The Lefty Nut Is Right

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Hattip to my colleague Tito for posting the story on his Facebook page.

I doubt if Mark Kenney and I would agree on much of anything politically, but he knows sacrilege when he sees it:

 

 

Mark Kenney, 59, who grew up in the parish, had worked at St. Cecilia Cathedral for three years. Around 8 a.m. on Jan. 29, he went to a work shed, picked up a pair of heavy-duty bolt cutters and ascended to a catwalk high above the mostly empty nave, or main sanctuary.

He looked through a peephole, he said, to make sure he wouldn’t hurt any people. And then he cut a steel cable, which sent a suspended, umbrella-carrying, hat-wearing Mary Poppins figure crashing to the floor.

Kenney then went downstairs and removed a cardboard Buddha figure from the Nash Chapel, which also featured costumed mannequins from “The King and I.” He threw the Buddha out one door and proceeded to toss costumed mannequins out two other doors.

Someone alerted the pastor, the Rev. Michael Gutgsell, who ran from the rectory next door to the church and saw Kenney.

“Mark,” he called out, “did you see who did this?”

“Father, it was me. You need to call the police.”

Gutgsell had known that his custodian had misgivings about secular displays in the church but says he was dumbfounded and didn’t understand why Kenney would take such drastic action. In a brief meeting that week, the pastor said, he had asked for Kenney’s promise not to be disruptive.

Now the priest was shocked, saying, “You promised!”

In response, Kenney said, he lashed out. “I started screaming, ‘Father, this is bullshit! We can’t have this in the church. This isn’t culture, it’s Disney crap!’ ”

Kenney — who has served three terms of up to six months in federal prisons for crossing security lines at military bases in protest of nuclear weapons — then knelt at the communion rail and prayed until officers arrived and handcuffed him.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Churches are for worshiping God.  We forget that at our peril.  Bravo Mr. Kenney!

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31 Comments

  1. “Now the priest was shocked, saying,” You Promised.”

    What of the vows the priest promised?
    Will the priest hear his own words repeated back to him, yet from the lips of Christ?

    The Year of Mercy seems lost on this priest.

    Too bad.

    As for Mr Kenney. The Holy Spirit was helping him clean house that day. Great servants take risks for God.

  2. I agree with Kenney’s outrage. However, there are other means of expressing one’s opinions that don’t result in imprisonment.

  3. “Kenney — who has served three terms of up to six months in federal prisons for crossing security lines at military bases in protest of nuclear weapons — then knelt at the communion rail and prayed until officers arrived and handcuffed him.”
    .
    I do not agree with Kenney’s opposition to a nuclear deterrent, but this is a mark of a holy man – a man set apart by God – even if I despise his politics. This is what we should all do when the police come for us (and one day they will so come) because we stood up for the Faith once delivered unto the Saints.

  4. A modern-day replication of throwing the money changers out of the temple for desecrating a place of worship with their false idols.
    Sometimes it is only through the martyrs and more extreme actions that these things come to the attention of the pew sleepers. God bless him.

  5. 1) “Father, it was me. You need to call the police.” These are the words of a responsible man.

    2) “Gutgsell…didn’t understand why Kenney would take such drastic action.” More the pity for you, Father.

    3) “Kenney — who has served three terms of up to six months in federal prisons for crossing security lines at military bases in protest of nuclear weapons…” Perhaps we should look at such secular displays as the liturgical equivalent of nuclear weapons. Kenney would therefor be a prophet. Might make a good 30 minute movie short.

    4) “…knelt at the communion rail…” They still had a communion rail!! This explains a lot. The secular displays were just a psychological compensation for the ‘dereliction’ of Fr. Gutgsell’s predecessors.

  6. Reminds me of Christ’s words that he will acknowledge us before the Father if we acknowledge him before men. Well done Mr. Kenney.

  7. God in heaven have MERCY ON US! I thought this was some kind of satire or joke, but “read more” to see that it actually happened. Would we all have the courage and love for the sacred as does Mr. Kenney. God bless him..and thank you for bringing this story for more to see.

  8. “I do not agree with Kenney’s opposition to a nuclear deterrent…”
    Lucius / Paul, I am sure the only real difference between you and me and Mr. Kenney is how we assess the likelihood of use v. deterrence. Different assessments derive different conclusions.

    In a sense, there is a church decoration that is a deterrent to evil: gargoyles (although their original purpose was not to deter evil but to celebrate the defeat of evil: evil was now a trophy on the wall). Disney characters have no value whatsoever to “deliver us from evil”. In one small sense therefore such decorations in church are worse than nuclear weapons; while they can kill no one, they can lead people astray.

  9. I wish he’d found a different way to go about it, but good on him for being outraged.
    I wonder if he’d already followed the chain of command and been ignored?
    ****
    “…knelt at the communion rail…” They still had a communion rail!

    Not actually that uncommon– they’re handy for hanging bunting and such on. I didn’t figure out why they had a fence around the altar in so many churches until I put two and two together with a relative’s story about a practical joke at his wedding, probably in my 20s. (They wrote “help me” on the bottom of his shoes. The brother that did it DID survive, but only because he was mom’s favorite. And in really good running shape.)

  10. [T]here are other means of expressing one’s opinions that don’t result in imprisonment.
    .
    Some things are worth going to prison over

  11. You have got to be kidding me! Movie characters in a church? I suppose I am fortunate to live in an area where that is unthinkable. I find it sad that people involved are more interested in property than the sacrilege involved.

  12. what a brave man! Courage!
    the Church is not to be used as a beautiful backdrop for flower shows or weddings. As far as I know, when the Cathedral in this area has been used for concert, they have been sacred music concerts. I participated in hosting a St. Joseph’s Day sacred music concert in our parish 20 years ago- we had just purchased a great new organ and the high school choirs sang sacred music— so I don’t think hosting concerts has to be the same thing as the sacrilege that Mark Kenny struck back against.

  13. “Not actually that uncommon[communion rails]”. Yes, I know. 🙂 I was just building a segue toward those people who want them gone. Personally I have no preference, I like both approaches.

  14. I would change Tom D’s statement from this:
    .
    “In one small sense therefore such decorations in church are worse than nuclear weapons; while they can kill no one, they can lead people astray.”
    .
    To this:
    .
    “In one small sense therefore such decorations in church are worse than nuclear weapons; while they cannot kill the body, they can kill the soul.”
    .
    The strong nuclear force is dwarfed into insignificance by the forces that are spiritual. A nuclear engineer may have the power of life or death over millions of human bodies, but a priest has the power of the Sacraments – no comparison.

  15. I would distinguish between sacrilege and profanation myself. Mary Poppins over the Nave is profane, but not necessarily sacrilegeous. Buddha in the chapel on the other hand. Seems to me we’re using cardboard to skirt the issue of sacrilege.

    Anyways, it all strikes me as a Bad Idea.

  16. He, Kenney, is scheduled for sentencing on March 24th, Holy Thursday.

    The one’s that should be sentenced are the members of St.Cecilia’s that had anything to do with promoting our Lord’s House to be used and decorated in this fashion.
    Is this the only venue available in town?
    I doubt it.

    I’ll keep Mark in prayer today and try to remember him on Holy Thursday night.

  17. Upon reading the news story, we learned that Kenny, when a navy nuc power mech, had gone UA several times and spent some time in the brig. This behavior resulted in an early honorable discharge for “unsuitable eccentricities”. Since candidates, enlisted and officer, for nuc power training are usually above average in intellect, I’d guess that Kenny is bright, but at 59 still has the impulsiveness of an adolescent. Perhaps he will be sentenced to anger management school and be fined $6,000 for restitution of the damaged property.
    Kenny’s heart was in the right place, but he destroyed other’s property.
    “Cathedrals,” Fr Gutsgell said, “are kind of the epicenter for culture presentation and development.” Ah no. The flower show with it’s secular themes should take place in the diocesan activities center or where they have bingo, K of C breakfasts, etc.

  18. Paul / Lucius, I just wanted to hint what you explicitly wrote. I fully agree that, baring repentance, that is where end up.

  19. Where is Archbishop Lucas and why has he not noticed the foolishness going on inside his cathedral? Or, if he has noticed it why has he not already corrected it?

    Why does Pope Francis concern himself with a Trump in his brother’s eye when he has a thousand bishops in his own eye?

  20. Hooray for Mark by being a true Conservative of the Catholic faith. Most Liberals would be delighted by the by Disney stuff.

  21. Prosecuting someone because they protested at sacrilege in a Catholic cathedral? A typical celebration of the phoney “Year of Mercy”.

  22. Lot.s of good men became priests -to a life of struggle and suffering . Trying to discern and be true in a modernist church in a modernist world. Whose whole priest fraternity is caught in the lonely struggle almost daily on the line inn a world that blithely accepts all kinds of everything the priest is expected to act if he lives Ina 1940’s church . Father is a good man . That flower show was at the cathedral every spring long before father or archbishop got there. To great public acclaim .
    Some would not want to enter the priesthood and have to draw harsh lines within their own extended families who are living modernist lives.
    I am glad the Mary Poppins Buddha etc are gone but my heart is also touched by Fr – who has been been working with both Mr Kenny and the donors and kind of upper class Catholics who are well connected with the cathedral and the flower show. My first reaction should be to pray for our priests rather than piling on.

  23. Thank you Anzlyne. We must be careful how we judge, for we will be judged and we don’t know the whole story. We must be charitable and forgiving and not throw stones as we examine our own sinfulness. What kind of images are we in church? How are we dressed? What is our disposition? What does our presence in the Church represent to others? It is easy to see a woman caught in adultery and grab a stone. In this year of mercy, could we reflect on our own sin sometimes? Then first remove the wooden beam so we can see clearly to remove the splinter from our brother’s eye. I had my stone in hand when I first read this article. But the more I reflected on my poor dress and poor disposition at Mass, I think sometimes I should be “cut down and thrown out!” Easier to throw stones on the internet. What would Jesus want for us….?

  24. Mary Poppins hanging from the ceiling of a Catholic church? Ridiculous.
    A Buddha stature in a Catholic church? Sacreligous.

  25. Wow – seems we’re all in agreement on this one!! – HOOORAH!!
    Great intro Don McC – Mark Kenney knows sacrilege when he sees it!

    If you and he had a chance to talk and really communicate, i sense you may be surprised to find you and he agree on many things politically – NOT TRUMP, i know…… but for my part here, ditto to Penguins Fan [as usual] and i’d like to call attention to Matt :25-21

    His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

    Sweet words i hope to one day hear … it’s all i want. Mark K. is on track : Great blog Don, thank you and Happy Passion Sunday II and a Blessed Easter

    pew sleepers. LOL

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