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Monday, April 21, 2014
Easter Sunday Blasphemy At St. Patrick's Cathedral
It is time for the Archdiocese of New York to close the doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral during Mass. Yesterday, on Easter Sunday of all days, the holiest of Christanity's holy days, St. Patrick's was overrun by photo and selfie-taking tourists during a midday Mass. It is as if Catholic Mass attendees were inside the Cathedral for the amusement of tourists, as if they were on stage and following a script. Yours truly was almost literally knocked down inside the Cathedral by, well, savages. (I prefer the "Battlefield Earth" term: man-animals, but I digress.)
It is a form of narcissism to be overly outerdirected. I am no shrink but I define that roughly as being preoccupied and controlled by an unrestrained (or irrational) desire to placate the desires and judgments of others whether or not they have earned the right to such priority. The Church maintains that "our doors are open to all who come." This is a huge strategic mistake that has been learned and remembered by other faiths which have survived persecution. As Jewish congregations have surely learned throughout history, unquestioned access invites trouble...or far worse. And certainly, Moslem congregations will prevent a nonbeliever from getting far within the doors.
The result of the Archdiocese's institutional cowardice is a degradation of its core mission of ministering to its own worshippers.
The failure to protect this core mission sends a subliminal message to its core membership: We will allow nonmembers to interfere with and show abject disrespect for your right to worship on your Holiest day in order to preserve our institutional openness.
The appreciation of the remaining populace to these demonstrations of openness and tolerance is returned with an air of blasphemous intolerance. Within steps of the Cathedral, a young man was making significant money dressed up as "Holy Toast." The Archdiocese needs to protect its flock. Instead it allows -- no, it provokes -- itself to be overrun. As former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton recently observed: "Weakness is provocative."
Peasant wisdom distllls this cowardice into three different, simple words: You don't matter.