The Provincial Emails
< Following Month
This morning's newspaper reports,
Catholic Charities expects to cut services and lay off staff this year because of rising costs and the likely impact of clergy sex scandals on fund raising, compounding two years of large deficits.Two years? Wasn't that about when we were asked to pledge toward the Cathedral renovation? Just a coincidence, I'm sure. And it was important to have the Cathedral changed to reflect our advance past the quaint Old Church notion of the "sacred."
HARK! THE HERALD
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
Even our former Archbishop held such quaint views, as quoted in one of today's editorials.
In a 1980 letter to Marcoux, when Marcoux was pressuring Weakland for money, the archbishop wrote: "I consider all that church money as a sacred trust...Back at Catholic Charities, executive director Diane Knight says,
We do get questions from people in terms of whether any of our money is going to pay for settlements and treatment of victims or anything like that.Somehow, people have the idea that while there might be separate legal entities or separate funds on the books, from another perspective, money given to the Church is all just Church money. Even our former Archbishop once held this unsophisticated view.
"...it represents the offerings of faithful and I must be accountable to them for how it is all spent. There are hundreds of requests on my desk for funds for worthy causes, for inner city projects, to the elderly, to the handicapped, etc."The editorial goes on
Weakland also had help. Auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba and archdiocesan financial officer Wayne Schneider knew of the payment. Did they raise questions about it, or did their loyalty to Weakland outweigh their loyalty to the church and its parishioners?Having served a term as a rubber stamp, oops, sorry, a term on a parish council, I have some sympathy for Bishop Sklba and Mr. Schneider.
Our former Archbishop will make his public apology tomorrow at the chapel at the Cousins Center in St. Francis, a suburb immediately southeast of Milwaukee. They just couldn't find a way to fit it into the Cathedral's busy schedule (although I would have suggested his remarks might be substituted for a homily at one of the Masses). The Cousins Center houses the Archdiocesan offices. It was originally built as the minor seminary and seminary prep school. When, shortly thereafter, these fell into disuse, the question arose what to plant on the buried talent. The Cousins Center was the result.
I will miss hearing him, and won't be posting for a few days. One of the nonprofit organizations for which I'm webmaster is upgrading its software and so they are sending me for training in Las Vegas. Sometimes sacrifices must be made.
Try The Newest Project Gutenberg Mirror Site, located in Houston, Texas, USA. HTTP only, no FTP.
AMENDED NORMS for
2. At a Sunday celebration in the absence of a priest:
It's here: The AmChurch! Survey by John Mallon
The latest TPM Online includes Darwin and Philosophy by Mathew Iredale.
Sex and the City of God
This morning's newspaper has a welcome respite from new developments in the Catholic Church Clergy Sex Scandal (CCCSS?). But our former Archbishop is the subject of Carlson's editorial cartoon.
In the spirit of the moment, what quibbles to raise against the temporary new guy?
Bishop Sklba is spiritual director to The Peter Favre Forum.
Named after a 16th Century companion of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Forum is directed by local business executives. The Forum is co-sponsored by the Marquette University College of Business Administration and Saint Francis Seminary.As one of its guest speakers said, the Forum is a Catholic Businessmen's Prayer Breakfast. And I must say I did find many of the Forum's speakers to be quite interesting. One problem, though, was that it couldn't include some potentially interesting speakers who were on our former Archbishop's enemies list. With this constraint, the Forum sometimes was a bit like an Austin Powers movie, only here we travel back to the 1960's to fetch, say, laicized bishop James Shannon.
(Despite the Forum's ideological slant, a table mate once invited me to a local meeting of Opus Dei.)
(Another table mate once said he was visiting New York City over a Sunday and asked the hotel desk clerk where the nearest Catholic Church was. The clerk told him but warned him that guests usually came back and said the Mass there wasn't like a real Mass. But it turns out that Mass at that particular NYC parish was pretty much like Mass in Milwaukee. Which is my travel experience, as well. Liturgically, the local attitude is like the apocryphal British newspaper headline "Fog in Channel, Continent Isolated.")
Bishop Sklba usually wears the very large clerical collar, which most Catholics I know associate with the Episcopal Church clergy. At one Forum, he explained that what is commonly called the Roman Collar is really a Military Collar, "And guess what, the war's over."
The next evening, he presided at my area's listening session on the plan for parish closings and consolidations. Judging by the collar he was wearing, this was actually a war against the parishes.
Here's probably his best known cause:
In a letter mailed to pastors and parish council chairs on Holy Thursday , Milwaukee Bishop Richard J. Sklba, addresses the death toll caused by the 10 year embargo of Iraq and reminds fellow Catholics of the Church's call to care for the needy everywhere. Bishop Sklba asks parish leaders to find ways for their parishes to respond to this crisis. ...Included with his letter is a 14-page report. After you get past the poster child title and cover photo, the report includes, among other things, FAQ.
Q. Isn't the whole purpose of the sanctions to force Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi leadership to become less repressive and belligerent? They aren't directed against the people per se.You cannot let the people suffer just because of their government? I find it hard to reconcile that with this from Bishop Sklba's op-ed against military action after Iraq invaded Kuwait,
Whether any further action is is necessary or morally justified, however, is a more complex question.So the Bishop's arguments look to me to be special pleading for Iraq.
Reading log: An Introduction to Philosophy (1937), by Jacques Maritain, E.I. Watkin, trans.
Dave Pawlek tells me I'm a blogger, and so I reply that he's another, see his Pompous Ponderings, "The overblown observations of a 30ish bachelor male in Milwaukee."
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD'
Anger, forgiveness expressed, by Mike Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 27, 2002
A.D. 2000 notes,
In his 5,000 word written "response" to six "listening sessions" he had held with Catholic women about abortion in March/April 1990 Weakland criticised the Church's "unequivocal" position as "too simplistic an answer to a complicated and emotional question and does not resolve all the concomitant problems surrounding the issue raised in a pluralistic society...". He also chided pro-life women for exhibiting an "unwholesome", "fundamentalist" approach to Scripture, "proof-texting in ways that are not our tradition", adding that "many wonderful pastoral priests" dislike the pro-life movement's "narrowness", lack of compassion" and lack of civility." Weakland later commented on pro-lifers after a "Respect Life" Mass he celebrated in Milwaukee: "Such a difficult group to preach to. Such hard faces. Such surety. No smiles. No openness to any other point of view ... They have no joy in being Catholic or part of a Church" (The New Yorker, July 15,1991).So he stopped preaching and went to the keyboard.
Reading notebook: Which hunt
Among the courses John Pick taught as a Professor of English at Marquette University was a course on the modern novel. After we completed our week on D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers, he brought in a phonograph and played Tom Lehrer's "Oedipus Rex." Why?
The book may have left a bad taste in your mouth and this will replace it with a bitter taste.So, likewise, thanks to Amy Welborn, I offer this Pastoral Letter.
This morning's newspaper says Conflicting feelings pull at area Catholics, including more accounts of the first post-Weakland weekend's Masses.
Also in this morning's newspaper, Tim Cuprisin "Inside TV and Radio" column says Weakland's reaction astonishes journalist. The journalist is ABC chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, who broke the story. Summing up, Ross said that
What was painful for me was to go through and realize the reputation of Weakland, that he had been, at least on paper, a leader in the church.Epitaph?
So were there fewer people than normal at Mass? Hard to say. Attendance drops some every Summer. Were collections down? Don't know; I gave my usual. Our Associate Pastor presided. In his homily, he reviewed his own 44 years as a priest, calculating all his Masses, how many people attended, baptisms, confessions, weddings, funerals. Next he recalled that his was the first assignment as a pastor that Archbishop Weakland had to make after arriving in Milwaukee. Then he pointed out that Rembert Weakland had also served as a priest for over 50 years, and surely done much good in that time. Finally, he reminded us of what we were taught about who is worthy of casting the first stone.
For 24 years, in the Eucharistic Prayer, we have prayed for "John Paul, our pope, and Rembert, our bishop," but today, of course, that had changed.
One of the items of clothing the priest wears for Mass is a "stole," basically a long cloth scarf. The one Father was wearing was a gift to him on the occasion of his 40th anniversary as a priest, given to him by our now former Archbishop.
Once I attended what I'd call a combination seminar and revival meeting. One of the speakers was Fr. Larry Dulek, and I understand today is the anniversary of his ordination. Fr. Dulek was long the pastor of a parish on the near south side of Milwaukee. It's a relatively poor and increasingly Hispanic area. Fr. Dulek had been in the news some years back when, while he was saying Mass, a young man was shot outside the church, and he attended him as he died on the church steps.
At the meeting, Fr. Dulek spoke about the people of his parish. He alluded to the parish's problems of poverty and crime, but went on to speak with considerable fervor about the great faith of his people.
Then he interrupted himself. "I know I'm going on like a proud father," he said.
That to me seemed to sum up being a priest. When I got back to the office the following Monday, I told a colleague about what Fr. Dulek had said, how it had expressed what I thought anyone looked for in a pastor, that it surely drew people to make a commitment to the parish. My only caveat was that, the way things were going, you couldn't be sure that even Fr. Dulek wouldn't end up in some kind of sex scandal.
Regarding Reading Rat, I received this email,
A ridiculously learned professor of mine once said "Compiling a bibliography gives one the comfortable illusion of actually having read the books." It is a warm feeling indeed.Which reminds me of "bullcritting," discussing books based on only having read reviews. This is not to be confused with bookgutting, as described in "How to Gut a Book," Georgia Review 43 (1989) 731-44.
So far, I am basing what I say solely on summaries from Google searches. No books were harmed (or even touched) in making this post.
Or this one.
Allan Carlson had this to say in a review of Town and Country, edited by Anthony Barnett and Roger Scruton.
We are all "moderns" now. Gemeinschaft communities resting on custom, tradition, and locality have vanished and "cannot be revived in their original forms." Even would-be country folk face "the paradox that it is now only by a conscious effort that a sense of rootedness can be revived.""Two nations," The University Bookman, Spring 2002, p. 19.
In the same issue, Ryan Streeter has this to say in a review of Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community, by Roger Putnam.
At the heart of his argument is the acknowledgement that, in large part, American democracy rests on local democracy."In search of American on a human scale," The University Bookman, Spring 2002, p. 26.
This month's Bold Type includes an essay on privacy excerpted from James Gleick's new book, What Just Happened
The play of Daniel: a twelfth century musical drama.
Sex and the City of God
This morning's newspaper reports on yesterday's acceptance by the Pope of Archbishop Weakland's resignation and speculates about his successor.
Some observers say that some diocesan priests here, accustomed to Weakland's leadership, have been given informal assurances by high-ranking church officials that they will get someone as bishop with whom they can get along.
The article does not mention the former Archbishop's future plans. Perhaps it would be only fair to keep him on as Vicar for Clergy.
From my own perspective, I lean more toward scraping up, say, $450,000, using it to reopen one of the inner city parishes closed in the 1990's, and assigning the former Archbishop there.
In a related development
Howard Eisenberg, the dean of the Marquette University Law School, suffered a heart attack Thursday afternoon, after a lengthy day of interviews regarding the revelations of a sex scandal involving Archbishop Rembert Weakland.
Mr. Eisenberg is not Catholic but, by all accounts, has a genuine respect and affection for the Church. Besides serving as Law School Dean, some years ago he joined a number of prominent local Catholic lawyers on a week-long mission trip to the Archdiocesan mission parish in the Dominican Republic. (see article) Perhaps no one warned him that where other religions can disillusion people, ours can break hearts.
If memory serves, another lawyer on that mission trip was our District Attorney, also in the news.
District Attorney E. Michael McCann said Friday that he has asked the Milwaukee Archdiocese to provide him with documents showing where $450,000 came from to pay off a man who accused Archbishop Rembert Weakland of sexual assault.
It's news to me that amounts anyone, even clergy, donate to the Church are available for later withdrawal. There's talk of people boycotting the collection plate in protest of the $450,000 payment. Maybe they could, instead, just drop in a note to deduct their usual donation from their balance on deposit.
The article delves a bit into just where in the Archdiocesan budget was the source of the payment. Presumably ruled out were the Catholic Stewardship Appeal and the Archdiocese Support Fund.
The money for the fund came from the now-defunct DeRance Foundation, a charity that had been established by Miller Brewing heir Harry John. John's widow, Erica, and daughter Paula serve with Weakland as directors of the fund.
Again, if memory serves, several years ago the foundation or fund board used a couple million dollars to endow a chair at a pontifical university, the chair to be named in the Archbishop's honor. There were questions raised about the propriety of this, given that he was a member of the three member board. His response was, again if my recollection is correct, that he stepped out of the room during the vote on this item which, he said, took care of any problem.
This also touches on the Archbishop accumulating honors while saying personal honors were inappropriate for clergy in the post-conciliar church. For example, the following from an interview,
Q. There's been talk of a clerical culture, a protective brotherhood of sorts. Has that hindered proper handling of cases here?Maybe he was a one-man clerical culture. (As for the priests, since there would be only a few monsignors, might not their vote be preemptive sour grapes?)
Tied up with the issue of personal honors is the issue of the former Archbishop's relationship with the Pope. The Pope somehow seemed to be aware only of favorable things about the Archbishop while any criticism of the Archbishop from Rome was, supposedly, without the Pope's knowledge, as in this interview.
Q: The pope (recently) sent you a congratulatory letter on the 50th anniversary of your ordination. . . .
My impression has been that all too many of the Archbishop's friends and advisors told him what he wanted to hear, or told him what would advance an agenda that they brought to their relationship with him.
And yet ... rather than continue emptying my filing cabinet, I'll quote this from Pete Vere.
I will just remind everyone of the one or two good things I appreciated as a conservative Catholic during his ecclesiastical career.
Was the situation he faced as Archbishop of Milwaukee so different, so much harder, than reconciling Feeneyite monks to his order, with him as abbot? Perhaps I misread the last quarter century, but it seemed to me that within much of the local criticism of and opposition to him, there was still a desire for a similar reconciliation.
Hark! The Herald
This week's Catholic Herald includes a column by the Archbishop in which he looks back on what he characterizes as verbal and mental lapses, including this one.
Again I talked in some interviews about teens being rejected and then "squealing." I do not remember ever using this infelicitous word, but someone must have dug it out of some interview and it now returns to haunt me. I deeply regret it.
A fellow attendee at the recent listening session, 2002-05-17, quoted from a 1994 interview of the Archbishop in The Milwaukee Journal.
What happens so often in those cases is that they (the homosexual affairs) go on for a few years and then the boy gets a little older and the perpetrator loses interest. Then is when the squealing comes in and you have to deal with it.
Speaking of digging out quotes, the Catholic Herald has been running a series of quotes from the Archbishop, selected by former associate publisher and executive editor Ethel M. Gintoft. The series runs under the title "A Shepherd Speaks," an odd choice given that it is also the title of a 1997 book by Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, before that a priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and the polar opposite of Archbishop Weakland ideologically. This weeks quote was taken from the Archbishop's column in the April 19, 1990 Catholic Herald, and includes this.
Listening is a very important function for all teaching authorities. They might, then, find the right words, the right concepts, the right experiences to clarify their own thoughts. They might even see that they are asking the wrong questions, looking for the wrong solutions, trying to heal when they have not found the place that is hurting. They might even learn to trust themselves more, and, thus, become more trusted themselves.
His wrong question was asking what's wrong with people who disagree with him. He looked for the wrong solutions by looking to structure and process. He failed to find the place that was hurting when he remodeled the cathedral to symbolize the people of the Archdiocese gathered with their Archbishop while adding to the alienation of some of his people from him in doing so. So for many, there was no trust in him to be lost with this week's revelations.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
Here's the plot outline for the sequel to The Producers.
While in Milwaukee, [Paul] Marcoux, who long had harbored an affection for theater, developed an idea to incorporate drama into spiritual exercises with a program he called "Christodrama."
This year's Brandeis Used Book Sale is June 8th to 16th at the Old Orchard Center, north of Chicago. The postcard reminder says over 400,000 books will be offered for sale. Look for the circus tents; that's how big the sale is.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
Once again, the Archbishop's mail is in the local newspaper, this time a letter of April 25, 1980 to Paul Marcoux.
My mother's sage advice when I lamented about the injustice of it all was to warn me that I should not put down on paper what I would not want the whole world to read.Unfortunately, that isn't the whole letter. In among the rest of it, he says that
After our last visit at my place before you left for Athens, I knew our Nantucket dream was in trouble.
They once had a dream of Nantucket.
This morning's newspaper tells of a Cemetery in Oak Creek found wanting for care, so found by the curator of the Oak Creek Historical Society, Margaret Berres, my brother Michael's widow.
Reading notebook: And we would have, if only Tetzel were here
In case you hadn't heard, the recent renovation of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee generated some controversy. The Archbishop wrote an op-ed on the occasion of its rededication. It reminded me of something that will serve as an op-op-ed.
(Of course, there is also the question of the relevance of St. Peter's, given that it is not a cathedral.)
In the same piece, the Archbishop said
... twenty-some years ago, I decided that the crypt of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist would also be the burial chamber of the bishops. That is a part of the Catholic tradition. Archbishop Moses Elias Kiley, Archbishop William E. Cousins and Bishop Leo J. Brust are now all buried there. It is also where I hope my own body will eventually find a place of rest.And may they rest in peace.
The Bureau of Public Secrets informs me that
Kenneth Rexroth's San Francisco newspaper and magazine columns are now online ....
The BPS has selected book reviews by Rexroth which I link from Reading Rat.
The morning paper tells of Success seen with stomach cancer drug, including success seen by Carol Berres, mother of two of my nieces.
Today at Mark Shea, "The Maverick Archbishop Theme."
Rembert G. Weakland O.S.B,
inspired by the Archbishop's reminiscing.
Sex and the City of God
Amy Welborn pointed out the item on the left, and I knew I'd heard that line of thinking before.
In other words, Connolly may think Cardinal Mahony an S.O.B., but he's Connolly's S.O.B.
Here at my web site, I've added a Rigging Diagram for my sailing dinghy.
Sex and the City of God
Ever hear someone say that the event wasn't like it was described in the newspaper? Not this time. I attended one of the archdiocesan listening sessions last night.
The event was planned to last from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. It began with a staffer reading the Archbishop's letter, then an opening prayer, introducing the consulting facilitator, describing the various documents provided at each table, explaining procedures for selecting each table's facilitator and recorder, reading the questions to be answered, explaining how the summary from each table would be collated into a summary from each session would be, in turn, collated into a summary of all the session which would be presented to the Archbishop, and pointing out the locations of the bathrooms and that snacks and coffee were available. By then it was past 7:30 p.m.
This took me back to my parish council days. A controversy would rise to such a pitch that the pastor would resort to what was apparently regarded as the extraordinary step of holding a meeting open to all the parishioners, and at the meeting the staff would do all the talking.
The materials provided included the two topics for discussion,
1. What struck you or what insights did you get from the Question and Answer sheets? What other issues does the Archdiocese need to address related to the sexual abuse of minors by priests?In addition to the report summary and the Q and A, the materials included a copy from the local paper of Susan J. Stabile's op-ed against a zero tolerance policy.
Including Stible's piece was a last straw for many of the attendees, who said that the term "listening session" mislead them as to what to expect. They resented that public input came after the recommendations were made, rather than before they were developed. They resented being told what questions to answer and how to go about answering them. They found the materials provided slanted. They became convinced that the purpose of of the sessions was to manipulate them into expressing some ambivalence about a zero tolerance policy. So now, even if, as appears certain, a zero tolerance policy is adopted, people have been given reason to suspect that it will be enforced grudgingly or even evaded.
At the meeting, I was still wearing the suit and tie I had worn to work, and I was accused (that's the only way to accurately describe it) of being an attorney for the Archdiocese.
One of my table mates knows a young man in the Society of Jesus who reports that the order is segregated between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Wasn't it only a short time ago that would have been a shock to hear?
Another acquaintance at the meeting shared copies of his clipping file, which included the item from his local paper that his pastor had been arrested in a park for lewd and lascivious behaviour. That pastor remains pastor.
Two final images: a man at another table who could only hold his head in his hands as the abuse victims spoke; the pastor of the host parish, about whom his parishioners at my table had nothing but praise, who looked thoroughly beaten down.
Reading notebook: Manipulation exposed at Enron hearings
Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, page 1D, includes an Associated Press photo of Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) pointing to a chart during an investigative hearing yesterday. The horizontal axis of the chart is marked in months beginning 05/00. The left vertical axis is marked from 0 to 400, for plotting wholesale electricity prices month by month. The right vertical axis is for plotting demand month by month, but it is marked from 28,000 to 63,000. Why from 28,000 rather than zero?
...[S]uppose you wish to win an argument, shock a reader, move him into action, sell him something. For this the chart lacks schmaltz. Chop off the bottom. Now that's more like it. ... Nothing has been falsified -- except the impression it gives.
I will go in to the alter of God
Here's a brief summary of decades of controversy over the Catholic Liturgy.
Karl Schudt on May 13th raised the issue of whether or not to regard failure by priests to follow liturgical norms and rules a serious matter. He in particular noted this from Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Decree on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council.
"Therefore no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." (SC 22)Fr. Shawn O'Neal on May 14th responded, in part,
For the record, I alter the Eucharistic Prayer. For example, in EP 2, go to "Lord, remember your Church..." after the consecration. I say: "...together with John Paul, our Pope, William, our bishop, all bishops, all priests, all deacons, all religious, and all people whom you, Lord, have called by name."Doesn't Fr. O'Neal's practice conflict with what the Church teaches? How could a teacher in his parish's confirmation class answer this question from a student? How could a parishioner who had convinced a non-Catholic to attend Mass at his parish answer this question from the visitor? (And I wish these were entirely hypothetical situations.)
Sex and the City of God
This morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a front page article headlined 6 more priests linked to minors uncovered. This is, at least, still front page news. The article also discloses the following.
In an unrelated development, the pastor of St. Gregory the Great Parish on Milwaukee's south side announced at Masses this weekend that the associate pastor, Father Patrick O'Loughlin, would not be returning to the parish because he had been asked to resign a few weeks before the end of his three-year assignment.That happens to be the parish nearest to me which will be that site of one of the listening sessions on May 16th, 2002-05-03.
The article mentions that
O'Loughlin was the only diocesan priest ordained here in 1999.For more on the connection between the ongoing scandals and the drop in ordinations since the 1960's, see Goodbye! Good Men, by Michael S. Rose. He discusses the Archdiocese and Archbishop of Milwaukee on pages 23-24, 93, 274-275, 284-287, 298, and 339-340. The Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corners, which is run by a religious order, not the Archdiocese, is discussed on pages 111-112, 164-165, and 260-261. Mr. Rose's thesis can be summed up as follows.
Dissent kills vocations. It is merely commonsense that says people generally do not want to give themselves to an organization whose leaders constantly bemoan its basic structures.Goodbye, Good Men, pp. 22-23. For examples of some local bemoaners, 2002-05-06.
The article went on regarding Fr. O'Loughlin,
[Archdiocesan spokesman Jerry] Topczewski said a concern had been raised "about his conduct of some relationships within the parish."Which would be cause for hope that this particular incident will turn out to be based on some misunderstanding, if Fr. O'Loughlin had been given a leave of absence rather than asked to resign.
Sex and the City of God
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has posted the promised Questions and Answers for the May 16th listening sessions. I had mistakenly thought these would be the actual topics for discussion at the sessions, 2002-05-03, but instead they state the Archdiocesan position on the issues involved in question and answer form.
It's clear from Questions 2 and 4 that the Archdiocese effectively delegates to therapists the decision whether or not a priest who sexually abuses a minor can continue to serve as a priest. Question 2 says that if a therapist diagnoses a priest as a pedophile or ephebophile, the archdiocese does not allow that priest to serve in any capacity. Question 4 indicates that if a priest commited the same acts but is not so diagnosed, the archdiocese would permit him to return to ministry. The answer to question 4 says that
...through therapy, there are sometimes cases where therapists believe a person can return to ministry without risk.It seems implausible that any therapist put a professional opinion in such categorical terms as "without risk." Even if a therapist did, professional opinion is just that, opinion. Archdiocesan officials were and are foolish to treat it as something else.
Question 4 and 7 indicate the primary issue is whether priests who sexually abuse a child a long time ago should be allowed to continue to serve even if the facts of their cases are indistinguishable from more recent cases in which the priests have and will be removed. To ask the question is to answer it. We would not allow a person to continue in a position of trust involving church money if we learned they had long ago been an embezzler. We would not allow a person to continue in a position of trust involving church property if we learned they had long ago been an arsonist. We would not allow a person to continue as a shepherd if we learned they had long ago sexually abused sheep. It is obvious that the underlying problem continues to be that the hearts of archdiocesan officials still tend to be with the abusive priests and not with their victims.
This is demonstrated by the choice of words in question 7.
...we still have cases where priests with allegations dating back 25 years, have served in active ministry without additional incident.We only hear 25 years later that the priest sexually abused a minor. So why should we assume that the lack of reports in the interim means there were no additional unreported incidents? This unwarranted assertion of certainty serves only to try to sway attendees that "zero tolerance" is unreasonable.
The answer to question 28 asserts that
...sexual abuse of minors is not related to celibacy or homosexuality.Yet it goes on to say that
...the option of ordaining women and married men would increase the pool of candidates for the priesthood.This raises the question of how more candidates could make a difference on this point. If it's hard to detect potential abusers, it presumably would be harder, not easier, to pick them out from a larger group than from a smaller. And if it is not so hard to detect them, that leaves the impression indications of a risk of abuse were ignored. And given that the vast majority of reported cases involve abuse of boys, not girls, homosexuality certainly seems to be involved in some way. The disclaimer of a connection to celibacy looks to be calculated to try to divert attention from the issue of homosexuality.
Finally I note that the issue of ordination of women is raised despite repeated statments from Popes that the Church has no authority to do so. How strange that a Catholic Archbishop and his staff can publicly say they believe a therapist can make an infallible prognosis, yet have such difficulty accepting what Popes say.
Be careful with those candles on your cake for the 250th birthday of the first fire insurance company in the United States.
Goodbye! Good Men (2002) by Michael S. Rose
It's all Greek to Sr. Joan
Today's mail includes an advertisement for a new book, Christ in the Voting Booth, by Thomas A. Drolesky, Ph.D. The ad says the book
is an enlightening argument for militant Catholicism in a primarily pagan culture.The ad goes on to indicate the book offers an argument on the
Founding of the U.S.A. as the first nation ever established without recognizing God's supremacy.Presumably the ever is not meant literally. Even so, it does not appear to be correct if we look at the founding documents of the U.S.A. The Declaration of Independence has this to say regarding God.
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with one another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.It is sometimes said that this doesn't count because the God referred to is the "Watchmaker God" of deism, not the providential God of Christianity. But that is not so, for the Declaration concludes with this,
And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
It is sometimes then said that the Declaration is less significant than the Constitution, and the latter makes no reference to God. Again this is not so. Many years ago I was struck by the phrasing of a certificate of admission to the bar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. That language, I then saw, is modeled on the closing of the Constitution,
Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the States present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the twelfth ...Had the drafters said just "the year of our Lord," it might be argued that the words were a mere formality. But what is said is not that familiar phrase, but a deliberate variation from it. The founders, while revolutionaries and republicans, did not see their revolution as a Year Zero but still marked time from the birth of the Lord they continued to acknowledge.
Paul Clement, United Stated Deputy Solicitor General, spoke on "The Supreme Court's October 2001 Term" at a luncheon presented by the Federalist Society Milwaukee Lawyers Chapter
Sex and the City of God
There has been some comment (such as by Glenn Reynolds 5/8/2002 04:22:34, and Mark Shea, May 9, 2002 7:17 a.m. and May 8, 2002 11:45 p.m.) about an objection made by William Rogers III, an attorney for Cardinal Law, at the Cardinal's deposition,
I suggest that we agree that I can have a continuing objection as to the First Amendment. I have raised the First Amendment as a defense and feel the inquiry into the internal workings of the Church is inappropriate.Deposition transcript, page 4, lines 19-24.
The leading case on this First Amendment defense against liability of the diocese for the acts of a priest was decided by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, which held,
... the tort of negligent hiring and retention may not be maintained against a religious governing body due to concerns of excessive entanglement, and that the tort of negligent training or supervision cannot be successfully asserted in this case because it would require an inquiry into church laws, practices and policies.Pritzlaff v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 194 Wis. 2d 302, 533 N.W.2d 780, 791 (1995), cert. denied, 116 S. Ct. 920 (1996).
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses the impact of the Pritzlaff case in this article from March 19, 2002.
Sex and the City of God
Some good news for our Archbishop, Rembert Weakland. He had stated his displeasure with criticism of him from what he called "low class talk radio," apparently referring to criticism by local radio hosts Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes. Now he is being criticized by Garry Wills in the May 23, 2002 issue of the much tonier New York Review of Books.
Mark Shea has been making clear his distaste for the hymn Anthem. I suggest as a personal antidote for such problems the composing of a parody, such as this for the chorus of On Eagle's Wings,
And they will make us sing above our range,
Sex and the City of God
Columnist Mike Nichols in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes of a "Priest not hesitant to speak his mind," Fr. Guy Gurath. Fr. Gurath fearlessly said pretty much the same things as Fr. Thomas Suriano in the paper's April 8th edition.
So celibacy does not cause pedophilia. But even though is doesn't, it does, sort of? Because the bishops had to ordain the pedophiles? Or that if the pedophiles had been in a crowd they could have picked them out but since they were standing there by themselves, they were undetected?
It's no secret that there are factions within the Catholic Church. What Fr. Gurath and Fr. Suriano are giving here is one party's line.
Fr. Gurath got his current assignment as a result of the sudden departure of Fr. Joe Janicki
When Father Joe Janicki left St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Thiensville last fall after serving only about three years, there were questions about why. It's not a scandal. Quite the opposite.What, you might wonder, now constitutes not only a non-scandal but quite the opposite of a scandal? Did Fr. Janicki join a contemplative order? Did he depart for mission work in some destitute land?
Janicki, in fact, recently married a woman who was St. Cecilia's director of liturgy.
ICH BIN EIN FRANKLINER
Didn't we sometimes joke that it would take a rare alignment of the planets? In fact, it took the many years of work by voluneers, a dedicated staff, the foresight of city officials, and the support of the citizenry to get my city its new library, dedicated today.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a front page article on the reactions of local Catholics to the priest sexual abuse scandal. The reporters had this to say about the upcoming listening sessions.
Catholics, speaking out with unprecedented candor, are likely to give an earful to the archdiocesan staff members who will hold six listening sessions with parishioners May 16 to gauge the community's reaction to the scandal.As I said earlier, these listening sessions come across as something the archdiocese delegated to staff to get out of the way. Compare the effort expended to what would be done to reach out to people if there was a building fund drive.
Thanks to Sadie Davis for the pithy reference to the Archdiocesan administration as "Lake Drive," much as people refer to "Wall Street." Lake Drive is here for a listening session; now that really captures the impersonality of the official approach to this scandal.
Thanks to Michael Dubruiel for mentioning, in his Annunciations weblog, that I've added a link to it from My Virtual Oratory. In case that means there might be company coming, I've done a little more tidying up on that page. There now separate pages for my little collection of prayers and about Saints Terence.
HARK! THE HERALD
This sidebar tells Archdiocese of Milwaukee has scheduled six "listening sessions" on the priest sex abuse scandal.
Question-and-answer information sheets and a summary of the commission recommendations will be distributed through all parishes prior to the sessions, and will be available on the archdiocesan Web siteThis is an improvement over the similar sessions that were held regarding the plans for parish closings and school reorganizations. At the session on the former that I attended, we were not given the questions we were to consider until the start of the session (and I complained to Bishop Sklba, our Auxiliary Bishop, about that at the time). As of this writing, the Archdiocesan web site has the commission recommendations but not the Q and A.
How important do our bishops think the scandal and these sessions are? Not very. The articles says
Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland will attend one of the scheduled sessions, but Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba has a confirmation commitment on that date.Contrast the parish reorganization sessions where it was regarded as important to have a bishop in attendance at each one. The current sessions don't even rank with a confirmation and sometimes the bishops delegate confirmations to pastors.
If you haven't attended a "listening session" before, you might wonder what it's like. The Archdiocese's spokesman Jerry Topczewski gives this brief description.
A moderator will lead the discussions and full- and small-group discussions will provide what Topczewski called "structured feedback.Having been through two of these, I suggest anyone attending might benefit from reading Lynn Stuter's materials About Consensus and Facilitation, not for strategy but for background. She also suggests taking a look at the site of Leadership Strategies: The Facilitation Company, for some insight into the process.
Structured feedback has to do with controlling the discussion. Here's how Archbishop Weakland put a hot topic in his recent interview in the same issue.
Q. What are some of the results you expect to come out of the upcoming listening sessions?If unstructured feedback were allowed, someone might ask him what's hard about figuring out what to do with a priest who we now learn raped one young parishioner a long time ago.
...gets part of the blame for the sexual abuse crisis, according to Fr. McBrien.
This wouldn't be the case if moderate pastoral leaders like Bishops Hunthuasen and Quinn were in charge, he says. If that's so, then we shouldn't expect there to have been much of a problem under Archbishop Weakland.
Sometimes there are sites I find worthwhile but can't seem to fit a link to them into the organization of my own site. The latest example is The Selected Works of Matt Neumann.
The Great Ideas: The University of Chicago and the ideal of liberal education