I was going to post a rambling quietly ranty bit about the Catholic (or rather, the quasi-Catholic) elements in "Hellsing", but I realized I owed you this post about the fate of my parish and its home.
Some of you have suggested that the folks who want to keep the church open should have staged a sit-in prayer vigil. This idea had been raised several times, but the general consensus among the leaders of the group trying to keep the church open was that things like this constituted "apostasy". I know, you're all thinking, "Bzuh? How is that an act of apostasy?" My reaction as well. I looked into it. I looked in the Cathechism of the Catholic Church. I looked in the Code of Canon Law. Didn't see an explicit statement that holding a prayer vigil in a closed church in an effort to force the hand of the diocesan powers that be to reopen it constituted an act of apostasy. Here's Wikipedia.com's definition of apostasy, or at least the first paragraph of the article:
Apostasy (from Greek αποστασία, meaning a defection or revolt, from απο, apo, "away, apart", στασις, stasis, "standing") is a term generally employed to describe the formal renunciation of one's religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy. In a technical sense, as used sometimes by sociologists without the pejorative connotations of the word, the term refers to renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to one's former religion. One who commits apostasy is an apostate, or one who apostatises. In older Western literature, the term typically referred to baptized Christians who left their faith, thus, according to some Christians, were never "Christians" in the first place. Apostasy is generally not a self-definition: very few former believers call themselves apostates and they generally consider this term to be a pejorative. One of the possible reasons for this renunciation is loss of faith, another is the failure of alleged religious indoctrination or brainwashing.
My only guess as to why they came up with this is excuse is that to be praying in the church after it got closed would be to disobey the orders of the diocese, the very people that we're supposed to be standing up to. And since much of this parish is traditionalist-style Catholic (I'm a traditionalist in aesthetics, but I'm certainly not one in thinking. I've been accused of being one by liberal Catholics, and extremist traditionalists, or "traddies", as I call them, have accused me of being liberal. Which I'm not.), ie, they believe you have to obey what the priests/bishops tell you, even when it's a fine-point matter that really doesn't work for you.
Now, I can follow what a priest or a bishop tells me as long as it doesn't clash with the teachings of the Church. But when it has to do with where and how I'm going to worship within the bounds of the Faith, or it has something to do with what I should be doing with my life that doesn't clash with the moral code, and it doesn't square with what works for me, I know enough to draw the line. I know enough not to let anyone push me around in this regard. I'm like St. Katherine Drexell in this regard: she wanted to be a nun, her family -- which was very well-to-do; I think her father was a Pennsylvania coal and oil baron -- wanted her to find a nice man to marry; she spoke to a priest about it, who told her to go along with what her family wanted for her. She quietly resisted and went on to found an order of teaching Sisters who worked with American Indians and Blacks in the West, helping them raise their quality of life.
I know, the people in my parish are screwed in the head. They're trying to appeal their case, but it's bogged down with the usual legal red tape. I don't think the church is reopening any time soon, and if it winds up that it never reopens, I can't help wondering if these people who refused to let themselves be a little civilly disobedient wound up gutting their last chance. If it never reopens, they may have their own stubbornness and resistence to change to blame. It's a zero-sum game between two groups of rules-lawyers, is what it is.