Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Tests for an Unbending Pope...

That headline writer must think E. J. Dionne was hoping to see "a reed shaken by the wind." In yesterday's column Dionne was quoting Cardinal Ratzinger.

He once said that "the 1968 revolution" turned into "a radical attack on human freedom and dignity, a deep threat to all that is human."

Today he's quoting Hans Kung.

"Joseph Ratzinger is afraid," the liberal Catholic theologian Hans Kung declared in 1985. "And just like Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquisitor, he fears nothing more than freedom."

Maybe it depends on how one thinks about freedom.

... the model from which creation must be understood is not the craftsman but the creative mind, creative thinking. At the same time it becomes evident that the idea of freedom is the characteristic mark of the Christian belief in God as opposed to any kind of monism. At the beginning of all being it puts not just some kind of consciousness but a creative freedom which creates further freedoms. To this extent one could very well describe Christianity as a philosophy of freedom. For Christianity, the explanation of a reality as a whole is not an all-embracing consciousness or one single materiality; on the contrary, at the summit stands a freedom that thinks and, thinking, creates freedoms, thus making freedom the structural form of all being.

--Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity (1968), translated by J. R. Foster (1970), p. 110

Update: Michael Novak regarding, inter alia, Ratzinger on liberty.

Friday, April 1, 2005

April 2005

This is a placeholder post linking to the page with this month's entries in the pre-Blogger format.

84 priests object to search policy. Ratzinger photo serves as memento of visit to Rome, not hero worship. Cardinal Ratzinger On Liturgical Music. German Cardinal Becomes Pope Benedict XVI. Dolan puts new priests policy on hold. Schermerhorn transformed MSO. The next pope? The papal challenges. Parish Leadership: See where you might be of service. Revised tax limit amendment draws legislative leaders' support. Muskego schools backer has questions about TVs. Priests would be subject to searches. Priest abuse victims want more time. Pope John Paul II Is Laid to Rest. Paying homage to one who touched them. Pope left his imprint on state in ways big and small. At Peace. Possible successors include Africans, Latin Americans. Apocaloopsis.



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.

Did the Archbishop ask for a policy which effectively guarded the interests of the Archdiocese?

When it was developed, did he read the damn thing before it was disseminated?

Less politely, is he paying attention to what goes on in the Puzzle Palace, or does he spend a little too much time traveling about to other countries learning Spanish, or whatever?

IMHO, the policy was clearly designed to protect the Archdiocese. Although it took a very hard line, there was nothing unreasonable about it. Further, it is highly unlikely that any of the provisions for 'search' would have been implemented against any priest who is not a 'suspect;' -in all likelihood, the Archdiocesan 'search-team' would get there after-the-fact, not before.

So what is really going on here?




In another email, a reader asks,

Who d'ya know wants to buy a car. ...

Yup. A 6 year old 5-speed VW Golf. One owner, older, drove kinda slow. ...
As of now, only $54K USD, plus shipping to US POE.


84 priests object to search policy

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.




Ratzinger photo serves as memento of visit to Rome, not hero worship

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."

... Tom ... is now 29 and a Muslim who is raising a family and studying in Cairo.

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.)

At least the kid has an apparently normal psychology.




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

--Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity (1968),
translated by J. R. Foster (1970), p. 247


German Cardinal Becomes Pope Benedict XVI

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.


Dolan puts new priests policy on hold

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.


Schermerhorn transformed MSO

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.




The next pope?

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.

Father Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit weekly magazine America and author of "Inside the Vatican," put it this way in a recent interview in Rome.

"I think there's going to be a backlash during this conclave against the curia," Reese said, noting that about 75% of voting cardinals run dioceses and do not work in Rome. "They're all going to say John Paul II was wonderful but the Vatican curia got out of hand. They want the freedom to make the pastoral decisions for their dioceses, and they want their bishops conferences to make decisions for their country.

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.

"When a German-speaking cardinal in the Vatican tells the U.S. bishops how to speak English, then I think you've got a problem. That's centralization run amok."

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.

The papal challenges

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.

Building and Grounds   Christian Formation

Finance   Human Concerns

Liturgy   Personnel

Communication   Long Range Planning


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.


Revised tax limit amendment draws legislative leaders' support

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:

- For state government, the percentage growth in the state's population.

- For public schools, the percentage change in the number of K-12 students - a change that varies widely by district but has been dropping statewide, according to the state Department of Public Instruction. ...

- For cities, villages, towns and counties, the growth in new construction in their local communities - new construction that has averaged about 2.5% a year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

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.




Muskego schools backer has questions about TVs

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.




Priests would be subject to searches

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."

"Ultimately the archdiocese is being held responsible for the action of the members," Szews said. "If you have some help to keep you on the straight and narrow, you should welcome that."

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.

"There is a neo-orthodox faction among the bishops," Isely said. "They are sending a message: 'We are going to clamp down and make this a disciplined, obedient group.' "

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.




Priest abuse victims want more time

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 ...

--Katharine Viner




A reader recommends "A Journal of a Roman Deacon." Here's
Part One and
Part Two.




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.

It may seem incoherent to bear a grudge over being unable to practice a religion you don't believe in, much less to direct it at the head of the religion—but give me a minute to explain.

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.


Pope John Paul II Is Laid to Rest

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.




Paying homage to one who touched them

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. ...

Sodano is the subject of rumors of Vatican intrigue after a breach of protocol after the pope's death. According to church rules, the death ought to have been announced by the pope's assistant as bishop of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini. But Sodano, who entered the pope's apartment after the death occurred, told Sandri to announce the news in St. Peter's Square, Vatican officials said. Ruini heard the word on television.

Sodano, like most other Vatican officials, technically lost his job as the Vatican's prime minister as soon as the pope died. One official, speaking anonymously, said that the breach might have been an effort to reduce Ruini's profile as the papal selection approaches. Vatican observers have mentioned both Sodano and Ruini as possible successors to John Paul II.

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?




Pope left his imprint on state in ways big and small

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.

"I said, 'Well, be careful. Don't judge everything by what you see in Stevens Point, because this is still the old-line Catholicism where the priest tends to call most of the shots.' It was true then. I don't think it's true today. I said, 'However, as you know, this country was founded by Protestants. And as a result everybody grows up with a Protestant mentality. People believe you have a right to protest any issue, and every point of view has a right to be expressed and to be heard. So, in general they're good Catholics, but they think like Protestants.' "

Later, one of the newly elected pope's first visits in the United States was to New Orleans. After a long day of meetings, the pope met with a group of young priests and nuns who began vigorously debating and advocating for a married priesthood and expanded roles for women in the church, Dreyfus said.

"And on the way back to the private quarters, he apparently had said to Stan (Father Stanislaw Dziwisz, the personal secretary) - at least as Stan reported it just a month later - 'You know, the chancellor was right. They are good young Catholics, but they think like Protestants.' And I always treasured that."

Contra Tocqueville.

At Peace

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."

The greatest polarization is between those in authority - the hierarchy - and the laity and the lower clergy, "who increasingly don't take authority seriously unless what it demands is explained reasonably, which authority doesn't do," Greeley said.

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 ... ."

Possible successors include Africans, Latin Americans

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.

Joseph Ratzinger (77): (+) has his fans; (-) even at 77, can't die soon enough for some other people; (+) might spur a revival of Monte Python's Spanish Inquisition bit.

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."

Eschatology--that branch of the science of faith, and before
it of revelation, which treats of the "last things"--traditionally
has its beginning in the contemplation of the necessity of
death to which man is subject. In the passage quoted above
[from Gaudium et Spes 18]
Vatican II expresses the same truth as it appears to the
consciousness of present-day man. At the same time, however,
in accordance with the long tradition of faith and of human
thought, the Council explains that "rebellion" against death,
the resistance that man opposes to it with his longing for
immortality. Christian eschatology starts from these two
fundamental truths: the death of the body and the immortality
of the soul.

--Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II),
Sources of Renewal: The implementation of the Second Vatican Council (1972; Revised edition 1979) p. 178





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.

"Pope John Paul II was the first Pope in modern history to acknowledge the horror and sin of child sexual abuse by clergy and stated emphatically that 'there is not place in the ministry for those who would harm children,' " according to Peter Isely, SNAP's Midwest Director from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Isely was sexually assaulted as a child from a priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese. "We are grateful for the foundation the Pope has struggled to build in the last years of his papacy to begin to address this terrible problem which will take many more years to fully comprehend and address across the world wide church."

Isely and state SNAP leaders are urging Wisconsin victims and families to join Catholics this Sunday in prayers for the Pope and the future of the Church. "A surprising number of victims of clergy sexual abuse remain devoted Catholics," said Mary Guenter, SNAP's Wisconsin Coordinator, "and will be attending Masses around the state, just like their fellow Catholics, and offering heartfelt prayers for the future of their Church." Guentner was sexually abused by a nun of the School Sisters of Saint Francis.

Update: another recipient of the press release replied noting Hans Kung on
The Pope's Contradictions, relatively mild for him. Here's my favorite out of Kung's critiques.

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.

Kung concludes,

... 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. ...

6. ... In the entire process of selecting and testing students, however, a due firmness is to be adopted, even if a deplorable lack of priests should exist, since God will not allow His Church to want for ministers if those who are worthy are promoted and those not qualified are, at an early date, guided in a fatherly way to undertake other tasks. ...

10. Students who follow the venerable tradition of celibacy according to the holy and fixed laws of their own rite are to be educated to this state with great care. For renouncing thereby the companionship of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 19:12), they embrace the Lord with an undivided love altogether befitting the new covenant, bear witness to the resurrection of the world to come (cf. Luke 20:36), and obtain a most suitable aid for the continual exercise of that perfect charity whereby they can become all things to all men in their priestly ministry. ...

11. ... Seminary discipline should be so maintained, however, that the students acquire an internal attitude whereby they accept the authority of superiors from personal conviction, that is to say, from a motive of conscience (cf. Rom. 13:5), and for supernatural reasons. ...

13. ... Moreover they are to acquire a knowledge of Latin which will enable them to understand and make use of the sources of so many sciences and of the documents of the Church. ...

[Conclusion] The Fathers of this holy synod have pursued the work begun by the Council of Trent. ...

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."

Just today learned that John XXIII's body is incorruptible, which is why he was removed from his grave and put 'on display' upstairs someplace in the Vatican.

Perhaps it's because of that Instruction?

Or perhaps that instruction is why Archbishop Weakland included a statue of Blessed John in the renovation of our Cathedral.