The Provincial Emails
When I started this weblog, I considered using blogging software, but instead elected to use "hand-crafted" HTML, but starting tomorrow I'm using Blogger.
So subsequent posts and archive links will be on my home page.
Our Archbishop retracts, a reader reacts.
The Archbishop’s retraction of the policy was accompanied by a major breast-beating on Sykes’ Sunday AM show (Channel 4, 4/24/05.) Frankly, this raises a couple of questions.
In another email, a reader asks,
Who d'ya know wants to buy a car. ...
This new policy of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was criticized in a statement signed by 84 priests and read to Archbishop Dolan at yesterday's meeting of the Priests Council.
The statement written by the Milwaukee Archdiocese Priest Alliance was approved by more than 65% of its 129 members, according to Father Kenneth Mich, a spokesman for the group. The alliance was formed in 2003 as a support network and independent voice for clergy.The statement concluded.
... The level of hurt among the Presbyterate is deep and the feeling of solidarity with our Archbishop is damaged for many."If you read the minutes at the Priests Alliance, there doesn't appear to have been any solidarity to damage.
Archbishop Dolan has wondered why he doesn't hear more support for what he tries to do. Maybe the reason can be found in what happened in this case to Al Szews, who stuck his neck out for our Archbishop by giving immediate unqualified public support to the plan. I expect we'll see less of that in the future.
Jim Stingl's column in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tells how Marquette University's Daniel Maguire was in Rome in 1986, accompanied by his then pre-teen son Thomas. They ran into Cardinal Ratzinger, who consented to a picture with young Tom. Ratzinger went on to become Pope. As for the Maguires,
In a letter published in The New York Times last week, [Daniel] Maguire wrote: "The elevation of the ultraconservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the papal chair should signal Catholics that it is time to stop looking for a savior shepherd and instead start thinking for themselves."This is the first Sunday of Pope Benedict XVI, and it happens the Gospel reading includes this,
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."spoken then to a different Thomas.
Update: A reader comments,
Well, it can be said that Tom Maguire did what most people do: sought a religion which has firm rules (as opposed to the faux-Catholicism taught to him by his apostate father.)
A reader notes this Catholic Culture article, Cardinal Ratzinger On Liturgical Music.
... a summary of three articles by Cardinal Ratzinger on liturgical music which appeared in German journals during the years 1986-1994 and were reprinted in English as part of the anthology, A New Song for the Lord: Faith in Christ and Liturgy Today. [footnote omitted] The essays were written for different occasions, but they follow the same pattern: the author contrasts a problematic theory or a pernicious trend with the true theology of the liturgy, and from that draws conclusions as to the proper place of music in the liturgy and suggests guidelines for practical applications.
A reader noted an outbreak of the schadenfreude epidemic at Free Republic.
Anytime a liberal squeals in outrage, an angel gets its wings!Meanwhile Salon puts the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth behind the subscriber wall, no doubt to help avoid the occasion for morose delectation. Sterner souls can take the free pass. (via Domenico Bettinelli)
The world is in motion towards unity in the person. The whole draws its meaning from the individual, not the other way about. Perception of this also justifies once again Christology's apparent positivism, the conviction--a scandal to men of all periods--that makes one individual the centre of history and of the whole. The intrinsic necessity of this "positivism" here becomes apparent afresh: if it is true that at the end stands the triumph of spirit, that is, the triumph of truth, freedom and love, then it is not just some force or other that finally ends up victorious; what stands at the end is a countenance. The omega of the world is a "you", a person, an individual. The all-encompassing "complexification", the unification infinitely embracing all, is at the same time the final denial of all collectivism, the denial of the fanaticism of the mere idea, even the so-called "idea of Christianity". Man, person always takes precedence over the mere idea.
MO' JOE WORKING
Exclusive leaks from the conclave disclose that during deliberations the Second Vatican Council would come up. At such points, someone would say to Cardinal Ratzinger,
You were there, what about that?By electing him pope, they saved the pope this step.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
Negative reaction from priests convinced Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan to postpone a new policy permitting searching their residences if they had been involved in sexual misconduct or substance abuse.
Calling the reaction to the policy a "firestorm," Father Curt Frederick, vicar for clergy, sent an e-mail to diocesan priests Monday that stated the policy would be placed on hold.At least our priests' hearts burned within them over something.
And someone was actually available for comment!
In an interview today, Frederick said Dolan acknowledged he made a mistake by approving the policy without consulting with the Council of Priests first. The review by that advisory group will occur April 28, he said.That's also when priests whose terms expire this year find out their new assignments.
Sure, Kenneth Schermerhorn took the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra up a few notches as its music director. But he managed to take a lot of the shine out of that polish.
... Schermerhorn got into hot water by telling a New York interviewer that he was the biggest fish in a small pond.Hint to anyone with Milwaukee as a step on your career ladder: let us tell you you're better than we deserve.
For example, despite Schermerhorn's cautionary example, Archbishop Weakland once managed to say he would have been a better fit as Archbishop of Vienna in the time of Mozart.
Before the Church could get mo' Joe working, Cardinal Ratzinger needs Joe mo' working, momentum, that is.
As the cardinals gather to begin the secretive process of choosing the new pope, their dean, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, continues to command attention. Italian newspapers and television stations reported that Ratzinger's support increased as cardinals networked privately and met as a group in the days after John Paul's death and funeral.His candidacy is at about the same stage as, say, Gov. Howard Dean's before the Iowa caucuses.
Some liberal lay Catholics in the United States virtually shudder at the mention of his name.If not for the curia, our bishops could have applied to other issues the same approach they used for priests who sexually abused minors. For example,
"I always point to Cardinal (Bernard) Law, certainly not a liberal. He was put in charge of translating the Catechism of the Catholic Church into English. And a German-speaking cardinal in Rome told him he couldn't use (gender) inclusive language, even though Law wanted to use inclusive language in the translation.Or as Martin Luther put it, if a German thinks the German for "faith alone" is a better translation, who is some Italian to tell him differently.
Our local daily's editors fears this omission from a new pope's agenda.
Birth control, married priests, the ordination of women and acceptance of homosexuals are issues that matter in Western Europe and the United States. For 25 years, John Paul limited discussion of those issues. We don't expect anything to change dramatically within the church, but we do wonder whether a new pope will push that lid aside a little and release some of the passion surrounding those matters.Tonight on EWTN, "Holy Crossfire."
Parish Leadership: See where YOU might be of service...
It's that time of year again, time to ask for nominations and volunteers to serve on our Parish Council and Committees. If you go to the Standing Committees section of our parish's web site, it says,
There are nine standing committees of the Parish Council.The little exhibit set up in the community room and the available flyer list eight committees. These include the Parish Life committee and not the Communication and the Long Range Planning committees. The exhibit said the Parish Life committee was authorized by the Parish Council in March 2004. I think the Communication and the Long Range Planning committees folded well before that.
One reason the Communication committee folded is that the real parish policy is against communication. Exhibit One: the Standing Committee page of our parish web site; Exhibit Two: except for later financial statements, the latest Council and Committee minutes available are the same already outdated ones as over two months ago.
P.S. Our new pastor will be announced in about two weeks, I hear, not long after we likely will hear who is our new pope. For the latter, I lean toward Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, if only to be able to say "Church gets mo' Joe workin'," against which I must weigh the danger of a schadenfreude overdose.
State Assembly member and Congressional candidate Frank Lasee has introduced a revised proposal for an amendment to the state constitution that would limit increases in state and local government spending. These proposals' supporters call them a Taxpayers Bill of Rights, TABOR for short.
Lasee's new version of the amendment would limit one-year changes in state and local spending to the three-year average inflation rate for southeast Wisconsin, plus:Exceeding the limit would require approval in a referendum.
This and similar proposals draw opposition from the teachers union, school boards, local governments, and Governor Doyle. He said,
"Under this latest version, if the price of gas rose after the state budget had passed, some schools might use that as an excuse to not follow state law and provide transportation to school for kids."Of course, we all know a school board could use higher fuel costs to get a referendum passed, then spend some of the money on plasma TVs for the cafeteria.
People continue to be persuaded by claims that the government needs an ever larger proportion of the taxpayers' money just to maintain existing services. The case for higher taxes never seems to be that they will produce some measurable improvement for which the proposed program, its administrators, and elected officials will be accountable. Instead, taxes go up, and if results deteriorate, that becomes the basis for the next tax increase. Big city public schools are the most striking example.
Under current state law, some school district spending is subject to referendum. The Muskego-Norway school district passed such a referndum in November 2001. At the time, it was claimed that the increased spending was necessary to avoid a parade of horribles, including split shifts for students. It turns out $57,000 of the money was used to install eight plasma TVs and accompanying sound system in the school cafeteria.
While no surprise to me and a minority of district voters, this was a surprise to Frank Waltz, chairman of the citizen committee that supported the referendum.
Without passing judgment on the TV purchase itself, Waltz said Friday that he wondered whether voters would have supported the 2001 referendum if they had known money would go toward such a purchase.Other districts planning referenda were unfazed.
Racine Unified School District spokeswoman Linda Flashinski said residents in Racine understand that their district is trying to avoid staff layoffs, program cuts and school closings - not equip a student cafeteria with big-screen TVs.They can understand that the district is telling them this, but the Muskego-Norway District made similar claims before its referendum.
According to figures provided by the [Muskego-Norway] school district, the [plasma] TVs cost $20,300, while installation and an accompanying sound system put the total expense at about $57,000. The referendum project came in under budget by more than $430,000, and the School Board voted last fall not to return the money to taxpayers.After all, taxpayers might have just spent it frivolously, buying things like plasma TVs.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
Archbishop Dolan has promulgated new rules regarding priests known or suspected of sexual or other serious improprieties or substance abuse. These include making such priests and their residences subject to surprise searches.
Dolan had a busy schedule and was unavailable for comment Thursday, according to Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for the archdiocese.I appreciate that he's busy, but shouldn't he be available for comment? But, then, the priests weren't either.
"We are very much aware of the outcry that this has provoked among the priests of the diocese," said an e-mail sent Wednesday to all members of the Milwaukee Archdiocese Priests Alliance, which was formed in 2003 as a support network and independent voice for priests. "We are currently carrying on an e-mail discussion" with fellow priests.As to lay reaction, it was the usual game of Three Card Rolodex.
"My initial reaction is that this is the Patriot Act of the Milwaukee archdiocese," said Terry Ryan, founder and past president of the local chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a national group formed in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis.Almost gives one the impression that there's a consensus among VOTF members about the Patriot Act. But that would mean its membership is not a cross-section of lay Catholics.
Al Szews, president of the local chapter of Catholics United for the Faith, a national group that promotes traditional church teachings, said the new monitoring policy was "absolutely the way to go."Which raises the point that our Archdiocese might be imposing these rules in case the Wisconsin Supreme Court's holding in a pending case expands its potential liability. So you might think that victim advocacy groups would be as supportive as CUF. Not quite.
Peter Isely, Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he was not surprised that the monitoring policies were expanded to all clergy.The dig at "neo-orthodoxy" is a peek at SNAP's hidden agenda.
The policies were sent out in a routine annual mailing about other unrelated matters, sources said. Some priests had tossed the mailing aside, assuming it was not important, until a reporter called asking for comment.Some priests treat mail from our Archdiocese the way they don't want parishioners to treat mail from their parishes.
This weblog has been nominated for MKE magazine's blog of the week.
If I win, I have a feeling Frank Pasternak of SueDoctorZhivagoForMalpracticeBlog will be looking for a third of the award.
SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD
The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard cases in Fond du Lac, part of its program to make it easier for citizens around the state to attend.
The marquee case is an appeal from dismissal of a lawsuit against our Archdiocese.
The suit was filed in 2002 because that is when the plaintiffs discovered evidence that the Archdiocese had known about [Father George] Nuedling's pedophilia for at least 20 years, according to Pennsylvania attorney Marci Hamilton, who argued for the plaintiff.This argues for the court to apply a "discovery rule," that is, that the time to sue should run from when the Plaintiff learns of possible wrongful conduct, rather than the general rule that the time runs from when the damage occured. The Plaintiff obviously knew of the abuse by the individual priest, but claims he could not have then known there was also a potential claim against our Archdiocese for assigning a known abuser to a parish.
If the court reverses the lower courts on the statute of limitations issue, the Plaintiff has a second hurdle. In an earlier case, the court had held that judging the church's supervision of its clergy would likely involve the government in doctrinal questions, where the government had no jurisdiction. In short, the court did not think we could have judges or juries deciding if a standard like "the reasonable bishop" was met without infringing on freedom of religion.
The court has discretion in deciding to review decisions of the Court of Appeals, so it had some reason to want to revisit these issues.
But Andrea Dworkin was always more famous for being Andrea Dworkin than anything else. Never mind her seminal works of radical feminism ...
A reader notes this post.
I'm no longer a believing Catholic: my lapse from the faith was set in motion well before I turned eighteen, the year Karol Wojtyla acceded to the papacy. He is, however, the reason I can no longer go to Mass.After that minute, we arrive at the Spirit of Vatican II.
That Church, the one in which I imagined room for my own sort of secularism, is dead, and John Paul II killed it.He persuades me there's no seeming to the incoherence of his position.
In a later post he quotes Thomas Cahill contrasting Pope John XXIII with Pope John Paul II, as better expressing his own point.
Whereas John XXIII endeavored simply to show the validity of church teaching rather than to issue condemnations, John Paul II was an enthusiastic condemner.Even assuming that to be so, Blessed John's approach leaves no more room for secularism within the Church.
The lead from the Washington Post.
Under a clear Vatican sky, thousands of exuberant mourners, chanting "santo, santo, santo," or saint, gathered in the shadow of the Basilica of St. Peter Friday and bid farewell to Pope John Paul II.Like I said.
I have to wonder if Cardinal Sodano is missing our late Pope's point.
In his written homily, Sodano referred to John Paul as "the Great," an honorific applied to only two of the church's 263 previous pontiffs. "He died with the serenity of the saints," Sodano told the crowd.Then don't write that he's "the Great," write that he's "the Saint." Perhaps the lay people attending his funeral will point this out.
Many mourners clutched pictures of John Paul. All seemed eager to praise him. "The least they can do is make him a saint," said Antonella Rado, who drove to Rome overnight from southeastern Italy.It's a start.
Sodano, in his spoken remarks, did not describe John Paul as "the Great." The phrase was in the written text, however, and under Vatican rules, what is written is official. There was no explanation for the inconsistency. ...Just in case you were worried that our Pope's death gets in the way of business as usual at the Vatican.
Update: more on sainthood.
Update 2: in the end a phenomenology of the body?
This morning's paper has stories with the local and state angle on our Pope's death. This one on the latter includes Lee Dreyfus reminiscing on then-Cardinal Wojtyja's visit here while Dreyfus was chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and running for Governor.
At one point during a banquet in 1976, the cardinal asked Dreyfus about American Catholics. Dreyfus later found out that his response made an impression.Contra Tocqueville.
Says the headline. But the battles rage on here below.
"He didn't stabilize the church," [sociologist and novelist Father Andrew] Greeley said. "He made it far more unstable. He tried to stabilize it by resorting to the old techniques of repression. But it didn't work, and it destabilized the church even more, and it polarized it. So his successor is going to have to cope with the polarization that has been left to him."Is that the problem? To use as an example an issue that Fr. Greeley cites, one of today's Mass readings says of the earliest Christians that "They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles... ." Popes explain that the teaching of the apostles can't be squared with artificial contraception. The problem appears to be something other than a lack of reasonable explanation.
As Fr. Greeley goes on, the cliche hits the fan.
"The genie's out of the bottle. Pope John (XXIII) opened the window, and all the attempts to close it have just made the chaos inside the house worse. ...At least the genie had a view. But I have to wonder if Pope Pius XII's last words were "If you ever open the windows, the paperweights are in the ... ."
Here's the campaign coverage Atrios was looking for. The cardinals line-up:
Jean-Marie Lustiger (78): (+) Jewish popes have worked out well in the past; (-) not so sure about French popes; (-) cardinals couldn't say viva il papa! like they meant it; (+) I actually saw and heard him once, have a couple of his books.
Angelo Sodano (77): (+) Sylvia Pajole's NPR Italian less irritating than NPR Spanish (see Hoyos, below); (+) possible short papacy. Update: (-) might want the job a bit too obviously.
Dario Castrillon Hoyos (75): from Columbia, home of the mountain-grown (+) coffee and (-) cocaine; (-) NPR announcers pronouncing his name in their school Spanish; (+) support among Georgetown community who think he's named Hoyas [(-) excludes NPR listeners at Georgetown].
Camillo Ruini (74): (-) poor health; (+) poor health; (+) Vaclav Havel can explain how his name sounds like a Zappa lyric.
Francis Arinze (72): (+) convert from animism (possibly was a pagan baby saved by one of our parents or grandparents); (-) won't get vote of any cardinals from Georgetown.
Lubomyr Husar (72): (+) not a Roman Catholic; (-) Italians would complain about string of Slavic Popes. Update: (-) U.S. citizen for many years.
Godfried Danneels (71): (+) name easy to spell compared to Karol Wojtyla; (-) with NATO and the EU, would be too much Brussels.
Walter Kasper (71): (+) easy to pronounce; (+) taught at Catholic U. in 1983, but (-) couldn't explain to Fr. Curran that the Inquisition doesn't answer questions.
Giovanni Battista Re (71): (+) see Sodano and Sylvia Pajole, above; (-) Re what?--name looks incomplete.
Dionigi Tettamanzi (71) (+) see Sodano and Sylvia Pajole, above; (-) tetrazinni jokes.
Claudio Hummes (70): (+) sounds like hummis; (-) sounds like Hamas; (+) we'd find out how to pronounce Sao Paulo.
Wilfred Napier (64): (+) would catch folks thinking that since he's from South Africa, he might be white; (-) young, in this context.
Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga (62): (-) NPR pronunciation (see Hoyos, above); (+) might force people to learn difference between Central American countries, (-) or not; (-) wrong time for hot young prospect.
Update: Papabile blog has these and other possibles.
"It is in regard to death that man's condition is most shrouded in doubt. Man is tormented not only by pain and by the gradual breaking-up of his body but also, and even more, by the dread of forever ceasing to be. But a deep instinct leads him rightly to shrink from and to reject the utter ruin and total loss of his personality. Because he bears in himself the seed of eternity, which cannot be reduced to mere matter, he rebels against death. All the aids made available by technology, however useful they may be, cannot set his anguished mind at rest. They may prolong his life-span; but this does not satisfy his heartfelt longing, one that can never be stifled, for a life to come."
SMALL WORLD WIDE WEB
Until its unfortunate end due to concerns over potential legal liability in it's Canadian homeland, I occasionally contributed at the message board known as Great Books of Western Civilization Cafe and Great Books Cafe.
A former participant took the initiative to start up a possible successor. As you can see by the login screen of the Great Ideas Cafe, legal liability is still a concern, though the GIC is based in the USA.
Another former participant pseudonymously started the Apocaloopsis weblog and has graciously let me post a bit to see if a blog might serve as a better successor to the old Cafe.
The Wisconsin Chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) sends a press release.
Victims of clergy sexual abuse from Wisconsin are urging their fellow victims to join Catholics around the world in prayer for the ailing Pope.
The concept of separation of powers, the bedrock of all modern legal practice, is unknown in the Roman Catholic church. Due process is an unknown entity in the church. In disputes, one and the same Vatican agency functions as lawmaker, prosecutor and judge.Separation of powers and due process of law are, in modern legal practice, intended to limit the power of the state, not private organizations or individuals. Note, though, that there is no separation of powers in the typical administrative agency of modern government, which makes regulations, prosecutes alleged violators of those regulations, and then decides the case. I suspect we would find those who are affronted by this in the Church would tend to be among the ardent political supporters of the administrative state.
... a new pope must decide in favor of a change in course and inspire the church to embark on new paths -- in the spirit of John XXIII and in keeping with the impetus for reform brought about by the Second Vatican Council.With the emphasis on spirit, since the letter of the Second Vatican Council can be inconvenient, as in its Decree on Priestly Training.
2. ... Teachers and all those who are in any way in charge of the training of boys and young men, especially Catholic associations, should carefully guide the young people entrusted to them so that these will recognize and freely accept a divine vocation. ...
Update: A reader writes,
It's also worth remembering that that nasty John XXIII signed off on an Instruction (1961?) which expressly Prohibited ordination of homosexuals, or even those "with homosexual tendencies."Or perhaps that instruction is why Archbishop Weakland included a statue of Blessed John in the renovation of our Cathedral.