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The October 28, 2004 issue is on-line, temporarily at the above URL.

Archbishop Burke defends position on politicians, Communion
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The Archbishop is not comfortable in a public controversy, so how did he get into one?

Archbishop Burke explained the controversy began as private correspondence he sent to Catholic legislators under his pastoral care who did not support pro-life legislation.


"Sadly for me — and it remains a sadness for me yet today — not one of the politicians in question would consent to meet with me personally," said the archbishop, adding that one legislator who didn’t respond to him directly instead gave his letters to the media.

If any of those legislators gave a public explanation why they wouldn't meet with their bishop, I haven't seen it.




Life Without Limits is the newsletter of Wisconsin Right to Life. In the Fall 2004 issue, Mel Lawrence writes on why it's appropriate to use "The Abortion Issue as the Voter's Benchmark."

He's senior pastor of Elmbrook Church, the local bible mega-church. His piece is paired with one by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life.

Rev. Lawrence says,

If you believe that that the mystery and glory of human life begins long before our eyes first see a baby emerge fromt the birth canal, if we are humble enough to say that God sees things that we don't, and that God's creation of first life was the climax of his whole creation, then we will understand that virtually all of life's important values emerge from that point ... So when we exercise our right to vote for candidates who say they are willing to govern, we can and must say: yes, we will support your governance if the foundation of it is your conviction that all human life has an inviolable sanctity given by God.
If our Priests Alliance is concerned with pastoral effectiveness, I note that former Catholics make up a substantial part of the congregations of Elmbrook and its daughter churches.


A reader writes on parish-hopping.

Should you resume being a peregrinus, wander into St. Anthony’s on 9th/Mitchell for the 10:00 AM Sunday High Mass. We have not had a "liturgical experiment" there in my memory of over 5 years.
I have wandered in, though not for Mass. I thought it resembled the chapel at Brideshead. What impressed me more was its (then?) growing congregation.
I, too, received copies of all the Priests’ Alliance letters. Whiny tone, eh?
Let's just say it reminds me of the tone priests don't like when they're on the receiving end.

Another message concerns Relevant Radio, newly added to the ever-growing list of grievances of the local Priests Alliance.

I have a friend who used to work at RRadio. After seeing the whine from the ‘Amalgamated Local Red and Pink’ of Milwaukee priests, I inquired about the situation at the radio station.
I suppose we'll have to factor in possible disgruntlement.
He told me that RRadio has "caved" to the liberal interests. Among other items, he mentioned that Sal Bando, during an interview broadcast by the station, opined that "rubrics-oriented" Catholics were harmful to "parish life."

I was never aware that Sal Bando is competent to address questions of liturgy. I suspect that he’s as qualified to address liturgical practice as I am to address baseball strategy. After all, I never PLAYED baseball, but I do have 15 years’ or so study (and about 40 years’ practice) devoted to the liturgy, particularly liturgical music. That makes me a baseball expert, no?

Well, I don't know that he was claiming to be an expert, any more than those of us who publish our views on a web site. But, as you present it, it does have that "your advocating following the rules is divisive" flavor.
Ah, well. RRadio has now placed itself at the level of CBS News. Useless at best, detrimental by design.
What if they merged? If a document can be fake but accurate, 60 Minutes could feature Dan Rather citing the Donation of Constantine and demanding that Sen. Kerry admit that as president he would be a vassal of the Pope.




Tonight was the first meeting for next year's mission to Guatemala [pdf]. Or maybe missions. If enough people are interested, we might send two groups, in late May and late August. (There were about 30 people at the meeting, so the usual rate of attrition before commitment would make two trips questionable.)

This started as an Easter break youth mission in 1996, the year the Guatemalan civil war ended after 36 years. When in 2000 the time of the trip changed to late Spring to early Summer in 2000, it became an adult trip.

This year, the orphanage staff hopes we can help with religious education. The kids tend to associate religion with the local priest and the orphanage nuns. They hope that if some "normal" people do some teaching, this will change the kids' outlook. That Biblia and Catecismo I bought might come in handy. Now if only all those years of school Spanish would likewise.

If there is an August trip, our group hopes to do some kind of outreach to the little villages in the countryside around Santa Apolonia.




Sound priestly guidance

The editors of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel approve of the local Priests Alliance's suggested approach.

The priests make clear that they, too, believe that all human life is sacred, from conception to natural death. They are talking about the most effective way to teach this.
Pastorally effective, perhaps? If the Alliance stated a specific alternative approach, and the criteria by which success or failure in implementing it would be judged, I missed it.




Practicing Global Solidarity

Today's bulletin had this insert from the Wisconsin Bishops. It goes wrong from the first sentence.

We live in a nation that celebrates independence and self-sufficiency.
We celebrate self-reliance, not self-sufficiency. A hunter-gatherer or subsistence farmer is self-sufficient.

This initial misconception colors the analysis of development and environmental issues.

Today there is even greater cause for concern because the visible effect of this exploitation and suffering has been made even more distant with the development of a global economy.
Whether or not exploitation is involved, anything going on in poor countries is less distant with the development of a global economy.
Third World nations are driven to misuse their native natural resources to meet the consumption demands of developed nations.
Yet problems like deforestation result from slash and burn agriculture and using firewood for fuel, and these are marks of a subsistence not a market economy.

The paper concludes with another nine "key" issues.


Money can't buy justice for abuse survivor

Local man abused as a child by priest receives $100,000.

Is this justice? Nope, just the lottery.




The Merry Wives of Windsor

Friends in Chicago invited us to dinner on Navy Pier followed by this production by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The company's theater is loosely modeled on London's Globe, though oval rather than round, with a projecting stage. The play was reset in Windsor, Maine in 1750. With the projecting stage, and entrances and exits through the aisles, the experience is close to "theater in the round." The company seemed to be enjoying themselves, some playing their parts a bit broadly. Falstaff's character here is more buffoon than cynic; it's as if the character's career went into decline rather like actors' often do.




Milwaukee priests alliance sends letter opposing withholding Communion

This morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on the letter, along with Archbishop Burke's visit to the area to speak at a benefit for Trinity Academy.

Burke hoped that bishops in the United States would adopt a policy at their fall meeting in mid-November that goes further than the action they took at a gathering in June, he said in a follow-up interview.
The Alliance letter was summarized,
The letter embraces the Catholic belief that all human life is sacred, from conception to natural death. But it says that excluding Catholic politicians from the Eucharist solely on the basis of their votes on abortion is not pastorally effective in promoting that belief.
Perhaps this means the Alliance members long to have this "pastorally effective" test used to evaluate their work.

Ice Age Trail, Kettle Moraine North

We took a day to hike the Ice Age Trail in Kettle Moraine State Forest, North Unit. The trail runs along the terminal moraine of the Green Bay lobe of the last ice age. The moraine is the ridge in the photo, formed when the glacier's advance and melting were in balance, and rock and gravel transported with its ice accumulated at the edge.

In this low spot, the soil conditions apparently weren't suitable for trees. From the lush greenery, I'll guess it was too wet.




The October 21, 2004 issue is on-line, temporarily at the above URL.

Priests Alliance addresses Communion controversy
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If you've been keeping an eye on the local priests' union's website, you knew this was coming.

In their letter, the priests reaffirm their belief in "the intrinsic value of human life. All life is sacred to us — from conception to natural death."
That's what they say, not necessarily what they reaffirm. As you recall, the Alliance's Chair, Fr. David Cooper of St. Matthias Church, publicly reaffirmed his support of Church teaching on women's ordination, then went back to publicly dissenting from the teaching when his job wasn't on the line. The Alliance's real position, you recall, was disclosed in Fr. Cooper's saying it sought to be a voice for the voiceless in the Church, including the pro-choice, a position confirmed in the Alliance's minutes. Given that, this latest "reaffirmation" is more likely the Alliance's means of hiding its agenda.

Since the Herald article links to it, let's see what's new at the Alliance web site.


Priests' Alliance Minutes September 30, 2004

The members approved four Principles for Reviewing the Process Used to Determine a Priest’s Fitness for Ministry.

The Archdiocesan Council of Priests overwhelmingly approved a policy that reinstates priests' full 5% raise from last year.

Fr. Steve Avella explained the reason for drafting a statement on denying politicians the Eucharist.

The USCCB is currently drafting a document on this issue and it was his feeling that priests, as the primary ministers who will be asked to enforce any such policy, should have some input into the discussion. The withholding of Communion is a symptom of larger ecclesiological issues (i.e. who speaks for the Catholic Church: EWTN? George Wiegel? Richard John Nieuhaus?) There is a rationale among such people that it is acceptable to use the Eucharist as a weapon and this mentality seems to promote a mean-spiritedness among those who oppose abortion.
There's no opening prayer noted in the minutes, but I assume the Alliance gave thanks that they aren't like such people.

Update: here's their letter to Cardinal McCarrick.

The Alliance is working on a letter objecting to how our Archbishop required the return to First Confession before First Communion.

... prior to the Archbishop’s directive that parishes change the practice of celebrating First Reconciliation after second grade, no Archdiocesan offices had received any information that this directive was being handed down. Also, the priests were not given any forum for consultation on this issue. Historically, the majority of parishes in the Archdiocese have prepared children for the reception of Eucharist before the reception of Reconciliation.
No notice? It's been in Canon Law for 20 years. That's about as "historical" as the contrary practice in our Archdiocese.

Update: here's their letter to Archbishop Dolan.

They're also working on a letter to the commission reviewing the operation of St. Francis Seminary.

The main point of the document is to ask the commission studying the future of the seminary to ensure that if formation from priesthood is moved from St. Francis that seminarians continue to be formed with lay students with whom they will minister after ordination.
This is distinguished from the separate tracks for priesthood and lay ministry at Mundelein, where our students might be sent if St. Francis Seminary is closed.

Update: here's their letter to the Seminary Commission.

[Fr.] Bill Stanfield asked whether or not there was any update or progress being made on the issue of non-celibate men being ordained to the priesthood.

[Fr.] Joe Aufdermauer responded that a national forum called the "Priests Forum for Eucharist" had been established and he is a part of the organization. They have a plan to send out a flyer to every priest in the country, but he was unsure of what steps would be taken next.

[Fr.] Tom Suriano asked if the Alliance could find a way to support the "Priests Forum" so that they could do this mailing. He also asked if the Alliance could put out an annual statement to let the Church and the people know that this issue has not gone away.

Fr. Stanfield's question indicates the Alliance is talking about the ordination of married men, not allowing those already ordained to marry. Assuming "non-celibate" means married.

There had been an "open space" in which members could suggest new issues for focus groups. "Focus" group might be a misnomer if the Alliance keeps adding issues.

The Priests' Rights focus group was well-attended. Our priests still seem uninformed about the process of investigating and adjudicating allegations of sexual abuse.

A new group discussed the possibility of an Archdiocesan Plan for Ministerial Formation. This appears to mean having St. Francis Seminary provide the discernment and assessment procedures for parish volunteers. I have to wonder if this would result in the number of lay volunteers nose-diving like the number of priests.

Another new group discussed Relevant Radio. Fr. Tom Eichenberger wondered if there is any theological oversight or supervision of it. (I wonder that about the Alliance.)

Catholic Herald too is less an educating tool than a mouthpiece for the bishop.
Shouldn't these be pretty much the same thing?
Renewed focus on devotion rather than social justice.
Aren't they connected?
Who gets the "stamp" for what is Catholic? Relevant Radio?
What happened, did someone on Relevant Radio imply the Alliance is subversive? Or just clueless, e.g.,
Action Suggestion for the Alliance Convening Board:
What is genuinely Roman Catholic?
How to evangelize and educate our people?
Yet another new focus group discussed the general prohibition against lay people giving homilies. They apparently would prefer this be changed, but are taking no action now.

Another new focus group is looking into affiliation of the Alliance with the National Federation of Priests Councils.

Another new focus group was upset that our Archbishop's announced plan includes a new capital fund. Our priests felt they should have been consulted. I assumed they read the Catholic Herald and were aware of the planning process. Seems odd that they're saying now that they should have been consulted all along.

The formerly misnamed Vocations focus group is now the ambiguously named Vocations: Who Can Be Ordained? focus group. It asked if the Alliance wants to spend some of its $3,759.20

for a national mailing from the "Priests Forum on the Eucharist"?
The next meeting of the Alliance membership is March 3, 2005.

Update: the recent publicity has brought traffic to the Alliance's Discussion Board. As of October 27, 2004, I don't get the impression any Alliance members are looking in.


Cosby urges city to get serious

Bill Cosby brought his message of responsibility to Milwaukee.

He criticized the school system that won't let teachers hug children and the city of Milwaukee, where only 27% of the African-American children graduate from high school.
Not a surprising percentage if civil rights groups' commitment is to a political coalition that includes teachers' unions, rather than to the welfare of African-American children.




Saw someone we know from the parish mission to Guatemala [pdf]. She mentioned she's on the Human Concerns Committee at her parish. For one of its projects it works with a not-for-profit organization. A committee member saw a Planned Parenthood pamphlet at the organization's office. While we could see why that created an issue for the committee, she found the extended and heated discussion so wearing it had her considering leaving the committee. More generally, even though she supports Church teaching on abortion, she still often finds it expressed in off-putting ways by the dedicated pro-lifers in her parish.

Like me, she has also been doing a bit of wandering from parish to parish for Mass. But she's thinking of settling back at her own parish. Even if she'd find what she considered a good Mass, she figures it's just a matter of time before it will be changed.




Received red postcard overprinted "URGENT" about the other pledge card, for the annual operating budget.

... we have only heard from 33% of our active parish households equaling $792,239. Consequently, we have a long way to go in order to reach our annual fund goal of $1,400,000.
Must have had to cut proofreading from the budget. The earlier cover letter to the pledge card said the goal is $1,500,000.
Last year donations fell $39,000 short of our needed goal contributing to the parish's largest deficit in the amount of $183,613. We can't have this happen ever again!
Zero tolerance for budget deficits! See, irony didn't disappear on September 11, 2001.
If you have any issues that need resolution, please call one of us!
Based on past experience, I don't see the connection.




My wife tells me that a friend in Chicago couldn't take any more liturgical innovation at his parish and stopped going to Mass. This guilted me into ending my wanderings and returning to my parish today. (That and no more Sunday boating until next June.) Providentially, it was the week of the first sign-up for the annual mission to Guatemala. So, God willing, we'll be going back again in May (or August; if there's enough interest, the parish will send two groups.)

During the building project, the old display of Parish Council and committee minutes was taken down. Today I saw that a replacement if finally up.

The minutes of the Parish Council's August 2, 2004 meeting say the annual operating budget has a deficit of $183,000: contributions $42,000 under budget, tuition $50,000 under budget, operating expenses $50,000 over budget, and school expenses $36,000 over budget. The Council is working on a new committee on "Parish Life." The school has a new principal; though he's worked elsewhere, he's been a parish member for 26 years.

The August 17, 2004 Finance Committee meeting noted "It was suggested that each committee have a representative present at each Parish Council meeting." Used to be the Parish Council had a member present at each committee meeting. (The Council met early in the month, committees all met on the same night mid-month.)

At the September 13, 2004 Parish Council meeting, the new principal stressed "he will make every effort to rebuild school attendance," by which I assume was meant enrollment. Our parish school has been in a tuition increase/enrollment decrease cycle. The Council had spent committee meeting night at St. Martin of Tours Parish viewing their new "worship space." (That is, their new church; perhaps these new terms are made up by people who have a skull space where their brain should be.) The Council also were there to discuss how our parishes could work together. Now at the subsequent Council meeting, members were asked to consider our parish's "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats ..." (Sounds pretty much where this issue stood when I finished my term on the Council in 1999; no surprise there.) The Council minutes report that "... members of the Liturgy Committee were experiencing frustration and a 'lack of purpose' in their meetings." Back in my Council days, the Liturgy Committee was obsessed with the larger "gathering space" cut from the 1980s building project. Maybe now that it was included in the recent building project, they see no need to go on.

Today's bulletin has a flier for the upcoming Parish Mission, October 31-November 2, presented by Sabbath Retreats. The Mission presentations will include "The Hungry Clown: A mime with a lot to say... ." Do not anticipate a report on it in this space.

Happenings, the parish newsletter had arrived earlier in the week. The [Capital Campaign] Pledge Appeal update reports

To date, those who have pledged for 2004 have averaged 73% of their original commitment in new pledges for the next three years. The typical return for continuing appeals like this one averages around 80% to 85% of the original pledges.
So why is our parish coming up short? Doesn't say. I suspect it hasn't been asked, except rhetorically. Of the pledge cards mailed to all parish households,
... 1,322 cards had not been received from registered parishioners who did not contribute to the 2001 appeal.

... It is important for planning purposes that cards be received as soon as possible. As of mid-August, 993 cards had been received, 756 with a yes pledge, 237 with no pledge.

How is planning affected by not having those 1,322 cards back, as opposed to having them back with no pledge? Beats me. The ratio of pledges to no pledge plus no return approximates our Mass attendance percentage, I suspect. If parishioners thought the parish cared as much about them showing up as their pledge card showing up, maybe some more parishioners would show up. If we elected the Parish Council, I'd vote for someone who ran on that platform. (When I was on the Council, it was my platform. Later, after my term on the Council, someone in a position to know had mercy on my frustration and gave me inside information--yes, it does exist, despite official denials--that the real parish policy was to not evangelize because more people would be such a burden on the parish administration.)

Our Director of Adult and Family Ministry explains the history behind our having to do several grades preparation for Reconciliation this year. For background, children had been typically receiving First Confession and First Communion in second grade. She starts with the Second Vatican Council. Then ...

Many of the sacramental changes came about by the mid-70's. ...

Due to advances in child psychology, religious educators questioned whether children should begin preparing for this sacrament after First Communion, around age 10. Church leaders responded by allowing postponement of a child's first celebration of reconciliation until a later age. ...

Do children at the age of 7 or 8 sin? The Church wrestled with this question, and in 1983, revised its Canon Law. "Children who have reached the use of reason are to be prepared for and receive Communion, preceded by sacramental confession." (can. 914)

You might think, then, that this was a ten year experiment, ended by Canon Law in 1983. After all, compared to understanding the Eucharist, understanding sin should be a snap.
For more than 20 years, many parishes, including ours, have delayed the age of celebrating First Reconciliation. Now Archbishop Timothy Dolan has asked every parish to return to the traditional age of preparation.
As with our change back to hosts, the first our parish staff tells us parish practice violated canon law is when they are, apparently, forced to follow it. I never heard or saw them provide this information about canon law during all the years they defended parish practice. Maybe, just maybe, this is a teensy-weensy factor in declining Mass attendance, the contribution shortfall and the unreturned pledge cards.

Also enclosed with the bulletin was the fourth of in a series of six from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference on "Faithful Citizenship 2004," this on on Pursuing Social Justice. This is just one of six, and it alone has 13 "Key" Issues. Part two had eight, part three 11, part five has nine, for a total of 41.




The Sierra Club sends another flyer touting Sen. John Kerry's environmental record. This one features a photo of the senator standing on a rocky outcrop in a forest. He has a somewhat puzzled look, perhaps wondering why they had him wear pressed khaki slacks and dress shoes if he is supposedly on a hike through the mountain forests.

Catholic Answers writes that it how offers its

Voter's Guide - on video

The Catholic Voting Project writes to plug its video,

"Catholic Dining with Bush and Kerry," a lighthearted look at Catholic doctrine and the race for the U.S. Presidency.
Lighthearted compared to Karl Keating, perhaps.


Vespers and Visions

On some of my more discourageded days, I'm tempted to think I was the onlyest one to actually listen and attempt to heed our last archbishop's exhortations to faithfulness and growth in holiness.
--Karen Marie Knapp


Members of the Roman Curia often referred to me as a "maverick." (The word comes from Samuel A. Maverick, 1803-1870, a Texas cattleman who refused to brand his calves like the others.) The best compliment I received, then, came from a religious superior in Rome who said: "Rome does not know what to do with Weakland. He is a free man."
--Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B.




The October 14, 2004 issue is on-line, temporarily at the above URL.

Develop reconciling spirit in polarized world, says Franciscan
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"On the one side are those seeking new ways of interacting and connecting. They believe that if the church fails to respond to all people, it will become irrelevant. Their perception is that embracing diversity will create unity," she [Sr. Katarina Schuth] said.

"On the other side are those who long for the single face of Catholicism that allows for no variation in patterns of worship and community, no serious consideration of cultural preferences and practices. They tend to believe that uniformity will create unity."

Liturgical Renewal: Two Latin Rites?

I can honestly and truthfully say that the aberrations that arose in the late 1960's from excessive zeal and exuberance had begun to run their course and to disappear by the early 1980's. ...

What totally derailed the liturgical renewal, from the point of view of this bishop in the trenches, was the decision of Pope John Paul II--made, I am sure, with great anguish--to grant in 1984 the indult that allowed the Tridentine usage to flourish again.

--Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B

Rosary is powerful, beautiful, simple prayer
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Our Archbishop goes to the National Shrine of Our Lady, Help of Christians (better known locally as Holy Hill, see Psalm 43[42]:3 R.S.V.) to meet with the Most Rev. Jean Sleiman, O.C.D., Archbishop of Baghdad.

As we walked down to the chapel for vespers, I asked Archbishop Sleiman what was most needed in Iraq. Expecting him to list medicine, food, or democracy, he surprised me when he replied, "hope." I asked him to elaborate. "The sense of dread, gloom, and futility in Baghdad is heavy and oppressive. What the yeast of the Christian presence must bring is a sense of hope." And with that, as we entered the first pew about 10 minutes before evening prayer began, he pulled his rosary out of his pocket and began to toll the beads.

Good Shepherd Parish begins outreach to gays, lesbians
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Lots of talk of outreach, dialogue, acceptance, but no specifics about what this ministry actually does or says.

Fred Weber provides an anecdote.

"We’ve seen and have gone through the hardships it has caused parents, that it’s caused children who were struggling with this," he said. For example, one acquaintance suppressed his sexual identity, was married and had a child. "He eventually realized he was living a lie and
began to work with a spiritual director? went into therapy? took his wife to Angels in America for their anniversary? joined the Alan Keyes campaign?
became divorced.
"Became"? Saying it's not a choice must be habit-forming.


Barbara Roark, Library Director of the Franklin Public Library informs me that it won the Best Toy Lending Library award in the October issue of Milwaukee Magazine [p. 55]. (She also notes ours is the only library in the Milwaukee area that lends toys.)




The local Voice Of The Faithful chapter writes,

Attached is a copy of a letter our co-ordinator, Nancy Moews, sent to Archbishop Dolan. We is suggested [sic] that we also send a similar letter expressing our support for compliance with the process set up by the Lay Review Board. They have worked VERY hard these past 2 years, and it would be upsetting to have their efforts by-passed / (sabotaged!)
The letter objects to the Bishops' nomination of a nun to the National Review Board. I would have put it that nuns (and monks, or sisters and brothers) might be lay people in one sense, but not in the sense appropriate to a lay board. Maybe the bishops will next propose a USCCB staffer as a member.




A reader writes on Bishop Burke's letter.

Re Archbishop Burke's letter, I understand some of the argument, but not this: He says:

"Procured abortion and homosexual acts are intrinsically evil, and, as such, can never be justified in any circumstance. Although war and capital punishment can rarely be justified, they are not intrinsically evil; neither practice includes the direct intention of killing innocent human beings."

Of course, homosexual acts in general do not include the direct intention of killing innocent human beings, either.

Perhaps more evidence that some bishops "need better copy editors."
In Summary Point #6 he writes:

"Legal recognition of same-sex relationships undermines the truth about marriage and sanctions gravely immoral acts."

My impression is that His Excellency assumes that those reading the letter already will know the reasoning by which he asserts that homosexual acts are so gravely immoral that supporting the legal recognition of same-sex relationships ought to create an absolute bar to any candidate receiving the support of good Catholics (as opposed to, say, supporting the death penalty or war). I am unfamiliar with this reasoning. Can you enlighten me?

I reiterated my suggestion of reviewing the discussion at Disputations, and noted that other religions, such as Orthodox Judaism, had similar teachings on homosexuality. My reader replied,
I read the Disputations discussion, and I was reminded of Omar Khayyam:

"Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and saint, and heard great argument
About it and about; but evermore
Came out by the same door wherein I went."

Too bad that was about Disputations; it would have looked great on my sidebar.
The Orthodox Jewish view is totally opposed to homosexuality (based on Leviticus), but I don't think even the Orthodox would consider it in the front rank of evil.
That's not what "intrinsic" means, Mr. Kreitzberg argues. The specific Church teaching on homosexuality is summarized in sections 2357-2359 of the Catechism.




The Sierra Club sends a voter guide.

As President, Bush has chosen time and again to protect the interests of his contributors in the oil and gas industry at the expense of Wisconsin's air, land and water.

In May 2004, Milwaukee's sewage system dumped 4.6 billion gallons of sewage and polluted runoff into the area waterways. ...

There was some comment why environmental groups had so little to say criticising the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, which did the dumping. It's simple. The district board is controlled by appointees of the Mayor of Milwaukee. The mayors have been Democrats. Environmental groups are a Democratic Party faction.




GIBSON: Going to go to the final two questions now, and the first one will be for Sen. Kerry. And this comes from Sarah Degenhart.

QUESTIONER: Sen. Kerry, suppose you are speaking with a voter who believed abortion is murder and the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say to that person?

KERRY: ... Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro-abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know what their options are in life, and making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them if they can't afford it otherwise. ...

--Debate between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry

... Liberal Democrats were often punished at the polls for openly promoting social libertinism and individual expressivism. More recently, Democratic political leaders have changed tactics to limit their exposure. Major Democratic politicians have all but renounced active political leadership in this area. They have turned the initiative over to the judiciary (at both the federal and, increasingly, state levels), which serves as the de facto legislative branch of the Democratic party. Once the courts take favorable action, Democratic politicians rally less to the defense of the policies themselves than to the Constitution and the independence of the judiciary, all the while charging that Republicans who object are "politicizing" these issues. ...

--A New GOP? by James W. Ceasar and Daniel DiSalvo [temporary URL]




A reader notes this article from the L. A. Times.

St. Louis Catholics Debate Political Directive
Some quoted Catholics have difficulty with Archbishop Burke's letter. Some might even have read all 25 pages. The Summary Points start on page 24.
6. ... The death penalty and war are different from procured abortion and same-sex "marriage", since these latter acts are intrinsically evil and therefore can never be justified. Although war and capital punishment care rarely be justified, they are not intrinsically evil.


8. It is never right to vote for a candidate in order to promote immoral practices; this is "formal cooperation" in evil.

In some circumstances it is morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for a candidate who supports some immoral practices while opposing other immoral practices. This is called "material cooperation" and is permissible under certain conditions and when it is impossible to avoid all cooperation with evil, as may well be true in selecting a candidate for public office.

There is no element of the common good that could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses, without restriction or limitation, the deliberate killing of the innocent, abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, human cloning, or same-sex marriage.

9. If a candidate supports abortion in a limited number of cases, but is opposed otherwise, Catholics may vote for this person. This is not a question of choosing a lesser evil but of limiting all the evil one is able to limit at the time.

At this point, I suggest you read and then scroll up at Disputations.


The October 7, 2004 issue is on-line, temporarily at the above URL.

First of six regional gatherings held in Burlington
[temporary URL]

This article summarizes the plan as explained by our Archbishop.




Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan Regional Gatherings -- Fall 2004

Went to Archbishop Dolan's planning presentation in Waukesha.

His presentation, he said, will be published and sent to very Catholic household in our Archdiocese, so I won't summarize it. Instead, here's some of the question and answer session that followed.

Regarding new and expanded ministries and facilities, how might poorer parishes afford them? He hopes they might draw on an expanded Catholic Stewardship Appeal for the former and on funds in a new Archdiocesan Capital Campaign for the latter.

Regarding greater Mass attendance, would he expand the indult for the Tridentine Mass to a church in each county? If such demand is shown, he will consider it.

Regarding increased presence in the inner city, would he reopen St. Ann's Church (where both the questioner and I were baptized. St. Ann's, the questioner noted, served as cathedral for many years until the damage from the 1935 fire at St. John the Evangelist was finally repaired.) He'd need more information to say it might be feasible

What might be done so that all parish liturgies included kneeling when required? He agreed, in principle, that there should be this basic uniformity, quoting Sacrosanctum Concilium, "Therefore no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." He went on that he thought it took 70 years for fully implement an ecumenical council, so the Church is still in this process from Vatican II. In practice he has to trust his priests and suggested first approaching them with such questions. (Maybe that works better if you haven't been to law school.)

How will he see that these plans are implemented in our parishes? If a priest will take on the position of pastor of a parish, he will have to agree to that parish's pastoral goals, and our Archbishop expects to hold him accountable for achieving them.

Won't enforcing liturgical uniformity lead to more defections to various bible churches with livelier services, especially by young people? He did not think this necessarily so. For example, our Pope's Masses follow the norms yet seem very moving to the young people who attend. (I haven't seen variations from the norms result in packing them in.)




Now that the local Voice of the Faithful chapter dropped its web site, I signed on to its mailing list.

Nancy Moews writes,

In place of an October Meeting, please give serious consideration to attending one of Archbishop Dolan’s remaining presentations. It is imperative that we be interested and informed about "his" vision for "our" archdiocese.
In my case, "we."


Focus on priest abuse widens to include nuns

Mary Guenther, one of the abuse victims, looks familiar. I think I've seen her at a local Voice of the Faithful meeting.

In recent years, growing numbers of men and women who say they were abused by nuns have turned to therapists, attorneys and advocates for help. Nationally, more than 100 - including five from the Milwaukee area - have been identified by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national organization for victims.
Guenther and several others are to speak to a special meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious today in Chicago.

At its web site, the LCWR has a two-and-a-half year old Public Statement Concerning "Crisis of Allegations of Clerical Abuse". "Saddened," they called for "openness, radical honesty, and transparency," which did not include any mention of the possibility that abuse might have been perpetrated by women religious as well as male clergy.


Whatever side of town, a mob is a mob

Eugene Kane detects racism in the handling of what he characterizes as Milwaukee's "latest mob beating" in today's column.

The buzz this weekend is about a mob of 10 to 25 people who police say attacked a 48-year-old man and threw him in front of a bus for no apparent reason. The victim suffered severe head injuries. ...

It's just the latest ugly episode involving out-of-control participants who appear to have taken over the streets in some area, particularly in black neighborhoods.

Each time it happens, I hear from readers who are convinced that lawless black youth are the bane of our existence in Milwaukee.

Here in far-off Franklin, it seems to me that people who Kane says have to deal with racism and poverty hardly need to also have to deal with lawlessness in their neighborhoods. For Kane, his white readers' comments are motivated by racism.
Four University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students were accused of manhandling and groping a female student in an act they admitted was intended to terrorize.

In some respects, it was as shocking as any of the other recent mob attacks. The group targeted a defenseless woman and threatened her with rape. These perpetrators were even disguised.

When the UWM students were arrested, I didn't get a single call. I think we all know why.

Because it would be as if the other case was a mob that grabbed someone and threatened to throw him in front of a bus, but didn't? No, Kane thinks, because the perpetrators are white.
In this case, it seems the official reaction was, it's just boys being boys.
When a mob of black men and boys, as young as ten years old, beat Charles Young, Jr. to death, Kane called it "a neighborhood beating that went horribly wrong." In his current column, he continues minimizing the horror of Young's murder.
In some of these stories - like the infamous Charlie Young Jr. killing - it turns out only some in the mob were actively involved while everybody else was a not-so-innocent bystander.
Kane's circumlocution for those cheering on Young's murderers.
But I'm concerned when "mob beatings" becomes a synonym for lawless black youth attacking helpless victims. I am also concerned when the district attorney's office suggests a band of white youths out for malicious trouble isn't just as worrisome.
It's so unfair that the white kids didn't get charged with murder just because they didn't kill anyone.




The public did it, says sewerage study

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's task force has reached a conclusion.

In pinning blame on "infiltration and inflow" - leaky sewers, illegal sump pumps and other illegal or unadvisable sewer hookups - the report's conclusions closely hewed to explanations repeatedly given in recent years by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.
Meaning, I assume, if everything else in the system was in perfect condition, then the deep tunnel could have accomodated the flow from Milwaukee's combined sanitary and storm sewers. Of course, if the sewers had been seperated, and everything else was in perfect condition, then overflows would be impossible.

Why aren't things up to snuff?

The district has had the power to order such fixes since it was created in the 1980s. "Strong action" might have limited or even prevented dumping from sanitary sewers," the report said.




The Martin Amis Web by James Diedrick

McLuhan Reloaded: Dismissed in his day as a vaudeville entertainer, McLuhan may be a better prophet for this century than for the last, by Lewis L. Lapham

Virtual Exhibition: "Horizons" curated by Christian Rattemeyer

The Neglected Home Front by Stephen E. Flynn

Law & Monsters by John Allen

The Need for Web Design Standards by Jakob Nielsen

Conservative vs. Traditional Catholicism: Distinctions with Philosophical Differences, by Fr. Chad Ripperger, F.S.S.P.

Brownson Quarterly Review July 2004


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