Friday, June 30, 2006

Clowns Sabotage Nuke Missile

Noah Shachtman reports in Defense Tech that three people, one a retired Catholic priest, broke into a Minuteman missle site in North Dakota and then hammered the entry hatch and silo lid with sledge hammers.
The trio -- members of the Luck, Wisconsin group NukeWatch. -- said the break-in was part of "a call for national repentance" for the Hiroshima and Nagaski A-bombings in 1945.

They explained their outfits in their press release.
"We dress as clowns to show that humor and laughter are key elements in the struggle to transform the structures of destruction and death," the statement said.

(via McBride Media Matters)

P.S. The priest, Fr. Carl Kabat, has a history of clown-suited civil disobedience going back to at least 1994. Or maybe he just likes disobedience generally.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Frank Zappa on The Steve Allen Show

at You Tube: Part One and Part Two.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Coming out of hibernation, at last...

The Pink Logician returns and advises Rod Dreher to consider the example of the Kirk family of Mecosta, Michigan, and their parish.
I was saddened to think that St. Michael's had ever been worse, but it was heartening to know that this great woman was sticking it out in her little corner of the Catholic world. It was her parish and no warbling hippies were going to run her off of her duty or her commitment. She took the long view, and gracefully, and I hope to always imitate her.

(via Right Reason)

Karl Marx

The only medicine communism has invented—the centralised, beyond social control, state ownership of the national wealth and one-party rule—is worse than the illness it is supposed to cure; it is less efficient economically and it makes the bureaucratic character of social relations an absolute principle. --Leszek Kolakowski, quoted in Obituary, The Economist, July 30, 2009

On the recommended works by this author:

From the cash-nexus passage of The Communist Manifesto onward, alienation is identified with commodity production for the competitive market and with the moral consequences of the industrial process under capitalism, but the term itself is abandoned. --Kenneth Rexroth, The Communist Manifesto, Classics Revisited (1968)

Marx would ask first and foremost how to overcome this all-consuming social passivity. He thought that unions and workers’ parties developing in his time were a step forward. Thus in Das Kapital he wrote that the “immediate aim” was “the organization of the proletarians into a class” whose “first task” would be “to win the battle for democracy.” Today, he would encourage the formation of new collective identities, associations, and institutions within which people could resist the capitalist status quo and begin deciding how to better fulfill their needs. --Leo Panitch, Thoroughly Modern Marx, Foreign Policy, May/June 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

On this author:

We could sum up the SI’s position by slightly modifying Marx’s statement: Artists have only depicted the world, the point now is to change it. In this perspective, the situationists were artists in the same sense that Marx was a philosopher. --Jean-Pierre Depetris, Ken Knabb, the Situationist International, and the American Counterculture, October 2008

One of the triumphs of Western arrangements is the institution of monogamy, which has in principle made it possible for each male and female to enjoy a plausible shot at the reproductive outcome which all the apparatus of nature demands. Even Karl Marx did not fully appreciate the immense radicalism of this form of equity. --Lionel Tiger, quoted by Richard John Neuhaus, While We’re At It, The Public Square column, First Things, August/September 2008

Marx after communism: Marx's intellectual legacy, The Economist, December 19th 2002

The Intellectual Origins Of America-Bashing, by Lee Harris, Policy Review, December 2002

Can you hear Marx tittering in Highgate? If only socialists had studied Marx properly, they would have known all along that capitalism would triumph. By Faisal Islam, Observer, May 19, 2002

Marxism as Psychodrama, by Linda C. Raeder, Humanitas 1994 No. 2

This Godless Communism, illustrated by Reed Crandall, Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact, Volume 17, Numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 (1961-62), The Authentic History Center

You may remember that in 1851 the New York Herald Tribune under the sponsorship and publishing of Horace Greeley, employed as its London correspondent an obscure journalist by the name of Karl Marx.

We are told that foreign correspondent Marx, stone broke, and with a family ill and undernourished, constantly appealed to Greeley and managing editor Charles Dana for an increase in his munificent salary of $5 per installment, a salary which he and Engels ungratefully labeled as the "lousiest petty bourgeois cheating."

But when all his financial appeals were refused, Marx looked around for other means of livelihood and fame, eventually terminating his relationship with the Tribune and devoting his talents full time to the cause that would bequeath the world the seeds of Leninism, Stalinism, revolution and the cold war. --President John F. Kennedy, Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, April 27, 1961

Karl Marx (1922), by Harold Laski, Archive for the History of Economic Thought

Monday, June 26, 2006

Confirming the confirmed

Bishop Richard J. Sklba in the "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald gets around to discussing recent confirmations via the keynote address at last month’s National Workshop for Christian Unity, given by Dr. Richard Mouws, president of Fuller Theological Seminary.
Speaking about the experiences of his growing Evangelical Churches in our nation, and in particular about the successes of the new larger mega-churches, he noted that their current strength often stems from the fact that they provide small group experiences in which individuals can share their respective faith journeys, relate the Scriptures to those personal experiences and join together in projects of outreach and community service to the needy.

This surprising description would mean these churches' approach is much like that of many parishes in our Archdiocese.
I immediately realized this is precisely what our most successful parish confirmation programs provide for our young Catholic adults!

I assume he would also say that about the Renew program.

I had the impression that the Catholic Church here and elsewhere faces a challenge from these mega-churches. From what I've heard from co-workers, my extended family, and even someone on our parish mission to Guatemala, the appeal of mega-churches (like the local Elmbrook Church) was and is not countered by anything they found at their parishes. Some have been drawn away to evangelical, pentecostal, or fundamentalist churches regardless of size. (That's also true in Guatemala.) I've noticed, though, that our clergy and archdiocesan and pastoral staffs are quite determined to deny there is a problem, or at least any problem that would require examination of their preferred ways of doing things. This column by Bishop Sklba is just the latest example.

P.S. Guess who gave the keynote address at last year's NWCU.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Priest Arrested Naked in Bathhouse While Praying the Rosary - A Case of Arrested Development

Perhaps nothing is left of the Church in Hospice weblog by Fr. Paul Stanosz of St. James Church here in Franklin except the copy I saved from the Google cache when I learned he'd deleted it from Blogger. In this post, Fr. Stanosz continues his discussion of the training of priests.
Many observers believe that the influence of Pope John Paul II's I Will Give Them Shepherds remedied many of the faults of earlier seminary programs. From my perspective, John Paul II's greatest contribution in the apostolic exhortation was to add a fourth dimension to the already established spiritual, academic, and pastoral dimension. The Holy Father wisely added human formation, saying it is the necessary foundation for all other priestly formation. He states that a priest's personality should be a bridge rather than an obstacle to others in meeting Christ.

See 43-44.
Psychosexual development and affective maturity thus become central to seminary formation.

That's not quite how the Pope expressed it.
Of special importance is the capacity to relate to others. This is truly fundamental for a person who is called to be responsible for a community and to be a "man of communion." This demands that the priest not be arrogant, or quarrelsome, but affable, hospitable, sincere in his words and heart, prudent and discreet, generous and ready to serve, capable of opening himself to clear and brotherly relationships and of encouraging the same in others, and quick to understand, forgive and console... (43)

The post title refers to an acquaintance of Stanosz who he calls "Father Bo." As Stanosz tells it, Bo was of a conservatively orthodox bent, then some years after being ordained a priest realized he had repressed homosexual desires which he acted on, living something of a double life.
When I shared my desire to write a blog named "Church in Hospice" about a Church in crisis, Bo chided me for being "depressing" and not writing something more positive that will give people hope. This is where Fr. Bo strikes me as most schizophrenic or conflicted.

This is where Bo struck me as wiser than Stanosz credited him.
Unfortunately, I know other priests like Fr. Bo. Laity's trust will not be misplaced if he (and other priests in his quandary) maturely choose celibacy or leave the priesthood in order to satisfy their affective needs. Then we will have a Church worthy of trust.

It might take that but it will take more than that.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We need to remove the basket

The print edition of the May 25, 2006 issue of our Catholic Herald has this letter from Executive Editor Brian T. Olszewski. The Gospel reference in the title refers to his so far unsuccessful efforts to significantly increase the circulation of our Catholic Herald which now he thinks is our problem.
Let your pastor know why your Catholic Herald is beneficial to you, and why it would be helpful to other members of your parish.

The real problem isn't that the Herald's light is under a basket. The Herald is the basket.

For example, when a local pastor, Fr. David Cooper, permitted a prayer service for women's ordination at St. Matthias Church, Archbishop Dolan demanded he apologize. Yet our Catholic Herald recently ran this column by Fr. Richard McBrien taking the same problematic position.

Here's another example. The Herald ran this column by Archbishop Dolan which includes his reiteration that general absolution is not to be used in normal circumstances. The Herald later ran a Guest Opinion by Fr. Ed Wieland advocating it (March 30, 2006) with no mention of Church teaching or of the Archbishop's statement.

If I suggested to someone that they subscribe to the Herald, and they came back to me with these contradictions, I couldn't explain them. So I don't suggest it.

I understand Fr. Thomas Brundage, Mr. Olszewski's predecessor, said in the Herald (December 22, 2005) that as things were going, the paper would fold within three years. Maybe there'll be a light under it when it does.

Catholic agencies team up to address end-of-life issues

Karen Girard reported "Special to your Catholic Herald on an April 25th lecture at Marian College in Fond du Lac by Dr. David Weissman, director of the Medical College of Wisconsin's Palliative Care Center. His presentation was titled "Death and Dying in America: Past, Present and Future."

He spoke of the distinction between hospice care and palliative care.

The palliative care movement began in the 1980s-'90s for the same reasons hospice began, said Weissman. Hospice was great, he said, but it only reached a fraction of the patients due to lack of penetration into hospital culture and academic research, as well as the stigma that hospice care is a sign of "giving up" by the patient/family.

So perhaps Mike was a bit harsh toward Fr. Paul Stanosz. Father might have just realized this connotation of titling his weblog "Church in Hospice" and decided to delete it. Maybe Fr. Bryan N. Massingale will realize the problem, as well.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

MAPA Convening Board Minutes April 26, 2006

Our local priest's union has posted the minutes of its executive committee's meeting April 26, 2006.

First topic, the then-upcoming annual meeting of all the Archdiocese's clergy.

We decided that we should definitely talk about the Referenda Group that Steve Avella has convened. They have met once and are developing a strategy to respond to two issues: the Marriage Amendment (which is very complex) and the Death Penalty reinstatement referendum in November. They want to come up with a statement that will address the underlying concerns and fears of Wisconsinites about these issues that ultimately would say these proposals are not the best way to proceed or respond to the situations.

Such a statement would put the priests' union at odds with the states' bishops on the marriage amendment. If priests don't pay attention to bishops, why would they expect parishoners to pay attention to priests?

They then looked back at the March 15, 2006 membership meeting. (Its minutes are not yet posted.)

The second area we want to talk about concerns issues raised by Noreen Welte at our March General Meeting. It seems that the strategies to deal with the decreasing number of priests (and the aging of active ones) are not adequate or helpful. Many priests are experiencing extreme pressure, exhaustion, and continuous frustration in attempting to cope.

Maybe they could save time and effort by using the Church's teachings and practices, instead of coming up with their own.
Chuck Schramm suggested that what we really need for a good Priest Wellness Day is an opportunity to dialogue with Archbishop Dolan concerning these strategies and our lived experiences.

Another time saver would be using English, in which "lived" is understood in the word "experiences".

There was another measurement of the mountain they are making from some canon law molehills in their brochure advising priests what to do when accused.

Somewhat cryptically

Witch Hunt/Seminary/Homosexuality: This Focus Group feels it has accomplished its work with the Dr. Priester Presentation at the March Assembly and the opportunity for interested members to meet with Dr. Priester for subsequent discussion and action. Dr. Priester will be invited to meet with interested members on June 26th or June 27th (depending on his schedule) and Bill Burkert has offered his home for the event.

Back to the referenda.
Legislative Referenda: Steve Avella has convened a Focus Group and they have received materials and have met to discuss the general sense of fear and angst that pervades the populace at this time.

Populace? Didst they look out from their balconies over yon quivering throngs?
Some politicians are using the issues of The Marriage Protection Act and the Death Penalty Reinstatement to divert attention away from the real issues of poverty, health care, education, etc.

One method of diverting attention from an issue is to claim it isn't real.
They are preparing a document and will have it ready by the September General Meeting.

Why don't they just take what the state's bishops have said and cross out the parts they disagree with?

The executive committee's next meeting was set for May 15, 2006 and the next membership meeting September 28, 2006.

Murasaki Shikibu

It took until the 20th century before a complete English-language version appeared. Arthur Waley, a Cambridge classicist who taught himself Japanese and Chinese, produced the first English translation in six instalments between 1925 and 1933. Waley was much more interested in readability than fidelity. ...

In 1976 Edward Seidensticker, an academic already celebrated for his translations of Yasunari Kawabata, a Nobel prize-winning novelist, brought out a new version. Torn between admiration for Waley’s narrative verve and horror at the liberties he had taken with the text, Seidensticker produced a Genji that was doggedly faithful but a little lacking in grace.

It was left to Royall Tyler, whose charming and urbane Genji came out in 2001, to chart the course between the exuberance and the exactitude of his two predecessors. --The Economist, Playboy of the eastern world: The first modern novel celebrates its 1,000th birthday, December 18, 2008

Murasaki Shikibu, by Royall Tyler, Harvard, May-June 2002

most people who have read it agree that it is probably the world’s greatest novel. --Kenneth Rexroth The Tale of Genji, Classics Revisited (1968)

The World of Genji, review by Kenneth Rexroth of The World of the Shining Prince, by Ivan Morris, Chicago Tribune, November 29, 1964

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Churches line up against gay marriage ban

Krista B. Ledbetter reports in The Northwestern (Oshkosh).
[Aaron] Scherer, executive director of the Paine Art Center and board member of Fair Wisconsin, a group working to defeat the ban, said faith groups are a huge part of the campaign.

"Literally hundreds of religious leaders have personally kind of pledged to oppose the amendment," Scherer said.

Is that like "personally opposed" only more equivocal?

(via The Wheeler Report)

Homilists asked to urge end to violence

Mike posted on a recent email Archbishop Dolan sent to all priests and staff. That email started with this.
1. Pardon the late notice, but I trust that you were able to read of my acceptance of Mayor Barrett's [Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's] invitation that we offer special prayers at all our parishes in the community this weekend for a restoration of peace, respect for life, and protection of our homes, neighborhoods and streets through an end to violence and murder in our community. I ask each of you to do what you can to see that prayers are offered for this noble intention this weekend, and that some reference might be made to this cause in our homilies. The Mayor is convinced that the churches have a major part to play in this effort ... and I think we all agree.

The request came from Mayor Barrett after some Memorial Day murders in South Shore Park in Milwaukee. Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald.
Archbishop Dolan also expressed hope for this deadly trend.

"Thank God we have not grown used to it," he wrote. "Thank God we still can muster a sense of horror, of shame, of outrage. Thank God thoughtful people are beginning to say this simply cannot continue."

From what I see, we have grown used to it. There was a time in living memory when Milwaukee, just as populous, had as many murders in a year as it now has in a month or less. Periodically the details of a particular murder cause the cry to arise that this can't go on. Yet it has.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Building a community foundation

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Standing firm near his roots, Pastor Roy Hopgood Jr. watched this week as 40 volunteers from a Southern Baptist Church in Missouri raised the framework of his new church at 534 W. Center St.

With all the closed Catholic churches in the inner city, I'm surprised they had to build from scratch. Perhaps we should be building additional closed churches to sell to other denominations... on easy terms.

MAPA Convening Board Minutes March 13, 2006

Our local priest's union has posted the minutes of its executive committee's meeting March 13, 2006. Among the committee ("focus group") reports
2. Fraternity of Priests--Bill Burkert reported that he held a meeting at his and that five priests attended. The consensus seemed to be that the best way to accomplish this goal is for guys to host drop-in sessions at their residences especially on a Saturday night after mass.

Guys hanging out together when they're not working sounds like fraternity. They needed a committee to figure this out?

Speaking of bureaucracy

3. Priests' Rights--Steve Avella reported that he made contact with Tom Green who referred him back to Patrick Lagges. Patrick Lagges has done a review for us. We have received other input on the flyer that the Alliance mailed out some months ago. We all agreed that we needed time to study and read all of this carefully before making any decisions or taking any actions. We will also refer materials to the Priests' Rights focus group for input as well.

The meeting of the whole membership was two days away.
4. General Meeting Presenters--Chuck Schramm reported that Dr. Paul Priester would give his presentation: The Vatican Document on Homosexuality and the Priesthood in the Light of Current Research on Human Sexuality ...

Paul Priester's is assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
And Noreen Welte will present the second talk: In the Light of the Statistical Facts Published by Fr. Brian Mason in "the Cincture", Are the Current Strategies Being Used Adequate for Dealing with the Growing Priest Shortage?

Noreen Welte is Director of Worship and Pastoral Services for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Then we will deal with an announcement for a new focus group: Wisconsin Legislative Referenda & Pastoral Implications – Steve Avella;

This gets further explanation.
6. Legislative Referenda Group – Steve Avella committed to contacting interested priests to work on a legislative group that would respond and study two issues: the proposed amendment on marriage (limiting marriage to one man and one woman) in Wisconsin; and the re-instatement of the Death Penalty in Wisconsin.

We'll see if they can start by explaining the bishops' positions on both issues.

P.S. You might recall that when Fr. Aiken was pastor at St. Al's he said he could not preach against abortion unless he also preached against the death penalty. I assume he cannot now preach against the upcoming death penalty referendum without also preaching against abortion.

Banking Leader to Discuss Immigration Reforms During Peter Favre Forum June 21

James P. Maloney, chairman of the Board of the Mitchell Bank and president of the Mitchell Bank Holding Company, will present a lecture titled "Undocumented Migrants: A Judeo-Christian Response" to The Peter Favre Forum.
Maloney has been active in creating and marketing new products with emphasis on remittance products and other strategies to compete with alternative financial providers, including check cashing outlets, wire transfer companies and predatory lenders.

Presumably a lender cannot be both competitive and predatory.

(via Dad29)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Thirty-three priests celebrating ordination jubilees

Maryangela Layman Roman's report in our Catholic Herald includes a couple of priests I knew. Fr. Stanley B. Klauck has been a priest for 60 years.
His first assignment was St. Veronica, Milwaukee, from 1946 to 1962.

As I remember it, we had a daily Religion class and once a week one of the priests came over to teach it. So some of the time it would have been Fr. Klauck.

Fr. Joseph B. Frederick has been a priest for 50 years.

From 1963 to 1970 he served at St. Veronica, Milwaukee. ... He went back to St. Veronica from 1979 to 1999.

I had moved from St. Veronica's in 1970 and moved back in 1979; to me it seemed like he never left.

Lost in Translation

With the American bishops discussing the latest revisions to the Mass, Commonweal reran this article by John Wilkins reviewing the preceding decades of controversy.
But the CDW [Congregation for Divine Worship at the Vatican] was moving toward its knockout blow. On March 28, 2001, it published a new instruction on the use of the vernacular, titled Liturgiam authenticam (Authentic Liturgy), which overturned the entire basis on which ICEL’s [International Commission on English in the Liturgy's] work had rested for nearly forty years. And in July a supervisory committee of cardinals and bishops known as Vox clara (Clear Voice) was established to ensure that the Vatican would get exactly what it wanted. The English-speaking language group is the only one to have had such a committee imposed on it.

Indicating the problem was with the English-speaking language group and not with the Vatican.

Use 'Da Vinci Code' as teaching tool

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald on Amy Welborn's recent presentations here about The Da Vinci Code.
Welborn also explained she believes there are three types of people who believe in "The Da Vinci Code": those who believe in the Priory of Scion and the possibility of a "Holy Bloodline"; those who don’t care about the details, they just like the fact that it "sticks it to Catholics"; and those who hardly go to church, have been poorly catechized and view the book as an authoritative-sounding account of history of the church.

Welborn said it is the last category that worries her the most.

Let's hope it doesn't include reporters and editors who confuse "Sion" with "Scion".

Saturday, June 17, 2006

MAPA Convening Board Minutes February 13, 2006

Our local priest's union has posted the minutes of its executive committee's meeting February 13, 2006. Much of the meeting dealt with the then-upcoming meetings of the Alliance's membership and the annual retreat for all the priests in the Archdiocese. In other business
c. Priests’ Rights – Steve Avella has contacted Fr. Pat Legges and Fr. Mike Jamail for advice on how to get a canonical review on our document for protecting your rights as a priest from someone outside of our diocese. The board agreed that he should proceed with Jamail’s recommendation.

This arose from Fr. Paul Hartmann's pointing out problems with their brochure, see my post on their January 9, 2006 meeting. If they now concede he might be pointing out real problems, why don't they just ask him for solutions?
e. Vatican Document on Homosexual Candidates – There is a March 16 focus group meeting on this topic. Brian Mason, Steve Amann, Ken Mich, and perhaps Rick Abert will continue follow-up on this by scheduling an event for priests on processing the negative impact of the Vatican Document rejecting homosexuals from seminaries. ...

When Anne Burke, interim chair of the National Review Board of the USCCB, spoke to the local chapter of Voice of the Faithful September 11, 2004, she said in the Q and A that they had not ruled out homosexuality as a risk factor in the abuse cases. If so, it's hard to see how it can be ignored in seminary admissions if the Church is going to defend itself should such cases arise in the future. I wonder how the MAPA committee will address this aspect of the issue.
Ken [Fr. Ken Mich] will contact Fr. Brian Mason to ask him
to facilitate a focus group at the general meeting on the subject of his article in The Cincture on the theme of: "Are our strategies for dealing with the shortage of priests effective ones?"

Archbishop Dolan's strategy is more priests. MAPA's strategy seems to be reducing the number of laity who show up to fit a declining number of priests.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Changing Mass for U.S. Catholics

Laurie Goodstein and Cindy Chang report in The New York Times from the Los Angeles. At the meeting of the American bishops, a revised translation of the Mass was approved, with some exceptions.
The bishops rejected about 60 of the changes proposed by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, the panel of bishops from 11 English-speaking countries that prepared the translation. For instance, the committee wanted to change the phrase in the Nicene Creed "one in being with the Father" to "consubstantial with the Father."

But the bishops kept the current version, noting, " 'Consubstantial' is a theological expression requiring explanation for many."

Isn't that a bishop's job?

Update: Joe Feuerherd in National Catholic Reporter elaborates.

Of the 11 English-speaking countries considering translation issues, the U.S. church is the only one that does not use "consubstantial" in the Creed.

LA archdiocese gets creative in defending priest abuse case

The Associated Press reported June 9th that
[Los Angeles Archbishop Cardinal Roger] Mahony intervened in March in a civil suit alleging several former Los Angeles police Explorer Scouts were molested in the late 1970s by the department's highest-ranking openly gay officer, Deputy Chief David Kalish. The plaintiffs said the department should have known about the alleged conduct. ...

"Intervened" is a bit ambiguous here. As a legal term, it would have meant Cardinal Mahony asked that the Archdiocese be made a party to the case. That isn't what the article means.
In the civil case, Kalish's lawyer argued that state law required the Explorers to show specific sexual misconduct before the LAPD could be forced to open its files. A California appellate court agreed and on Feb. 24 dismissed the LAPD as a defendant.

Mahony's lawyer on March 3 asked the court to publish the decision, which would make it apply to other cases and not just the suit against Kalish, the paper reported. The court did so four days later.

From this article, it appears California law and procedure is like Wisconsin's. Routine decisions of the intermediate appellate court are usually not published. Only published decisions can be cited in other cases as precedent requiring courts in that jurisdiction to decide the same or similar issues the same way.
Now Raymond P. Boucher, an attorney for many of the church's accusers, has asked the California Supreme Court to depublish the ruling on the grounds that it would deny victims their day in court, the Times reported. ...

"I thought it was underhanded for the archdiocese to surreptitiously send that letter and never give us an opportunity to respond," Boucher told the newspaper.

There's no indication it's unethical, but it certainly comes across as hardball.
J. Michael Hennigan, the cardinal's lawyer, and Tod Tamburg, Mahony's spokesman, declined to comment Thursday to the [LA] Times.

(via comment by Clayton at Open Book)

D. H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature: You can loathe Lawrence’s novels but still love this crazed, off-the-wall but brilliant book. It’s not only very funny, it’s also jammed with more insights into American life and literature than any other short book I know. --Wilfred M. McClay, What to Give a 'First Things' Reader, First Things, December 2008

Recommended reading: Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Flushed, Frenzied, Relentless Me by Elizabeth Tallent, review of D.H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider by John Worthen, The Threepenny Review, Spring 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Poetry, Regeneration, and D.H. Lawrence (1947) by Kenneth Rexroth

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Back to the Future: Reviving Corpus Christi Processions

Joanna Bogle in Adoremus Bulletin

WCC shares Guidelines for election related activity

This Wisconsin Catholic Conference press release links to the condensed version [pdf] of the Guidelines.

(via The Wheeler Report)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

MAPA Convening Board January 9, 2006

Our local priests' union has finally posted the minutes of its meetings for January through April, so I'll start with the minutes of the executive committee for January 9, 2006 [pdf].
We warmly welcomed Fr. Steve Avella to the Board.

Fr. Avella is presently released to the History Department at Marquette University.
With regret and understanding we accepted Fr. Mike Erwin's resignation from the Board. Mike said he wished to continue his efforts in the Focus Group on Rights of Priests.

Fr. Erwin is pastor at St. Alphonsus Church in New Munster and St. John the Evangelist Church in Twin Lakes. The Alliance calls its committees focus groups.

The board then had to figure out how to replace Erwin.

Our Constitution provides for the possibility of an election runner-up to be named to the board in the event of a resignation of a current board member.

I didn't see anything one way or the other in their Constitution and by-laws, specifically section 5 of the former and section 4 of the latter, about the eligibility or appropriateness of selecting a runner-up. (Perhaps they have to go outside even their own rubrics.) In any case, the runner-up selected was Fr. Philip Reifenberg of Nativity of the Lord Church in Cudahy.

Only some "focus groups" had anything substantive to report.

d. Generations of Priests: Ken Mich reported that this issue is not drawing much interest from the membership.

This committee was to deal with the differences in outlook between older and newer priests. Looks like the older priests not only don't understand but don't want to understand why these differences exist.
e. Consultation/Dave Mannelli: Chuck Schramm reported he was calling a meeting to work on this issue and surface possible psychologists to help us.

If I had to surface a psychologist, I'd probably use teflon.
f. Vatican Document on Homosexual Candidates - This group was to meet at the Cousins Center on Jan. 5th to discuss further work and plans. They refer to themselves as "The Witch Hunt Group."

The important thing is that they're approaching it with an open mind.

In other board action

5. Canonical Review of document on priests’ rights. We agreed that we would pursue a review of the document by a canonist outside of Milwaukee.

At the board's November 14, 2005 and December 13, 2005 meetings, they had declined to consider issues that Fr. Paul Hartmann had raised about the Alliance's flyer Protecting Your Rights as a Priest, a Practical Guide [pdf]. This, I understand, had to do with the flyer's seventh "bullet point" which says
Inform the Vicar for Clergy that you will expect to review your entire archdiocesan personnel file, and any other records kept about you in the Chancery, Tribunal, or Vicar for Clergy office, when you meet. It is possible that your file contains written complaints or allegations about which you were never informed, even though you have the right to be informed of any such allegations according to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Clergy Manual. The provisions of the Clergy Manual have, on occasion, been completely ignored.

The Clergy Manual apparently says nothing about this and so cannot be said to have been ignored. It further appears that parties to a proceeding before the Metropolitan Tribunal, a Church court, do not have a broad right to review its records. The board seems to be having second thoughts about Fr. Hartmann's concerns.

As an aside, I'm sometimes struck how secular ideas of fair proceedings often track those in the Bible more closely than canon law proceedings, as I understand them, do. But I can't imagine the Alliance undertaking a reform effort on that basis. They'd prefer being defrocked to getting justice via proof-texting.

Next board action

6. Preparations for the General Meeting. We agreed after some discussion that it would be a good idea to find someone to address homosexuality from the vantage point of the behavioral sciences.

Seems to be a hot topic for them.


7. Website. Dick Aiken asked Dave Cooper to email him Phil Lamphear's email address so that we could discuss with him getting our own website that would not be under the control of Gamaliel.

By contrast, when Fr. Aiken was pastor at St. Al's he justified the stale parish web site by saying he had put someone in charge who was too busy to work on it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

How priests get their parish assignments

Brian T. Olszewski reports in our Catholic Herald.
According to Fr. Brian Mason, associate vicar for clergy, the process is priest-driven.

That's candid; no pretending that it's mission-driven.
In November, all diocesan priests were sent a questionnaire in which they were asked to state their intentions for spring. Response options included staying where they were; seeking to renew their assignments, if their first term was coming to an end; and seeking a new parish if their second term was coming to an end.

Moving after one six-year term isn't mentioned, though it seems like the logical choice if a pastor can't stay for life.

The assignments are suggested to the Archbishop by a six member placement board.

"You know why a priest would do well in a particular parish," Fr. Mason said of the different perspectives members bring to the board.

"You know" meaning the board members think they know.
Fr. Mason visited each of the parishes where the pastor was leaving. He consulted with the parish’s paid staff and with its parish council. The parish also developed a profile of itself.

Sure sounds good unless you know how haphazard the actual process can be.
According to Fr. Mason, the placement board has two key questions for priests in transition.

"What parishes would you be willing to serve? What parishes would you definitely not be willing to serve?"

The parish listings ought to include everything ever said about each parish in this process. Even without the commenting priests' names, it might also provide insight into priests' outlook, for example, the prevailing level of commitment to parish schools.

The board also recommends placement of associate pastors, including the five newly-ordained priests.

"We ask, 'What are you looking forward to doing as priests?'" Fr. Mason said. "They’re also upfront as to what intimidates them."

I assume they all answer the first question "Serving the people" and the second "Dealing with the people."
"Some of the questions we ask are, 'Is this going to be a good first assignment for this newly-ordained priest? Who is the pastor? What is the parish community like? What is the staff like?'" Fr. Mason said.

I'd like to hear those opinions about St. Al's pastor, parish community, and staff.
Fr. Mason estimated that the placement board met at least a dozen times since last fall, in addition to doing the preparation required for each meeting.

"This is above and beyond their regular work," he said. "They receive no compensation for this."

If you see compensation only in terms of money. I will gladly pay them as much money as I received for the same amount of time spent on Parish Counci.

Monday, June 12, 2006

In Trouble

Kathryn Harrison in The New York Times reviews The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler.
one of the women who agreed to be interviewed by Fessler were able to follow the advice of parents, pastors and social workers who told them to put their "mistakes" behind them and move on, pick up their lives at the point at which they'd hurriedly exited them to wait out their confinement in a maternity home. Whatever private fantasies Fessler may have attached to the idea of reunion with her birth mother, they were informed by what she'd learned from other women who, like her mother, had suffered what one called "a horrible, horrible, horrible loss."

Assuming that's the case, I note the subtitle of the book is "The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade." Yet Fessler never explains why that case is relevant as a dividing line. It would seem that girls who found it "a horrible, horrible, horrible loss" to let their newborns be adopted would be even more horrified at the prospect of killing their children rather than let them be born.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Who really is handicapped?

Mike blogs a faxed "Handicappers view of the Auxiliary Bishop race -- May 2006". Top contender
David Malloy – 5-1, the reasonable brother, will make it, for other reasons – Vatican service, at a different place. Is a Milwaukee priest BUT never really served here.

Given what's said about priests who've served (or "served") in Milwaukee, that doesn't seem like a disadvantage. For example, in the dark horses is my former pastor of about 15 years.
Dick Aiken – likes his own brand of luxury, tends to take it super easy.

Does your priest prey on puppies?

Fr. Paul Stanosz, pastor of St. James Church here in Franklin, deleted his Church in Hospice weblog, so I've linked to the copy of this post in Google's cache.

He starts with the clerical sexual abuse crisis, noting the example of "countless Boston priests abusing hundreds of children."

Catholics understandably began to wonder how these men managed to be ordained and what kind of formation seminarians receive today to help them live lives of celibacy. Lay Catholics weren't the only ones wondering what was happening in seminaries. In 2002, the Holy See called for a visitation of all U. S. seminaries.

With that prelude, you might expect that the seminary administrators would also understand the need for the visitations.
Seminary officials have complained of the inquisitorial manner of some visitors.

Even with "countless" priests sexually abusing children, they still wanted business as usual.

Fr. Stanosz's reading of the visitation report [158 pp., pdf] is that in seminaries before the Second Vatican Council

Formation was primarily intellectual, supplemented by encouragement to develop a habit of prayer in students. According to the report, large numbers of men overwhelmed seminaries and too little attention was payed to their affective maturity. the shortcomings of immature candidates like Boston's John Geoghan were not addressed and too many men were passed on to ordination.

After the Council
In the 1970s and 80s, the report claims that as numbers of candidates entering seminaries declined precipitously, many weak candidates were admitted and a certain laxness overtook some seminaries.

Stanosz agrees with the pre-conciliar critique, and doubts the post-conciliar. If he's right, he leaves unexplained why unsuitable men continued to be ordained after the huge drop in numbers and more willingness to examine sexuality.

Update: Diogenes asks at Off the Record

When exactly did the US bishops jump the shark?

In Comments, Pseudodionysius answers
The US Bishops jumped the shark when they approved the spinoff series "Chachi loves Chachi" for broadcast in our seminaries. Cost overruns came to just over $1.0 Billion USD.

Friday, June 9, 2006

The Official Minutes of the Star Chamber

Transcripts of the Latest Gathering [December 2005] of the International Jewish Conspiracy's Governing Body

Thursday, June 8, 2006

iPray: Walking the Labyrinth

The description of this event at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's web site begins with an appeal to authority.
"In his book The Way of Prayer, Pope John Paul II indicates that people sometimes say they don't know how to pray. ["]How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: 'Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray' You can pray the way your mother taught you; you can use a prayer book. Sometimes it takes courage to pray; but it is possible to pray, and necessary to pray. Whether from memory or from a book or just in through, it is all the same."

That should, I suspect, read "just in thought" rather than "just in through." This "iPray" event makes more sense with the typo.
The labyrinth is a path of prayer for all people seeking the divine, regardless of the tradition in which one stands. The winding path leading to the center, based on a labyrinth laid in the floor of Chartes [sic] Cathedral around 1220, serves as a mirror to reflect the movement of the Spirit in our lives. The labyrinth has only one path so there are no tricks to it and no dead ends. Walking the path with an open mind and an open heart touches our sorrows and releases our joys.

This leaves the impression that the use and purpose of the labyrinth in this event is grounded in its use and purpose at Chartres. That's not the history as told even by a labyrinth advocate.
In the past it could be walked as a pilgrimage and/or for repentance. As a pilgrimage it was a questing, searching journey with the hope of becoming closer to God. When used for repentance the pilgrims would walk on their knees. Sometimes this eleven-circuit labyrinth would serve as a substitute for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem and as a result came to be called the "Chemin de Jerusalem" or Road of Jerusalem.

For more on the "iPray" series, see this earlier post.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

The Da Vinci Mass

From Pharisaios Journal
"The Dean and Chapter of Manchester Cathedral [Church of England] are advertising a 'Da Vinci mass' with a spoof of the Da Vinci Code poster." CHURCH TIMES 19 MAY 2006.



The Lord is here.
And he's brought the wife and kids as well!

Lift up your hearts.
Watch out for that monk, chuck -- he looks a bit pale!

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Are we on the telly?

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Colbert report on liturgical dance

Evangelical Catholic Institute 2006!

Catholic Campus reports on this event held earlier this year in Madison, including a link to video of Archbishop Dolan's address [1:04:18 wmv].

(via Maior autem his est caritas)

Monday, June 5, 2006

Lao Tzu

In terms of Western epistemology, a subject Classical Chinese thought does not even grant existence, the beginning and end of knowledge are the same thing — the intuitive apprehension of reality as a totality, before and behind the data of sense or the constructions of experience and reason. The Tao Te Ching insists over and over that this is both a personal, psychological and a social, moral, even political first principle. --Kenneth Rexroth, Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, More Classics Revisited (1989)

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall...

Fr. Paul Stanosz, pastor of St. James Church here in Franklin, had been blogging. This post was his comment on the closing of our Archdiocese's seminary as a stand-alone institution.
Were it not for the severe financial problems facing many dioceses, I think it likely some of them would be opening high school seminaries. Their establishment would fit with the "culture of death" narrative that is appealing to many Catholics (i.e. U.S. society is so decadent it must create seperatist institutions if Catholicism to renew itself).

An odd place for Fr. Stanosz to look for a "culture of death" narrative, given that his weblog is titled "Church in hospice".

An unbounded 'Aida'

We attended Milwaukee's Florentine Opera Company production last night. Here's Tom Strini's review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The more elaborate, if still unconventional, sets and period-evoking costuming did enhance the performance.

Now if only the group behind us hadn't been whispering and laughing and text-messaging during the show.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

It's time to heal divisions in the church

Tom Roberts, in this National Catholic Reporter editorial , refers in this to several of its articles, including
"A Radical Shift" about the wholesale dismantling of ministries and distinctive education programs and the firing of long-time professionals in the chancery office ordered by Bishop Robert Finn during his first year as bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese.

Compared to some other developments he cites
... The case in Kansas City, of course, is less dramatic and there is certainly nothing criminal about a new administrator making changes.

Not in itself; it would depend on the circumstances. But note how he refers to the Archbishop's role as if it were just administration.
The central question to that story, however, was how should a functioning, thriving Christian community expect to be treated?

Mr. Roberts assumes several things here. First, he assumes that this archdiocese was thriving. Archbishop Finn might have reasons to see things differently. It certainly would be exceptional. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, for example, is far from thriving. Second, he talks of the paid staff as if it were the community. I've noticed paid staff sometimes thinks this way as well.
Further, why does an affinity, say, for Latin or for a certain manner of pedagogy necessitate ripping out everything that went before?

More likely the problem was staffers' affinity for schlock liturgy and vacuous catechesis.
The problem is that, once again, there is no mechanism for holding leaders accountable.

Actually, Roberts is arguing for staff unaccountable even to the bishop.
The work of a community can be undone without consultation and with no requirement for explaining why it is being disassembled or what will replace it.

Here, again, this is more a description of how paid staff often treats the actual community, rather than how the bishop treats the staff.

Why the light rail hysteria?

Janice M. Eisen in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 3, 2006
The best opportunity to put in a new transit system, if we were going to do so, has already been lost. A rail system with its own dedicated right-of-way could have been put up as part of the Marquette Interchange reconstruction project, using some of the federal money set aside for the Waukesha-Milwaukee transportation corridor.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Tapping into responsible drinking

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald on the part of Ordinary Time we call Miller Time.
It’s a church festival, and during the spring and summer throughout southeastern Wisconsin, there is at least one almost every weekend.

It’s usually the biggest fund-raiser for a parish. Modern festivals have come a long way from bobbing for apples after Sunday Mass. Today’s festivals often have music, food, games, rides, raffles and alcohol.

College too Catholic

Linda Piper in the News Shopper of Petts Wood, England, on student complaints at St. Luke's College. (Called a Catholic "sixth form college" it appears to be roughly equivalent to a U.S. senior high school.)
The 16 to 18-year-olds claim they are forced to attend "evangelical talks" expressing puritanical views on subjects such as chastity and homosexuality.

... The most recent mandatory talk by pro-life campaigner Barbara McGuigan, founder of pressure group Voice of Virtue International, prompted more than 100 of the 383 students at the college to sign a protest petition to Mrs Williams [headteacher Maria Williams].

... One student told News Shopper: "We were dictated right-wing views typically associated with extreme religious groups."

... Another student said: "Although we accepted by going to a Catholic college we would be signing up to the Catholic ethos, we had no idea we were also joining an institution which embraced many values present within many fanatical religous cults.

(via Catholic and Enjoying It!)

Franz Kafka

Working in "the Manchester of the Empire," Kafka proved himself a legal innovator, developing and implementing safety measures and methods of oversight that saved the lives and livelihoods of countless workers. He appealed for the improvement of conditions in quarries, advocated for public assistance to disabled veterans and filed lawsuits against business owners who illegally withheld insurance premiums. And while he complained that the "real hell is there in the office" and, in his epistolary exchanges with friends and lovers, fretted constantly about the obstruction to writing posed by his day job, he also admitted the existence of "the deep-seated bureaucrat" inside him. In technical papers like "On the Examination of Firms by Trade Inspectors" and "Measures for Preventing Accidents From Wood-Planing Machines," he surveyed the strange terrain his literary work would excavate. --Alexander Provan, An Alienation Artist: Kafka and His Critics, The Nation, March 2, 2009, review including of Franz Kafka: The Office Writings, by Franz Kafka, edited by Stanley Corngold, Jack Greenberg and Benno Wagner (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Recommended reading:
by Franz Kafka at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Kafka was a lawyer, and his day job was at an insurance company.
... company documents, including those that are known to have been written by Kafka, are of a mind-numbing dullness, a characteristic they share with most legal texts on insurance law and its application. --Louis Begley, Before the Law, The New Republic, issue date May 6, 2009, review of Franz Kafka: The Office Writings, edited by Stanley Corngold, Jack Greenberg, and Benno Wagner

Prague's Franz Kafka International Named World's Most Alienating Airport, The Onion (via Grant Gallicho at dotCommonweal)

If few readers of Kafka can be truly sorry for the existence of the works Kafka had consigned to oblivion, many regret the way [his literary executor Max] Brod chose to present them. --Zadie Smith, F. Kafka, Everyman, The New York Review of Books, July 17, 2008, review of The Tremendous World I Have Inside My Head: Franz Kafka: A Biographical Essay, by Louis Begley

Karl’s innocence is the main reason “Amerika” remains less persuasive a parable than “The Trial” and “The Castle.” To be sure, in his first novel Kafka lighted instinctively on many of the techniques he would later use to such great effect. So similar are all three novels in structure and mood that they can be seen as the successively widening turns of a spiral; each time, Kafka surveys the same spiritual territory, but from a more commanding height. --Adam Kirsch, America, ‘Amerika’, The New York Times, January 2, 2009, review of Amerika: The Missing Person, by Franz Kafka, translated by Michael Hofmann (via Arts & Letters Daily)

No, Kafka won't make it easy for his hagiographers. ... Far from being alone and poor, he lived with his family in upper-middle-class comfort, socialized regularly and was well compensated by his employers at the Workers' Accident Insurance Institute. --Louis Bayard, How Kafka-esque is Kafka? Salon, August 1, 2008 review of Why You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life, by James Hawes

Review by Chris Barsanti of Kafka by David Zane Mairowitz, illustrated by Robert Crumb, Bookslut, June 2007

The Human Stain, by John Banville, review of Kafka, by Nicholas Murray, Nation, October 18, 2004

Franz Kafka versus the Novel: 'The Limited Circle Is Pure,' by Zadie Smith, New Republic, November 3, 2003

Kafka's happiness: John Gross reviews Kafka's Last Love, by Kathi Diamant, The Telegraph, October 8, 2003

Kafka Goes to the Movies, by James Poniewozik, New York Times, December 22, 2002

Don't draw the bug! by Martin Greenberg, on The City of K.-–Franz Kafka and Prague, at the Jewish Museum, New Criterion, October 2002

The Hunter Gracchus, by Guy Davenport, on the story & fragment "The Hunter Gracchus" by Franz Kafka, The New Criterion, February 1996

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Answers to immigration concerns found in imitation of Christ

This guest opinion by Fr. Jim Connell was published only in the print edition of the May 11, 2006 Catholic Herald. After a general review of Church teaching on social justice, he says
This raises a basic question facing the United States today in the matter of immigration law. Do 5 percent of the world's population have the right to control in excess of 20 percent of the world's goods?

What are pastors doing to apply these principles so that there is a more equal distribution among parishes? I mean, other than eliminating the poorer ones?

Episcopalian Crisis

Barry Jay Seltser in Commonweal on arguing in the alternative.
Liberals argue either that Scripture, properly interpreted, allows room for a variety of sexual practices or norms, or that even if Scripture speaks unequivocally about sexual ethics, its guidance is not necessarily the final word for the church today.

Entering the decoding game

Bishop Richard J. Sklba tackles The Da Vinci Code in the "Herald of Hope" column of our Catholic Herald.
The book as a work of fiction with its captivating tale of murder against the background of the curious history of the Knights Templar is engaging.

Read Dan Brown and you might end up writing a sentence like that.