Sunday, December 25, 2005

Nativity guest blog

(While I'm away, the guests' Douay)

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us,
According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word:
It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed.

     POSTED BY LUKE 1:1-4

In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.
In him was life: and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it.

     POSTED BY JOHN 1:1-5

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth.
And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame.
And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren: and they both were well advanced in years.

And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God,
According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord.
And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense.
And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And Zachary seeing him, was troubled: and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard: and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son. And thou shalt call his name John.
And thou shalt have joy and gladness: and many shall rejoice in his nativity.
For he shall be great before the Lord and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias: that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.
And Zachary said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.
And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God and am sent to speak to thee and to bring thee these good tidings.
And behold, thou shalt be dumb and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass: because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.
And the people were waiting for Zachary: and they wondered that he tarried so long in the temple.
And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they understood that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he made signs to them and remained dumb.
And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived and hid herself five months, saying:
Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he hath had regard to take away my reproach among men.

And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren.
Because no word shall be impossible with God.
And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.
And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth.
And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.
And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy.
As he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
And Mary abode with her about three months. And she returned to her own house.

Now Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come: and she brought forth a son.
And her neighbors and kinsfolks heard that the Lord had shewed his great mercy towards her: and they congratulated with her.
And it came to pass that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child: and they called him by his father's name Zachary.
And his mother answering, said: Not so. But he shall be called John.
And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered.
And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed: and he spoke, blessing God.
And fear came upon all their neighbours: and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill country of Judea.
And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying: What an one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.

And Zachary his father was filled with the Holy Ghost. And he prophesied, saying:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people.
And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant.
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning.
Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us.
To perform mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy testament.
The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us.
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear:
In holiness and justice before him, all our days.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt, go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:
To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins.
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
To enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.
And the child grew and was strengthened in spirit: and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

     POSTED BY LUKE 1:5-80

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Judas and his brethren.
And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron. And Esron begot Aram.
And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson. And Naasson begot Salmon.
And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse.
And Jesse begot David the king.

And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias.
And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abia. And Abia begot Asa.
And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram. And Joram begot Ozias.
And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz. And Achaz begot Ezechias.
And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manasses begot Amon. And Amon begot Josias.
And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon.

And after the transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel. And Salathiel begot Zorobabel.
And Zorobabel begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim. And Eliacim begot Azor.
And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim. And Achim begot Eliud.
And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan. And Mathan begot Jacob.
And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

So all the generations from Abraham to David, are fourteen generations. And from David to the transmigration of Babylon, are fourteen generations: and from the transmigration of Babylon to Christ are fourteen generations.

Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost.
Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.
But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying:
Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife.
And he knew her not till she brought forth her first born son: and he called his name Jesus.


And it came to pass that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.
This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria.
And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David.
To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.
And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock.
And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them: and they feared with a great fear.
And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people:
For, this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.
And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.
And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.
And they came with haste: and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.
And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child.
And all that heard wondered: and at those things that were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord:
As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord:
And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons:
And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon: and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Ghost was in him.
And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,
He also took him into his arms and blessed God and said
Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace:
Because my eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples:
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.
And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him.
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted.
And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity.
And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day.
Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord: and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.
And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth.

     POSTED BY LUKE 2:1-39

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem,
Saying: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and are come to adore him.
And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born.
But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet:
And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, privately calling the wise men learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them;
And sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore him.
Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the East, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was.
And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him: and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.

And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him.
Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod:
That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry: and sending killed all the menchildren that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying:
A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt,
Saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child.
Who arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
But hearing that Archclaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: and being warned in sleep retired into the quarters of Galilee.
And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by the prophets: That he shall be called a Nazarene.


And the child grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.

     POSTED BY LUKE 2:40

Comment JF[Fr. Joseph Fessio]: Hugh [Hugh Hewitt], when you look at sacred scripture, and ask who changed the world and how they do it, there was a young Jewish girl, maybe 14, 15 years old, was taking care of the house, and betrothed to a guy named Joseph who was a carpenter. There's someone else who was doing his job, but at a tax collector's bench, you know, taking money from the people. There was a couple of other folks out on the lake fishing. They were doing what they thought they should do, waiting for the Messiah, open to the Lord's inspiration, and look what happened.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thank you, grandmas and grandpas

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan writes in the "Herald of Hope" column in the December 15, 2005 Catholic Herald on a 1973 visit to an Orthodox monastery in Russia.
We had a fascinating conversation with the monks, and asked them, since public worship and any organized religious instruction were outlawed, how the faith was being passed on to children. The monks looked at us somewhat flabbergasted: "What do you mean? The faith is passed on to children here the same way it is handed on anywhere: by grandparents."

I recall my grandparents going to daily Mass in their Oldsmobile. But what if there were a society in which young people valued nothing associated with their grandparents' generation? Would the faith go the way of the Oldsmobile?

Bread runs feed the hungry

Volunteers load vans with bakery goods, deliver to needy
Maryangela Layman Roman reports in the December 15, 2005 Catholic Herald on Michael Czarnecki and a Knights of Columbus project that collects baked goods from retailers and distributes them to those in need. The food has reached a "sell by" date or is "day old" but is not stale or spoiled.

Some years back, a fellow parishioner had the same idea for our area. It's one of the many parish projects that might get more people involved or more committed, if only we heard more about them.

Lessons from the galaxy

In the "Herald of Hope" column in the December 8, 2005, Bishop Richard J. Sklba wants to make a point on centralization versus decentralization in the Church. He starts with a folksy feigned ignorance of physics ... or is it feigned?
Things fall to the ground rather than floating out into space because the Earth seems to pull them close to itself. If they were further away, like the astronauts, for example, they might be perilously freed from that tug and could disappear off into outer darkness.

Searching for Heresy

This column by Father Richard McBrien appeared in the November 17, 2005 Catholic Herald.
...when "heresy" is used in a consciously theological way, it is often mis-used. A certain type of Catholic applies the word "heresy" all too freely -- and recklessly -- to viewpoints that appear to them to be at odds with a particular church teaching or policy -- any church teaching or policy.

For example, Bishop Richard Sklba or Sister Joan Chittister.

Foreign priests welcome opportunities to serve in archdiocese

Karen Mahoney reports in the December 1, 2005 Catholic Herald.
Locally, Fr. Brian Mason, the archdiocese's associate vicar for clergy, said most parish priests willingly accept international priests in the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

The November 10, 2005 Catholic Herald story on the meeting of representatives of the local priests' union with Fr. Donald Cozzens said local priests "questioned the idea of bringing foreign priests into U.S. dioceses to address the vocations shortage." Seems like a contradiction, and then Fr. Mason goes on as if there is no vocation shortage in the first place.
"In addition to requiring the knowledge of our language, they need to pass a rigid screening process before they are considered," he said. "We also have to have a specific placement for them. We don't just invite them here and have a pool of priests, and provide them a place to live. ..."

Healing process continues for parish after pastor's suicide

Karen Girard reported in the November 24, 2005 Catholic Herald on how St. Dominic Parish in Sheboygan is coping with the July 30th suicide of its pastor, Father Jim Jarumbo (see this earlier post). It's coping by dealing with suicide as entirely a mental health issue, without any real moral issue involved.

The article includes this from "Fr. Guy Gurath, pastor of Newburg's Holy Trinity Parish and active in grief ministry."

He told a story in which a mother was filled with grief over the loss of her son who had flung himself off a bridge. She could accept his death, she told a priest, but not the thought he'd be in hell for his action. The priest, consoling the mother, told her: between the bridge and the water, your son prayed 'God have mercy,' and God did.

There was a time that would have been expressed as a hope.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Springtime for Shanley: producing a child-abuse musical

Domenico Bettinelli on Love Jerry
(via Off the Record)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Discouragement, love of church collide

Maryangela Layman Roman also reported in the November 10, 2005 Catholic Herald on Fr. Donald Cozzens' meeting with about 25 members of the Milwaukee Archdiocese Priest Alliance at St. Sebastian Church.
During their 90-minute discussion, participants raised concerns about the lack of men entering the priesthood, the ideological mindsets of today's seminarians, the role or lack of a role the church has in the modern world, and questioned the idea of bringing foreign priests into U.S. dioceses to address the vocations shortage.

So the MAPA members didn't make the priesthood seem attractive to young men in their parishes, and also object to priests coming here from elsewhere, and think it's the seminarians who have "ideological mindsets."
"We all know priests whose careers mean a lot to them and I'm not here to criticize them," he [Fr. Cozzens] said. "We certainly want to be respected by our brother priests and we certainly want the smile of our bishop, but if we don't preach the Gospel as we understand it, then our own integrity is being chipped away."

When a priest says "we" I have sometimes found it difficult to pin down to whom he's referring. Is Fr. Cozzens here saying that if a priest's understanding of the Gospel is different than the Church's, his integrity requires he preach his understanding? Is that what Voice Of The Faithful means by "priests of integrity"? Would his integrity not prevent him from still cashing his paycheck under these circumstances?
During the ensuing discussion, one priest said he was frustrated by the fact "we don't have anybody to replace us," while another feared the church "is on a headlong march into irrelevancy."

That there's no one to replace them might reflect more on the irrelevancy of their views than those of the Church.

Despite its problems, former rector sees signs of hope for church

Fr. Donald Cozzens appearance in Milwaukee was reported by Maryangela Layman Roman in the November 10, 2005 Catholic Herald. His presentation was title "Faith that Dares to Speak." He began with a general approach to the Church's problems.
"Imagine what the life of the church would be like if we embraced Gospel simplicity," he told about 500 people gathered for one of the opening sessions during Call To Action's annual conference held Nov. 4-6 at Milwaukee's Midwest Airlines Center.

"I think the credibility of our leaders would be reclaimed if we clergy embrace Gospel simplicity. Clericalism would be dissolved. Then we would witness and model that what we preach," he said.

So, the solution is to return to the model of an earlier time?
During his hourlong presentation, Fr. Cozzens described the church as a feudal structure which has served the church well for thousands of years. Yet, he said, the feudal system does not work well when the serfs are educated, describing his audience as very educated people.

So, the problem is continuing with the model of an earlier time?
It's now coming into conflict, however, with what he called the modern democratic culture rooted in participation.

"Yes, we embrace the teaching authority of the church," he said, "but you see the style of this other culture, this other world view is quite different." He described its style as pastoral and persuasive.

You actually see its style in processes like parish councils, listening sessions or Open Space. These fit their advocates' preconceptions that participatory form will produce results spontaneously. They don't, in practice, but instead have been used manipulatively or ineffectively.
The clash of cultures exists in the church, said Fr. Cozzens, because the new style clashes with the long-standing feudal system where the bishops are vassels to the pope, the absolute monarch, and the priests are vassels to the bishops. At the very bottom are the laity, the serfs, said Fr. Cozzens.

As you recall from your History lessons, the theory of the absolute monarch was a post-feudal development. A feudal king's right to rule was conditioned on fulfilling his obligations to his vassals, and so on down to the serfs.

Why should we expect the very educated laity to bring the Church closer to Gospel simplicity? If and when in charge, they more likely will assert authority on the basis of superior knowledge. Rather than spiritual lords, or spiritual fathers, they would claim to be the spiritual experts.

Renewal organizations like Voice of the Faithful and Call to Action include people who are trying to embrace a gospel of liberation, he said, adding he's also filled with hope because of the growing numbers of associations and alliances of priests formed to address difficult issues in the church.

From what I've seen, they seem rather to want to be in the Church what tenured faculty is in the university.

MAPA General Meeting September 29, 2005

Our local priests' union had its annual membership meeting September 29, 2005. About half the members attended. There were some initial reports, including
Since our last meeting our alliance has been very present in the response to the CSI Protocols.

"Being present" reminds me of how "The Delta House has a long tradition of existence to its members and the community at large." Another report says they will be meeting with Fr. Donald Cozzens when he comes to town.

Dr. David Mannelli gave a presentation on "communication with our church especially in our Archdiocese". He begins by explaining conflict between the interest of an individual and that of an organization as conflict between the internal development and the external functioning of the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Thus saying "What were they thinking?" becomes more literal than figurative. So if you have been wondering why differing interests lead to conflicts, now you have an analysis.

Symptoms: hopelessness, resignation, passive aggressiveness, impulsiveness, cynicism.

Symptoms of depressed MAPA priests? The minutes put it this way.
The church is depressed. This depression is overflowing to others in the pews.

Seems to say the priests are the Church, and their depression is depressing the laity.
He suggests: we need to work through our own personal issues first. We must be able to answer the question: do I matter.

How hard it must be for them to not have Archbishop Weakland providing regular doses of this hand-wringing overanalysis.
External: engage this conversation externally in our prophetic role. We can be a great source of creativity for the world. Shown in confidence, assertiveness, "a voice", humility. See ourselves as a font of the Holy Spirit.

They could have Mac Davis sing it: Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble, when you're a prophetic creative confident assertive font of the Holy Spirit.
Priests need to find a place in our theological setting to have a home.

A home that's unlike a rectory, no doubt, but like what?
This would give us a place to get our executive conversation in the external realm; from there it will be able to communicate with the laity, episcopacy, theologians.

Sort of an Internal Forum with a webcam?
A space where truth won't need to be proven but will be allowed to emerge.

Like mushrooms!
From this home there can be publications so that pieces of truth and hope can get wider distribution.

The Church being where the Xerox machines are. I hope there's an online edition.

After Dr. Manelli's presentation, the priests held a couple of Open Space sessions which raised five issues.

Witch hunt for Gay men in Seminary and priesthood.

Presumably not meaning witch hunt in the Salem sense of finding what's not there.
Clergy office staff sufficient to visit every priest every year.

How about the priests first figure out how to have enough parish staff to visit every parishioner every year. And not to ask for money!
General penance and absolution; need to recognize sin and deal with it

Sounds like a good way to recognize sin in general, as opposed to yours or mine, and not deal with it.
The disproportionate power of fringe groups in the church.

Regular readers of Fr. Richard McBrien's column in the Catholic Herald will recall he puts the bishops in this category, while the center is more or less everyone else on the Church payroll.
Institutional support for laicized priests

Our parish already has had a laicized priest serving as a lector and leading the Childrens' Liturgy of the Word, if that's what MAPA means. Or they might be thinking more of financial support.

The minutes then report on all of the above.

Priest's rights [committee] handed in a written report

No details provided.
Generational issues of priests: came up with characatures [sic] with some descriptions. Some ways to bridge this: have a conversation about lumen gentium, do some mutual lampooning, clergy assignments can help search for some balance.

And here I thought the MAPA minutes already served as a caricature and lampoon of Lumen Gentium 28. Generational issues seem to be that the older active priests' example drew few like-minded younger men to the seminary. Since the alternative would be to examine why that's so, they instead have to try to warp the younger priests' minds.
General absolution group submitted an action plan.

No details provided.
Witch hunt: action step: get three members of the presbyterate to write a document of quality and then pass it by the alliance membership.

Another great moment in committee-writing might be in the works.
David Manelli group spoke about a lack of energy and don't have enough energy to enter into a dialogue.

Maybe they're tired from too many meetings.
How can we draw tired priests out.

I still say an all-you-can-eat buffet would draw a lot of them.
The energetic priests can engage Archbishop Dolan.

There's a backhanded compliment to him.
Should write a letter to Bishop Sklba thanking him for making a statement.

Those who are thankful when he doesn't make a statement probably don't write.
Could do better if we engage the Archbishop on the pastoral level where we might find a more friendly starting point.

The Archbishop could respond that priests would probably be less tired if they were more efficient and effective. As an example, pastoral efficiency and effectiveness would be enhanced if a priest could answer a question about the parish liturgy by merely pointing to the rubrics, as opposed to the greater energy expended in explaining why he doesn't, or the even greater energy expended in avoiding answering the question.

Festive Holiday Concert (II)

Another oddly-headlined announcement at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's web site.
Rejoice in the lasting gift of Christmas...present and past!

Why not just call it a Christmas Concert?
Come to hear music of Our Lord's Coming -- sacred & secular, voices & instruments, traditional & contemporary. A vocal and instrumental presentation by the Music Ministry of Three Holy Women Parish in Milwaukee

Probably means musicians & choir from that parish. The concert's not at the parish, but at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Gay Seminarians

Is the Vatican Bigoted or Prudent?

Paul Stanosz is a priest and the pastor of St. James Church here in Franklin. In this Commonweal "Short Take" he concludes the policy of dissuading men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from entering the seminary is prudent, but only because he believes it will spare their feelings.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

MAPA Convening Board September 12, 2005

Our local priests' union leadership met September 12, 2005. Their Treasurer is our former pastor. He couldn't attend but emailed in.
[Fr.] Dick Aiken also requested a consideration of increasing dues from $25.00 to $30.00 ...

Which causes me to laugh nostalgically. It goes on
...we decided that at this time, the dues amount should remain at $25.00.

Fr. Dick must not yet have mastered search engines.
Dick Aiken also inquired as to our website address ...

The annual meeting of the full membership was coming up.
We finalized the Agenda for the General Meeting on September 29th. Chuck Schramm will be in touch with Dr. Mannelli about his presentation The Promise to Consult, a Reciprocal Agreement.

[The only local reference I found for a Dr. Manelli was with regard to a psychotherapy called induced after-death communication (IADC), which appears to claim to have replaced seance with science. Perhaps he'll talk about a promise to consult with the dead.]

The "Focus Group" reports includes this confession.

Peace Group -- since we don't have clear leadership, we will continue to cooperate and monitor the activities of the group started by Mark Peters.

Returning to another topic
[Fr.] Dave Cooper sent email to Fr. Donald Cozzens to pursue his interest in meeting with the priests of the Archdiocese for discussion on Friday, November 4 while he is in town for the Call to Action Convention.

Planning for that went on the agenda for their next meeting set for October 10, 2005, the minutes of which are not yet posted.

Catholic-Jewish dialogue highlights 40 years of progress

Brian Olszewski reports in the November 10, 2005 Catholic Herald on the November 6th conference on Jewish/Catholic relations, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate).
Rabbi David Sandmel, one of two keynote speakers for the evening, said it was difficult to overestimate the effect Nostra Aetate had on the Jewish community in 1965.

"What it launched is more significant than what it said," he said.

Where what is launched doesn't conflict with what it said, I presume.

MAPA Convening Board August 8, 2005

Our local priests' union leadership met August 8, 2005. They not only have guests, they sometimes even have
Special Guests: Lisa Stewart-Calderone from the Archdiocese and MAREDA addressed us regarding the idea of co-sponsoring an Open Space Event with MAREDA.

MAREDA, again, is the Milwaukee Archdiocese Religious Education Directors Association. Open Space is another management tool misapplied in our Archdiocese. The priests union likes Open Space but is keeping MAREDA at arms-length.

On the "Business Agenda" under Priests' Rights

a letter and brochure of what to do in case you are called was mailed out.

Here's the brochure. The letter is presently on their home page. It includes this,
These guidelines are enclosed with this letter for your information and consideration. They are not exhaustive, but they do provide sound advice to priests who may find themselves in circumstances that no one wants or expects to encounter.

No one expects? Most because they're innocent, some because they thought they'd get away with it? No, because it's society's fault.
The state of the Church is such that no priest should imagine that he will never face some form of accusation.

The state of the Church being poor, no fault of any MAPA member, of course.
The simple truth is: each priest is the chief advocate for his own canonical and civil rights. Know your rights. Demand that they be respected.

Don't forget your right to give parishioners the brush-off, run-around, or a brow-beating when they raise canonical and other issues.

The minutes on the Priests' Rights committee go on

And we are still awaiting the results of the panel Archbishop Dolan commissioned to look at the question of equitable treatment of priests.

I predict the panel will be in favor of it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Franciscan's 'rap' is for people to remain in awe of Eucharist

In an occasional episode of The Simpsons, anchorman Kent Brockman also has a feature/entertainment show "Eye on Springfield." Back when chant was on the charts ...
Kent: Tonight, we'll visit Springfield's answer to the Benedictine monks: the Rappin' Rabbis.

Don't eat pork,
not even with a fork.
[motions to cooked pig]
Can't touch this!

Maryangela Layman Roman's truth is stranger than that fiction in this story in the November 3, 2005 Catholic Herald.

MAPA Convening Board July 11, 2005

Our local priests' union's leaders met again July 11, 2005.

Looks like their constitution is being sent to the members for review and comment.

The issue of meeting with MAREDA (Milwaukee Archdiocese Religious Education Directors Association) came up again, and also went through cost-benefit analysis.

The question centers around do we really want to do this, what benefit is there for us?

The priests are preparing an agenda for the September meeting of all the members, including
Call for new issues

Not sure that they've resolved any existing issues; maybe the goal is to have as many as possible.

They were still working on who to meet with, Dr. David Mannelli and Fr. Donald Cozzens were possibilities.

Solemn Evening Prayer

Back on the first Sunday of Advent, our parish bulletin (pdf 5 mb, p. 2) had this item.
During your hectic preparations for Christmas, set aside time for prayer and reflection. On the Sundays of Advent we will celebrate Solemn Evening Prayer at 3:30 PM in the Chapel. Quiet instrumental music will begin at 3:30 and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours will follow at 4:00 PM.

Not only is this time of year hectic, many people find all times of year so. Perhaps acedia is the sin characteristic of our time. But the Church has become hectic, as well. I recall the parish council retreats, with every minute over-scheduled and no time for reflection. Even in the prelude to Solemn Evening Prayer, there is not quiet but instead "quiet [meaning soft] instrumental music."

The hard copy of that bulletin included an insert on "What is The Liturgy of the Hours?"

While certain members of the Church, Priests, Deacons, and Consecrated Religious are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day, anyone who wishes to deepen their relationship with God may and are encouraged to participate in these times of prayer.

Looking back, the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), sections 83-101 discuss the reform of the Liturgy of the Hours. It does encourage the laity to also pray the Hours, to some extent. But it says little about is how the clergy, religious and laity might pray the Hours together.

What I had thought the Council had in mind was priests with religious leading parishioners in Lauds and Vespers in the parish church. Our parish has two priests, and one religious on staff, and one of our two deacons also has a staff position. I had wondered why they with our entire parish staff couldn't start and end the day praying the Hours (still on the clock would be fine with me) with the parishioners invited to attend. Looking back at Sacrosanctum Concilium, what I pictured isn't explicitly what the Council contemplated. But it didn't contemplate, either, that forty years later there would be only rather tentative steps toward the laity praying the Hours.

MAPA Convening Board June 13, 2005

The local priests' union's executive committee's meeting of June 13, 2005 start out approving the minutes of their May 9, 2005 meeting. Those May 9, 2005 minutes aren't listed on their web site.

Work on the group's constitution goes on ... and on.

Joining the NFPC (National Federation of Priests' Councils) was rejected after cost-benefit analysis.

MAREDA (Milwaukee Archdiocese Religious Education Directors Association) was in touch to say it also wanted to use the Open Space approach for its meetings. From what I had seen, neither organization knows what it's doing with Open Space.

The webmaster reports.

Steve [Father Steve Amann] described the situation that our host has upgraded Software and therefore the webmaster cannot access our site to update.

The minor premise to that syllogism must be "Our host has no Technical Support."
We need to get a separate website and have it professionally set-up.

Out with the old,
in with the new,
hire a consultant,
it's the Spirit of Vatican II.
(Added to original agenda) September General Meeting. We felt we needed to discuss the general meeting so that we would not be caught unprepared.

Yes, in advance is the best time for preparation, except, apparently, for liturgy.
The discussion centered on what to plan in order to attract priests to come.

From what I've seen an all-you-can-eat buffet would be the biggest draw.

Festive Holiday Concert

That's the odd title to this posting on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's web site for this concert of Christmas music
by the Music Ministry of Saint Alphonsus Parish

That's our parish, but the concert will be at
Saint Adalbert Cemetery, Holy Family Chapel

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Thoughts on the Christmas holiday...

Mary Ellen Burke, Allison Herre, Chuck Rickert, Diana Sroka of The Warrior recently interviewed some Marquette University faculty. For St. Nicholas day, let's take one quick peek. First, Dr. Christoper Wolfe, Political Science professor.
Q: What religion are you?
A: Catholic.

He's kept his amateur status, unlike Dr. Daniel Maguire, Theology professor.
Q: What religion are you?
A: I’m a professional Catholic. ...

(via College Catholic)

Monday, December 5, 2005

MAPA Convening Board March 18, 2005

Still catching up with our priests union local which has been catching up with posting the meetings of its officers. In the minutes for March 18th, we see that they needed to choose, or as they say, "discern," a Secretary-Treasurer. And, lo, it came to pass, that the job fell to my former pastor.
Dick Aiken agreed to act as Secretary-Treasurer with the proviso that he not have to take minutes during the meeting.

"or keep track of the money" I almost expected it to go on to say.

It remains to be seen if MAPA's constitution will be done before Europe's.

There's a "Peace Activist Group."

Larry Sepich will continue to collaborate with Mark Peters ad hoc group working on seeking guidance regarding the morality of the current War with Iraq. They have written a letter to the Archbishop asking for statements and answers to questions. They are working with Rob Shelledy, Archbishop's delegate for Social Concerns, and a growing committee of priests and lay leaders.

Sounds like they're not seeking guidance for themselves.

On lay preaching,

[Father] Ken Mich reported that a delegation had met with the Archbishop and that Bishop Sklba was contacting several other bishops to ask advice on what they are doing. Then Archbishop Dolan would make a decision.

Perhaps as a compromise, they could let priests preach sitting down.

Simmering good theology

In the "Herald of Hope" column in the November 3, 2005 Catholic Herald, Bishop Richard J. Sklba starts with corn chowder, venison stew, spaghetti sauce, and a kitchen analogy.
Some things need plenty of time to be nutritious and tasty.

The same can be said of good theology.

Start with a settled teaching of the Church. Chop finely. Cook up a dichotomy. Mix thoroughly. Simmer until evaporated.
Another example is the reality of so many good and generous people who have experienced divorce as a solution to a difficult situation and live in second unions.

Good and generous apparently meaning people whose donations of time and cash show the divorce was the former spouse's fault.
The teaching of the New Testament is clear (Matt 5:31-32).

It's clear, so you might think that the Church Christ founded would clearly be a Church that clearly taught this clear teaching. Bishop Sklba, by contrast, sees clear teaching as a problem.
The ancient churches of the East found a way to deal with this painful pastoral reality, but Western Catholicism has not as yet found a solution other than through the annulment process.

"The ancient churches of the East"? Is that the churches of the Orthodox Church? Are the Eastern Catholic churches not "ancient churches of the East"? And the Orthodox have "found a way"? Might that way be permitting divorce, despite clear teaching in the Gospel? When Bishop Sklba says "painful pastoral reality" he's saying many priests can't stand the heat from clear teaching, so he's hoping to turn it to no-bake fudge.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Voices fill St. Josaphat, and the basilica sings back

Puer natus est (A Medieval Christmas) by the Boston Camerata.

We were there, so were in on the sing-along.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

At St Peter's

Colm Toibin in the London Review of Books reviews The Ferns Report by Francis Murphy, Helen Buckley and Laraine Joyce.
Ferns is a diocese made up of County Wexford in the south-east of Ireland and parts of some of the bordering counties. The tribunal was set up by the Irish government because there seemed to be more clerical offenders in this diocese than in any other, and in reaction to a BBC documentary about abuse there.

Francis Murphy, the tribunal chair, was a former judge of the Irish Supreme Court, and this is the report of the tribunal's investigation.

Toibin says he expected to have confirmed a belief that the abuse arose from repressed homosexual priests.

If they had gone to Holland or San Francisco, I believed, they would now be happily married to their boyfriends. But as I read the report, I began to think that this was hardly the issue. Instead, the level of abuse in Ferns and the Church's way of handling it seemed an almost intrinsic part of the Church's search for power. It is as though when its real authority began to wane in Ireland in the 1960s, the sexual abuse of those under its control and the urge to keep that abuse secret and the efforts to keep abusers safe from the civil law became some of its new tools.

Ignoring his own "seemed" and "as though", he leaves me with the impression that he had this alternate thesis of frustrated hunger for power before he read the report.

Friday, December 2, 2005

MAPA Convening Board February 18, 2005

The Milwaukee Archdiocese Priests Alliance (MAPA) got a little behind on posting the minutes of what it calls its convening board, that is, its executive committee. I last posted about the minutes of its November 5, 2004 meeting. Now, along its revamped web site, the local priests union has also posted some more board minutes. Let's start with the meeting of February 18, 2005.

There was a January 28, 2005 meeting for which minutes apparently have not been posted.

They discerned officers for the upcoming year. My former pastor, who was involved in founding MAPA but not much in evidence in the minutes since, reappears.

Membership - Dick Aiken

Given the Death Before Evangelization approach of my parish, I assume he's not going to be recruiting.

The Priests' Rights Focus Group, actually a committee, was working on its brochure on What To Do When You're Accused Of Sexual Abuse.

The board set an agenda for the March 3, 2005 General Meeting. The Board's next agenda includes

Constitutional Committee, process, and presentation (We have promised to deliver this to the membership in early 2005)

Makes me wonder how much they're going to look at that constitution when, or if, it's ever finished. Reminds me of when our parish council and committees were working on a Long Range Plan.

Midlife Crisis?

Paul Boudreau in U.S. Catholic on the Church forty years post-Vatican II. It's been pretty much a smooth path onward and upward, he says.

God's Creation Blog

Chris Mikesell in the Wittenburg Door

Testimony on 2005 Assembly Joint Resolution 67

At the November 29th hearing, Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison testified on behalf of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference and the Catholics of his diocese in favor of the proposed amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution on the definition of marriage.

I note his outline used Roman numerals rather that bullet points.

Catholic Culture at Home and in Society

Living Catholic Seminars holds this conference tomorrow at Serb Hall. Scheduled to appear are Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Dr. Ray Guarendi, Dave Durand and Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

"I've got a little list..."

Barry Kritzberg presented this essay to The Chicago Literary Club on December 1, 2003.