Dear Bishop Lennon:
I have read your letter addressed to Rev. Siklodi, pastor of St. Emeric Parish.
The letter that announces your decision to dissolve St. Emeric parish.
The letter that deals a mortal blow to the Hungarian community.
That letter is not something to be proud of. It lacks substance.
It is hard to see how a person of distinction, with a reputation to protect and burnish,
would issue such turgid verbiage.
The first page of the letter is boilerplate. Generalities couched in platitudinous
ecclesiastical jargon do nothing to advance dialogue.
Nor does such an inauspicious beginning give the reader
confidence in the judgment, wisdom or good will of the author.
The second page, rendering your decision, is replete with inaccuracies and
unworkable solutions, which if implemented, will accomplish exactly the opposite of your stated aims.
The final decision gives no evidence of concern for the wishes of those affected.
In your letter you object to the lack of planning to merge the three Hungarian parishes.
Why should we have complied and planned our own demise? You indicated no valid reason,
no urgent need, nor any supporting evidence for that sudden and unexpected demand.
You simply announced months ago, at the very beginning, your unfounded and arbitrary decision
to close two of these parishes. Why was that necessary?
Why do we have to abide by this unfeeling dictate? What gives you the right to unilaterally
confiscate the property of others? Fiat voluntas tua only applies to the Father.
The churches are not yours. It wasn't your sweat that raised the walls.
It wasn't your back that was bent in laying the wood for the floors.
It wasn't your gnarled hands that cleaned
and scrubbed to provide a fitting environment for worship. And it wasn't
your money that kept the parishes viable.
There may be valid reasons for your attempt to consolidate parishes.
But no such reasons apply to St. Emeric parish, nor in fact to St. Elisabeth parish.
Do not implement some overarching, sweeping, all inclusive administrative
scheme without regard for individual circumstances. You seem to be committing a
great wrong when you take our property without justification.
You are a bishop. I have full respect for your decisions in matters of faith and morals.
If you tell me that I shall fast on Fridays, or that abortion is a great evil, or any other
matter in the catechism, I humbly obey.
But in matters outside this teaching magisterium, we are not obliged to supinely accept your dictates.
And you should beware of possible misjudgments and seek advice. The recent record surely
would make you sensitive to the need for discussion and external input. Specifying the outcome
at the outset is a far cry from such a quest for consultation. Adhering to an ill advised mandate,
without regard for cogent arguments to the contrary, seems to court a bad outcome in this
instance as surely as in those calamitous matters that have vexed the church in the recent past.
I did like one sentence in your letter. More precisely the use of one word- emend.
That is what you should do! Emend your decision. Correct your
ill-advised fiat. Revise your decision by studying the facts brought to your attention.
Be a Catholic bishop and not some corporate raider who seeks to profit from the toil and
dedication of those who built up an institution. Engage in dialogue!
Be an advocate not an adversary.
I am not a person of status or public distinction.
Fortunately there are many in the community who possess such distinction and influence.
I hope that they will
organize effective, unwavering, uncompromising, and unyielding resistance if you persist in your purpose.
This justified defiance will have the support of thousands of the faithful.
Gutta Cavat Lapidem...