Friday, August 31, 2007

Reading Rat August 2007

On authors and works in my recommended reading:

What the Beatitudes Teach, by Tod Lindberg, Policy Review, August & September 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Also of interest:

Book Sale, Franklin Public Library
9151 West Loomis Road, Franklin, Wisconsin
September 7th-9th, Fri 10-5, Sat 10-5, Sun 1-4
Preview: Thur 6-8:30pm for Friends members; dues begin at $10 individual
10,000 books; 75% donated; 40% hardcover; sorted; paperback .50-$1; hardcover $1

'Morte d'Urban': Our Great Workplace Saga by Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post, August 15, 2007
(via Joseph A. Komonchak at dotCommonweal)

Possessed Books: Antique looking books seem perfectly harmless until someone walks by, then the middle book slides out toward the victim as if it will fall from the shelf. Books also emit spooky sounds for a totally haunted effect.
(via WisBlawg)

My ongoing shelf-cleaning has included works on my reading list, but also the following: Church Documents and Henryk Sienkiewicz.

Not a nun, but wed to Christ

Tom Heinen reported in this front page story in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on cafe operator Eileen Belongea who will become a consecrated virgin September 8th.
Seven other women living in the 10-county archdiocese have been consecrated as virgins by bishops since Pope Paul VI reinstated the early-church rite in 1970, said Father Al Veik, a Capuchin priest who assists them and works with applicants, as director of the archdiocese's office for consecrated life.

There's more at the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins.

They're not coming back

During the St. Al's Parish Council discussion in the late 1990s on the condition of and possible other uses for the former convent, the comment was made that the Sisters aren't coming back.

Talking about this bit of remodeling opened the door to other building agendas, including the then-pastor's burning desire to eliminate the rectory. Even though at least two other priests would have lived there had it remained a residence, the residence portion was converted to offices. Looks like the priests aren't coming back.

A look at the stats for District 16 [6 pp. pdf] shows not only the parish's dismal 27% attendance. It also shows that the total seating capacity of the four Sunday Masses would be exceeded if the parish actually achieved the Archdiocesan goal of increasing attendance by twenty percentage points. Looks like the current church was designed assuming the people aren't coming back.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Last of the Mohicans

At Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor, TS looks back on a trip to Boston and asks,
What is it about the clannish Mathers? The kings of the Puritans: Richard, Increase, Cotton, Samuel?

He leaves out that most clannish of all Mathers.

Reflecting on what it means

Community columnist Nancy Bauer-King in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
What does it mean that Milwaukee County is willing to pay unethical (if not illegal) pensions but not willing to subsidize bus routes to help people get to work?

It means you can't have your transit subsidy cake and the pensioners eat it, too.

Understanding Suicide

This column by Father Ron Rolheiser, his annual suicide column, ran in our Catholic Herald.
Suicide victims are, like victims of sickness and accidents, not responsible for their own deaths...

As evidence, he cites novelist William Styron. Styron uses words like "despair" and "diabolical" but not in a catechetical sense.
Styron suggests the suicidal depression is, in the end, caused by chemical imbalance, despite the fact that other factors (lifestyle, childhood, moral values, memory) contribute.

Some other priest might have found a column in that "despite the fact that ... moral values ... contribute."
Our judgments need to be gentle, our understanding deep, and our forgiveness wide.

Like this?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Michael Getler in "The Ombudsman Column" at PBS
A few months ago, soon after [Bill] Moyers returned as a regular to PBS, I said, half-jokingly, that there may need to be an ombudsman just for Moyers.

Most recently, for Mr. Moyers's closing comments on his August 17, 2007 show.
At his press conference this week he [Karl Rove] asked God to bless the president and the country, even as reports were circulating that he himself had confessed to friends his own agnosticism; he wished he could believe, but he cannot. That kind of intellectual honesty is to be admired, but you have to wonder how all those folks on the Christian right must feel discovering they were used for partisan reasons by a skeptic, a secular manipulator.

This is the first I've heard lacking but desiring faith called agnosticism. Moyers leaps from Mr. Rove's supposed desire for but lack of faith into his being not just a "skeptic" but a "secular manipulator". As Mr. Getler points out, if asked Rove says he is a practicing Episcopalian.

Reminds me of back when Bill Moyers Apologizes to James Watt for Apocryphal Quote.
"I said I had made a mistake in quoting him without checking with him," Moyers told E&P [Editor and Publisher] today. "I should have done my homework."

Do teachers in Catholic schools have Religious Education certification?

One of the "Frequently Asked Questions" at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee web site.
A. Teachers in Catholic schools are required to have BASIC Certification in religion. This requirement involves 40 hours of education and formation in Scripture, Theology and Methods. Teachers of religion in Catholic elementary schools are required to have ADVANCED certification in religion. This involves first achieving INTERMEDIATE Certification which is an additional 50 hours as well as the 60 hours required for ADVANCED Certification. Teachers of religion in secondary schools and those teaching religion full time in Catholic elementary schools are required to have, at minimum, an academic minor in religion.

So to teach, say, math in the parish school, someone needs 40 hours training in religion, and to teach religion in the same parish's Sunday School requires none?

Forget the rhetoric; the tunnel mostly works

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized on the continuing controversy over the operation of the "deep tunnel" system of underground storage to reduce combined sewage overflows.
Due to the constant and often uninformed sniping by talk radio and other critics, many people have mistakenly come to think of the tunnel system as a colossal, obscenely expensive public works failure...

I think so, but not because of talk radio.
Yes, the tunnels, part of $3 billion in sewer improvements, bore a huge price tag. And, regrettably, sewage overflows still occur, including one early last week after two days of rain, the second this year.

The alternative was separating the combined storm and sanitary sewers. It was the newspaper that reported on over 1.5 billion gallons of MMSD overflows in May 2004 despite deep tunnel, while Green Bay had none. The paper at that time interviewed Paul Thormodsgard, executive director of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District, who said one reason for no overflows was that Green Bay had separated its combined storm and sanitary sewers.

So from what I've seen in the paper, deep tunnel "mostly works" but separating sewers "works".

Update: Bruce Murphy in his "Murphy's Law" column in Milwaukee Magazine reviews the The Deep Tunnel Debate. He could have called it "Forget the tunnel, the rhetoric mostly works".
(To reduce the overflow as close as possible to zero would cost another $7 billion, and would still provide no guarantee of total success, which is why community leaders rejected this approach.)

This appears to refer to the estimated cost of expanding the deep tunnels to eliminate the remaining sewage overflows. That does not address the issue whether overflows could have been eliminated at the same or lower cost as the existing deep tunnels by separating the combined storm and sanitary sewers. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, though remaining a defender of deep tunnel in principle, had been critical of the continuing overflows.
But last fall, the paper did a historic about face, pulling Marie Rohde and Steve Schultz from this beat and replacing them with Don Behm. The coverage of the MMSD changed radically.

Rohde and Schultz wrote the 2004 article I linked to above.
Last week, with the historically unprecedented downpour of rain in late August, the MMSD had an overflow of 117 million gallons of partially treated sewage, and the news was buried in a couple paragraphs at the back of a story about the weather.
Which Mr. Murphy considers a good thing.
Its Sunday editorial made plain to readers what its news coverage has more subtly suggested for the last year: The Deep Tunnel works.

More accurately, "mostly works".
The change in coverage will leave [talk radio hosts Charlie] Sykes and [Mark] Belling with no oxygen on this issue, no factual verification of their complaints.

I've lived around Milwaukee so long I can remember when this was the kind of thing the paper's defenders denied that it did. But as a paid subscriber, shouldn't I be entitled to a list of the facts the editors are suppressing?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tommy G. Thompson Broccoli/Cheese Quiche

At 1st Traveler's Choice, a Specialty Recipe from the former Governor of Wisconsin

(via McBride's Media Matters)

My Father? Our Father?

Jean Raber posted at dotCommonweal from "Out here in Dairyland", though she's actually in central Michigan. But I digress from her topic, holding hands during the Lord's Prayer at Mass.
Naysayers like me find the practice unhygienic (the kiddies who just coughed your next illness into their hands are the most enthusiastic hand-holders), awkward (do you jump the aisle, just hold your hand toward the person sitting in the pew across the aisle, or what?), and contrived (Midwesterners are not demonstrative people, mostly opting for the single-pump handshake on rare occasions when public affection is required).

Others want to know why they can't kneel to take communion. No, it's not in the rubrics, but neither is hand-holding, which has never been in the rubrics. More evidence that the happy clappies are taking over the Church.
So far the Comments mostly share her dislike, though less emphatically than Archbishop Weakland.

We're still holding hands at St. Al's. If hand-holding shows the parish is a family, as we're told, the absence of almost 6,500 parishioners tells us something about what kind of family.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Home visits

Dear Abby:

I am a new minister at a fairly large church. For this reason, I'm having a difficult time getting to know the families and remembering the hundreds of names. I would like to take the time to "come calling," as my grandmother used to say.

Is there a polite way to invite yourself over to someone's home?

--Polite Visitor in Missouri

Dear Polite Visitor:

No. The people who have written me about this subject have been parishioners who felt it was an intrusion.

A more palatable way to get to know your church members would be to institute a social hour after the service so you can mingle and chat with them.

(Published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.)

Age, law no barriers to breaking blockade

Cheri Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald on 87 year old Jesuit Father Bill Brennan's participation in the Pastors For Peace trip to Cuba.
"I’m going to go with the next caravan," said Fr. Brennan. "My goal is to have an ecumenical service at the tomb of Che Guevara. ..."

Update: A relic for the altar? The Associated Press reports Cuban Exile Plans to Auction Alleged Lock of Che Guevara's Hair.

(via Spirit of Vatican 2 Catholic Faith Community)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jean-Paul Sartre

“Hell is other people,” said Sartre, and he was correct in this sense: If for you hell is other people, then you are in hell, and so are your fellow traitors. --Anthony Esolen, The Freedom of Heaven & the Freedom of Hell, First Things, March 2009

Recommended reading:
by Jean-Paul Sartre at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Sartre, Legal Scholarship, and Those Troublesome Male Pronouns by Richard John Neuhaus Friday, On the Square, posted August 24, 2007, 7:22 AM

Sartre & Peanuts, by Nathan Radke, Philosophy Now, Issue 44

Sartre vs. Camus, by Algis Valiunas, Commentary, January 2005

Accidental Friends, review by Russell Jacoby of Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel That Ended It, by Ronald Aronson, and Sartre and Camus: A Historic Confrontation, edited and translated by David A. Sprintzen and Adrian van den Hoven, Nation, March 18, 2004

Excerpt from pages 9-17 of Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It by Ronald Aronson, University of Chicago Press (2004)

The Absolute Intellectual, review by Brian C. Anderson of Sartre: The Philosopher of the Twentieth Century, by Bernard-Henri Levy, Policy Review, February 2004

Exit, Pursued by a Lobster: Jean-Paul Sartre: Brilliant philosopher, or totalitarian apologist? By Jim Holt, Slate, September 22, 2003

My Encounter with Sartre, by Edward Said, London Review of Books, June 1, 2000

Learning from Sartre, by John T. Mullen, First Things, June/July 1994

The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook, by Marty Smith, Free Agent, Portland, Oregon, March 1987

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Where have you gone Mrs. Robinson? and other news

Religion Briefing
From the Aug. 25, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Labor in the Pulpits to stress worker rights
Oak Creek church hosting Son-Shine
Honduran cardinal presiding at Fiesta
Public invited to new worship center
Men's, women's day programs set

Help Wanted
"Reporter for your Catholic Herald
"Your Catholic Herald seeks someone full-time to write feature articles and to report news about the Catholic community in southeastern Wisconsin. ..."
"Deadline, Thursday, August 30, 2007."

Memorial Mass
"for Karen Marie [Knapp] will be on Saturday, September 1 at 10 am, at St. John's Cathedral (831 N Van Buren, Milwaukee...)"

Guatemalans working in U.S. find life has mixed blessings
Patricia Zapor reported in Catholic News Service, August 21, 2007. This American, when working in Guatemala or the U.S., has found the same.

Episcopal gay bishop to enter into civil partnership
Catholic News Agency reported August 23, 2007
"The openly homosexual Episcopal bishop, Bishop V. Gene Robinson, has planned to enter into a civil partnership with his long-term partner just weeks before next year's Lambeth Conference, reports the Church of England Newspaper. ...
"In an interview with Michael Buerk, the bishop denied that his plan to hold the ceremony next June had been chosen to be deliberately provocative. ..."

Bishop calls for Catholic reform
Barney Zwartz reports in The Age August 25, 2007. This Bishop Robinson is retired Australian Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson who has a book Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church coming out, so to speak.
"On sexual issues, the book asks questions rather than making statements. Bishop Robinson said this was because he did not want to suggest he had the answers and because it was harder for the Vatican to condemn questions."
(via Catholic World News)


Friday, August 24, 2007

Mass Attendance, best and worst, by district

Following up on my earlier post, here are the parishes with the best and worst Sunday Mass attendance in each of the sixteen districts in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. I've included a few additional parishes where there appeared to be special circumstances, e.g., the first place parish had over 100% attendance or was very small.

I notice that downtown, Old St. Mary's has not only a higher attendance percentage, but higher attendance than the larger Cathedral parish. (see District 13)

I had noted in my earlier post that the Fr. Alan Jurkus has gone from being pastor of St. Monica (last place Distict 11) to St. Al's (last place District 16). Two years before, Fr. Richard Aiken went from being pastor at St. Al's to pastor of St. Sebastian (last place District 12). Maybe that's the system.

Might be interesting to look for correlations to attendance, good or bad: parish size, parish school, size of lay staff, MAPA membership of priests, etc.. It seems to help if the town is named after the church, see Districts 6 and 8.

District 1 [7 pp. pdf] (Kenosha County east of I-94)
First: St. James 147% [!] attendance (1,152/783).
Second: St. Elizabeth 56% (554/998).
Last: St. Mark 27% (1,430/5,390).

District 2 [7 pp. pdf] (Racine County east of I-94)
First, St. Patrick 47% (614/1,305)
Last [corrected]: Cristo Rey 15% (820/5,554)

District 3 [7 pp. pdf] (Walworth County and Kenosha & Racine Counties west of I-94)
First: St. Catherine-Sharon 66% (151/229)
Second: St. Benedict-Fontana 53% (1,330/2,511)
Last: St. Mary-Pell Lake 19% (325/1,713)

District 4 [7 pp. pdf] (Waukesha County east)
First: Good Shepherd, Menomonee Falls 45% (1,071/2,360)
Last: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton 27% (980/3,691)

District 5 [7 pp. pdf] (Waukesha County west)
First: St. John, Monches (Blessed Teresa) 50% (200/393)
Second: St. Catherine, Mapleton 48% (1,203/2,513)
Last: St. Joseph, Big Bend 25% (1,019/4,146)

District 6 [6 pp. pdf] (Washington County)
First: St. Michael, St. Michael 73% (467/638)
Second: St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence 61% (711/1,165)
Last: Immaculate Conception-St. Mary, West Bend 24% (790/3,242)

District 7 [7 pp. pdf] (Dodge County)
First: St. John the Baptist, Clyman 86% (172/201)
Second: Annunciation, Fox Lake 74% (526/711)
Last: St. Mary, Lomira 29% (317/1,092)

District 8 [6 pp. pdf] (Fond du Lac County)
First: St. Martin, Ashford 105% [!] (263/250)
Second: St. Mary, Marytown 71% (289/408)
Last: St. Joseph, Waupun 25% (294/1,160)

District 9 [6 pp. pdf] (Sheboygan County)
First: St. John Evangelist, Kohler 61% (725/1,193)
Last: SS. Cyril & Methodius 26% (214/821)

District 10 [6 pp. pdf] (Ozaukee County)
First: St. Mary, Lake Church-Belgium 41% (437/1,054)
Last: Holy Rosary, Fredonia 26% (438/1,660)

District 11 [6 pp. pdf] (Milwaukee County-Far North)
First: Our Lady of Good Hope 57% (1,255/2,205)
Last: St. Monica, Whitefish Bay 21% (1,419/6,773)

District 12 [6 pp. pdf] (Milwaukee County - Central Northwest)
First: Sacred Heart, Milwaukee 53% (396/741)
Last: St. Sebastian, Milwaukee 24% (1,128/4,669)

District 13 [6 pp. pdf] (Milwaukee County - Near north and lower eastside)
First: Old S. Mary 88% (1,032/1,174)
Second: Church of the Gesu 58% (1,834/3,151)
Fourth: Cathedral of St. John 55% (941/1,718)
Last: SS. Peter and Paul 29% (606/2,120)

District 14 [6 pp. pdf] (Milwaukee County - Near south side)
First: St. Anthony 144% [!] (1,906/1,323)
Second: St. Adalbert 74% (2,929/3,941)
Last: Our Lady of Guadalupe 24% (411/1,720)

District 15 [6 pp. pdf] (Milwaukee County - Far southeast side)
First: Our Lady Queen of Peace, Milwaukee 66% (950/1,446)
Last: St. John Kanty, Milwaukee 18% (242/1,353)

District 16 [6 pp. pdf] (Milwaukee County - Southwest)
First: (tie) St. John the Evangelist, Greenfield 57% (1,742/3,038)
First: (tie) Immaculate Heart of Mary, West Allis 57% (925/1,627)
Last: St. Alphonsus, Greendale 27% (2,365/8,817)

Update: The report of the recent renovation of All Saints Church said,
Church attendance and membership are up at the 560-family parish. So are Sunday collections. So are contributions to the building fund, which has raised about $430,000 in cash and pledges, said Father Carl Diederichs, the pastor who energized the renovation effort.

They might be, but the District 13 report says Mass attendance was 40% (441/1,103), and the 441 total attendance was less than the church's capacity of 500 (1,500 total at three Sunday Masses).

Legal immigration nearly impossible, says attorney

Sam Lucero
recently participated in a border immersion experience in El Paso, Texas, hosted by Maryknoll Lay Missioners.

and then reported in our Catholic Herald. Why "nearly impossible"?
According to Laura Talamantes, an attorney for the Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc., a nonprofit legal clinic supported by the Diocese of El Paso, application fees for legal residency increased in July, from $325 to around $900.

“For our clients, we’re concerned that they will not be able to afford the application fees,” she said.

Is it harder to scrape up than, say, the cost of passage here from Europe in the 1840s?

P.S. I notice the web site for Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc. is English Only.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Implementation Commission Report 2005-06

While I find it difficult to get information about St. Al's by asking, sometimes I come upon information elsewhere. A page on Archdiocese of Milwaukee Planning links to Resources that include the 2006 Implementation Commission Responses. If you don't know your parish's district you can find it on the alphabetic list of Parish Codes Clusters [6 pp. pdf]. For example, St. Al's is in District 16.

The District 16 Implementation Commission Report 2005-06 is mostly boilerplate contained in every district's report. The data is on page 4. St. Al's had an Average Mass Attendance of 27% of Registered Members (2,365/8,817). This ranked 15th out of 16 parishes in the District. The only parish with a lower percentage was St. Mary Help of Christians at 26%. Not long after, it closed.

The neighboring St. John the Evangelist parish had 57% attendance (1,742/3,038), highest in the district. It has about three-fourths as many people as Sunday Mass, compared to St. Al's, even though St. Al's has almost three times as many members. I notice they serve this almost as large an active membership with only two people in non-school paid staff positions, compared to St. Al's six.

You might have noticed Rev. Alan Jurkus is already listed as Pastor, though he technically has not yet been installed as such. I also made inquiry, without success, how his former parish, St. Monica, had been doing. The data is on page 4 of the District 11 Report [6 pp. pdf]. It was last in the District, with 21% attendance (1,419/6,773), even lower than St. Al's.

Ecumenism definitely alive and well

Bishop Richard J. Sklba in the "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald discusses the recent Vatican Document on the nature of the Church.
In an age of all-too-easy popular slippage from one Christian tradition to another, almost as if it didn’t matter and all were equal and alike, the question of denominational loyalty and conviction is important.

Christian traditions are not all equal, he indicates. If pressed, he will agree that Catholic Church is the one true church.
We Catholics not only see ourselves as a church, but we also claim to be Christ’s church in the sense that we believe that we possess all the essential elements instituted by Christ for his church: Word and Sacrament, east and west, with so many different spiritualities (Franciscan, Dominican, Ignatian, Carmelite, etc.).

I'm just an untrained Sunday School teacher, but it might have helped if he'd tracked, say, the four marks of the Church in the Creed a bit closer, and not made it sound like the Lord instituted "different spiritualities". Take him literally, and one might think labyrinths closer to the essentials of the Church than the papacy.

Beloit College's Mindset List for the Class of 2001

Number 56
The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.

suggests we could start a common Mindset List for the Classes of 1961 and 2011.
1. Someday we'll be able to put a man on the moon.

(via Oak Leaves)

Update: Switch to the Classes of 1966 and 2011,
Speculation about Cuba after Castro.

Or any class since 1966 (Catholic College/Newman Center division)
Bishop says it's too soon to evaluate the work of the Second Vatican Council.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Msgr. Shecterle heads Belgian seminary

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald that Greendale native Father Ross Shecterle was recently appointed rector of the The American College of the Immaculate Conception in Louvain, Belgium. The college was founded and is run by the bishops of the United States. He had most recently been director of counseling services at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. PNAC is a seminary run by the bishops of the United States.
“I was responsible for much of the human component,” he said of his role at the Pontifical North American College. “Dealing with sexuality and celibacy.”

Interesting equation, which I hope resulted from the constraints of space in the paper.

World War 0

Also called the Zeroeth World War.

At Wikiality, "the Truthiness Encyclopedia!"

Update: On Wisconsin

(via ... well, me actually, via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)

Update 2: The SPLC Hate Group report for Wisconsin put Gilmanton (population 463) on the map.

Reasons for illegal immigration simple, yet complicated

Sam Lucero
participated in a border immersion experience in El Paso, Texas, hosted by Maryknoll Lay Missioners.

and reported in our Catholic Herald. He interviews
West Cosgrove, a Maryknoll lay missioner and coordinator of the El Paso border immersion experience called Friends Across Borders...

You might recall that in his column in the same issue, Archbishop Dolan says Mexican immigrants want to move to the U.S. as his Irish ancestors did. Mr. Cosgrove says they don't.
Most of the undocumented immigrants come to the United States for work, explained Cosgrove.

“They used to come and go more frequently. People would work for three months, six months, and make more than enough to live on for a year,” he said. “Then they would take that money home and use it to build one cinderblock room and come back the next year.

“If you think about it, we would all do the same."

According to Archbishop Dolan, we need comprehensive immigration reform because Mexicans want to move here permanently, and according to Mr. Cosgrove we need it because they don't. Cosgrove asks,
"Would you rather completely leave your family, culture, and friends forever, or come and go?"

Depends if I'm just here for the money or if I'm part of huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The human mind is admittedly fallible, and in most professions the possibility of occasional error is admitted and even guarded against. But the legal profession is the only one in which the chances of error are admitted to be so high that an elaborate machinery has been provided for the correction of error--and not a single error, but a succession of errors. In other trades to be wrong is regarded as a matter of regret; in the law alone is it regarded as a matter of course ... .
--A. P. Herbert, "Why is the House of Lords? sub nominee Inland Revenue v. Haddock", quoting the Master of the Rolls

(via The Green Bag)


Vietnamese Catholic community finds new home in Franklin

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald that a local Vietnamese Catholic community, which had been served at St. Anthony Church on Milwaukee's near south side, is switching to St. Martin Church here in Franklin.
"Much of the Vietnamese community lives in the area — Franklin, Oak Creek, Muskego, Racine, Greenfield — so it’s logical," he [Fr. Francis Tran] said. "The group is very active in the church and at St. Anthony, they were limited by the facility size. (Here) we have the church, basement, school, narthex and 10 acres of land."

That will leave St. Anthony with only English and Spanish Masses.


Mexican masons lament decline of influence and launch new attack on the Church

Catholic News Agency reported, but it's not about the skilled trades dislike for contemporary church architecture.
The previous Mexican Constitution, because of Masonic influence, stripped the Church of the right to own schools and communications media. Recently, the Mexican bishops announced they would begin a campaign to regain these rights.

The Grand Lodge of the Valley of Mexico, which brings together 12,000 Masons, reacted to the proposal by calling a press conference in which Great Teacher Pedro Marquez accused the Church of wanting to “return to the past.”

I wonder what kind of reaction The Magic Flute gets in Mexico City.

Monday, August 20, 2007

True hospitality means welcoming immigrant

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald.
Check the blogs, tune-in to talk-radio, listen even to some of our politicians: the year-long debate on immigration reform has unleashed another wave of Nativist, hateful bigotry, mostly against our Latino neighbors, who want nothing more than what my great-great grandfather from County Cavan wanted: freedom, a job, a chance, a united family.

But without the equivalent of check-in at Ellis Island?

Is America turning left?

Compared to what, asks The Economist.
America, even if it shifts to the left, will still be a conservative force on the international stage. Mrs Clinton might be portrayed as a communist on talk radio in Kansas, but set her alongside France's Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany's Angela Merkel, Britain's David Cameron or any other supposed European conservative, and on virtually every significant issue Mrs Clinton is the more right-wing.

Speaking of compared to what.
She also mentions God more often than the average European bishop. As for foreign policy, the main Democratic candidates are equally staunch in their support of Israel; none of them has ruled out attacking Iran; Mr Obama might take a shot at Pakistan; and few of them want to cede power to multilateral organisations.

Archbishop discusses state Supreme Court ruling in July 12 conference call

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald.
Of the Supreme Court’s decision, the archbishop remarked, “The way I read it, the decision could’ve been more dismal for the archdiocese; it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, but it was also very sobering and there could be difficult days ahead,” said Archbishop Dolan.

And it's so unfair; all the kids were doing it.
The archbishop reminded listeners that the issue of child sexual abuse is not specifically a Catholic problem.

“It afflicts all of society and culture,” he said. “...We are gravely serious about beating what is probably the greatest crisis that has ever come before the Catholic Church in the United States. And darn it, we have been making significant progress and that isn’t patting ourselves on the back."

Not exactly.
"Outside people tell us that probably nobody is confronting this terrible issue ... more effectively than the Catholic Church in the United States.”

Who else has the equivalent of bankrupt dioceses and distress sales of Chanceries?
One of two callers posing questions was Fr. Bob Betz, a pastoral team member at Divine Mercy in South Milwaukee. He asked Archbishop Dolan what he would advise his priests do at the parish level when questioned. ...

“First of all, be very open,” said the archbishop.

Honesty is now policy. That's progress.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Assembly calls women religious to be bold in determining direction

Catholic News Service reported on the assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious earlier this month. Dominican Sister Laurie Brink gave the keynote address.
Women religious are angry, she said, "not about the Eucharist itself -- but about the ecclesial deafness that refuses to hear the call of the Spirit summoning not only celibate males, but married men and women to serve at the table of the Lord."

How's that been working out?
That has helped put religious women's orders "on the verge of extinction," she said, because in removing themselves from church circles they "failed to recognize when we were no longer needed as a work force that perhaps the Spirit had a new call for us. ..."

Something other than nursing grievances.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Renovation renews Catholic parish

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the dedication of the newly renovated All Saints Church.
The prominent baptismal area at All Saints Catholic Church is a strong symbol of the fresh life that has arisen from the difficult days in the mid-1990s when the archdiocese closed and merged nine central-city parishes into two new parishes.

Fresh life? It's more like putting gold leaf on the "S" in scandal. And scandal is what a speaker at the Peter Favre Forum once called closing those churches, getting a memorably sputtered response from Bishop Sklba.
The renovation at All Saints has transformed a boxy, 1960s church with poor acoustics, plain walls and high ceilings and windows.
Now it looks pretty much like any other church built or renovated in our current decade, as you can see from the accompanying photo gallery. [Update 3: Compare it to the Vosko portfolio.]
And it got enthusiastic praise from more than 100 architects, Catholic liturgical designers and others who attended a dinner and service there this month as part of a national FORM/REFORM conference, said Terry Wessels, conference director.

Among the things they found praiseworthy,
There is a specially designed sound system for the church's well-known gospel choir, which sings behind the altar. The new altar has been brought forward, and there are theater-in-the-round seating, ceiling-lowering lengths of fabric suspended above the center aisle and stylish sound-absorbent panels on the side walls to dampen reverberations.

Who expected architects would eventually not only admit but brag that churches are now modeled on theater-in-the-round?
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Carl Ashley, a parishioner and head of the building committee, said town hall meetings were held as the parish made difficult choices. ...

The renovation shows a commitment to the central city, he said.

Not when compared to how much seven closed parishes still show the opposite.
Iesha Frazier-Christie, 16, doesn't like the changes and says a number of other teens agree. They liked the old look.

"It felt more homey," said Frazier-Christie, an usher, Eucharistic minister and youth group member. "This feels like the Chris Brown concert I went to at the Bradley Center."

She's the same age as my Sunday School students, who, I have found, have similar opinions on church architecture.

Update: And now that it's been admitted that the prevailing liturgical model is theatrical, Pertinacious Papist happens to post on the increasing number of priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit considering the Mass in Latin.
... much better than driving for two hours or more to escape the horrors of standard AmChurch fare. It's a nice change to go to church expecting to encounter Christ and not come away, as Martin Mosebach says, a theater critic.

Update 2: at the Spririt of Vatican 2 Catholic Faith Community, Richard Vosko, Liturgical Interiors, and WE WIN!
Isn't it much more meaningful to say "we're going to be meeting in the Spirit of Vatican 2 Catholic Faith Community's Liturgical Interior" than something humdrum like "meet us at the church."

Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga heads for the Falls, and other news

Religion Briefing
From the August 18, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, will celebrate Mass at 5 p.m. Aug. 25 at St. Mary Parish, N89-W16297 Cleveland Ave., Menomonee Falls."

College chaplains offer advice on how college students can keep faith
Christie L. Chicoine, Catholic News Service, August 17, 2007. "'First and foremost, as in all things Catholic, go to Mass,' said Father John Nordeman, chaplain of the Newman Center at Pennsylvania's West Chester University."

Vatican Denies Tinkering With Wikipedia
ZENIT August 17, 2007."The director of the Vatican press office explained that, even if the BBC verifies the story, one still has to take into account that there are many computers in the Vatican, and that anyone could have access to Wikipedia on any one of them."

Australian prelate offers new defense of clerical celibacy
Catholic World News August 16, 2007. "'Which is easier,' Archbishop Wilson [Philip Wilson of Adelaide] writes: [2 pp. pdf] 'to grieve the loss of one's child… or to grieve the loss of the child one never had?'"

Would-be nun robber nabbed in Wisconsin
August 16, 2007, Associated Press report in the Boston Globe. "When she told him she had no money, he forced her to drive him around in her car for almost an hour in search of money."

Isthmus Catholic
"Serving Madison's Capitol area Catholic Community"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wang Wei

Recommended reading: Reading Rat

CPJ Newsletter August 2007

Milwaukee's Catholics for Peace and Justice posted its newsletter for August 2007. [9 pp. pdf]
CPJ General Meeting -- September 8 Please RSVP
From CPJ Leadership Council

Parish and Archdiocesan meetings and listening sessions left you longing for more? Then this if for you. Three hours on a Saturday morning,
sharing our particular social justice concern or issue and then engaging in small group discussions centered on our concerns.

Changes to Leadership Council

Shirley Henika, new last month, leaves this month. Replacement is Mary Carlson.
Mary is the mother of three children and the wife of Stuart who is editorial cartoonist for the Journal. She is a teacher who worked for many years at St. Joan Antida High School and now is at Marquette University. Mary is a member of SS Peter and Paul parish in Milwaukee where she has served as Parish Council chair and in numerous ministries.

Prayer Gathering for Peace "Blessing the Bombs" commemorating the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings
From the Prayer Group

CPJ's calls its committees groups, much as the local priests' union calls its committees focus groups. This may be intended to show that these groups are not like committees, though both organizations' minutes show that committees they remain.
Stop the War – De-bunking the Rhetoric
From Stop the War Group

Americans and Iraqis are literally dieing for change.

And not just in spelling.
If you have been relying on our local newspaper as your source of information, you are missing half the story.

Should we blame the editorial cartoonist?
We ask that you take some time to read the facts [De-bunking the Myths] below. And, please read "What You Can Do in the Next Six Weeks to End This War" so that we as Catholic Peacemakers can lead the way to a responsible exit plan out of Iraq – Now. Print out the list of what you can do. Post it on your fridge or desk or bathroom mirror. Do whatever you can. And then feel good that you have done all in your power to be a peacemaker.

And isn't that the point of Catholic Social Teaching, feeling good about yourself?
Guest Opinion: "Blessing the Bombs"
By Mary Krolikowski, Catholics for Peace and Justice

Intended as a preview of the Prayer Service, though the newsletter wound up being posted online afterward.
At least 20 years ago, while caring for a client for the Visiting Nurses’ Association, I was exposed to a public television show she [sic] was watching about the progression of warfare.

First Mark Peters writing on Pan's Labyrinth, now this. CPJ seems surprisingly dependent on TV for factual background.
We join in prayer to publicly proclaim our belief that all war is wrong, that modern weaponry is so efficient that use of it precludes justification.

If there is an inherent moral problem in weapons of mass destruction, it is that they tend to kill indiscriminately, not that they kill efficiently. Much of the most modern weaponry, by contrast, can be used quite discriminately. Ms. Krolikowski is arguing against it indiscriminately.
Death Penalty Speakers Bureau
From the Death Penalty Group

The Death Penalty Committee of Catholics for Peace and Justice is now offering a Speakers Bureau. Speakers are available to present at parishes [for Human Concerns, Parish Councils, or the parish in general] and community events throughout the city.

Much like the larger society, CPJ isn't focused on the war. If the war goes on, but Wisconsin doesn't bring back the death penalty, I suppose CPJ can say it's one for two.
Learn More About "JustFAITH" – August 7
From Michael Stratton

Also intended as a preview.
JustFAITH is a 30-week adult formation program that offers an opportunity to experience a spiritual journey into compassion.

My Sunday School students will get about one hour of classroom instruction on Social Justice, as such. I don't think it's much of a foundation, but I haven't heard that our Parish Consultant has raised this with our DREs.
"Engage! Putting Your Faith Into Action"
From the CPJ Education Group

Yet another program for which the foundation wasn't laid in catechesis.
Fair Trade News
From Mike Howden

The peace and justice counterpart to fighting terror by shopping.
Catholics for an End to the War in Iraq
A Project of Catholics United

Another organization.
2007 Lifelong Faith Formation Conference

More meetings.
The format for this year’s conference includes an offering of 12 – four hour seminars on Thursday and Friday. Lee Nagel will be leading a seminar on Thursday and Friday about Catholic Social Teaching.

On Saturday a limited number of 60-75 minute workshops will be offered ...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

In pursuit of the old and pure

The Economist reviews The Protestant Revolution by William Naphy.
Its [the Reformation's] main characteristics—an emphasis on a direct relationship with Jesus and a strong belief among members of its various denominations that they alone have arrived at the correct reading of the New Testament—are still common to Protestantism today. These are low barriers to entry, which may help to explain the creative destruction that has characterised Protestant sects. Old ones die out and new ones are born, each convinced that the recent past has been an aberration and that what is needed is a return to an older, purer Christianity.

Where the grass is greener

What one hugely successful city reveals about America

The Economist, August 16, 2007, reports on Cerritos, California

Is it all about the money?

An employee had to be paid to write this headline for an article that Tom Daykin and Avrum D. Lank had to be paid to write which appeared in the print edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which I had to buy to read. The article is about competing bids to buy locally-based Midwest Airlines.

Columnist Eugene Kane had to be paid to write today's column, titled Midwest has a soft, chewy spot inside me. It's a reference to Midwest's practice of baking chocolate chip cookies in-flight. He concludes,
When the players in the corporate boardrooms finally figure out what to do with Midwest, let's hope they break out some cookies to remind them what's really at stake.

Don't cut costs by eliminating little things some customers like? Sounds like better advice for a newspaper than an airline.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Church Documents

See Church Documents: U.S. and Church Documents: Milwaukee

On the Delict of Attempted Sacred Ordination of a Woman, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, decreed December 19, 2007, publication in L’Osservatore Romano May 30, 2008

Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, December 3, 2007
(via Charlotte was Both)

On Christian Hope (Spe Salvi), Encyclical Letter of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI to the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Men and Women Religious, and All the Lay Faithful, November 30, 2007

Of the Supreme Pontiffs (Summorum Pontificum) and accompanying Letter, July 7, 2007

Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2005), The Vatican

Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders, Congregation for Catholic Education, November 4, 2005

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace (2004), The Vatican

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003

Code of Canon Law (1983; translation 1999), The Vatican

Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Vatican (Second Edition, September 8, 1997)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (Second Edition), St. Charles Borromeo Church, Picayune, Mississippi [searchable]
Test Your Knowledge of Church Teaching as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

General Directory for Catechesis, Congregation for Clergy (August 11, 1997): The Vatican; IntraText

Concerning the Teaching Contained in 'Ordinatio Sacerdotalis': Responsum ad Dubium, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, October 28, 1995, with cover letter to Bishops' Conference Presidents by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, November 8, 1995 [at EWTN]

On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis), Apostolic latter of John Paul II to the Bishops of the Catholic Church, May 22, 1994

On Catechesis in Our Time (Catechesi Tradendae): Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II (October 16, 1979), The Vatican

Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood (Inter Insigniores), Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (15 October 1976), at EWTN

On the Regulation of Birth (Humanae Vitae), Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI, July 25, 1968

On the Celibacy of the Priest (Sacerdotalis Caelibatus), Encyclical of Pope Paul VI, June 24, 1967

Doctrinal documents, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Vatican

Documents of the II Vatican Council, The Holy See

Instruction on the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of Solicitation, approved by Pope John XXIII March 16, 1962

The Council of Trent: The canons and decrees of the sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent, (1545-1563), edited and translated by J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), Hanover Historical Texts Project

The Bible:
New American Bible;
Douay Bible (New Testament, Reims 1582; with Old Testament 1609-1610);
Latin Vulgate Bible (St. Jerome, Ed., c. 382)


Much of the renewed interest in spheromaks is focused on a research effort at Lawrence Livermore called the Sustained Spheromak Physics Experiment (SSPX). The SSPX was dedicated on January 14, 1999, in a ceremony attended by representatives from DOE and collaborating scientists from the Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. SSPX is a series of experiments designed to better determine the spheromak's potential to efficiently contain hot plasmas of fusion fuel, in this case, the hydrogen isotope deuterium. --David Hill


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Weekly newspaper chain moves into Milwaukee County

The Business Journal of Milwaukee reported
A new weekly newspaper, the Franklin Citizen, made its debut May 18, in part trying to take advantage of the shrinking presence of Community Newspapers Inc.

The Franklin CNI paper had been consolidated with papers for several other southern suburbs. The amount of Franklin coverage seemed disproportionately small, considering its population. Around the same time they did launch web sites for each suburb, ours being Franklin Now.
The Franklin Citizen is published by Southern Lakes Newspapers, Burlington, which publishes 15 weekly publications in Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties.

No online version yet.

Two print weeklies for one suburb is something of a luxury these days. We'll see if it lasts.


Life, justice supporters can find common ground, says USCCB official

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald on the Social Action Summer Institute at Marquette University the week of July 15. Our Archdiocese's blurb noted that among the sponsors were
Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, [and] Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Despite that, not all the seminar sessions [4 pp. pdf] were on climate change. Joan Rosenhauer, special projects coordinator for the Department of Social Development and World Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke on the topic of "Bringing Pro-Life and Pro-Justice Communities Together in an Election Year".
She opened her presentation by stating, "There is no good way to talk about this."

There isn't? What kind of people was she talking to?
Her audience included men and women from around the country who lead social action groups in their dioceses, and parish members from across the United States.

All dedicated to living up to stereotypes about them.
Attendees wondered how they could assure healthy, productive dialogue between pro-life or anti-abortion supporters and those who are pro-justice, or choose to fight for issues such as immigration.

Crack a book?
Concerning the "methods" for practising responsible procreation, the first to be rejected as morally illicit are sterilization and abortion. The latter in particular is a horrendous crime and constitutes a particularly serious moral disorder; far from being a right, it is a sad phenomenon that contributes seriously to spreading a mentality against life, representing a dangerous threat to a just and democratic social coexistence. [footnotes omitted]
--Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church 233.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Motu coverage continues

This post by Grant Gallicho at dotCommonweal on Summorum Pontificum, [12 pp. pdf] drew many comments, including this by Cathleen Kaveny.
But I don't think the options are a clown mass or the tridentine rite. And I don't see how the latin mass is going to fix the clown mass, which I don't think is around much any more.

I can't disagree with that as a measure of almost four decades of post-conciliar liturgical reform, that the clown mass has probably become less frequent.
Mass by a 'clown' brings complaints, by Gary M. Zinke, Milwaukee Journal, March 6, 1984

(Thanks to a reader for the scanned clipping.)

Update: Balloon ban wipes smile off British clown's face; also video

The Good Czar

Cathy Young in Reason
as the Russian journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza noted in another [the liberal Russian website] obituary, Yeltsin’s Russia was "a country which had independent television and no political prisoners," a country where opposition parties flourished and where the president could embarrass himself with drunken antics but did not muzzle critics or send goons to crush peaceful protests and take over TV stations.

Find out what Yeltsin drank and send President Putin a barrel!

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Update: Just don't, as The Economist warns, get Tsarstruck.

Pilgrimage continues for Medjugorje accident victims

Cheri Perkins Mantz reports in our Catholic Herald, following up an the Milwaukee-area pilgrims injured in a bus plunge.

The report raised the quesion at Catholic Wintertime, What's the Deal withe Medjugorje?, that is, what's the status of the claimed apparitions. At EWTN, the question is Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL.

P.S. There is no indication of a hymn Hey There Medjugorje Girl.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

All Against All: The Postconciliar Period Recounted by Ratzinger, Theologian and Pope

During his recent vacation, Pope Benedict XVI's met with local priests at the church of Santa Giustina Martire in Auronzo di Cadore, answering ten questions at length. Sandro Magister reports on the Pope's answer to a question on the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. In explaining the disappointment and disillusion in the decades since then, he says,
The periods following a council are almost always very difficult. After the great Council of Nicaea – which is, for us, truly the foundation of our faith, in fact we confess the faith as formulated at Nicaea – there was not the birth of a situation of reconciliation and unity, as hoped by Constantine, the promoter of the great Council, but a genuinely chaotic situation of a battle of all against all.

If such periods after councils are difficult, isn't it because they had been called to deal with an already-existing difficult situation? In the case of the First Council of Nicaea, the difficulty was the heresy of Arianism. Since Vatican II did not deal with heresy (SC 1), citing Nicaea I does not explain the decades of problems since. And if such difficulties are inherent in a post-conciliar period, then that would be a good reason not to call a council unless the Church faces a problem, like a widespread heresy, that defies any other solution.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

'I a priest' says Iaquinta, and other news

Religion Briefing
From today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "West Bend woman to seek ordination: ...[Alice M.] Iaquinta issued a statement saying she discerned a call to the priesthood after serving as a pastoral associate and graduating with honors from St. Francis Seminary in St. Francis with a master of divinity degree in May 2006." The Roman Catholic Womenpriests site says Ms. Iaquinta was already "Ordained womandeacon 2007" and is considering "ministering with the married priests of Jesus Our Shepherd parish, Nenno, WI".

Authentic Catholic voice: Must be heard
Henrietta Gomes of the Catholic Herald, Arlington, Virginia, reports in the Catholic Herald, Madison, on an address by Madison's Bishop Morlino at the 18th Annual Summer Institute at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia. This year's conference topic was "Marriage and the Family".

Fliss says his ordination as a bishop was a miracle
A.M. Kelley reports in the Superior Catholic Herald. "The second [miracle] is that he was ordained a bishop in Superior on a day in December so mild that there was no snow on the ground."

Judge orders diocese to defend filing
Mark Sauer and Sandi Dolbee in today's San Diego Union-Tribune. "In a rare and blistering decree [8 pp. pdf], a federal judge yesterday ordered Bishop Robert Brom and his attorneys to show why she shouldn't dismiss the Diocese of San Diego's bankruptcy case for failing to exercise 'the financial controls and transparency' required by law."
(via Diogenes at Off the Record)

Ban upheld on ELCA clergy's gay relationships
Tom Heinen. From the Aug. 11, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel."However, Bishop Craig Johnson of Minneapolis kept the possibility of change alive by introducing a resolution that would allow congregations, bishops, regional synodical councils and the national presiding bishop to jointly allow exceptions to the ban case by case." The pastoral version of the death by a thousand cuts.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Accepting Disappointment in Love

This July 15, 2007 column by Ron Rolheiser, OMI appeared in our Catholic Herald, Milwaukee, July 26, 2007.
What we crave even more deeply than sexual unity is moral affinity, to be truly one heart with another. More than we desire a lover, we desire a kindred spirit, a soul mate. If this is true, then the deepest violations of each other are also not sexual but moral. It's when we try to be captain of somebody else's soul (more so even than of his or her body) that we rape someone.

Neither the priest-columnist nor the archdiocesan newspaper editors could see a problem with this argument, neither its logic nor what some readers might regard as its context.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Catechists Needed

From St. Al's bulletin July 28, 2007 [3 pp. pdf] (page 2)
We are in need of Catechists at all levels. College students, grandparents, parents and adults are all eligible to help us with this request. No formal training required. Just a love of children of all ages and enthusiasm to share knowledge of our Catholic faith. ...

The road to Sunday School is paved with good intentions.

Update: A missionary priest from Kenya presided at Mass on August 12th. In his homily he asked our help in supporting the work of his diocese, including training catechists.

Update 2: Rich Leonardi posts on Trickle-down dissent. Perhaps our DREs are indirectly telling us that any training actually available in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee would do more harm than good.

Volunteering already a way of life for 12-year-old

Maryangela Layman Roman reported in our Catholic Herald on 12 year old Adam Hastings whose
Kids Think Link Web site that has become a well visited part of the St. Gabriel School Web site.

Based on what you can see online, is the person who does your parish's web site smarter than a fifth grader? Assuming your parish even has a web site.

The Cataclysmic Event

At Wild Olive Branch, "The Demise of the Great City"
It was unveiled to us since 1985 that the collapse of the Roman Catholic Church will occur on August 7, 2007.

Checking...still there.

(via Catholic and Enjoyed It! Catholic and Enjoying It!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

CPJ Newsletter July 2007

Catholics for Peace and Justice posted its newsletter for July 2007.

"Volunteer Position Still Open" to produce the newsletter.

"Catholics for Peace and Justice General Meeting -- September 8"
We need your help – we can’t have this discussion alone.

Why not? Don't our parish staffs and parish councils?

"Meet Your Catholics for Peace and Justice Leadership Council Members" including
Shirley Henika ... also wanted to be part of a group that was offering constructive suggestions/taking positive actions to end the war, rather than just "Bush bashing" which many anti-war groups resorted to.

CPJ's raised the issue of impeachment, but draws the line at "Bush bashing".
Fr. Jack Kern is pastor of St. Catherine on 51st and Center ... . He entered the seminary as "a child of the sixties concerned about racial justice and peace," and spent the three summers before ordination working at St. Boniface with Jim Groppi, now both his pastor and hero.

How a dead Episcopalian like Fr. Groppi can now be Fr. Kern's pastor is a bit unclear.

"Stop the War – Please Join Us Now. From Mark Peters"
Last month, we (the four members of this committee) asked all our members to pull out the stops and pressure their federal legislators to de-fund the war this coming September, which will be our last opportunity to stop the war for an entire year. We asked that, to help us measure our effectiveness, you let us know who you contacted and when. To date, we have heard from three of you that they have made calls.

Mr. Peters is a Parish Consultant for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, but despite that,
To say we're shocked is a bit of an understatement. Are people calling but just not telling us? Was what we were asking people to do unclear? Have people simply decided that it's hopeless and given up? Are people even reading the newsletter? We don't know.

Maybe they need a program that personally contacts all members like, as I always say, when there's a parish building fund drive.
We have also emailed over 100 Milwaukee area leaders to ask them to join us and Peace Action in a broad-based coalition to de-fund the war which would operate only between now and September, and called several others personally. So far the response has been almost nil ...

Does he have techniques in his day job that are producing dramatically better results in our parishes?
What are you doing to work for an end to the US occupation of Iraq and the safe return of our armed forces?

I'm reading the CPJ newsletter which, for all they seem to know, is more than most of the people on their mailing list.

"Engage! Putting Your Faith Into Action" From the CPJ Education Group
The program uses the video “Communities of Salt and Light” to emphasize that parishes are the heart of sharing and acting on the social teaching of the Church and calls on parish members to integrate social justice into every aspect of parish and community life.

If the way questions about parish liturgical practices are answered is consistently up to the standards of social justice, then this should be a snap. Here's the document on Organizing a Parish Social Ministry Coordination Team [7 pp. pdf], which begins,
Building a successful parish-based social ministry effort of the kind envisioned in Communities of Salt and Light requires tapping each and every able Catholic’s baptismal call to serve.

Must be intended to build on an earlier program to get each and every able Catholic at Sunday Mass, and that earlier program must be in its very early stages.

"Monthly Prayer for Peace"
Our next prayer gathering will take place in August. We will provide you details in our August Newsletter.

Actually, the prayer service is right now, August 7th, 7:00 p.m., so don't wait for the August newsletter.

"Guest Opinion: On Being Patriotic" By Mark Peters
Lately, I've been wondering what it will take to motivate people to make one last push between now and September to de-fund this war ...

Again, if he can demonstrate what it will take to motivate people to attend Sunday Mass, he might transfer those motivational techniques here.

Celebrities opt for second career

Karen Mahoney reports, Special to Mature Lifestyles, a supplement to our Catholic Herald, on the second careers of former local radio personality Bob Dolan and TV weatherman Jim Ott.

Ott didn't count on working in television to age 65, earned a law degree in 2000, and after retiring was elected to the state legislature.
For the past 22 years, Ott and his wife Carol have hosted a grief ministry support group at the parish. Ott met Carol during a period of mourning, after they each lost a spouse.

Dolan and his wife now have a weekly travel show that airs in several television markets. As for Church involvement, I assume he's busy reminding his older brother, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, that he knew him when.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger (1926–2007):

An Appreciation, by George Weigel.
...Jean-Marie Lustiger was made archbishop of Paris in 1981 and was one of the most prominent members of the College of Cardinals for more than two decades, embodying precisely the Catholicism imagined by Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council: a Church engaged with the modern world; a Church that had opened its windows to modernity; but also a Church that asked modernity to open its windows to the worlds of transcendent truth and love.

I heard Cardinal Lustiger give the keynote address at the October 21, 1998 John Paul II Symposium in Mundelein, Illinois. His address, titled "Twenty Years of John Paul II's Pontificate", described John Paul II as, in various ways, the pope of the Second Vatican Council.

State church sex abuse cases may get to court

Dan Wilson reports for Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers in the Green Bay Press Gazette on the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in John Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee and legislative proposals to extend or suspend the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases.

(via The Wheeler Report)

CPJ Newsletter June 2007

(Milwaukee's Catholics for Peace and Justice posted its newsletter for June 2007.)

"Volunteer Position Open" (to replace the departing newsletter editor.)

"Stop the War Committee Says 'Now is the Time to Step It Up!'"
(This is an effort to flood Congress with demands to end the Iraq War.)
And please, let us know who you’ve called so we have some idea of our effectiveness. So far, we’ve received five responses from people who called their federal reps in response to an appeal to our members two days ago. Let’s see if we can get all 200 of the folks on this mailing list to respond!

"Time to Hold the Media Accountable!"
Our own Catholic Herald failed to cover our March 24 prayer service or the April 28 Advocacy Conference.

(Isn't one CPJ newsletter enough?)

"Education Committee launches 'Engage! Putting Your Faith Into Action'".
The Catholics for Peace and Justice Education group is offering a program designed to introduce [and reinforce] Catholic social teaching to local parishes.

(Our parishes need to be introduced to Catholic social teaching? Almost makes one wonder What is the role of a parish consultant?)

"Ideas and Resources from the April Conference". (Parish Council and committee meetings too short? Help is available.)

"Anti-Death Penalty Campaign Continues".
The State Council [of the Knights of Columbus] agreed to include anti-death penalty educational material to their Right To Life promotion. Louis [CPJ member Louis Konicek] plans to bring his resolution to the National Convention of the Knights in Nashville this August.

(Shouldn't CPJ reciprocate by explaining the connection of opposition to abortion in its materials In Opposition to the Death Penalty?)

Missing Mass? It'll cost you

Cost you money, that is. The headline writer has picked up the idea that missing Mass has no spiritual cost.

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Concerned for years about parents who seldom attend Sunday Mass after registering as church members to get a tuition discount, Father John Yockey finally decided to take action at St. Jerome Parish School in Oconomowoc.

Parents who attend fewer than ten Sunday Masses a quarter will not get the $1,400 per child reduction from the usual $4,500 annual tuition. So far, no parents have said it's worth $35/week to both send their kids to Catholic school and skip Mass. Parish School Board President Beth Boyer-Ryan said
"I think the reason we're not receiving calls is it would be somewhat difficult for someone to say how unfair it is that I have to go to church."

The story continues,
Requiring Mass attendance may be unusual for Catholics nationally. Brian Gray, a spokesman for the National Catholic Education Association, has not heard of other examples.

In Sunday School, I teach that it is required by the first precept of the Church, see Catechism of the Catholic Church 2042.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Only just staying in one piece

Since the Second World War, what armed conflict has claimed the most lives?

The civil war in the Congo,
a war that left some 4m dead

That's four million.

Fellow Cheeseheads

City of Steeples uses the title above for a blogroll of Wisconsinites who regularly post on things Catholic, and lists Dad29 and me.

In that same category, I also blogroll Catholic Wintertime... , the late From the Anchor Hold, Modern Commentaries, and To Jesus through Mary.

Some others to consider are Quirky Catholic, Crusader Knight, The Discalced Yooper, Dogpatch, Ergo Sum, Gaining My Religion, Religious Life Rocks! and Nunspeak, Polonia Pearl, and St. Fiacre's Garden.

Any I missed that fit this description?

Update: Forgot to list A Wisconsin Catholic, and Wisconsin Catholic Musings

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Catholics, Lutherans seek common ground

Tom Heinen reports in todays Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Bishop Richard J. Sklba, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, will be in Chicago on Friday at the national assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He'll be there to say Hi on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops. The theme of the story is that the recent Vatican reiteration that the Catholic Church is the one true church puts Bishop Sklba in an uncomfortable position.
"I certainly have to address the issues we struggle with. I don't want it to be bland. I don't want it to be just fluff. I want it to be a contribution. It has to at least recognize the (Vatican's) recent statement. I have to allude to that, to offer some assurance that this is not any rejection of dialogue partners or a lessening of commitment."

He sounds uncomfortable.
"I think when people read Pope Benedict's statement, there was a sense of discouragement," said ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson.

"I think with people in the pew, there's an impatience with the seeming inability of we who are leaders to find a way through our significant differences so that we can experience greater unity."

Aren't we united in the belief that the Reformation was actually about something?

The story goes on,
The document says the Catholic Church is the one true church, and Sklba agrees.

Better in the fifteenth paragraph than never. One application of the issue is intercommunion.
When the National Evangelical Lutheran/Catholic Dialogue ended its 10th round of talks in Milwaukee in 2004, its report said that Catholic judgment on the authenticity of Lutheran ministry need not be all or nothing.

The report quotes a 1993 letter from Ratzinger: "I count among the most important results of the ecumenical dialogues the insight that the issue of the Eucharist cannot be narrowed to the problem of validity. Even a theology oriented to the concept of succession . . . need not in any way deny the salvation granting presence of the Lord in the Lutheran Lord's Supper."

Asked if that differs from Catholic Eucharist, Sklba said, "I think one has to ask the person who said it."

So giving a real answer to that question is part of my job as a Sunday School teacher for tenth graders, but not part of his job? A few years ago, after numerous discussions with parents, Archbishop Dolan said,
As more than one of you commented, "I send my kids to Catholic schools (or religious education classes) not to hear what the teachers 'feel' or think, but what the Church teaches."

Couldn't he get his auxiliary involved in this process of passing on what the Church teaches? Bishop Sklba wrote the Forward to Unfailing Patience and Sound Teaching: Reflections on Episcopal Ministry in Honor of Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B.
The following essays, each written by a significant bishop or theologian of our Church, attempt to capture what it means to be a bishop implementing that council [Vatican II] at the beginning of the twenty-first century. (p. x)

The same passage from Cardinal Ratzinger is quoted in Chapter Seven, "The Roman Catholic Bishop in Ecumenical Perspective" by Michael Root (p. 129). If Bishop Sklba can endorse what's in this book but now can't or won't say what the passage means, it might leave the impression he's unsure "what it means to be a bishop implementing that council at the beginning of the twenty-first century."

Update: Here's Bishop Hanson's formal response [2 pp. pdf] to the Vatican document.
The anguished response of Christians around the world to the Vatican’s statement, however, clearly indicates that what may have been meant to clarify has caused pain.

Maybe it's just the anesthetic finally wearing off.

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Bombs away, seminarians away, and other news

Stained glass artist illustrates congregants' faith
Interview of Rich Buswell. From the Aug. 4, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. ("Q. What is changing in the worship space design industry?" Were the rose windows at Chartres produced by people who thought of themselves as part of a "worship space design industry"?)

Religion briefs
From the Aug. 4, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. ("Lanterns for Peace, the city's annual commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, will start at 5:30 p.m. today..." Planned events do not include commemorative toasts with Nog-a-sake!)

If you miss that, there's Blessing the Bombs: Commemorating the nuclear holocaust, August 7th Catholics for Peace and Justice Prayer Gathering at St. Joe's in Wauwatosa ("All people want peace. It is only governments and war departments that promote war and slaughter." Aren't the people in the government and "war departments" people?)

Wisconsin Institute of Judaism
August 9-12, 2007 at Lake Delton, Wisconsin ("A truly Amazing weekend of Learning, Recreation & Relaxation! ...With fun programming for the kids too!" Sounds like Tommy Bartlett's Rabbi World!)

Seminarian Gathering:
Delivers a week of fellowship, by Ben Emmel, Catholic Herald, Madison. ("...provided an opportunity for the 29 men studying for the priesthood to come together as a community, and take a needed break from school and parish assignments." Twenty-nine is as many as the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.)


Friday, August 3, 2007

Volunteer sewers sow seeds of comfort

I might have said "Volunteer seamstresses".

Susan Suleski reports, Special to the doubly-euphemisticly-titled Mature Lifestyles supplement to our Catholic Herald on the Memory Bear program of VITAS Innovative Hospice Care.
“After the patient dies, the family will give us a piece of clothing or something that meant (a lot) to them,” Woodard [Linn Woodard, volunteer services manager at VITAS] said. “The volunteers use it to make the teddy bear. There’s grief and there’s sadness … but this is just something you can hug.”

P.S. Here's more on Memory Bears.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Karen Marie Knapp: Rest in Peace

Her writing was always characterized by charity (a quality I envy due to my weakness in that department) and she was unflagging in her willingness to extend it to others. ...

Please pray for the repose of her soul.

--Mark Shea

Update: at Modern Commentaries, Amy Pawlak

Update 2: Bego (Thursday, August 02, 2007 1:30 PM) at News from Headquarters, Rosary Army

Update 3: TS at Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor

Update 4: death notice, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 3, 2007

State Supreme Court issues ruling

Cheri Perkins Mantz's report in our Catholic Herald (July 12, 2007) on John Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee. She interviewed John Rothstein, attorney for our Archdiocese.
“That leaves the claim asserting fraud, so that is sent to the court below for further processing because the Supreme Court couldn’t make a determination at this stage whether or not it was barred.

“As the Supreme Court said, (the fraud charge) may be untimely or it might not be, so that’s what the trial judge is going to have to decide. And that’s why the matter is being sent back to the trial judge."

It's almost as if claims of fraud against our Archdiocese are just this side of "dog bites man". Mr. Rothstein then goes on as if explaining a lawsuit at a middle school Career Day.
“The next step for the archdiocese is, we’ll go through the normal process, the files and papers will find their way to the trial judge and then we’ll ask the trial judge to hold a hearing or meeting with all the parties to map out how we go from here,” he explained. “At that first meeting, I think we’ll try to identify for the judge and set the scheduling so we can bring the threshold question of that statute of limitations back to the judge for the processing the Supreme Court has directed. After that, the question on the statute of limitations is resolved, if the trial judge decides that the lawsuit is untimely, that completes the lawsuit. If he concludes it was timely, then he’ll have to schedule a trial..”
But what about that little matter of, you know, fraud?
“On the fraud count, while we obviously would’ve preferred, and we believe the trial judge appropriately decided the question (in 2005), we understand the Supreme Court’s direction that the trial judge should now take additional information before deciding the statute of limitations for fraud. As a lawyer that gives me clear direction to what the Supreme Court wants and I’m very pleased to do that.”

If the Circuit Court decides the cases are not barred by the statute of limitations, he'll be pleased, in the same sense, to defend the cases on the merits. Assume the Supreme Court had affirmed the dismissal of these cases, or assume the fraud claims are eventually dismissed because brought too late. Is our Archdiocese proceeding on the assumption that if it has no legal liability, then the fraud allegations raise no moral questions?
The Archdiocese released a statement to the media, stating, "We respect the Supreme Court’s decision and will abide by it. ..."

That answers a question no one asked.
"The Archdiocese of Milwaukee remains committed to continuing our work on the issue of clergy sexual abuse."

The word I most believe in that sentence is "continuing".

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Obama might send troops into Pakistan

Nedra Pickler of the Associated press reports
"Let me make this clear," Obama said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
You might recall that
As a Senate candidate in 2004, Mr. Obama said he would support military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to rein in the mullahs' nuclear program.

"In light of the fact that we're now in Iraq, with all the problems in terms of perceptions about America that have been created, us launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in," he told the Chicago Tribune. "On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran. ... I hope it doesn't get to that point."

Mr. Obama also told the Tribune he would back American military action to secure Pakistan's nuclear arsenal if President Musharraf is overthrown by radicals.

Emerging models of ministry

In this "Herald of Hope" column in our Catholic Herald, Bishop Richard J. Sklba, back from some more conferences, wrote on one such model, lay men and women serving as parish directors.
We began the experiment in 1994 with the appointment of four parish directors.

How far have we come in thirteen years?
We currently have four parish directors in our archdiocese...

Diogenes at Off the Record is skeptical, for other reasons, that this means Help is on the way.