Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Oh, damn. Where did you come from? I’m white. I’m entitled. There’s a black man stealing my show."

At Althouse,
Reading over [Father Michael] Pfleger's remarks, I think they'd be perfectly apt in a comedy routine. The main problem is that they were in a sermon in a church...

At some parishes, it would be progress to confine the comedy routines to the homily.

Honor role evolves

Lisa Jones Townsel reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
according to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee associate sociology professor Carrie Yang Costello, early godparents had two main functions: to be designated substitute parents when a child's natural parents died and to be responsible for the child's religious upbringing, thus "preventing the godchild from being eternally damned."

But today, she says, the role is more honorary.

Consistent with the prevailing view of how little is at stake, compared to the former view.
"People feared dying with a sin on their souls. Back then godparents took the responsibility of someone's eternal soul in a much more literal way."

Can You Become a Creature of New Habits?

Janet Rae-Dupree in The New York Times, May 4, 2008
Rather than dismissing ourselves as unchangeable creatures of habit, we can instead direct our own change by consciously developing new habits. In fact, the more new things we try — the more we step outside our comfort zone — the more inherently creative we become, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.

But don’t bother trying to kill off old habits; once those ruts of procedure are worn into the hippocampus, they’re there to stay. Instead, the new habits we deliberately ingrain into ourselves create parallel pathways that can bypass those old roads.

Hippocampus in this context had me thinking if hippos can go to college...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Once Upon A Time... Blazing Saddles

with Harvey Korman as Henry Fonda

Insurance company sues Green Bay diocese

The Appleton Post-Crescent reports on a declaratory judgment action by Indiana Insurance Company.
The insurance company says it is exempt from paying because Feeney's actions, and church officials' decisions not to warn other parishioners when reassigning Feeney, were intentional.

The diocese had tendered to the insurer a lawsuit to defend in Clark County, Nevada.
The Nevada suit, filed in January by "John Doe 119," claims he was abused at the age of 13 by Feeney while Feeney served as a priest at St. Francis De Sales Parish in Las Vegas. Feeney was assigned there from September 1984 to June 1985 after numerous assignments in Wisconsin.

I've seen reports of similar coverage disputes involving claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee but not reports of the final results.

(via The Wheeler Report)

Worries aside, have 'Faith in Future'

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald. The headline says 'Faith in Future' rather than Faith in Future because it's our Archdiocese's Faith in the Future Capital Campaign. Though it's gotten off to an okay start (see this earlier post), he's worried about it. First, people are under financial pressure from rising fuel and food prices. Then,
... we've got people worried that their money might be "sued away," especially with upcoming court cases. Even though we have engaged the finest legal experts to establish a Faith in our Future Trust - meaning that the revenue really does not belong to the archdiocese at all, and thus cannot be raided by tort attorneys, and that donor intent (to use the money only for the reason given by the benefactor) must be scrupulously protected - some people are still nervous.

One reason might be that in the 1980 letter from Weakland to Marcoux, our then-Archbishop turned down Mr. Marcoux's request for funds because,
I consider all that Church money as a sacred trust; it represents the offerings of faithful and I must be accountable to them for how it is all spent.

Yet Mr. Marcoux was ultimately paid $450,000 from an Archdiocesan account. Our Archdiocese has not acknowledged that this involved any problems of breach of trust and accountablity. Bishop Sklba and Finance Director Schneider continued in their positions after this payment came to light. So why shouldn't people be nervous that donor intent will be protected?

And if donor intent is ultimately sometimes rationalized away by our Archdiocese in approving grants or payments from the Trust, donor intent might not then protect the Trust against the argument by tort attorneys that it is an Archdiocesan asset. I doubt it enhances confidence in scrupulosity that Bishop Sklba, who knew of the Marcoux payment, is one of the five Faith In Our Future Trustees.

Archbishop Dolan continues,
... we've got people still ticked-off at the archdiocese, who wonder why their parish keeps only 60 percent of the revenue raised. Even as we explain that the money does not go to "the archdiocese" but to essential programs of Catholic education and lifelong faith formation for the wider church of 700,000 people in southeastern Wisconsin,

Less $9 million in fundraising expenses,
and as we remind people that they are Catholic, meaning that their generosity goes beyond their own backyard, some people still grouse about not being able to "keep it all for the needs of their parish;"

If a parish is their own backyard, isn't the Archdiocese his own block? "Stewardship to the Global Church" is to get $1,650,000, an amount less than one-fifth of the fundraising expense.
... and stewardship is still new for many Catholics. Many of us are used to tossing a couple bucks in the basket, maybe buying a raffle ticket now and again, and grudgingly forking out tuition (which of course is not a gift but a just payment for services rendered),

Sure, if the kid who attends Catholic school pays for it out of his or her own money.
and resist the call to return a regular proportion of our income, consistently and sacrificially, to a God whose goodness to us knows no bounds, and who will not be outdone in generosity - stewardship!

Maybe the potential givers see some stewardship problems on the recipient's side. After all, it's the potential recipient who's telling us all the steps it's taking to protect itself from potential creditors.

When this column was published Archbishop Dolan was in Lourdes on a pilgrimage so maybe the campaign is going miraculously well.

P.S. Implying Catholic schools are pretty much just private schools and berating people on stewardship isn't how Archbishop Dolan usually talks. I wondered what might have brought that on. Then I remembered his annual meeting with all the Archdiocese's priests was just few weeks ago. A lot of them talk that way; maybe it rubbed off on him. Pray that it's temporary.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Honoring a vision

Meg Jones reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday's ceremony at the Queen of the Holy Rosary Shrine in Necedah.
They have been coming for more than half a century, ever since a woman named Mary Ann Van Hoof claimed she saw the Virgin Mary beneath several trees right outside her house.

The Bishops of LaCrosse reportedly have strongly disapproved. Sean O'Lachtnain's recounting says
In 1975 Bishop [Frederick] Freking excommunicated and refused sacraments to anyone who: attended, participated, approved, associated with, contributed to, anything whatsoever associated with the Shrine at Necedah, whether pageants, prayer meetings, devotions, venerations, visits, meetings, classes, secret meetings, strategy meetings, seances, movies, books, or anything else, whether at the Shrine or away from it.

"Visits"? Uh-oh.

Through a Glass, Darkly: Secrecy and the Catholic Church

Inside Catholic, May 27, 2008, interviews Russell Shaw on his book, Nothing To Hide: Secrecy, Communication, and Communion in the Catholic Church.
Isn't the problem larger than secrecy?

Yes, it is. As I say in the book, the abuse of secrecy has a number of cousins -- stonewalling, happy talk, spin, deception, failure to consult, rejection of accountability, things like that. The family resemblance is that, like secrecy, these are all breakdowns in the open, honest communication that ought to be the rule in the communio of the Church.

Also at the family reunion: the brush off, the runaround, feigning umbrage, the blow-up, gaming the system.

(Via a reader)

Living in the mystery of the Eucharist

Bishop Richard J. Sklba in the "Herald of Hope" column says,
...I sense a growing tendency among our people to mingle eucharistic devotion with Marian piety...

The Need is Real. The Need is Now.

St. Mary Catholic Faith Community in nearby Hales Corners posted some "Frequently Asked Questions About Our Mortgage", which stands at $4,255,760 as of January. Briefly, parishioners are not paying it off nearly as quickly as had been assumed.

If you Listen to Steve Borkenhagen's presentation that he gave on Nov. 18, 2007, it sounds like they're going to combine funding of operating and capital expenses. I understood the separation for accounting reasons, but doubted the miraculous fundraising powers ascribed to it. At the current rate, I calculate it would take them 20 years to pay off the mortgage.

If only they had a dollar for every time a parishioner was told "Church is not a building" or words to that effect, they could probably pay off the mortgage, and go back to calling it St. Mary Church.

We have similar financial problems at my St. Al's Church. (see this earlier post, item III.m.) I can recall being told the parish capital campaign assumed the parishioners would be so impressed with the new construction they would pay for it with "new money" in addition to their continuted contributions to the operating expenses. I can also recall being told it was assumed that parishioners would pay toward the capital fund by reducing their contributions to the operating fund.

At least it was a change to hear contradictory explanations about something other than liturgy, but real world results in financial matters get attention. The "From the Pastor's Desk" column in the May 11, 2008 St. Al's bulletin says
I recently had a meeting with a representative of the Catholic Knights, Inc. They hold the mortgage on our building. It is hoped that we can refinance our current mortgage, which has a balloon payment due in 2011 of nearly 2 million dollars. Refinancing will allow us to reduce our monthly debt service of $32,000.00 to something like $19,000. The catch is that we will be paying for 20 years. No decision has been finalized, and your comments are welcome.

Comments are welcome? Well, as a pastor once emailed me on a liturgical point, "do you reall think jesus cares..."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You've Been Left Behind

is a
Document storage and "Rapture" triggered email messaging system.

How does it work?
We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the "Rapture" of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period.

Helpful examples can be found at the YBLB weblog such as the sample email Now What?.
You are receiving this email because the "Rapture" has taken place and you've been left behind. The rapture is why there are so many people missing as you read this. ...

Paragraphs have also all been Raptured, with line breaks left behind.

Via Domenico Bettinelli at Bettnet, who explains the Rapture as
the theology behind the "Left Behind" series of End Times books ... that at some point all the "real" Christians are going to disappear into heaven (be assumed?)...

Watch for the Our Lady of the Rapture chapel in the next addition to your local megachurch.

On moving bishops from small to big dioceses

by Kenneth Baker, S.J., Homiletic & Pastoral Review, August/September 2007, reprinted in the May 2007 newsletter of the Milwaukee chapter of Catholics United for the Faith. The problem,
The present policy is not good for the Church because it promotes ambition among certain clerics who lust for the purple and the red, who position themselves in the most positive way so that they will be promoted to a higher position.

His proposed solution,
if all bishops knew they were not going to be moved up, they would be more diligent in sanctifying and ruling their diocese because they are there for life.

My suggestion is to appoint holy auxiliary bishops and priests who have shown that they are good pastors. That is all the training they need. They can learn how to bishop by being a bishop. With the scandals involving bishops, it is obvious that the old policy of “moving up” has not been a success.

New structure, new way of ministering for archdiocese

Brian T. Olszewski and Maryangela Layman Roman reported in the April 10, 2008 issue of "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald on the results of the latest round of Archdiocesan planning.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee Planning web page has a link "Click here for the latest information on Vision: 21st Century Planning" that takes you to the Vision: 21st Century Planning page. I've waited to see what would be posted here. Maybe the reorg needed to put more resources into the website. Or maybe the reorg changed from Vision to 21st Century Downsizing. Father James Connell, Vicar of Planning,
said he's heard repeatedly from people that "they want to be involved in the ministry of the church."

Archdiocesan leaders found no troubling ambiguity in that sentiment, and as for those people,
They will have plenty of opportunities as a result of a restructuring in central administration...

Opportunities with a vengeance. Here's the new Organization Chart.
During a staff gathering, they [Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, Bishop William P. Callahan, Fr. Connell, John Marek, archdiocesan chief financial officer, and Rick Tank, archdiocesan director of human resources] outlined a structure that will rely heavily on "people in the pews" volunteering to serve on ministry-specific archdiocesan commissions.

Well-suited to that bygone era of overflowing churches.
The plan was announced in the context of a $3 million budget deficit that had been projected for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Leading to the elimination of 37 positions, and creation of 15 new ones, see Staffing Reductions for 2008-2009.
Interviewed by your Catholic Herald after the announcement, Bishop Callahan, Fr. Connell, Marek, and Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Dolan, and Kathleen Hohl, director of communications, outlined how the new structure might function.

Even each new structure by Rube Goldberg might function.
The [ministerial] commissions will work with archdiocesan district deans, coordinators and associates - a newly-established position in the archdiocesan structure. ...

A posting on the archdiocesan Web site describes associates and their roles: "These highly-skilled individuals will associate themselves with Bishop Callahan and the district deans to assist in monitoring pastoral work, locating resources, animating ministerial programs, fostering collaboration, facilitating action, monitoring implementation, and assessing results to ensure accountability."

These associate positions replace the parish consultant positions.
Noting how the new position differs from that of parish consultant, which served as a liaison between the parishes and central office services, Fr. Connell said, "The associate is going to be involved in monitoring those plannings (of the commissions), involved in the accountability - an enlargement of their roles to make things happen."

Presumably judged by measurable objective published results.
"To say we're cutting back, that is not true," Bishop Callahan said.

We're growing, only it's negative growth.

Fr. Connell remarked,
"I am very conscious of the highly-skilled level of people we have in the parishes. Every pastor or parish director is schooled in theology," he said. "Parish staffs are significantly more versed in ministry and competency than they were just a few years ago or many years ago."

Interesting planning assumption. If true, it would seem to follow that it is impossible for the problems we have to exist.
Even though he looked at what other dioceses that had undertaken restructuring had done, Fr. Connell said the Archdiocese of Milwaukee needed to develop its own model.

Makes a kind of sense, if every other diocese got even worse results from planning than our Archdiocese has.
As people become familiar with the model, he is confident that they will become part of it.

"If there is a pastoral need, and people see it, they will respond," Fr. Connell said.

What if they've responded in the past but the experience ultimately convinced them it was wasted effort?
While Topczewski [Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Dolan] said there is "no limit to the number of commissions that can exist,"

Not even limited to as numerous as the stars of heaven...
the priest noted that in order to be effective the commissions have to link to Archbishop Dolan's six pastoral priorities...

Perhaps each priority, in theory, being served by one-sixth of up to an infinite number of commissions. In practice,
Bishop Callahan, who will approve establishment of commissions, said that the work they undertake must be "in line with the mission and ministry of the church."

Someday they might want to look at whether proliferation of committees can be inherently problematic.
"This is not about proliferation of things that are personal ideas or favorites, little issues that are going to pop up here and there," the bishop said.

Analogous to a parish Liturgy team not being about "personal ideas or favorites".
Reiterating what had been said earlier - that the restructuring decisions were not "money driven"...

Rather they are lack-of-money-driven.
... "The Holy Spirit is creative, and we've put together a very creative kind of way of looking at things. ..."

That God created lemons doesn't explain every sour taste in our mouths.

Bill Glauber reported in the April 12, 2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Archdiocese trims 37 jobs to cut deficit. In Archbishop Dolan's letter announcing the reorganization of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's central office staff,
He did not sidestep the cause of the budget problems facing the archdiocese.

"We are frustrated that money is tight and we have to make these cuts," he said. "This is heightened because we know it is caused largely by the financial impact from the actions of those priests who sexually abused minors."

I foresee a problem with reticence about saying bishops needed to do more then while saying the laity needs to do more now.

P.S. If you were confused by the acronyms on the Organization Chart, above, consult the Organization of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Central Offices April 7, 2008.
The active role of the Archdiocesan Council of Priests (ACP), the Archdiocesan Council of Deacons (ACD), and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC), will continue to address the pastoral work of the archdiocese. Indeed, the APC, the ACP and the ADC will join the soon-to-be-formed Archdiocesan Lay Ecclesial Ministers Council (ALEMC) and the archdiocesan staff “Associates” to assist the dean of each district to plan, implement and evaluate pastoral priorities and initiatives on district, cluster and parish levels.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Terms of the debate

Monks scramble for new source of support: PETA threatens to crack egg business

Milwaukee Catholic Herald, April 24, 2008

(Catholic News Service story by Christina Lee Knauss; The Catholic Review titled it Monks search for new ways to support Mepkin Abbey)


So What, If Barack Hussein Obama Were a Muslim?

Francis X. Clooney, S.J., at In All Things, blog of America magazine.
Cambridge, MA. Really alert readers will notice that I studiously avoid current events, mostly because I have no great insights to add to what I hear on NPR or read in the New York Times. ...

This I believe

Sheep shearers in short supply: Strength-sapping, specialized, seasonal craft seeks students

Rick Barrett reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


St. Alphonus Parish Council Minutes April 14, 2008

Posted on the bulletin board in the church foyer.
III. Pastor's Report ...
e. Greendale Rec. looking at rectory building for daycare possibility.

(see this earlier post)
l. Dreams & Visions program on 5/20, moving forward as a new education program
I was invited to this event because I'm a catechist, so I might blog on it later. In the meantime, here's a review by Dan Pierson at Catholic Book Journal, August 13, 2007, of the book Dreams and Visions: Pastoral Planning for Lifelong Faith Formation, by Bill Huebsch.
m. No progress on mortgage refinancing

The parish's part of the subprime mortgage mess, the part about borrowing money to build more than you need.
IV. New Business
a. letter going out on percentages and focus on middle one-third giving 1/3 for additional support.

That refers to some conventional wisdom dividing parishioners into thirds: 1/3 give 2/3 of the money, 1/3 give 1/3, and 1/3 give nothing. Maybe the bottom 1/3 doesn't give because they think the parish is too focused on money; if so, the focus on the middle 1/3's giving should help convince them of this, as well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The final chapter?

The Economist, May 23, 2008, on the decline of publisher's book clubs with salesmen who call on individual subscribers to take orders and deliver books.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Greatest Story Ever Told

A brief biography of William F. Buckley, Jr., by David Brooks, Chicago Maroon, April 5, 1983, at Sean Gleeson (Internet Archive), including
Buckley spent most of his infancy working on his memoirs. By the time he had learned how to talk he had finished three volumes: The World Before Buckley, which traced the history of the world prior to his conception; The Seeds of Utopia, which outlined his effect on world events during the nine months of his gestation; and The Glorious Dawn, which described the profound ramifications of his birth on the social order.

Thomas Malthus

Recommended reading: Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Malthus, the false prophet: The pessimistic parson and early political economist remains as wrong as ever, "Economics focus", The Economist, May 23, 2008

Friends of humanity? by Roger Kimball, The New Criterion, November 2003

The Final Defeat of Thomas Malthus? by J. Bradford DeLong, Project Syndicate, March 2003

How to Make a Hollow Book

At wikiHow

(via WisBlawg)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Exclusive interview for 1986 Grammy Awards, at YouTube

Friday, May 23, 2008

Church cannot let up in fight against sexual abuse of young

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column in the April 24, 2008 issue of "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald begins with a reference to Pope Benedict XVI's visit.
Whether or not Pope Benedict XVI was aware that April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I do not know.

But our Archbishop goes on to detail our Pope's remarks, including,
of shame, regret, and sorrow that God's favorite people, our children and youth, were terribly harmed in soul, mind, and body by those who dared claim they were God's agents, and that bishops were faulty in a response that should have been immediate, strict and transparent;

Faulty; you know, mistakes were made, these things were looked at differently in that distant age, they meant well, etc.. Not faulty in a San Andreas, millstone-tossing, or sackcloth and ashes sense.
No wonder his church, which here in America has been shamed by some of its priests, deacons, sisters, and bishops, however few, would now be considered a leader in promoting the reform necessary to reduce it.

If our bishops say so themselves, and over and over again. Are they trying to convince us or themselves?
Yes, in the words of a leading expert in sexual abuse, Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins University, "No one in the United States is now doing more to deal with this horror than the Catholic Church."

There's more on Dr. Paul McHugh at the U.S. Bishops Office of Media Relations.

Eating Too Much

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran in the New York Sun, May 23, 2008, on a recent campaign comment by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)

(via Sykes Writes)

Grandma evangelizes with holy cards

Karen Mahoney reported, Special to "Your" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, April 17, 2008, in the "People of Faith" series. The grandma is Eileen Sabbath, a member of St. Sebastian Church in Sturtevant. The evangelizing includes giving holy cards with Halloween treats.
Last year, she ran out of candy and began to apologize to one group of trick or treaters.

"They were older kids, junior and senior high," she said, continuing. "I told them I was so sorry that I didn't have any more candy. But they told me that they didn't come for the candy; they only came for the cards.

Martyrs' holy cards would be a good fit for Halloween; some of St. Sebastian, for example.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Pro-Life Argument You Don't Often Hear

but noted by Tom Maguire at Just One Minute

Spring 2008 Pastoral Assignments

At the Archdiocese of Milwaukee website,
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, in consultation with the Priest Placement Board of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, has appointed the following priests for ministry in the archdiocese...

The new assocate pastor appointments are presumably the priests our pastor at St. Al's deemed incompatible.

Faith, family ties unite Paul and Elsie Bucher

Karen Mahoney reported, Special to "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, April 17, 2008, on the reuniting of Paul Bucher and his long-institutionalized aunt Elsie. While caring for his ailing father a few years ago, Mr. Bucher first heard of some family secrets, including Aunt Elsie.
While Elsie had heard of former Waukesha County district attorney Paul Bucher, until an impromptu visit five years ago, she never imagined that he was her nephew and the connection to her heritage.

When the popular attorney arrived at St. Coletta's he was surprised that Elsie knew all about him through watching him on television.

"That just made me question why she was at St. Coletta's," he admitted. "Anyway, she was very happy to see me and meet me, as I was with Elsie."

Beaming, the petite 89-year-old said she had no idea that the man she saw so often on television was related to her.

They've kept in regular contact since.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Worshipper, church clash

Linda Spice reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on efforts by Blessed Sacrament Church, some of its neighbors, and a couple of Milwaukee Aldermen, to get a court order that 75 year old Cecelia Kaczmarski stay away.
"Cecelia has been stalking the parish for at least 10 years," he [pastor Father Robert Turner] wrote in the petition. "She parks in front of the rectory where she claims she has visions. She has been ordered to move many times by the police. She always returns. The school children are afraid of her presence. Older parishioners are annoyed by her presence and she appears to be dead in the car. ..."

The court denied an injunction. One issue raised was that people sometimes call the paramedics when they see Ms. Kaczmarski in her car, apparently unresponsive.
One of those calls came from [Alderman Joe] Dudzik himself.

"She said I should stop looking at her because I was the Antichrist. I've been called worse," Dudzik said.

Life imtitates art, if I'm correctly recalling that 'The Antichrist ... or worse' was a phrase used in one article in the Wall Street Journal parody by Doug Kenney in National Lampoon, Volume 1, Issue 2 (May 1970).

Research confirms attraction to traditional Catholicism

Maryangela Layman Roman reported in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald April 17, 2008 on Colleen Carroll Campbell's presentation at the second in this year's Pallium Lecture series. Ms. Campbell spoke on the results of her research interviews on "a growing trend toward deeper religiosity among young adults. She was the first to formally identify a trend among young Christians who seemed to be returning to traditional aspects of faith." While working for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she wrote an editorial on World Youth Day 2000.
To Campbell, the attraction young people had to Pope John Paul II "made a lot of sense," she said, "but to my older colleagues, particularly in the newsroom, it was rather odd. I saw it as an extension of the spiritual hunger I had seen at Marquette [University], some of that which I felt myself, and as connected to other trends I saw in Protestant churches. I saw it as something bigger and that got me to researching it more intently."

Going into her research,
"... I thought it might be extremely small, young people who were bucking the trend," she said. "So I was very surprised as I actually got into it that it was more widespread than I thought and it was happening in places where I would least expect to find it."

Campbell identified the young adults as "new faithful" and found them drawn to the traditions and devotions of the church such as the rosary and eucharistic adoration.

She further characterized them as
embrac[ing] biblical morality, exhibited as a yearning for the Golden Rule, the Beatitudes and avoidance of premarital, extramarital and homosexual sex.

Putting this in perspective,
Campbell emphasized in the interview that while numbers of "new faithful" are on the rise, they represent a minority in their generation.

While some older Catholics are encouraged by the rise of the "new faithful", others are not.
...some of it is a sense among some older Catholics that the project of the 1960s is not being carried on by these young adults because they have a different sense of priorities.

"You don't hear them as much proclaiming, for instance, about the ordination of women to the priesthood. Catholics who thought those would be the changes they'd see in the coming years, I think, are disappointed by these young adults," she admitted [sic].

This might illustrate an inherent contradiction in the "project of the 1960s"; its continuation would have required some kind of evangelization, but opposition to evangelization was integral to it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stranded in Suburbia

This column by Paul Krugman in yesterday's New York Times appeared in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.

And in the face of rising oil prices, which have left many Americans stranded in suburbia — utterly dependent on their cars, yet having a hard time affording gas — it’s starting to look as if Berlin had the better idea.

That drew this comment from Michael Jentsch at Just One Minute.
Funny that Krugman uses Berlin as an example. It is a bit different from other German cities. Just a hint, until 1989 we couldn't really move to the suburbs because there was something in the way.

Racial Disparity on Drug Cases Deserves Attention

So says the May 9, 2008 Eye On The Capitol press release by John Huebscher, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. He begins by noting that in 1999 the Wisconsin Bishops formed a task force that lead to their September 1, 1999 statement Public Safety, the Common Good, and the Church: A Statement on Crime and Punishment in Wisconsin. Among topics it addressed was racial disparities in conviction rates. Mr. Huebscher tells us that,
Nearly a decade later, that disparity still exists. By some measures, it may be worse.

Mr. Huebscher cited reported studies by the Sentencing Project and Human Rights Watch on sentencing disparities but does go on to say,
Studies are not infallible and they may reflect certain policy preferences.

It's good to see that noted, since some might have that same reaction to a statement by Wisconsin's Catholic Bishops.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Living Our Faith Spring 2008 Newsletter

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee published the Spring 2008 Living Our Faith newsletter, which was distributed to all registered Catholic homes in the archdiocese.

Receiving these mailings always leaves me wondering if it wouldn't be better to make them part of an issue of "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald and send that to everyone. Maybe some more people would subscribe.

The newsletter is part of the Living Our Faith evangelization initiative. This issue's timing and theme is Pentecost, and most of the content seeks to re-inspire by cataloging what good our Archdiocese does. It's like the pages of an annual report before you get to the financials. The equivalent of the financial footnotes is the final sidebar on what's being done about Clergy Sexual Abuse. That might have been better dealt with separately.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Create Own RSS Feed or Email Alert to Monitor Web Site Changes

Bonnie Shucha at WisBlawg with
two tools - PonyFish (RSS) & Watch That Page (email) - which allow to you create your own monitoring service.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

OK, So What Are The "Legitimate Claims" Of Hezbollah And Hamas?

Tom Maguire at Just One Minute
...I have a Bold Suggestion - since Obama [Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)] is backing away from his "I'll meet with any rogue fool without preconditions" pledge anyway, why doesn't he announce one pre-condition - any bad boy dictators or lunatics who want to meet with Obama must load onto YouTube a video of themselves singing a chorus of Kumbaya. That should be reassuring.

And the only reason to have anyone sing it again after the Joan Baez concert at Notre Dame in Paris on Christmas Eve 1980.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Politics of Apostasy

by Douglas W. Kmiec at Catholic Online

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Church cash may be missing

Marie Rohde reported in the May 10, 2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on possible additional problems for St. John Vianney Church in Brookfield.
cash donated during weekly services over an extended period could be missing, parishioners were told in a letter sent by the parish administrator.

Three parishioners raised concerns after the drug arrest of the then-pastor. The suspicious patterns weren't described. I've read that sometimes when a pastor is suddenly out of the picture, donations appear to suddenly go up.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Transparency and the church

Jim Norton in the April 18, 2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
OK, I get it. If I want the Catholic Church in the U.S., Wisconsin and Milwaukee to exist and serve, I will have to pony up more cash. But I have a problem with that. ...

When someone has squandered my money, stock purchases or donations, I have to think long and hard about giving those same institutions more of my cash. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

For example, back in 1997 I received a thank you letter from the Very Rev. John H. Endejan for my contribution to the Cathedral Preservation Foundation.
... Your personal support of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist will certainly help to preserve our common treasure.

... One can only guess how many people have been touched by a visit to our beautiful Cathedral, by attending formal ceremonies or in a time of private prayer.

The restoration and continued preservation of the Cathedral will only be possible through the heartfelt loyalty and profound generosity of valued friends like you. ...

I invite you to visit your beautiful Cathedral whenever you have the opportunity to do so. ...

Richard S. Vosko provides a side-by-side comparison. "My" beautiful Cathedral is on the left. The attempt to fool me twice is on the right.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Great Uncluttering

Michael Agger at Slate on
The best books, articles, and Web sites for helping you organize your life.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Textbooks find second home in Uganda

Amy Guckeen reported in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, March 27, 2008. Anyone who's ever worked a used book sale knows used textbooks can be a problem. Fr. John Mary Ssozi, "a student at UW-Milwaukee and in residence at St. Robert Parish, Shorewood," heard of a need for textbooks for a new university library at Masaka in his native Uganda. So he started collecting them.
Donated textbooks have to be less than 10 years old, and must be college-level in a math and science field, Claire Anderson, pastoral associate at St. Robert said.

Got a box of textbooks? If they've gotten musty or are falling apart, just throw them away yourself. If they're in good shape, check if a used book sale might be interested. Be ready with a description of age and subjects and give them a call.

[I'm experimenting with the new scheduled posting feature in Blogger. Hope this works.]

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Common Ground mirrors Catholic social teaching

Brian T. Olszewski reported in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, April 17, 2008, on the founding convention of Southeastern Wisconsin Common Ground.

If you go to the Common Ground web site, there are FAQ, including,
What's Common Ground? It's one organization in a national network affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the oldest and largest institution for professional organizing in the United States.

IAF was established in 1940 by Saul Alinsky. He discusses this extensively in his book Reveille for Radicals (1946).

"Our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald apparently decided all this wasn't worth mentioning. It does say,
One of the Catholic organizations to invest in Common Ground is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Common Ground received local (archdiocesan) grants from CCHD of $5,000 from 2005 through 2007 inclusive. It also received a national CCHD grant of $40,000 in 2007.

It also tells us of a letter from Milwaukee's bishops to Common Ground.
"... The fact that numerous Catholics, 17 parishes, several religious congregations, as well as several Catholic colleges, are members of Common Ground demonstrates the vibrant faith of the Catholic community in southeastern Wisconsin," they wrote.

Deus ex papier-mache

The 2008 West Coast Regional Call To Action Conference Keynote Workshops included Leo Keegan on Vatican II Liturgy.
...Have the liturgical principles of Vatican II revitalized your parish celebration of the Eucharist? What wisdom is yet to be gleaned from the early church and the Sacred Constitution on the Liturgy to transform ministers - lay & clergy, men & women, young & old, toward an empowered, dynamic experience of prayer and celebration? Come take a look at some of the challenges before us as we move toward a renewed liturgy in our parishes. ...

Come take a look at some video CTA posted of the conference's closing liturgy.

[The CTA site may be down due to excessive bandwidth usage; here are selections from the video at YouTube. (via Midwest Conservative Journal)]

Commenter Chris says the CTA site explained "Larger-than-life puppets call us to be larger than life in our work." Can't be far from that to "Who prays with More cowbell prays twice".

(via Amy Welborn and commenter Chris at Charlotte was Both)

Serving All and Sacrificing None

The Wisconsin Bishops on April 29, 2008 released a pastoral letter Serving All and Sacrificing None: Ethical Stem Cell Research.
It is scientists who have demonstrated that the single cell, or zygote that results from fertilization, contains the complete genetic information necessary for the development of a unique human being. It is scientists who have shown us that human development is a continuous, uninterrupted process, from zygote, embryo, fetus, infant, child, to adult.

These prevailing scientific opinions, they go on, are consistent with Church teaching.
We are persons whether our reasoning skills are developing or deteriorating, whether we are in the beginning stages of life or nearing life’s end.

Given that,
We are not seeking to “impose” narrow doctrinal beliefs, but rather to “propose” reasonable standards for the protection of human life and dignity.

The resources linked at the Wisconsin Catholic Conference website include a press release and a 14 minute video. The pastoral letter was covered in the May 1, 2008 Milwaukee Catholic Herald, Bishops' stem cell letter spotlights 'timeless Catholic teaching'. Perhaps it has been or will be discussed in some homilies.

P.S. The bishops tried to bolster their argument with this analogy.
Furthermore, raising moral concerns is essential for genuine scientific progress. Consider the infamous biomedical case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Even after penicillin was discovered in 1947, medical researchers working for the U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Alabama, deliberately withheld the drug from infected African-American men—impoverished and mostly illiterate—without their consent, so that they could study the full progression of the disease.

These experiments happened to be the subject of Jonah Goldberg's May 2, 2008 column, Tall Tales About Tuskegee. The Tuskegee study began in 1932. Much later, when penicillin treatment for syphilis was developed, it does not appear to have been clear it would be appropriate for the study participants' advanced cases. The problem with Tuskegee, from today's perspective, was
They were told they were getting “treatments” when they were merely being studied.

That's not particularly pertinent to the issue of embryonic stem cell research.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The First Novena

Rocco Palma did say
Was nine days 'tween Ascension
And Pentecost Day.

And when he says First,
Its the nine days between,
As described in Acts 1,
Verses 12 to 14

(via Kevin Knight at New Advent)

Blogging DRE uses technology to spread Word

Amy Guckeen reported in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, April 3, 2008. Heidi Russell, director of Christian formation at St. Monica, Whitefish Bay, blogs at Theological Reflections, posting about once a week. It fits the common perception of blogs as a means of personal expression; while she's a DRE, she doesn't blog in that capacity.

That is not inherent to the medium; one could have a "blogging DRE" blogging as such for a parish, or see a parish weblog for that matter.

Why don't we see that? From my experience, suggesting that blogging software might be a way to post current information on the parish website would be received about like suggesting a parish launch a space station.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fond du Lac forms single Catholic education system

Amy Guckeen reported in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, March 20, 2008 on the merger of St. Mary's Springs High School with the Fond du Lac Area Catholic Education System [FACES]. The new body will eventually have a single governing board and administrator.
FACES was formed in 1992 when the six parishes of Fond du Lac and North Fond du Lac consolidated to form a single Catholic elementary education system. FACES is a two-campus system, with about 500 children in grades preschool to second grade at one site, and grades three to eight at another. Enrollment at St. Mary's Springs is almost 300.

Ms. Guckeen had reported in the December 6, 2007 issue on the dedication of the new church for Fond du lac's consolidated parishes, Holy Family Church is 'new beginning' in Fond du Lac. There appears to be a trend toward separating schools from parishes even as schools merge and parishes merge.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Toward a Just and Peaceful Solution in Iraq

A Policy Paper on the War and Occupation of Iraq prepared by Pax Christi USA (March 2008) details the cost in American lives and money (p. 1). When it comes to solutions, it assumes a great many things falling into place as hoped. Meanwhile,
the U.S. should provide substantial financial resources and possibly play a limited operational role... (p. 3)

If limiting that role is contingent on "A revitalized Iraqi government working in concert with the United Nations and regional actors, including the Arab League" and "directly engaging the countries bordering Iraq, including Iran and Syria, as well as internal diplomacy and reconciliation to bring all factions within Iraq 'to the table'", it might not be that limited.

(via Catholics for Peace and Justice)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Notes from a Thessalonian pilgrimage

Bishop Richard J. Sklba in the Herald of Hope column in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, March 13, 2008, recalls a recent visit to Thessaloniki and to Thesaurus.
Sitting before the great icons of Christ Pantokrator and Mary the God Bearer (Theotokos) as I did each day, I kept thinking that the current throne of the Archbishops of Thessaloniki was in fact the "throne" of Paul himself, for the Apostle had founded the church and presided over its life sometime back in about 49 AD! I wondered about the responsibility of presiding over a truly apostolic church.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The 'wow!' factor

Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel architecture critic, reported May 1, 2008, on the Design Awards presented yesterday by AIA [American Institute of Architects] Wisconsin.

The first post-Whitney Gould cube-of-the-month is Merit Award winnner Cantilever House (in slideshows), Fox Point, by La Dallman Architects of Milwaukee.

Pilot parishes key to campaign's $16.7 million start

Brian T. Olszewski reported in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, March 6, 2008, on the first stage of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's $105 million Faith In Our Future capital campaign.
As of Feb. 25, according to the archdiocesan development office, revenue raised in 12 pilot parishes and through major gifts totaled $16,770,229. Donations have come from 4,937 people. Collectively, the pilots have raised 90 percent of their combined benchmarks.

Results were mixed at the individual parishes examined in more detail.