Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reading Rat August 2006

Also of interest

Milestones by Syed Qutb, at Young Muslims Canada-wide
(via Crunchy Con)

Eric Voegelin by Fritz Wagner

Preliminary number and prospectus, The Economist, August 5th 1843

The Domesday Book, U.K. National Archives

Home - The Place from Which to Understand

This column by Fr. Ron Rolheiser appeared in our Catholic Herald.
Sometimes people ask me: "How do I know that the love I have for a person is the kind of love that I can build a marriage on?" My answer: "Love is a mystery and there are no guarantees, but, ask yourself this: 'Does this person bring me home?' "

Sounds like a third base coach, but in a counter-cultural way. Compare Seinfeld, The Boyfriend, Part 2.
ELAINE BENES: ... I mean you played first base. I mean they always put the worst player on first base. That's were they put me and I stunk.
KEITH HERNANDEZ: Elaine. you don't know the first thing about first base.
ELAINE: ha ha well I know something about getting to first base. And I know you'll never be there.
KEITH: The way I figure it I've already been there and I plan on rounding second tonight at around eleven o'clock.
ELAINE: Well, uh, I'd watch the third base coach if I were you 'cause I don't think he's waving you in. ...

Governor Doyle Announces $1 Million to Support Job Creation in Franklin

From the Ich bin ein Frankliner file
Governor Jim Doyle announced today that the City of Franklin will receive a $1 million Transportation Economic Assistance (TEA) grant to support the expansion efforts of Northwestern Mutual [Life Insurance Company]. ...

The grant will be used to construct a four-lane extension of South 31st Street between Rawson and Drexel Avenues to relieve expected traffic congestion near Northwestern Mutual’s facility in Franklin. The total cost of the project is $2,057,689, and the City of Franklin is covering the remaining balance of the costs.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

When Youngsters Request Confirmation

Some Q. and A. with Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: Several girls around 10 years of age, on their own initiative, have asked parents to take them to receive the sacrament of confirmation. They know their catechism and when asked why they wished to be confirmed, responded that they wanted the graces of Confirmation and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit so that they might use them to be holier. The parents made two unsuccessful attempts, through different avenues, to get their daughters into a confirmation ceremony of the local ordinary. ...

A. ... If met with resistance, the parents, or a canonist who assists them, could point out a December 1999 protocol letter from the Congregation of Divine Worship to an English-speaking (and probably American) bishop on this theme. ...

"... Consequently, when a member of the faithful wishes to receive this Sacrament, even though not satisfying one or more elements of the local legislation (for example, being younger than the designated age …), these elements must give way to the fundamental right of the faithful to receive the Sacraments. ..."


(via Dad29)

Bible study groups gaining popularity

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald.
For someone like Janis Parker, parishioner at St. Jerome, Oconomowoc, this is exciting news. For years she had attended non-Catholic Bible studies because she couldn't find Bible study groups in her Catholic churches, and she yearned for that outlet.

"Those of us that end up in non-denominational or Protestant Bible study, we run into walls with it," she said. "I think, for myself, I got really tired of that. I got tired of what I perceived as anti-Catholic sentiments. That's really when I started hosting Bible studies. ..."


Here's a hint of what she means, from page 218 of Catholicism and Christianity by Jimmy Swaggart.
"If I am a Catholic, what must I do?"

Obtain a copy of the Holy Word of God (preferably in the King James Version) to verify for yourself the promises of God.


It happens I already had a King James Version. It's a reprint of the original of 1611 and contains what Rev. Swaggert calls the Apocrypha, the inclusion of which he calls "a work of the evil one himself," page 133.

He apparently means the KJV is the best English translation, if we overlook Satan's editorial contributions to its First Edition.

ibn Hazm

Recommended reading:
Reading Rat

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

St. Gregory VII Chapter

The local CUF (Catholics United for the Faith) chapter now has a web site.

John Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals today issued this decision affirming the dismissal of several lawsuits. The Circuit Court had dismissed them on the ground that they were filed after the statute of limitations had run. The plaintiffs alleged they had been sexually abused by Father Siegfried Widera in the 1970s. The courts rejected the plaintiffs' argument that they should not be deemed to have discovered their injury until much later, which would make their lawsuits timely.

Pope You

At The Medicine Box "a helpful quiz for those seeking to determine precisely where they stand on the radical traditionalist spectrum. ( Or, What Kind of Kook Are You? )"

MMSD Works

Or does it?

John Rondy in the Shepherd Express on the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District

What MMSD’s critics fail to acknowledge is that since the Deep Tunnel came online in late 1993, annual releases have gone from 50 to 60 overflows per year down to an average 2.2 combined sewer overflows per year, with about 1.1 billion gallons of partially treated sewage released into the lake. That compares to 7 billion to 9 billion gallons released into the lake annually before the advent of the Deep Tunnel.

What MMSD's defenders fail to acknowledge is that it has not shown that the Deep Tunnel was preferable to separating combined storm and sanitary sewers. Green Bay separated its combined sewers and it's been reported it hasn't had Milwaukee's continuing overflow problems.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Letter of Expulsion

M. Hutchins at Mere Comments provides the letter from Rev. Constance C. Wheeler, Protestant Chaplain, Team Leader, at Georgetown University casting out the evangelical Affiliated Ministries.
While we realize this comes as a great disappointment, please know that we are moving forward with this decision only after much dialogue with the Lord.

cc: Rev. Timothy Godfrey, S. J. and Rev. Patrick D. Rogers, S. J.

(via QD at Southern Appeal)

Augustine

Both as an account of what Christian religiosity implies and also as the most extreme vision of a moral and material order in which we must fail especially when we think that we are behaving well. --Judith Shklar, The Harvard guide to influential books: 113 distinguished Harvard professors discuss the books that have helped to shape their thinking (1986), edited by C. Maury Devine, Kim D. Parrish, and Claudia Dissell, p. 231, on Confessions


Augustine’s writings are filled with anti-Jewish invective as harsh as anything in other early Christian writers. Yet there flows a deeper stream of thought that offers rich theological resources for Christian understanding of the Jews. Because of God’s ongoing connection to the Jews through the observance of the Law, the Church has an abiding relation to the Jewish people. --Robert Louis Wilken, Preserving the Law, First Things, March 2009, review of Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism, by Paula Fredriksen

In any event, Benedict XIII sent a letter to the Bishop of Pavia [in Lombardy] telling him to get their act together and figure out the questions of authenticity and control. Additional studies were made under someone appointed by Benedict and by 19 September of 1729 things were wrapped up. Processions were held, solemn proclamations made about the authenticity of the relics, a great Te Deum was sung and there was a fireworks display, and anyone who decided to disagree and start the bickering again would be excommunicated.--Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, The bones of St. Augustine of Hippo, What Does The Prayer Really Say? August 28, 2008 4:43 pm, (via New Advent)

Encountering Christ Changed St. Augustine's Life, Pope Benedict XVI, general audience, January 30, 2008

Augustine of Hippo: Tireless Searcher after Truth, Pope Benedict XVI, general audience, January 9, 2008

Sapientia et Doctrina: The Primacy of Sapientia and the Best of Doctrina, by Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., In Focus: Faculty and Research, October 22, 2007, Fordham University
(via Diogenes Off the Record)

Augustine: Now and Forever, by William Bole, Godspy November 15, 2004

Truth—or Consequences, review by J. Budziszewski of Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity, by Paul J. Griffiths, First Things, October 2004

An Augustinian Sentence, Sense and Nonsense column by James V. Schall, Crisis, July/August 2004

Augustine and the Case for Limited Government, by Linda C. Raeder, Humanitas 2003 No. 2

Purity: The way of the celibate, by Paula Huston, Godspy, November 19, 2003

An Updated Classic, review by Robert Louis Wilken of Augustine of Hippo: A Biography: A New Edition with an Epilogue, by Peter Brown, First Things, May 2001

Between the Lines, by Thomas J. Heffernan, review of After Augustine: The Meditative Reader and the Text, by Brian Stock, Crisis, May 2002

Mozart Without Music: Saint Augustine, by Garry Wills, reviewed by John Peter Kenney, First Things, January 2000

Augustine Then and Now, by Glenn Tinder, First Things, May 1999

The Neo-Augustinian Temptation, by Robert Benne, First Things, March 1998

Augustine's World and Ours, by Glenn Tinder, First Things, December 1997

Augustine Revisited, by George McKenna, First Things, April 1997

A Saint for Our Times, by Mary Ann Glendon, First Things, November 1996

Sunday, August 27, 2006

God's Country?

Walter Russell Mead in Foreign Affairs on Protestantism's influence on American foreign policy.
Why focus exclusively on Protestantism? The answer is, in part, that Protestantism has shaped much of the country's identity and remains today the majority faith in the United States (although only just). Moreover, the changes in Catholicism (the second-largest faith and the largest single religious denomination in the country) present a more mixed picture with fewer foreign policy implications. And finally, the remaining religious groups in the United States are significantly less influential when it comes to the country's politics.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

In service to the Word of God

When the Marcoux settlement scandal was in the news, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized on Explaining that $450,000.
Weakland also had help. Auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba and archdiocesan financial officer Wayne Schneider knew of the payment. Did they raise questions about it, or did their loyalty to Weakland outweigh their loyalty to the church and its parishioners? And what does this episode say about Sklba's ability to lead the archdiocese until the Vatican appoints Weakland's successor?

It also left the question about what Bishop Sklba, who continues as Auxiliary Bishop, learned from the experience. It appears he learned nothing, according to this "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald on the recent meeting of the Catholic Biblical Association.
I was re-elected to my third term as chair of the board of trustees ... a minor task which simply requires a five-minute stand up report on the health of the investments of the society.

As a trustee he has what the law calls a fiduciary duty to oversee the activities of the association. A bishop, whose very title I understand comes from the Greek word for overseeing, has at least as high a duty to the people of his diocese. Yet here he is making a joke of his duties as chairman of a board of trustees. It might make for an interesting line of questions in his next deposition.

While our Archdiocese might be headed for bankruptcy, the CBA is not.

We have a substantial nest egg, generated from royalties to the association because of the generous work of our members in producing and revising the New American Bible.

That's the Bible translation required to be used at Mass in the U.S.

How does Bishop Sklba spend his time at the CBA after rubber-stamping whatever financial report the staff hands him? He tells the rest of the U.S. bishops how they should be doing their job, as in this CBA Executive Board Letter to American Bishops.

Labels:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Letter from a Catholic Theologian to All 270 United States Catholic Bishops

by Professor Daniel C. Maguire of Marquette University, with a response from our Archbishop, Timothy Dolan, and a reply from Maquire.

Also by Maguire, Fetus Alert.

And don't worry about Roe v. Wade which allowed women to choose abortions and control their lives. Even without being repealed it is being gutted. Our witty Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in Casey (1992): "Roe continues to exist, but only in the way a storefront on a western movie set exists: a mere facade to give the illusion of reality."

One need only examine the context to see that Maquire's assertion is misleading. Section II of Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissenting opinion begins
The joint opinion of Justices O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter cannot bring itself to say that Roe was correct as an original matter, but the authors are of the view that the immediate question is not the soundness of Roe's resolution of the issue, but the precedential force that must be accorded to its holding. ...

The facade is not that Roe is represented as in force even though it isn't; the facade is that it remains in force even though the Court has come to agree that it was incorrectly decided.

(via The Triumvirate via Open Book)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Why many priests are no more likely to encourage boys to become priests than they are to encourage them to smoke cigarettes

This post on the since-deleted weblog of Fr. Paul Stanosz of St. James Church in Franklin includes an unintended answer to his own question.
While western consumer societies are surely sex-obsessed, so was Christianity in its earliest centuries when it valorized virginity and continence.

It's like saying the Prussians were war-obsessed, but so are the Quakers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The curse of free love

Robert Hughes in The Sunday Times
The depths of tedium that can be plumbed by sitting around half stoned, listening to people chatter moonily about reuniting humankind and erasing its aggressive instincts through Love and Dope, are scarcely imaginable to those who have not suffered them.

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Great Books and liberal education

From the Sunday papers, two views of reading, discussing, and writing about the Great Books as an alternative to what has become conventional college education.
Liberating education from the 'liberation' groups: There are eternal truths not found in the average postmodern college class, says Norris Archer Harrington

in the Dallas Morning News

(via Crunchy Con)


Culled from the Herd: Only a select, Luddite-like group can make it through the great books program at St. Mary's

by Sam Whiting in the San Francisco Chronicle

(via Open Book)

Pope Benedict XVIs interview

by German journalists, a full-text translation in The Tablet.
Question: When you have an important job like yours, Holy Father, you are much observed. Other people talk about you. I was reading and I was struck by what many observers say: that Pope Benedict is different from Cardinal Ratzinger. How do you see yourself, if I may be so bold as to ask?

Benedict XVI: I've been taken apart various times: in my first phase as professor and in the intermediate phase, during my first phase as Cardinal and in the successive phase. Now come a new division. Of course circumstances and situations and even people influence you because you take on different responsibilities. Let's say that my basic personality and even my basic vision have grown, but in everything that is essential I have remained identical. I'm happy that certain aspects that weren't noticed at first are now coming into the open.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Interview with Samuel Escobar

by John L. Allen, Jr., in the National Catholic Reporter
I was in Peru two summers ago and read a study of the bishops’ conference on the growth of evangelical Protestantism, which asserted that one factor was a conscious policy on the part of the American government and American Protestants to undercut Latin American Catholicism. What do you think?

That’s what we call a conspiracy theory. In fact, those groups that have grown the most dramatically are not related to Protestant bodies in the United States. Those with the most expansive power are national bodies, with little or no contact with North American Protestantism. There are some American denominations that have made considerable missionary efforts, but the bulk of Latin American Protestantism is not an American product. The pastors and leaders are almost entirely native, which disperses the conspiracy theory.


Which would be worse: That the U.S. Government knows more about evangelization than the Latin American bishops? Or that it doesn't but the bishops are willing to say it does to excuse themselves?

(via Open Book)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Subtraction by addition?

Whitney Gould reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on controversial plans for additions to two Unitarian churches designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
"You have no more right to add on to these buildings than the Taliban did to blow up those Buddhas," says Nicholas Olsberg, a Canadian Wright scholar, referring to the 2001 destruction of ancient monuments in central Afghanistan.

Wouldn't this be more like Buddhists blowing up those Buddhas? Or if Wahabbists blew up the Kaaba?

Meanwhile, over at Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois,

Kelley [Steve Kelley, head of the church facilities committee] says congregants know that militant Wright purists - "the preservation Taliban," he calls them - are just waiting to pounce on whatever the architects come up with.

A short lesson on the Civil War, its aftermath

Jules Wagman in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviews The American Civil War: A Hands-on History by Christopher J. Olsen
In Chapter 3, "The Proslavery Arguments and Sectional Conflict," Olsen quotes from a speech to the U.S. Senate in 1858 by South Carolina Sen. James Henry Hammond: "In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life . . . Fortunately for the South, she has found a race adapted to that purpose at her hand. A race inferior to her own, but eminently qualified in temper, in vigor, in docility, in capacity to stand the climate, to answer all her purposes. We use them for our purpose and call them slaves . . ."

Slaves did the jobs that Americans wouldn't do?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The staged confession

Sign and Sight on the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung interview with Gunter Grass in which he admits serving in the Waffen SS during the Second World War. Grass also said,
"We had Adenauer, horrible, with all the lies, with all that Catholic fug. (West German) society at the time was characterised by a narrow-mindedness that was unknown even among the Nazis." ...

Then Grass tells us how he ended up in American captivity where he learned, apparently for the first time, of the horrors committed by the Nazis. In the same sentence he recalls the discrimination and insults that the black American soldiers were subjected to by their white comrades. "Suddenly, I was confronted with real racism."

A heap of truffles: Chocolate traps worker

Marie Rohde reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
An ordinary night's work at the chocolate company turned dangerous for Darmin Garcia early Friday after he fell into a vat of the molten goo and was trapped for more than two hours.

Thus life imitates art: the art of the Smothers Brothers.

Order's handling of accused priest angers victim group

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The whereabouts of a priest who once served at a Wauwatosa parish remained unknown Friday, more than a month after he apparently fled house arrest in Rome as Italian authorities were preparing to extradite him to the United States to face sexual molestation charges in Arizona.

Dad29 comments on the priest's religious order's response.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Female clergy answer the same call

Rev. Nancy Bauer-King of the United Methodist Church uses her op-ed in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to connect women's ordination and "minister" as an intransitive verb.
I don't know why [Kathy Sullivan] Vandenberg is seeking ordination. But my ordination came after a long, gradual and growing attention to my own deep longing to be close to the holy.

I wanted to be present at rituals celebrating life and death. I wanted to touch sacred things. Men got to touch sacred things. Why couldn't I?


Update: By contrast, from today's entry in Prayers and Devotions by Pope John Paul II, on the topic "The Priest Must Be Close to Christ and His People"
You must also learn to share the hopes and the joys, the sorrows and the frustrations of the people entrusted to your care. Bring them to Christ's saving message of reconciliation. Visit your parishioners in their homes. It is a pastoral practice that should not be neglected. Teach your people boldly about the faithful love of God. And do not forget all those with special needs, to whom Jesus Christ wants to offer peace of conscience and the forgiveness of all sins.

That doesn't sound like "the same call".

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Living in a violent world

Bishop Richard J. Sklba in the "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald expounds on Popeye cartoons and the violence in the Middle East.

Diogenes at Off the Record seems skeptical of these unfortunate cultural vaccinations.

Tapping into young adults at bars, restaurants

Karen Mahoney reports in our Catholic Herald on the local Theology On Tap series.
As the name suggests, the evenings, which originated in Chicago, mix theology with food and beverage, and offer topics such as biblical interpretation and fundamentalism, dating, and the role of young adults in the church.

At that age, I might have been interested in exploring the Eight Beeratitudes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Democrats Woo Religious

Tom McFeely in the National Catholic Register looks back at the 2004 U.S. Senate election in Illinois. Republican Alan Keyes said Democrat Barack Obama's views on issues such as abortion were irreconcilable with Christian moral principles. Barama responded in his Keynote Address to the Call to Renewal conference.
Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

He implies that he hasn't heard any such explanation. Here's the first paragraph of the U.S. Bishops' pamphlet.
All persons, not just Catholics, can know from the scientific and medical evidence that what grows in a mother's womb is a new, distinct human being. All persons can understand that each human being -- without discrimination -- merits respect. At the very least, respecting human life excludes the deliberate and direct destruction of life -- and that is exactly what abortion is.

Either Senator Obama never heard the argument in those terms, or this explanation would not meet his proposed standard.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Miracle on 25th Street

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald on the second annual visit by young people from St. John Vianney Church in suburban Brookfield to spend several days working at and around Prince of Peace/Principe de Paz Church in Milwaukee.
"About two years ago, we decided we wanted more encounters with people from here and (St. John Vianney)," said Diaz [German Diaz, Prince of Peace's director of religious education]. "My goal was to build a relationship and do some work. Sometimes people send a check and think that's helping; we want them to get involved here, that's what changes minds and hearts.

I'll take his critique of sending checks seriously if one is ever returned uncashed. From what I've seen in Guatemala, he has a point about personal contact changing minds and hearts, though one might be careful not to presume exactly what the change will be.
"We have camps where we send people away to Mexico and we have a need here," he continued. "Why not make this place beautiful? People go to Mexico to change the world; why not change the world here?"

If kids from Prince of Peace in turn visit and work at St. John Vianney, I don't see it in this story.

Update: Author Dave Goetz gives spiritual counsel.

The basic premise of Death by Suburb is that while the suburban environment may at times be toxic to your faith, the answer isn’t to flee. The answer is to stay. The answer is to figure it out. To build into your life the key spiritual practices that help us stay awake to the work of God in this world.

The alternative, I guess, is to say that to experience the fullness of God, you need either to move to the country where the pressures appear to be less or move to another place that may be more friendly to faith. For those who can afford it, that’s an option: You can either buy a second home in the rural or move there permanently.


Arise, fellow-suburbanites, and buy that second home in the country, that ye may experience the fullness of God!

(via Sprawled Out)

The Assumption

Mary disappeared and everyone assumed she went to Heaven.
--Mary Jane Frances Cavolina Meara, et al., Growing Up Catholic, p. 108

Update: Variations on a theme at Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor

Also, remember that bishops conferences in some countries on the metric system have voted to move holy days of obligation to the nearest date divisible by ten, so the Assumption may there be celebrated on August 20th.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Basic training defends against evangelical threat

Mary DeTurris Poust in Our Sunday Visitor on how the Church is dealing with evangelicals proselytizing Catholics in the military.
The problems, in large part, come from a Catholic population that is not well educated in the faith and is, therefore, open to the persuasive arguments of others. And so the military archdiocese has taken it upon itself to pump a lot of money and manpower into the one thing that can make a difference quickly and effectively with or without more chaplains: training young members of the armed forces in the basics of their faith.

Having seen our Religious Education programs up close, I'm not surprised our young people come out of them needing remediation. There seems to be an idea that the Church has advanced to a point beyond catechesis. Once again, that something is not sufficient has lead to it's being treated as not necessary.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A place to worship for 16,000 parishioners

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald on the new church to be built by the merged parishes in the City of Fond du Lac.
Holy Family Parish was officially formed July 1, 2000. Currently the parish consists of four sites, St. Peter, St. Mary, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph. St. Patrick and St. Louis have closed to make room for the new church. St. Joseph is also scheduled to close before the new building opens.

The remaining churches will, it appears, continue to have Mass.
Once completed, the new Holy Family church will have a permanent seating capacity of 1,250. When the new church is built, the three other parish sites will keep their current names, with "Holy Family" added at the end. The new church's name is yet to be determined.

Sounds like "Holy Family" was the new church's name, so this would be the new new name.

Here are the architects' Design Development Presentation. Looks pretty much like the other churches I've seen built around here recently. Remember being told that Vatican II made it essential there be those windowless interior walls? Must have been a typo.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Just because someone's excommunicated doesn't mean she's the bad guy

This post at From the Anchor Hold notes that
Today [August 8th] is the memorial of Blessed Mary MacKillop, one of that exclusive club of excommunicated saints. Yes, sometimes the Good Guys run afoul of their badly mistaken bishops or a particularly foul glob of church-politics....

A bit of an odd take from someone who has previously said where the bishop is, there is the Church: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Getting personal

The Economist notes a silver anniversary.
It was August 12th, 1981--and International Business Machines of Armonk, New York, unveiled the IBM 5150, its new entry in the nascent market for "personal computers".

Everybody Comes to Rick's

This play (under the title Casablanca) finally premiered on August 12, 1946 in Newport, Rhode Island. It ran one week.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Accidents are unexpected, catch us off guard

Almost by definition.

It's the subject of a "Herald of Hope" column by Bishop Richard J. Sklba in our Catholic Herald.

In the sixth paragraph, he tells us he was in a car accident in June.

In the seventh paragraph, he tells us he was injured.

In the ninth paragraph, he tells us that the accident fatally injured his driver, Deacon John Wargin.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bishops state support for proposed amendment defining marriage

Maryangela Layman Roman reports in our Catholic Herald on the Wisconsin bishops' support for the definition of marriage amendment [2 pp. pdf] to the Wisconsin Constitution. Like the article in the same issue on the death penalty referendum that goes to a vote the same day, this article links to a resource list. Unlike the death penalty referendum, the marriage amendment vote appears to lack a resolution of support from the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Our Need for Confession

This column by Fr. Ron Rolheiser ran in our Catholic Herald. He describes the steep decline in Catholics going to confession.
There's a sad irony in this: People are beginning to neglect the practice of confession just when, for the first time, we are learning from the experience of the therapeutic community that, for some things, there is no help, and there can be no help, outside of a searingly honest and detailed telling of our sins, addictions, fantasies, and foibles to another human being.

Strangely, there's no indication it ever crossed the collective mind of the therapeutic community that it might have something to learn from the Church's experience with confession.
An honest confession is a non-negotiable step in any healing process. What healing programs have discovered - just when so many of us inside church circles are forgetting it - is that, good as it is, it's not enough just to be contrite silently in our hearts. Full healing can only take place when we express that contrition not just to God in the secret recesses of the soul, but when we also speak it out, and in detail, to another human being.

Let's not forget our third mode of confession, in the long form Penitential Rite (Confiteor) at Mass.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Hudson, Wis., family suit seeks names of clergy sex abusers

The Associated Press via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on a new development in the killing of Daniel O'Connell and James Ellison by Father Ryan Erickson.
The family of a man believed to have been killed by a Roman Catholic priest in Hudson filed a civil lawsuit today against nearly 200 bishops and other church officials, asking them to disclose the names of abusive priests.

Update: WTMJ-TV has video (after a brief commercial).

Update 2: as reported in the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Nearly 200 bishops were named in a civil lawsuit Tuesday by the family of Dan O'Connell, one of two men shot to death at his family's Hudson funeral home in 2002.

The family filed the unprecedented lawsuit, which asks for the names and locations of some 5,000 clergy accused of molesting children, so they can publicize the list. They say the list is known only to the church.

The litigation is unique because of its scope and because others may join to make it a national class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Council [sic] of Catholic Bishops, said Jeff Anderson, the attorney for Dan O'Connell's family.

Bishops seek 'no' vote on death penalty referendum

Maryangela Layman Roman reported in our Catholic Herald on the Wisconsin bishops' urging voting "no" in the November advisory referendum on the death penalty. The article links to resource list which then links to the Bishops' letter.

Besides Church teaching, the bishops cite other reasons for their opposition.

Also, Wisconsin has strengthened its sentencing practices in recent years. Increasingly, for first-degree intentional homicide, life means life.

Though the referendum doesn't, I'll ask if the death penalty wouldn't be appropriate for someone serving a "life means life" sentence who commits murder? Or for murdering someone who is serving such a sentence?

Mexico will not extradite fugitives from charges with a potential "life means life" sentence. It might help the "no" vote if our bishops and Mexico's are working to change this.

The resourse list also includes the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Presbyteral Council's resolution against the death penalty [pdf].

Woman faces excommunication

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Waukesha resident Kathy Sullivan Vandenberg faces excommunication for seeking the priesthood in an unsanctioned ordination ceremony, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan said in a statement handed out at weekend Masses at Vandenberg's home parish.

In that statement, our Archbishop reviews his meeting with Ms. Vandenberg.
Dolan and Vandenberg disagree on what happened after the meeting.

"She promised she would confer with me about her next step," Dolan wrote to the parish. "In two subsequent letters, I have asked for her decision. Her regrettable participation in the protest gives me her unfortunate answer."

Vandenberg said that "wasn't quite accurate."

"I did respond to him in a letter," she said. "And I said . . . I (was) still deciding what I should do."


Our Archbishop took that as a commitment to tell him of a decision to participate in the ceremony before doing so. She says it meant "That's for me to decide and you to find out."

Update: More at Dad29 and Open Book

Update 2: More from Diogenes at Off the Record, and at Ten Reasons

Monday, August 7, 2006

Master of German styles endearing, enduring

Whitney Gould in her "Spaces" column in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviews The Architecture of Eugene Liebert: Teutonic Style in the American Midwest by H. Russell Zimmermann, described as "the well-known restoration consultant".

One of Liebert's works was the Germania Building (1896) pictured in the article. The Germania Building might have its charms, but preserving them when updating the utilities has probably been challenging. I once worked in a small law office that had been in the building a long time. My office window is the last one on the left on the seventh floor. Our suite still had direct current electrical service, and external conduit, presumably dating back to when the building was originally wired.

The law firm had its own anachronisitic aspects. When the regular "girl" went on vacation, her predecessor filled in. One day she looked out my office window and recalled seeing the dirigible Graf Zeppelin floating past City Hall.

Theocracy, Theocracy, Theocracy

Ross Douthat's review essay in First Things
When preachers echo GOP talking points rather than shape them, they risk going down the same path trod by the liberal clerics of the 1960s, whose sermons became indistinguishable from the gospel according to the New York Times--until, as David Frum once put it, their parishioners began to wonder "why they should spend a Sunday morning listening to the same editorial twice?"

Archdiocese's Response to Clergy Sexual Abuse

This is another of several items from a special issue of our Catholic Herald dealing with the potential financial impact of cases against our Archdiocese in the California courts involving claims of sexual abuse of minors by one of our priests who was transfered there.

The response includes

A full-time coordinator oversees the implementation of the Safeguarding All of Gods Family program. To date, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has spent more than $150,000 on this program.

Is the dollar amount there to show how much they care? Just as a matter of public relations, I suggest not specifying amounts less than the Marcoux settlement.

Our Archdiocese also posts the names of restricted diocesan clergy. There are then Q and A about that list.

Why were some priests able to work in so many different parishes?

In the majority of cases, reports of a priest committing acts of sexual abuse of a minor were received by the archdiocese long after the abuse had occurred. ...


Which evades the obvious meaning of the question: Why were some priests able to work in so many different parishes after the Archdiocese received a report of abuse?

Merger of city, county floated

Larry Sandler reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As debate swirls over the fiscal future of Milwaukee County government, [Milwaukee Alderman Terry] Witkowski has proposed a November advisory referendum on whether the county should be dissolved and all or most of its functions handed over to City Hall. ...

The south side alderman said concern about property taxes, county service cuts and the county's financial woes has created a historic opportunity to consider combining Wisconsin's two biggest local governments, potentially saving taxpayers money.


That assumes that the City or County of Milwaukee has, in practice, produced economies of scale. How about a study on breaking up the City into suburb-sized municipalities?

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Politics and Principles

And I think, as I think on these things, that while here in the Western Hemisphere, we went in for precision bombing (what chance of precision bombing now?), while we went in for obliteration bombing, Russia was very careful not to bomb cities, to wipe out civilian populations. Perhaps she was thinking of the poor, of the workers, as brothers.
--Dorothy Day, September 1945

Broken record

Catholic Light notes an interview by Patricia Bogumil in the Burlington Standard Press with Father Steven Amann, new pastor at St. Charles Borromeo Church.

Cul-de-sac debate keeps going round and round

Darlene Prois of McClatchy Newspapers in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the controversy over cul-de-sacs in subdivisions.

On the one hand,

"We can plow one-and-one-half to two miles farther down the road in the same amount of time (it takes) to clean a cul-de-sac," Imholte [Joe Imholte, maintenance supervisor for the St. Cloud Public Works Department] said.

"Where do you push the snow? People complain because they have more snow than the neighbor. . . .

"We have gone so far as to pile it up in the middle. Very time-consuming," he said.


On the other hand,
Michael Noonan, vice president of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, ... points out that not only are buyers willing to pay more to live on a cul-de-sac, they also strongly prefer to.

There's research to back him up. A 2004 National Association of Realtors survey showed that one-quarter of buyers were willing to spend more for a home on a cul-de-sac.

Another poll, done by a California-based market research firm, showed buyers preferred them to regular, gridded streets by a ratio of almost 2-1.


The staff versus the people; quite the quandry.

Understanding the priestly role

Joseph Shimek, "a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome", has this op-ed in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the ordination of women.
Historically, the church has not claimed to be the master of its doctrines or sacramental practices. Instead, it sees itself as their recipient and, as such, it must be faithful to the essence of what has been handed down over the centuries.

Questions, Answers on California lawsuits

This is another of several items from a special issue of our Catholic Herald dealing with the potential financial impact of cases against our Archdiocese in the California courts involving claims of sexual abuse of minors by one of our priests who was transfered there. As reposted on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's web site, it includes internal links to each question and the Archdiocese's answer. I will merely add brief supplementary comment.
Why are sexual abuse lawsuits filed in California affecting the Archdiocese of Milwaukee?

Because Archbishop Cousins and then Archbishop Weakland assumed sending a priest there meant he wasn't their problem.
What has been the response of the archdiocese to these cases?

Lawyers and public relations.
Can the archdiocese win?

It doesn't say "yes" or even "maybe"; what does that leave?
If the archdiocese loses, will there be a financial impact?

Spokane went bankrupt and the USCCB elected its bishop president. So, no, it will have no financial impact on any of our bishops.
Have other dioceses settled cases like this?

In an inexplicably protracted way? Sure.
Where would the money for a settlement come from?

Selling property and firing people.
What about insurance?

See Archdiocese sues insurance companies to force coverage about the case Archdiocese of Milwaukee, et al. vs. Lloyds of London, et al.. Better hurry; Case records destroyed despite court rule.
Could these cases drive the archdiocese into bankruptcy?

No need, the Bankruptcy Court is within walking distance of the Cathedral.
How much money does the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have?

Depends; have you ever dated an Archbishop?
What has been the financial impact of clergy sexual abuse to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee?

GM and Ford look promising by comparison.
Why do these situations always seem to come down to money?

Does your parish ask you to bring an envelope of prayer intentions to Sunday Mass?
Why has it taken so long to resolve these cases?

If there's a good reason, it must be secret.
What is the Mediation System?

Symptomatic: in order that it be "independent", the Archdiocese selected the person to set it up and run it.
Why is the term "victims/survivors" when talking about people who were harmed through clergy sexual abuse?

Because it doesn't cost anything in the short run to patronize the other side.
What is the archdiocese doing to help people who were abused?

It's sl-o-w-ly settling their claims.
What is the archdiocese doing to prevent this in the future?

If by "doing" you mean "accomplishing" it's too soon to tell.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Putting Faith in Science

Deborah Blum in On Wisconsin [6 pp. pdf]
More pragmatically, American textbooks were revised during the post-Sputnik race to the moon, with a science-first emphasis that was far more dogmatic about Darwinian science. Numbers [Ronald Numbers, a UW-Madison professor in the history of science and medicine] says the changes helped spark a new sense of alarm and a powerful us-against-them mentality in the Christian right.

Court to Hear Sexual Abuse Cases This Fall

This is another of several items from a special issue of our Catholic Herald dealing with the potential financial impact of cases against our Archdiocese in the California courts involving claims of sexual abuse of minors by one of our priests who was transfered there. Among the many bad things leading up to this is bad public policy.
The archdiocese was named in the lawsuits under a controversial law passed by the California Legislature in 2002, allowing victims of past sexual abuse cases to sue dioceses for failure to report and discipline priests who committed the abuse, regardless of the statute of limitations.

While creating retroactive civil liability might be constitutional, that wouldn't make it just.
More than 800 people have filed lawsuits under the one-year statute suspension, including more than 500 who have sued the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Apparently all of whom, while competent adults, let the existing statute of limitations run on their potential claims.

Nine of the ten California lawsuits involving the Archdiocese of Milwaukee arose from allegations agaist Fr. Siegfried Widera. Fr. Widera had sexually abused minors while serving in our Archdioces.

Widera was sent for therapy and then assigned to St. Andrew Parish in Delavan where he re-offended in 1976.

After discovery of his re-offense, Widera temporarily left the parish. He took up residence with one of his family members in Orange County, Calif. While there, Milwaukee archdiocesan personnel conferred with his treating psychologist who recommended Widera not serve in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for the foreseeable future. The psychologist reported, however, this did not mean ruling out the possibility of a return to such work in the future, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee or another diocese.


These kinds of descriptions raise the question whether the responsible Church officials just deferred to professional opinions rather than considering them in reaching their own decisions.
While in California, Widera sought and was granted a return to ministry in the Diocese of Orange. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee made contact with the Orange Diocese and provided a written description of his circumstances.

The alleged inadequacey of this description is one ground for our Archdiocese's potential liability. There's a second.
Eventually, Widera was incardinated in the Orange Diocese, where he is alleged to have abused victims while serving in a parish.

"The lawsuit alleges our archdiocese bears responsibility for the abuse Widera committed in California because he was a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee," said Jerry Topczewski, Archbishop Dolan's chief of staff.


It is this second allegation that appears to include liability arising during the term of Archbishop Weakland.

Mr. Topczewski goes on,

"Between now and the trial date, depositions will be taken and other pre-trial activity will occur."

If he means discovery is just starting now that a trial date has been set in a few months, that's pretty strange.
"During this period, we hope to work with the California victims/survivors to reach a fair and just settlement that will help them find some sense of resolution."

Why couldn't this have been done much earlier?
After the trial concludes or if settlements are negotiated beforehand, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee could face serious financial consequences.

Have I mentioned that this seems to me a reason to try to resolve these cases sooner, rather than later?
"Over the next few months we will face major decisions affecting our archdiocese for years to come, regardless of how the cases are resolved," Topczewski said.

Shouldn't the need to make these decisions have been apparent no later than the 2002 change in California law? The more they explain, the harder it is to understand why they're doing what they're doing. For example,
"What we can do financially is limited because the archdiocese has limited resources," Archbishop Dolan said. "We have been energetically offering those resources during the past four years in mediation and to seek resolution with any victim/survivor of clergy sexual abuse."

If you can credibly juxtapose "energetically" and "during the past four years".
So far, we have reached such resolution with more than 100 victims/survivors.

Where our Archdioces uses an "independent" mediation system that it commissioned.
We intend to offer those same resources to victims/survivors in the cases in California.

One of these days?

Archbishop Dolan discusses the possibility of bankruptcy, but goes on,

"Right now, our focus is on the victims/survivors and they have our profound apology for the abuse they suffered."

That's nice, but they and we would like their claims resolved.
"Every effort is being made to keep all archdiocesan stakeholders updated on developments in the California case," Topczewski said. "The need for openness is paramount as we work together to address all the related financial and pastoral issues associated with the impact this case will have on the archdiocese."

How about scanning everything that's been filed in abuse cases and posting it on the Archdiocese's web site, including any depositions of Archbishop Weakland and Bishop Sklba that had been under seal. If the transcripts are all shredded, just post a note to that effect.

Friday, August 4, 2006

More students, fewer spaces

I previously noted Megan Twohey's report in the July 23, 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had this on what now passes as the goal for UW-M.
The UW System administration saw UW-Milwaukee, with its doctoral status, large size and urban setting, as a place to address the needs of students rejected by UW-Madison. It envisioned turning UW-Milwaukee into a Wisconsin version of Michigan State University or the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Just as I recalled, that's a quite diminished vision.
As [University of Wisconsin President Fred] Harrington put it at that time [September 1964] "UWM it to become Wisconsin's UCLA."
--J. Martin Klotsche [former UWM Chancellor], Confessions of an Educator: My Personal and Professional Memoirs (1983), p. 156

What's the real federal deficit?

Dennis Cauchon reported in USA Today on the difference between the U.S. government's books kept on a cash basis and on an accrual basis.
The set the government promotes to the public has a healthier bottom line: a $318 billion deficit in 2005.

The set the government doesn't talk about is the audited financial statement produced by the government's accountants following standard accounting rules. It reports a more ominous financial picture: a $760 billion deficit for 2005. If Social Security and Medicare were included — as the board that sets accounting rules is considering -- the federal deficit would have been $3.5 trillion.

VOTF/Cardinal O'Malley meeting agenda

Hidden? Not from The Lady in the Pew.

(via BettNet)

Ambrose Pare

Recommended reading:
by Ambrose Pare at Reading Rat


Study Guide: PubMed, National Insitutes of Health


Reference: The History of Prosthetics, by Mary Bellis

Thursday, August 3, 2006

'Ordained' women excommunicated

Headline in the August 3, 2006 Catholic Herald

Does this mean things were not so cordial? I'd link to the answer, but the article is "Only In Print".

Update: The Herald story looks to be based on this item among the August 1st News Briefs at Catholic News Service, Diocese says women excommunicated in 'ordination' ceremony. The Herald story went on to name Kathy Vandenberg of Waukesha, and indicated our Archdiocese would forward this information to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. It would be the CDF that would inform the women that they were excommunicated.

One million Costa Ricans to pay homage to Our Lady of the Angles

headline at Catholic News Agency

If God had Voice Mail

from the Inbox at Titus One:Nine

Lawsuits cause concern; actions inspire hope

This "Herald of Hope" column by Archbishop Dolan is one of several items from a special issue of our Catholic Herald. The column was one of a number of items dealing with the potential financial impact of cases against our Archdiocese in the California courts involving claims of sexual abuse of minors by one of our priests who was transfered there.
From my arrival as your archbishop almost four years ago, I have promised you I would be up front about things, especially about the ongoing painful, embarrassing and sad scandal of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

What we needed even more, though, was for him to get out in front and wrap up all these claims fast.
For the last two years or so, I've been telling anybody who would listen that, sooner or later, cases of abuse committed more than three decades ago by two former Archdiocese of Milwaukee priests in California would have serious impact on us here at home.

Was it somebody's job to try to resolve those cases, as opposed to warning us about them?
We have recently been informed that a case against Siegfried Widera, a deceased priest of the archdiocese who fell to his death in 2003, would come to trial in Los Angeles in November.

If there's some reason why the lack of a trial date made it harder to resolve these cases, he hasn't provided it. He sure leaves the impression that it's the Archdiocese that feels more pressured now that a date's been set.
This whole process will have negative and harmful effects on many of us ...

And yet it goes on, even though he's been here four years.
This should have all been done decades ago. But, as I have said, that was yesterday and beyond my control.

It wasn't yesterday, it was before he arrived in 2002 and, we thought, took control.
And the financial impact? Who knows?

Is knowing someone's job? Can we hear from them?
Our finance office and our Archdiocesan Finance Council, made up of dedicated, mostly lay, professionals, are on top of things.

That could mean they have "sign here" stickies on an undated petition for Chapter 11.
Yes, we are insisting that our insurance providers come forward;

I would like to hear more about any coverage issues our Archdiocese's insurers have raised.
Because of the importance of this issue and my own personal commitment to keeping you informed, I asked my staff to compile information on the California cases and have provided that information in this edition of your Catholic Herald. That’s also why many of you who are reading this and do not regularly subscribe to your Catholic Herald, have received this issue.

When I most recently suggested this, I said
...issues going to everyone would, of course, prominently display subscription information.

By "would, of course" I meant "obviously should"; it didn't.

Men Not Working, and Not Wanting Just Any Job

Louis Uchitelle and David Leonhardt in The New York Times
Many of these men could find work if they had to, but with lower pay and fewer benefits than they once earned, and they have decided they prefer the alternative. ...

But the fastest growing source of help is a patchwork system of government support, the main one being federal disability insurance, which is financed by Social Security payroll taxes. The disability stipends range up to $1,000 a month and, after the first two years, Medicare kicks in, giving access to health insurance that for many missing men no longer comes with the low-wage jobs available to them.

No federal entitlement program is growing as quickly, with more than 6.5 million men and women now receiving monthly disability payments, up from 3 million in 1990.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

A case against Q

Jeff [a protestant pastor] commented on this post at Open Book,
... most clergy/rel. ed. folks tend to reprocess their lecture notes into their 'back in the parish' programs ...

Mel Gibson's Meltdown


There's been criticism of Mel Gibson's anti-semitic tirade premised on a correlation between intoxication and expressing one's convictions. Most of this criticism could be dismissed as surely written while sober.

Update: The International Jewish Conspiracy responds.

Surgery Forces Castro to Cede Power

Anita Snow the Associated Press reports that, unlike some closely-held family businesses, the Castro Brothers had a succession plan in place.

Perhaps it is not premature to note what is likely to be Fidel Castro's most significant accomplishment, experimental verification of Ludwig von Mises' explanation for the impossibility of socialism.

For example, Cuban planners abandoned their ambitious industrialization plan for the 1960s when they realized that many of the plants they had built consumed more in inputs, when priced in line with the world market, than the value of the outputs. More recently, Cuba's 2002 decision to close 71 of its 150 sugar mills, temporarily increasing unemployment by approximately 100,000, was also based on world-market price observations.
--Rodolfo A Gonzales and Edward Strongham, "Incentives vs. Knowledge: Reply to Caplan", Critical Review Vol. 17, Nos. 1-2, p. 189

Update: from an FAO Sugar Commodity Note
Further downsizing of the industry has been halted as world sugar prices continue to remain strong, and several mills will reopen in 2007.

Update 2: They have a local admirer.

Update 3: The Crackdown in Cuba by Theresa Bond, Foreign Affairs, September/October 2003

Cuba's disastrous economic situation has grown so dire, in fact, that merely acquiring enough food to eat has become a full-time preoccupation. The creeping dollarization of consumer goods has made survival on a salary paid in local currency mathematically impossible; American dollars were made legal in 1993 and today are simply indispensable. As for the regime's traditional counterargument -- that health and education are still free and excellent -- it no longer carries much weight. Hospitals are decrepit, basic medicines are unavailable (except in foreigners-only pharmacies), schools indoctrinate instead of teaching, and, as Cubans say, "One is not always either sick or learning."

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

St. Alphonsus De Liguori - August 1

On his feast day, alternate images of the patron saint for those not satisfied with his his statue at our parish.

Head count: Wisconsin's future depends on 8,000 Holsteins

An editorial in today's Fond du Lac Reporter

(via The Wheeler Report)

Gaius Petronius Arbiter

Recommended reading:
Reading Rat