn't exist.

Mike said...

Ah, Rich, now I see your point. Forgive me for being a bit dense there. Of course the episcopate is essential to the faith.

I was taking the writers as saying that their faith was not in a mere human who happened to be a bishop but, one would presume, in Jesus. You saw a sense to their words that escaped me until now.