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Twelve years lost and lessons learned

by Martin Ederer, co-chair posals got us nowhere. Hell hath leaders who act like corporate GONE! The Diocese of Buffalo has begun to remove interior items
of the Friends of St. Ann no fury like bureaucrats ques- America. Do we really need our from St. Ann Church in Buffalo. This comes as the result of the
tioned. spiritual leaders to lecture us about Diocese of Buffalo’s defeat of the Friends of St. Ann, who have spent
As many of our readers are how important money is? the last 12 years trying to avoid this outcome. While the diocese
aware, the St. Ann com- 6. It’s easier to talk to church states that this is an act of preservation, Martin Ederer, co-chair of
munity lost its bid to save officials at the Vatican than it is to 17. There’s always money for the Friends of St. Ann, remains skeptical. “This is an act of willful
St. Ann Church. The Diocese of talk to church officials in Buffalo some things but not for others. cultural destruction of one of Buffalo’s most exquisite church interi-
Buffalo has begun stripping out – and they’re more polite at the ors. There’s no tap dancing around this reality.”
the exquisite interior of St. Ann Vatican. 18. The cultural level of our
Church, an act of serious cultural local Catholic leadership is pitiful. 31. No ethnic faith traditions 35. Anyone who thinks hell
destruction. I thought I would 7. Structural reports can say Concrete-block box-churches may deserve to be trivialized. doesn’t exist hasn’t gotten out
share some of the things I have everything or nothing – sometimes indeed be a cultural statement, but enough.
learned from this journey. Warn- simultaneously. not a good one. 32. No authenticity, no success
ing: Some of these observations in evangelization. 36. Jesus saves, but an awful
are soul-numbing. 8. Leaders should concentrate 19. Local Catholics tend to lot of people speaking on his be-
on their responsibilities and not on talk more about procedures, regu- 33. Be sure to read the docu- half get in the way.
1. It’s not easy to be a Christian their importance. lations, and nostalgia than they ments of Vatican II. They’re actual-
when the going gets tough. Tem- talk about Jesus. ly Catholic! They bear little 37. Betrayal by insiders is an
pers flare, and the urge to embar- 9. People in leadership tend to resemblance to what many for the old story in Christianity.
rass grumpy and unresponsive think we’re too stupid to notice 20. Because of experiences last 50 years have told us that they
diocesan bureaucrats is powerful. when they’re mistaken, and get with local church leaders, I have say. 38. As bad as things are, there
angry when we do. developed a much keener under- are still honest, dedicated, hard-
2. Apparently, it’s also not standing of both Enlightenment 34. Whatever happened to good working, good clergy out there,
easy for diocesan leadership to be 10. Good will is difficult once ideals and atheism. taste? proof that God is still in charge.
Christian. We regularly faced dirty trust – faith? – has been shattered. Good thing that.
tricks, sneaky done deals, lock- 21. Trivialization of the faith
outs, meetings with purple-faced 11. People who take a stand by insiders can be far worse than
surly diocesan officials, and then usually end up standing alone. full-on atheism.
total blackballing.
12. People generally view po- 22. “Born to rule” attitudes
3. Destruction as preservation. liteness and charity as stupidity have no place in Christianity.
George Orwell would be proud. and weakness.
23. If people don’t even TRY
4. Talk about participation of 13. Numbers don’t lie, but liars to get Christianity right, it multi-
the laity since the 1960s seems use numbers. plies the chances that they won’t.
mainly to be talk, especially if lay
participation threatens bureaucrat- 14. The level of catechesis 24. It’s naïve to expect holi-
ic planning programs and, heaven among many local Catholics is ness among local church leaders.
forfend, the money. abysmal.
25. Jesus had harsh words for
5. Christian cooperation, hon- 15. Without Christianity taken people who scatter the flock.
est dialogue and alternative pro- seriously enough to limit human
egotism, life really is only about 26. Local Catholic leadership
the will to power. needs to understand that not all
abuse is sexual. There is also theo-
16. It’s a special kind of pain to logical, doctrinal, moral, catechet-
get a beating from our spiritual ical, financial, administrative,
liturgical, cultural and emotional
abuse of the faithful. Any form of
abuse is symptomatic of a larger
pattern of arrogance.

27. Everybody likes to use
separation of church and state
principles – when it serves their

28. Local Catholic leadership
needs to learn that critics are not
necessarily enemies.

29. It’s difficult to obey local
church leadership when they only
selectively obey their superiors.

30. Sunday Mass obligations
on the part of the faithful should
never be seen by church leaders as
a license to behave badly.

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