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Friday, January 30, 2004

READING NOTEBOOK

The Future of Catholic Leadership (1987), by Dean Hoge

This book on the priest shortage is based on results from three years of survey work in the mid-1980's. Mr. Hoge early on deals with the question whether the priest shortage is an institutional problem in itself or a symptom of a larger spiritual problem.

In a message on December 30, 1976, Pope Paul VI rhetorically asked,
If there is a crisis of vocations, is there not perhaps first of all a crisis of faith? [footnote omitted]
Again the shortage of vocations is linked to a deeper crisis, this time a crisis of faith. The assumption seems to be that a crisis of faith would directly lead to a questioning of the institutional Church, whose total being is a part of faith. That is, creed and Church structures are inseparable. The assumption is not supported by research on American Catholicism in the 1970s and 1980s. Rather, persons interviewed about the church commonly make a distinction, and whenever they say unkind things about the present institutional church they quickly add that their faith in God and their relationship to Jesus Christ are strong.
--p. 17
In short, Mr. Hoge assumes that the degree of necessary connection between creed and Church structures is determined by public opinion.

Within that context, Mr. Hoge concludes that survey results indicated that the only single institutional change that would produce enough priests is to ordain married as well as celibate men.

2004-01-30


Thursday, January 29, 2004

HARK! THE HERALD

The January 22, 2004 Catholic Herald is now on-line with its permanent links.

Looking for ‘Mogs and Wogs’

"What’s Black & White and Happy All Over?"
The set-up line to a Michael Jackson joke? No, it was the title of a workshop on vocations to the priesthood at a recent vocations rally at St. Mary Parish in Menomonee Falls.
More than 200 youths attended the "Mogs (Men of God) and Wogs (Women of God)" rally that included workshops on vocations to married, single and religious life, and other faith-oriented issues.

Journey to priesthood began in basement of family’s home

Speaking of vocations,

Fr. Jeff Haines has come a long way from his days saying "Mass" for his siblings in the basement of his family’s New Berlin home. Wearing vestments made for him by an aunt, the youngster’s regular chapel was a converted bedroom. His "Masses" were complete with circular hosts made from white bread, collections, and ashes--taken from the fireplace--for Ash Wednesday.
My late brother Michael thought he might have a vocation. He'd mash Wonder Bread into hosts, use Welch's grape juice for wine, and say "Mass" on an old trunk, his chapel a closet under the basement stairs. Archbishop Dolan tells a similar childhood anecdote.

On our mission trips to Guatemala, tortillas are a staple, but when the orphanage serves pan, bread, it is Bimbo brand white bread, indistinguishable from Wonder. The hosts used at Mass in Santa Apolonia are just as white; when the priest holds up the large host, it is easily visible even from the back of the church.

There's long been a push to get away from white hosts to "bread that looks like bread," yet it turns out that nothing looks more like bread.

Priest Alliance to meet Feb. 5

Meanwhile, back at St. Matthias Parish.

A second general gathering of the Milwaukee Archdiocesan Priest Alliance, MAPA, formed last fall, will be held at St. Matthias Parish on Thursday, Feb. 5.
What's been happening since their last meeting?
According to group spokesman Fr. Kenneth Mich, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in Menomonee Falls, the steering committee and various subcommittees have been meeting since the first general meeting on Sept. 18, 2003.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has also reported the upcoming meeting ("Priests invited to alliance meeting: Milwaukee group aims to foster dialogue, be support network, by Tom Heinen, January 17, 2004). It includes a tidbit not found in the Herald's account.
Father Kenneth Mich, a spokesman for the group, said there is "still enthusiasm, still interest," with some priests saying the steering committee should move faster.
This makes me wonder when the steering committee would have scheduled another general meeting if no one had complained.

What's the agenda?

The issues raised on Sept. 18 included a discussion of whether there has been a change in ecclesiology in the church. There was also concern about ministry to the poor "not being unduly badly affected" as the numbers of priests decline, said Fr. Mich, as well as "the question of besides the priest representing himself, who else represents the concerns of priests themselves? Optional celibacy--how does that get onto the table formally?"
There's nothing new about the ecclesiology: organize, formulate long agenda, complain about the higher-ups, form more committees, wonder why nothing's getting done. Regarding ministry to the poor, I don't recall this much concern when Archbishop Weakland closed most of the inner city parishes. The question on representation sounds like laying the groundwork for a union shop presbyterate. As for his last question, I have no poles over ten feet.

We need another Cana

Our archbishop is also speaking of vocations.

We’ve got to "front-burner" this sacred vocation to marriage and family, folks. This whole archdiocese is right now in a process of strategic planning to help us determine our vision, our goals, our priorities--and I can’t think of a greater one than this: to restore the beauty, the sacredness, the nobility, the urgent call, the primary vocation to lifelong, life-giving, loving, faithful marriage. If the church doesn’t do it, who will? Society seems to have admitted defeat (although thoughtful, serious voices of scholars and social commentators are beginning to be heard as they question our culture’s denigration of marriage). But here is an area where we as a church need to be prophetic and "counter-culture": in our ardent promotion of marriage and family life.
Rather than at Cana, perhaps the heart of the matter is here.

2004-01-29


Sunday, January 25, 2004

READING NOTEBOOK

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2nd Ed. 1970), by Thomas S. Kuhn

In this essay, "normal science" means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice. Today such achivements are recounted, though seldom in their original form, by science textbooks, elementary and advanced. ... Before such books became popular early in the nineteenth century ... many of the famous classics of science fulfilled a similar function. ... implicitly to define the legitimate problems and methods of a research field for succeeding generations of practitioners. They were able to do so because they shared two essential characteristics. Their achievement was sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity. Simultaneously, it was sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve.

Achievements that share these two characteristics I shall henceforth refer to as "paradigms," a term that relates closely to "normal science."

--p. 10

... the proponents of competing paradigms practice their trades in different worlds. ... Practicing in different worlds, the two groups of scientists see different things when they look from the same point in the same direction. Again, that is not to say that they can see anything they please. Both are looking at the world, and what they look at has not changed. But in some areas they see different things, and they see them in different relations one to another. That is why a law that cannot even be demonstrated to one group of scientists may occasionally seem intuitively obvious to another. Equally, it is why, before they can hope to communicate fully, one group or the other must experience the conversion that we have been calling a paradigm shift.

--p.150

2004-01-25


Thursday, January 22, 2004

HARK! THE HERALD

The January 15, 2004 Catholic Herald is now on-line with its permanent links.

Mary Queen of Heaven Parish holds monthly healing ministry

Our Lady of Lourdes would have made a better headline, but its not one of a very small group of parishes.

While numerous parishes in the archdiocese have Masses with anointing for the sick, Mary Queen of Heaven is one of a handful of parishes that have Masses with special prayers for healing.

How is this different from faith-healing? Apparently, it isn't.

In November 2000, the Vatican issued norms on faith-healing services, saying prayer meetings for healing need the approval of local church authorities and must avoid anything resembling hysteria. (See accompanying sidebar.)
The sidebar is a story from Catholic News Service and is not in the Herald's on-line edition. With the CNS story in the print edition, the Herald includes the URL of the Vatican norms, but doesn't include the link in its on-line edition. The logic of this escapes me, but here's the link.

Fr. Michael Merkt, the pastor, asked attendees to report any healings since the previous month's service.

One woman said she had to thank the Lord for another healing. "For some time I was unable to kneel," she said. "After the last (Mass with prayers for healing) I was able to kneel, so I give glory to God for that," said the woman to applause.
She probably doesn't belong to our parish, since we have no occasion, at Sunday Mass at least, to learn whether or not we can kneel.
Following the sharing of blessings and healings from the congregation was the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament which Fr. Merkt said reminds us Jesus is our healer.
The musical accompaniment was guitar and tambourine, so this is one eclectic service, perhaps reflecting its roots.
... the seeds for the special Masses were planted about 15 years ago with the start of a charismatic prayer group at St. Mary Parish, Hales Corners.

Mary Queen of Saints Catholic Academy to open in fall

As reported earlier, most of the Catholic schools in West Allis and West Milwaukee are being consolidated.

Projected total operating costs for the unified system are $1.9 to $2.1 million, down from the current figure of $3.1 million. The total cost of educating a child, now more than $4,200 a year, will drop to $3,600 to $3,800 a year. Hintzke said the national Catholic school average per child is $3,500, whereas the figure jumps to $7,300 for public school children.

In addition, each campus will be able to offer classes that many of the existing schools do not currently have, such as foreign language, art, music, band and computer science.

School costs drop? Does that count as a miracle?

Sites chosen for south side Catholic school system

My long ago grade school is one of two that looks like it will survive, in some form, a similar consolidation in St. Francis and the southeast side of Milwaukee. Dr. Thomas Fabian, the archbishop's delegate to the planning for this, reviewed the issue of two grade schools versus a primary and a middle school.

"What we did (in the parent meetings) was make a presentation from representatives from the education subcommittee, ... So many parents told us early on they wanted to have kindergarten through eighth grade rather than kindergarten through fourth and an upper school, fifth through eighth."
Turns out these parents had the wrong opinion.
"The more the subcommittee looked at it, knowing they were already supporting both concepts, there was an almost even distribution of people on the subcommittee for kindergarten through eighth vs. upper and lower school. But a number of people changed their minds ...
The subcommittee was about evenly split, with only about half holding the wrong opinion.
... there are many more advantages than disadvantages for upper and lower. The subcommittee said, 'We’d better go back to the parents and make sure, we’re not sure they know the advantages and disadvantages.'"
Of the relative merits then stated, parents who would wind up with kids in both schools at the same time think the hassles would outweigh the benefit of the level of specialized instruction likely to be available at the middle school.
After hearing presentations from a teacher and a principal, parents were asked to fill out a survey.
One presenting each side, or both presenting one side? Will we hear the survey results? If the survey favors two grade schools, will that determine the issue? Doesn't say.

Catholics, Muslims share food, understanding

We're back to asking a question about doings at St. Matthias Parish.

Why would a Catholic parish sponsor such a question and answer session?
Ecumenism? Not exactly. Hint: what is President Bush accused of using as the reason for everything?
According to [Brigid] O’Donnell [director of Christian formation], the answer goes back two years to a project of the parish’s adult enrichment committee. ... The committee decided that each year in the future, they would choose another religion to study "to bridge the gap of understanding and misunderstandings." Islam was a natural choice to meet the world challenges after 9-11.
One of the six Muslim guest panelist was Dr. Mushir Hasan of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee.
Hassan outlined the core beliefs of Islam as prayer five times a day, fasting at Ramadan, giving 2.5 percent after expenses for those who have less, and traveling once in a lifetime to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
After expenses?

Panelist Comilita Salah noted that how things are described can cause misinterpretation.

When asked about the role of women and why women are separated from men at the mosque, the questioner was corrected by Salah to "men are separated from women," mainly for modesty as the prayers are very active.
She or the panel went on,
It was also noted that women have an elevated status, are allowed to work outside the home and may keep their income for themselves, had the right to vote over 1,400 years ago, and have been allowed in parliament.
If who is separated from whom is significant, then it is likewise significant whether what women are "allowed" to do is the panelists' term or the reporter's.
Contrary to belief, most Muslims have monogamous marriages ...
Meaning one wife, like Catholics a couple generations back, or one at a time? The only Muslim couple I know got divorced, so I suspect the latter.
... and a woman may put in the marriage contract that the man is not allowed another wife unless given permission from the first wife.
Imagine those negotiations.


OUCH DIOCESE

The Southeastern Wisconsin affiliate of Voice of the Faithful meets tonight at our parish. Barbara Blaine, Founder and President of SNAP [Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests] is scheduled to

provide an update on the goals, accomplishments, and concerns of victims of clergy sexual abuse.

2004-01-22


Tuesday, January 20, 2004

INBOX

A reader provided compelling evidence that he provided the punch line for today's This Modern World, which takes up the controversy over David Stockman's Paul O'Neill's book.

2004-01-20


Saturday, January 17, 2004

READING NOTEBOOK

The Peasant of the Garonne (1968), by Jacques Maritain

M. Maritain ventures a prediction.

There is nothing simpler, and at bottom more ordinarily Christian, than the inner renewal which has been the subject of all the preceding pages. Fifty years from now [February 23, 2016], one will doubtless be astonished to think that Christians could ever have behaved otherwise.
--p. 78
I retain doubts.

He describes conditions in the Church.

... it is a fact that integralism, in quite various degrees and under more or less veiled forms, has been spreading among us during the nineteenth century and the first decades of our own. Now, with a crash, the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction.

Acknowledging such historical misfortunes is in no way an excuse for the neo-modernist flood I have mentioned, or for the fatuity, mental weakness and mental cowardice which are responsible for it.

--p. 162


COLONNADE

The November/December 2003 issue of The Catholic Peace Voice, published by Pax Christi U.S.A., had three articles on the topic "If not military force, what?" The questions posed [with numbers added for reference] are,

[1] How can we respond to egregious human rights violations, threats to use weapons of mass destruction and other "just causes" for war without violence? [2] Why have we failed to develop nonviolent strategies at an international level adequate to such a task; and [3] what can be done to advance their development.

Following the Most Radical Teachings of Jesus

[1] The first article is by Bishop Gumbleton. He alludes to the New Testament and Martin Luther King. He cites encyclicals by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. He advocates establishing a Department of Peace and a strengthened commitment to the United Nations. Then we get to the practical application.

In instances where there are egregious human rights violations within a nation, or where a nation is threatening war against another nation, or where a nation is illegally developing or maintaining an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, the international community must act by some kind of intervention. But there must first of all be developed an agreed set of criteria to determine when such intervention is justified and there has to be an agreed procedure for determining if the criteria are present in a specific situation.
Then what?
Above all we must insist that the international intervention be done through non-violent means.
Which seems to me to beg the question.

Promoting Education and Communication in Developing Countries; Changing the Culture in our Own

[2] Kathy Kelly is a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness. She elaborates on the question.

During the Voices in the Wilderness campaign efforts to end economic sanctions against Iraq, we were deeply challenged by the fact that human rights abuses committed by Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq were beyond controversy. Ordinary Iraqis had suffered abysmally under harsh and even murderous Baath party rule. How can we help a society move toward governing structures that are more humane? How can we help wean societies away from tolerating development, storage, sale or use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)?
For sake of the discussion, assume a tyrannical state bent on acquiring WMD. How ought the world respond, short of the use of force? Economic sanctions, perhaps?
In response to both questions, and thinking about any society including that of the United States, it’s crucial to help promote education, social services, and communication. We saw in Iraq that economic sanctions thwarted all three of those developments. Had Iraqis been able to develop their middle class, maintain their education and social services, and stay in touch with people in other parts of the world, confident of their support, I believe it would have been possible for Iraqis to eventually dislodge Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Even if it's possible, neither the original questions or her own were about what might work.
In addition to bolstering a society’s ability to address issues of human rights, it’s important that other countries withdraw support for dictators and those who violate human rights. However, withdrawing support is not equivalent to launching military strikes or maintaining economic sanctions that directly afflict the civilian population. Ideally, a stronger United Nations would be able to use negotiation and diplomacy to intervene in situations where civilians are abused by their own governments.
We're back to begging the question. The original questions asked about looming threats. Diplomatic negotiation is nothing new. The key question was what to do about the threat when diplomacy does not get results.

Ms. Kelly also has a critique of our culture and politics.

Elected leaders understand, generally, that their job is to use threat and force, if necessary, to maintain this status quo because they don’t get the message from their public that ordinary people who live well would like to give up comforts and material securities in order to live more equitably with other people who have less and more harmoniously with Mother Earth.
Actually, the elected leaders get the message that ordinary people want to live well and not give up comforts and material security. Ms. Kelly seems to have forgotten that she just advocated the existence of a middle class as part of her solution to the problem.


[3] The third piece is by Rev. Bryan Massingale, a professor at our very own Saint Francis Seminary. (His piece "Overcoming the structural defects in the organization of international life" is not posted on-line.)

He discusses limitations on U.N. action from its structure. While not saying so explicitly, he seems to think that the General Assembly ought to have greater power to act against violations of human rights and threats to peace. He seems to assume that its members would not take their respective national interests into account as much as the five permanent members of the Security Council, but gives no reason to think so. Why should the U.N. General Assembly be expected to keep the peace better than the League of Nations, where each nation likewise had one vote?

He also advocates some further subordination of national sovereignty to international authority, and a clearer consensus on the meaning of the international common good. On his last point, the problem more likely is an actual lack of consensus, not a failure to define it precisely enough.

INBOX

Apparently coincidentally, I received and email on Mark Mulligan's Learners: On the Move from WeaponWorld to Peace World, his "500-page Web samizdat on World Peace." He begins,

If every Learner on WeaponWorld cast off misgivings,
And worked to the same plan,
We could build PeaceWorld within one generation.
I've heard a similar sentiment prefaced "If one generation of kids would all listen to their parents..."

2004-01-17


Thursday, January 15, 2004

HARK! THE HERALD

The January 8, 2004 Catholic Herald is now on-line with its permanent links.

On planning together

(For reasons unknown, the bishops' "Herald of Hope" column has a separate archive.)

This week, Bishop Sklba discusses the ongoing planning process.

During this past fall the Archdiocesan Planning Commission, under the theme of "The Vine and the Branches," asked every parish to meet with neighboring congregations to offer suggestions for helping every Catholic in our 10 counties have future access to the Eucharist in its totality, even with the shifting populations and diminishing numbers of active priests.
What, you might wonder, does this "the Eucharist in its totality" jargon mean.
Eucharist in its totality means more than simply providing scheduled services on the weekend. The full range of educational formation and work for justice and peace flow from the Eucharist and are integral to its celebration. A parish without those components is not vital, no matter how much financial reserves it may possess.
Putting his experience in contemporary scriptural translation to work, Bishop Sklba obscures his meaning under more jargon. The criteria of the "full range of educational formation and work for justice and peace" might turn "the Eucharist in its totality" into a seamless blanket under which the planners will smother a few parishes.

Church embezzlement is theft, but also betrayal of trust

Unlike you-know-what, embezzlement gets quick action.

Last October, Rebecca Piekarski, Gesu Parish’s bookkeeper for eight years, was charged with one count of theft and one count of fraud. She allegedly embezzled $518,469 from church collections. ...

On the day Piekarski was charged with stealing from the parish, [the pastor, Jesuit Fr. Peter] Etzel released a two-page letter to parishioners. In it, he described how the theft took place and the steps the parish has taken to prevent such an occurrence from happening again.

No quietly reassinging the bookkeeper to another parish. No need for the bishops to meet to set guidelines for handling embezzlement cases.

Here's how theft by a volunteer at Saints Peter and Paul parish was handled.

After the man was arrested, Fr. Thomas Brundage, pastor, and the parish council engaged in the restorative justice program offered by the Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office.

"Through a prayerful, difficult, but in the end, graced, process the person arrested gave a full accounting of the thefts and was found guilty by the court," Fr. Brundage wrote in a letter to parishioners last October.

The man was sentenced to one year in jail under the Huber Law and was also ordered to pay restitution for the rest of his life.

Repentence wasn't regarded as rehabilitation when money was involved.
In the cases at Gesu and SS. Peter and Paul, the reason [for stealing] was a gambling addiction.
And yet the perpetrators were charged, convicted, and imprisoned, not quietly referred for treatment of their addiction so they could return to their posts.

Saddam Hussein

The capture and expected trial of Saddam Hussein leads Fr. McBrien to discuss recent developments in Church teaching on capital punishment.

Back in 1980 the U.S. Catholic bishops issued a statement opposing the use of capital punishment and challenging the argument most frequently advanced in support of it, namely, its capacity to deter others from committing murder. The bishops said that the deterrence factor had not been established statistically.
That's not exactly what the bishops said, which was,
Empirical studies in this area have not given conclusive evidence that would justify the imposition of the death penalty on a few individuals as a means of preventing others from committing crimes. There are strong reasons to doubt that many crimes of violence are undertaken in a spirit of rational calculation which would be influenced by a remote threat of death. The small number of death sentences in relation to the number of murders also makes it seem highly unlikely that the threat will be carried out and so undercuts the effectiveness of the deterrent.
On its face, this is at least as much an argument for more executions as it is for abolition.

Fr. McBrien goes on to quote our Pope.

Capital punishment, he insisted, should be employed only "in cases of absolute necessity: In other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society." Given the "steady improvements" in modern penal systems, however, "such cases are very rare if not practically non-existent."
He refers to no empirical studies, even in the general terms the U.S. bishops used, to substantiate that there have, in fact, been steady improvements in modern penal systems.
Does anyone seriously doubt what position the pope will take if a tribunal imposes the death penalty on Saddam Hussein?
No, but I don't foresee anyone at the Vatican fielding questions about the the "steady improvements" in Iraq's "modern penal system" either.

2004-01-15


Tuesday, January 13, 2004

OUCH DIOCESE

5 Catholic schools to merge at 2 sites

Eight parishes in West Allis and West Milwaukee will merge their five schools into one with two locations.

Overall, the new system is expected to have about 500 students if the current students return, compared with a total enrollment that was in the 800s just four years ago, he [Scott Weyda, the archdiocese's associate superintendent of schools] added.
Which doesn't seem like many, considering that together West Allis and West Milwaukee have about 65,000 people, and the parishes involved cover most of their territory.

2004-01-13


Saturday, January 10, 2004

Bishop's letter brings criticism and praise

Usually I would not comment on doings in the Diocese of LaCrosse but a reader had earlier brought up Bishop Burke's letter. This article in this morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel raises a point of particular interest.

Burke, a canon lawyer, has followed canonical obligations and pastoral duty by trying to correct the politicians' behavior in various steps before taking more serious action.
Leaving canon law aside, it seems to me the first step would be that pastors of the individual legislators involved would talk to them informally, indicating the bishop is concerned. Then the bishop would ask to meet with them to discuss it further. Depending on how those discussions went, there might then be a letter. Otherwise the recipient might assume a letter from the bishop to be another fund appeal.
The diocesan newspaper quoted Burke as saying that he took action because the three legislators had not accepted his invitation to meet with him and appeared unwilling to conform to church teaching.
If the legislators' first notice of the issue was a three page letter with enclosed brochure, that's not exactly pastoral. (It does seem that bishops put a lot of stock in brochures.) The published reports leave the impression that the bishop invited the legistlators to meet at the chancery. On the other hand, I have not seen any of the legislators involved give a reason for declining to meet with their bishop. They could have responded by suggesting a time and place to meet, perhaps at their parishes, offices or homes.

Bishop Burke declined to comment for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but I have heard him comment at length on Catholic radio.

So far, I do not get the impression that the first concern of the four people directly involved, nor of many of those who comment on the controversy, is the souls of the three legislators.

2004-01-10


Friday, January 9, 2004

READING NOTEBOOK

The Triumph of the Therapeutic (1966), by Philip Rieff

Cultural revolution is usually distinguishable from political revolution, which may assault the social order and leave the moral demand system fundamentally unaltered. Our cultural revolution has been made from the top, rather than from the bottom. It is anti-political, a revolution of the rich by which they have lowered the pressure of inherited communal purpose upon themselves. ...

Indeed, cultural revolutions before our own have asserted some limit on the race for status and satisfaction, and have promoted interdicts to limit and displace the dynamics of acquisitive appetite. Western culture has been dominated by an ascetic modal personality. Even the Calvinist bourgeois was to have his capital as if he had it not. Ours is the first cultural revolution fought for no other purpose than greater amplitude and richness of living itself. Is this not what is meant by the "revolution of rising expectations"?

pp. 240, 241

2004-01-09


Thursday, January 8, 2004

HARK! THE HERALD

The January 1, 2004 Catholic Herald is now on-line with its permanent links.

The Herald has been adding syndicated columnists. I've commented before that it calls Fr. Richard McBrien's "Essays in Theology" column "Essays in Dialogue" instead. Fr. Ron Rolheiser doesn't have a title for his column; the Herald calls it "In Exile." George Weigel calls his column "The Catholic Difference" which the Herald spells "Diffeerence."

Adult religious ed section now available on Herald Web site

Other changes take effect with this issue. The paper's web edition adds a link to the Faith Alive collection of columists from Catholic News Service. It also adds a link to a new sports section, reporting parish CYM league results to start with.

There's also a change in when and how many stories will be posted on line.

Since July 2002, most of the local stories published in the Catholic Herald have appeared in the online edition. Prior to that, only condensed versions of stories were offered online.

Concern about a possible drop in subscriptions due to increased online content led to a compromise. Three local stories will be posted each week, along with headlines of other stories available only in the print edition. In the following week, when the Web site is updated, the full version of the headline-only stories will be added and accessed through the "past issues" link.

Not mentioned is that the URL's of all the past issues have been changed, so that any of my links to issues before that of December 18, 2003, are now broken.

2003 proved to be year of planning, restructuring

This is the Herald's year in review article. They may be planning to use the headline next year, restructuring it by changing the 3 to a 4.

If the accompanying photo is of "rabbit ears," I've been completely mislead about the meaning of the gesture.

Ad limina report provides holiday reading

Looking ahead, our archbishop is reviewing the report he will deliver at his upcoming ad limina visit to our Pope.

I’ll have occasion later on this year, especially after the completion of our strategic plans, to be more specific about both the positives and negatives of this thorough accounting.
Wonder if that will include the URL of the full report on the archdiocesan website.

If so, while he's at it he could have his staff post all the prior ad limina reports so we can see how we're doing.

Local Tridentine community celebrates its first confirmation

The Second Vatican Council said,

The Fathers of this holy synod have pursued the work begun by the Council of Trent.
so you might think that the "local Tridentine community" is our Archdiocese. Tridentine has somehow developed a narrower meaning. Gerard Papa, father of one of the confirmands, gives some examples.
Confirmation candidates were required to memorize the church’s standardized prayers and the names of the archbishops of the archdiocese beginning with Archbishop John Martin Henni, he said. They also had to know the first 75 questions and responses of the Baltimore Catechism.
My tenth grade students at our parish receive a booklet of prayers and 56 multiple choice questions. Our course book is not the Baltimore Catechism. Which reminds me, I have to email my DRE that I cannot find our course book on the Bishops' list.
The bishop also struck the left cheek and said 'Pax tecum' to confirmands, "to remind people that they are now mature Catholics, and they might be called upon to give up their lives for their faith," he said.
The other explanation I've heard is this signifies that putting up with getting slapped is one of those things of a child which the confirmand will now put away, see John 18:22-23.

2004-01-08


Wednesday, January 7, 2004

In the new year, get a financial checkup

This column in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sums up advice from Mike Arnow, a Glendale financial planner. The generalities:

Balance your priorities and develop a savings plan based on what you want to accomplish in life.
Revise your net worth and portfolio allocation.
Live within your means and avoid debt.
Know your tax rate, as taxes affect everything that you do.
Revise wills and powers of attorney.
More specifically:
Don't purchase a home costing more than two times your household income.
Cars should cost only one-third of your household income.
Vacations should cost 4% of your household income, and retirement funds should be budgeted at 15% of household income, starting at age 35.
In addition, families should budget at least $150 a month per child for a four-year college education at a state school.
Now is the time.
The start of the new year is also a good time to evaluate your insurance, taxes, estate plan, emergency cash and investments.

2004-01-07


Sunday, January 4, 2004

COLONNADE

David Adesnik posts at Oxblog,

On my way back from LA, I missed my flight and got stuck at the airport for six hours. Bored out of my mind, I decided to purchase a book from the limited selection available at the newsstand/candy store. (I would've bought a magazine, but the idea of paying three or four bucks for information that's usually available for free online really gets to me.)
He makes me feel like a seasoned traveler. That stack of books and magazines you haven't gotten around to reading? Pack enough of them in your carry-on bag for at least all your airport time, flight time, and an extra day if your flight is diverted. Otherwise you, too, could wind up shopping for a book in an airport.

The only known exception is Milwaukee's airport, which has a branch of the largest local used book store, Renaissance Books. If your air travels bring you to or through Milwaukee, it's worth a look.

2004-01-04


Saturday, January 3, 2004

COLONNADE

Who's Nader Now?

This morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had this New York Times op-ed column by Paul Krugman on proper and improper campaigning.

It's true that if Mr. Dean gets the nomination, the Republicans will attack him as a wild-eyed liberal who is weak on national security. But they would do the same to any Democrat ... . Facts, or the lack thereof, will prove no obstacle: remember the successful attacks on the patriotism of Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam ...
Mr. Cleland's patriotism, as such, was not the issue. As Reihan Salam pointed out in The New Republic,
In Cleland's case, there's good reason to believe that his defeat was based primarily on the Iraq question, as well as the Homeland Security Department. For months, [his Republican opponent Saxby] Chambliss questioned Cleland's decision to side with his fellow Democrats against a non-unionized Homeland Security Department and his skepticism concerning a unilateral invasion of Iraq, which Cleland had eloquently expressed on the Senate floor before voting with the majority. ...

Chambliss maintained ... "I've never questioned anyone's commitment to our country. But that has nothing to do with Max's voting record in the Senate. Every time we bring up the issue of how Max voted he goes back to his war record."

As, I note, does Mr. Krugman.

It's not as though Mr. Krugman is opposed in principle to conflating partisan interest with the national interest.

Most Democrats feel, with justification, that we're facing a national crisis--that the right, ruthlessly exploiting 9/11, is making a grab for total political dominance.
Will the campaign, then, turn on who has a more realistic view of 9/11? The Economist reported,
Just before Christmas, Mr Dean said he was unwilling to pronounce Osama bin Laden guilty of the September 11th attacks before a trial--a curious restraint considering that al-Qaeda's leader has boasted about his role in them.
And the attacks were part of a declared war against the United States.

2003-01-03


Thursday, January 1, 2004

INBOX

Received an announcement of

... a literary journal of orthodox Catholic poetry and prose that will be started up next year. We're looking for contributors and subscribers. The journal is called the St. Linus Review.
As Fr. Neuhaus said, "... a publication marked 'Volume 1, Number 1' is always bracing evidence of irrepressible hope."


OUCH DIOCESE

The December 18, 2003 Catholic Herald is now on-line with its permanent links.

Vocations office looks for leaders

This article starts with a description of the problem:

The African-American population in the Milwaukee Archdiocese increased by 10 percent between 1990 and 2000. The last African-American priest for the archdiocese was ordained in 1986. There are none currently in formation.
What was the response to no black priests being ordained?
Archdiocesan vocations director Fr. Bob Stiefvater has hand-picked an 11-member committee, which includes members of archdiocesan parishes and central offices, to address the issue. While they first met as a group in early summer, Fr. Stiefvater said the idea began more than seven years ago.
After about ten years they started a seven year discussion and now they've formed a committee.
"There was a group of people ... when I first started this job, they called themselves the Black Clergy and Religious Support Caucus," he said. "I met with them, came up with an action plan, we came up with a brochure specifically oriented to the African-American community. ..."
We got committee, we got support caucus, we got discussion, we got action plan, we got brochure.
What ain't we got?
We ain't got priests!

[chorus:]
There is nothing like a priest,
Nothing in this world.
Their numbers will not be increased
'Til they actually ordain a priest.
("There Is Nothing Like a Priest," from the musical South Lakedrive)

What was in the brochure?

"... It had pictures of African-Americans working in the 10-county archdiocese. When I would interview young men and women, they would say, ‘Yeah, I would be all alone, I don’t know anybody.’ When I passed out (the brochures), they would be pointing out all the people they would know. That kind of came out of our plan seven years ago, but we wanted to put together a new plan to reach young people at decision-making points in their lives in the African-American community."
After all, in the meantime our Archdiocese had not ordained any black priests and had closed most of the inner city parishes.
[Schauneille] Allen [a committee member and director of the archdiocesan African-American Ministry Office] said that there has been talk about the best way for the committee to collaborate with her office on some of the programs the African American Ministry Office already has in place. She said "the conversations that we (the committee) have had have been to try to provide some insight to Fr. Bob on how he might approach the problem. There’s been some conversation about the publicity, how the media can assist in the effort, what publications we could put messages in concerning the history of black religious and clergy. The folks involved this time truly have some vision and some insight that can at least give Fr. Stiefvater support in what he’s trying to do."
We got collaboration, we got programs, we got conversation, we got insight, we got vision, we got messages.
What ain't we got?
We ain't got priests!
[chorus]
"I think now we’re much more sensitive to the need to have diversity in the presbyterate than we were (when he was ordained in 1983)," added Fr. [Bryan] Massingale [a professor of moral theology at Saint Francis Seminary and the only one of the three African-American priests ordained for the archdiocese who is currently serving here]. "(But) there’s still a need for the Catholic Church to more proactively listen to the needs and concerns of black Catholics if they want to make the Catholic Church and the priesthood more attractive to African-Americans."
We got sensitivity, we got diversity, we got proactivity.
What ain't we got?
We ain't got priests!
[chorus]

Be patient in prayers for vocations

Says our Archbishop, succinctly encouraging and chastising at once.

Today I would like to invite you to participate in a promising and exciting initiative of patient prayer: a monthly "Day of Prayer for Vocations" on First Fridays.

This project was hatched by Fr. Bob Stiefvater, our zealous vocation director. He had participated in the Continental Congress on Vocations in Canada a year and a half ago, and recalled that the document that came from that congress, "Conversion, Discernment, Mission -- Fostering a Vocation Culture in North America," listed "TO PRAY: to be holy, to be converted, to worship" as the very first of five pastoral priorities.

Nothing against conventions in Canada, but scattered about the United States are a few dioceses that do not have a shortage of priests. It would be interesting to read Fr. Stiefvater's reports of visits to them and if anything might be adapted here from their approaches.
I’m already giving you a "New Year resolution." Pray for vocations, at the Eucharist, before the Blessed Sacrament, if at all possible, on the First Friday of every month.
He sets an objective standard.
Advent gives us the patience to do it. By next Christmas, we’ll see the difference!
[chorus]

2004-01-01


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