Filed under: Church wrongs, Uncategorized | Tags: churches, denominationalism, pastor, Scranton
Some of you have seen this sign on a TV show called ‘The Office’. My daughter watches the show, I do not. I tried, but I just do not get the humor, if there is any. There is far more drama, and even comedy in the reality that is Scranton. The City broke away from Wilkes-Barre a century ago at the hight of industrial Pennsylvania, and is a fascinating place. It is the home of two really quality, really Catholic, Universities, Scranton U. a Jesuit institution, and Marywood, founded by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I am no expert, but that sounds about as Catholic as it gets.
Scranton is amazingly culturally diverse. King coal brought in labor from Europe in stages. The dates on the many churches give a guide to the waves of immigration. First the Irish, then the Italians, and when the coal companies had enough of those, they went to Western Europe to recruit. If there were one group they might unite, and that just would not do. Fortunately for the mine bosses , all these ethnic groups pretty much hated each other. We have Slovak, Polish, Czech, Italian , Irish, Russian , Greek , Hungarian, and plain old Catholic churches in this area. These groups never worshiped together, often fought in gangs, avoided intermarriage like the plague, and had their own language, customs, foods holidays and Saints. These were people who took their Catholicism seriously. The church was a major part of their lives, providing all social contact, education in the English language and trades, and giving political direction. Even today in Jessup, right outside Scranton, St. Ubaldo races the other Saints for honor, it is close on occasion, but Ubaldo always wins! Even when he fell of his perch one year and had to be hastily reassembled, he won!
Times are changing. Now there is intermarriage, a more homogenous culture, and a lot of empty churches. Bishop Martino became very unpopular by closing Catholic schools and churches. The diocese was broke, he said, do to a lessening of contributions and the payouts made to all the child abuse victims. As bad as things are, they get worse. Like this.