Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Catholic" Group Resurrects Bernardin Lie

That's the title of Dad29's post on the "Catholic in Alliance for the Common Good" (CACG) voters guide. He says,
Fortunately, the Wisconsin Bishops have already made perfectly clear their support of The Amendment (which would ban homosex-marriage in Wisconsin.)

referring to A Letter to Catholics in Wisconsin on Defining Marriage in Our State Constitution by the Wisconsin Bishops in June 2006.

Despite that letter, the September 21, 2006 print edition of the Catholic Herald ran a full-page op-ed by Fr. Bryan Massingale asserting that the possibility that the amendment might adversely effect health insurance coverage for unmarried couples raised issues under Church teaching justifying a "no" vote. The op-ed refers parenthetically, and not very specifically, to the bishops letter, and calls it their "position".

Fr. Massingale says

One wonders why our legislators crafted an amendment which seems to go beyond the purpose of keeping a unique status for heterosexual unions.

This is rhetorical wondering, since the bishops addressed this very point.
2. Although Wisconsin law already defines marriage in a way consistent with our Catholic tradition, we believe that an amendment to our state constitution is the prudent thing to do in light of judicial and legislative actions in other states.

That is, the second sentence of the proposed amendment is to prevent the judiciary compelling the creation of a legal status equivalent to marriage in everything but name.

It's interesting both sides in the amendment debate use arguments expressed in terms of lack of confidence the judiciary's interpretation of the constitution. But this lack of confidence is reflected in what we are being told about Church teaching. Archbishop Dolan says one thing with his fellow bishops, and publishes the diocesan newspaper giving a forum for one of his priests to tell us the opposite.

Massingale cites as direct support for his views only a statement by then-Archbishop of San Francisco William Levada. This is the same way Dr. Daniel Maguire approaches the issue, see "The Marriage Option and Solidly Probable Opinion" in his The Moral Revolution (1986) pp. 98-102. Why is Archbishop Dolan condemning Maguire when he's got Massingale on the payroll doing the same damage in the Archdiocesan newspaper?

Jeremy Taylor

Recommended reading: Reading Rat

Friday, September 29, 2006

2006 Archdiocese of Milwaukee Accountability Report

This is the fifth such annual report [5 pp. pdf]. Accountability seems to be limited to financial accounting.
Through June 30, 2006, the comprehensive financial impact to the archdiocese of the clergy sexual abuse crisis involving a priest and a minor was $14,190,391.

Those who were, and often still are, in charge aren't accounting for their past decisions.

The Evolving Nature of Roman Catholicism Toward Intimacy

Last week's St. Al's bulletin [5 pp. pdf] had this item, p. 3.
Voice Of The Faithful

You are invited to come and hear David F. Mannelli, D.Min, Psy.D. speak on My Church? Your Church? Our Church: The Evolving Nature of Roman Catholicism Toward Intimacy, on Sunday, October 1, at 1:30PM, at St. Alphonsus Parish.

Dr. Minnelli is among those listed by Allan L. Botkin, Psy.D. as trained in Induced After-Death Communication. Dr. Botkin's co-author provides further explanation.
I, Craig Hogan, on the other hand, have no doubt about the facts that consciousness survives death, people are One with each other, and love is the underlying force that pervades the Universe.

Dr. Hodan explains further at another web site on this Greater Reality.
A greater reality underlies and enfolds the material world that we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. In the greater reality,

There is no time.

There is no space.

There is no death.

There is no separation.

So this could turn out to a seance.

Update: The flyer for the event describes it thus.

Jesus of the Gospel never shrank from entering into intimacy with persons encountered in his ministry. The bonds he formed created a unity only rivaled by the nature of the Trinity. What has happened in today’s Roman Catholicism? The lack of intimacy among the three traditional fonts of inspiration, i.e., the episcopacy, theologians and the sensum fidelis, has created a terrible vacuum wherein affirmation and acceptance are difficult to experience. Psychology has helped countless couples find intimacy. Can it advise the Church, our Church?

The way it advised the Church, our Church, on how to cure the priest pederasts?

The Catholic Channel

recently joined EWTN on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Reform of the Liturgy

That was the theme of the 29th Annual Convention of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, reported on by Philip Blosser at Musings of a Pertinacious Papist.
Duncan Stroik, from Notre Dame School of Architecture, gave an interesting talk in which he wondered aloud how Catholic churches and Cathedrals ever used to be built without the help of Liturgical Design Consultants!

Alexander L. Kielland

On this author from the The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

Electronic text:
Online Books by Alexander Lange Kielland, The Online Books Page

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More cartoon fun

You might recall how our Auxiliary Bishop explained the connection between Popeye cartoons and Middle East violence.

Should you still find such connections implausible, I refer you to comments made in the course of a film seminar by professor Hasan Bolkhari, a member of the Film Council of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and a cultural advisor to the Iranian Education Ministry.

"... Watch Schindler's List. Every Jew was forced to wear a yellow star on his clothing. The Jews were degraded and termed 'dirty mice.' Tom and Jerry was made in order to change the Europeans' perception of mice. ..."

(via Relapsed Catholic)

For further reading, there's Ariel Dorfmann and Armand Mattelart, Para Leer Al Pato Donald (1971) [translated as How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic].

Milwaukee Priest Is Named Rector in Louvain

Zenit reports
Father Ross Shecterle of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been appointed the rector of the American College of the Immaculate Conception [in Louvain, Belgium], effective next July 15.

(via Get Up, and Get Moving.... )

Update: from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Hot-button issues: The death penalty

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald addresses Wisconsin's upcoming advisory referendum on capital punishment. I didn't know that Church teaching on this issue was indistinguishable from that on abortion.
The only path to a sane, healthy, safe, respectful society is to safeguard all life, from conception to natural death, from the baby in the womb to the prisoner guilty of a capital crime.

The reason I didn't know it is because it isn't true, as our Archbishop grudgingly concedes.
Granted, according to the teaching of the Church (c.f. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2267), the death penalty is not "intrinsically evil." (That means "always and everywhere wrong by its very nature").

This is in contrast to Church teaching on abortion, see Catechism sections 2322, 2271, 2272, and 2274.

Archbishop Dolan elaborates.

However, the same Catechism, bolstered by the indefatigable preaching of the late John Paul II, is clear that the strict conditions that could justify the moral use of the death penalty "are very rare, if practically non-existent," (John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 56), so that those means "... more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person" are much, much more appropriate.

Given what the Church teaches, it would be more persuasive to show how circumstances have changed so that capital punishment has become unjustifiable. Our Archbishop does just the opposite.
Might it be more convenient, less of a burden on society, less expensive, safer, to execute a criminal? Probably so ...

Given the Catechism says
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means.

and Archbishop Dolan concedes executing certain criminals is probably safer, isn't that an argument for voting in favor of re-establishing capital punishment?

Juan Valera

On this author from the The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

Electronic text:
Online Books by Juan Valera, The Online Books Page

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The whole food picture

Rachel Ida Buff in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has mixed feelings about the entry of Whole Foods into the local market with its new store on the east side.
As organic and health foods have become a business, cooperative stores have faced the challenges of competition from non-cooperative health food vendors, particularly national chains like Whole Foods. On one level, this represents the mainstreaming and success of the organic and whole foods movements.

On the other hand, consumers and producers lose something when national corporations displace local businesses.

She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, part of one of the big chains that dominate the market for higher education.

Familiar face, new name

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Muhammad Isa Sadlon, formerly Christopher Goldsmith, began work Monday as executive director and CEO of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee.

In addition to formerly serving as executive director of the Milwaukee Art Museum and as vice president of facility development of the YMCA in Milwaukee
His local connections include having served as president of the Milwaukee Public Library Board and the Milwaukee Artists Foundation, as a director of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee and as a member of the Milwaukee Plan Commission.

Those aren't all his formerlies.
Raised a Catholic, Sadlon graduated from Christ King School and Marquette University High School. He also was an altar boy.

So what did he find in Islam that was missing from Catholicism as he knew it?
Sadlon liked the concept of a universal Islam that taught submission to God's will and considered Jesus and Moses as prophets.

"That just felt like the right thing to me," he said. "I also felt that the concept that there is a proper way that God wants us to behave 24-7 makes a lot of sense to me, that religion is something that really should drive your economic life, your social life, all aspects of your life."

Update: Rachel Martin reported at NPR on Latinas Choosing Islam over Catholicism.

(via comment by Papa-Lu at Open Book)

Update 2: While Minnesota's Keith Ellison may be first Muslim in U.S. Congress,

Ellison was raised a Catholic in Detroit and converted to Islam while attending university.

Bjornstjerne Bjornson

On this author from the The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction

Electronic text:
Online Books by Bjornstjerne Bjornson, The Online Books Page

Monday, September 25, 2006

What about On the Putative Faithful?

At From the Anchor Hold, Karen Marie Knapp rants on the laity and our pastors at such a high level of generality that Milwaukee can't quite be made out.
And we already know all the ways that our bishops can screw up. Those of us who did not know it before had a crash course in that subject in 2002 with Boston's long Lent, Palm Beach's repeated bereavement, and all the rest of it.

Surely Archbishop Weakland deserves separate billing as much as The Professor and Mary Ann.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wole Soyinka

Recommended reading:
by Wole Soyinka at Reading Rat

Study Guide:

Wole Soyinka, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore

Wole Soyinka Study Guide, by Paul Brians, Washington State University

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Authors' Calendar, by Petri Liukkonen (2008)

The Writer and the Tyrant, review by Neal Ascherson of You Must Set Forth at Dawn, by Wole Soyinka, The New York Review of Books, June 22, 2006

Excerpts from Reviews of Books by Wole Soyinka, Stanford Presidential Lectures in the Humanities and Arts

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1986

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fr. Franklyn W. Becker privilege log

In the course of the recently settled California cases, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee refused to produce various documents regarding Fr. Franklyn W. Becker. It objected based on the ground of legal privileges against disclosure. When a litigant does so, the law of the jurisdiction often requires it to list and describe the documents it believes it is not required to disclose. In the case involving Fr. Becker, here's that privilege log [12 pp. pdf].

Catholic press should lead way vs. immoral war

That's our Catholic Herald title for a (print edition only) letter to the editor from Mark Peters plugging his Catholics for Peace and Justice group.

As I've said before, since Mr. Peters is an archdiocesan employee, rather than keep printing all these letters as if he was just another reader our Herald could just give him a regular social justice op-ed slot. (Perhaps it could be called Letter from Down the Hall. Or, depending on where our Archdiocese relocates its offices, perhaps Letter from the Trailer Next Door.)

If our Herald takes my advice, I hope they also publish Peters' op-eds online. If I could have linked to his letter, you could see for yourself that he refers to claimed

...ridiculing of the Bush administration's idea of "preventive war" ("the concept does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church") by then-Cardinal Ratzinger ...

You might think that a Parish Consultant for an Archdiocese would hesitate to (a) assert that Cardinal Ratzinger was using ridicule, and (b) imply the Church teaches that what is not explicitly permitted in the Catechism is prohibited. And you might think Peters in particular would hesitate after having mis-stated Church teaching in a previous letter to the editor. Had Peters hesitated, he might have found out what Cardinal Ratzinger actually said.
The "concept of a 'preventive war' does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church," Cardinal Ratzinger noted.

"One cannot simply say that the catechism does not legitimize the war," he continued. "But it is true that the catechism has developed a doctrine that, on one hand, does not exclude the fact that there are values and peoples that must be defended in some circumstances; on the other hand, it offers a very precise doctrine on the limits of these possibilities."

(via The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club)

Peters and CPJ might have been able to make good use of what Cardinal Ratzinger actually said instead of misrepresenting Ratzinger as ridiculing the Bush Administration.

CPJ's current calendar includes

Sunday, September 24 - Nonviolence Training for Direct Action

We can only hope it's not given by the same people who handle CPJ's training in Fact-checking Before Mailing Letters to the Editor.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Elmbrook jubilee inspires elaborate Web site

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that
Elmbrook Church, one of the region's first megachurches, is launching a year's celebration of its 50th anniversary with jubilee events and a cutting-edge Web site that could be a national model for linking people to ministries and faith messages.

You can judge for yourself.
In the next few weeks, there will be another alternative to Web site menus. Fill out a profile, and the site will alert you to new and existing Elmbrook programs or events that fit your age, gender, marital status, interests and other factors.

"Once you register and set up a profile, you will be able to go in and get ministry information pushed to you rather than having to go and dig it out yourself," said Senior Associate Pastor Dick Robinson, who expects to add hundreds more Web pages.

E-vangelization, so to speak. For comparison, here's the web site of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The story defines a "mega-church" as one with over 2,000 people attending at Sunday worship. By that criteria, my parish qualifies. Since I last posted about it, St. Al's has actually updated the parish web site content.

Update: A reader emails to suggest my parish as a late entry in Joseph Bottum's

quest for the definitive American Catholic churches--those buildings that aren’t even distinguished enough to be bad examples of their kind. They’re just vaguely modern, vaguely brick, vaguely disappointing.

Our Sunday Mass is vaguely like that described in the Christian Formation text I use, if that gets any bonus points.

Life after "terrible storm clouds of California"

Brian T. Olszewski reports in our Catholic Herald on the aftermath of the settlement of Californial clergy sexual abuse cases involving priests from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Archbishop Dolan said he had five goals.
The fourth goal was to have the insurance companies assume financial responsibility for their part of the settlement, and the fifth goal was to resolve all of the cases.

What went into determining the insurers' share has not been explained. Neither has what kept the claims from being settled earlier, say before the retroactive lifting of the statute of limitations gave the claimants enormous leverage.
While the $8.25 million is less than what the archdiocese might have had to pay had the cases gone to trial, it represents a significant commitment by the archdiocese, which has paid $11 million over the last 10 years in compensation to victims of clergy sexual abuse.

If these numbers then do not include what our Archdiocese has paid in legal fees, I'd like an update on how many millions that has been.
Part of the archdiocese's settlement will come from the sale of the Archbishop Cousins Center. That building, opened as De Sales Preparatory Seminary in 1963, was built for $8 million. Depending upon the money the sale of that facility generates, the remainder of the settlement will be fulfilled by selling investments.

It sure doesn't sound like they expect to break even on the Cousins Center.
According to Jerry Topczewski, the archbishop’s chief of staff, that matter will be studied by Wayne Schneider, archdiocesan treasurer and chief financial officer, and the archdiocesan finance council.

Studied? Aren't the California plaintiffs' lawyers expecting checks?
The archbishop spoke of "sacrifices in operations and ministries," but added, "I would be reluctant to see any cuts in services or apostolates. The cuts might come in the means we have to deliver those services, like buildings and property."

Foxes have their dens and birds have their nests, but the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has nowhere to deliver its services.

George Washington

(As an aside I must point out that Washington, like his neighbors, employed slave labor. At the time, slavery was legal in almost every country on earth. Washington’s duty, he believed, was merely to treat his slaves humanely.

He gradually changed his mind, however, and in his will he freed his slaves. Though many other Virginians, including Jefferson, talked about the evils of slavery, none followed Washington’s example. Moreover, Washington made provision for supporting his former slaves who were too old to support themselves. His estate was paying pensions to them as late as 1833.) --Forrest McDonald, George Washington: Today’s Indispensable Man, Intercollegiate Review, Spring 1995

Recommended reading:
by George Washington at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Washington regarded the bill [that would have extended an existing tax for the support of the established Anglican Church] as imprudent but declined an invitation to sign on to Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance, making clear he did not oppose the bill in principle... (p. 6) --Nathan A. Forrester, Jr.,
Equal Billing: On Religion, Washington's Views Should Be Considered, Too, review of Under God: George Washington and the Question of Church and State, by Tara Ross and Joseph C. Smith Jr. (2008), Texas Review of Law & Politics, Spring 2008 (via Daniel Suhr at Marquette University Law School Faculty)

John J. DiIluio Jr. Reviews Under God: George Washington and the Question of Church and State by Tara Ross and Joseph C. Smith Jr., Engage Volume 9, Issue 1, February 2008

Commander of Field and Foe, review by Martin Morse Wooster of Washington’s Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge, by Thomas Fleming, Crisis, June 2006

George Washington, by Michael P. Riccards, Washington Times, November 6, 2004

His Excellency: George Washington, by Joseph J. Ellis, reviewed by Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post, October 31, 2004

First in War, by Mackubin Thomas Owens, review of Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer; and Valley Forge Winter: Civilians and Soldiers in War by Wayne Bodle, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2004

Why we won, by Marc Arkin, The New Criterion, May 2004

Paterfamilias, by Harvey Mansfield, a review of Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, by Richard Brookhiser, The New Criterion, March 1996

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The betrayal of silence and complicity

Musings of a Pertinacious Papist had this account of Dale Vree's critique of Leon Suprenant. Suprenant's editorial is in the May/June print issue of Lay Witness, the content of which is not yet posted on-line. Vree's is in a pay-to-view New Oxford Review editorial. Apparently the dispute was over when Catholics should speak up for free.

On that point you can, without charge or subscribing to anything, read Communio et Progressio, the "Pastoral Constitution on the Means of Social Communication, written by Order of the Second Vatican Council" (1971). For example,

115. Since the Church is a living body, she needs public opinion in order to sustain a giving and taking between her members Without this, she cannot advance in thought and action. ...

119. Since the development of public opinion within the Church is essential, individual Catholics have the right to all the information they need to play their active role in the life of the Church. ...

121. ... When ecclesiastical authorities are unwilling to give information or are unable to do so, then rumour is unloosed and rumour is not a bearer of the truth but carries dangerous half-truths. ...

(via Dad29)

Interfaith marriages bring extra challenges

Tom Jozwik reported in a Catholic Weddings supplement to our Catholic Herald. The featured wedding might have been a bit less challenging than some.
"I am a practicing Catholic," Utshig [Elizabeth Utschig, the bride] wrote. "David [David Goldsmith, her husband] is Jewish but not practicing, but faith is important in both our families."

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Gargoyle

As I leave for the reunion, here's the University of Wisconsin Law School alumni magazine's explanation of why the Gargoyle is its name and the school's symbol.
The Gargoyle was one of two that graced the roof of the original [University of Wisconsin] Law Building, built on Bascom Hill in 1893.

Until that building was torn down in 1962, these two sentinels watched the comings and goings of students, faculty and staff. When the wrecking ball hit the building, no one thought of saving them until then-Dean George Young, walking up Bascom Hill, noticed that one had survived its fall and lay intact on the grass. Dean Young immediately decided that it should be preserved.

And so it was, and is.

The Gargoyle says it is a fitting name and symbol because of its "representing the strength and spirit of our University of Wisconsin Law School... ." In case you thought it was a fitting name and symbol because "no one thought of saving them ... ."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Anne Burke and Bob Bennett Go to Rome ...

"Anne Burke and Bob Bennett Go to Rome, Meet with then Cardinal Ratzinger, Craft a Comprehensive Report. Objective Accomplished—but Will the Bishops, Hamstrung by Bureaucracy, Implement? Not That Bunch"

From Roeser Blog, including an account of their trip, as members of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, to the Vatican where they met with Cardinals Arinze and Ratzinger.
News of their meeting with the two cardinals got back to the United States almost instantaneously. The second Burke walked into her judicial office, her secretary handed her a flock of notes to call Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the USCCB.

"You are entitled to know," said the bishop in his grave way, "that even bishops who go to Rome for such meetings are required to clear them with this office."

"I am sure," said Justice Burke. "But then as you know, we are not bishops."

The conversation thereafter was professional but brief.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Focus on the positive message of the church

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald says
Of course, I'm speaking of Pope Benedict XVI, and here's the theme I’m detecting: the message of the church is overwhelmingly positive, not negative. "Catholicism is not a collection of prohibitions," the Holy Father commented ...

It's like people think Catholics go around carrying signs saying something is wrong because it "does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."
"... It's a positive option."

Like anti-lock brakes? As distinguished from a preferential option, like satellite radio? Aside from vocabulary problems,
Nothing could be further from the truth, claims the Holy Father. The church has something positive, not negative to say. She's on the side of life, not death, love, not hate, freedom, not shackles, peace, not war, light, not darkness. She's on the side of the angels, not of the demons.

Why Republicans Are Afraid of Kathleen Falk

Evan Rytlewski reported in the Shepherd Express. I will test the headline thesis if Ms. Falk attends our upcoming law school class reunion.
"It's the German-Irish in me," Falk said of her reputation. "I'm a hard worker."

The German-Irish in me leaves me hungry for potatoes instead of power.

Update: Michael's comments quote Ms. Falk,

I am running for Attorney General for the same reasons I entered public service thirty years ago . . . to put the law to work to protect our children and our environment . . . to stand up for consumers . . . to fight for seniors . . .

(and, time permitting?)
to keep our communities safe.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Racine, Kenosha planning future of Catholic schools

Karen Mahoney reports, "Special to your Catholic Herald"
What is the future for archdiocesan Catholic schools? That question can be asked with apprehension as some fear the Catholic school system’s demise is imminent, and are looking for something or someone to blame.

Someone else, that is.
Some place responsibility on the shoulders of government, others talk of "changing times" and pluralism, still others blame the economy and the shrinking tax base.

I assume "changing times" is a euphemism for the collapse of the religious orders which used to provide most of the teachers.
Catholic pastors in the 11-parish Racine community recently formed the Task Force for Catholic Education. Initially intended to deal with effects of the priest shortage,

Presumably under a different name.
the committee is working to bring parishes into closer collaboration, said Diana Lesnjak, principal at St. Rita Elementary School.

In this case, "closer collaboration" is a euphemism for closings and consolidations.
The task force plans to centralize Catholic education in the Racine area, and schools involved in the committee agree to adhere to all of the changes in the accepted model. Some changes might include staff and administration, possible relocation of students to other buildings, and curriculum and tuition changes.

Some similar changes appear to be in the works in the Kenosha area parishes.

Burlington's two Catholic grade schools are unaffected for now.

"We are very blessed here," she [Sr. Margaret Pietsch, principal at St. Charles School] said. "First of all, we have a strong Catholic community supporting our schools."

If you suspect there's more to it, because Catholic communities always seem to be called strong and supportive, you're right.
"Secondly, the Rewald Foundation, established years ago, provides tuition grants for families who choose to send their kids to private schools."

More tuition endowments surely would help.

Monday, September 11, 2006

SS. Wallace & Gromit

A "Photo of the Week" from our Catholic Herald


The screen of history, like the taste of politicians, churchmen and university presidents, has been programmatic. So we have a large collection of Aristotle’s lecture notes on politics and ethics, and we have only random fragments of Sappho’s poems. --Kenneth Rexroth, Sappho, Poems, Classics Revisited (1968)

Recommended reading:
by Sappho at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

A leap too far: Margaret Reynolds is not convinced by Sappho's Leap, Erica Jong's feminist take on a classical poet, Guardian, November 13, 2004

Lady of Lesbos: Poet, courtesan, bisexual, victim: Emily Wilson looks beyond the labels for the essence of Sappho, review of If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, by Anne Carson Virago, The Sappho History, by Margaret Reynolds Palgrave, Sappho's Leap, by Erica Jong, London Review of Books, February 2, 2004

Always the Bridesmaid, review by Terry Castle of Victorian Sappho, by Yopie Prins, London Review of Books, September 30, 1999

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bringing the Gospel to the Mobile Set

Carlos Briceno reported in the National Catholic Register
The initiative, by Catholic Mobile, distributes Scripture readings, daily prayers, and saints of the day via a text messaging service directly to a subscriber’s cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA) or smart phone.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Intergenerational Learning Network Meeting

This was among upcoming events at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee web site.
Network meetings are an opportunity for ministers to discuss issues, share ideas and concerns, and offer support to others in similar ministry settings.

Sounds like a meeting, all right.
The Intergenerational Learning Network meeting is for Generations of Faith parishes, parishes involved with other intergenerational learning, and parishes looking for ideas to inspire intergenerational learning opportunities.

Maybe the Catholic Herald will explain this one of these days.

Conflict tactics

A leader of "one of the most powerful People's Organizations in the nation" describes the problem.
"The giant of the retail business life of the Across the tracks neighborhood is Tycoon's Department Store. Its size, voiume of business, and capital indelibly mark it as 'big business' ...

The size of Tycoons's reflected inversely its interest in the local people. It was the biggest and its financial backing the richest and its prices the lowest. Such a commercial combination seemed impregnable; to hell with public relations. As long as Joe Dokes could buy cigarettes 20 per cent cheaper at Tycoon's he would keep coming regardless of what anyone said. Money talks, and here it is hollering cigarettes $1.30 a carton every place, but at Tycoon's $1.05. Black and White scotch $3.25 any place, $2.25 at Tycoon's. Why worry about public relations? Money talks. Let the little squirts--the two-by-four stores--do the back-patting of the neighborhood priests or the leaders of church and fraternal organizations, or shell out in contributions for dance programs in youth clubs, or for building a recreation hall in a parish. Let those small businesses pay off. ..."

--Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals (1945), pp. 156-57

Henry Roth

Recommended reading:
by Henry Roth at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Memory Unbound by Morris Dickstein, Threepenny Review, Summer 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Block Buster: Jonathan Rosen talks about the tortured vision of Henry Roth. With a reading from Call It Sleep. Text by Laurel Snyder. NextBook, August 9. 2005

Writer, Interrupted: The resurrection of Henry Roth, by Jonathan Rosen, The New Yorker, August 1, 2005

Reading Henry Roth, letter by Joanna Clark in response to "The Art of Call It Sleep" (October 10, 1991) and reply by Alfred Kazin, New York Review of Books, December 5, 1991

Friday, September 8, 2006

Sworn Statement of Franklyn Becker, 8/7/06

One of the ten just-settled claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was related to Franklyn Becker while a priest of the Archdiocese residing in California. Jeffrey Anderson, an attorney for some claimants questioned Becker. You can read the transcript [text file] or watch a video of the interview.

Update: WISN-TV reported Money Given To Clergyman Accused Of Sexual Abuse Questioned

After the arrival of Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Becker was removed from active ministry in 2002. He was completely removed from the priesthood in 2004 by Pope John Paul II.

Upon his release from the archdiocese, Becker was given $10,000 to cover expenses until his Medicaid supplements began.

Update 2: Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Archdiocese gave $10,000 to priest
Archdiocesan spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl said that none of the money came from the annual Catholic Stewardship Appeal. It came from the general operating fund, which gets money from parish assessments and other sources.

Independent Catholic schools

Mike's posts here and here referred to one of the local Catholic schools not affiliated with a parish or a religious order. A reader provided this background, in the context of the Archdiocese's relationship with these schools.
Mercy Academy is 10 years old, founded by parents and initially led by Robin and Susan Mitchell, both ex-Brookfield Academy educators. Within a few years, the Mitchells left and founded Trinity Academy (presently located on the grounds of the old Parish in Duplainville/Pewaukee.)

A few years later, another group of parents left Mercy and began Veritas Academy, operating in the parish grade-school of Sacred Heart (Croatian) on 49th/Wells.

The Archbishop has visited Trinity. He has never visited Mercy. He may or may not have visited Veritas...for some reason I suspect he did.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

It's crumbelievable

"Through the genius of TiVo", Motley Krooie deciphered the lyrics.

Justice for Immigrants Educational Forum

The Archdiocesan "Office of Catholic Social Action" is offering educational forums to address immigration and migration issues." This one is at St. Margaret Mary Church in Milwaukee. The agenda includes,
Learn the Issues: Truths & Facts vs. Myths

Fact or Myth: my ancestors were required to enter the U.S. through a designated point in New York where their documentation was examined and approved before they were allowed to stay in this country.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Rooted in Faith: The Road to Emmaus

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee web site says
This is a collaborative workshop developed for Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties but is open to all districts. Catechists, teachers, facilitators and interested adults are invited to attend.

To see what it's about, you need to read the flyer.

The keynote address is "Standing at the Crossroads between Emmaus and Jerusalem", by Dr. Daniel Scholz, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Religious Studies Department at Cardinal Stritch University. The blurb goes on to say "We, too, must decide – will we proceed to Emmaus or turn back to Jerusalem?" Since there's no crossroads in the Gospel account, I have to wonder why it's in the title. That's not wonder in the pay $25 to spend an evening in Racine sense.

G. F. B. Riemann

Recommended reading:
by G. F. B. Riemann at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Maths holy grail could bring disaster for internet, by Tim Radford, The Guardian, September 7, 2004

Math's Most Wanted: A Trio of books traces the quest to prove the Riemann Hypothesis, review by Kristin Leutwyler, Scientific American, May 2003

Prime Time, review by Jascha Hoffman of Prime Obsession, by John Derbyshire, The Riemann Hypothesis, by Karl Sabbagh, and The Music of the Primes, by Marcus du Sautoy, Boston Review, April/May 2003

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace

To be performed September 11th at the Cathedral
"The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace" is the result of a special millennial commission from the Royal Armouries in Wales and the latest in a six-century-old tradition of "Armed Man" masses that use the 15th century French song L'Homme Arme (The Armed Man) as their starting point.

The Best Time to Buy Everything

By Kelli B. Grant, SmartMoney

(via WisBlawg)

100 years, new name

Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on a local architectural firm, originally Brust, Philipp and Heimerl, most recently renamed Zimmerman Architectonical Studios.

One of the projects of which it is most proud is the renovation of Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee. That's the 1906 renovation, pictured here.

(A fire in 1935 all but destroyed the Cathedral. It's interior was rebuilt somewhat differently, and in 1966 there were post-Vatican II changes. Here are photos from before and after the 2003 renovation.)

Ernst Renan

Recommended reading:
Reading Rat

Monday, September 4, 2006

The time has come for ordaining women

said Bridget Mary Meehan in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed from last week, now online.

Girls were allowed to become altar servers once the job lost most of its significance. That turns out to be the strategy.

The clerical structure needs to be transformed into an open participatory model that honors the gifts of God in the people of God. The present gap between clergy and lay needs to be eliminated.

We advocate a move from an unaccountable, top-down hierarchy to a people-empowered discipleship of equals. The group Roman Catholic Womenpriests offers a collaborative community model of ministry based on co-creation with the people we serve.

Expect the result to be a cross between Dilbert and Golden Girls.

At their web site we find,

MYTH: These ordinations as women priests are not recognized or valid.

TRUTH: The group "RC Womenpriests" receives its authority from Roman Catholic bishops who stand in full Apostolic Succession. These bishops bestowed sacramentally valid ordinations on the women listed above. All the documents pertaining to these ordinations have been attested and notarized. All minutes of the ordinations, including data about persons, Apostolic Succession, and rituals, together with films and photos are deposited with a Notary Public.

In Wisconsin, at least, the office of Notary Public requires one be 18 years old, have an eight grade education, have no arrests or criminal convictions, and pay a $20 fee, Wis. Stat. sec. 137.01. Attestation refers only to the signature's genuineness. It adds nothing to the accuracy or authority of the document. It's obscure, at best, what this group thinks the involvement of Notaries Public adds to their claims.

Eight south side churches paired up to save money

Georgia Pabst reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
It's the first step in a move that will eventually cluster all eight parishes into one administrative unit designed to save money and improve pastoral care on the south side, said Father Robert Stiefvater, the vicar for Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

At Mass yesterday the priest read a letter from Archbishop Dolan assuring us that the millions of dollars spent to settle the California clergy sexual abuse cases against our Archdiocese does not financially affect our parishes and charitable programs. That might be true in a legal or accounting sense, but it's still millions of dollars that won't available for anything else. Reminds me of how most of the parishes in the largely black inner city north side were closed in the 1990s, yet somehow there was $450,000 left lying around to pay the Marcoux settlement.
"We all have one thing in common, and that's large and growing Hispanic congregations that we've really been scrambling to service," Stiefvater said. But the parishes also must provide for the needs of a significant but aging English-speaking community on the near south side, along with a growing African-American community, he said.

Maybe instead of pairing up poor parishes, they should pair up a poor one with a better-off one.
And the churches also have to consider the new condominium projects that are expanding into the Walker's Point area from the Third Ward and attracting a growing number of empty nesters and young professionals, he said.

"Consider", meaning what? There has been a lot of new upscale housing built downtown, as well. I haven't seen any reports that downtown Catholic parishes have programs for evangelizing those newcomers.

Our Catholic Herald reported on these parish pairings several weeks ago in Priests take collaborative approach to Hispanic ministry, by Cheri Perkins Mantz. Let the considering begin!

"It's a very poor neighborhood and a diverse neighborhood. How do we minister better to such a diverse community and use our resources better?" he [Fr. Stiefvater] said. "One resource is the diminishing number of priests and how do we help lay ministers minister better?"

Not just considering, but considering the considering process.
One of the ways the team of eight priests is working is by using a "Five-Step Methodology" that was introduced by Jesuit Fr. Jose Moreno, parish team member and pastor at St. Patrick and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The five steps the group is looking to improve upon include leadership formation, integration of cultures, faith formation, stewardship and outreach.

"Steps" implies this is some kind of sequence, but it apparently isn't.
According to Fr. Stiefvater, the team has chosen to focus upon leadership, faith formation and outreach this year. However, he did say that stewardship is ongoing.

Outside a church, this would be the opposite of focus. I note the deferred step is "integration of cultures".

One of the funniest parts of Catholic Social Justice talks is when it's said the economy should be less competitive and more cooperative. I say funny because the article depicts the usual utter lack of cooperation and coordination between these parishes, despite their situation.

David Ricardo

Recommended reading:
by David Ricardo at Reading Rat

Study Guide: Wealth and Poverty: Ricardo and Malthus, by Andrew Roberts

Reference: The History of Economic Thought

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews): David Ricardo's Contributions to Economics, by Yousuf Dhamee, The Victorian Web

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Theological Error the Problem

...the essence of theological liberalism is in allowing Christian thinking and living to be shaped by society's views and values, rather than by biblical revelation. ...

And if
... Evangelicals have allowed their theology to be shaped by the economic preferences of materialistic contemporaries rather than by Scripture.

To do so is to fall into theological liberalism.

--Ronald J. Sider, "An Evangelical Theology of Liberation", Piety and Politicsz: Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Confront the World (1987), edited by Richard John Neuhaus and Michael Cromartie, pp. 158-159

John Irving

Recommended reading:
Reading Rat

Saturday, September 2, 2006


is an acronym for Take Your Money Anywhere, long used for the ATM network of Wisconsin banks.

I have a niece who's just started at New York University. She said one adjustment there will be to not ask where she can find a TYME machine.

Growing Hope

An old friend who lives there tells me of the above,
A Northern Virginia partnership to support children with Cancer

... The Optimist Club of Vienna is sponsoring its first annual fundraising event for Childhood Cancer. The event will be held every year on the first Saturday in October. This year's event will be held Saturday, October 7, 2006 on the W&OD Trail.

Najib Mahfuz

Mahfouz's grave, Arab liberalism's deathbed by Tarek Osman, Open Democracy, November 23, 2006 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Obituary: Naguib Mahfouz, The Economist, Aug 31st 2006

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1988

Gyula Illyes

Recommeded reading: Reading Rat

Friday, September 1, 2006

Agreement Reached on Sexual Abuse Claims in California: Archdiocese to Pay $8.25 Million

From the Archdiocese of Milwaukee web site
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached resolution with all 10 victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California. The global agreement, which will pay the 10 victims/survivors $16.65 million, resulted from a two-day court-ordered mediation. Under the agreement, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will pay $8.25 million – approximately half the amount – with the remainder being paid by insurance.

The archdiocese’s financial responsibility will be fulfilled through current financial holdings, including properties owned by the archdiocese and the liquidation of some short- and long-term investments. Included in this will be the proceeds from the sale of the Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center, which were initially intended to benefit Saint Francis Seminary and the future formation of men preparing for priesthood, and other property that had been designated for future pastoral, educational or charitable ministries of the Church. ...

Update: Tom Heinen reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Update 2: The quality of mercy, strained

Diogenes at Off the Record reviews our Archdiocese's settlement of the California claims, and the history behind them, and concludes,

We might profitably contrast Archbishop Cousins's "fraternal charity to a fellow priest" with the approach one un-named layman took to Widera's recreational activities:
A male grade school teacher saw Fr. Siegfried [Widera] fooling around with the boys of another teacher. He said to Father that if he fooled around in the same way with his students, he would punch Father in the face.

Sure, sure, violence begets violence, as Bishop Sklba reminds us, but I can't help wondering who, among the several fathers involved, actually demonstrated some paternal charity toward the vulnerable ...

Stewardship guide in best use of space

This week's issue of the Catholic Herald includes this (print only) letter from Executive Editor Brian T. Olszewskig telling us of changes to make better use of its space. It will no longer be running the Essays in Theology column by Fr. Richard P. McBrien. With some new ideas for the paper, there just isn't space.

That same future lack of space means the paper will drop George Weigel's column.

Don't miss the bigger picture

This post title is the permanent link for Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan's "Herald of Hope" column in last week's issue of our Catholic Herald. It starts with the smaller picture, "three unfortunate issues": Daniel Maguire's pamphlets, Kathy Sullivan Vandenberg's "ordination", and Call to Action's plans for "liturgy" with invalidly "ordained" priests and bishops in Milwaukee.

Reaction at Dad29 and Open Book.