Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two Months Later, Bishop's Silence is Deafening

Two months after announcing his decision to shutter 13 local Catholic schools (followed by a 14th more recently), Bishop Matthew H. Clark has remained silent on his decision. Despite having multiple opportunities to reach out in person to the community, he has refused to speak with parents, affected teachers, or members of the media, instead relying on prepared statements and hollow letters (many of which he didn't even sign, raising questions as to if he even reviewed them). The question remains -- why is the Bishop fearful of addressing those his decision has harmed?

9 comments:

Mike said...

This is our bishop's standard practice in situations such as this. He will just keep his head down and wait for all the fuss to blow over.

One has to realize that he is convinced he is right and, after all, why shouldn't he feel that way? He has surrounded himself with a core group of elite advisers and, in the process, pretty much cut himself off from the rank-and-file parishioners who are the heart and soul of this or any diocese.

The solution is to break through that barrier that surrounds the bishop. If every student, every teacher, every parent, every grandparent, every aunt and uncle and every average parishioner who disagrees with this decision were to email (schools@dor.org, communications@dor.org) or phone (328-3210) the diocese weekly or ever daily, then he just might begin to see just how out of touch with reality he actually is.

Anonymous said...

It is annoying how he hides. It is more annoying to watch our so called Shepard be so far away from his sheep. Does he not see his Sheep are running away from him? What can we do to make the word more public so that all will continue to bombard his office and that of the Pope. I feel as if people are lost right now and dont have one focal point to rally around.

Anonymous said...

Can you blame him? You people are acting like spoiled children. By dumping on your bishop, what example are you showing your children on how to be obediant Catholics? I am sick of "conservative" Catholics calling others "Cafeteria Catholics" when they feel free to raise hell when Church decisions don't go their way. They should at least have the decency to admit that there are two sides to the Cafeteria. If you think the Pope is going to remove or discipline Bishop Clark for this, think again. All the bishops involved in the abuse scandal except Law still have their jobs, and he has a new one in Rome. Do you really think the Vatican is going to compromise the authority of a bishop over the closing of some schools? They already think American Catholics are too individualistic. This website is proving them correct. I have no problem with that; we're Americans and tend to think for ourselves, but I wish "conservative" Catholics would stop presenting themselves as more Catholic than others. I've heard over and over again that the Catholic Church is not a democracy. I get it. Whatever additional feedback you are looking for from Bishop Clark does not change the fact that he has the final decision on this, and he's made it. Whether you think it's the right decision or not doesn't change that. That's how it works. Period. Plenty of Catholics disagree with a lot of what gets handed down by the Church, but they have to get used to it if they want to stay Catholic. Why should this be any different? I'm sure this website give people a place to vent, but it won't do anything else except give false hope to those affected by the closings and a false impression to the public that every Catholic in Rochester hates their bishop. That's spreading scandal about the Church. When "liberal" Catholics do that, "conservative" ones fire back that they have to obey the Church NO MATTER WHAT. I fail to see the difference here.

GSS said...

I'd like to think we're teaching our children to seek accountability from those in power, to communicate openly and honestly, and to stand up for that in which they believe.

If only Bishop Clark would honor his commitment to "dialogue" made in his Feb. 6 Catholic Courier column (see the 2/6 link from this site), this could be a different situation.

Mike said...

Anonymous wrote, “I am sick of 'conservative' Catholics calling others 'Cafeteria Catholics' when they feel free to raise hell when Church decisions don't go their way.”

The term “Cafeteria Catholic” usually means either a person who denies the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church to teach on matters of faith and morals or one who claims that a particular teaching does not apply to him/her due to extenuating circumstances. Either way, faith and morals are the underlying issues.

On the other hand there is a long and distinguished history of Catholics protesting either unjust or erroneous administrative decisions on the part of the Church. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Catherine of Siena who, in the fourteenth century, was highly instrumental in convincing Pope Gregory XI to move the papal court from Avignon, France, where it had been for over 70 years, back to Rome where it belonged. Catherine was canonized a saint in 1461 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1970. Not too bad for the lady who told the pope he was wrong to be in France.

Anonymous said...

"On the other hand there is a long and distinguished history of Catholics protesting either unjust or erroneous administrative decisions on the part of the Church."

Where were you folks when Bishops across the U.S. were covering for abusive priests, transfering them so they could abuse again? Where you protesting then? Or only when your schools get closed? Which is more unjust or erroneous? These buildings will go away, and eventually people will move on, but the children who were abused by those they trusted the most will never move on. Their scars will stay with them forever. That seems more worthy of protest than this.

Rich Leonardi said...

Where were you folks when Bishops across the U.S. were covering for abusive priests, transfering them so they could abuse again? Where you protesting then? Or only when your schools get closed? Which is more unjust or erroneous? These buildings will go away, and eventually people will move on, but the children who were abused by those they trusted the most will never move on. Their scars will stay with them forever. That seems more worthy of protest than this.

This post has the hallmarks of the notorious commenter "Todd." His general function these sites is to kick sand on doctrines pertaining to sexual morality and wave the bloody shirt of the sexual scandals.

Rich Leonardi said...

"earmarks" above.

Anonymous said...

It goes much deeper than a crisis in school enrollment. When catechesis is poor and lacking, when the liturgy is constantly tampered with, and when untrue doctrine is taught to catholics, the spirit of God dies within us. Then, people become indifferent to mass attendence and Catholic schools.

In those dioceses where faithful catechesis is taught, attendence in Catholic schools is good. By the way, the same goes for vocations.