Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Looks like we got a good one

The Holy Father has named the Most Rev'd Terrence Prendergast, S.J. to be our new archbishop. He's currently Archbishop of Sydney and Yarmouth in Nova Scotia. A press release on the archdiocese's website gives his background.

And today's Ottawa Citizen has an article with a bit more colourful detail. It's not quite what I'd call a "Welcome to Ottawa!" piece - the writer seems determined to scrounge up every single thing the Archbishop might have said or done that could effectively pin the sign "Beware - TROUBLEMAKER" on the man. He particularly focussed on Prendergast's efforts to head off same-sex marriage legislation.
In the letter, he also asked Catholic groups to organize their efforts to make their voices heard.

"The issue is something significant enough that every MP should have a chance to vote freely and talk freely on the issue, which wasn't the case last time," he wrote

The letter was the latest sign that Archbishop Prendergast is not prepared to accept the will of Parliament on the issue.
Well, that's rather a funny way of putting it. I don't think he's going to go around throwing Molotov cocktails, which is what someone who "is not prepared to accept the will of Parliament" would tend to do. On the other hand, no Canadian is required to engage in self-brainwashing to conform his opinions to whatever Parliament has voted to enact. Our Parliament has put troops in Afghanistan, to the chagrin of many people, some of them even ordained, but nobody goes around sniffing that they're not prepared to accept the will of Parliament because they keep saying how they think things should be done differently.
But last December, Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially declared the same-sex marriage issue settled after MPs handily defeated a motion to revisit a 2005 law allowing gays and lesbians to wed.

"I don't see reopening this question in the future," Mr. Harper told reporters minutes after the House of Commons voted 175-123 against his minority government's bid to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage.
Newsflash, Mr. Citizen Reporter: Archbishop Prendergast doesn't get his orders from Prime Minister Harper. He can go on arguing against Parliament's decision on this or any other subject, for as long as he likes.

So far, though, it sounds pretty good to me: spoke out against the Da Vinci Code con, against same-sex marriage, protests that Christian viewpoints are being censored in public forums. But just in case we conservatives might be feeling too happy about this guy, the writer tosses in this little detail:
Archbishop Prendergast also shut a historic church in Halifax -- a decision that may bode ill for parishioners at St. Brigid's, the Centretown church that former Archbishop Marcel Gervais wants to close, arguing it would cost too much to restore and maintain it. Parishioners of St. Brigid's disagree and are fighting to keep it.
You see? He'll betray you too, you conservatives! We'll see. I'm not a fanatic for saving St. Brigid's - I think there should be a downright conservative Catholic parish in Ottawa (at least one), but I don't think we should be slaves to bricks and mortar. Buildings do get too old and decrepit - if it's a lost cause, it should be abandoned, and the parish relocated somewhere else. What's important to me is that its spiritual character be preserved, not that it be tied to a particular patch of ground. Maybe the new guy will be able to come up with a fresh approach to this; relations between that parish and Gervais had been pretty poisoned, things might improve with a new man in charge.

Anyway, thanks Your Holiness! This man looks pretty good.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kasia said...

Nice! If you wouldn't mind, say a prayer or two that we down here in Detroit get someone of his stamp; Cdl. Maida is past retirement age, so we're looking ahead with both hope and trepidation. :-)

7:23 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I certainly will - I hope this appointment is a good omen. The Holy Father seems to be taking all these appointments seriously; sometimes I felt that JPII could be persuaded to appoint mediocrities because he didn't have the time or inclination to study North America too closely, and so he depended more than he should have on the American Catholic bureaucracy, which would be happy to produce a House of Bishops just like the Episcopalians.

9:22 pm  

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