Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Photon-stained wretches

I always find it interesting how reporters can sort of get whipped up into a frenzy when investigating certain people or organizations but get downright nuanced and meek when looking at problems with journalism. --Mollie Ziegler

Without really trying

Archbishop Dolan posts
But it is fair to say that, just as the Catholic Church may have been a bleak example of how not to respond to this tragedy in the past, the Church is now a model of what to do.
Surely, then, it is fair for even someone not from Missouri to say show me the organizations that acknowledge they have modeled their response on that of the Catholic Church.

He goes on,
... Paul McHugh, an international scholar on this subject at Johns Hopkins University, remarked, “Nobody is doing more to address the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors than the Catholic Church.”

That, of course, is another headline you’ll never see.
Actually, just in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, you'll find Dr. McHugh's words quoted or referred to in articles with these headlines.
State bishops oppose legislation to repeal statute of limitations

Archbishop offers encouragement, despite challenging times

Church cannot let up in fight against sexual abuse of young

The church responds and endures
Assuming bishops keep repeating the McHugh talking point to reassure us, rather than themselves, it's not working. It leaves the impression they have nothing else to back up what they say.

(via Whispers in the Loggia)

P.S. There's more on Dr. McHugh at the Office of Media Relations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dean Weissmuller interviewed in the Chicago Tribune

Milwaukee priest’s victims have questions, no answers: Former Chicagoan recalls alleged abuse in case that has reached to the Vatican, by Manya A. Brachear and Marie Rohde
Weissmuller, now 51, and four other men who filed a lawsuit last August learned last week that they were part of a scandal with global implications. The New York Times revealed new evidence that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, might have known about Murphy's misconduct at least a few years before he died but never took steps to remove him from the priesthood.
If that isn't an accurate description of Cardinal Ratzinger's actions, that's what happens when the first source for information about what's happening in lawsuits against our Archdiocese is The New York Times, as opposed to, say, our Archdiocese.

(via comment by "Catholic Bill" at Pressroom Buzz)


Brundage on the trial of Father Murphy

Setting the record straight in the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy: Then-presiding judge for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee gives first-person account of church trial, by Fr. Thomas Brundage, JLC, at Catholic Anchor

(via Whispers in the Loggia)


Weakland on the BBC on Murphy

Eddie Mair interviewed the "Man who wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger", Archbishop Rembert Weakland. (via comment by Patrick Molloy at DotCommonweal)

Saving paper with unspoken messages

Dad29 notes Another Really Tough Production Schedule must have kept a west side parish from putting a U.S. Bishops health care reform flyer into a Sunday bulletin.

Here on the south side, I don't recall seeing any such flyers at my parish either, though its March 14, 2010 bulletin had this flyer from Justice for Immigrants.


Monday, March 29, 2010

The last to know

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee's statement, response to NYT article in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald includes that
A chronology of Lawrence Murphy is available on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Web site at
It literally and unhelpfully links to the site's home page, and let's you search, rather than linking to the Lawrence Murphy Chronology.

The chronology's mid-to-late-1990s entries might now be supplemented from the news reports involved in the controversy over the ecclesiastical proceedings at that time.

I'll supplement the early-to-mid-1970s enrtries with these two items.

"Murphy’s actions were public knowledge and reported to civil authorities as early as 1973; in newspaper articles as early as 1974; and through civil court proceedings as early as 1975." according to a statement from Archdiocesan spokesman Jerry Topczewski in the October 13, 2009 Milwaukee Catholic Herald.

"[then-Archbishop Will1am] Cousins testified he found nothing in his investigation to substantiate any of the complaints about Murphy. That testimony came in a 1975 sworn deposition in a civil lawsuit filed by a victim. Murphy 'sacrificed himself for the school' after 'harassments and threats,' Cousins said under oath. The lawsuit was dropped." according to the March 26, 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

It would make sense for our Archdiocese to say it could not have been involved in a cover-up if by 1975 it was "public knowledge" that Father Murphy had been sexually abusing kids. It's just hard to square that with Archbishop Cousins, under oath, denying Murphy's actions that same year.

Update: The New York Times posted The Document Trail of the Vatican proceedings against Father Murphy. (via Paul Moses at dotCommonweal)


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two Wilsons

The Homer of the Ants, by Margaret Atwood, review of 'Anthill', by E.O. Wilson

San Francisco Fifty Years Ago (Kenneth Rexroth’s complete columns for the San Francisco Examiner)

Smackdown: Keynes vs. Hayek With Poll, by VA Classical Liberal (via InstaPundit)

As a progressive, Obama hews to the Wilsonian tradition, by George F. Will

Frost's notebooks: a disaster revisited, by William Logan, review of 'The Notebooks of Robert Frost', edited by Robert Faggen

Full measure of devotion, by William Wan

Reading Rat: Recommended reading by these authors.

Also of interest: Just press print: New technology promises to prolong the life of the book


Friday, March 26, 2010

Lacuna beach

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)
I have not seen that this verse is included in the Lectionary's three year cycle of readings for Sunday Masses or the two year cycle of readings for weekday Masses. If it's not, adding it now might be given some consideration.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Things clip show

If you've read every previous issue, the 20th anniversary issue of First Things included one bit of elaboration on its history in Joseph Bottum's column.
Richard [Richard John Neuhuas] and Jim [James Nuechterlein] had been putting out, for Rockford [The Rockford Institute], a newsletter called The Religion and Society Report and a quarterly journal of scholarly and public-intellectual articles called This World—and, deprived [by Rockford's "raid"] of those entities, they decided to join the two kinds of publication into a single new magazine. As anyone in publishing could testify, it was not an immediately obvious or intuitive combination: Newsletters were big business in those pre-Internet days, and public-intellectual journals held an important position in national discourse. The two swam in different ends of the great pool of American journalism, however, and their joining seemed to promise only a disjointed and discombobulated thing.

But, somehow, the combination worked—the newsletter transmogrified into The Public Square at the back of every issue, and the quarterly morphed into a monthly analysis of religion and public life.

The anniversary issue includes a facsimile of The New York Times May 16, 1989 report on the split with Rockford. Contrary to the impression left by Father Neuhaus's jibes in The Public Square, The Times is apparently essential reading after all.

Besides the column, everything else in the issue was reprinted from the previous twenty years' issues. The quote above might have made a good blog post; it could have included links to the online versions of selected items. The anniversary issue might have instead had original articles surveying the two decades, and the place of First Things in them. Some self-criticism might have been in order; better now than in a final issue.

But print or online, may they never speak of The Rockford Raid again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mission aborted

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee website linked to this March 17, 2010 Wisconsin Catholic Conference Alert: Contact Members of Congress on Health Care, which said
Contact your Representative and Senators today by e-mail, phone or FAX.
The March 20, 2010 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported
[Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome] Listecki said in a meeting with the Journal Sentinel Thursday that he stands with the [Catholic bishops'] conference and its president, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. He said he has not lobbied Congress, as George has done, saying he believes Wisconsin's delegation has made up its mind.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Parish bracket$ announced

St. Al's parishioners sometimes return after traveling and suggest things to our pastor based on what they see in bulletins from the churches at which they attended Sunday Mass while away. One such suggestion was publishing a list of names of contributing parishioners (without amounts). He has responded on the current From The Pastor's Desk page of the parish website that there was generally negative response from parishioners.
I would like to offer the following statistics instead:
22.61% contribute nothing
14.19% contribute up to $100
30.20% contribute up to $500
17.27% contribute up to $1000
9% contribute up to $2000
7.43% contribute more than $2000

I hope you will find these statistics informative and helpful.

I do. For example, over 77% of parish households contribute something using the envelopes. (Some of the 22.61% with no recorded contributions might be putting cash in the collection at Mass.) It does suggest some additional statistics that could be of interest. For example, what's the correlation between frequency of Sunday Mass attendance and amounts given?


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dave Archibald's walk, and talk

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki in a Thought for the Week post from January mentions this.
A few days ago some very brave young people represented our archdiocese in Washington D.C. They marched for life. Joined by hundreds of thousands of other people, they made their presence known. ... Later, I was given a “hoodie” worn by the “Marquette High School Hilltoppers for Life,” as they marched for life in D.C. I was touched by the fact that they borrowed a statement I made in my installation homily, “one must sacrifice for the truth.”

That appears to be “Hilltoppers Defending Life” at Marquette University High School. Its adviser is Theology faculty member Dave Archibald. The CUF Milwaukee March 2010 newsletter says he will speak on his "Experiences in Catholic Education" tomorrow, Sunday, March 21, 2010, 2:00 p.m. at Blessed Sacrament Church Hall South 40th Street and West Oklahoma Avenue in Milwaukee. (If you attend, they say to enter by the door at the southeast corner of the church.)

P.S. Before getting his degrees, I see the Mr. Archibald was a graduate of Marquette High and of my parish's school.


Founders lost? Shakespeare found?

Algebra in Wonderland, by Melanie Bayley

Lincoln in Peoria, by Harry V. Jaffa, review of 'Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point', by Lewis E. Lehrman, and 'Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America, by Garry Wills

How Christian Were the Founders?, by Russell Shorto

Madison's Avenues, by Michael P. Zuckert, review of 'The Madisonian Constitution', by George Thomas, and 'James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government', by Colleen A. Sheehan

'Shakespeare's lost play' no hoax, says expert, by Mark Brown
(via Joe Carter at First Things)

Reading Rat: Recommended reading by these authors.

Also of interest: Great Books Academy


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Gibbons Equality

A lot of blog posts about the USCCB emphasize the limited competence of bishops when dealing with practical political matters.

At the same time, a lot of other blog posts emphasize the doctrinal authority of bishops when they teach about the application of morality to political matters.

And I mean "at the same time" literally. Which kind of post shows up on which blog on any given day depends on which political party's interests are in any way being met with uncooperative behavior by the bishops. But if you find one kind of post on one kind of blog, you will find the other kind of post on another kind of blog.

Hence, the Gibbons Equality:
On any given day, the likelihood of a "limited competence" post on a conservative Catholic's blog equals the likelihood of a "doctrinal authority" post on a liberal Catholic's blog.

On any given day, the likelihood of a "limited competence" post on a liberal Catholic's blog equals the likelihood of a "doctrinal authority" post on a conservative Catholic's blog.

--"John da Fiesole"

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Monday, March 15, 2010

The Blogging of the Candidate

Deborah Solomon has questions for blogger Mickey Kaus about his planned run against Senator Barbara Boxer in the California Democratic primary.

As with William Buckley's issue-raising campaign for Mayor of New York, better he should just keep doing what he's been doing.

Arch Madness

At Whispers in the Loggia, The Big Dance, Church Edition, including a chart of the selection brackets and seedings for Archbishop of Los Angeles.

Back to front

Yesterday's Living Our Faith television program concluded its second segment with this.
Fr. Mark Brandl, associate pastor, St. Alphonsus Parish, Greendale, shares the story of his journey from lapsed Catholic to Catholic priest and explains how to help others who have drifted away from the church to find their way back.

He also blogs.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reclusive author, hidden scrolls

Recluseland, by Mark Steyn

Why Orwell Endures, by George Wheatcroft

‘Mad as a Hatter’: The History of a Simile, by Pat Ryan

In Our Time - Calvinism, BBC Radio 4 (via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)

Voice of Reason: A message for Jews and Christians, The Economist, review of 'The Story of the Scrolls: The Miraculous Discovery and True Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls', by Geza Vermes

Reading Rat: Recommended reading by these authors.

Also of interest: Library Science, by Pagan Kennedy, review of 'This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, by Marilyn Johnson


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Integrating our energized vibrancy

Back to planning at Parish Council
CMMI: Capability Maturity Model Integration

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Friday, March 12, 2010

A hundred sheep, but who's counting

We were invited to the recent Campanile Society dinner for selected donors to last year's Catholic Stewardship Appeal. That was even though my contribution was at an unlisted (Acedia?) level of giving.

Archbishop Listecki later sent those of us who declined to attend a letter of thanks for our donation, and a pitch for this year's appeal.
I need your help to ensure the Church's mission of teaching, serving and sanctifying, and passing on the gift of faith to our children and all God's people (680,000 in our archdiocese!)

Not to mention needing someone to check the form letters against Archdiocesan statistics, see Milwaukee Catholics down 38,000 in 2009.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wee-weed the People

The baleful fact is that the country suffers from a surfeit of democracy -- a gazillion interest groups, a gazillion blogs, a gazillion talk shows and all of them insisting on transparency so a gazillion eyes peer over the shoulders of politicians. --Richard Cohen

I've said it before and I'll say it again, democracy simply doesn't work. --Kent Brockman

Juan y Maria Catolica

David Lewellen reviewed last month's concert in the Early Music Now series: Ensemble Lipzodes makes Guatemalan music timeless.
The performance at All Saints Cathedral showed that music written in the New World during the early days of colonization sounds similar to what the Old World was producing at the same time, which may be the most remarkable thing of all. Music written for isolated churches in remote mountains in Guatemala has every bit as much passion, energy, and magic as anything the great musical centers of Europe were hearing.

The contrast between church music then and now is as great in Guatemala as here; compare these videos of a performance of Ensemble Lipzodes to the music from this prayer service on our 2007 mission trip.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Far Left behind

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

Play midsty for me

When Adoremus Bulletin reported US Bishops Approve Missal Texts, there was this local angle.
Bishop Richard Sklba, auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee and past president of CBA [The Catholic Biblical Association of America], also strongly objected to Liturgiam authenticam’s insistence on fidelity to the original text: “I’ve been very clear about my own conviction that the use of inclusive language translations, both in Scripture and in liturgical books, particularly when resulting in more faithful renditions of the original author’s intent, is an obligation for the Church. I do not see this as merely a question of option” (Milwaukee Catholic Herald, May 21, 2001).

During the November meeting, Bishop Trautman’s effort to delay approval of the Missal received vocal support from Bishop Sklba, who said, “In my judgment the text is still unfinished, filled with awkward grammatical phrases, over which I stumble every time I attempt to pray the text aloud”. Commenting on the Holy See’s recent gesture to Anglicans (the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus) Bishop Sklba said,
This will certainly have some consequences. One of which, I submit, will be the more public presence of the Book of Common Prayer in our midst as a living reality. The language of the Book of Common Prayer is elegant. It’s elegant in its phraseology and its cadence. So fine that it influenced and shaped our English language for almost five hundred years. Our proposed liturgical texts will be compared to that historic one, critically, I’m afraid, and with less than positive result. I still believe we need more time to produce and refine a text worthy of worship of our Church. So I ask that we continue to take the time we need.

On inclusive language, a recent Sunday's Gospel reading and homily at my parish demonstrated more effort at various evasions of the word "men" than the net effort at evangelization in a couple of decades.

On the new translation, English-speakers will, I submit, find it no more awkward grammatically than the phrasing "the more public presence of the Book of Common Prayer in our midst as a living reality." See Diachronic apostolicity.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Saints be praisized!

Joseph O'Leary on the controversy over pending liturgical changes.
Why were the likes of Bishop Donald Trautman ridiculized...?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Caught in the Acton

The Economist reported on two studies.
Taken together, these results do indeed suggest that power tends to corrupt and to promote a hypocritical tendency to hold other people to a higher standard than oneself.

That is, "Power corrupts, but it corrupts only those who think they deserve it".

Ask the Archbishop

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel religion writer Annysa Johnson and other local media will pose questions to Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki at a Newsmakers Luncheon March 9 at the Milwaukee Press Club. In an effort to represent the community, we'd like to know what you'd like us to ask the archbishop. Send your questions to Annysa...


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Not on the list

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that a Controversial bishop will be at Marquette on Thursday.
Retired Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who has been blocked from speaking at some churches, including Milwaukee's Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, because of his views on women's ordination and homosexuality, will speak on "Justice in the Church and Society" at Marquette University on Thursday for the annual Faber Lecture.

Given the recent controversy over who participated in the installation of Archbishop Listecki at the Cathedral, this creates an opportunity for explanation of Church teaching in the bishops' column in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald. Archbishop Weakland could interrupt his retirement to explain the errors of Bishop Gumbleton's views on homosexuality. Bishop Sklba could explain the errors of Bishop Gumbleton's views on women's ordination.


From the ashes

Berlin, Germany, February 17, 2010

On our morning jog around the immediate neighborhood no buildings clearly date to before the war. Buildings are all several stories tall, immediately adjacent to each other. We pass a church, but it's almost indistinguishable from the buildings on either side.

The hotel has a complimentary breakfast buffet. It's Ash Wednesday, so I avoid the bacon and sausage and stick to eggs and what look like little breakfast potatoes. The latter turn out to be mini-wienerschnitzel.

Today is a museum day, so we subway east to Museum Island. Berlin's must-see museum is the Pergamon, which includes displays of the Pergamon Altar, Market Gate of Miletus, and the Ishtar Gate. While I took photos, everything's already at Wikipedia Commons.

We took a break at the museum cafe. I ordered the special, Pfannkuchen (Berliner) und Kaffe. A Berliner is topped with powdered sugar rather than covered with granulated, so it isn't as sweet as an American jelly doughnut; advantage U.S.A..

Next we go to the Neues Museum (New Museum), heavily damaged in the war, and not reopened until last year. It features Egyptian antiquities. The prize exhibit is the Nefertiti bust.

As we leave we cross the street to the Lustgarten (Pleasure Garden) which is actually just a nice little park.

Beyond it is the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). Repairs of war damage were finally completed in 1993.

Across another street and we're at the Marx-Engels-Forum. East German kids would, before Christmas, sit on Karl's lap. They knew if they asked for an AK-47 he'd reply "You'll shoot your eye out", so instead they asked for the Workers Paradise, but it never came.

The figures have their backs to the site of the East German Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic), its parliament building, demolished after reunification. They face toward Alexanderplatz, which was downtown East Berlin. [Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929) by Alfred Doblin had been another possibility for vacation reading.] While we never quite made it to the platz itself, we couldn't miss the Fernsehturm (television tower).

We continued east to the Nikolaiviertel (Nicholas Quarter), the oldest remaining section of Berlin, surrounding St. Nicholas Church, now also drawing tourists for shopping and some restaurants. It's not near a subway stop and we wind up walking all the way back to Potsdamerplatz, missing by a block or so a remnant of the East German border wall. (The Berlin Wall ultimately included the "border wall", the "hinterland wall" within East Germany, and the "no man's land" or "death strip" in between.)

Jet lag day

Berlin, Germany, February 16, 2010

We've seen it recommeded that travelers should use their first day for light activities until as close as possible their usual bedtime in the new time zone. Shopping wins a 1-1 vote, and we set off by U-bahn (subway). (As visitors we find a city's subways the fastest and easiest to understand though least scenic way to get around.) An entrance for the nearest stop on the U2 line is in the median of the street almost directly in front of our hotel.

We arrive at Potsdamer Platz, "The Platz To Be". Berlin is almost too full of history. The platz is 750 meters south of the Brandenburg Gate, even closer to the all-but-unmarked site of the Fuhrerbunker, and preserves a short segment of the Wall. Today the platz is surrounded by office towers, has a free-standing elevated hair salon, and is a block from our destination Arkaden (shopping mall).

In the middle of the mall is a ticket booth for the Berlin International Film Festival, then in progress. Some stores are familiar, like Aldi [sud], where I find Berliner Pfannkuchen, subject of the Jelly/Jam doughnut urban legend about President Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech. Others are similar to U.S. chains, like the office supply store McPaper. Aldi doesn't take credit cards, so we buy most of our hotel snacks at Kaiser's.

Back outside, no indication of mardi gras. Back at the hotel, a fine selection of television channels, in German.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ich bin in Berlin

Berlin, Germany, February 16, 2010

Off-season travel to Europe is a bargain, not entilrely surprising given what is off about the season. There were a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Berliners do not believe in clearing their sidewalks after it snows. Instead they shovel a path, and leave the rest of the snow to turn into a layer of ice on which they scatter gravel, I assume until spring. Temperatures were around freezing around the clock, cloudy to partly cloudy skies, occasional snow flurries or drizzle. Wearing a sweater, blazer, and winter topcoat, I was never too warm outdoors.

Perhaps due to the initial flight delay and missed connection, our hotel room was available and we could unpack.

Central Berlin spreads east to west, with a main street (under several names) running through it. Our hotel was in Charlottenburg, to the west, on Bismarckstrasse as that main street is called there. If you go straight east that main street runs through the Tiergarten, Berlin's central park, then through the Brandenburg Gate, and becomes Unter den Linden in Mitte, to the east.

But no sprouts

Brussels Airport, February 16, 2010

Losing post title: If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium.

The passport check official greets us with "Ah, here come two Americans." The ensuing chit-chat includes him telling me that the origin of metal sleeve buttons, like those on my blazer, was military; soldiers used them to wipe their noses. (But see Wikipedia)

One gift shop sold packages of what we call Belgian Waffles.

Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen.

Now, where was I.

Chicago O'Hare Airport, February 15, 2010

Books in carry-on bag; check. Travel sport coat with books in pockets; check. Overcoat with books on pockets; check. Books include at least one set in our destination; Berlin Stories, by Christopher Isherwood, check.

Among the departure delays there was one new ot us. Just after push-back a passenger tried a self-upgrade from Coach to Business Class. It was announced he had tried this or caused some other problem the day before, and our plane returned to the gate to remove him. Hearing it so many times lead me to finally look up What's a 'cross-check'?