The events that took place of late in the community of St. George of Lynn, Massachusetts regarding the disputed subject of its annual contribution to the Archdiocese, undoubtedly exposes conditions and/or situations that are truly revealing.
There are certainly circumstances that are occurring and that are scarring our ecclesiastical life, not anymore in a local, consequently limited setting, but in a broader dimension, the results of which are becoming more evident with the passage of time. It could be said without any hesitation that Lynn, Massachusetts is making history, and, at the same time, history is writing itself.
The climax of this situation was the special general assembly that took place the evening of February 16th, and about which The National Herald wrote in detail in yesterday’s edition.
In other words, the point in question is what many parishes, priests and Parish Councils are experiencing and discussing throughout America, and, of course, in the New England states, which is the burdensome pressure of the continual increase of their annual contribution to the Archdiocese. As such, the community of Lynn decided to resist by setting a limit and an end to the constant demands of its own Metropolis, which was and is using scare tactics, such as the salvific sacraments of the Church, in contradiction to the Church’s own nature and mission.
The stated and heard arguments from last Wednesday evening in Lynn, which disseminated like lightning to all communities across America, ought to have made all those responsible for our ecclesiastical life not simply to be uneasy, since all potential consequences of a threatened breach were included, but to have relented decently and quietly.
The message of the divine and honorable people of Lynn is clearly that the spending of our offering in order to provide excessive resource in the name of Protestant-style “ministries” has ended, as if the parishioners do not see that they derive a small-to-none benefit from the notorious "ministries". The essential message is that the more money the various communities send to the Archdiocese, the more is returned to local metropolises. The rest is simply empty rhetoric.
The mention of the regulations (UPRs) and Clergy-Laity decisions offers the impression of idle talk, because all clergy and laity know well the methodologies, processes and fabrications that the delegates are prevailed upon to ratify by voice.
Lynn’s case is representative of the silence in the face of the continuous oppression that has existed, a situation that has prevailed along with anxiety among many communities throughout the country, and whose members have now begun breathing again and are starting to see things differently.
The conclusion to be drawn from Lynn’s Special General Assembly is that its blessed people of God, realizing that they could not turn to any other avenue or hope for solution, have resorted to their own strength and will. In their free expression of opinion and volition, they have ignored the hierarchical structure of the Church, since they realized that such a structure did not work paternally and with total and full love on their behalf. To the contrary, the church has sought to impose its feudalistic and mandatory fee upon them, and did not hesitate to exploit even its sacraments that are considered the ways and means of divine grace to salvation.
The meaning and concept of the church does not exist anymore. The growing distinction of what the church is, from what it is not, has begun to gain ground. Even those who were in “deep sleep” until yesterday, for reasons such as having shown respect to clergy, or because of public reverence, have awakened recently, and now they say “enough is enough, up to this point and no further.” No church member ever refused to give generously to the church on a local or national level. The problem begins when the pride and intelligence of the people have been insulted. Even those unfamiliar regarding clergymen’s lives understand that all clergy, regardless of rank are “servants” of the people that pay them handsomely in order to pray for them, and not to oppress them.
The times are now roaring and what ought to prevail are efforts to settle everything down and not to try to lash out, as would a cornered, terrified lion.
February 18, 2011