"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

St. Petersburg's Bishop Lynch

"My personal memory of the liturgy prior to Vatican II is an awful one. I remember the daily Requiem Masses screeched by the eighth grade girls of St. Charles Borromeo parish in Peru, Indiana, mandatory prior to the start of every school day, and even with their screeching, the Mass gratefully only lasted about twenty minutes. Communion distributed to the kneeling at the altar rail was more comic than reverent (remember hearing the words “Corpus Domini. . .as the priest started at one end and then eternam” as he reached the thirtieth person kneeling?). Also strong in my memory remain Masses on Holy Days of Obligation when at the beginning of Mass, during the Offertory and at the Pater Noster, the assistant priests would come out and give communion to anyone who needed to “duck out” and get back to work (this was especially true at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York even when the Cardinal was the celebrant). Adult choirs attempting Mozart were only slightly better in most churches than the eighth grade girls at St. Charles. My grandparents and parents taught us to distract ourselves during Mass by following their example and either praying the Rosary continuously throughout Mass or attempting to follow along using a Missal which had Latin on one side of the fold and the English translation on the other. It was mystery, for sure, but not the kind of mystery which is reverentially spoken of now for the past. Monsignor Wadsworth calls in his talk for more attention to be paid by celebrants to the General Instruction to the Roman Missal which guides the liturgical celebration. I agree but he had better be careful for the growing practice of shielding the celebrants from congregants with candles and crosses of such size as to block the vision of many at Mass is explicitly forbidden in the same GIRM. In this diocese, we have a diocesan sponsored Latin Mass in what is called the Tridentine Rite each Sunday at the Cathedral. About 150 people attend. I increased its opportunity from every other week to every week when I came. There is also a Latin Mass offered in Hernando county and a Tridentine Mass offered in Pasco county. Work is being done to see about the possibility of the same for Hillsborough county. But there is far from a deafening roar of the crowd for such opportunities. I am on vacation as I write this and substituting for the pastor of a one priest, large parish who uses the opportunity of my presence to get about the only genuine vacation he can. The people in this parish sing beautifully, participate fully and reverently, receive the Eucharist with great respect and the older congregation would not like to return to what they knew as I knew when we grew up. There is always work which needs to be done to achieve a beautiful and spiritually inviting celebration of the Eucharist. However, I hope ICEL which is predominantly paid for by U.S. Catholics will keep its focus on better rendering of texts and not on “the style of celebration.” I also found very painful the Monsignor’s slam at the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin last month. Applause came at very appropriate moments during the closing liturgy (e.g., at the conclusion of the Holy Father’s words) and not for performance as he suggests and the bishops of Ireland with all they are dealing with were hoping that up-until-now a largely non-participatory membership would find in the style of celebration something to long for in their home parishes."



March 29, 2007

The story of Bishop Robert Lynch

By Matt C. Abbott

Bishop Robert Lynch is in the news again.

The brother of the late Terri Schiavo, Bobby Schindler,recently wrote a letter to Lynch taking him to task "for not doing enough to stop [Schiavo's] death."

The following is an excerpt from chapter 14 of Randy Engel's bookThe Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church.

On June 2, 1998, Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg took the podium at a press conference staged at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach to announce the resignation of his colleague, Bishop Joseph Symons. The resignation followed the revelation that Symons had molested at least five teenage boys during the early years of his priesthood. Pope John Paul II accepted Symons' resignation and assigned Lynch the role of Apostolic Administrator of Palm Beach until a successor to Symons was selected.

In his introductory remarks at the press conference, Lynch announced that Symons had entered into a program of "evaluation and treatment" at an undisclosed location. Church officials could not squirrel Symons away at St. Luke's Institute because the bishop's old friend Fr. Rocco D'Angeleo had taken up residency there. So they sent Symons back to his native Michigan where he took up temporary residence at a convent somewhere in the DeWitt area near Lansing.

Within a year, the disgraced Symons was back in circulation in the DeWitt area. At the request of Bishop Carl F. Mengeling of Lansing, Symons presented a daylong program of prayer and meditation on the Virgin Mary at the St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt. Apparently, Mengeling failed to see the grotesque irony of his actions.

Let us return to the Lynch press conference.

Bishop Lynch read a prepared text from Symons in which he (Symons) admitted to "inappropriate sexual behavior with minors." He offered his apologies to those he had hurt and asked for the prayers of the faithful for the unfaithful. Typical of the ego-centered mentality of homosexuals, Symons wrote, "At some other time, I hope the People of God in the Church in Palm Beach will be able to appreciate what I have attempted to accomplish while serving as your bishop."

Lynch told reporters that Symons told him that he had not molested anyone in the last 25 years, that is from 1973 onwards, but Lynch added: "I want to believe him, but sometimes people with this disease are in such deep denial that they don't remember what they did." Lynch admitted "we don't know how many victims there were," but he said both he and Bishop John Ricard of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee where the reported molestations had taken place, invited anyone else who had been molested by Symons to come forward.

Following the press conference, the Palm Beach Post reported for eight consecutive days on the Symons scandal. Articles on Symons' resignation were also covered by the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, St Petersburg Times, and Miami Herald. A brief mention of Symons' resignation also appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic Journal and Constitution, Chicago Tribune and Seattle Times.

However, according to writer Mark Silk, the Symons resignation attracted little national media attention outside of Florida because neither the original accuser, a 53-year-old man who told his priest that he had been molested by Symons when he was a 13-year-old altar boy, nor the other alleged victims had ever filed a lawsuit or taken legal action against Symons or the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. Thus the issue was dead in the water with Bishop Lynch's announcement that Symons had stepped down from his office.

Bishop Lynch got the credit for the quick defusing of the Symons scandal. The local media praised his candor and honesty. The Tampa Tribune called his handling of the case "impressive" and the Miami Herald hailed the Church's new openness as "refreshing." According to Silk, Lynch told reporters that it had taken five weeks from his receiving the complaint to securing Pope John Paul II's acceptance of Symons' resignation. Far from minimizing the malfeasance as long past and limited in scope, he expressed only conditional support for his departed colleague's version of events.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

The only thing wrong with this picture perfect conclusion is that it is largely untrue.

No comments:

Post a Comment