The Provincial Emails
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SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
The Salesian priest arrested in New Jersey by Milwaukee police for sexual abuse of a minor in the 1990's has now been denied bail. The story provides more details about warnings by parishioners that another priest in the same parish-owned house was violating his parole after conviction of sexual assault of a 15 year old boy.
[Fr.] Pecore had come to Mother of Good Counsel before his conviction as part of a new team of Salvatorians who were running the parish and overseeing its school. Robert Hoelzl, now of New Berlin, was among parishioners and teachers who raised concerns about the new team's management decisions and lifestyle.The lawyer for the victim of the other now-arrested priest says that the abuse involving his might not have occured, or might have been detected sooner, if Bishop Sklba "heeded Mr. Hoelzl's continued warnings rather than taking the word of a once-convicted pedophile... ."
Sklba was not available for comment Friday, said archdiocesan spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl.Sure seems to empty out at Lake Drive on Friday.
DOWN THE SEWER
Some cities on the Great Lakes dump more untreated sewage than Milwaukee. The reason for this dumping, though, is the same: combined sanitary and storm sewers that overflow the treatment plant when it rains a lot.
Nationally, most large cities with combined sewers are not looking at separating their lines, DeBell [Kevin DeBell of the Envrionmental Protection Agency] says.The expense would have been, at most, less than the deep tunnels. And doesn't every street have to be closed for some sort of repair at some point?
The Journal Sentinel has a new editorial page editor, D. Ricardo Pimentel, who introduces himself:
The Conference of the Birds by Attar, (Shambala edition 1971)
M. S. Merwin has called this "an allegory of the soul's progress to God," New York Review of Books, June 13, 2002, p. 40.
Or as Attar says,
He who travels on the path of self-striving must regard his heart only as a shish kabob.Attar has more to say on matters of the heart.
A Khoja sold all that he possessed--furniture, slaves, and everything, to buy beer from a young beer-seller. He became completely mad for love of this beer seller. He was always hungry because if he were given bread he sold it to buy beer. At last someone asked him: "What is this love that brings you into such a pitiable state? Tell me the secret!" "Love is such," he replied, "that you would sell the merchandise of a hundred worlds to buy beer. So long as you do not understand this, you will never experience the true feeling of love.This passage appears to have inspired a song by Milwaukee's Pat McCurdy.
HARK! THE HERALD
The alleged abuse happened at a house owned by Our Lady of Sorrows Parish.
Kathleen Hohl, director of communications for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, said Fr. Palathingal did not have any official archdiocesan assignment or affiliation while he was in Milwaukee.Missing from her comments and the Herald is any mention of the allegation that earlier complaints by parishioners were ignored, as reported earlier.
The Herald has this scoop.
In an unrelated case, Fr. Eugene Kreuzer, 78, a retired priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, wrote a letter to members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Paris, located in Walworth County, acknowledging allegations of child sexual abuse 30 years ago.
DOWN THE SEWER
Meaning changing the Sewerage District's mindset would be harder than killing a werewolf?
The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District held an "open house" for citizens to ask what will be done to prevent recurrences of last months dumping of 4.6 billion gallons of untreated sewage. The dumping was the overflow from combined storm and sanitary sewers in older parts of town. Back in the 1990's, rather than separate these, MMSD built "deep tunnel" underground storage. It sounds like some folks asked why, if deep tunnel does not fix the problem, the sewers are not now going to be separated.
Unlike 20 years ago when Milwaukee built the deep tunnel system with about half the $3 billion cost coming from federal and state grants, [MMSD Executive Director Kevin] Shafer warned that no such funding now exists for expensive potential fixes such as separating the combined sewers that serve older portions of Milwaukee and Shorewood.Actually, MMSD built the deep tunnel, not Milwaukee. The Mayor of Milwaukee appoints the majority of the MMSD board. Ordinary sewer construction is a municipal expense; presumably Milwaukee would have had to pay for separated sewers. Deep tunnel was Milwaukee's way to shift most of the cost to suburban property tax payers and to state and U.S. taxpayers.
Here's the new Milwaukee party line.
He didn't rule out sewer separation but emphasized an advantage of the combined sewer system--that the polluted runoff from streets and parking lots now gets filtered at MMSD's treatment plants. Combined sewers mix storm water and sanitary waste in one pipe.How much water-quality did you and I get from our $3 billion?
However, a 2002 state audit found that water quality worsened since the deep tunnel was finished in 2003 in those parts of the metropolitan area with separate storm and sanitary sewers and improved only slightly in parts of Milwaukee and Shorewood with combined sewers.Is there some possibility that how the District is run might be a teensy-weensy part of the problem?
"What would it change if you changed the board?" Shafer said. "I believe the commission has acted responsibly to all the concerns that have been raised."All is well. Couldn't be better, in fact. How about raises, medals, and a parade for the board? Maybe a swim party, assuming the beaches aren't closed.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
This morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the United States Supreme Court declined to review a decision of the California courts allowing a suit to proceed against our Archdiocese in Orange County. The case arises from one of several claims of sexual abuse of minors by Fr. Siegfried Widera after he was transfered from our Archdiocese to California. That the Court declined to review is not, in itself significant; most of its jurisdiction is discretionary and it accepts a tiny percentage of such requests. What is significant is the financial exposure.
In a previous interview, [the plaintiff's attorney Katherine] Freberg said liability for the Milwaukee Archdiocese "will be significant" in the Widera cases. She noted that she settled a suit involving a different priest for $5.2 million with the Diocese of Orange County and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in August 2001.Compare that to the $4 million our archdiocese has set aside for the dozens of such claims that arose here and remain unresolved.
The lawsuit is playing out against a backdrop of red ink for the archdiocese. Facing a $1 million deficit in the current budget, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan recently made the decision to eliminate 23 jobs in his central administration offices for the fiscal year that begins July 1.I remember him saying all that, but not what follows.
But he said that the major reason for the shortfall was actual and anticipated costs associated with the clergy sexual abuse crisis.If so, then it won't be surprising if these California claims put our Archdiocese into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I can't help but wonder if the contingency plans include Mr. Topczewski's pre-filing denials.
The Marriage of Figaro
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte after Beaumarchais. Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This was its first complete performance at Ravinia. While complete, it was performed on an almost bare stage. While in Italian without supertitles, it was performed broadly enough that the pavilion audience, who could see the performers, was laughing at the what appeared to be the jokes. We were picnicing on the lawn, so we missed that, but enjoyed hearing the cast, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim.
The grounds open three hours before a performance, time to get in a little reading.
Lord Acton (1952), by Gertrude Himmelfarb
Acton sought to reconcile Catholicism and Liberalism, the latter in the sense of the Liberal Party of Gladstone. While Acton did not put this in term of Natural Law, morality "written on the heart," he came to think everyone condemned in his time and throughout history who did not live up to his principles.
To Mandell Creighton, he wrote,
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means.Acton opposed the declaration of the dogma of papal infallibility on the ground that it lacked an historical basis. As I understand him, he meant it was wrong because without precedent. Precedent, if binding, is a guard against power becoming absolute.
Acton was regarded as the the most well-read and perhaps most intelligent man of his time. But while he lectured and wrote numerous essays, he never produced a book. There are such writers. In his case, his perfectionism blocked him. He would try to read everything on his chosen topic, and would assemble boxes and boxes of notes, and then find he could not see any way to turn this mountain of material into a book with which he would be satisfied.
Bloomsday. Not celebrating. Once read that book.
I heard it on WPR [Wisconsin Public Radio] that Catholic Charities was an underwriter. I emailed WPR to ask who the actual contributing entity was. WPR replied to me today that
The organization you heard announced as our sponsor is the Diocese of La Crosse, Green Bay, and Milwaukee and more information about them can be found at the following website www.ccwisconsin.org.It's good to know where my money is going. Or not going. The contribution to WPR doesn't fit the mission of Catholic Charities at any of the three dioceses' web sites. It sure isn't featured when each lists where they spend their money.
If you're on a governing board of a charitable or community organization, you might be asked to have the organization contribute its funds to another such organization. Take a look at your mission statement and your sec. 501(c)(3) qualification before you do.
Another younger cousin. When we were very young, Jack had only his older brother James and one younger sister Judith, who we referred to collectively as "Jimmerjackanjudy," much as they would call me and my then two younger brothers "Terrymikenricky."
My mom and her brothers and sisters have now, between them, lost three second sons, all aged between 48 and 51.
DOWN THE SEWER
Eleven million gallons of oil spilled into a body of water connected to an ocean is small potatoes compared to 4.6 billion gallons of raw sewage dumped into a great lake. This makes the dichotomy between the reactions to the Exxon Valdez and the smelly mess in Milwaukee so glaring. (Do environmentalists only condemn private sector perpetrators of ecological damage?) And while the costs of Exxon's oil spill can easily be assigned to the firm's shareholders, the costs of MMSD's poor stewardship must be socialized among the taxpayers.
This morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has this op-ed by Nancy Meows, head of the Voice of the Faithful chapter at our parish.
... several bishops recently have gone public with their intention to make reception of communion a litmus test for orthodoxy.If only that were the case! I assume she meant to say that several bishops have gone public with their intent to make orthodoxy a litmus test for communion. Meows cites the new Bishop of Richmond, Virginia, Francis X. DiLorenzo, as one such.
He and his fellow bishops of similar ilk miss the frequent disconnect between the gospels, Catholic Church policies and hierarchical behavior. Will communion be denied to the bishops who knowingly transferred pedophile priests parish to parish and now hide with the pedophiles behind the statutes of limitation?Since the bishops handling of these matters did not, generally, violate the criminal law, she presumably means the civil statutes of limitations. In civil cases, the Church's income and assets, not the bishops', would be at risk. For bishops to waive the statute of limitations for the benefit of victims' claims would pay for one breach of trust with another.
This paradox continues to erode ecclesiastical credibility and spawns skepticism among mature Catholics (laity and priests) who believe they are the people of God, not sheep.On the contrary, it was the failure of bishops to be "good shepherds" for a people who need them which was the problem.
Mature, concerned Catholics urge the self-appointed to put away their rule books and to take the time to read the Gospels. We, the people of God are the church, and we dedicate our lives to the cause of structural reform.If they read the Gospels, they will there find the shepherd and sheep analogy. Perhaps then they will bring out their rule books and follow them. Rule 1 was not, if I recall, that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for structural reform.
Moews's piece was paired with Cardinal George's statement at the ad limina visit to Rome.
Josh Chafetz (of OxBlog) reviews Thomas Frank's new book What's the Matter With Kansas? in today's New York Times.
Frank's book is remarkable as an anthropological artifact. Although not terribly successful at explaining the cultural divide, it manages to exemplify it perfectly in its condescension toward people who don't vote as Frank thinks they should. ...
Update: heard Franks interviewed about his book on Wisconsin Public Radio. He sometimes sounds like he's really, really trying to understand how a substantial number of people can disagree with him, and he really, really can't. The adverse reviewers "all have axes to grind." He maybe could understand opposition to abortion "if I were raised Catholic." He sees that the Democratic Party is not reaching cultural conservatives, but proposes to do so by it putting more emphasis on economic class interests.
I once heard a left-wing caller to public radio belittle conservatives as the kind of people who say "gonna" for "going to." Maybe I took that personally, but I had the satisfaction of hearing Franks say "gonna" so many times during his interview.
At the end of the program, WPR thanked its underwriters, including Catholic Charities.
A reader notes that Josh Marshall seems troubled by John Allen's report in the National Catholic Reporter that,
A Vatican official told NCR June 9 that in his meeting with Cardinal Angelo Sodano and other Vatican officials, Bush said, "Not all the American bishops are with me" on the cultural issues. The implication was that he hoped the Vatican would nudge them toward more explicit activism.Mr. Marshall extrapolates from the above to this,
But is it the president's place to press the pope to sow religious divisions among American Catholics, a majority of whom seem uncomfortable with the efforts of some in the hierarchy to discipline pro-Choice Catholic politicians? And all that aside is it proper for the president to enlist the Vatican as an arm of his political campaign? The articles noted above make it pretty clear these requests were made for electoral political purposes.The NCR article Marshall notes makes it clear that President Bush was not making his requests for "electoral political purposes," at least not in the sense Marshall says. In the same column, John Allen wrote,
Despite predictions that the pope would “take Bush to the woodshed,” papal rhetoric, at least in public, is usually circumspect and polite. If there was to be clash, most expected it would happen behind closed doors.If our Pope can make a point of publicly airing past disagreement, President Bush is entitled to wonder if the Pope wouldn't also note present agreement. American Bishops wrote on the war with Iraq to President Bush and to American Catholics. President Bush is entitled to wonder what nonpartisan reason they have to not say as much where his policy and Church teaching are in agreement.
On Social Concern (1987), by Pope John Paul II
He makes two points clearer than they sometimes can be. First, this is not just about the material needs of the poor.
To "have" objects and goods does not in itself perfect the human subject, unless it contributes to the maturing and enrichment of that subject's "being," that is to say unless it contributes to the realization of the human vocation as such. ...Second, he provides a much needed rephrasing of the jargon, "the preferential option for the poor."
It will not be superfluous therefore to reexamine and further clarify in this light the characteristic themes and guidelines dealt with by the Magisterium in recent years.It's harder to come away from that thinking it's just an option for the poor and I'd prefer not.
DOWN THE SEWER
Generations ago it was determined that it was better to separate storm sewers and sanitary sewers. Combined sewers overflow sewage treatment facilities after heavy rains. We've been experiencing that this Spring, with billions of gallons of untreated sewage have been dumped into Lake Michigan by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District [MMSD]. Yet now we're being told that, overall, this is a good thing.
... except for those relatively rare occasions, the pollutants that wash off city streets get filtered at the Milwaukee area's two treatment plants, Theiler said. [Don Theiler, chairman of Mayor Tom Barrett's panel and head of Seattle's sewer utility.]If what Theiler says is true, then all sewers should be combined. No one argues for that for simple reason that Mr. Theiler's assertion is not true.
Theiler's wariness about a major sewer separation project for Milwaukee parallels the views often expressed by MMSD officials.The story notes that Seattle is likewise trying to avoid sewer separation, which is why Theiler is on the panel. It looks like Mayor Barrett has stacked the panel to get the answer the City, which effectively controls MMSD, wants.
A reader notes this Washington Post article on Cardinal Dulles's critique of the American bishops' policy, Top Theologian Urges Reconsideration of Sex-Abuse Stance.
Dulles noted in his speech that the bishops have criticized legislatures for passing mandatory sentencing laws and other "one-size-fits-all solutions." But "under the glare of adverse publicity," he said, they "adopted the very principles that they themselves had condemned."Both result from a loss in public confidence in the exercise of discretion, in the former case by judges, in the latter by bishops.
Which brings us to
Process is one of the limits of discretion. Our priests appear to have some legitimate concerns about the process of determining a priest's guilt in canonical proceedings when a priest has been acquited in a criminal case, or no charges were filed. The report of the committee on the rights of priests reported,
Neither the accused priest nor the victim knows what each other is saying. ... The archdiocesan review board is not allowed to speak with the accused priest or the victim. Everything is focused on the private investigator’s report. Neither the accused priest nor the victim ever see the investigator’s report. ... There is no cross-examination given in the investigation. ...Sounds like a denial of due process to me.
The committee on morale of priests reported survey results.
- Priests feel they do not have an opportunity for an honest dialogue with the Archbishop;They might want to consider how open they themselves are to honest dialogue and accountability. For example, if the older priests have a different ecclesiology than the bishops and younger priests, then the views of older priests probably are idiosyncratic. They don't seem to be considering this. Their assumptions on mandatory celibacy are consistent with what they would find in the books by Dean Hoge and Andrew Greeley which they considered. Not considered was the book by Archbishop Dolan.
HARK! THE HERALD
The May 27, 2004 Catholic Herald is now on-line with its permanent links.
Here is more details of the reorganization at our Archdiocese's central staff.
According to the list, director positions for the following offices were suspended: African-American Ministry, Hispanic Ministry, Department for Parishes, Office for Women, social concerns, and information services.In addition, other secretarial and support positions were eliminated.
It wasn't all cuts.
Four new positions will also be created as part of the restructuring: coordinator for Hispanic Pastoral Services, parish consultant for African-American Evangelization, director for Catholic Social Action, and assistance manager for sexual abuse victims/survivors.The article could be clearer on what positions are literally eliminated. The director of African-American Ministry was cut, but a parish consultant for African-American Evangelization was added. The director of Hispanic Ministry was cut, but a coordinator for Hispanic Pastoral Services was added. The associate director for social concerns was cut, but a director for Catholic Social Action was added. These might be changes in substance, or just changes in name.
Jeff Jacoby wrote this op-ed for the Boston Globe on
A reader notes this report in The Progressive that An 'FUGW' Sign Can Get You Arrested.
[Defendant Frank] Van Den Bosch is fighting the charge, which he says shows "the fangs and teeth of the state."Maybe not in the way he thought. His lawyer replied to an email from me today to tell me the charges were dropped, see Grant County case no. 2004FO482. Her client is bringing claims for violations of his rights under federal and state law.
R.I.P. Ronald Reagan
Today, in their memory, and for all who fought here, we celebrate the triumph of democracy. We reaffirm the unity of democratic people who fought a war and then joined with the vanquished in a firm resolve to keep the peace.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
It wouldn't be the Saturday paper without religion news.
The priest is alleged to have sexually assaulted an nine-year old boy in Milwaukee in 1990 and 1991. The statute of limitations would have run except for the priest being out of Wisconsin for some of the years since. The particulars seem to me more sordid than average, which is saying something in these cases. The assaults were alleged to have taken place in the same residence where the same young victim was already being sexually abused by Fr. Dennis Pecore, who was then on probation for molesting another boy.
"And the great tragedy is that this crime could and should have been prevented by the archdiocese," [the alleged victim's attorney, Jim] Smith said. "They had been warned repeatedly by a Mother of Good Counsel parishioner that an already-convicted Pecore was violating the terms of his probation by having boys at his Salvatorian House residence."Couldn't? Even some of the staff at that Catholic orphanage we were just at in rural Guatemala have cell phones. Must mean Archdiocesan officials preferred not to be reached Friday.
The Sexual Abuse of Children in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Peter Isely, local head of SNAP [Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests], and Jim Smith, the attorney in the preceding item, produced this report. They consented to my posting it on my site, for which I thank them.
Fr. Andrew Greeley takes a hand at the development of the Just Hate theory, in this Chicago Sun-Times column (via Common Dreams).Weakland.
"Approaching the Unconscious," by Carl G. Jung
Things whose enormity nobody could have imagined in the idyllic harmlessness of the first decade of our [twentieth] century have happened and have turned our world upside down. Ever since, the world has remained in a state of schizophrenia. Not only has civilized Germany disgorged its terrible primitivity, but Russia is also ruled by it, and Africa has been set on fire. No wonder that the Western world feels uneasy.To understand this passage more fully, note Jung's distinction of symbols from signs.
No one can take a more or less rational thought, reached as a logical conclusion or by deliberate intent, and give it a "symbolic" form. No matter what fantastic trappings one may put upon an idea of this kind, it will remain a sign, linked to the conscious thought behind it, not a symbol that hints at something not yet known.
You might wonder what happened since last time as a result of my raising the issue of the Milwaukee Archdiocesan Priests' Alliance as a "voice for the voiceless" including the "pro-choice." The next meeting of of our Parish Council is this coming Monday, and our pastor emailed me today.
He categorically denied that the Alliance or any of its members support abortion in any way, and that any indication to the contrary was due to a lack of clarity in the alliance's minutes.
Rather we wish to be in as many ways as we can, a voice for the voiceless, "like those sad and hurting victims of the pro-choice movement in America." [quote not attributed]I had originally raised this issue at our council's March 29, 2004 meeting. Our pastor was absent from the May 3, 2004 council meeting. A member of the council who was absent in March but present in May thought it was taking too long for a response, so asked the priest who served as dean of the district including our parish about the issue. He explained that the reference to "voiceless" groups had to do with listening to various groups, not advocating for them, and descriptions like "pro-choice" were the various groups self-descriptions.
So far, three priests have addressed the issue, the head of the Priests' Alliance, the dean, and my pastor. They have respectively characterized the Alliance's position as pro, neutral, and anti. I replied to my pastor that, under the circumstances, I did not believe his explanation, and assume the Alliance might now be hiding, rather than clarifying, its agenda.
He also responded to my earlier question about what the parish paid the liturgical design consultant retained for the recent parish building project. It appears the total might not break five figures. It all seems like money wasted, but at least it's a fraction of what it's been rumored such consultants charge.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer,