Doin’ the Hard Thing

St. Joseph’s Cathedral71-year-old Bishop Kmiec celebrated his 25th anniversary as a bishop this past Sunday at St. Joseph’s Cathedral.  There were protesters out in front of the church prior to the start of the service, and both the Mass and subsequent reception at the Adam’s Mark Hotel were only modestly attended, by maybe 400 people.  The church was maybe half-full.

Given the size of the banquet facility and the six carving stations that the hotel set up, I suspect that the number of invitees and expected turnout was much larger than what actually occurred.  I suspect that many people who were invited might have used this as a way to protest the spate of church closings that the bishop has implemented since he became Bishop of the Buffalo diocese, and showed their disdain by refusing to attend. 

But the good Bishop is merely being prudent.  He is tailoring the size of our diocese to reflect the local Catholic population and the availability of diocesan priests.  He is downsizing.  He is making hard – and unpopular – decisions in the harsh light of reality.

If only our politicians could do the same, but they have neither the foresight nor (apparently) the backbone to face the reality of a shrinking population center.  Government is not shrinking at all to reflect the size of our community.

I admire Bishop Kmiec for doing something very difficult.  I wish our current politicians could do the same.


2 Responses to Doin’ the Hard Thing

  1. Paul says:

    Good for you!!!

  2. John Miller says:

    Bishop Kmiec may be doing a hard thing here. However, he has, according to

    acknowledged having mislead the Nashville Diocese regarding now defrocked and convicted repeat sexual predator priest, Edward McKeown.

    Bishop Kmiec will not do the “hard thing” and stop the shunning of my autistic son by our parish religious education program.

    Because of his disability, my son requestsd inclusion in the St. Bonaventure Religious Education Program. My son is fully mainstreamed in public school Our parish Coordinator of Religious Education and Pastor refused to allow our normal !Q son to be in religious education class with his peers from the public school. I appealed to the Diocese Department of religious education who secured commitment from St. Bonaventure (Allegany) to follow Diocesan recommendations. The Diocese formulated a plan of inclusion and pledged all necessary report. Once issuing the plan and having parents and shild accept and endorse plan, Saint Bonaventure, apparently not expecting a plan of true inclusion, refused to follow the plan and referred to important and essential component of the plan as a “luxury”. Because the parish would not provide inclusion, the diocese backed away from the plan and made new recommendations of: 1. Homeschooling (not a dynamic which works with my son and does not provide for inclusion. Also teaches intolerance to other students with the exclusion of my disabled son because of his disability.
    2. Travel two hours each way through the snowbelt to Lackawanna every other sunday to be with other disabled Catholics. This trip would be made with my autistic son and my multiple sclerosis disabled wife. 3. Join anothe parish and see if they will provide inclusion. (This was a nebulous plan with no time frame and would not provide requested inclusion with my son’s peers.

    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a Pastoral Statement on the Disabled in 1978 which clearly indicates it is the policy of the USCCB and American Catholic church that my son be included in the normal catechetical program to maximum extent possible. The plan Individualized Religious Education Plan of inclusion made it very possible and had the state confidence of the Director and Assistant Director of the Diocesan Office of Religious Education that my son could succeed with the plan.

    I asked for Diocesan Dispute Resolution Hearing but was denied.

    The Bishop was dismissive and wrote that there was no involved lack of understanding of my son’s disability………..Yet the Director of Religious Education states developing prior rapport with his classroom aide is a luxury beyond the means and abilities of the parish……No exception to such comment taken by anyone in the Diocese.

    The Parish Priest and Coordinator of Religious education refused all communications with parent from moment we appealed to the Diocese.

    Parents asked for but were refused meeting with St. Bonaventure Parish Administration and the Diocese.

    Parish Priest published a Parish Bulletin Letter with untruths in which he dismissed the abandonment of the individualized Religious Education plan because of scheduling conflicts on part of the classroom aid. The truth was that the Assistand Director of Religious Education had offered to take place of the aide when he was absent.

    The Parish Priest inferred my son represented a danger to other students (my son has been taunted by other students that Father Richard does not want you in religion class because he thinks you are dangerous”,

    The Parish Priest accused parente of being uninvolved (hardly the case) and of making unreasonable demands………request for inclusion/ request prior agreed to plan be followed?

    My son remains shunned. He is now in his third year of being shunned by his church.

    No one in the Diocese will go on record as to true reason of exclusion.

    The Parish Priest refuses to speak with disability advocates.

    The Parish Priest does not answer letters from other parishioners on the matter.

    By our works, not faith!

    John P. Miller DPM

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