Friday, March 31, 2006


Here's an account in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by travel writer Rich Wood. His trip was approved by the U.S. State Department as humanitarian. He was with a local church group working on setting up new churches in Cuba.
After living under almost 50 years of rule by 79-year-old communist dictator Fidel Castro, Cubans on the street believe their country will embrace the reforms and democracy that have spread to other communist countries. But the catalyst for change will be the death of Castro.

... Most Cuban families live on a government salary averaging $15 per month, plus monthly subsidies of a few eggs and rice. If travel restrictions end when Castro dies, and the U.S. lifts its embargo and travel restrictions, tourism is expected to be the economic engine that will transform the country into a premier tourist destination.

President Castro warned Cubans of a coming invasion by Americans.

A Light to the Nations: The Meaning and Future of the Catholic Church

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap in Crisis
Every bishop is a successor to the apostles and a pastor of souls. He has the duty to safeguard the liturgical life of the local Church. He must proclaim the gospel and teach the true Catholic faith in his diocese. Every bishop should give an example of personal sanctity in charity, humility, and simplicity of life. He should help the poor and suffering. He has the obligation to sanctify, encourage, correct, and govern the local people of God. And above all, every bishop needs to do these things with fatherly love and fraternal charity, because the Church is a family--a family of faith--not a political party or an impersonal institution.

Against the Manichaeans

John Schmalzbauer in Books & Culture reviews Decade of Nightmares: The End of the Sixties and the Making of Eighties America by Philip Jenkins.
Arguing that both the Right and the Left "have adopted a worldview based on fears of subversion and predation," Jenkins criticizes the dualistic rhetoric of American politics. Refusing to engage in culture-war polemics, he recognizes with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn that "the line between good and evil runs through each human heart."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

No one's laughing at this deja vu all over again

Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, in the National Catholic Reporter on how she learned to stop worrying and love the Bomb.
Why have we suddenly abandoned the decades of deterrence and containment that guided U.S. foreign policy and out-waited the cold war for over 50 years? The U.S. prospered under it; the world balanced on an unsteady peace for years because of it; talks went on unceasingly during it until understanding increased and alliances formed and bonds developed and old enemies outgrew their enmity as a result of it.

Theology of the Body from Tots to Teens

Mark Shea (taking time from blogging to earn a living) in Catholic Parent
The adolescent, who wants to grow up and who is desperately afraid of being the last virgin can easily be cowed into believing chastity is the same as childishness.

The theology of the body speaks to this by striking two very strong chords: truth and heroism. Adolescents have very strong bunk detectors. And they are passionately desirous of heroism.

Britain's Neoconservative Moment

Daniel Johnson in Commentary on attending an address by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dr. Williams said that he disagreed with other Christians, in particular Pope Benedict XVI, who argue that we live under the "dictatorship of relativism." Far from living in an age that does not believe in right or wrong, good or evil, truth or falsehood, we Westerners, he asserted, are guilty of the opposite fault: we are absolutists, very sure we are right about everything.

I was on hand for Dr. Williams's presentation because I had been asked to give a response. I said: "No one is quite so absolutist as a relativist. And no one is less absolutist than an archbishop." To which the good-natured prelate replied: "I think we really agree." Afterward I heard somebody exclaim: "Wasn't the archbishop wonderful! He never mentioned God at all!"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The United States and the Holy See: The Long Road

James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and formerly United States Ambassador to the Vatican, will give the third in this year's Pallium Lecture series.
In 2003, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan introduced the Pallium Lecture Series as an opportunity for members of the Catholic community of southeastern Wisconsin to learn from national and international experts on a variety of topics that are pertinent to Catholic life in today's world.

The event takes place at the Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center, 3501 South Lake Drive in St. Francis, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with Vespers, followed by the lecture, and then a reception.

The challenge facing Pope Benedict

Peter Westmore in A.D. 2000
... the views of Catholics on moral issues are little different from those of the rest of society.

In human terms, it is not certain there is any solution to this problem; but if there is, it will depend on a rediscovery of the Church's teachings and faithful adherence to them. But this will not happen if there continues to be confusion about what the Church teaches and practises.

Here's an example from my Christian Formation class. Given the abortion rate and given that Catholics have abortions at the same rate as everyone else, it appears reasonable to assume that there were a couple kids who aren't there to hear Church teaching on abortion because they were aborted.

To Be a Christian College

Alan Jacobs in First Things
On the contrary, there are good reasons that some colleges and universities might choose, in the interests of intellectual coherence and the promotion of fruitful conversation, or in the interests of, say, service to the Church, or out of a love for Truth itself, to confine their constituency to those who share a set of core beliefs. The wide-open doors of the modern university--even supposing that they really exist--are a good thing but not the only good thing. Certain valuable and productive conversations happen in classrooms at Wheaton [College] or Thomas Aquinas [College] that simply cannot happen in the classrooms of secular universities.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Solidarity Economics

Ethan Miller at the Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Collective takes the story-telling approach.
First, we can start with changing the stories that we tell. There are many different ways to describe any given society or economy. To do this, we use theories--stories that we tell each other about how the world works and about our places in it. Every version of a story highlights certain things while hiding others--no single story can possibly tell "the whole truth."

While he begins saying every story contains truth but none contains the whole truth, he cannot deal with his topic on those terms. Instead he has to tell The Story of Evil Capitalism.
No matter how you cut it, the Market and the State define all possible "economic" space in this story. Other kinds of activities that meet human needs--growing food, giving birth, bartering, caring for elders, gift-giving, etc.--are not seen as economic, but rather social activities, "recreations" or "hobbies" that are marginal at best to the real economy. The real economy is where real wealth--capital--is generated, distributed, and accumulated. The real economy (now that State Communism is "dead") is named "Capitalism", a giant system like the weather--beyond our control and understood by only the most elite "experts".

Cue Count Floyd: "Tonight on Monster Chiller Horror Theater we've got somet'ing real-l-ly scary, kids; it's Milton Friedman's Free to Choose. Ow-oooo!"

Archdiocese, parishes support 'Day Without Latinos' march

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald that Voces da la Frontera sponsored the march and demonstration March 23rd to protest legislation being considered in Congress.
HR4437, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December, would, if it were to become law, require proof of citizenship to get a driver's license. It could also punish those who assist illegal immigrants, including churches and parishioners.

It could? But would it? That would seem to depend on exactly what it says.
It says:

Leading me to think that Ms. Mantz is here going to quote at least a sentence of the bill, but, alas, she doesn't.
Anyone or any organization that "assists" an individual without documentation "to reside in or remain" in the United States knowingly or with "reckless disregard" as to the individual's legal status would be liable for criminal penalties and five years in prison. This could

Again with "could."
This could include church personnel who provide shelter or other basic needs assistance to an undocumented individual.

Along with the reluctance to quote, the use of the euphemism "undocumented" leaves me a bit skeptical. As I've said, undocumented makes it sound like someone left his green card on top of his dresser when he went to work. Still, her analysis is more plausible than that of Voces da la Frontera itself, which includes claiming the bill causes
Turning all undocumented persons, including children, into aggravated felons; the equivalent of a homicide

Retrieving "A Treasure of Inestimable Value"

Susan Benofy in Adoremus on The Bishops' Subcommittee on Music & the Directory of Music for use in Liturgy
Jubilate Deo, the neglected collection of simple chants for Mass assembled by Pope Paul VI and sent to all the bishops in 1974, should surely be included in any Common Repertoire. Jubilate Deo was accompanied by the pope’s request to bishops:
Would you therefore, in collaboration with the competent diocesan and national agencies for the liturgy, sacred music and catechetics, decide on the best ways of teaching the faithful the Latin chants of Jubilate Deo and of having them sing them, and also of promoting the preservation and execution of Gregorian chant in the communities mentioned above. You will thus be performing a new service for the Church in the domain of liturgical renewal. (Pope Paul VI, Voluntati Obsequens, April 14, 1974)

The Holy Father's request was honored in the breach. Including the Jubilate Deo chants in the proposed Common Repertoire would be a beginning of this "new service" that Pope Paul VI requested more than 30 years ago.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Sword of the Lord

George Marsden in Books & Culture remarks
The issues of family and sexuality proved the key to unlocking evangelical potential to become overtly political, but remarkably (in the light of past antagonisms) several of those who had the most to do with turning that key were Roman Catholics. For conservative Catholics, of course, issues regarding sexuality had long been seen as preeminently political. ...

Remarkably, it was not until the end of the 1970s that abortion emerged as a leading evangelical concern. Prior to the 1970s strict opposition to abortion had been viewed primarily as a Roman Catholic position.

Self-Taught Wisdom

John C. Chalberg in Crisis reviews God and Man at Georgetown Prep: How I Became a Catholic Despite Twenty Years of Catholic Schooling by Mark Gauvreau Judge
As for Georgetown Prep, the usual suspects are all there: the loopy sex educators, the trendy Jebbies, the nutty New Ageism, and the drinking, always the drinking. If sex was an occasional pastime, alcohol was a permanent companion. Not that Prep was a total disaster area. When it came to subjects like English, history, and math, Judge concedes that his teachers were not just good, but generally superior to any he would have in college. It's just that Prep failed miserably when it came to nurturing the spiritual lives of its charges.

Staring abuse straight in the face

Mary Zahn in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel concludes yesterday's report on the aftermath of numerous claims that Father Lawrence Murphy sexually abused students while he was director of St. John's School for the Deaf in the 1950s through 1970s. What did the Archdiocese of Milwaukee know and when did it know it? It appears that by 1974 former students provided affidavits describing abuse and these were forwarded the Archdiocese. John Conway gives this account of a May 9, 1974 meeting scheduled in response to affidavits by former students describing abuse.
"We sat down in five or six chairs next to the archbishop," Conway recalled. "Father Murphy was sitting next to me. There were at least a dozen people in the room. Some were other staff from St. John's.

"Father Murphy was very sheepish during the meeting. He didn't say a word. He just looked down."

Conway said he was stunned when the archbishop began to explain that they had been aware of the problem for years.

By this account, our Archbishop was doing something about it because someone was complaining, not because he believed the conduct was wrong.
"Then they proceeded to tell us that they understood our desire to have Father Murphy removed from the school, but they felt that Murphy was so important to the school, its livelihood and history that they did not want to remove him," he said. "Instead they said they would remove him from having any contact with the children."

You might wonder if nothing more was heard about this from then until now, almost 32 years later.
On May 18, 1974, an article in the Catholic Herald Citizen announced that Murphy had given up his directorship of St. John's, was "relieved of all teaching and pastoral duties as they relate to the students" and was being reassigned to other duties at the school.

How about the secular newspapers?
In late summer of that year, Quant contacted this reporter, who was covering the Milwaukee County district attorney's office for the Milwaukee Sentinel. Murphy said in an interview about the allegations that he decided to resign because of health problems. The story was published on Sept. 14, 1974. Murphy left the next week.

People would have had to read between the lines to understand why Murphy retired. The Sentinel's attorneys refused to allow any mention of the molestations or what the victims had said because Murphy was not charged criminally.

We've gone over this with the question of the Church and its lawyers. If the paper decides on a policy that it will not publish against its lawyers' advice, the decision not to publish is still the paper's.

With Archbishop Cousins long dead, what account do we have of his side of the controversy?

One year later, Cousins testified he found nothing in his investigation to substantiate any of the complaints about Murphy. That testimony came in a 1975 sworn deposition in a civil lawsuit filed by a victim. Murphy "sacrificed himself for the school" after "harassments and threats," Cousins said under oath. The lawsuit was dropped.

Which seems odd if there were numerous students prepared to testify to substantiate claims of abuse.


The Original Flood Legend, by Doug Brown, Review-a-Day, June 27, 2009, review of Gilgamesh: A New English Version, by Stephen Mitchell

In search of Gilgamesh, the epic hero of ancient Babylonia, by Michael Dirda, review of The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery Of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh, by David Damrosch, Washington Post, March 4, 2007, p. BW10
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

The Iraq War, 2500 B.C., by Joy Connolly, The New York Times, December 5, 2004, review of Gilgamesh: A New English Version, by Stephen Mitchell

Carved in Stone, by Steven Moore, Washington Post, November 14, 2004, review of Gilgamesh: A New English Version, by Stephen Mitchell, and Gilgamesh, by Derrek Hines

One reason why The Epic of Gilgamesh still has great power to move us is a poetic style that does not depend on elements like rhyme or meter but on rhetorical devices, parallelism and antithesis, and the antiphonal organization of short and long phrases, all of which are translatable and which are worked into emotive patterns in the originals with consummate skill. --Kenneth Rexroth, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Classics Revisited (1968)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Range of settlements for victims questioned

Mary Zahn reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the wide range of amounts paid by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to settle claims of sexual abuse by former students at St. John's School for the Deaf (see previous post). Recent settlements in our Archdiocese's mediation program are much larger than those with some claimants who came forward years ago.
"It is unequal and it pits the survivors against each other," said Alisa Cohen-Stein, a Chicago-area licensed clinical social worker who has treated several of Murphy's victims. "What a really cruel way to divide and conquer. I don't think they are deliberately doing this, but it has this effect."

I've said I wish Archbishop Dolan had quickly moved to settle all claims of all kinds. Such a global approach might have meant we wouldn't still be reading about claims now and wondering if California cases or a change in Wisconsin law will bankrupt our Archdiocese. But it wouldn't have made any difference for those who had settled long ago.
Kathleen Hohl, communications director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said the archdiocese supports victims who share their stories. However, she said, the information regarding how payments are determined is confidential.

That title of communications director, by the way, emphasizes the directing, not the communicating.
Through June, the archdiocese has spent about $10 million on settlements, therapy and other types of assistance for survivors of clergy sexual abuse, she said.

More than 95% of which did not go to Paul Marcoux.
Jim Smith, a Milwaukee attorney who represented [claimants Steve] Geier and [Pat] Cave in mediation, said the archdiocese places victims' experiences in one of three monetary categories: $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000. Any extra money, in general, is being offered as cash in a separate category for counseling, he said.

Remember how Ms. Hohl didn't want to disclose how settlements were determined? That might be so claimants don't get hints on how to get more, like asking for money for counseling.

Shared secrets reveal much suffering in silence

Mary Zahn in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the first of a two part series on sexual abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy of students while he was director of St. John's School for the Deaf in St. Francis, a suburb of Milwaukee.
How many deaf children Murphy molested remains unknown. He was at St. John's for 24 years [starting in 1950]. The victims who have come forward, who said they saw many of their classmates being abused, think he molested more than 100 boys. Murphy admitted to molesting at least 30, according to Alisa Cohen-Stein, a clinical social worker in the Chicago area who has worked with several of Murphy's victims. She said she was told of Murphy's admission by an employee of the archdiocese.

He never apologized.

Former St. John's students are now coming forth asking the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for compensation.
Two of Murphy's victims recently received $100,000 and $200,000 in compensation through an archdiocese-sponsored mediation program for sexual abuse victims.

Besides all the other reasons for these allegations to be the headline story, there's this.
Pending state legislation would allow victims of clergy sexual abuse to bring civil suits against religious organizations within a one-year window, regardless of when the abuse occurred and past statutes of limitation. In a civil court, a plaintiff could compel the religious organization to produce any documents it might have relating to the case, regardless of whether the accused clergy member is able to participate in the organization's defense.

Father Murphy left St. John's almost 40 years ago and has been dead for eight years

Regional Meeting of the Catholic Physicians' Guilds of Milwaukee and Chicago

April 1st Noon to 4:45 p.m. with Mass following, at Saint Francis Seminary. Here's more information [pdf 1.5 mb].

Participants include

Gene Diamond, JD, CHA - "Keeping Catholic Hospitals Catholic"

Fr. James R. Gould - "Evaluation of Seminarians"

Panel Discussion on Terry Schiavo Case:

Thomas L. Potter, JD (Asst. DA, Milw. Co.)
Thomas Zabiega, MD (neurologist)
Rev. Monsignor Robert J. Dempsey, MA, STD

Making Peace Possible

That's the theme for the Candlelight Coalition's April 1st conference, including
Power -- What It Is and How Grassroots Groups Can Create It
Rudy Lopez, National Field Director, Wellstone Action

Issues That Matter
Jim Sullivan, Alderman, City of Wauwatosa

and Daniel Maguire, Professor of Theology, Marquette University.

(via Catholics for Peace and Justice)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Remembering Rosa: The Ten-cent Bus Ride that changed America

Sr. Anita Baird, DHM in Catholic Peace Voice on Rosa Parks
She was tired in the depths of her soul, tired of being treated as a second-class citizen, tired of working hard, paying her taxes and having to board the bus through the front door and pay her fare only to exit and board a second time through the rear door.

Yet this didn't move Ms. Parks to protest. In the context of the time, I assume it was argued that this separation did not constitute unequal treatment since everyone had to proceed to their seats via the door at the front of their respective race's sections. So what did move her to protest?
When all the seats for whites were full and the bus driver demanded that Rosa Parks relinquish her seat to a white man, she calmly but resolutely refused.

Friday, March 24, 2006

St. Paul City Office Boots Easter Bunny

ABC News reports
A toy rabbit, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words "Happy Easter" were removed from the lobby of the City Council offices...

St. Paul's human rights director, Tyrone Terrill, asked that the decorations be removed, saying they could be offensive to non-Christians.

Was fear of offense the reason Marquette University didn't adopt it as team nickname? No, Marquette Bunnies was rejected as confusing because the term had been so widely used to describe its early season opponents.

(via Sykes Writes)

Priestly Vocations in America: A Look at the Numbers

At Bettnet, this compilation ranking 176 U.S. dioceses by the ratio of seminarians to Catholics.

Lincoln, Nebraska, takes the lead with 35 seminarians from 89,431 Catholics. By comparison, Milwaukee is at number 151 with 22 seminarians from 731,516 Catholics.

If Milwaukee produced seminarians at just the median rate, there'd be 51. If Milwaukee produced seminarians at the Lincoln rate, there'd be 286.

The important thing for Milwuakee Catholics to take away from this is that the experience of places like Lincoln is irrelevant. Not just irrelevant, but so irrelevant that we get no explanation of its irrelevance from anyone connected with our Archdiocese. It's the irrelevant in the living room.

Here's the article from Catholic World Report.

(via Dad29)

Otto Hermann Pesch to Present 2006 Pere Marquette Lecture

At Marquette University
Sunday, March 26, 2 p.m., Weasler Auditorium: Otto Hermann Pesch, Professor Emeritus at the University of Hamburg in Germany, will present the 37th annual Pere Marquette Theology Lecture. The title of his lecture is: "The Ecumenical Potential of Vatican II -- 40 Years After."

While he's here,

On Monday, March 27 from 9:00 to 11:00 A.M. he will introduce a discussion of questions related to theological points of contact and differences between Martin Luther and Thomas Aquinas. Dr. Mark Johnson will respond to Pesch's presentation. Location: Marquette Hall 100.

On Monday, March 27 from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. he will comment on the current ecumenical climate with responses and comments from Drs. Susan Wood, Lyle Dabney and Michael Fahey, as well as Rev. Dr. Eric Gritsch (Professor Emeritus for Church History at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg PA). Location: Lalumiere Language Hall 216.

On Tuesday, March 28 from 11:00 A.M. to 12:15 P.M. he will discuss the question "Was Luther a Heretic?" in conversation with his old friend, the esteemed Luther scholar, Rev. Dr. Eric Gritsch. Location: Marquette Hall 100.

"Yes, Lord", Wisconsin Catholic Youth Rally

An awesome day of praise and worship, inspiring speakers, Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharistic adoration and Mass. For all youth in grades 9-12.

Just awesome? Not totally awesome? And can attendees not, like, completely satisfied as to its awesomeness get their, y'know, $20 back?

Tenth Anniversary online

Here are the archives of my site at it's first, its second, and at its current URLs.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Behind the scenes, you'll find liturgical design consultants

Karen Mahoney reports in our Catholic Herald on the process of building or renovating a church.
In all instances, the building projects must comply with the U.S. bishops' guidelines for building and renovating churches, "Built of Living Stones," which provide a basis for a diocese's guidelines and directives. In addition, churches in the Milwaukee Archdiocese are required to abide by "Building a Home, Gathering the Assembly," the norms for building and renovating churches.

Then the plans go to the Archbishop. You'd think that would be the last step before breaking ground.
Following the approval of the archbishop, and the creation of a building team, parishes work with Daniels [Dean Daniels, director of the Office of Prayer, Worship and Evangelization], who oversees all of the ecclesiastical architecture in order to make sure the renovations fulfill that the church's and Archbishop Dolan's wishes are satisfied.

Wasn't that the point of running it past the Archbishop himself? Or is the point to create as much work as possible?
Additionally, parishes are required to enlist the assistance of a qualified liturgical design consultant for the construction or renovation project.

If it makes you wonder what all those people do at the Cousins Center, I wonder even more each time I see them on the job. Wouldn't you think that for less than is being spent on liturgical design consultants our Archdiocese could have someone on staff who knows how to apply these rules? Someone to whom, for example, I could refer my Christian Formation students who ask me why St. Al's church (1985) looks like an auditorium.
A common complaint with building or renovation is that the tabernacle is hard to find or hidden, but according to "Building a Home, Gathering the Assembly," the tabernacle in which the Eucharist is reserved is to be situated in some part of the church or oratory that is distinguished, conspicuous, beautifully decorated and suitable for prayer (Canon 938). The location of this area is to be prominently visible from within the main worship space.

Or it can be stuck in a hallway as it was in the renovation of the Milwaukee Cathedral a few years back.
"There is considerable discussion today about the place for the tabernacle and the independent reservation chapels of an earlier period in the post conciliar church and have been replaced in many cases with a recommendation to fold the reservation space into the assembly, even in the old central position behind the altar of sacrifice," he [E.J. Potente of Studios of Potente Inc., in Kenosha] said.

I made that point in the parish meetings before the recent building project at St. Al's but our architect responded that "we're not going back." Of course, we also paid a liturgical design consultant to tell us, among other things, why we stopped using hosts, and since then we've gone back to using them. I wonder what the parish paid for all that expert advice.

Homophobia? Hogwash!

Karel in the Advocate on why Brokeback Mountain did not win the Oscar for Best Picture, and on the meaning of "dialogue".
Dialogues that should be happening are not, and that's a shame. For instance, no one stood up and said, "Stop calling this a gay movie!"

Adventures in Prophecy

Their 32 page flyer that came in the mail had the web address. As I post, we're missing the March 17-25 event at the Ramada Inn.

I might take the flyer to my next Christian Formation class at St. Al's. It has a photo of people kneeling in prayer which I can show my students, who probably have never experienced it.

New Horizons Healing Weekend - March 24-26, 2006

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee notes this event.
This is a healing weekend for men and women who have been divorced and would like to put closure on their relationship.

Our Archdiocese lists the cost at $160. At New Horizons it's $135. Might be an Archdiocesan typo or an Archdiocesan markup.

New Horizons offers "Celebrating New Life after Divorce."

This is done openly and honestly in a Christ-like manner.

I managed to read the New Testament and missed Christ's teaching on celebrating new life after divorce.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Parents keep 'PACE' with cost of Catholic education

Amy Trumble in our Catholic Herald on a different approach to making the parish school more affordable.
Within one year of becoming the director of administrative services and development at St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, [Mike] Schaumann conceived and launched a tuition reduction plan known as the PACE Program. PACE is an acronym for Partners Advancing Catholic Education that involved reallocating some of the fund raising resources the school already had in place: Scrip, Market Day, We Care, and We Share.

In the past these fund raisers were used to support the parish and school. As a result of the PACE program, the profits are now being returned to 55 school families to be used toward tuition.

There was talk, when I was on the parish council at St. Al's, of charging the full cost of the school as tuition and reallocating the parish subsidy from each according to ability to pay to each according to need.
"This is the perfect example of thinking outside of the box," said William Kewan, 60, principal at St. Vincent Pallotti School.

The hard part isn't thinking outside the box, it's stepping outside the box.

Altered States

Richard B. Woodward in Art News
When Kodak announced last June that it would no longer manufacture black-and-white printing papers, the decision did more than terminate 117 years of production. By severing a vital supply line long taken for granted, the company reminded photographers of their humbling dependence on equipment and materials—and how quickly both they and the equipment and materials can go out of date. Painters endure regular critical warnings that brushing pigment on canvas is irrelevant, but at least they can work their entire lives without fear of their basic tools becoming obsolete.

Guess I better get that last roll in the nondigital camera developed.

Parish Council Nominee & Member 2006 Orientation Sessions

Suckers! I mean, thanks for answering the call. Remember, training starts March 28th [pdf 1.9mb].
Parish Council Orientation Sessions are information/training sessions for parish council members & nominees. A facilitator will review the scope and responsibilities of this important lay leadership role in parish life.

Think of it as Purgatory, with a cover charge.
The Parish Council Manual will be available for $15.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

VOTF Book Discussions

The local chapter of Voice Of The Faithful has two book discussion groups starting.

One will be reading Faith That Dares to Speak by Donald Cozzens (see my earlier posts).

The other will be reading Tomorrow's Catholic by Father Michael Morwood (see the author's site, an interview in Catholic New Times, this review by Frank Mobbs, and these Amazon reviews).

Nothing Ordinary about this Time

George Weigel in Adoremus
There is nothing "ordinary" about redeemed time -- which, in the Church's liturgical year, once pivoted around the great feasts of Christmas, the Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost. Now, we’re told that the time after Epiphany and Pentecost is "ordinary".

Add "ordinary time" to the list of words and phrases that obscure the Church's intended meaning: co-mediatrix; magisterium; preferential option for the poor.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Musings from Porto Alegre

Bishop Richard J. Sklba's "Herald of Hope" column in the March 9, 2006 edition of our Catholic Herald is on his recent trip to the meeting of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
The trip included a few geography lessons as I discovered a thriving metropolis even further south than the bottom of Africa ...

You recall that Bishop Sklba had a bit of a problem with history and physics. He has a bit of a problem with geography, too. Look at a map and it's no surprise that Porto Alegre is at latitude 30° 03' South while Cape Town, South Africa, is at 33° 55' South (about 275 miles or 450 kilometers further south).

He doesn't make it sound like religion is his strong suit, either.

As recently reported in the [sic] Catholic Herald, I was asked to take Cardinal Kasper's place in a Bate Papo (the Brazilian word for an informal conversation) with a young woman from the Netherlands who worked as a campus minister for the Reformed Church (a daunting task for me on all levels), and together to address the question of "whether there was a place for Christianity in the 21st century." We each held our own in the dialogue across the generational divide and the issues of contemporary western secularity.

I had the idea that for a bishop a conversation with a campus minister wouldn't be daunting, and the bishop would be expected to do more than hold his own.

Not surprisingly at a WCC event, that wasn't his only dialogue.

Pentecostals and others generally grouped under the label of "Evangelicals" now comprise almost 20 percent of the world's Christians ... some open to ecumenical cooperation (and even publicly apologizing for having taken advantage of Catholicism's weakness in Latin America) and others (often funded by American resources) quite opposed to any religious dialogue.

I live in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which is also funded by American resources, yet Catholicism seems a bit weak here, too. For example, our auxiliary bishop leads us to believe he could do more than hold his own if up against an evangelical campus minister.

Update: In the WCC account, Bishop Sklba met his match in vagueness.


Kaleidoscope June 6, 1969

On eBay.

Cover article on conviction of 12 of the Milwaukee 14 under headline "Thank You, Jury, for Finding Jesus Christ Guilty Again". Headline in green, but visible part of article does not mention Michael Cullen.

Also in this issue,

the Chicago 15, student gassing at Berkeley, Big Mama Thornton concert review in New York, a cartoon by R. Cobb, ads for albums by Tim Buckley, Delaney & Bonnie, Mothers of Invention - Uncle Meta, Townes Van Zandt, etc.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Caring at the End

Paul Lauritzen in Commonweal on the Terri Schiavo case and Catholic teaching about end-of-life care
To see what assumptions are embedded in the claim that Schiavo was euthanized, it is useful to consider the definition of euthanasia set out in the Vatican's 1980 Declaration on Euthanasia. According to the declaration, euthanasia is "an action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated. Euthanasia's terms of reference, therefore, are to be found in the intention of the will and in the methods used."

Framed in this way, the Schiavo case throws into sharp relief a central moral question raised by the prospect of withdrawing a feeding tube from any patient in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). Do we inevitably intend death when we remove a feeding tube from a PVS patient?

The Declaration is not much longer than Lauritzen's essay, if you want to read both for yourself. Lauritzen shifts the standard. He puts the judgment of intent in terms of "Do we inevitably intend death" by an act or omission. By contrast, the Declaration, in the context of the use of painkillers which have some risk of hastening death, says "In this case, of course, death is in no way intended or sought... ."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Blog Summit

Went to the conference this afternoon; for most of what happened, see links here.

Among the bloggers I met in person were Dave Pawlak and his lovely bride Amy. In case you were wondering what Dave sounds like, his voice reminds me of Mark Shea's.

By the way, if you're looking for way to make a living with blogging, the paucity of religion coverage in the typical newspaper might indicate a market for a WisReligion counterpart to WisPolitics and WisBusiness.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Global Call for Peace

Tomorrow at the Cathedral
The Prayer Gathering is sponsored by Catholics for Peace and Justice and The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

There might have been at time when the cathedral parish's
endorsement of an event was a reason to be reassured the event was consistent with the teachings of the Church.
Following the gathering attendees are invited to join Peace Action Milwaukee for a peace walk from the Sunburst Sculpture at the Lakefront to the Courthouse and back. Peace Action invites us to bring flowers to lay on the steps of the courthouse.

So they'll start a couple of blocks from the county memorial to our war dead and walk a couple of blocks in the opposite direction and lay flowers at the federal courthouse.
The prayer gathering is part of a world wide effort to bring peace to Iraq.

Meaning a world wide effort of left-wing opposition to U.S. policy, aptly symbolized by the location of the flower ceremony.

Update: Photos by monte letourneau at Milwaukee Indymedia

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Who Is the Dan O'Connell Society?

Since a commenter ot the previous post asked, I looked it up.
The Dan O'Connell society is a brotherhood of Catholic men who seek to restore the fraternity and fatherhood of the Catholic priesthood. We do our work in the memory of Dan O'Connell a Catholic layman from Hudson, Wisconsin who confronted and was then killed February 5, 2002, by Ryan Erickson a homosexual predator who had been ordained a Catholic priest in 2000.

The Society's founding document tells the story. It has chapters in St Paul and Winona, Minnesota, where Erickson attended the seminary, but not in the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin, where he acted as a priest and committed two murders.

Archbishop's Action Against Priest Reverberates Throughout Cyber Universe

Paul Likoudis in The Wanderer
Over the past several months, Fr. [Robert] Altier, a spiritual adviser to Catholic Parents Online, which is leading the parents' movement in opposition to "safe environment" programs in the archdiocese, has been outspoken in his criticism of such programs. He recently produced a DVD critique of the Virtus and Talking About Touching programs, along with local attorney John Trojack.

Archbishop [of St. Paul and Minneapolis Harry] Flynn, in the view of many observers, simply could not tolerate one of his priests leading national opposition to the U.S. bishops' "child safety" programs.

Elsewhere in the Twin Cities Archdiocese, another Nantucket Dream nightmare.
And then there is the ongoing defiance of Flynn and his directives at St. Joan of Arc's Parish, which continues to promote the gay agenda, as exemplified by the Sunday, January 15 "homily" given by Michael Bayly marking Martin Luther King Day. ...

In his homily, Bayly denounced Church teaching on homosexuality, Archbishop Flynn's support for the state's proposed marriage amendment, and endorsed the adoption of children by gay couples.

"I hope one day to marry the man I love," Bayly told the congregation, "and I have a dream of holding our marriage ceremony within the tidal zone of a beach, in that place 'somewhere in between' the land and the sea."

The treatment of Altier and Bayly might not be inconsistent; it might instead indicate that the "safe environment" programs and Bayly's homily serve the same ends.

How the Internet Destroys Community

Johann Christoph Arnold at BeliefNet calls the Internet the antiChrist, or worse.
The Internet has become our god, our idol, which we now worship instead of God. ...

We are succumbing to the same temptation that Satan put before Jesus: Worship me, and the whole world and its glory will be yours. ...

The Japery reports that for these reasons Arnold's Bruderhof Communities took down its online articles and discontinued its emailed daily meditations. Japus Gassalascus sums up
Writing about the work is not the work.

This leaves me picturing Arnold throwing the Acts of the Apostles into David Hume's fireplace.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

April 8 - CTA Wisconsin Annual Meeting

Mike noted this meeting on the CTA web site
Bishop Tom Gumbleton on Vatican and gay seminarians/priests. State Rep. Fred Kessler on gay partners and state law. Cathedral of St. John, Milwaukee.

and noted that it was also listed on the Action Wisconsin site
4/8 Call to Action, "Challenges to our human rights" 9am-noon
Atrium of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 802 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton responds to the Vatican’s recent "instruction" on homosexuals in the seminary and priesthood. Following him, State Representative Fred Kessler will address the related issue of the proposed constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage. Suggested donation $10.

It seemed quite out of place for such a meeting to take place at a parish, let alone the cathedral parish, given the Wisconsin bishops' support for the state defense of marriage amendment.

Someone else may have noted it as well. I've just received word that the meeting has been moved to All Saints Church. Not sure how that helps, except maybe in reducing the odds that the Archdiocese will have to deal with press coverage.

It happens that All Saints is a designated recipient of our outreach donations this coming Sunday at St. Al's. Interesting to see how one of our few remaining inner city parishes actually sees its mission.

Update: The March 18, 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an article by Tom Heinen, Dolan booted event from cathedral, couple say.

Lois Ahlhauser, a past president of Call to Action Wisconsin and her husband, John, said they had arranged with Father Carl Last, rector of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, for their group to hold its annual meeting from 9 a.m. to noon April 8 ...

Mike "called his shot" on Father Last's involvement.
The Ahlhausers said that on March 6, after publicity for the meeting went out, Last told them that [Archbishop Timothy] Dolan had informed him that the event could not be held in the cathedral, which serves as the archbishop's parish, because Call to Action is a dissident group.

You might think that an Archbishop's has the authority and duty make sure that the views of dissident groups are not impliedly represented as orthodox and that this would extend not just within the walls of his cathedral but throughout his diocese. As we've learned, however,
The Ahlhausers then found a parish willing to provide space for the event, All Saints Church ...

The Ahlhausers said that as far as they know, Dolan has not banned the group from meeting on church property ...

Dissident groups may not meet on church grounds if the pastor objects; a good rule for a congregational church.

(link via Improvised)

Liturgical Stuff to Recall

Dad29 quotes Edward J. Slattery, Bishop of Tulsa, on how "Parishes must recover sense of the sacredness of the sanctuary."

Choir (band) to the right, guests (lectors, servers) to the left, opening monologue, standup comily. It can get to the point that if the assisting deacon sounded like Ed McMahon, the transformation would be complete.

Hands Full Of Trouble

From the Casual Living catalog
They may represent turmoil, but finger puppets depicting the ten plagues that preceded the first Passover, are designed to be educational and fun. Set of 10 embroidered, fabric finger puppets are sized to fit little fingers.

(via Brave Sir Blogger)

Planning your Catholic wedding

Karen Mahoney reports in this "Catholic Weddings" supplement to our Catholic Herald that planning a wedding eventually involves "liturgy planning" with a deacon or liturgist.
According to Dean Daniels, archdiocesan director of prayer, worship and evangelization, many difficulties in wedding liturgy planning often surround popular influences, with the music often a primary consideration.

"What we ultimately believe as individuals is formed by our local community, and contemporary culture seems to place more importance on externals," he said, "The choice of music for the wedding liturgy seems to me to be the most problematic."

To address this problem, our Archdiocese makes available a brochure on "The Role of Music in the Marriage Rite." Last updated in 1992, it can be ordered from our Archdiocese, Leader's Edition $2.00, Couple's Edition 10 for $2.50.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Renato Martino, a Cardinal Out of Control

Sandro Magister on cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino
... Martino is a genuine loose cannon in the curia.

Or in this case, loose canon?

(via Open Book)

The Radical

Jon Meacham in The New York Times reviews What Jesus Meant, by Garry Wills.
Drawing on the wonderful scholarship of N. T. Wright, the late Raymond Brown and others, Wills makes a trenchant case for why Jesus' earliest followers believed in their Lord's physical resurrection. If the tomb had not been empty, the authorities could have shut down the early Christians rather easily by dragging out Jesus' bones; they had, after all, gone to all the trouble to execute him, and the only plausible explanation for the disciples' transformation from scattered and scared to fierce preachers and martyrs is that they came to believe Jesus had in fact risen from the dead and began, at last, to understand what he had been saying to them all along.

Nothing against scholarship, but how is this an advance beyond what St. Paul said (1 Corinthians 14)?

P.S. In a not-so-subtle bit of apologetics, the U.S. Catholic Bishops list the Bible in the sidebar under "Church Documents."

A recipe for renewal or a recipe for revolution?

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, in her "From Where I Stand" column in National Catholic Reporter on the Statement of Principles By Fifty-Five Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
... they believe that the church is "the people of God" and called to be a moral force in the broadest sense. And -- note well -- that's where the document crosses the line into the new church.

So, Sr. Joan admits we can't sing a new Church into being. As Homer said, they "lied to us through song. I hate when people do that."

(via Disputations)

Monday, March 13, 2006

God comics

Tom Heinen reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on religion in comic books, including something seen online for the first time in his article.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan Closer to home, a smiling cartoon image of Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan wearing a bishop's miter greets readers of the kids' page in the weekly Catholic Herald with a word balloon that says, "Hey kids! I have a message just for you!"

Started last summer, it is an unusual outreach for a U.S. Catholic bishop, said Brian Olszewski, executive editor and general manager of the newspaper. Greenfield commercial artist Mario Macari, who developed the page and its other faith-oriented cartoons and games, hopes to syndicate it to other dioceses around the country, Olszewski added.

Can Good Catholics vote Republican?

A reader notes this Glenn Greenwald post on a familiar theme.
The reality is that Catholicism translates politically into support for liberal views at least as much as it does for conservative views.

The good news, for Republicans, if not necessarily for Catholics, is that Democrats haven't developed the argument. Greenwald is saying now what Markos Moulitsas Zuniga was saying before the 2004 election and that turned out to be wishful thinking. Greenwald asserts that
Large majorities of Catholics support abortion rights generally, stem cell research, and oppose further tax cuts.

citing a poll commissioned by Catholics for a Free Choice. That June 2004 poll had Catholics evenly divided between President Bush and Senator Kerry.
There are also dormant and lurking religious tensions between evangelicals and Catholics which Bush opponents allow to remain hidden and unexamined, while Republicans exploit every cultural and religious division they can find.

I appreciate the heads-up on his pre-emptive tu quoque defense of a strategy of exploiting religious tensions.
There is no virtue in continuing to win policy debates while losing elections due to a ceding of these submerged and ugly battlefields.

Watch for the WWWK bracelets: What's Wrong With Kansas.

Greenwald started out his post saying liberal views were "at least as" consistent with Catholicism as conservative views. He may have set a record for cocoon-spinning.

Not only does adherence to Catholicism not compel a vote for Republicans; if anything, it can be argued much more persuasively that Catholicism precludes such a vote.

The bad news for Republicans isn't likely to be in these arguments. It is that success in turning Catholics from Democratic voters to swing voters means that if there is a trend against Republicans, then Catholics are likely to swing with it.

Dead Theologians Society

meets tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Jerome Church in Oconomowoc.
Dead Theologians Society presents an opportunity for high school teens to socialize and learn more about the heroes and heroines of our Holy Faith.

Like iPray, the title uses a pop culture reference to appeal to adolescents, in this case a reference to a movie as old as they are.

I'll can see how these new names must sound good when they first come up at the committee meetings, but is there any evidence that they actually make the events more appealing to young people? If so, then I suggest St. Jerome's change tonight's Rosary to Let It Bead.

Ford Madox Ford

He is humanist man, confronted after two thousand five hundred years with the beginning of the end of humanist civilization in the first major explosion, the First World War, of mass civilization, inchoate and irresponsible, ridden with the frustration and vindictiveness that come with depersonalization and the loss of all real life goals. --Kenneth Rexroth, Parade’s End, More Classics Revisited (1989)

Authors' Calendar, by Petri Liukkonen, 2008

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reality Check

Last week's bulletin at St. Al's [pdf 6 mb] has the weekly "Parish Giving Results" on page 2. These show weekly contributions to date. Then they show how much would be needed by this week to reach our budgeted income for the fiscal year. This is all in bold print. This week shows we are 2.6% "over goal." Sounds like good news.

Every week this is followed by an explanation that our budgeted income for this fiscal year is $100,000 less than last year. That goal was reduced because the parish wasn't going to make it.

Last week there was also, on page 5, a "Reality Check" by our pastor. It compares the amount actually given to this point in this fiscal year and last. It's down 3.8%.

Up is down, good news is bad news, financial statments are to obscure facts, here at the home of the Chapel of the Cross-purposes.

I went to the Parish Council meeting the following Monday. The agenda is on page 2 of the bulletin along with the date of the meeting. For the time of the meeting and the room location, you had to check the parish calendar on page 3.

I took along the Minutes of Finance Committee Meeting November 16, 2004. From those minutes, it appeared that most people the parish calls will hang up when they hear it's the parish calling. What, I wondered, did the parish do to follow up on this finding? Such data might be a starting point for finding out why parishioners give and why they don't. I was told they filed the results and maybe the info could be dug out of the records (or maybe from the packing in the crate with the Ark of the Covenant?).

One Council member suggested that since the selected parishioners had first been called on the parish's behalf by a marketing company, it was understandable that most would hang up on a follow-up call from the parish. I confess that does not satisfy me as an explanation. Another said the Council was told that our giving problems tracked nationwide trends. It was right out of Tom Peters, "But we're no worse than anyone else!" I told them these were the same kind of explanations I was hearing when I joined parish council. (I'm still waiting for some data I requested back then to be dug out of the records.)

I'd rather blog my parish's turnaround than its death spiral, but right now it looks like I'm betting on a long shot with my weekly envelope.


More Rexroth, in English and French

Six new Kenneth Rexroth essays have been added to the Bureau of Public Secrets website:
Greek Tragedy in Translation
Tragedy and Philosophy
William Blake
Henry James and H. G. Wells
Samuel Beckett
Introduction to "The Bird in the Bush: Obvious Essays"

If you have any French friends who might be interested, the French translation of Rexroth's Classics Revisited is now online. The same site also includes translations of many of Rexroth's poems and essays.

Afternoon of Reflection with Fr. James Kubicki, S.J.

The local chapter of Catholics United for the Faith announced that Fr. Kubicki of the Apostleship of Prayer (remember them?) will speak on Sunday, March 19th at Sacred Heart Church in Milwaukee. His topic is
Penance and Sacrifice: Milestones in the Path to a Spriritual Spring Cleaning

There will be rosary (remember that?) at 1:15 p.m. followed by his presentation at 2:00 p.m.

If Spring finds your spiritual milestones in, rather than along, the path, you need a cleaning.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

What are Commonweal Catholics?

We were just talking about Commonweal Catholics when who should chime in but Margaret O'Brien Steinfels.
My impression is that Commonweal's founding generation was most interested in looking beyond the sometimes narrow and constraining world of ghetto Catholicism. They were interested in art and architecture, literature and theater, politics and policy making on a larger scale than defined by the immediate needs of the vast majority of their fellow Catholics who were poor, or near poor, and many still of an immigrant generation--we're talking the twenties and thirties.

Today Commonweal readers no longer have this narrow and constraining view of who they are superior to.


On the "Statement of Principles"

"John da Fiesole's" first reaction to the Statement of Principles by 55 Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House.
They're asking for partial credit.

Ask and it shall be given to you, in this case by the National Catholic Reporter.
They deserve credit for the exercise -- their "Statement of Catholic Principles" was months in the making -- even if the execution left something to be desired.

CUF Chapter News

Catholics United for the Faith publishes Lay Witness Magazine which provides reports from local chapters, including Milwaukee's.
The Board of Directors of the St. Gregory VII Chapter gave its 17th Annual Rev. Msgr. Alphonse S. Popek Award to Fr. Frank Philips, C.R. Fr. Philips is pastor of St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago and founder of the Society of St. John Cantius, a new community of priests and religious formed in 1998 with the approval of Cardinal Francis George. Members of this chapter also heard seminarian Dan Janasik speak about World Youth Day in Cologne, where he had gone with a group of 96 young people in a pilgrimage sponsored by Marquette University. The chapter newsletter comments on An Invitation to Christian Living, a problematic morality textbook that is currently used at Marquette University High School.

No details included in this summary. I don't see the text on the latest (Winter 2005) Bishops' listing, unless it's part of a High School Series.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Congreso Liturgico 2006

Presented by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
El fin primordial de este congreso es el de asistir a las parroquias hispanas en el enriquecimiento liturgico de sus ministros en la Eucaristia.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Choice program offers quality education for all children

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column on the expansion of Wisconsin's school choice program for children in Milwaukee.
...the governor and the speaker [of the State Assembly] announced a creative, fair, promising plan to strengthen and expand the "Choice-in-education" project, while continuing to improve our Milwaukee Public Schools.

News accounts said the agreement included spending more money on the Milwaukee Public Schools, but didn't specify how it would be determined that this produced a commensurate improvement.

Marquette bans feminist play

Megan Twohey reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Marquette's vice president of student affairs denied permission to produce the play because "he thought it would be too distracting."
In recent years, the administration has banned student organizations that support gay rights, birth control and military snipers in Iraq on the grounds that they are out of step with Catholic values.

That the MU leadership can act when they want to indicates that when they don't act, it's because they don't want to.
Daniel Maguire ...

Pre-Lenten Menu

is still available at the Cathedral Refectory of the Diocese of Wenchoster.

Among the main courses

Fartington Hedgehog Hash

Fresh hedgehog wrapped in mud and slow-baked in the cathedral furnace, served with roast yam, minted peas and "Sacratinta" gravy.

Should liberals leave Catholic Church?

Joan Vennochi in the Boston Globe gets points for candor. She recites a number of the teachings of the Catholic Church, then says
Liberals raised as Catholics refuse to accept this reality.

So much for the "reality-based" community.
We think we can be prochoice, pro-gay marriage , pro-gay adoption, and in favor of married and female priests and still call ourselves Catholic. The people who make the rules say we don't meet the criteria.

You could, for that matter, not believe in God and call yourself Catholic. The issue is whether or not there are objective criteria for what Catholics ought to believe and how they are determined.
Every pronouncement from Pope Benedict XVI draws another line between official church doctrine and liberal ideology. When do liberals choose one side or the other?

There's a public relations approach, "Deny. Deny. Deny. It's old news." Are liberals now past denying that liberalism is an ideology, past claiming it's really the moderate mainstream? It looks like we're at that point if even self-described liberals will admit it's old news that liberal ideology demands religious assent.
We also believe our views are the enlightened ones and Rome's represent the neanderthal; eventually we will get a pope who understands that.

(via Karl Keating)

The Neocatechumenal Way
Heard what Pope Benedict had to say
And agreed that they had to obey,
But they meant "obey" in their own way.

Sandro Magister reports.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Would You Buy a Three-Beer SUV from This Company?

KausFiles posted on how American cars are made, and his description on the input squares with my miserable experience with the output. Your actual results may vary, according to Dad29, but count me among those who spent too much time in the service department or stranded out-of-town to be persuaded.
"You can't control what people do on their lunch hour," GM [General Motors] spokesman Jerry Dubrowski tells the WSJ [Wall Street Journal]. But do Toyota, Honda, and Nissan let the workers at their American assembly plants pound half a six-pack during breaks?

Based on six Hondas, I'd quess not.

Leadership Portfolio Workshop

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is offering this course to those with degrees in religious studies or theology and to administrators of catechetical programs.
Learn how to design a portfolio, a valuable tool when changing jobs or advocating for needs, including continuing education money, at one’s present position.

Archbishop: 'It's time to dream again'

Maryangela Layman Roman reports in our Catholic Herald
...Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan announced a strategic study and plan for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and a capital campaign for Catholic education...

at the annual Archbishop's Scholarship Dinner at the Pfister Hotel on February 23rd.
He said about 18 months ago, while announcing his priorities for the archdiocese at a town meeting, one participant criticized him, "You seem hung up on Catholic education. You seem single-minded about Catholic schools." ...

"I’m afraid my stock with him did not go up much when I replied, 'thank you!' ..." said Archbishop Dolan.

School flirts with single-gender classes

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Listening to Christ's Heartbeat

This column by Fr. Ron Rolheiser appeared in the March 2, 2006 issue of our Catholic Herald. It's his first First in a six-part Lenten Series on "Mystical Images." This first image is from the Last Supper, when John reclines on the breast of Jesus. Our Herald subtitles the column "You are the 'one whom Jesus loves'".
The image works this way: We are to put our heads on Christ's breast, feel that intimacy, hear his heartbeat, be filled with the comfort of that, and then let the energy and strength we feel there flow out, through us, into the world. And that is meant to fill us with the vision and sustenance we need to live as we should.

It's all summed up in the Love Theme from the Da Vinci Code.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Church gets flayed by 'corporation sole' status

More like filet of corporation sole.

Among those interviewed by Mary DeTurris Poust in Our Sunday Visitor was Law professor William Bassett of the University of San Francisco.

"Unfortunately, in the United States, the bishops have really kind of overridden the protection that canon law gives to the parishes by incorporating the entire diocese as a corporation sole or as a trustee corporation," said Bassett. "In effect, they are acting as if they owned the parishes, and that is clear when parishes are merged or parishes are suppressed."

He added that bankruptcy court, under the First Amendment, cannot interpret canon law, but only the "civil-law structure" of an individual diocese.

In addition, he said that because civil court will view the bankruptcy proceedings as voluntary and because people can go to other parishes to worship, the courts are not likely to view the taking of parishes as a violation of the free exercise of religion.

Each Wisconsin parish is a separate corporation, which would make it harder for creditors of the Archdiocese to argue that parish assets should be subject to their claims.

Indult Scorecard, Round Two

From Whispers in the Loggia
In Milwaukee -- and you knew he would -- Archbishop Timothy Dolan (one of the few happy-go-lucky American prelates) has green-lighted corned beef on Paddy's, "with the requirement of some other act of penitence during the second week of Lent."

If only that Parish Council meeting I attended last night had been next week.

iPray offers young adults options for spiritual growth

Sam Lucero reports in our Catholic Herald
It's the latest craze in young adult ministry since Theology on Tap, and ministry leaders in the Milwaukee Archdiocese are hoping adults ages 18 to 35 will plug in to iPray.

The latest craze? Sounds like they're targeting Catholic hep cats.
... iPray seeks to offer young adults a chance to experience several forms of prayer - all in a non-threatening and relaxed atmosphere.

If you see reports of parishes offering prayer in a tense and threatening atmosphere, let me know. I might just try that.

The Archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Ministry was looking for a new way to present a series of different kinds of prayer.

She [Laurie Kish, the Office's director] picked up a copy of MacWorld magazine which had an Apple iPod on the cover. "I was looking at the article about iPods and that's when the idea for iPray clicked," she said. "It obviously speaks to this generation."

At this point, you expect the series of prayer experiences will be downloadable to iPods. Or at least have some connection to iPods besides that letter "i". But no. The series is
- February 10, 2006: Taize Prayer
- March 10, 2006: Stations of the Cross
- April 7, 2006: Practicing for the Triduum
- May 12, 2006: Eucharistic Adoration
- June 9, 2006: Walking the Labyrinth

at parishes around town.

You might wonder why Walking the Labyrinth instead of, say, Praying the Rosary. The labyrinth was a latest craze a few crazes back. Maybe the Office of Young Adult Ministry believes our young people, doing the Twist to Chubby Checker on their iPods, would think the rosary squaresville.

P.S. You can download to your iPod from EWTN.

Update: Here's a new potential Mother Angelica downloader.

Update 2: Francis Cardinal Arinze Podcast

Friedrich Engels

A very special business angel: The self-effacing friend who enabled “Das Kapital” to be written, The Economist, August 13, 2009, review of 'Marx’s General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels', by Tristram Hunt, published in Britain as The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels'

No Marx without Engels, by Tristram Hunt, author of The Frock-Coated Communist, History Today, April 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Marxists Internet Archive

Monday, March 6, 2006

Priest asked to quiet opposition to anti-sex-abuse program

Pamela Miller in the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Archbishop Harry Flynn Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has ordered that Father Robert Altier no longer publish his homilies and spiritual presentations on A Voice in the Desert or broadcast on Relevant Radio.
The Rev. Robert Altier of St. Agnes Catholic Church has condemned the children's component of the Virtus program, which is mandated for all Catholic schools and religious education programs. ...

"Father Altier is an honored priest, and has not committed any improprieties," archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath said. He said Flynn will not discuss the issue publicly because it is a "personnel matter, but I surmise that Father Altier's contrarian position on Virtus is the issue."

Here are my earlier posts on attending Virtus training and on contrasting Virtus myth and Jay Study fact. And here's the archived Fr. Altier site.

(via WI Catholic Musings)

Statement On Globalization and Education

From the National Catholic Register, this statement from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
Despite the many declarations and statements of objectives, enunciated by the United Nations and other agencies, and despite significant efforts in some countries, education remains extraordinarily uneven within the world population, although the resources needed to improve this situation do not seem to be out of reach.

That's despite many Vatican documents, too. It's almost as if there's a disconnect between producing these documents and solving the problems they discuss. Perhaps they can issue a document on that.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Milwaukee's Archbishop Timothy Dolan

John L. Allen, Jr., in his National Catholic Reporter column assesses his recent host.
When Dolan was installed as archbishop of Milwaukee in August 2002, there was much speculation that he was sent from Rome to turn the archdiocese on its ear after the relatively liberal leadership of former Archbishop Rembert Weakland. In fact, most local observers say there has been little ideological tumult, even though the tone and direction set by Dolan are clearly different.

"Direction" can be ambiguous, meaning your way forward, or the way you are facing as you slide backward.
One looming decision, for example, involves the fate of St. Francis Seminary, the oldest continually operating seminary on the same site in the United States. On one level, the problem is financial; the mammoth stone seminary, erected in an era of plentiful vocations, costs almost $2 million to operate annually. Given financial pressures, it's not clear the archdiocese can sustain the expense. Given Dolan's passion for seminary formation, any decision to downsize or send priestly candidates elsewhere would be painful.

If this means he's going to conspicuously resist other closings, as well, maybe he'll get the people to cooperate in the effort to keep it open.
There's also a political dimension to the situation, since under Weakland St. Francis mixed seminarians, candidates for the diaconate, and aspiring lay ministers in the same academic program. (The seminary is actually called a "center for ministerial formation"). It's an approach that has never gone down well with some Catholics worried about fuzziness on priestly identity. If a restructuring plan separates the seminarians from lay students, some will therefore see it as part of a "restorationist" agenda.

The new priestly identity isn't exactly fuzzy, more warm and fuzzy: married, house, commute to work; Ward Cleaver instead of St. John Vianney.

Or maybe not quite Ward Cleaver. When I say married, I once had the impression priests wanted to be able to marry women. Maybe not, judging by the local priests union's December 13, 2005 minutes.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Purpose-Driven Spirituality

Deacon Thomas Baker in Commonweal on Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life
probably the biggest spiritual seller of this century.

Which is news to what must be the most oblivious magazine readers of this century.
I suspect most Commonweal readers have never seen the book, but more than 25 million Americans have bought it in hardcover.

How can almost one out of ten Americans buy a book on a spiritual topic, yet the editors of Commonweal publish a piece assuming Commonweal readers are unaware of it? They know their readers well.
Before you write it off as just another Wal-Mart bestseller you'll never understand, I should point out that even at my upper-middle-class Catholic parish, many people love this book, and several parishioners even head over to the local Evangelical church to participate in Purpose-Driven discussion groups.

He then critiques purpose-driven spirituality as fine when your life goes according to plan, but not suited for hard times or tragedy. Those Wal-Mart shoppers just don't understand what it can be like to suffer, the way Commonweal subscribers do.

Why cardinals chose Pope Benedict XVI

Brian T. Olszewski reports in our Catholic Herald on John Allen's February 27th Pallium Lecture. He focused on the papacy of Benedict XVI.

Why was Benedict elected?

"[Cardinal Joseph] Ratzinger appeared as the best and the brightest they had," Allen stated.

He said the cardinals identified three things they wanted the successor of Peter to address: runaway secularism in the West; someone to reform the Roman Curia; and someone who had "the substance of Pope John Paul II without the craziness," i.e., the frenetic pace, of John Paul II.

So things are being handled differently.
As examples of how the pope does business, Allen noted that rather than consult two or three Italian bishops for advice on choosing the head of the Italian bishops' conference, he sought input from all of Italy's 245 bishops.

Is that an improvement? Depends on how the two or three were selected. Two or three can be consulted in depth, but 245 are going to be handled bureaucratically. Reminds me a bit of the "listening sessions" held from time-to-time here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, blatently bureaucratic but with a veneer of participatory democracy so as not to harm our bureaucrats' self-image.
Likewise, at the World Synod of Bishops last fall, when groups were at odds on their views of the Eucharist, the pope spoke from the floor of the assembly.

"He settled it not by act of authority," Allen said, "but by reasoned argument."

That would be "likewise" if opinions on who should head a bishops' conference were grouped, and then discussed and debated with group representives. Second, to contrast acts of authority to reasoned argument contains some unstated assumptions about authority.

Mike passes along a report that one Milwaukee priest in attendance would have rather been at Martinifest.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Astronauts plan the biggest golf drive in history

Maggie McKee in New Scientist reports on plans for the record attempt.
A gold-plated, six-iron golf club will be used to hit the ball, which is made out of the same scandium alloy used to build the station. After being hit from a special platform alongside the station, the ball is expected to orbit Earth for about four years, beaming its location to Earth-bound computers using global positioning transmitters. Eventually, the ball will lose altitude through atmospheric drag and burn up in the atmosphere.

That would be about 1,000,000,000,000 yards, by my calculation.

Unless it instead sets the record for the worst slice.

In a worst-case scenario, the ball would remain at the same altitude long enough that its orbital plane shifted until it could hit the station side-on, says J C Liou, an orbital debris expert at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, US. "Then you could potentially have something similar to a head-on collision with an impact speed of about 9.4 kilometres per second," Liou told New Scientist.

The force of such a collision would be equivalent to that of a 6.5-tonne truck moving at nearly 100 kilometres per hour.

What's a 'Red-Letter Christian'?

In this BeliefNet article, Tony Campolo explains that it's a euphemism.
Because being evangelical is usually synonymous with being Republican in the popular mind, and calling ourselves "progressive" might be taken as a value judgment by those who do share our views, we decided not to call ourselves "progressive evangelicals." We came up with a new name: Red-Letter Christians.

In a December 19, 2004 post I said,
Since these negative connotations came from the left's discrediting of the formerly respectable term "liberal," it's only a matter of time until they discredit "progressive."

That didn't take long.

P.S. From Lark News, the How Evangelical Are You? quiz.

10. Before each meal you:

a. Have a stiff drink.

b. Say grace.

c. Give an altar call for your family.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Charismatic Healing Mass

on most First Fridays at Mary Queen of Heaven Church in West Allis
Eucharistic Adoration begins with the 7:00 am Mass, and ends with the 7:00 pm Healing Mass. There is administration of the Sacrament of the sick, and prayer teams for those who want extensive prayer.

Anticipating your question,
Q. I feel that I need some instruction on what takes place at the healing Mass. I really do not understand what I see happening.

At a healing Mass here at St. Charles Borromeo [Catholic Church, Picayune, Mississippi], at the conclusion of the Mass itself, parishioners who have the charism of healing (1 Corinthians 12:9) lay hands on those who come for prayer and pray for their requests. As some people are being prayed over, the power of the Holy Spirit will come over them and they will fall backward and rest in the Spirit. As these people are resting in the Spirit, God will minister to them and they will be filed with peace (one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)).

Filed with peace? Now even the Holy Spirit has to work through the parish bureaucracy.

P.S. Also in West Allis is the Latin Mass at Mary Help of Christians Church. (via Dad29). With the next round of parish mergers, will there be a Mass where you can speak in tongues as long as they're Latin?

Ash Wednesday heap of history

At an Ash Wednesday prayer service at St. Al's, the Crucifix was up. We'll see if that's for all of Lent, or if the corpus will again be replaced by Christus Anorexius until Good Friday,

One of our deacons presided. In his homily he talked about developing the faith in our young people. Perhaps some of today's boys are our future priests. And, he said, the girls perhaps future priestesses. Or, he went on, even popettes.

I could have imagined someone saying that if there were any justice Joan Chittister would be Popette by now, but it would be someone in a subscription ad for the New Oxford Review.

Confirmation in 8th grade honestly represents "age of discretion"

The following letter was sent by Al and Margo Szews of West Allis to the Catholic Herald.
Kudos to Archbishop Dolan for opening a discussion on the appropriate age for the sacrament of confirmation. We attended the "study day" on January 28 and were surprised to discover that most of the 230 participants were somehow involved in catechetics, either as parish catechists or directors of religious education. The majority appeared to be in favor of keeping the confirmation age at 16.

The request, however, to lower the confirmation age to grade school came from parents, not catechists, and we would have expected to find a greater number of parents in attendance. Unfortunately, most families were not aware that these meetings were scheduled, as the only notice we saw in the Catholic Herald was a small article on page 15 of the Jan. 19 edition, and we are unaware of any parish bulletins that announced the meetings.

Comparing our daughter's confirmation in 8th grade in 1976 with the 11th grade experience of our two sons in 1982 and 1984, we believe the 11th grade confirmation experiment has been a failure. For most students, 11th grade is probably the busiest year of high school. The academic load is heavy, extracurricular activities are popular and many students have part-time jobs. While some struggle to meet the requirements, many others simply drop out. The celebrated idea that these young people are making a "mature faith conuriitinent" is just, by and large, wishful thinking. A true commitment to the Catholic faith occurs at marriage when a person either marries in the Church, or marries out of the Church.

The Church requires confirmation at the "age of discretion" (CCC #1307; Canon 891), which would surely indicate grade school. Our 8th graders have the time, the interest, and the ability to learn the doctrines of the Catholic faith and become true "soldiers of Christ." No one can deny that young children, growing up in this anti-Catholic, neo-pagan culture, desperately need the graces of confirmation to help them through the difficult teenage years. Confirmation in 8th grade is the norm in many dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Chicago. It more honestly represents the "age of discretion," and ensures greater participation.

Whether or not confirmation is moved to junior high, where it ought to be, the quality of most catechetical programs must be vastly improved if we want our children to become practicing Catholics who attend weekly Mass and go to frequent confession.

The Herald published it (print only), except for the final paragraph, in its February 23, 2006 issue.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Downloading Dickens: Inevitable, or a Fantasy?

Richard Brookhiser in the New York Observer
In sum, the e-book loses, or at best ties, any one-on-one competition with an existing traditional book. But when books are considered en masse, in libraries or even in multi-volume sets--encyclopedias, legal codes, the standard edition of Sigmund Freud, the complete Harry Potter--the e-book begins to look like a future that will happen, because it serves a need.

Witness the conversion in your Catholic Herald

In (print only) "A letter from the Executive Editor" Brian T. Olszewski introduces the first change.
You have already seen the different look on our cover -- the new wineskin, if you will. We are proud of our Catholicism; we proclaim it.

It's a new title graphic, kind of CatholicHerald, with the final "c" of Catholic, like Pacman, consuming "Herald". The paper once was the Catholic Herald Citizen, so maybe that "c" has struck before. I hope this isn't a step toward renaming it some variation of Milwaukee Catholic.

Mr. Olszewski says the Archbishop Dolan wants the paper

to be a vehicle that will provide you with ongoing formation in the faith, and provide an introduction to the faith for those not immersed in the practice of the faith.

For at least one bishop, such a goal was incompatible with continuing Father Richard McBrien's column.

You've seen my vision for our paper, so what's the rest of Olszewski's? There will be a drive, endorsed by the Archdiocesan Priests' Council, to have half the Catholic households subscribe. The current figure is under 10%, and the demos skew old. The paper, he says, will run more inspirational faith of how ordinary people live the faith in our parishes. And there will be more integration of the print and online editions.

P.S. Assuming the paper changes its name to something like Milwaukee Catholic, the Herald name might live on in the Herald of Hope column. If I were editor, I'd consider reviving The Catholic Citizen as the title for the op-eds on matters of public policy. Then I'd see what else there is in the archives. ... Hey, it's Speck the Altar Boy.