Saturday, October 31, 2009

KC-135 at the bat

Brigadier Gen. T.C. Pinckney (Ret.), in a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed, supported the case for a replacement for the KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft with the claim
As the delays continue, U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard units in Wisconsin are flying the same tanker planes used since the Korean War. Not the same model, the same exact planes.

Not quite, at least according to Wikipedia.
The first aircraft flew in August 1956 and the initial production Stratotanker was delivered to Castle Air Force Base, California, in June 1957. The last KC-135 was delivered to the Air Force in 1965.

Still seems old. On the other hand, the B-52 is even older. Last produced in 1962, current Air Force plans have it continuing in service until 2040.

Friday, October 30, 2009

On John Adams

Let Fame to the world sound America's voice;
No intrigues can her sons from their government sever;
Her pride is her Adams; Her laws are his choice,
And shall flourish, till Liberty slumbers for ever.
Then unite heart and hand,
Like Leonidas' band,
And swear to the God of the ocean and land;
That ne'er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves,
While the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.
--Robert Treat Paine, Ode: Adams and Liberty, written for, and sung at the fourth Anniversary of the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society, 1798

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Secret: identity

Why the forthcoming Apostolic Constitution for receiving existing groups of Anglicans into the Catholic Church? Yesterday Brett Salkeld at Vox Nova suggested an answer.
At dinner last night one man spoke up and said, “As a Mennonite, this looks like an answer to what I’ve been asking: Can I be a Mennonite and a Catholic at the same time? How can I be in communion with the bishop of Rome, and thus the whole Church, without forsaking my Mennonite identity?”

These ordinariates give us a way to imagine just that.
For starters.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hot seat getting cold

Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia posted yesterday on rumors that the next Archbishop of Milwaukee "could be named within the next fortnight." Speculation indicates the most likely appointee will be one of these four:
Bishops Gerald Kicanas of Tucson (currently vice-president of the US bishops), Blase Cupich of Rapid City, Jerome Listecki of LaCrosse and Milwaukee's administrator, Auxiliary Bishop William Callahan OFM Conv. ...
Tucson was the second U.S. diocese to file for bankruptcy due to pending claims of sexual abuse of children by priests. Bankruptcy has appeared to be a plus in the voting for a leadership postion in the USCCB. If Bishop Kicanas is appointed, it might mean our Archdiocesan leadership has finally concluded it is only a matter of time until it files for Chapter 11 the day before an abuse case comes to trial.

Bishop Cupich would, based on very limited information, remind people more of Archbishop Weakland than Archbishop Dolan. If so, that might serve as an extreme example of the "fat pope/thin pope" theory that it's better for the new guy if he contrasts with the last guy. First impression is he'd be the choice for, say, closing a few dozen more parishes while calling anyone who objects divisive.

Bishop Listecki spent most of his life and career in Chicago. Unsurprisingly, he hasn't drawn quite as much attention in LaCrosse as Bishop Burke did (see fat pope/thin pope, above), though he did publicly object to Notre Dame conferring an honorary degree on fellow-Chicagoan and President Barack Obama. Listecki is a lawyer, potentially adding one more lawyer who comes out ahead in litigation involving our Archdioces (Yay!). I've heard it might be a disadvantage to already be a bishop in the Province of Wisconsin, which would also apply to Bishop Callahan.

If Archbishop Dolan's time is deemed too short for the fat pope/thin pope rule to apply, Bishop Callahan might get the job as Dolan 1.5. They look enough alike that I would do a double-take when Callahan came by in the entrance procession at Midnight Mass at the Cathedral, thinking it was Dolan. On the other hand, the rule might be applied, and the similarity deemed enough to likely make the job harder for Callahan. He seems to take an interest in the desert where religious education and formation used to be.

(via Dad29)


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Health Costs and History

From The Wall Street Journal today
In 1965, Congressional budgeters said that it [Medicare] would cost $12 billion in 1990. Its actual cost that year was $90 billion. Whoops. The hospitalization program alone was supposed to cost $9 billion but wound up costing $67 billion. ...a program that began at $4 billion [a year] now costs $428 billion.

Monday, October 19, 2009

And your mother wears IDF shoes

"Morning's Minion" at Vox Nova reviews Sarah Silverman's proposal to Sell The Vatican, Feed The World.
Silverman is Jewish. Perhaps she needs to look a little closer here. Perhaps she needs to ask why a group of her co-religionists feel that they have a unique right to their own secular state, and to deny human rights to (and commit war crimes against) the non-Jewish inhabitants of that territory. Look to your own backyard first, Sarah, before pointing out the moral flaws of the Catholic Church.
It's hard to imagine Mel Gibson saying that sober.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

To drive home his contempt for the majority’s approach, [Justice] Holmes included in his Lochner dissent [Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 65 (1905)] a snide, sarcastic gem that has become the most quoted sentence in this much-quoted opinion: “The Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics.” For a modern reader to grasp the meaning of this reference, some factual background is required. The English author Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) was a prominent intellectual whose most important book, Social Statics, was originally published in 1853 and reissued continually thereafter. ... Central to Spencer’s thinking was a belief that our emotions dictate our moral values, which include an “instinct of personal rights.” That “instinct” Spencer defined as a “feeling that leads him to claim as great a share of natural privilege as is claimed by others—a feeling that leads him to repel anything like an encroachment upon what he thinks his sphere of original freedom.” This led Spencer to conclude: “Every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.” Holmes, by coyly denying that Spencer’s “law of equal liberty” had the solemn status of a constitutional principle, masterfully conveyed two points: that any principle of individual liberty must emanate from a source outside the Constitution, not within it—and that the Peckham majority’s “liberty of contract” had the same intellectual status as Spencer’s emotionalist rubbish. --Thomas A. Bowden, Justice Holmes and the Empty Constitution, The Objective Standard, Summer 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Mr. Justice Holmes, by H. L. Mencken, The American Mercury, May 1930, review of The Dissenting Opinions of Mr. Justice Holmes (via David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy)

Friday, October 16, 2009

The definite article

Among this year's Vatican II award winners announced by our Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Wednesday was,
Service to the Priesthood – Fr. Joseph J. Juknialis has served his parishioners by empowering them to "be the Church" for over 40 years. He has worked hard to impart the value of preaching well and the preparation it requires to the many seminarians he has taught at the St. Francis de Sales Seminary, Milwaukee. ...

Though some seminarians must have been daydreaming during class and wound up saying things like "be Church" instead.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hope, if not change

Someone emailed this to the other half of our politically-mixed marriage saying they thought of her when they saw it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Renewal of the reform

Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City, said to be among those being considered for appointment as Archbishop of Milwaukee, spoke at a September 30, 2009 meeting of the priests of our Archdiocese on the new translation of the liturgy currently in progress. As reported in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald,
“We need a coordinated, massive, comprehensive introduction to the Roman Missal within the church in this country, and presented in a way that allows Catholics throughout the country to understand what is happening and to use it as an opportunity to renew the liturgy,” he said.

We've needed that since the Second Vatican Council, so it's unclear why we should expect it now.
Bishop Cupich cautioned, “This is not ‘reform of the reform’ – all that language we’re hearing from people who have an axe to grind or who are trying to cause trouble for the church;

At least he managed to avoid using the word "divisive". If raising issues that a bishop would rather not deal with is going to be equated with causing trouble for the Church, I caution that they might as well just bring Archbishop Weakland out of retirement.

Whether Pope Benedict XVI is one of Bishop Cupich's axe-grinding trouble-makers appears to turn on what the meaning of "reform of the reform" is. Here's the Oriens Journal report on a paper delivered by Cardinal Ratzinger at a conference at Fontgombault in July 2001,
As to the "Reform of the Reform", Cardinal Ratzinger himself raised it during some concluding remarks which he addressed to the conference guests about their discussions. Responding to themes in the [Dom Cassian] Folsom and [Professor Robert] Spaemann papers, Cardinal Ratzinger emphasized that a "Reform of the Reform" means a reform of the new Missal.

In other words, the starting point for a "Reform of the Reform" is the new liturgy as it actually stands in the Church today. The Cardinal seems to have ruled out, by implication, the view advocated by some conservative liturgists that a "Reform of Reform" means going back to the 1962 Missal and starting all over again in the light of what Vatican II, supposedly, was really all about.

The objectives of a "Reform of the Reform", the Cardinal proposed, were to effect a liturgical reconciliation within the Church. To achieve this would require an end to a certain kind of liturgical creativity; better translations; a restoration of at least some Latin to the liturgy as a link to the tradition of the universal Church, and a renewed focus on the altar, representing Our Lord, as the physical point of reference of the liturgy.

Later in Bishop Cupich's remarks,
He told the priests not to “be pulled between the NCR (National Catholic Reporter) and the Wanderer (newspapers),” but to learn as much as they could about the changes, to “defuse hot wires by engaging in intelligent discussion” and helping people answer the question, “What is this translation offering us in the renewal of liturgy?”

Sounds like he's calling for a renewal of the renewal. In the absence of any indication that proposed changes are being tested in the field to see if they produce the desired results, this latest round of changes will likely join the rest of the post-conciliar liturgical reforms on the "it should have worked" pile.
“Just think in your imagination what we could create in this country if the bishops together decided that the catechesis for this new Roman Missal would be done within the same period of time at every parish in the country,” Bishop Cupich said.

Didn't the bishops long ago decide together that catechesis on every aspect of Church teaching would be done at every parish in the country? Whatever might be in the imagination, in reality former Catholics now make up a tenth of the nation and only a minority of the remaining Catholics are at Sunday Mass.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Death panel

Looks like the St. Al's parish council was found non-responsive, and our pastor's column in Sunday's bulletin notes the DNR order.
At the October Parish Council meeting, it was decided to have a formal process regarding guests who wish to address the council about a specific issue. Anyone wishing to do so is asked to contact the Chair at least 3 days prior to the meeting, if possible, to communicate the issue of concern. At the meeting, those who have requested time will be allotted 5 minutes each to state their concern. The council will listen and then refer the issue to an appropriate committee. The council will not act as a committee of the whole and engage in discussion or debate. Guests are reminded that during the meetings, except for their allotted time, it is appropriate to be good listeners. Only council members are engaged in active discussion.

He always likes to close with a joke.
We hope that this will make for better communication.

But serially, folks,
All parish members are invited to all council meetings.

It's been a long time since I went to raise an issue. After all, if I wanted to waste time, I could have stayed on the parish council.
In fact, the November 5 meeting will be our ANNUAL PARISH MEETING. A revised Constitution and set of By-Laws will be up for approval. All are welcome to attend.

Nah, I'll wait and read about the meeting in the minutes.

Just kidding! You might get the impression from the parish council's page on the parish website that minutes will be posted there (perhaps in pdf). Note the Internet Archive shows the council page has been up since at least January 2, 2007 and no minutes have ever been posted.

So far, no reason to change my earlier conclusion that the real, unstated, parish policy is against communication, just as it is against evangelization.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Spirits among saints

Karen Mahoney reports in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald on the mission of Father Dominic Roscioli. He recalled an earlier time when Catholic belief was commonly expressed with images of the angels and saints in homes.
In an effort to rekindle an interest in the saints, Fr. Roscioli and partners Jody Becker and Carlo Pedone have developed Holy Spirits wine to bridge that connection. The wines, available in stores, online and in select restaurants feature saints matched with wine varietals.

Not Saint Anselm until they find the wine than which none greater can exist.

The $14.95 price per bottle includes a donation to Next Step.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fish Fry Night Milwaukee

The Times Cinema hosts the world premiere of this film by Ron Faiola on Sunday, October 11, 2009.
Fish Fry Night Milwaukee is a film that takes you to some of Milwaukee's most popular, historic and unique fish frys, to see the people who make them and enjoy them.
Among them is the fish fry at my parish.


Might there be anything even cuter than a children's choir?

Among the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photos of this year's blessing of pets for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi was one of my pastor blessing John Binder's Bichon-Shih Tzu mix Sidney.

P.S. Imagine if a blessing of the pets could be accompanied by a children's choir.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Father Perez leaving St. Adalbert

Father Eleazar Perez, who is credited with leading St. Adalbert Church as it went from the verge of closing to become one of the largest Catholic parishes, is leaving, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

When I did an analysis of Mass Attendance, best and worst, by district, St. Adalbert's was the highest in our Archdiocese. The current prevailing policy around our Archdiocese appears to be "death before evangelization". If that changes, we might see an examination of what Father Perez and St. Adalbert's did to see what can be learned from it.

Great Commission or on commission

Headlinend Labor leaders urge religious community to support workers, Annysa Johnson actually reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that union leaders urge religious community to support unions, promising to make it worth their while.
"We need to understand better how we can work together," said Cochran [Sheila Cochran, secretary-treasurer and chief operating officer of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council], who relayed a conversation she'd had with a pastor about tithing.

"I asked him, 'What do you want: 10% of a minimum wage? Or 10% of a union wage?' " said Cochran, who insisted that much of the street ministry performed by religious organizations would be unnecessary if more people had access to higher-paying jobs.

Street ministries, I had thought, were primarily ministering to people without jobs at all.
"I think our area churches would be better served with 10% of a union wage," she said.

Using that meaning of the term, wouldn't they be even better served concentrating on areas with more business owners, managers, and professionals? You might recall that
While Catholic parishes in the central city might be struggling to hang onto members, some suburban counterparts are booming, said [spokeswoman Julie] Wolf of the archdiocese [of Milwaukee].


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The greatest story, or the trickiest?

The Economist (September 17, 2009) reviews A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, by Diarmaid MacCulloch, and The Case for God: What Religion Really Means, by Karen Armstrong. And reviews the authors.

On MacCulloch,
A vicar’s son, he was ordained as a deacon but declined to become a priest in protest against a homophobic wave that gripped the Church of England in the 1980s. (He has been active in the gay Christian lobby.) More than once he makes the point that in telling the story of self-described Christians, one must look beyond texts by early Christian writers whose main purpose was to denounce heresy. Fair enough, but such is Mr MacCulloch’s preference for the heretical over the orthodox that a reader who relied on him alone might struggle at times to work out what the mainstream Christian view was, despite learning lots about those who were against it.
On Armstrong,
she, like Mr MacCulloch, has baggage. An ex-nun, she too is “on the rebound” from old-time Christianity, and she deals more ruthlessly than he does with the classical axioms of faith. ...

Ms Armstrong has won admiration from Muslims and Jews for expounding their traditions in ways that earn respect from outsiders. But such is her animus against traditional Christianity that she cannot render quite the same service for the faith she was once devoted to.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pray for Rosemary's baby

Once again, the adult's self-interest is being used to rationalize treating proven child sex abuse as though it is trivial, as though it leaves no lasting mark on a child's psyche or soul. Hollywood's defense of Polanski is no different than the Catholic Bishops' shifting of child predators from parish to parish. --Marci A. Hamilton
(via Althouse)

See Weakland says he didn't know priests' abuse was crime

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Respect Life Sunday is October 4, 2009

Our Archdiocese reminds us that
Respect Life Sunday is October 4, 2009. This year's theme is "Every child brings us God's smile." It comes from a homily of Pope Benedict XVI (January 7, 2007, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord).