Thursday, May 10, 2007

More on the audit

After re-reading my previous post about the NH Attorney General's audit of the Diocese of Manchester I realize it may come across as an uncritical apologetic defense of the Diocese rather than the first step of an analysis as I had intended. Commenter Carolyn has kindly brought to light some issues that need to be dealt with in any full analysis and I thank her. I've had some more time to further review the situation, so I'll be following up shortly.

In the mean time, I just wanted to make a quick post to give a little background and framing for my perspective on this matter. I don't want to suggest for a second that the Diocese is lily white and the audit was completely useless. I will, however, confess to a distinct level of frustration with the distressing willingness to Bishop-bash in this Diocese and to point always to the Diocese as the source of all problems (see my post on the Cluster Task Force listening session for an example). For a while I didn't find too many problems with this since it fits with our corporate approach to life in America. Then I read Ignatius of Antioch's Letter to the Ephesians in one of Mike Aquilina's books and it cut me to the quick.

Wherefore it is fitting that ye should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also ye do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And do ye, man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, ye may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that ye are indeed the members of His Son. It is profitable, therefore, that you should live in an unblameable unity, that thus ye may always enjoy communion with God.
And again
Now the more any one sees the bishop keeping silence, the more ought he to revere him. For we ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. And indeed Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God, that ye all live according to the truth, and that no sect has any dwelling-place among you. Nor, indeed, do ye hearken to any one rather than to Jesus Christ speaking in truth.
When an Apostolic Father speaks, I'm sorry, but I find a need to listen.