A Parable for the Mighty

A Parable for the Mighty

A parable for those in positions of authority, courtesy of Franz Kafka.

Poseidon sat at his desk, doing figures. The administration of all the waters gave him endless work. He could have had assistants, as many as he wanted — and he did have very many — but since he took his job very seriously, he would in the end go over all the figures and calculations himself, and thus his assistants were of little help to him. It cannot be said that he enjoyed his work; he did it only because it had been assigned to him; in fact, he had already filed many petitions for — as he put it — more cheerful work, but every time the offer of something different was made to him it would turn out that nothing suited him quite as well as his present position. And anyhow it was quite difficult to find something different for him. After all, it was impossible to assign him to a particular sea; aside from the fact that even then the work with figures would not become less but only pettier, the great Poseidon could in any case occupy only an executive position. And when a job away from the water was offered to him he would get sick at the very prospect, his divine breathing would become troubled and his brazen chest began to tremble. Besides, his complaints were not really taken seriously; when one of the mighty is vexatious the appearance of an effort must be made to placate him, even when the case is most hopeless. In actuality a shift of posts was unthinkable for Poseidon — he had been appointed God of the Sea in the beginning, and that he had to remain.

What irritated him most — and it was this that was chiefly responsible for his dissatisfaction with his job — was to hear of the conceptions formed about him: how he was always riding about through the tides with his trident. When all the while he sat here in the depths of the world-ocean, doing figures uninterruptedly, with now and then a trip to Jupiter as the only break in the monotony — a trip, moreover, from which he usually returned in a rage. Thus he had hardly seen the sea — had seen it but fleetingly in the course of hurried ascents to Olympus, and he had never actually traveled around it. He was in the habit of saying that what he was waiting for was the fall of the world; then, probably, a quiet moment would be granted in which, just before the end and having checked the last row of figures, he would be able to make a quick little tour.

Poseidon became bored with the sea. He let fall his trident. Silently he sat on the rocky coast and a gull, dazed by his presence, described wavering circles around his head.

Do you lead like Poseidon or like Christ?

There will be a test later.


35 Replies to “A Parable for the Mighty”

  1. Bishop better start getting his ducks in a row. As cold as it is, just had a Baptist minister and his small son knock on my door and invite me to his church. I give them credit for going door to door out here in this weather. He was very pleasant and uplifting. I will not go because I believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I love Adoration and it is there I find my Lord and talk to Him. Someone who doesn’t believe in the real presence might be easily influenced by such a welcoming pastor as the one that came to my door. It is a shame that Adoration is available only a few hours in some parishes if at all. ( I know there are some that have it available all week such as St. Mary in Muncie.) If it is not important to the other priests it will not be to the laity. They need to see their priests and Bishop before the Blessed Sacrament. Know I am focusing on one thing here but it is one of the most important I think to bring people home.

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    1. And further, how tied are our pastor’s hands with regard to hiring/firing decisions? Does the “pastorate consultant” assigned by the diocese highly influence or even require these decisions? I’m just trying to understand my own parish having made a decision to let go of an individual. We have had a revolving door with regard to staff…they come and go like clockwork, but to relieve someone of their job who has been doing exceptionally for a long time with no desire to leave the position, seems ludicrous. Why push someone out when it’s so difficult to keep staff?

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      1. Money? Perhaps if the person has been there for a good while and has earned raises over the years, they can cut costs/benefits by hiring a newbie?

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  2. Well, it’s been almost six-months since Uniting in Heart brought the pain with those incoherent priest-transfers followed by a new perpetual fundraising campaign. So, how’s that “Parish Vitality and Vibrancy” coming along? Yeah, pretty non-existent from my pew too. Everything’s worse. It would have been better – even financially – if they had just closed a few empty, rural parishes and left everything else the way it was. But I guess that would have violated the terms of the consultant’s deal. And of course that is the function and purpose of our diocese now: to fulfill contractual obligations with godless consultants.

    All I can say is that this whole “plan” is looking more like a cash-grab/score-settling campaign that has pretty much run its course. Sure, they may regurgitate some liturgical abuses next in various parishes just to mix things up and make it look like “neat things are happening”. But in the end it’s all just like a really bad television show.

    I tell you, if it weren’t for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, personally founding this Church and calling Her His Beloved Bride, I would have been gone a long time ago.

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  3. I hope/pray to see an essay by The Red Wolf regarding His Excellency’s most recent article, “Civility and Sanctity in 2021”.

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        1. Our parish youth ministry’s couldn’t afford to rent the Tipton Center and utilized other venues for events … not to mention Ted Dudzinski while still pastor at Blessed Sacrament took his parish staff to another site for a retreat — no idea why in that case

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        2. Was recently in a meeting where it was definitely stated that the Tipton Center loses money every year and needs money from the Bishop to stay afloat. This is over and above the multi-million write off when the remodeling ran amok. Was not divulged how much that help amounts to so if anyone knows, please let us all know.

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          1. There is a sense of justice with all this: Bishop puts the wrong people in charge and now, literally, has to pay big time for his unacknowledged mistake year-in and year-out. He better hope Uncle Sam throws more billions at the bishops, because the laity are closing their checkbooks.

            I can’t help but crack a smile.

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    1. Looks like His Excellency doubled-down on the article, almost taunting The Red Wolf commentariat, and in the issue where he is begging for money for what has become fishwrap. It is just above the article telling us how important more government welfare is for “solidarity”.

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      1. I believe His Excellency is fresh out of ideas, as the saying goes. He is woefully ill-equipped for dealing with the Church in this age and the faithful Catholic remnant who inhabits it (increasingly the only ones left in the pews). He belongs to an American Catholic Church of 30-40 years ago when malformation and clericalism were the coins of the realm. Back then the uncatechized, post Vatican 2, boomer laity had lots of money, dished it out with no questions asked and clerics were guaranteed a life of comfort (and the evil clerics had plenty of time to dive into all sorts of sins; just ask Ted McCarrick). That is the Church our bishop was formed in and, by all observations, is the one he was counting on to see him comfortably into the grave. That Church is gone.

        The latest money-grab campaign’s “lack of lift-off” is all the proof the bishop needs to realize times have changed (since I don’t expect the bishop to notice or care about the real “numbers”: all the souls missing from the pews – and never coming back – since he locked the churches and took away the sacraments over a flu with a 99% recovery rate).

        And as “Uniting in Heart” daily unravels and looks less like a bright idea and more like an exhumed corpse freshly re-dressed in an unpopular second-hand suit, all the faithful can do is wait and pray: Pray that our leadership comes to their senses, and wait until time eventually removes them from the stage.

        Time is against them…

        Come, Lord Jesus.

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  4. Speaking of figures, can someone please enlighten us on how the CMA goals were decided. My parish’s goal is so much higher than the other surrounding parishes, even though we are a blue collar/Hispanic parish. We don’t need the flashy pamphlets and prayer cards, we need a fair explanation of how our goal was decided upon.

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    1. Why not ask your pastor? He knows. Will he tell? What parish income has been taxed this time that wasn’t taxed in the past?

      What new money are they counting this time around that they hadn’t before? There’s your answer.

      Did you have revenue beyond your weekend collections? Parish yard sale, festival, rummage sale, holiday bazaar? In the past these weren’t “taxed.” They are now though.

      Knowing many would refuse to pony up to meet the CMA goal, the parishes are now being taxed to blue blazes to make sure the diocesan Administration has enough to eat.

      So before we have bazaars or festivals or rummage sales or ANYTHING that will help our parishes survive…in the future, think twice before sweating. It’s going to be taxed.

      Ask your pastor. See what he says.

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      1. Yeah. No pastor is going to call this what it is: a desperate money grab by a Bishop who lacks supernatural faith and clergy in the high ranks who are so proud and disdainful of the laity to be blinded to Truth. We have already seen the fallout from this- jobs cut, programs slashed, and the constant threat of more cuts unless we pony up. Ask if you want, but you will never get honesty from these people. They lie like they breath.

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        1. While I am not going to question if somebody has supernatural faith or not, I have to agree that this is a money grab. Since when does evangelization become all about money? It is not the spirit of the Gospel, not even a little bit. Someone quoted the Holy Scripture “Do not carry any gold or silver or copper in your belts. Take no bag for the road, or second tunic, or sandals…” and this is how we must live! I admit I tire of empty talk about evangelization. If evangelization was a priority, our diocese would already be living it as a priority whether there was lots of funds available or not, even if totally impoverished it would still be the main goal. What person is going to stand before God and say, “I wanted to evangelize, but the people wouldn’t give me enough money?” In all honesty, I do not believe those who talk a lot about evangelization if they do not already do it themselves. DO IT, show us how it is accomplished, show us it is YOUR way of life. This will inspire MANY to do the same, without a penny ever changing hands. Take the good news to the public square, preach the Good News clearly, invite people to repentance, bear the world’s hatred like the apostles and other saints. If our leaders won’t do that, how can they ask anyone else to? And if they are waiting for piles of money to arrive to make that possible, please for the love of Jesus, STOP. It’s not coming. Preach the Gospel first, worry about the rest later.

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      2. Not only is this revenue taxed, the gross amount of income is taxed, not the net. They don’t care how much you have to spend to generate some income, they’re going to tax the total amount you made. Where is the justice in that?! When all of these activities come to an end, there goes your community outreach and the parish fellowship. Where is the evangelization in that?

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        1. Excessive spending and waste violates the 7th commandment, especially with regard to the goods of others. CCC#2409. Look it up. Creating expenses in such as way that will do harm to your neighbor or those under your care is wrong. Creating projects that you can’t afford so that you have to take from others is wrong. Making those who work for you squeeze blood from a stone–or else–is wrong. The martyr Saint Lawrence said treasure of the Church was its PEOPLE. Not the revenue they generate but who they ARE in the kingdom of God. If clerics lose those people in the pursuit of revenue, shame on them.

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      3. My pastor protested our CMA tax and did get a response but no change in the goal; same on the additional $10,000 tax that was not in CMA. The CMA results are low based on an update my pastor got so soon we’ll probably hear something about changes or new taxes. How else are they going to keep paying all these consulting firms and internal parish consultants? Next up? Fees for new computers and computer systems.

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        1. Well, that just makes perfect sense. Shiny new computers! Big screen TVs! Now we look as rich as the protestants, yay! And the little old church office ladies and dre’s kicked to the curb after years of caring for people without warning. This stuff makes me literally sick to my stomach. I left my tithe to the church at Little Sisters of the Poor today (http://littlesistersofthepoor.org/) and I will continue to do so until this diocese demonstrates that it has humanity left in its leadership. It doesn’t look like it to me.

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    2. I am told a group of pastors, parish lay employees and others developed the CMA formula with the goal of coming up with an improvement over the old Fruitful Harvest formula. For example now school income is not included in the CMA formula where it was included in Fruitful Harvest.

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      1. The “Plan” is falling apart. How do we know?

        Priests are overheard by their parish staffs.

        Priests trust members of their Finance Councils much more than they trust the people sent to make sure the priests will be mouthpieces for the “Plan.”

        Priest personnel is stretched to the limit. No one extra’s left. Revenues aren’t bouncing back. The current Fruitful Harvest is a failure. Budget cuts loom. Parishes will be closed.

        What do some priests think? That no matter what, no matter what effect (physical, spiritual, emotional) on the priests, no matter how much finances are off, even if staff members are fired or churches are closed — the almighty “Plan” will go forward.

        Holy Plan
        Mighty Plan
        Plan Immortal
        Be Adored…

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        1. Replace “plan” with “Pachamama” and you can better understand the bigger picture of the state of where the Church as a whole is in—in a hole. See what I did there?

          Pray. Fast. Penance.

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        2. Oh come on, JasonS! You just gave away the AMAZING catchy UIH plan “prayer slogan” that was going to be on the next round of CMA pledge cards…since the first round clearly didn’t register with people given the not-so AMAZING response (I was not consulted on that first round by the way, otherwise we would have had an AMAZING response by now). Now you go and spoil the whole “Holy Plan, Mighty Plan…” thing after we just printed up 10 million glossy new pledge cards using most of the new parish tax money that’s been coming in (we had to save what was left of that money for postage). See if we put any AMAZING sanctuary TV screens in your church’s sanctuary now!

          So now at communion time, when your virtual cantor switches on an AMAZING 1993 tape-recorded version of Marty Haugen’s “We Remember” for you to hum awkwardly behind your masked face (singing kills after all) as you shuffle up to the communion teller window to – as ole Marty would say – “share a meal”, know that you won’t be able follow along with the AMAZING sanctuary TV screens we would have installed and will instead be kicking yourself for not stealing a Gather Hymnal from the church when you had the chance before Covid-19 hit (pew hymnals kill after all).

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