Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas & To All a Good Condom!

I hope everyone reading this has a great Christmas. Try to stay calm if you are visiting annoying family and/or friends. There is a spike in heart attacks this time of year, which means the wait at the hospital will be longer if you have one. Don't forget to pray.

The New Roman Missal will be going into effect next Advent. The conservatives are continuing to win the small liturgical battles, but a bright spot on the ecclesiastical horizon was the pope's words regarding condoms. Basically, in this AIDS dangerous world that we live in, if you are having sex with someone who might have AIDS, wear a condom. For a closer analysis, see my blog from a couple entries ago.

A couple of days ago, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican put out a statement clarifying that the Pope's comments about condoms does not mean that condoms are okay to wear for the primary purpose of preventing pregnancy. Some conservatives are worried that now that the Pope okayed condoms to combat AIDS in certain circumstances, that he has created a slippery slope. And they are right!

The pope made clear that condoms are not bad in and of themselves, it is the primary purpose that counts. Right now the Pope does not see overpopulation as a problem, but when the Vatican realizes that close to 7 billion people is more than the planet should have to put up with, then we will see a Pope stating that condoms are legitimate for combating excessive population growth. In morality, Benedict is steering us in the right direction, even if he is not there yet on all the important moral issues of our day.

A Faithful Catholic

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Marian Apparitions Near Green Bay...

This past week on December 8th, Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay stated that the Marian apparitions to Adele Brise in Champion, WI in 1859 are worthy of belief. This does not mean that anyone is required to belief in them as a tenet of the Catholic faith or that they hold anything necessary for salvation. They are simply available as an aid for anyone who wishes to make use of them.

According to the shrine's web site, the message that Mary told Adele the one time that she spoke to her was: I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. You received Holy Communion this morning, and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession, and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them... Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation... Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you."

The message seems simple enough. I am wary of any message that speak of Jesus punishing, but hell there are a number of different ways to understand hell. As should be evident from previous posts, I am not a big fan of Marian devotion, but I find no need to ridicule devotion that is within reasonable bounds and apparitions whose messages are benign. The comments to the article on this topic on JSonline are simply terrible and mean-spirited. As when the message was supposedly given, it is important for Catholics to remember that more is required in being faithful than receiving Communion. I think it is also more important than ever to teach our children the faith. Not, of course, in the way that many of my conservative blogger counterparts would, but in a manner that truly brings faith and reason together. One day, I will have to check out this site in Champion. If anyone reading this has visited the place, I would love to read your remarks.

A Faithful Catholic

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pope says condoms okay... sometimes

Based on excerpts from the Pope's new book that is being released on Tuesday, the use of condoms is sometimes acceptable. Although some conservatives are already trying to state that this does not contradict previous papal thought, it most definitely does. Based on English-language excerpts released by the AP, the Pope states that there are exceptions to the Catholic contraceptive ban. He's gives the example of a male prostitute wearing a condom as a step towards being more responsible in transmitting AIDS. I must admit that I find it odd that he used the example of homosexual sex, since this kind of sex does not allow for the possibility of the condom preventing a pregnancy. Nevertheless, from the rest of excerpts, it seems that he also allow for a married couple to use a condom if one of the partners was infected with AIDS.

In another instance, he states that "the basic lines of `Humanae vitae' are still correct." This clearly implies that certain lines of it are wrong. Basically, the pope is still against condoms, but understands that in certain instances there may be exceptions. This means that for the pope: CONDOMS ARE NO LONGER INTRINSICALLY EVIL. Of course, something being intrinsically evil means that an action is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. That is a major shift in thought that has been way too long in coming. I think that this action also justifies the viewpoint that I have shared on this blog in the past: Benedict is much more open-minded and willing to listen to opinions that he does not share than John Paul II. I feel that I am still living a Catholic Wintertime in Milwaukee, but the clouds broke slightly today and let in a glorious ray of light.

A Faithful Catholic

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kiss-In for the Pope

About 200 gays held a Kiss-In along the pope-mobile's path. If you click on the link in the previous sentence, there is an article about it with a great pictures of multiple male couples kissing as the pope passes by. This was on a day that the pope gave a speech about keeping the definition of marriage and family very exclusive. As if one's salvation and Christian status depend on whether someone marries the opposite sex. This does have a familiar ring. Paul's opponents in Galatia and Rome told the Christian communities their that they needed to follow the Torah (Law) to be proper Christians. Paul told them that not only was that definition too exclusionary, it was harmful for the faith. Belief in Jesus Christ, who has liberated us from the bondage of sin is all that matters. I think the pope might need to take a basic scripture class.

For whatever reason, Benedict thinks that Spain is a major and "winnable" battleground for the Church to reclaim souls for his Torah-based... I mean straight-based Church. He plans another trip to Spain next year, which will be his third trip to the nation. Benedict does have a lot of wonderful qualities (see prior entries), but this straight-based aspect of his pontificate borders on the heretical. Jesus needs to be the basis of Christianity, not straightness.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bishop Sklba Resignation is Accepted...

As of yesterday, the resignation that Bishop Richard Sklba had sent to Pope Benedict last month was officially accepted. It seems that he will help out like an auxillary bishop until the end of the year, when a new auxilliary bishop will most likely be appointed.

As with Archbishop Weakland, Sklba's legacy will be tainted. He was/is a biblical scholar who saw no reason that St. Mary Magdalene could not be considered an apostle. He is also known for his thoughtful homilies and articles as well as being very generous with the oil of chrism at high school confirmations. He is a man dedicated to peace; he is associated with Pax Christi. He is also a man dedicated to interfaith dialogue, particularly the Catholic-Lutheran dialogue.

Nevertheless, he was also privy scandal, such as knowing about the $450,000 that Archbishop Weakland used as hush money to a former lover and what was going on behind the scenes of the priest sexual abuse scandal in Milwaukee. I wish him well, but also hope that he will do everything in his power to shed a truthful light on the sexual abuse scandal in Milwaukee. As any priest should know, God's forgiveness and healing occur after confession.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Pope and Iran

Even in recent times, popes have influenced tense political situations in the world. Pope John XXIII is viewed as easing tensions during the Cuban missile crisis and Pope John Paul II played a role in the collapse of communism is Eastern Europe. This past weekend, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent Pope Benedict a letter thanking him for opposing the Qur'an burning that was set to happen at a so-called church in Florida. Ahmadinejad had also sent Benedict a letter in 2006 regarding sanctions that were being imposed on Iran during that time.

In this weekends letter, Ahmadinejad also denounced Western secularism and materialism and stated: "Close cooperation and interaction among divine religions to halt such destructive moves is an absolute necessity." In light of past history, this begs the question of whether Benedict could play a role in Western conversations with Ahmadinejad. Benedict's criticism of Western society obviously strikes a cord with the Iranian president. If this possibility is not on Benedict's radar, perhaps it should be. The similar world-view that Benedict and Ahmadinejad share concerning the harmful nature of secularism could be a starting point for fruitful dialogue. Of course, this could all be a smoke screen (particularly the respect Ahmadinejad shows for other revealed religions) on the part of Ahmadinejad, but there is no harm in trying, and everything to be gained.

A Faithful Catholic

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Audits Needed for More than One Reason...

St. John Vianney in Brookfield, WI cannot seem to catch a break. Their previous pastor was arrested for probably stealing around $128,000. Now, the parish has been the target of a cyber crime in which $121,000 was stolen. Amazingly, $84,000 was recovered before it "technologically" left the country. In previous posts, I have stated the need for parishes to have audits, largely because of in-house theft. At this point, it does not appear that this instance is a case of in-house theft. It could be a case of a virus stealing the needed financial information from one of the employee's computers or an e-mail phishing scam.

Nonetheless, the two-fold purpose of an audit is to ensure that a company is 1) keeping accurate books and not stealing, and 2) making sure no one else can easily steal from you. The second option is more rare, but is perhaps becoming easier because of the possibilities available with on-line banking.

Thankfully, the Archdiocese had decided while Dolan was here to enact bi-annual audits for all the parishes in the Archdiocese. Right now the first wave of parishes are undergoing audits and next year the second wave of audits will get the rest of the parishes. If these auditors are any good, hopefully, they will enact safety measures at our parishes to ensure that this will not happen again. This could all be bad timing. If St. John Vianney had had their audit three weeks ago, perhaps this would not have happened. In any case, I am happy the Archdiocese had already put a comprehensive audit plan in place before this theft occurred.

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pink Smoke over the Vatican

A new movie is premiering in Chicago in a week and a half: Pink Smoke over the Vatican.

Chicago Premier of
Pink Smoke Over The Vatican

WHAT: Women's Ordination Conference's 35th Anniversary - Making It Happen in Our Lifetime

This is a movie about the Women's Ordination Movement. Details are below and a trailer can be found at:

WHEN: Saturday, September 18, 2010

6 p.m. Movie Premier (Doors open at 5:45p.m.)
7:30 p.m. Dinner Buffet and Silent/Live Auction

WHERE: Irish American Heritage Center
4626 North Knox Avenue, Chicago

Tickets: $60
Free parking

Cash bar

One can register for the event here:

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Old Boys Club Still in Effect...

As reported, well, almost everywhere it seems, Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels advised a young man, who had been abused by his uncle/Bishop for 13 years (1973-86), to not make his allegations public for another year, until after his Uncle, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, had retired. All this is of course very troubling. Here is a man who could have a voice in choosing the next pontiff... and by the way had a voice in picking Benedict XVI. Danneels name was even considered a possible contender for pope during the last conclave.

There are bishops in the Catholic Church that want us to believe that the sexual abuse crisis is behind us and that all the fences have been mended. But when a Cardinal in the church asks a victim to stay silent instead of going immediately to the authorities, it becomes readily apparent that little has changed. It is still more important to protect the honor and teaching authority of the hierarchy than to prevent child abuse. When will the majority of bishops realize that their silence and complicity in child abuse is ruining the honor and teaching authority of bishops.

A Faithful Catholic


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Priest-Geek Fun and Beatle Appreciation Week at the Vatican

A couple odd stories are in the news this week. Rev. Luke Strand of the Milwaukee Archdiocese received a cease and desist letter from Best Buy for driving around in a black Beetle with a "God Squad" logo. This, of course, is reminiscent of Best Buy's Geek Squad Beetles. While a bit on the conservative side, Strand is a great priest who has creatively tried to reach out to young Catholics. We need more priests like Strand who are willing to make use of contemporary symbols and language to reach out to young people.

On another front, an article in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's official newspaper, offers forgiveness to the Beatles for John Lennon saying the Beatles were bigger than Jesus and "messages, that were possibly even Satanic." The writer notes that their positive influence on music and the beauty of their music outweigh the bad. First, there are no Satanic messages in the Beatles catalog. Second, why are they writing about this right now. Who cares. The Beatles have been broken up for forty years and the Vatican is in the midst of a scandal in which it should be asking forgiveness. Strange.

A Faithful Catholic

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wisconsin Bishops Apply a Natural Law Argument...

The Diocese of Madison's public stance that any church employee in that diocese will receive a warning and then termination if they were discovered to be using artificial birth control made headlines this week. This warning was given by a spokesperson for the diocese as a new Wisconsin law went into effect mandating all insurance plans in Wisconsin offer "the pill." Obviously, someone would have to flaunt their use of the pill for the diocese to know because there are privacy laws that prevent the diocese from knowing what medications an employee is taking. I am not sure if this is really a matter of church vs. state, as the media is making it out to be, as much as it is an issue of connecting health care to employment. If the basic right to health care were not connected to a specific employer, this story would be a huge non-issue.

Last August, the Wisconsin bishops put out a joint letter opposing this new health coverage mandate. They try to state that the pill is not a Catholic issue because it falls into the realm of the natural law, "which is inscribed in the mind and heart of all human beings." Although I do not deny their basic natural law argument that there are inclinations for happiness deposited deep in our hearts by the divine, the theologians of the Middle Ages would have expected to find their natural law principles to be present in other cultures. This is not the case. Their logic is faulty even by Catholic natural law standards. In addition, the natural law inclination they are referring to regards the desire to have and raise children (an inclination that priests are not supposed to follow). Somehow, this got twisted into "never use the pill." I have more to say, but will save it for another day...

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arizona Catholic Bishops Mostly Right on This Issue...

In a short statement released by the Arizona Catholic Bishops' Conference yesterday, they commended the action of Judge Susan Bolton in restricting some of the "more problematic provisions of SB 1070," which would lead to racial profiling and the unreasonable holding of immigrants who are here legally as well as U.S. citizens.

Although I understand that a short statement should be expected on short notice, I am disappointed that the document does not make use of any of the foundational biblical teachings or social doctrine of the Catholic Church. The primary concern expressed in the document seems to be that this unjust law would adversely affect Catholics at almost every parish in the state of Arizona. Hence, it seems that they are primarily concerned with the issue because it will affect Catholics.

They also briefly lay out their vision of comprehensive immigration reform, which includes forcing illegal immigrants to learn English as a punishment for being here illegally. It lists this next to fining illegal immigrants. Although I think it would be helpful to offer English classes to immigrants, it seems odd to make their punishment "learning English." After an illegal immigrant learns English, would they receive a green card?

In any case, I am pleased that they are opposed to this legislation. Scripture as well as Catholic Social Teaching make abundantly clear that the alien in your midst should be treated with respect, dignity, and love. What else is the message of Jesus if not one of God's unconditional love for us that we would likewise share. Obviously, there are other complexities concerning this issue, but I will tackle those in a future post.

A Faithful Catholic

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Connell Making Waves with Listecki...

Over two weeks ago now, Fr. James Connell, a canon lawyer and priest of the Archdiocese of the Milwaukee, stated the the national audits by the US Bishops of individual dioceses do not protect children adequately from child abuse. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and La Crosse covered the story, but few others. The reason that the statement was also covered in La Crosse is because Connell asserts that the current standards to protect children from priest molesters in the Diocese of La Crosse in particular are not sufficient.

As people in both dioceses know, current Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki came from La Crosse. Connell points out that according to the Vatican, priests who are accused of sexual abuse with a semblence of truth or probable cause are to be reported the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The Diocese of La Crosse does not report to the CDF unless the claim seems beyond a reasonable doubt or has moral certitude. This is basically the difference between culpability in a civil versus criminal court case and means that La Crosse has a lower standard for reporting possible pedophile priests than the Vatican.

Connell's statement is important and needed. It is shame that more media outlets have not picked up this story. At the same time, it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Listecki and Connell develops in the future. Connell statement is basically an indictment of Listecki for endangering children while he was in La Crosse.

A Faithful Catholic

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bishop William Callahan Going to La Crosse...

Yesterday morning, Bishop William Callahan was appointed by Pope Benedict to be the next bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse. He is currently an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The La Crosse diocese probably will not notice much a change from its two previous bishops, Burke and Listecki.

I find this to be a disappointing move on behalf of Pope Benedict. Callahan is almost as far away from the Vatican II mold of bishop as can be found. He views the Church in a state of persecution from the world at large. As such, it would be very appropriate for the closing hymn of his installation mass to be "Onward, Christian Soldiers," which he has referenced in the past. In contrast, Vatican II presents a vision in which the Church that can be in dialogue with the world. Nevertheless, Callahan does not see himself as a diplomat for the Church, but a soldier.

For those in La Crosse that really liked their previous bishops, they should be very happy with their new bishop. For those who did not like their previous bishops, I feel great sorrow. I would like to think that Callahan will be a bit less ostentatious in his conservatism and may have learned something from Timothy Dolan's style, but only time will tell.

A Faithful Catholic

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fr. Roy Bourgeois Keeping Busy...

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who the Vatican excommunicated recently because of his involvement at the ordination of a woman, is keeping busy. There is a video on youtube that documents a talk that he gave recently to a group of faithful Catholics to hear about the calling of women to the priesthood in the Catholic Church.

The video is broken up into about two 9-minute segments:

Part 1 Part 2

As Fr. Roy states, "There will never be justice in our Catholic Church until women can be ordained." To paraphrase Fr. Roy, at present, women are sitting at the back of the Catholic bus. I thank Fr. Roy for his witness and his sacrifice in standing up for the rights of God. God has a right to call certain women to the priesthood. Who are we to deny God? And while I am sure that Fr. Roy will be all right in the end, his excommunication is taking him out of a world of security that exists for priests. That sacrifice is very admirable and appreciated. Once again, thank you Fr. Roy.

A Faithful Catholic

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Good and the Bad in the Jodi O'Brien Scandal at Marquette

I think that it is about time that I add my two cents about the Jodi O'Brien scandal at Marquette University. The obvious bad about the whole thing is that another lesbian is being publicly disgraced by a Catholic institution. This is made worse by Marquette lying about the whole thing. Anyone on the inside will tell you that Marquette (and Fr. Wild) were completely aware of her scholarly works on the issue of marriage before they offered her the job as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. It was only after pressure from Archbishop Listecki (who has been amazingly silent in the public realm regarding this issue and letting Fr. Wild take all the heat for it) and a few big donors that Fr. Wild changed his mind and rescinded the job offer.

The good... Marquette's lies illustrate it's own belief that if they were completely honest about her lesbian attribute being the reason that they rescinded the offer, they would lose public credibility. I wonder in retrospect if Fr. Wild would have rescinded the offer if he knew that there was going to be this type of student uproar and public scrutiny of him and Marquette. If you are not aware, the New York Times even picked up on this story early on. In any case, he wants to position himself as someone who would have no problem hiring an openly gay/lesbian person if they did not write about it in regard to Church teachings.

More good... a large contingent of students at Marquette, many of whom are Catholic, are standing up for the belief that a lesbian can be the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which includes the theology department. It's reminiscent of the Young Catholics for Choice. It demonstrates that there is still a large contingent of young Catholics who are willing to engage in dialogue with the Catholic hierarchy, even when the hierarchy now wishes they would go back to pray, pay, and obey.

More good? I'm not sure how to interpret Listecki's silence. Is he afraid that if he speaks on this issue, all the pressure would go to him? Why is he content to let Marquette flail on its own? Why hasn't Fr. Wild thrown him under the bus with himself? Is Listecki worried he might get student protesters outside his home? It will be interesting to see if and when Listecki has anything to stay on this issue.

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Diocesan Trustees...

In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, every parish is its own corporation. The five person board of directors for every parish consists of two bishops, the parish priest, and the two lay trustees. Although canonically, the priest is in charge of the parish, the two trustees have the ability to notice if anything is out of sync financially - one of the trustees' signatures is required on all the checks. In reality, you often have trustees who do not take this responsibility seriously, always trust the priest, or are incompetent. There are also some great trustees out there. Though it would be nice if parishes, who nominate and vote for the trustees, realized on a deeper level the serious and positive effects that this position can be for the parish community financially.

I think that this is a model that could be adapted to the diocesan level. A board of lay trustees, nominated and chosen by the laity in a diocese, would have full access to financial records. These lay trustees would then be at liberty to disclose any pertinent information to the general Catholic population. This method would have prevented scenarios such as Archbishop Weakland paying off a blackmailer and many U.S. bishops from paying hush money to cover up sexual abuse. And if these heinous actions had happened despite having lay elected trustees, then at least we have more blame to spread around and we could vote in better trustees. As of now, the laity are not allowed to vote in a new bishop. Just a thought...

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ratzinger... the better pope

In the opinion section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there was a piece by New York Times writer Ross Douthat. Basically, he saw John Paul II as the charismatic pope who was "a weak administrator, poor delegator, and sometimes a dreadful judge of character." His protecting of Fr. Marcial Maciel is a case in point. In general, JP's charisma and good looks covered a litany of faults in the public square.

Benedict's handling of the the Vatican and dealings with pedophiles has been far superior. But he's also buried himself in a state of "retrenchment, resentment, and self-pity." And more importantly, he's still not doing enough. He has been tough on pedophiles since he became pope, he has not properly sanctioned any bishop.

To me, Douthat's article is right on. It may be cute for the Vatican to be willfully wrong on doctrinal issues, but claim no fault in the Church's handling of sexual abuse is crazy (see again Fr. Marcial). I wait in great interest to see if Benedict can be the pope I hope him to be.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, March 29, 2010

Papal Drama Continues...

As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday, 26 March 2010 (from the NY Times), Pope Benedict had memos sent to him concerning the pedophile, Fr. Peter Hullermann. This priest was supposed to be sent to treatment for his pedophilia in 1980, which he was. But he was also returned to active ministry within days of beginning treatment - obviously not enough time to be "cured" even in the pre-1985 world where many thought pedophilia could be cured.

According to Rev. Lorenz Wolf, judicial vicar at the Munich Archdiocese, many memos are never read by the archbishop of Munich and this MIGHT have been one of them. Also, maybe Hullermann's name had come up in conversation with Ratzinger, but he could not remember with any certainty.

This all smells very bad to me. How could any bishop say that they were not aware that known-pedophiles were being reassigned when they were not supposed to be? What about the special relationship that is supposed to exist between the bishop and priest. It is supposed to be like a father-son relationship. I do not think I am alone in thinking that this father allowed his son to be a wolf among sheep.

A Faithful Catholic

Friday, March 12, 2010

Old Wine Skins Falling Apart...

With the recent revelations of sexual abuse in Germany, which open the possibility of some responsibility being with the Pope's brother, and maybe even Benedict himself, it appears that clergy abuse of minors is not simply an "American problem." There are obviously mixed opinions at the Vatican regarding the situation. In the past week, has documented Vatican responses that vary from "that was in the past, we have control of it" to "we need to examine the role of women in the decision-making processes of the Church."

When the sexual abuse crisis was at its height in America in 2001, some in America wanted John Paul II to take the stand here in America as he was our bishops's boss. Now, with the new revelations that make themselves known everyday in Germany, could the German government be in position to call in Benedict as a material witness regarding his time as Archbishop of Munich and Freising?

I know better than to be overly optimistic regarding quick changes in the Catholic Church, but this scandal epitomizes the problem that is present with the current state of power relationships in the Church. One wonders if the those such as Benedict and his brother hoped that they would be dead before these German revelations came to light. In any case, the next few months will be very interesting...

A Faithful Catholic

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pope trying to save souls by denying annulments

On January 29th, Pope Benedict spoke to the members of the Roman Rota, the church panel with the highest authority in marriage law cases. Although I sympathize with some of his claims that the Church should attempt to aid couples in salvaging legitimate marriages, I think he goes too far in stating: "In the church, the aim of judicial activity is the salvation of souls." If a man or woman is in what the Church considers a legitimate marriage, falls in love with someone else, divorces their original spouse and marries the other person, am I too assume they are probably going to hell because they cannot get an annulment. Or worse yet, let's say that the Church allows the remarried person to receive communion, are they going to hell?

I can think of some extreme cases where I might say yes, but overall, I think not. Is divorce a grave evil that plagues are society... yes. Is preventing the remarried from receiving communion saving marriages and souls... no, not the last time I checked. This is an issue that the Vatican needs to seriously address with an eye for actually saving souls, by bringing people back to the Church.

A Faithful Catholic

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Church is NEVER Wrong... unless it is...

Milwaukee Archbishop Listecki has been on the defense lately. A couple of weeks ago, Listecki was criticized by a police chief in his previous diocese for a having a sexual abuse policy that asks victims to first tell the diocese, instead of the police. The reason for this criticism resolves around a priest who is accused of assaulting a married woman during a counseling session. She first went to the diocese, which did nothing. Then she went to the police, who arrested the priest, who is now facing charges of sexual assault.

For the first week of this news, Listecki ignored it. No comment. Maybe he thought it would go away. Last week he sent out an e-mail to church workers defending his action, but was silent to the press. Yesterday, he finally defended his actions to press, stating that it was a case of "he said, she said" and no further action was needed. He also stated that in his previous diocese, all allegations against minors are reported to the police.

There is a lot wrong here. First, you should tell all victims to go straight to the police. And if they come to you, call the police. Even if you think the allegation is complete nonsense, call the police. Getting the picture... call the police. Not calling the police makes it look like you are not taking the allegations seriously. Scratch that, he did not take the allegation seriously. That is why he did nothing. He stated that he did nothing because since it was "he said, she said," who was he to play judge and jury. He forgot to mention that by doing nothing, he did play judge and jury! His doing nothing was a statement that the priest is probably innocent and he let this possible sex offender continue to serve the community.

There is something that Listecki could do to improve the situation. APOLOGIZE. Bishops are wrong sometimes. Do not be arrogant, because that is exactly how Listecki looks right now.

A Faithful Catholic

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Moderation Now in Place

FYI, I have changed my settings that I will view all the comments before they are published. I will still publish all comments that disagree with me, provided they are not overly offensive. The reason I am doing this is because I am getting a lot of spammers. Sorry for the inconvenience.

A Faithful Catholic (who hates spam)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Unrest at All Saints

I often feel uncomfortable pointing out the specific failings of a specific parish or priest, but sometimes they make themselves a little too obvious. A current example of this would be the situation with Fr. Carl Diederichs at All Saints Catholic Church in Milwaukee. In their January 24, 2010 bulletin, there was an entire page dedicated to the Parish Council's problem with the Archdiocese's (and specifically Listecki's) decision not to renew Diederichs for a second term at All Saints. Priests in the Archdiocese normally serve a parish for two separate six year terms, but for a variety of reasons, the Archdiocese can chose not to renew the term. This page or "letter" is supposedly based on a unanimous vote by the Parish Council and the trustees to have Fr. Diederichs stay. Call me a cynic, but a unanimous vote seems rather unlikely. It is also telling that this "letter" ran the same Sunday as Archbishop Listecki's visit to their parish. That is BOLD, to say the least. It seems clear that Fr. Diederichs would like this information as public as possible.

I am often critical of the Archdiocese, but I think they are definitely making the right decision in not renewing Diederichs's second term. Diederich's has a good reputation as a priest committed to social justice, but he has also built a reputation as 1) a poor fiscal manager at a parish that recently had a huge renovation and needs better fiscal management, and as 2) someone who is not a team player and has created a lot of disgruntled parishioners. If this "letter" from the Parish Council was unanimous, it is likely that after being at the parish for over five years, individuals disagreeing with Diederichs no longer felt comfortable serving on Parish Council. This second paragraph is speculation based on some interviews on my part. Also, though the letter is (supposedly) from the Parish Council, it is only taking up a page in the bulletin with the pastor's permission.

A Faithful Catholic

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some Random Thoughts

I have not felt like writing much lately. There is not too much big church news. But I feel that I should write something to stay in the habit. I am still very impressed by Benedict's Peace Day Message: If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation. Benedict has taken the lead with filling out our Catholic Social Teaching by addressing the issue of sustainability. He has definitely earned his reputation as the Green Pope, especially in comparison to previous pontiffs. Protecting creation seems of particular importance at this time of the year in Milwaukee. It's raining, snow is melting, and one wonders if raw sewage is being pumped into Lake Michigan.

In any case, I hope to have a more interesting post in the near future.

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Listecki's Legacy for Milwaukee

Here is Milwaukee Archbishop Listecki's first homily text.

A few thoughts...

Listecki first defines a bishop as "the link between the particular church which is entrusted to him in hierarchical communion with the Universal Church." This is a distortion of Vatican II teaching and early Catholic thought (e.g. St. Augustine). As with our previous archbishop, Listecki sees himself, basically, as a papal representative. Although there is obviously a meaningful unity with the Church of Rome, Vatican II stressed the individual bishop, more in partnership with Rome and less as a link in a chain of command. This is another step backward for our Church and for our Archdiocese.

In his homily, church teaching was equated with papal teaching. This raises numerous questions about who is the Church and how can we be so certain that the Pope is always right? Vatican II wanted to engage the world: Listecki pauses before the great divide between the secular and the religious realm. The sexual abuse scandal and the numerous cover-ups should make clear that the religous realm is not as distinct from the secular realm as Listecki would like to think.

Lastly, he stated, "His Holiness, Benedict the XVI has made his selection and I accept his decision as God’s will." Equating the Pope's decision with God's will without any good reason is a scary proposition. Listecki, himself, states that there are many others more qualified to be archbishop of Milwaukee. Was it God's will that Benard Law go to Boston? Or for you conservatives, Was it God's will that Weakland spend over two decades in Milwaukee?

I will try my hardest to give Listecki a chance, but arrogance is a terrible thing. I do not usually get along with people that KNOW God's will.

A Faithful Catholic