Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reflections from Bishop Designate Coyne: Day 1

I share my reflections from day 1 of Bishop Designate Coyne

1a) Yesterday, I was referring to him as "Bishop-elect" but, after listening to the Archbishop's press conference, and hearing Archbishop refer to him as "Bishop-Designate" Coyne, I realized that is the more proper term. Bishop-Designate Coyne was not elected to his post, so it doesn't really make sense to call him "Bishop-Elect."

1b) It is interesting that the press conference was held at St. John's and that the Bishop Designate's ordination will also be held there. St. John's is my favorite place on earth (as I've blogged before). The Cathedral would be the logical place to hold a press conference like this, but the Cathedral is not that aesthetically pleasing (some refer to it as the "Cathedral Bank and Trust" because of the facade that looks very "bankish"). Archbishop Buechlein has told me on several occasions that he would love to move the Cathedral to St. John's (which was, for a time, our Cathedral, hence the big chair in the sanctuary at St. John's). The thing that has kept us from transferring the Cathedral to St. John's, as the Archbishop has noted, is the parking problem. St. John's can park about 50 cars if they use the sardine-packing method. Anyways, that the press conference was held at St. John's is an indication that more and more people are starting to realize that we need to build Churches that look like Churches again.

2) The Indianapolis Star did a great job with their article this morning. The details were covered and the authors covered their bases and actually knew the words that they were using. I especially found the part of the article that talked about the contrast between the two men to be very poignant. The article talked about how Bishop Designate Coyne was talking without a script, while Archbishop Buechlein spoke from a script that he read with a shaky hand. This difference could have been talked about in a way which would be derogative towards the Archbishop, but the Star treated the Archbishop with grace, not bemoaning his more quiet and guarded manner, but instead noting that it came from his more "deeply theological" background. I found that part of the article to be especially insightful and well done.

Of course, the Star gave some time to the founder of wehatefatherchristophercoyne.com. I have no doubt that every priest has a more than willing webmaster who could put together a website devoted to the downfall of their priesthood. Usually, the people who start these websites really want to preach themselves and have already decided what they need to hear. I'm not faulting the Star for quoting these people, but I think it is worth noting that every priest has these types of people out there.

3) Bishop Designate Coyne, as a priest, was absolutely dumped on! Fr. Coyne was the spokesperson for Boston and Cardinal Law, and who would want that. Hearing other people talk about his service through all that, even the otherwise hostile media, you get the sense that everyone was very impressed with his ability to do the duty that was asked of him. Some have tried to paint the picture that he was INVOLVED in the cover up, but again, if you look at what even the media was saying, everyone seems to sense that he was just the messenger in the most difficult position in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States.
He was rewarded with...getting to replace the most liberal priest in Boston who had been at a parish for years and had the opportunity to sculpt it into a din of liberal dissent. The former priest marched and preached at a gay-rights parade and rally...so you can just imagine. Again, despite the former priest's absolute hatred for all things outside of his idea of what things needed to be, the man still PRAISED Fr. Coyne! That is a pretty amazing fact.

4) Msgr. Schaedel is owed some kind of badge of honor for his service. He served often as the de facto Archbishop, and did a great job. For a few months, people will let you do that, but after a while, I have no doubt that it gets extremely difficult to carry on the task that he had without the "badge". Whether or not Msgr. Schaedel is ever appointed a bishop is not known, but he has certainly carried out his job with fidelity, grace, and compassion, and all owe him a great deal of gratitude.

5) Until an encyclical entitled "I Definitively Announce that Indiana Dioceses Will Not Be Redrawn" is written by a Pope, the going on 20 year old rumor of the potential merger/redrawing of Indiana diocesan boundaries will continue to live on and be at the center of any Church move in Indiana. Who knows, at this point, what will happen with all of that. Certainly the Archbishop, a few years ago, was certain that a redrawing of Indiana boundaries was imminent. Then Lafayette got a new Bishop, and the plan seemed to be dead. Now some again think that Bishop Designate Coyne is being brought in to assist with that (and/or the closing of parishes in the Archdiocese); this is all strictly rumor, and I think that we should just trust the Church's leadership, let the Bishop get settled, and not spend energy trying to figure out what is going to happen down the road - "sufficient for a day is its own evil" and sometimes getting too worked up over things that we have no control over can be a form of escapism which distracts us from continuing to plow on in the field that we've been asked to tend.

6) After 24 hours, this move already is a very energizing event for the people throughout the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. May God be with Bishop Designate Coyne, Archbishop Buechlein, and all of us in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.