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