Imagine I’m nose tackle for the New England Patriots. One day, Coach Belichick calls me in his office and tells me I’m being cut from the team. Well, I don’t want to be cut from the team so I go down the street to a high school stadium and declare that I am still part of the New England Patriots, that being a Patriot is bigger than the NFL team owned by Bob Kraft, that I will bring in other players and coaches, hold games and sell tickets, and that the games will be valid NFL games leading to the Super Bowl. Right about the same time I’m being served the lawsuit from Kraft and the NFL, the men in white coats would be carting me off to the loony bin.
Meanwhile, reporter Bella English and the Boston Globe1 continues to feed the delusions of the people in Scituate who believe that they are still a valid parish despite rejecting the authority of the Catholic Church.
Here’s how Maryellen Rogers describes it: “We are an ecumenical Catholic church, we are still valid practicing Catholics, part of the universal Catholic Church, not the Roman Catholic Church. So if you join our church community, you would see a welcoming Catholic experience but you would not be supporting the Roman Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Boston.”
Jon Rogers says that the new church wants to draw from other towns south of Boston, not just Scituate. “This is the seeds of a brand new church, a simple structure, the way Christ would have it,” he says. “It will just be a spiritual home where people can be comfortable without being awestruck or overwhelmed by a hierarchical system. It will be run by the people and for the people.”
Both stress that the church remains Catholic. “We are valid, practicing Catholics,” she says.
I’m sorry, but it’s just not so. I hate to tell them that this doesn’t make them Catholic. All they’ve done is re-invent Protestantism because this is exactly how the Protestant Reformation began. They saw themselves as recovering the true Church while throwing off the hierarchy yet retaining the sacraments and other trappings at first. How long until they even give up those trappings, even if they survive at all?
- English, who is semi-retired from the Globe now, has been championing the Scituate protesters ever since they began. Something tells me she has an axe to grind. ↩