Friday of the Second Week of Easter
He is both the Bread of life and the dew of the Holy Spirit that together nourish man’s deepest hopes and desires.Bishop Patrick J. Zurek
A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS
THE EXCERCISE OF POLITICAL LOVE
Sacrifices born of love
The Following Reflection is Based on Paragraph #188
Admittedly, there is a need to respect authority, but Bishop Zurek seems to have an urgent need to combat all that threatens or violates the formal, church-based, leadership or opinion of ordained clergy in matters of either the Church or broader political and sociocultural import, rather than fundamental human rights.
Bishops are called to “tend to the needs of individuals and peoples. To tend those in need takes strength and tenderness, effort and generosity in the midst of a functionalistic and privatized mindset that inexorably leads to a ‘throwaway culture’…, or in our case, the UCA. Instead of taking responsibility for the present with its situations of utter marginalization and anguish, and being capable of bestowing dignity upon it”  , Bishop Zurek has given into the thinking that, “Two hundred days’ wages…would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”, and instead of developing a fundraising approach that gives us a voice in determining what is given back to God for “multiplication”, has implemented an assessment for how much we are required to “give”.
Bishops are doers, builders with ambitious goals, possessed of a broad, realistic and pragmatic gaze that looks beyond their own diocese. Their biggest concern should not be about collecting UCA assessments, but about urging the laity to find effective solutions to “the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime.
Such is the magnitude of these situations, and their toll in innocent lives, that we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism that would assuage our consciences into telling us that Bishop Zurek can change the reality of the UCA being an assessment simply by calling it an “Appeal”. We need to ensure that our diocese is truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges”. This includes taking intelligent advantage of the immense resources offered by technological development that can allow the the bishop to adjust the Cathedraticum tax based on the current giving at his parishes to meet the diocesan budget. Furthermore, instead of holding parishes accountable for paying assessments that are based on pre-pandemic data, they would be held accountable for the actual pledges made by parishioners. Such a system would make the Diocesan Pastoral Center more aware and responsive to what is “reality” in our diocese.
For this 2021-2022 United Catholic Appeal I pray that Bishop Zurek, “unbounds” us from parish assessments, before “appealing” for us to “Abound in Hope”.