Icons at Our Savior
  • I'm surprised this hasn't been posted yet:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421601/our-saviour-church-icons-george-rutler-tradition

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/mullarkey/2015/07/treason-of-the-clerisy

    My primary questions are: in the face of this type of corporate silence and clear abuse, what actions (if any) can be taken that would be effective or make any substantial impact?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,374
    Two things:

    1. If you are currently supporting the parish financially, re-direct that financial support to an appropriate recipient (such as local conferences of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, which at the conference level are all-volunteer and give direct assistance to the need with very little overhead) and tell the pastor why.

    2. If you are a parishioner, also communicate with the local ordinary and regional vicar and dean. That said, if any one of those - or an assistant to one of those - has the current pastor's back, as it were, don't expect much.* (A secretary to the ordinary can block an auxiliary bishop or dean.)

    If you are *not* a stakeholder in the parish (either by being an actual parishioner or a financial supporter or employee or volunteer therein), your standing to complain is considerably reduced UNLESS you're someone who happens to have the ear of someone in the chain of command.

    In all cases, your communications should be professional, avoid impugning motives where there is insufficient *factual* basis. You are free to communicate how you yourself feel about it, but be mindful of crossing the line into reading the minds and hearts of anyone else.

    And pray for those in charge.

    * Remember, expectations are premeditated resentments. And resentments are never of God.

    By the way, I *love* that iconographic program in that space. Pure genius. I am never shocked by the capacity of pastors of Catholic parishes to do stupid things, however.
  • johnmann
    Posts: 175
    It's the pastor's right apparently and the archbishop's office is unlikely to do more than relay concerns back to the pastor as they've already done.

    A more coordinated defunding effort might be worth trying.

    I'm thinking something like this, which is far too easy to occur, requires a more permanent solution. Maybe assign artwork to a trustee instead of the parish.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,374
    Assigning liturgical furnishings and fixtures to a trustee might make the gifts unacceptable from the diocese's perspective....
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,454
    It's very tragic that a Catholic pastor could be so inimical to an artistic genre with such an esteemed patrimony, honored and venerated in both Western and Eastern liturgical traditions.

    Re: the pastor's organist/protege mentioned in the article, it's not without significance that the extremely capable former organist was peremptorily dismissed upon the new pastor's arrival which prompted me at the time (August 2013) to start a thread about the need for a church musicians' union.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 879
    There's also this excellent article about the affair at the One Peter Five website.

    The artist, Ken Woo, at the suggestion of the archdiocese, is urging people to contact the pastor directly. Liam's wise advice in this regard should not be ignored.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    Postquam autem crucifixerunt eum diviserunt vestimenta eius sortem mittentes.
  • This seems to be yet another intentional and supported rape and murder of the traditional sacred arts here in the American Roman Catholic Church. I am tremendously sickened, disgusted and deeply grieved, but not surprised.

    Authorities that are behind this understand only one thing, the power of the purse. I recall one church in the gothic style. A new pastor upon his arrival was going to remove all the highly carved oak interior, pews, statuary and stained glass (all from German artists of the 1850's). His plan was to replace with modern chairs in the round with a simple folding table as an altar; all in the nave of that church. Word of this got out. Financial giving went down by 89%. That new pastor was replaced in one month. Financial boycotts are powerful tools in the hands of the faithful!

    A national lay organization holding in trust all sacred art and music of historic proportions, is an interesting idea.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • I might be wrong.....However, I do not think sending letters to the Archbishop and arm wrestle with the pastor is dignified. Nor do I think it is productive at all.

    On the other hand, condemning these actions (not trying to stop them) in the strongest terms should be done as vociferously and as loud as possible.

    Like a previous post said, unless you are a contributing member of the parish, it is not dignified nor is it catholic, to try to arm wrestle a pastor into doing something one does not like. All the collecting of signatures and etc. have been about "saving the icons" "saving the artist's works" or "saving the legacy of the previous pastor" "forcing Fr. to bring back the icons"... He is the pastor, Isn't he? Let him be the pastor. His actions can be criticized but he shouldn't be "forced" to do x, y and z.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    He is the pastor, Isn't he?


    And don't we wish that all of them were worthy of the office.

    Financial boycotts are powerful tools in the hands of the faithful!

    A national lay organization holding in trust all sacred art and music of historic proportions, is an interesting idea.


    True! Unfortunately, it is all some priests and bishops understand. I like the "trust" idea.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    Our Saviour is like many other midtown churches that are refuges for workers, visitors, and daily communicants alike, in good times and in bad. We all have a stake in these icons. The pastor is really full of gall to do it while the artist is very much alive and well.

    Just disgusting.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    Like a previous post said, unless you are a contributing member of the parish, it is not dignified nor is it catholic, to try to arm wrestle a pastor into doing something one does not like


    I don't think anyone from outside his territorial parish is pretending that we can arm wrestle him into anything. All that has been done, from what I've seen, is exposing the secretive removal of these icons and bringing it to light to see what is happening there. In the case of the artist, he was not only an artist of NY, but a parishioner of the parish, where he was also baptized.

    It's rather sad to see exorbitant amounts of money spent on renovations that were clearly not needed, taking the financial state of the parish to a much worse place. No matter what one thinks about the icons, that's a very unfortunate aspect of this whole story.

    Iconoclasm is live and well.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    From the various articles & blog posts, it seems this might be a lot worse than just iconolasm at its worst. It has been suggested that the changes have tacit, if not outright, approval at the diocesan level, and that the outcome could be directed at driving attendance and finances so low that they close the church and sell it off for its incredibly high property value.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Would the last soul to leave the church turn the lights off and make sure the windows are closed that Satanic smoke may not bleed further upon Park Avenue?
  • I don't think anyone from outside his territorial parish is pretending that we can arm wrestle him into anything.


    Don't get me wrong. My blood boils whenever I see the photos of the icons removed. I just don't think that collecting signatures and writing to the Archbishop is productive. The petitions I've been receiving via e-mail or Facebook say "tell Cardinal Dolan to put the icons back!"

    It's rather sad to see exorbitant amounts of money spent on renovations that were clearly not needed, taking the financial state of the parish to a much worse place.


    I agree Ben.... it is pure madness. When looking at a photo of a beautiful high altar before it went through a thorough "renovation" in 1979 my pastor said "I wouldn't want to be them on the final day of judgement"
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    I’m glad your pastor said what I have been thinking, Heitor.
    Thanked by 1HeitorCaballero
  • johnmann
    Posts: 175
    Fr. Robbins installed new lights and a sound system and started online donations so I don't know if he's trying to drive down finances. I think he's a true believer in what he's doing.

    A few facts about him:
    For 23 years, he was pastor of Holy Family, the ugliest church in all of Manhattan. Granted, it wasn't his doing.

    His next assignment was Our Lady of the Scapular and St. Stephen which was shuttered shortly after he took over. Of concern at the time were the fate of the murals. http://nypost.com/2014/11/04/churchs-closure-could-be-the-end-of-its-treasured-murals/

    Finally, his assignment at Our Saviour first made the news when neighbors complained about his decision to ring the bells 13 times a day starting at 8am. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/nyregion/murray-hill-churchs-neighbors-would-prefer-to-look-at-the-clock.html


  • Pray for the NY Archdiocese
  • johnmann
    Posts: 175
    Some of my fondest memories of Mass are at the EF at St. Agnes. I don't care if the organist is gay. The scandal is the loss of James Wetzel and the choir. The music section of their website is gone. I was never a trad warrior but the treatment of EF in the diocese is turning me into one.

    Any word on James and the choir?
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • Incomprehensible.
    What this says about the simple Christianity, Catholic or otherwise, of such priests, and of the bishops who knowingly ordain them, appoint them, support them, and cannot but be party to what they do, is beyond contempt. It begs credulity that such men can be ordained priests and made prelates, and that we are actually expected to believe that they are in persona Christi. This is possible only because they are beneficiaries of the Donatist controversy and of ex opere operato, not because of any moral or spiritual fiber, of which they are in grievous want.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,154
    Well they love and need money... So as others have suggested...

    If you are currently supporting the parish financially, re-direct that financial support to an appropriate recipient


    The same should go if you are supporting the archdiocese, It is also important to write to the Parish priest / administrator and the administrator of the diocese that you are re-directing your financial support and WHY.

    N.B. Even though my diocese is a reasonable one I do not contribute to the collection, I find other ways to support my parish.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Spriggo
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    Meloman

    That is perfect purple... Lolhahalol... I love it!

    "I make an urgent appeal to the earth. I call on the true disciples of the living God who reigns in Heaven; I call on the true followers of Christ made man, the only true Savior of men; I call on my children, the true faithful, those who have given themselves to me so that I may lead them to my divine Son . . . Finally, I call on the apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in union with God, in suffering unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends." Our Lady of La Salette

    As for me, I ain't playin nice. I am going down fighting for the truth.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,454
    Still trying to wrap my head around this news. The music at St. Agnes is was legendary, and the choir has been a revered fixture in the NY area for so long, it's hard to believe they've vanished from the scene.

    It's the Church equivalent of being told the Metropolitan Opera has shut its doors.

    I'm so grateful for having had the opportunity to attend Good Friday service (OF) there this year which was incredibly moving, the only dissonant note being a bizarre interlude after the homily when stage directions were shouted from the altar to the choir ("Hey, aren't you supposed to sing now?") and to the ushers in the rear ("Joe---where's Joe? Somebody get Joe. Joe, yeah, Joe, I'm talking to you. Take up the collection.")

    I'm ignorant of the finer details of GIRM, but I was doubtful that such antics were approved in the OF, and it did give some indication that all was not well.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    You know, we may not be able to do anything about such things. But we certainly are under no obligation to fund them.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,359
    It's hard for me to imagine that the Archdiocese of New York has no particular laws either for the building and renovation of churches, or for the expenditure of extraordinary sums of money, as the icons certainly would have been. Something seems to be missing in Mr. Frankovich's reporting (besides the name of the new pastor).

    If there are such laws, then Fathers Rutler and Robbins either followed them or did not when they made their sanctuary additions or subtractions. If there are such laws and either or both priests did not follow (or is not following) them, then the Archdiocese is to be blamed for not enforcing them. If there are no such laws, then the Archdiocese should be blamed for not having them.

    Pastors are NOT kings over their realms parishes. They are bound to act in accordance with the universal and particular laws of the Church.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 468
    @ronkrisman

    On the procedural point, the rules of the Archdiocese of New York are fairly loose on this. The position taken by the Liturgy Office on the removal of the icons is that the changes are only to art and therefore didn't require their approval.

    There are, however, civil laws in New York City that prohibit construction including demolition, plastering, and painting from being carried out at night in non-residential buildings without a special permit. The removal work, replastering the walls, and repainting was done at night when the Church was closed in violation of the local laws as they didn't receive an after hours permit.
    Thanked by 2ronkrisman Liam
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    The icons were entirely funded by private donors.

    Fr. Ruttler left the parish in far better financial position than when he arrived.

    His work and efforts produced positive, productive, and spiritually fruitful effect all around.

    ISTM the current pastor is causing unnecessary conflict and drawing rather corrosive attention to the parish by his actions.

    At the core of it, it is dispiriting and causing much confusion and anger.

    Something needs to be done, and the someone who needs to do it has an unfortunate track record.
    Thanked by 2melofluent CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,805
    For some reason Jenny Donelson's paper at Sacra Liturgia USA about the Church's "support" of Catholic artists comes to mind...
    Thanked by 2Jahaza Ben Yanke
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,061
    Wetzel and St. Agnes's performance of the Cantus Missae of Rheinberger at Sacra Liturgia this year was nothing short of glorious—absolutely the highlight of the week for me.
    Thanked by 1Salieri
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,805
    absolutely the highlight of the week for me.

    Me, too. (Apart from all the other highlights, that is.)
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,359
    Thank you, @Jahaza, for the added information. Even so, I have more questions than answers about what is going on.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Would the last soul to leave the church turn the lights off and make sure the windows are closed that Satanic smoke may not bleed further upon Park Avenue?

    Sing a puppet into being,
    We'll need people nevermore.
    Just remind the final human:
    Douse the light and close the door.


    Save the Liturgy, Save the World!
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Ben Yanke
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    G, I want copyright acknowledgement and any royalties that result from your purloining (man, I can't believe that word just popped up in me brain) my bon mot. Forget Tucker and Woods, I'm into money now, just like francis;-) I mean, if solar eruptions or S. Malachi predictions are gonna erupt in September, might as well cash Caesar's into Caesar's now.
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    my bon mot


    What bon mot is that, dear Charles?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • PhatFlute
    Posts: 219
    What if I have given money ? How would I feel if what my donations for were throne to waste ? Sad, sad. Would God be happy to hear the phrase ?
    Ph