Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Right Stuff

Deborah Solomon interviews Christopher Buckley in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine.
He [William F. Buckley, Jr.] was a practicing Catholic. What are you? I am post-Catholic.

As opposed to a lapsed Catholic? I am probably more of a collapsed Catholic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

St. Dilbert's

It's hard to believe that Scott Adams hasn't been involved in a parish or diocesan "planning process".

Update: Bishops to Vote on USCCB Priority Initiatives Through 2011

(via Disputations)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cluster balm

Our pastor's column in the September 21, 2008 St. Al's bulletin (no longer on-line) reported
This week Tuesday, all the members of all staffs of our cluster parishes (St. Alphonsus, St. Martin of Tours, St. John the Evangelist and St. Mary) will be meeting from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This is the first time all will gather. I trust it will be a productive time.

Depends on your standard for productive. Cooperation among cluster parishes was a topic of discussion when I was on the St. Al's parish council in the late 1990s. It seemed then to have already been a topic of longstanding. You might recall that the September 18, 2005 St. Al's bulletin proudly announced that the cluster had advanced to having its very own logo, see Cluster Is Not Just Chocolate With Nougat And Nuts. Now, a little more than three years after introduction of a cluster logo, the staffs of the cluster parishes have advanced to the point of an actual meeting.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Feedback from the Ecclesia Discens

At dotCommonweal J. Peter Nixon channels Deal Hudson.
The problem is that I–like a lot of people I know–am genuinely angry ... I'm angry ... I'm angry ... I'm angry ... I'm angry ... I'm angry ... I'm angry ...


I'm angry ... I'm angry ...

I'm angry ... I'm angry ...

I'm angry ... I'm angry ...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

C'mon, Move to Canada!

at Slate

(via Lisa Schiffren at The Corner)

Rediscovering Traditionalism

John Casey at Open Democracy
what really ignited the Catholic culture wars was the way it was done: by an unprecedented exercise of papal power. Hardly anything of what happened was prescribed by the Second Vatican Council, not the turning around of the altars, not the almost universal use of the vernacular, not the scaling down of the sense of transcendence and sacrifice, not the discouraging of the faithful from kneeling when receiving holy communion, not the receiving of communion in the hand rather than on the tongue. Traditionalists point out that the Council had decreed that the Latin language was to be preserved. (And the `maniac' John XXIII had been totally opposed to the vernacular in the mass.) It had all been done by Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Bugnini and a close circle of liturgical experts. It was never even passed by a synod of bishops.

...The question all along was whether pope and bishops really do have such authority. One distinguished Catholic thinker judged that there was no such sweeping power, that liturgy had its own authority based on immemorial tradition, and that the pope''s authority in liturgy `is at the service of Sacred Tradition.' The same thinker even dared to describe the new mass as `no re-animation but devastation... fabricated liturgy... banal-on-the-spot product.' The man who wrote those words is now Pope Benedict XVI. The Cardinals elected Ratzinger knowing that these were his convictions. It cannot have been done in a fit of absence of mind.

...No one who reads Ratzinger can deny that he brings a very lively intelligence into his attempt to rediscover tradition. It is his critics of the ageing Vatican II generation who begin to look intellectually lazy.

(via Arts & Letters Daily)


Friday, October 24, 2008

The Hysterical-Critical Method

in a Comment thread at Catholic and Enjoying It!.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Pearl of Great Price and its Cost

Bania: ... You know Jerry, I was thinking. For our next meal, do you think we should come here ... or should we go someplace else? You know it has it's pros and cons. On the one hand, here, you're guaranteed a great meal. On the other hand --

Jerry: (Interrupting Bania) Yeah, yeah I know. This would be good, but it would be the same. But if we go some place else, it would be different, but it might not be as good. It's a gamble. I get it.

--The Secretary, Seinfeld, December 8, 1994

This column by Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI, ran in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, August 21, 2008. In it he explains why you can't have your cake and eat it, too.
Infinite desire limited by a finite choice, such is the nature of real life and love.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bell from seminary will call Nicaraguans to worship

Karen Girard reported "Special to Your [Milwaukee] Catholic Herald", August 21, 2008, on a 135 pound copper bell once used at St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin.
Bishop Schmitz [Bishop Paul Schmitz, vicar apostolic in Bluefields, Nicaragua], home for his annual visit with family and friends, recognized the bell from his student days at St. Lawrence. He thought it would be ideal for the small, rural parish in El Ayote, led by Sheboygan native Fr. Glen Gessner.

Too bad it couldn't have gone to a seminary there.
"They are producing vocations (in Nicaragua). All the major seminaries are filled; we will be sending priests up here (to the U.S.)," he said...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Church in Mission: Fall Combined Collections

At Masses the weekend of October 18-19

If you thought one option was "Collection for the Wardrobe of the Holy Father: Peter's Pants", this blurb at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee clarifies.

Teacher's summer vacation saintly adventure

Maryangela Layman Roman reports in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, August 21, 2008, on Elizabeth Mitchell's work gathering testimony for the cause of sainthood of Father John A. Hardon, S.J..
He was a regular contributor to Catholic newspapers and magazines...

A search of the Catholic Herald website showed Father was mentioned in the May 22, 2008 article Eucharistic adoration 'personal encounter with the Lord' but I could not find any article he wrote.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sabbaticals offer priests respite from daily life

Our Milwaukee Catholic Herald had just run a Fr. Rolheiser column on Making Space for Sabbath in our Lives, when Karen Mahoney reports "Special to Your Catholic Herald" on the National Clergy Renewal Program. Fr. Pat Heppe, team moderator of Holy Family Church in Fond du Lac, spent his three months in Nova Scotia, Jerusalem, and Ireland.
"We do a lot of high quality stuff at the parish, but we sometimes forget the simple things. After being here, I realize that one thing we haven't done was to organize a social or parish life committee for fun events. That's one thing we will do when I get back is to get a minister of fun."

At Holy Family, wouldn't that position be the fun team moderator?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

International priests, sisters are a blessing

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, August 21, 2008, on our Archdiocese's approach to bringing in foreign clergy to help alleviate the shortage of priests.
Yes, we welcome and embrace international priests and sisters, but we are slow and careful in discerning who, when, or where. ... And we usually only accept one or two priests a year so they can be warmly welcomed and properly assigned.

Having first secured the diocesan border, the next essential step is a program of assimilation.
They need some time "on the ground" perfecting their English, softening the accent, learning American ways.

Beware of wondering if this approach might have any broader application, lest a bishop deem you under the spell of "anti-immigrant attacks often heard on talk radio, cable television and, sadly, even in the halls of Congress."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

14-year-old’s golf outing raises $3,400

Maryangela Layman Roman reported in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, August 7, 2008, that
...Matthew Cekanor's seventh grade social justice project was no small feat.

He organized a mini-golf fundraiser for the Dwarf Athletic Association of America.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions National Meeting

will be held in Milwaukee October 14-18, 2008.

There will also be a local Liturgy Day October 18th. Among the Workshops,
The Spirituality of Crossing Borders - Fostering Unity in Diversity
Ms. Barbara Tracey & Brother Rufino Zaragoza, O.F.M. We know that our church is multi-cultural. How do we move beyond simply singing a song from another tradition or having a reading in a foreign language, to embracing a truly Catholic vision of the global Body of Christ in worship?

When this post is scheduled to be published, I'm scheduled to be on a parish mission trip to Peru. Based on my experience on our prior mission trips to Guatemala, I can download the order of worship for the Mass in Spanish and use it as an aid to participation wherever we wind up for Sunday Mass.

A visitor to St. Al's couldn't do the same. In fact, the few times I requested an advance copy of the custom order of worship for a Mass at St. Al's, the then-pastor didn't even follow that. Seems to me there's more global vision when a visitor from anywhere on the globe can be as prepared for Mass as a local. Why that can be true of a parish in rural Guatemala but not a parish suburban Milwaukee might make an interesting workshop.

Carmelites 11, students 7

Karen Mahoney reported "Special to Your [Milwaukee] Catholic Herald", August 7, 2008, on the annual wiffle ball game at St. Mary of the Hill Church in Hubertus. Mike Faust commented on the play of Carmelite teammate Father Don Brick.
"He was very competitive and it was so funny. I don't think Fr. Don likes losing. You gotta have a side with an edge and he didn't want to lie down and let anyone beat him because he was a priest. He was quite aggressive sliding into home base."

The accompanying photo indicates that while Father wasn't wearing his habit, he also wasn't wearing spikes.

Friday, October 10, 2008

680 students and counting

Marilyn Jozwik reported "Special to your [Milwaukee] Catholic Herald", August 7, 2008, on the retirement of Jane Jonietz after 30 years of teaching at St. Luke School in Brookfield. That 680 students in 30 years works out to about 23 in a class, compared to 55 when I graduated from St. Veronica School. Miss Jonietz notes other changes.
"The students are not as respectful as they used to be. I think that's one of the major changes." She's also noticed that, despite all the educational tools available to parents, "You'd think kids would come in with really good skills, but we have more kids that need more help."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

36 Hours in Milwaukee

Maura J. Casey in the Travel Section of last Sunday's New York Times.

Husband, father of five and Catholic priest

Though later than the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, see Archdiocese of Milwaukee to get its first married priest and Married Catholic priest and wife getting ready for move to Pewaukee area, the Milwaukee Catholic Herald reported on the arrival of Father Michael Scheip in this August 7, 2008 by By Maryangela Layman Roman.
Most refreshing for Fr. Frederick [Father Curt Frederick, Vicar for Clergy] was the fact that Fr. Scheip arrived without an agenda.

Something outside Fr. Frederick's experience in these parts, perhaps. See If good means rhetorical.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Advocates of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Fumble Ethics Morals

A September 25, 2008 "Eye on the Capitol" editorial by John Huebscher, Executive Director, Wisconsin Catholic Conference, responding to Stem Cell Research in Wisconsin: A Primer on Sceince, Finding, Ethics & Advocacy, by Wisconsin Stem Cell Now

Pope to lead marathon Bible reading on Italian TV

Breitbart reported this event which goes on all this week.
Some 2,000 people will take turns reading the Bible's 73 books, from the Old Testament's Genesis to the New Testament's Book of Revelations, at Rome's Holy Cross in Jerusalem basilica.

They're not using the First Edition of the Authorized [King James] Version (1611), but it does have all 73 books.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Without God

Steven Weinberg in The New York Review of Books, September 25, 2008
I do not think we have to worry that giving up religion will lead to a moral decline. There are plenty of people without religious faith who live exemplary moral lives (as for example, me)...

(via Mark Shea)

Parishes Embrace Capital Campaign

The Living Our Faith September 28, 2008, page 2, reports on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Faith in Our Future "Capital Campaign".
The campaign has a goal of $105 million. Funds will be dedicated to strengthening education and faith formation in parishes and schools throughout the archdiocese, as well as supporting clergy and lay leadership formation.

This doesn't sound like it necessarily will be capital investment. Either way, whether it's good stewardship depends on how the money is invested or spent.
Old St. Mary Parish in Milwaukee, a wave two parish, has dedicated 100 percent of their benchmark to support Catholic East School, which is supported through the collaboration of five parishes.

Just what "support" means isn't specified. The specifics would tell if this is a "capital" campaign.
“Anything above the benchmark will go to The Open Door Cafe, River West Food Pantry and Catholic Charities,” said Fr. Tim Kitzke, pastor at Old St. Mary Parish.

Assume these are all worthy causes, they don't appear to involve capital investment, or supporting education or faith formation, as such.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Archbishop Dolan Renews Entrustment of Archdiocese to Mary

When we find ourselves in times of trouble...
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan will renew the Entrustment of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Tuesday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Basilica of Holy Hill, 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus.

New York Threatened by O'er-Crowding As Population Climbs to Twelve Thousands

From The Onion, October 6, 1783
"Urban Sprawling" So Severe, Settlement's Cooking-Fires Can Be Seen From As Far As Greenwich Village

'Voice Of The Doubters'

Edward saw the interview of Father Marek Bozek in the local paper, see Excommunicated St. Louis priest stresses truth over obedience, and went to the Voice Of The Faithful chapter meeting at which Father spoke. Edward later heard that Archbishop Dolan had emailed Milwaukee's priests, deacons, and parish administrators about VOTF. Edward, in an August 12, 2008 letter to our Archbishop, took issue with the email's description of the meeting and the characterization of VOTF.

Archbishop Dolan's September 16, 2008 letter in reply includes this.
My criticism is based not only on this one witness, but on six years of careful study of VOTF. My conclusion – which is shared by more and more observers – is that this group has become a knee-jerk anti-Roman, anti-Pope, anti-bishop, anti-Tradition, anti-Magisterium, anti-doctrine group who have regrettably abandoned their initial goals and now only want radical change in the Church.

Who knows, at some point we might no longer see announcements of VOTF events in the St. Al's bulletin.

The Center Cannot Hold

Many conservative Catholics see Vatican II as the fundamental cause for the problems that wrack the Church today. That reasoning is simplistic. If the leaders of any institution gather to plan for the future, and their plans bring the institution to ruins, there must have been some problem before the meeting: some flaw in the leaders' thinking or in the way those leaders were chosen. A healthy institution does not self-destruct. --Philip F. Lawler, The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture (2008), p. 67


Sunday, October 5, 2008

A lofty mission

Two of the members of St. Al's August mission trip to Guatemala posted photos from the Los Hogares orphanage and the chapel under construction at Xecoil (spelling varies). See St. Alphonsus Parishioners Live Their Faith by Committing to Building New Church in Guatemala.

I notice we've there helped build a chapel with a choir loft. Perhaps revived choir lofts are replacing the Tonight Show set arrangment we have at St. Al's, with the choir next to the Sanctuary.

The parish has had to eliminate the choir from one Sunday Mass due to declining choir membership, see September 29, 2008 bulletin, page 5. The baptismal font's been moved around lately. Maybe they should try moving the choir in the back of the church and see if that helps.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Palin gives more to charity than Biden

Sam Youngman reported at The Hill on the release of tax returns of Vice-presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK).
in 2006, they [Mr. and Mrs. Palin] donated $4,880 to charity, and in 2007, they donated $3,325.

By contrast, Biden (D-Del.), Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's running mate, has donated a total of $3,690 since 1998 despite his higher Senate salary...

This is news? We already knew Senator Biden (D-DE) is still Catholic, see Biden Releases 10 Years of Tax Returns.

(via Tom Maguire at Just One Minute, But Biden Is More Generous With Other People's Money)

Phipps on 'Religulous'

Directed by Larry Charles, starring Bill Maher, reviewed by Keith Phipps, A.V. Club, October 2, 2008
It's a valid, if shrilly delivered, message that has little to do with the selectively orchestrated freak show preceding it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Of Speeches and Sermons

Richard M. Esenberg at the Marquette University Law Faculty Blog, October 1, 2008 on a recent decision in Roman Catholic Foundation, UW-Madison, Inc. v. Regents of the University of Wisconsin System over
the University’s refusal to allow segregated fees (that portion of a student’s tuition reserved for the funding of student organizations) to be used for certain RCF activities that the University regarded as worship, proselytizing, or sectarian instruction.

In the decistion,
District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, sitting by designation, entered a declaratory judgment “stating that the University may not categorically exclude worship, proselytizing or sectarian instruction from segregated fee funding unless it does so pursuant to a rationale that is reasonable in light of the purposes of the forum and viewpoint neutral.”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

2008 Archdiocese of Milwaukee Compliance Audit Report

exists, according to this posting yesterday on our Archdiocese's website.
The Compliance Audit, conducted by the Gavin Group, examines the four main sections of the Charter [U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People]: Promoting healing and reconciliation; Guaranteeing effective response to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor; Ensuring accountability of procedures; and Protecting the faithful in the future.

The report is not linked from the posting, and I don't see it at the linked Safeguarding All of God's Family page.

The 24 Hours of LeMons

An endurance race for "cars purchased, fixed up, and track-prepped for a total of 500 dollars or less."

(via The New York Times)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Top Ten Ways You Know You’re on a Catholic Blog

Matthew Arnold at Creative Minority Report

(via "Feddie" at Southern Appeal)

Dorothy Day: A Radical, a Journalist, a Saint for Our Time, October 2, 2008

Robert Ellsberg, publisher of Orbis Books, will speak on this topic at the annual Nieman Lecture at Marquette University 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at John P. Raynor, S.J., Library Beaumier Suites (Lower Level), 1355 West Wisconsin Avenue.

Colman McCarthy wrote in The Nation July 21, 2008,
Few writers have been closer to Day than Robert Ellsberg. He took a five-year student sabbatical from Harvard in the mid-1970s to join Day at the New York Worker, washing dishes, unclogging the toilets and editing the newspaper. This summer Ellsberg, now the editor and publisher of Orbis Books, comes forward with The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day. It is 669 pages of sere and flexuous prose, virtuosic in its candor.