Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reading Rat October 2007

Also of interest:

Wanted: a national culture by Jonathan Sacks, The Times of London, October 20, 2007

World Digital Library
(via Joseph A. Komonchak at dotCommonweal)

Libraries to reopen for profit
Matthew Preusch reported in The Oregonian. "After voters rejected a library levy to make up the lost funds, the county opted for outsourcing to cut costs, and last week it approved a contract with Library Systems & Services, the country's largest private operator of public libraries."
(via WisBlawg)

The Library Story, City of Franklin, Wisconsin, newsletter October 2007 [8 pp. pdf]

Dr. Librarian: Physician adds literacy to health care mix
Katie Dean reports in The Capital Times. "Pediatric resident Dipesh Navsaria has a novel way of measuring his young patients' development during checkups: He puts a book in their hands and watches their reaction. ..."
(via WisBlawg)

My Library is Dukedom Enough, with "How to set up your library so that your reading flourishes", posted by TS @ 13:16 October 16, 2007 Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor

Data on Demand, Watchdog blog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
(via WisBlawg)

We cannot accept the following books: [pdf]
- Magazines (other than food[,] art, architecture or collectible magazines)
- Law Books
- Reader’s Digest Condensed Books
- Removed Library Books
- Romance Novels
- Damaged Books (mildew, water, fire, ripped ... .)
- Encyclopedias that are more than 10 years old
[Little City Used Book Sale.]

Dynamic Parish Missions

The team of Deacon Eddie Ensley and Deacon Robert Herrmann presented our annual parish mission Sunday through Tuesday.

Deacon Ensley pitched the mission at the Sunday Mass I attended. He started out praising the parish effusively, which is redundant after all the praise parish leadership heaps on St. Al's [stats D16 15th/15 27% +0.8].

He was from Georgia originally, and not then a Catholic. One of his uncles told him things like Catholics worship statues. He later went to Mississippi to study to become a Presbyterian minister. One day, out of curiosity, he went into a little Catholic church. To his surprise, it wasn't much different than the churches he was used to, except for the tabernacle with the reserved Eucharist. It was that experience, and years of thinking on it, and looking further into Catholic belief, that lead him to become a Catholic.

He delivered this homily in our church, which does not have the tabernacle. I argued for moving the tabernacle to the main church in the 2002 building project, rather than keeping it in a "weekday chapel", but the architect from Plunkett Raysich countered that "we're not going back". In this case, he was against going back to the future, see GIRM 314-315. His position prevailed at the parish, which might explain why, rather than hearing reports of experiences like Deacon Ensley's, I instead heard my Sunday School students ask why our church looks like an auditorium.

Living Our Faith in the 21st Century

That was the theme of this year's Annual Parish Leadership Conference for our Archdiocese of Milwaukee on October 27, 2007.

On the agenda:
- Fr. James Connell, Vicar for Planning
- Living Our Faith, an evangelization initiative
- Faith in our Future, the Capital Campaign for education
I already gave an account of the reason for my pessimism on planning

The evangelization initiative includes a Living Our Faith web site. From the logo, I take it the initiative will include parishes like St. Al's returning to chalices of precious metals. Otherwise it appears our Archdiocese had no ideas and put up this online suggestion box.

Most likely the suggestions will tend toward small groups sharing faith stories, like RENEW. I was in what must have been one of the early RENEW groups circa 1980 back at St. Veronica Church. How's that worked out for them on the evangelization front? My preconciliar memories of the parish are confirmed by the History - St. Veronica Through the Years.
The original church which seated fewer than 500 was likewise too small to serve this parish which had now grown to 1500 families. As many as ten masses were being held in the school hall and in the church on Sunday.

Even if the hall's capacity was half the church's, that means they needed close to 3,750 capacity for Sunday Masses. If we check the recent stats, St. Veronica has 3,301 members, 1,021 (31%) of whom are at Sunday Mass. They could now all fit at one Mass in the 1966 "new church".

Archbishop Dolan discusses the Capital Campaign in this "Herald of Hope" column in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald.
Our Faith in the Future Capital Campaign has as its first goal, not raising money, but formation in stewardship.

Again, back at St. Veronica around 1980 we participated in a program called "God's Plan for Church Support". This introduced the annual pledge card. The program is described in this history of St. Anne's Church and School, which adopted it even earlier.
Under this plan, each person with income acknowledges his dependence upon God for everything he has received and returns to God the first and best portion of everything God has given him.

Sounds like stewardship to me. We've looked as St. Veronica. How are things at St. Anne? It closed in the 1990s.

You might say that's not reason to blame the decline of these parishes on the faith-sharing or stewardship programs. Maybe not. But where's the compelling evidence of their success? If the upcoming stewardship and evangelization efforts are pretty much more of the same, aren't the results likely to be more of the same, as well?

Perhaps the account of the conference in the next issue of "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald will explain what's been learned from recent decades' experience with planning, evangelization, and stewardship. Most likely what it will indicate has been learned is nothing. The same things will be said again, and any lack of results blamed on the people, not the programs. As I once heard it explained at a parish council meeting,
It would have worked except for the way people are.

Right to life is paramount

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, in the "Herald of Hope" column in the October 25, 2007 issue of our Milwaukee Catholic Herald, concluding,
It's October, Respect Life Month.

Probably better pointed out in the last issue of September, rather than the last issue of October.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Armenian patriarch seeks interfaith unity

Tom Heinen reported in the Oct. 27, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the visit here of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos (universal leader) of All Armenians. His ecumenical purposes are limited.
This month, he spoke in Washington, D.C., in support of a now-stalled House resolution that would label as genocide the killings of, according to some estimates, 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks from 1915 to 1923.

Since the Ottoman Empire no longer exists, what's his point?
Karekin said that recognition and condemnation of this genocide are needed to help prevent future genocides.

If the story included his citing examples of how past recognition and condemnation of genocides prevented subsequent genocides, that would help dispel the notion that the resolution is more about giving Armenia political leverage against Turkey.
At his request, Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba organized a reception at St. Francis Seminary that drew local leaders of various Christian denominations and the Jewish community.

Which made the deadline for our Milwaukee Catholic Herald's October 25, 2007 cover photo, but its report won't be published until the next week's issue.

UHS, Planned Parenthood should rethink access to pill

Mark Shea noted this column by Sara Biersteker in the Badger Herald on University of Wisconsin-Madison students whose discretionary income is insufficient for both getting drunk and subsequent over-the-counter abortofacients.

Rev. William P. Callahan, OFM Conv., Named Auxiliary Bishop for Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Our Archdiocese's announcement includes that
Bishop-elect Callahan, 57 (born June 17, 1950), is a Conventual Franciscan of the St. Bonaventure Province in Chicago. A native of Chicago, Callahan has served in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as associate pastor of the Basilica of St. Josaphat Parish, from 1977 to 1978, and, again, as rector and pastor of St. Josaphat Parish [stats D14 6th/14 52%], from 1994 to 2005. Callahan left the parish in 2005 and currently serves as Spiritual Director for the Pontifical North American College, the seminary for Americans, in Rome.

(via Charlotte was Both)

Update: He's a few months younger than Archbishop Dolan, who attended and was later Rector of the Pontifical North American College.

Extra! Cheri Mantz reports in our Milwaukee Catholic Herald, Auxiliary bishop named for Milwaukee Archdiocese.
The archbishop also applauded Bishop-elect Callahan's fund-raising work at the Basilica of St. Josaphat during his time as pastor, but stopped short of saying his gift for fundraising was the reason he was selected by the pope.

Did someone pay to have our Archbishop not say "stewardship" here? Might be a good fundraising idea.

Update 3: Tom Heinen reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Archdiocese gets a second auxiliary bishop
Dolan said in an interview Tuesday, moments before a news conference at St. Francis Seminary, that, among other things, he hopes Callahan eventually will serve as a kind of chief financial officer, easing some of the other two bishops' administrative duties.

Perhaps on the theory that the Marcoux settlement resulted from not having enough bishops involved in the decision. Nothing against Father Callahan, but I suspect public confidence in Archdiocesan finances would be enhanced more if the CFO was a lay person...recommended by Anne Gaylor.
Dolan said that Callahan will participate in teaching, governance and sanctification...

How about full-time? Are the results in any of those three better than in finance and administration?

Catholic schools are worth every penny

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan's "Herald of Hope" column was in the online August 30, 2007 edition of our Milwaukee Catholic Herald until its recent web site revamp. A site search didn't turn it up, but perhaps it will be online again someday.

He says Catholic schools are characterized by, among other things, "local (not bureaucratic) control".

Our recently-appointed Archdiocesan Vicar for Planning floated the idea of the Archdiocese taking over the grade schools from parishes. Would that still be local?

And our Archbishop has noted the proliferation of archdiocesan staff in the two decades since the 1987 Archdiocesan Synod. Isn't that bureaucratic?

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Struggle to Bless

This column by Father Ron Rolheiser appeared in the October 25, 2007 print edition of our Milwaukee Catholic Herald.
At workshop recently, as we were discussing the tension that often exists today between younger and older clergy, a middle-aged priest said: "I'd like to bless the younger priests, but they don't want my blessing! They see me as a burnt-out middle-aged ideologue and everything in their attitude and body language tells me that they simply want me to disappear and give them space!"

Maybe they're getting the impression this priest is being patronizing. At least they might if he thinks along the lines of Fr. Rolheiser's analogies.
Many is the parent who feels exactly that way as they stand before a sixteen year old, the mother before her own adolescent daughter; the father before his teenage son. That's also true for many others: the teacher before her adolescent students, the priest or minister in the face of a less-than-appreciative congregation, the coach before his players, and the policeman before a paranoid and belligerent young man.

To turn it around, it might not come across as a blessing if we offered it to our "burnt-out middle-aged ideologue" priests.

Update: Diogenes at Off the Record on the veal presence.

Vatican beatifies 498 martyrs

Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press reports in the October 28, 2007 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the Catholic Church's beatification of 498 martyrs killed in religious persecutions in Spain in the 1930s.
Violence against clergy had been simmering since 1931, with leftist forces targeting the institution they saw as a symbol of wealth, repression and inequality. Their attacks against the clergy gave Franco a pretext for launching his rebellion.

You might wonder how high the "pretext" bar is.
The church estimates that nearly 7,000 clergy were killed in Spain from 1931 to 1939.

Apparently accounted for on the Left side of the "mistakes were made" ledger.
Some in Spain have questioned the timing of the ceremony, coming three days before Parliament is to pass a Socialist-sponsored law seeking to make symbolic amends to victims of the war and of the Franco dictatorship.

Could no one be a "victim" of anything else?
The bill mentions people persecuted for their religious beliefs, but for the most part it is an unprecedented, formal condemnation of the Franco regime.

Mentions? It's been mentioned that you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Recalls, calls, and other news

News first, then upcoming events

Chicago Jesuit chief unveils rules to deter sexual abuse
Not a "Five years ago today" feature; Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Religion Briefing
In today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

November 2007 newsletter
Casa Maria Catholic Worker House, Milwaukee

September 2007 newsletter [5 pp. pdf]
Catholics United for the Faith, Milwaukee

Living Your Faith - Again
October 29th, Oak Creek Community Center, inviting "Catholics who have been away from the Church, people who are new to the area, and active Catholics to an event that shares what it means to be a Catholic today. Archbishop Dolan will be the keynote speaker." Sounds more like a cause than an education capital campaign does.

Call to Action Conference
November 2-4 in Milwaukee


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wisconsin Supreme Court to hear 'Hornbeck'

The court annouced today that it will review the Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision in Hornback v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Diocese of Madison [7 pp. pdf]. The case summary says, in its second paragraph
The lawsuit claims that from approximately 1964 to 1966, [Gary T.] Kazmarek taught at a school in the Milwaukee Archdiocese where he allegedly sexually abused "more than two dozen children." After Kazmarek taught at a school in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, he taught at a school in the Madison Diocese where he allegedly sexually abused "up to ten children."

Back in the first paragraph it says,
They [the plaintiffs] allege that from 1968 to 1973, Gary T. Kazmarek, [by then] a school teacher in the Louisville, Kentucky Archdiocese, sexually abused them and that the Milwaukee Archdiocese and Madison Diocese "knew or should have known of Kazmarek’s propensity for sexually abusing children."

The chronology continues in the third paragraph.
According to the complaint, the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s and the Madison Diocese’s alleged negligence, which the appellants claimed they did not discover until October of 2002, "was a substantial factor in causing Kazmarek’s sexual abuse of the" appellants.

Alleged negligence "in failing to refer Kazmarek to the police and/or taking other action to prevent Kazmarek’s continuation of his pattern of sexually abusing children."
The Court of Appeals determined that the [Milwaukee County] circuit court did not err when it concluded that the petitioners’ claims were barred by the statute of limitations. ...

Calculated from the date of the last sexual assault.

Life advice

At City of Steeples, a report from the hinterlands on why our Archdiocese of Milwaukee is virtually parody-proof.
If you are so weird as to be a priest who collects Beanie Babies, for God's sake, don't talk about this in your homily, and don't even think about bringing them into the sanctuary to use as visuals during said homily.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Preferential option

In our pastor's October 15th homily, he mentioned the remaining debt from the parish capital campaign of a few years ago. While he said he assumed that will continue to be something for which many parishioners will be paying, if someone came in and paid it off he'd name the parking lot after them.

That same day there was an insert in the bulletin a flyer available after Mass.
The people in Shay-co-eel [fo-net-ik] attend Mass at the church in Santa Apolonia [Guatemala] but during the week they hold prayer services and religion classes in several different homes.

As you can see in this earlier post. They call their "sub-parish" Sagrada Familia, Holy Family. The insert goes on
They are dreaming of building a church they can call their own.

Not a new parish, but a chapel.
The bishop of the area has approved their plans; they just have to come up with the money. That is where we come will cost $35,000. You read right...$35,000.

To put that in perspective, from the last figures I saw, it's roughly equivalent to one month's payment on St. Al's debt from the building project.
We know several people who offered to pay for it completely but we want the community to be a part of this endeavor.

This leaves me with the impression that if someone offered to pay off the parish mortgage and pay to build this chapel in rural Guatemala, the parish would accept the money for the mortgage and honor the donor with naming rights, but reject it for the chapel as a matter of principle.

Update: A reader reminds me that not everything that winds up in my copy of the bulletin was in it when the usher handed it to me, and I've changed the post accordingly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A solution for city's public transit

Retired businessman and philanthropist Michael Cudahy is among the local rail transit advocates, and his opinion piece appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a week ago Monday.
Why a streetcar? Why not light rail?

First, light rail is nothing but a very heavy streetcar so the tracks must have a very deep foundation.

That oversimplifies, as you can see looking at Wikipedia on light rail and its differences from streetcars or trams. Or look at this Tucson transit study comparison [pdf].
Installation would cause big disruptions in Milwaukee and would cost way too much. Most cities that implement light rail are ones that already have some heavy track in place.

This disruption argument was also made against separating sewers rather than building underground storage for combined sanitary and storm sewer overflow. It's hard to see why streets can be closed for repaving or obstructed for utility work, but not for separating sewers or track-laying. By "heavy track in place" he apparently means using existing railway on its separate right of way. Where that's available, it's a point in favor of rail transit. Sharing the road with auto traffic was one of the disadvantages that lead to the elimination of streetcars in favor of buses. Why operate a railroad if the trains can still wind up stuck in traffic?
Then what's wrong with buses?

Not easy to explain. Some people just don't get it. It's subtle at first but quite obvious when you see examples of "rail-guided transportation" in action, as in Denver and Portland, Ore.

You see, to have a bus service from Point A to Point B, you only need to get a bus and hire a driver. To change the route is just as easy, so people like builders, real estate planners, developers, etc., just don't take bus routes very seriously.

You might have jitney service by getting a bus and hiring a driver. He ignores the system aspect of a bus system. The argument that bus service changes willy-nilly ignores the facts on the ground. Take a look at Mr. Cudahy's transit plan [gif]. Note that essentially the same routes, including his Phase II extensions, were served by streetcars 90 years ago and are served by buses today [pdf].
But install any kind of rail system, and they conclude, rightly, that those tracks are going to be around for a long time - so serious investments can be made along the route.

The argument that laying track makes streetcar service on that route permanent ignores the facts under the ground. Abandoned streetcar track lies under a layer of asphalt on many Milwaukee streets. For example, among the photos of Relics of the streetcar system is one of streetcar track exposed by repair work on Wisconsin Avenue downtown, as an MCTS bus passes by. Not long ago I saw pavement replacement work on South Howell Avenue that included not only removing streetcar track, but taking out the remains of the switches leading to what once was the electric interurban rail line to Kenosha.
I have personally examined the routes of the first phase and found very adequate street widths for the streetcar plan with the exception of north-south Farwell and Prospect avenues.

Despite his judgment on its width, Farwell had streetcar service long ago. I suspect that laying a new single track in its allegedly inadequate width will require removing paved-over abandoned double track. In any case, isn't Prospect Avenue at least as wide as West Wisconsin Avenue? I'd think the problem with double track on Prospect or Farwell is not pavement width but that they are now one way streets.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Merger provides stronger community, more opportunities

Cheri Perkins Martz reported in the September 20, 2007 print edition of our Milwaukee Catholic Herald. (Last I was able to check, this article was not posted in the archived back issues of the online edition.) On July 1st, a new merged Blessed Savior Church was formed from the merger of four parishes on the northwest side of Milwaukee.

Here are their District 11 stats for place among 11 parishes, percentage, and total attendance at Sunday Mass.
8th 30% 430 Corpus Christi Church
2nd 56% 335 Mary, Queen of Martyrs Church
9th 29% 194 Our Lady of Sorrows Church
3rd 55% 307 St. Philip Neri Church
When asked by your Catholic Herald in May 2007 what they hoped to accomplish during the merger, Chip Swearingen, the spokesperson for the merged parishes said, "Coming together as one parish, we believed we'd have a stronger community and a greater opportunity for ministry in the neighborhoods."

How's it working out? All I know is what I read in our archdiocesan newspaper.
Swearingen said that the parish is estimating 300 parishioners in the pews on Sundays. Before the merger, Swearingen told your Catholic Herald that following the merge, Blessed Savior could have 3,000 parishioners coming from all four parishes.

It certainly could have, since the District statistics showed 3,273 members in the constituent parishes.

That raises some questions unanswered in the remainder of the article. Does he mean, as he appears to, 300 total at Mass? If he meant 900 divided among three Masses for Sunday, I assume the article would have said so. Even 900 is a drop from 1,266 on the District statistics. Are those people attending Mass elsewhere? Of the possible 3,000 members, how many did they wind up with, how many joined other parishes, and how many are unaccounted for? If this merger went as badly as it appears from this article, what have the people in charge of archdiocesan planning learned from this experience? Or is this what they consider a successful merger?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"For Doubting Thomases" presented by Fr. John Yockey

The pastor of St. Jerome Church [stats D5 6th/13 35%] in Oconomowoc presents these "no holds barred" book discussions
for any and all who wrestle a bit with the ultimate questions.

October 22nd Mother Teresa Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the "Saint of Calcutta" by Brian Kolodiejchuk

October 29th Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

November 5th God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchins

Death of Che

The Economist reaches into its archive and posts its report from the October 14, 1967 print edition on Bolivian rangers catching up and killing Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Do you want pizza with that planning? and other news

No "Religion Briefing" in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Annual Vocation Team Workshop
October 24th "Calling all Parish Vocation Teams!"

Pizza with a Purpose
October 24th Catholics for Peace and Justice, at SS. Peter and Paul Church [stats D13 13th/13 29%]

Archdiocese of Milwaukee Annual Parish Leadership Conference
October 27th "At the general sessions
- Archbishop Dolan will discuss the challenges & opportunities ahead
- Fr. James Connell, Vicar for Planning, will share his vision for planning
- You will be introduced to LIVING OUR FAITH, our Evangelization initiative
You will be able to choose either:
- District sessions where we will begin the wider dialogue on these key initiatives. OR
- A session on the Capital Campaign: Faith in our Future"

Archbiship Dolan Interview to Air on Sirius Satellite Radio
October 27th and repeated October 28th

Trinity Academy Annual Fall Dinner
November 1st, featured speaker Archbishop Timothy Dolan


Early music still rings true

Elaine Schmidt, special to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reviewed last night's performance by The King's Noyse in the Early Music Now series.
the ensemble of four vocalists and seven instrumentalists, playing period instruments, gave a spirited reading program of robust Spanish music written from the 15th through the early 18th centuries.

The program had been first performed a week earlier in Madison. One piece, we were told, was probably being performed for the first time since the 16th century.
One of the treats of the evening was found in the translations provided in the printed programs. The songs' lyrics, whether bawdy or poetic, were translated into modern, vernacular English that captured the earthy, very human qualities of the stories the songs told.

Some bawdy enough that I won't quote them here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Faith in Social Security inherited

In today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Bill Glauber interviews University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor John Witte, grandson of Edward E. Witte. The elder Witte had been a UW economics professor, then head of the state legislative reference librarian, before going to work in the Roosevelt administration in 1934 as executive director of the Committee on Economic Security. There his grandson says he was the principal drafter of what was enacted as Social Security.

First, economic faith,
"I'd bet most people still think they have a Social Security account, like an annuity system. They don't know the money flows into a huge pot and from it everybody gets paid."

That is, it's an unfunded unvested defined benefit pension. On to political faith.
He tells his students, "Every political bone in my body says Social Security is going to be there when you retire."

Adding in some non-faith-based considerations,
he warns the students that another piece of the retirement puzzle - vested [private] pensions - is not likely to survive on a widespread basis.

"They have to save for themselves, and Social Security will be there as a backup," he says.

Backup sounds like a euphemism for means-testing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lakeshore Creative

The revamped online edition of our Milwaukee Catholic Herald is a product of Lakeshore Creative, "Commercial Print and Web Design". According to its About Us page, Lakeshore Creative is "your full-service graphic design agency. ... Let Lakeshore Creative produce your newspaper, annual report, direct mail, newsletters, and Web-site work."

They tout an advantage over your fellow parishioners who make their living in this business. "As a non-profit entity that is a division of your Catholic Herald newspaper, Lakeshore Creative will provide you with rates that are competitive and with work that will generate the results you want."

If you want your business to get results like the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's, here's the Contact page.

All copyright "2007 The Catholic Press Apostolate".

The Onion

'95-'96 Prayers Finally Answered

HEAVEN—Explaining that He had been "absolutely swamped," God announced yesterday that He was finally able to find time in His busy schedule...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pastor puts faith in Internet outreach

Tom Heinen reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on how Pastor Mark Jeske of St. Marcus Lutheran Church uses online video.

(Also mentioned is Senior Pastor Mel Lawrenz of Elmbrook Church and his YouTube turn as Johnny Cash on Ring of Fire.)

Markup law ruled invalid

John Diedrich and Patrick Marley report in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Wisconsin's minimum gas markup law, which mandates a 9% profit for stations, violates federal anti-trust laws, a federal judge ruled. [23 pp. pdf]

They confuse markup and profit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ask the Pastor

You might recall I wondered what it meant that this feature at the St. Seb's web site was to be ready "soon". So far, it means more than a year.

Reminds me one of these days I'll have to check my sites for "under construction" icons.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Letter to the Editor from Ethan Milukas

If the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta can post letters to the editor in its online edition, why can't our Milwaukee Catholic Herald?

(via Dad29)

Update: Our Milwaukee Catholic Herald has revamped its web site, and for now it's largely 404 errors.

While we're waiting, here is a collection of variations on the 404 error page.

Update 2: Including Error 404 Foretold In the Bible.

Update 3: Our Milwaukee Catholic Herald, which had its home page here, has moved it here, apparently without notice to online readers.

R.I.P. cat Spunky

Our cat died today after very brief illness. Long-time readers might recall when her litter-mate died. My wife picked P.J. and Spunky from the litter of six born in a woodpile in my brother Bob's backyard around St. Patrick's Day of 1990.

The kids named her Spunky because her "black eye" looked like she'd been in a fight. While she was the more introverted of the pair, she showed spunk when she had a very bad fracture that wound up costing her a leg. For a long time, she'd still hobble all over the house. As a friend suggested, in the middle of the night it sounded like Long John Silver pacing the deck.

As she got older, she spent more and more of her time on the bed. She's shown here with Stepford Spunky.

When I had my usual bagels for breakfast, she liked to lick a dab of cream cheese off my pinky. I expect I'll eat something else tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Catholic campaign launched

Tom Heinen reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the long-awaited next pledge card.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is launching a $105 million capital campaign this fall, by far the largest in its history, as Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan seeks to establish a stronger tradition of stewardship, go beyond struggling to meet basic financial needs and inspire the area's 680,000 Catholics with a challenging new vision.

Challenging! New! Like nothing we've ever been asked before!
The Faith in Our Future campaign is intended to bolster the 134 Catholic grade and high schools in the 10-county archdiocese and enhance faith formation for children and adults.

It might be necessary to bolster what we're already doing, but it's not new, and it's only challenging financially.
About $1.6 million will go to the global church, officials say.

That's a bit vague. What's the "preferential option for the poor" amount?
The goal is about what all 211 parishes receive in their weekly offertory collections in one year.

The theory is the only reason Catholics give so little is they aren't asked to give more.
Parishes will keep 60%, with each crafting its own plan for using the money.

More of the same, at higher cost.
The archdiocese will pay the $9 million campaign cost from its 40% share.

Fundraising expenses are only six times what's going to the "global Church".
"I have heard since I got here from Catholic people and my priests, 'Archbishop, we need a cause,' "Dolan said."

And, as in the Eisenhower quote, they don't care what it is?
Will Catholics give? The annual stewardship appeal ended early this year with about $8 million, its fifth consecutive record. Weekly collections in parishes dropped from $100.4 million in 2002 to nearly $97 million in 2003 but were at $104.2 million in 2006, according to the archdiocese.

That's better than many of the Archdiocese's nonfinancial statistics and trends in parish mass attendance.
The decision to go ahead here was strongly endorsed by a wide range of priests, major donors and other lay leaders serving on existing and specially created advisory committees and councils. Feasibility studies, surveys and focus groups showed there would be strong support for a campaign that raised funds for Catholic education and for faith formation, Dolan said.

It's possible this wasn't stacked to tell the Archbishop what he wanted to hear, but why should I think so? Archbishop Dolan was talking about this campaign three years ago. I've seen that a pastor ordered a parish committee to go back and change its recommendation to the one he wanted, and then heard a school principal, who had endorsed the earlier recommendation, then endorse the one the pastor ordered.
The groups did not include rank-and-file Catholics, but Dolan and Zore [campaign co-chair Ed Zore] think that such things as a reasonable goal, rising parish and tuition costs and a stronger sense of stewardship will prompt them to contribute.

The amount sought is comparable to that of the largest proposed public school building referendum, and so might well be raised.
"(I) [Zore] think people will readily give, and they should. It's their faith. It's their church. It's their archdiocese. It's for them."

It's another fund drive.
The potential uses are broad, from constructing buildings to enhancing or starting programs to teach children, seminarians, deacons and lay leaders.

Parishes could create an endowment for teachers' salaries or start a religious education program for adults, many of whom have not had that since school days.

Recall the Eisenhower quote. The fundraising consultant,
RSI, of Dallas, is known for instilling a theological sense of stewardship in campaigns, of the need to respond to God's blessings with time, talent and treasure.

Perhaps it will be on the invoice: "Instilled a theological sense of stewardship ... $9,000.000.00"
Client dioceses have had a sustained, higher level of weekly giving after the campaign ends, Dolan said.

And what have they accomplished with that money, as shown by verifiable objective measures?

Regarding parish priests' apprehensions about the campaign, Archbishop Dolan said,
Do we or do we not believe it when Jesus says, do not be afraid, cast out to the deep?

We can believe that, and ask when we're moving to the deep water. This campaign looks like throwing yet another net in the shallows.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Prince of Peace now Premier, and other news

News first, then upcoming events

Religion briefs
From the Oct. 13, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Premier of Peace Makers – an Original Choral Composition [7 pp. pdf]
"Bonnie Scholz, choral director at the school, a long admirer of SSSF music, has commissioned Sister Marion Verhaalen to write a choral composition for the three Pius XI High School choirs on the theme of 'peace.' Peace Makers will premier [sic] at the school’s October 16th Fall Concert to be held in the SSSF St. Joseph Chapel at 7:00 p.m. The central theme of the new work is the Beatitude, Blessed are the Peace Makers. The concert will also feature a guest appearance by the adult choir from St. Eugene Parish in Fox Point, Wisconsin." [stats D11 6th 34%] Here's the press release [pdf]
Pius XI singers to perform peace-themed concert by Tom Heinen. From the Oct. 13, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Catch Faith Here!
October 19, the 2007 Lifelong Faith Formation Conference, Country Springs Hotel and Conference Center, Waukesha

Men's Weekend
October 18-21, 2007 Cursillo in Christianity, at St. Rose of Lima Church, Milwaukee [stats D13 11th 38%]


Friday, October 12, 2007

Court upholds $17M church verdict

Marie Rohde reports at NewsWatch.
A man severely injured in an auto accident will be able to collect a $17 million verdict from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and its insurers as the result of a decision issued today by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. [2007 WI 124]

The issue was whether a parish volunteer in the Legion of Mary had coverage under the Archdiocese's policy while delivering a statue of the Blessed Virgin to another parish.
The lower court verdict, which was upheld by an appeals court decision [2006 WI App 207], will be allowed to stand because the high court was equally divided on the matter.

I have heard the plaintiffs were at one point willing to settle the case for $4 million.

Update: The full report, Church crash verdict upheld.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday that a man severely injured in a 2002 auto accident will be able to collect a jury verdict from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and its insurer that has now risen to more than $23 million with interest. ...


What's the old saying - a conservative is a liberal who has been thrown up on by reality?
--Tom Maguire


Dylan Hears A Who -- And Gets A Cease And Desist Letter Too

Anthony Falzone tells how Dylan Hears a Who ("Seuss via Zimmerman") got Tangled up in Seuss.

Before it did, WFMU's Beware of the Blog saved a couple tracks, Green Eggs and Ham [mp3] and Oh, The Thinks You Can Think [mp3].

Obsure Sound adds Too Many Daves [mp3].

Drawn! has a nice shot of the cover art.

Doris Lessing

That same question is asked everywhere. What would satisfy us? Why this relentless restlessness? In her Children of Violence series of novels, Nobel-prize winning novelist, Doris Lessing, has her heroine, Martha Quest, pose that question as life's central question: Towards what is all of our energy directed? Devoid of a religious perspective, Martha can only understand human desire as blind, erotic energy, a kind of voltage, ten thousand volts of energy inside us. For what? For whatever we choose - creativity, love, sex, hate, martyrdom, boredom. --Ron Rolheiser, Longing, Desire, and the Face of God, November 23, 2008

Recommended reading:
by Doris Lessing at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Doris Lessing wins Nobel prize by Sarah Crown, Guardian Unlimited, October 11, 2007
Doris Lessing wins Nobel prize for literature by Nigel Reynolds, Telegraph, 3:07am BST 12/10/2007
Doris Lessing 'delighted' to win Nobel Prize by Nico Hines, Times Online, October 11, 2007
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Sexual politics and a Lessing Creation story by Jackie Loohauis-Bennett, review of The Cleft by Doris Lessing. From the Aug. 26, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Adventures of Doris Lessing by John Leonard, review of Time Bites: Views and Reviews, by Doris Lessing, and The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog, by Doris Lessing, The New York Review of Books, November 30, 2006

The Golden Notebook, by Jo-Ann Mort, Dissent, Summer 2004

Yeti by Elizabeth Lowry, review of Doris Lessing: A Biography by Carole Klein, and Ben, in the World by Doris Lessing, London Review of Books, March 22, 2001

CPJ Newsletter October 2007

Milwaukee's Catholics for Peace and Justice posted its newsletter for October 2007. [8 pp. pdf]

They report the results of the recent membership meeting. [see this earlier post]
Many, many thanks to the 28 people who attended the General Meeting on September 6. ... Literally pages of ideas and strategies were generated in the initial large group and subsequent breakout sessions. ...

In the first phase 22 issues were generated by the group.
They're talking about this like it's a good thing.
In general the issues brought forth focused around two main areas of concern
- Global and Local Economic Justice
- Issues of War and Peace
Catholics for Peace and Justice members, it turns out, are primarily concerned with peace and justice.
First because so many ideas and strategies were generated it is clear that we will need to work through them and evolve with them over a period of time. We are in the process of doing that.

Here's their Mission Statement. Looks like they might well have already lost hold of even those generalities, and now will wander in "process". The first step is another meeting.
Wednesday, October 24 from 6 pm to 8 pm, we will be hosting “Pizza with a Purpose” in the Church Center at SS. Peter and Paul parish [stats D13 13th 29%] located on 2490 N. Cramer Street in Milwaukee.

Sr. Virgine Lawinger reported on participating in a September 27, 2007 "die-in" at the U.S. Capitol.

Tom Moore pitches, which alleges "deceptive editing" by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That's so harsh; maybe the paper's just aligning reporting with its editorial positions, as it did with Deep Tunnel.

CPJ members will "stand for peace" on a downtown corner for an hour Friday evenings for the next month.

The Midwest Regional Rally and March to Stop the War is October 27th in Chicago.

[Rev. G.] Simon Harak reminds us that If we are to work for peace, we must first be the ball. No, wait, that's Chevy Chase as Ty Webb in Caddyshack. [Rev. G.] Simon Harak reminds us that "If we are to work for peace, we must first become peace." That's in connection with a Gandhi's birthday Mass for Peace at the St. Joan of Arc Chapel at Marquette University. The Gandhi/Joan connection is, I suppose, If you want peace, Work for just getting the English out.

On their Engage! program,
Communities of Salt and Light is a 20 minute film that can be shown in conjunction with a short presentation on Catholic Social Teaching at any regular Human Concerns Committee or Parish Council meeting. The short presentation and film is presented by a member of Catholics for Peace and Justice education team. All you need to do is get this important message on the agenda at your parish.

Then the Parish Council can check it off and go on to the next item. They also plug Parish Social Ministry Regional Training in November.
Milwaukee is one of a half a dozen archdiocese hosting this training. We are especially fortunate to have Tom Ulrich do two sessions on "Building a Responsive Parish Social Ministry". With this kind of shared information we can build His kingdom on Earth!

If only the Lord had come up with this program 2,000 year ago!

Myanmar (formerly Burma) has been in the news.
Rev. Tonen O’Connor, a Buddhist priest from Milwaukee will present “Buddhism Today” on Monday, October 15 at 7 - 8:30 pm and again on Monday, November 19 at 7 – 8:30 pm at St. Sebastian’s Church [stats D12 11th 24%] Hall, 55th and Washington Blvd.

I'm so old I can remember when a Milwaukee priest named O'Connor might be Catholic.

On the arts scene, October 15th at Marquette University,
Hector Aristizabal performs “Nightwind” and “IN-TEA-RRO-R-GATOR”. These one-man performances are based on Hector’s true story of arrest and torture by US supported military in Colombia.

On Global Warming,
the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change [CCCC] was formed with the support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the generous funding of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. ... The website is intended to complement the USCCB’s current climate change website
And the Interfaith Conference has a series of Faith & Ecology conferences.

Marquette University's [Rev. G.] Simon Harak also keynoted the recent Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice Annual Assembly. I don't see CPJ among the WNPJ member organizations. Maybe the dues are paying for the free pizza, instead.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Bane of My Existence

collected at Chowderhead Bazoo

(via Five Feet of Fury)

Archbishop Dolan offers Homily at 2007 Red Mass in Washington, D.C.

From October 1, 2007, now at the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society of Wisconsin in pdf [5 pp.].

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Venezuela's Chavez on moral crusade

Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran this report by Christopher Toothaker of the Associated Press on new taxes and restrictions on alcohol sales.
It's all part of Chavez's efforts to encourage Venezuelans to adopt the psyche of the "New Man," a socialist revolutionary with a monk-like purity of purpose.

But without any monk-like distilleries.
The president has a long list of other "New Man" recommendations: don't douse foods with too much hot sauce, exercise regularly, eat low-cholesterol foods, respect speed limits. He also wants parents to stop buying Barbie dolls — and breast jobs — for their daughters.

President Chavez calls this "21st Century Socialism" though it reminds me of the "Time and Punishment" segment of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V.
Homer: Hey, what the hell is that geek Flanders doing on TV?

[a siren goes off]

Ned: Oh! I see by the Big Board we got a Negative Nellie in Sector Two. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask the whole family to kind of freeze and prepare for Re-Neducation.

Bart: Don't you remember, Dad? Flanders is the unquestioned lord and master of the world.

Homer: D'oh!

I'm guessing the Spanish for "Okily dokily!" is Muy bienily dienily.

The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin

by R. E. Burke in Periodica de re Canonica

(via In Light of the Law)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

FAQ - State of the Race!

Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt
[Senator Clinton] She’s the only one who can really play the game. ...

Snark launch. 'Information presented on the Patrick AFB/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station website is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.' Senator Edwards, enough already - we get it. You’re an ambulance-chasing, sub-prime lending, 28,000 square-foot house owning Mother Theresa.

[Senator] Obama’s always ready to trot out new ineffective shtick.

[Senator McCain] He spent the past seven years assiduously cultivating friends in the media and enemies in the Republican Party. John McCain has given himself a bullet-proof glass ceiling that he can’t crack.

[Mayor Giuliani] ... the more Republican voters get to know him, the less they like him because of his positions on social issues.

[Governor Romney] ... a tough September. There were a couple of gaffes and an indifferent debate performance.

[Senator Thompson] Fred’s making his debate debut tonight, and everyone will get to decide for themselves.

P.S. one cares how candidates fund their campaigns. That’s the legacy of the post Watergate goo-goo types. They made campaign finance so inscrutable that the typical well-informed citizen has decided not to give a hoot.

Update: Belated Debate Thoughts
[Congressman Ron Paul] had been dining on the same stew of crazy as his followers regularly gorge on.

[Senator Thompson] Yes, it does look like he should switch from decaf to double espressos, but he has an extremely likable low-key manner.

[Governor Romney] The thing about calling the lawyers wasn’t his best moment. (Yeah, what about the money and guns? --ed.)

[Mayor Giuliani] Rudy’s got an obvious edge when it comes time to go on the attack...

[Senator McCain] had to show vigor (or as we say in Boston, "vigah"), but instead showed crankiness.

[Congressman Tancredo] After all, someone has to talk about immigration every time he gets the chance to speak.

Update 2: John Dickerson at Slate on Rudy's Debating Secret.
Rudy wants you to know that he has read the brief, knows the facts, and could organize an orderly evacuation of the building if someone yelled "fire."

Update 3: At Blame Bush!
Kudos to Reuters, CNN, the AP, and other esteemed news outlets for upholding the high journalistic standard of ALWAYS photographing Hillary either in Susan B. Anthony profile, or boldly gazing into the horizon as if bravely greeting the dawn of a brand new day.

It's no easy task getting shots of her such as these, either. The angle requires kneeling down at her feet, and there's always about 5 or 6 photographers from the New York Times already down there.

Is Obama a Reconstructionist Postmillenialist?

asks Stephen Bainbridge.

Monday, October 8, 2007

USCCB Migration Chairman Expresses Concern About Direction and Tone of National Immigration Debate

The USCCB Office of Media Relations reported a statement from Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of San Bernardino, California, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.
“The immigration reform debate, while provoking informed analysis and thoughtful discussion, also has generated harsh rhetoric against migrants in this country, particularly those without legal status,” said Bishop Barnes. “Fanned by talk radio and anti-immigrant organizations, this rhetoric has inflamed fears and misunderstanding among some portions of the American public, leading to a polarized and vitriolic atmosphere.”

Facts and arguments might raise the tone more than accusations against unnamed persons and organizations for unspecified statements.

CPJ General Meeting September 8, 2007

The local Catholics for Peace and Justice posted the Notes [7 pp. pdf] from this meeting. It was called so members could "share your thoughts and ideas on how we can 'Make a Difference' together."

The issues discussed in the general session were
Spiritual consequences of response to the war
Withholding taxes, civil disobedience
US foreign policy toward Israel

On the first point, it will be interesting to see if they get around to bringing up Hell. They better hurry while there's still anyone alive who remembers hearing about it. On the last, here's a possible preview.

I notice they advocate
Pressure legislators to stop the violence now, get US out, create a space for diplomacy, ask UN to establish/keep the peace.

yet three paragraphs later say
We cannot entirely predict the consequences of pulling our troops out of Iraq.

Despite that, along the way they assert that views contrary to theirs come from evil motives and are advanced by deceit. The plug the web site JSonLying, which makes various allegations about the local paper's coverage of Iraq and other issues.

The "Breakout Group – 'Connecting to and with others'" includes in suggestions regarding the Youth "Restore the draft". I'm so old I can remember when the self-proclaimed peace advocates wanted the draft abolished because they were sure that would make it too difficult for the U.S. to again mount a long and substantial military operation overseas. It's odd that this experience is forgotten at CPJ, what with "Child of the Sixties" Fr. Jack Kern among this group's members.

The "Breakout Group: Truth in Media, Loss of Freedoms, Torture and Human Rights, Exporting Democracy and American Ideology" observed that the "Group struggled to find the commonality amongst these issues". The possibility that CPJ needs to be more narrowly focused to be effective doesn't appear to occur to them. Mark Peters volunteered to "possibly assist with media issues". Since CPJ seems to regard the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as an insidious organization, and the wife of the paper's editorial cartoonist is on CPJ's board, wouldn't she be the logical person for this job?

The "Poverty" group's observations included "We should disseminate the Bishop’s statement on poverty." Careful, then people might be looking for CPJ to cite actual specific references to social encyclicals, rather than talking points, in support of it's various assertions. And why should they have to deal with Church teaching in detail if homilists and DREs don't?

Speaking of focus, the "Death Penalty Group" discussion included
6. Ordination of women in the Church

In the strategies,
Art can often do what politics can’t – public performance or play as opposed to preach

I suggest skits and poems written by members, and giant protest puppets.

The summary of themes from the discussion included
4. Present a fair and balanced explanation and way of looking at issues from multiple perspectives

Here's some examples from earlier in the notes: "Government sees war as in its best interest..."; "We know we are being strung along by the administration, by fear and manipulation, by spin on the events and spin about motivations." "It was noted that shameful acts are being covered up by the media"; "Address corporate greed..."; "Educate people about a war for oil..."; "Mean spirited politics: for example bringing the troops home turned into surrender rhetoric". Makes me wonder what they'd say if their goal was express advocacy from a single perspective.

Update: CPJ's October prayer service continues that Sixties theme,
Casa Romero Renewal Center and Catholics for Peace and Justice invite you to a vigil of prayer, information and friendship to seek “Peace NOW”. The October Prayer Service will focus on the long term impact that our country’s foreign policy has had in leading us into this current conflict in Iraq. Please join us at on Wednesday, October 10th at 7 PM.

The Center adjoins Our Lady of Guadalupe Church [stats D14 14th 24%].

Special guests...
We are fortunate to have long-time activists, George Mische and Tom Melville (members of the Vietnam era “Catonsville 9”), who will share their reflections within the context of our prayer gathering.

Was everyone from the Milwaukee 14 booked? Or don't they have the Catonsville Nine's cachet?

All in seven minutes

At Charlotte was Both, Amy Welborn summarizes yesterday's homily.
He covered:

1) The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Battle of Lepanto

2) The importance of praying the rosary today, as an armament in the battles we face - he did actually mention “Militant Islam” but he actually emphasized abortion, more, which led to

3) Respect Life Sunday

4) He then took the second half (um…about 3 or 4 minutes) of the homily to address the gospel. ...

He didn't, I notice, start with several minutes explaining how hard it was for him to come up with the homily.
Homilists take note: preparation - real preparation - pays.

Next she'll tell us this priest doesn't have a couple minutes of preliminary chit-chat before the opening Sign of the Cross.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A sharp pen that too often drips with acid

Glenn C. Altschuler in the Boston Globe reviews In a Cardboard Belt!: Essays Personal, Literary, and Savage by Joseph Epstein.
In 1997, after 22 years as editor of The American Scholar, the journal of Phi Beta Kappa, Joseph Epstein was fired. He was sacked, he believes, by professorial partisans of feminism, black history, and gay and lesbian studies, subjects conspicuous by their absence in his magazine.

What was he told, I wonder. "We've been thinking for the last 21 years that this just isn't working out."

The school of very hard knocks

The Economist reviews My Grandfather's Son by Clarence Thomas.
He pulled himself up by raw intellect and study, with the encouragement of stern nuns. He trained to become a priest, but dropped out when a classmate exulted in the murder of Martin Luther King. “Had the Church been as adamant about ending racism then as it is about ending abortion now,” he writes, his life might have taken a different path. His grandfather wept when he quit the seminary, and threw him out of the house. (They were later reconciled.)

Edmund Wilson

In some of his best essays, however, Wilson is a master of fine distinctions, probing for weakness here, admiring a subtle strength there, sometimes reversing at the last moment, and with an unexpected bravura flourish, what appeared to be a sharp and definitive judgment against a writer. --Algis Valiunas, The Critic Who Sometimes Exists, Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2008, review of Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s and Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1930s & 40s, by Edmund Wilson

Recommended reading:
by Edmund Wilson at Reading Rat

Other works online: Internet Archive

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Castle adamant by Denis Donoghue, review of Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s and Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1930s & 40s by Edmund Wilson, The New Criterion, December 2007

A Shaper of the Canon Gets His Place in It by Charles McGrath, review of Edmund Wilson: Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1930s & 40s: The Triple Thinkers, The Wound and the Bow, Classics and Commercials, Uncollected Reviews, Library of America, The New York Times, October 7, 2007

Ghost Sonate: Edmund Wilson’s adventure with Communism, by Alex Ross, The New Yorker, March 24, 2003

The Edmund Wilson centenary by Hilton Kramer, review of Edmund Wilson: A Biography by Jeffrey Meyers, The New Criterion, May 1995

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Eu2charist, and other news

News first, then upcoming events

Religion Briefing
From the Oct. 6, 2007 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, including "Service designed around rock band U2"
"The United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay, 819 E. Silver Spring Drive, will celebrate a U2 Eucharist using the Irish rock band's music, social message and biblically rich lyrics at 9 a.m. Sunday to raise consciousness and support for the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals."

Episcopal Visit by Bishop Sklba Oct. 6-8 to St. Patrick Parish, Racine
[stats D2 1st 47%] "Monday he will meet with the parishioners, staff and pastor of the parish." One on one?

Divine Mercy Conference
October 12-13, 2007 "A two day experience filled with Mass, prayer, fellowship, and renowned inspirational & educational speakers." Blessed Sacrament Church [stats D16 4th 49% +4%] Milwaukee

Celibacy: Let's Talk About It
The local Voice Of The Faithful chapter isn't online, but meets October 13, 2007 9:30 a.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, Fellowship Hall (across the street from St. John Vianney Church [stats D4 11th 33%]) in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Speakers are Stephen Boehrer, Ph.D. "The things that troubled him when he wore a Roman collar continued to trouble him, even after his marriage to his colleague, Rita Sheridan..." and Rev. Richard Schlenker, Ph.D. "He taught at De Sales College Seminary, 1972-82 and at Saint Francis Seminary, 1982-87 while simultaneously teaching part-time at Marquette University, 1982-85. He was a faculty member of Sacred Heart School of Theology, 1985-1998."

September 2007 Newletter [5 pp. pdf]
"Rev. Father Frank J. Sanfelippo ... will receive the Nineteenth Annual Rev. Msgr. Alphonse D. Popek Award" and will speak on "The Challenges to the Chosen" at a dinner Sunday, October 14, 2007 at "Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 5311 South Howell Ave. (across from Mitchell International Airport) ... 5:00 P.M. - Social Hour ... 6:00 P.M. Dinner ..."


Friday, October 5, 2007

Charismatic renewal celebrates 40th anniversary

Karen Mahoney reported in our Catholic Herald on Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR).
Raising a 5-year-old son with liver disease hasn’t been easy for Karin Stewart. One thing that sustains her since her husband left the Catholic Church after 35 years to become a Fundamentalist Baptist is the Holy Spirit.

Maybe someday we'll see some interviews of these people who've left. In the meantime, what about CCR?
Charismatic Catholics typically participate in the same Mass, recite the same liturgy and believe in the same theology as other Roman Catholics.

Interesting qualifier that "typically".
But they also worship in ways similar to Pentecostal Protestants: Lively music, spirited prayer and public profession of faith. Some charismatics, feeling filled with God’s spirit, speak in tongues, or unintelligible languages — a practice traced to the early Christians in the New Testament’s Book of Acts.

See Acts 2:1-12, Acts 10:46, and Acts 19:6. Of course, there's snake-handling in Mark 16:18 and Luke 10:19. The story goes on with some pretty general references to the Holy Spirit and to Pentecost. It could have used a bit on the specific theology of CCR.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Domestic Terrorist Wanted

America's Most Wanted on Leo Frederick Burt and the killing of Robert Fassnacht in the August 24, 1970 bombing of Sterling Hall at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

(via Sykes Writes)

St. Francis of Assisi

Patron of streakers, and of telling off the old man.
Not long after his return to Assisi, whilst Francis was praying before an ancient crucifix in the forsaken wayside chapel of St. Damian's below the town, he heard a voice saying: "Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin." Taking this behest literally, as referring to the ruinous church wherein he knelt, Francis went to his father's shop, impulsively bundled together a load of coloured drapery, and mounting his horse hastened to Foligno, then a mart of some importance, and there sold both horse and stuff to procure the money needful for the restoration of St. Damian's. When, however, the poor priest who officiated there refused to receive the gold thus gotten, Francis flung it from him disdainfully. The elder Bernardone, a most niggardly man, was incensed beyond measure at his son's conduct, and Francis, to avert his father's wrath, hid himself in a cave near St. Damian's for a whole month. When he emerged from this place of concealment and returned to the town, emaciated with hunger and squalid with dirt, Francis was followed by a hooting rabble, pelted with mud and stones, and otherwise mocked as a madman. Finally, he was dragged home by his father, beaten, bound, and locked in a dark closet.

Freed by his mother during Bernardone's absence, Francis returned at once to St. Damian's, where he found a shelter with the officiating priest, but he was soon cited before the city consuls by his father. The latter, not content with having recovered the scattered gold from St. Damian's, sought also to force his son to forego his inheritance. This Francis was only too eager to do; he declared, however, that since he had entered the service of God he was no longer under civil jurisdiction. Having therefore been taken before the bishop, Francis stripped himself of the very clothes he wore, and gave them to his father, saying: "Hitherto I have called you my father on earth; henceforth I desire to say only 'Our Father who art in Heaven.'"

--Catholic Encyclopedia (1917)

And that's without Pietro Bernardone's version.

‘Parish rate’ tuition earned through commitment

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald on reaction to one parish's program of providing reduced parishioner rate tuition in its grade school only if the student's parents attend Mass regularly. For this post, I've added parishioner/non-parishioner tuition rates to parish statistics.

"Fr. John Yockey, pastor at St. Jerome, Oconomowoc" [stats D5 7th 35% $3,100/4,500] originated the program.

"Fr. Thomas DeVries, pastor at Lumen Christi in Mequon" [stats D10 4th 36% $2,859/7,247] saw the problem but, as to solutions, said “I think it’s a question that needs to be answered at the parish level individually."

"Fr. Mike Moran, pastor of St. Mary in West Bend" [stats D6 13th 24% $2,000/4,800] also acknowledged the problem, but said “I wouldn’t go to that extreme of taking attendance...”

"Fr. John Schreiter has been pastor of St. Katharine Drexel, Beaver Dam" [stats D7 12th 30% $1,695/2,120] said “Though I think it’s extreme, I support him and I agree with him [Fr. Yockey]...”

"Fr. Patrick Heppe is pastoral team moderator at Holy Family Parish in Fond du Lac" [stats D8 13th 36% $1,743/2,743] and "said he agrees with Fr. Yockey’s attendance plan, but is unsure if he could implement a similar program ..."

A very small and unscientific sample, so as a shaky generalization, the bigger the subsidy, the less inclined the priest was to condition it on Mass attendance. Note the spread in non-parishior tuition rates from $2,120 to 7,247, and parishioner reductions from $425 to 4,388.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

'Energizing Our Vibrancy'

I referred to this in an earlier post. It's the title of the discussion draft Father James Connell, the Archdiocesan Vicar of Planning, completed in July. He did not publish it but sent it to about 500 people, and later to me when I emailed a request after reading the Catholic Herald story.

In this context, "vibrant" means pulsating with vigor and energy. I've met Father Connell and he can, in other contexts, speak English as you and I do. The 500 people he chose to communicate with must have been on the Church payroll or otherwise sufficiently involved that he had to resort to this redundant jargon.

Once immersed in this language, it's hard to get out. And so neither Fr. Connell nor the Catholic Herald reporter thought this terminology needed translation for the readers. It's an odd approach if your goal is communication. I say "if"; I've come to doubt, for example, that a liturgy team really cares if any meaning is conveyed when tossing around terms like "worship space", or "liturgy team" for that matter.

Fr. Connell begins by listing some of the signs of decline: fewer people at Mass, fewer students in parish schools, fewer vocations, fewer volunteers, and ever lower participation by younger Catholics. His paper might have been titled "Where is Everybody?"

He proposes to begin to deal with this decline by means of an Archdiocese-wide dialogue involving as many people as possible. This, he says, will decide the policy questions. It might take another year to produce a plan, and two more to implement it. He says this will all be based on prior planning, which he apparently assumes has been a success. (As I've said before, I've concluded the planning processes are a factor in the loss of vibrancy.) He has some tentative ideas for the plan.

He advocates restructuring parishes based on "identifiable communities". He suggests public high school districts. He assumes district or attendance boundaries are based on underlying communities. He provides no basis to think so; zip codes might make as much or more sense.

He assumes that larger parishes are and will be more vibrant. Again, he provides no reason to think so. As I read the statistics, larger parishes appear to tend toward lower Mass attendance. And from what I glean from Catholic Herald stories, mergers seem to lose some of the parishioners from the predecessor parishes. Based on his assumptions, he suggests large parishes might be left untouched by the plan. This is apparently the conventional wisdom in the Chancery. For example, the District 16 Implementation Commission Report 2005-06 [6 pp. pdf] says on page 5,
We are aware that large parishes have very “full plates.” We have no intention of asking more of you than to continue to encourage your parish councils, committees and staffs to strive for excellence in their ministry areas and to collaborate with other district parishes where feasible.

As a parishioner of the largest parish in that district, I say this has no basis in reality.

Fr. Connell leans toward having the Archdiocese take over parish schools. There's no comparative analysis from dioceses where this is already the case. Nor does he cite any experience from the multi-parish schools already in existence in our Archdiocese.

Both changes in parishes and schools would mean reallocating personnel.

Fr. Connell next talks about Canon 1726. He doesn't quote it but I will.
1. It is for the ordinary to exercise careful vigilance over the administration of all the goods which belong to public juridic persons subject to him, without prejudice to legitimate titles which attribute more significant rights to him.

2. With due regard for rights, legitimate customs, and circumstances, ordinaries are to take care of the ordering of the entire matter of the administration of ecclesiastical goods by issuing special instructions within the limits of universal and particular law.

Despite all the talk of dialogue, his discussion of this canon has a "resistance is futile" tone.

Finally, on finances, he says "it does seem certain that the parish and school assessment formulae will require reworking." Somehow I don't think he means the assessment might need to be lowered.

A reader responded to my post on the Catholic Herald article,
The problem with these institutional self-examinations is that they are usually deeply dishonest, and unable to say, "The reason we have lost, because our priests and catechists haven't been teaching the faith for about 40 years and our liturgies are boring, didactic, uninspired messes."

Now that could be turned into good starter questions.

Update: October 13, 2007 the Archdiocese of Milwaukee posted Energizing Our Vibrancy By Father Jim Connell [8 pp. pdf] Discussion Draft July 16, 2007

(via Catholic Wintertime In Milwaukee)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Meet ‘one fun nun’ on the Web

Karen Mahoney reported Special to a Vocations supplement to your Catholic Herald Catholic Herald on first vows by Sr. Katy LaFond with the School Sister of St. Francis.
At 27 years old, Sr. Katy not only joined the small army of young women who are replenishing the ranks of women religious, sparking a resurgence in religious life not seen for decades, she is also the youngest in her order in the entire country.

Sister LaFond blogs at Religious Life Rocks! and Nunspeak.

Pastor of a 700,000-member ‘parish’

It's gotten to the point I don't even know if I should take that number at face value.

Brian T. Olszewski reports in our Catholic Herald on Archbishop Timothy Dolan's then-upcoming fifth anniversary as Archbishop of Milwaukee.
He is one of only four active archbishops serving in the U.S. to go from being an auxiliary bishop to being an archbishop without having served as a diocesan bishop.

An exception that proves the rule, if "prove" means test.
When it comes to administration and management, Archbishop Dolan admits “that’s been the steepest learning curve, especially in two areas - money and personnel.”

On both, it might have been better had the two men who approved the Weakland settlement had been eased out of the positions they then held. Instead they became part of Archbishop Dolan's smaller inner circle.
“Even though I’ve never been a canonical pastor, every job I’ve had as a priest, I’ve asked, ‘How can I be a pastor, a shepherd to God’s people?’ So I just have to be a pastor, a shepherd,” the archbishop recalled telling himself.

Another indication that he might have been sent here to get experience.
Acknowledging that there “are a lot of bishops, and some pretty darn good ones” who view their jobs as 9 to 5, the archbishop takes a different approach.

The term for any pretty darn good bishop who can actually get the job done 9 to 5 should be papabile.
“I showed up at a fish fry... As I’m leaving, one of the people said, ‘You know, it’s really great that you could leave your work and do this.’ I said. ‘You know, this is my work; this is what I enjoy doing.’"

Long hours. Fish fries. Didn't his father die relatively young of a heart attack?
“When people ask me to pray for an intention, I do it right there: ‘Good, let’s pray for that right now,’” he said. “I try to get the name, and every morning I would lift up those intentions and I would enumerate them by name and cause."

After some earlier planning "listening session" I suppose I could have bent his ear with some issue, but I had a prayer intention for him, instead. So from time to time I pray for his coronary arteries.
The archbishop noted that when he arrived in Milwaukee, he, like most other bishops in the U.S., was consumed by the clergy sexual abuse crisis. He would pray that the Lord would make it go away so that he could get back to the work of the church. A column by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, which appeared in your Catholic Herald, provided a different perspective.

“Fr. Rolheiser wrote that’s a wrong prayer because getting through this happens to be the work of the day. And this is not a distraction from our work; this is our work,” Archbishop Dolan said. “This is the Paschal Mystery in action, dying and rising, so we don’t pray, ‘Lord, please hurry up and make this go away so we can get to your work.’ Our prayer is, ‘Lord, give me the grace, courage and insight to do your work, which happens to be this right now.’”

None of those quite follows the model of the prayer in Mark 14:35-36.
“What frustrates me most is what’s not going on in the church — and should be!” Archbishop Dolan said.

What's going on in the church tends to be committee meetings. I don't see that changing.
He cited the need to do more in prisons and day cares, in support of marriage and families, in immigration reform, promoting a culture of life, and helping stem inner city violence.

Sorry, it's looking like we'll be busy with another round of dialogue and listening sessions on another round of closings, consolidations, and reorganizations. We won't now be closing inner city parishes though; they were largely gone long before he got here.
The archbishop said the church invests 95 percent of its energy, time and resources in maintaining the good it is doing.

I assume that's a rhetorical number.
During the next five years, the archbishop plans to build upon the six pastoral priorities, i.e., growth in holiness, interior conversion and reliance on the sacrament, especially the Sunday Eucharist; strengthen parishes; foster vocations; strengthen Catholic education and formation; emphasize justice and charity; and instill stewardship.

Will there be accountability based on reliable measures of progress?
The other thing he plans to do, and for which he makes no apology, is to ask for money.

He managed to pitch the Catholic Stewardship Appeal at Father Meinholz's funeral, though I suspect he didn't start out intending to. Still...
"Oh my gosh, people think I’m going to New York. I don’t think I am. I’m rather confident that I’m not."

If he does, though, what did he learn from his experience here?
His upbeat approach and demeanor have prompted some people to view Archbishop Dolan as “Pollyannaish” or to dub him “Happy Talkin’ Tim.”

Imagine those folks if instead Bishop Bruskewitz had come here. Plus that would have caused others to overdose on schadenfreude.

In this case, I'll yield the last word.
“You simply believe everything is in God’s hands, and faith and hope become allied. He never calls us to do something without giving us sufficient grace. You believe everything works out for the good of those who believe,” he said. “You believe with all your heart and soul that if you are pliant to God’s grace and God’s call. He’s going to see you through. That’s the major virtue that I relish and that’s what gets me through. The vocabulary is prayer and your major message is that you want to share that with others.”

Monday, October 1, 2007

Is there any validity to the so-called 5-second rule?

According to UW-Madison bacteriologist Glenn Chambliss,
if you dropped food in places harboring nasties like E. Coli bacteria, any contamination would happen instantaneously, the scientist says.

On the other hand,
Obviously, eating food off the floor gets riskier the longer it has been lying there.

Give me a one-handed bacteriologist.

(via WisBlawg)

Update: From The Dilbert Newsletter 66
This week I am in Manhattan, living like a New Yorker. I have learned many things about the city. Today I will teach you how to ride the subway.

First, when you drop part of a cookie in the subway station, the five second rule does not apply. That cookie is dead before it hits the ground.

Banned Blog Banner

That's what the Spirit of Vatican 2 Catholic Faith Community asks weblogs which it has banned, like mine,
to display so that unsuspecting SOV2 faith communicants don't accidentally get lured into their world of cathlofascism.

I pointed out the dilemma this creates, since part of not Being Church is not having banners. Or so I thought until I came across the Diocesan Planning Process Banner.