Monday, February 18

Diocese of Witchita is spending $$$ to keep up a little church with few parishioners because of its association with Fr Emile Kapaun who

... was born and raised on a farm south of Pilsen. He became a priest who worked at his home parish and went on to serve with such distinction as a military chaplain that soldiers who knew him are promoting his case for canonization

More on Fr. Kapaun.

Chefs compete in Spam cookoff. I saw someone buying Spam in the grocery store the other day. In fact, she was discussing whether she should buy regular Spam or or Turkey Spam. Tough decision, I guess.
I still have nightmares, regularly, about being late for an exam or having an exam in a class which I haven't attended all semester. Here's a real-life version of that nightmare, only worse. A violinist misses his concert - with the Philadephia Orchestra, no less.
Why Catholics don't take their leaders seriously part 357:

Last year, our little town gained some national notoriety because of a proposed production of the play Corpus Christi, in which the gospel story is recast as some sort of gay-rights gala, was being produced at the local branch of Indiana University/Purdue. Don't use our taxes to fund anti-Christian propoganda, and so on. Catholic League got involved, as did our bishop, who wrote against it in the local paper.

This year, Notre Dame University is sponsoring TWO productions of - what else - The Vagina Monologues. Next week.

Bishop? Your opinion? Your control over the university that's in your diocese? Silence.

See, this just doesn't work. You cannot credibly tell society at large how to run its business and then cede all moral authority within your own community. Can't do it.

Same old story in Tuscon about covering up sexual abuse by a priest.

There's a lot of talk about these cases in the Catholic community, of course, and some of the more "conservative" discussions I've read over on email lists and bulletin boards are almost totally focused on defending clerical celibacy in the wake of these scandals, or blaming the media for jumping on these cases when "just as many" teachers, scout leaders, Protestant ministers, etc. are guilty of being sexual predators.

Well.

Let's take the second point first. What? We should be glad that Catholic priests don't prey on young people in any greater numbers than others who are in contact with youth? Shouldn't we be despondent that any priest is guilty of this crime?

On the first point. Sure, it's tempting to take the bait of liberals who use this as a way to attack the practice of clerical celibacy, but we shouldn't for two reasons. First, mandatory clerical celibacy is for the birds. It grew out of particular historical circumstances (concern for using clerical office as part of a family patrimony to pass on to heirs, a negative view of sexuality and women in the culture, and so on), and was an attempt to solve certain problems by applying a monastic ideal to a non-monastic circumstance. It doesn't work, and never really has. Reactors rightly point out that clerical celibacy doesn't directly lead to sexual abuse (many sexual abusers are married, anyway), but the protective culture spawned by mandatory celibacy doesn't help us as a church deal with these issues openly and honestly, either.

Finally, these "conservative" and self-proclaimed "orthodox" reactors are totally missing the other half of the scandal. The sexual predators in clerical collars are bad enough. Just as bad is the cover-up and the criminal way church bureaucrats have dealt with the problem when confronted with it. That's what bothers people just as much as the acts themselves.

Interesting. A former seminarian from the Diocese of Camden is suing the diocese for breach of contract because, he claims, he was basically sexually harrassed out of the seminary. It's a unique angle: he's claiming that since the priesthood presents itself in a certain way (uh...celibate) and what he encountered was anything but, that dissonance between ideal and reality constitutes a type of fraud. I wish his lawyer hadn't cited Gary Wills as part of his argument, but it remains an interesting one nonetheless.
This article says that the Pope has performed three exorcisms during his pontificate.
Look for more blogging later. At the moment, I'm trying to recuperate from a week of tending to sick people (Katie, then David), people who don't sleep (Joseph) and a very nice visit from my good Florida friend, Dorothy, who came up for the weekend with her niece Emily. We did the usual Northern Indiana things - A little bit of Amish gawking, Lincoln Museum, ice skating (the girls, not Dorothy or me.) Now it's back to work!

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