Friday, March 22

Tomorrow, we will begin a series. It will be called (I think) "How to Cope with the Present Calamities: For Catholics and People who Don't Despise Them Yet." Return early and often.
My oldest son asked for my prayers tonight. That the Lady Vols basketball team not go to the Final Four, for if they win, he has to go with them to shoot video - him "and a lot of really tall scary girls" in San Antonio for almost a week.
Bad news in Tampa/St. Petersburg about their Bishop Lynch. A strange story, this one, and I'll be interested to see more of the details as they slowly reveal themselves. By the way, followers of churchy news just might remember Bishop Lynch for a slight flap of a couple of years ago, when he put restrictions on the practice of Eucharistic Adoration in his diocese - restrictions many felt amounted to a ban, for all practical purposes. I wrote about it here. Bishop Lynch also made a few waves when he removed the popular Catholic Answers show from the local Catholic radio station.
I have no Oscar predictions. I've only seen 1 1/2 of the movies in question: I saw all of The Lord of the Rings and probably less than half of In the Bedroom, based on a story by Andre Dubus, about whom I wrote here. I wish I'd seen more of the latter, although even what I saw didn't quite live up to the greatness I'd been led to expect. (Inside moment - I did see at one point, the character of the father reading a J.F. Powers book in bed - J.F. Powers being another great Catholic writer).

So, I have no opinion, except let it be a LOTR Juggernaut, for the sake of my son, who's seen it five times and just might put a hole through the floor if it doesn't win all he thinks it deserves.

Because of some mysterious confluence of unknown forces, this site is getting a lot more visitors than it used to. You're coming from all over: from other blogs, from Google, searching for things like "Jeff + Gordon + gay" and "Rusty +Yates +Oprah", searches which pull together various entries from this blog into a riotous pop culture goulash. Welcome. I hope you come back,even if you didn't find exactly what you were looking for.

For more information about who I am, go to my home page or go here to learn the True Facts about me.

A good article about the accusations of impropriety being leveled against a Polish Archbishop.
St. Ignatius, call your office.

Loyola University's decision to allow an outspoken proponent of abortion rights to give a speech at the school Wednesday drew criticism from pro-life advocates as well as the local Catholic community.

The speaker? NOW president Kim Gandy. And one other thing - she's an alumna of the school.

I suppose that it would not have surprised me in Lubbock, Texas, or Missoula, Mont.," Gandy said.[of the protests] "But it did surprise me coming to my hometown and coming to my alma mater, to a place where I lived and worked and served the community for so many years."

To his credit, the Archbishop of New Orleans did release a statement in regard to the matter:

"I have voiced my serious concerns directly to University President Rev. Bernard P. Knoth, and will continue the conversation about the meaning of Loyola's claim to a Catholic identity and mission."

Daniel Henninger on the mondo bizarro Rusty Yates:

For me the Yates story landed on another planet Monday evening when, while surfing the cable waves, what should roll in but Larry King interviewing Rusty Yates. Isn't he supposed to be in mourning, or something similar?

Larry was leaning on his elbows, sleeves rolled up on a lime-green shirt, the way he'd look if he were interviewing Liza Minelli on her new marriage (that would be Wednesday night's show). Rusty Yates was sitting really upright, in a very smooth, blue shirt and shiny tie. Bright blue eyes, brown hair that is nice and neat, and a smooth face. It doesn't move much.

There are moments--and watching Rusty, Larry and Katie was one of them--when one wants to go out to the street, stare up at the stars in the dark sky and admit, I don't get it anymore.

Neither do I.

Peggy Noonan on the Pope's statement. She gets it mostly right, as one would expect, but here and there are points with which I'd respectfully disagree.

For the first time in my lifetime ardent Catholics, or perhaps I should say orthodox Catholics, no longer trust their cardinals and bishops to do what's right.

Phew. I know lots and lots of ardent, orthodox Catholics who wouldn't trust one bishop in a thousand to carry their wallet across the street, much less renovate their church, design their child's religious education curriculum or bury their granddad.

Ever since these events broke in late January, I've felt that the outrage Catholics feel about the behavior of their leaders has been exacerbated by a deep sense of

This is the last straw.

Over the past thirty years, Catholics have witnessed as many, many bishops have consistently failed to protect the interests of the Church. They've wondered why their bishops have allowed Catholic education, from kindergarten to graduate school, lose its Catholic identity right in their diocese, under their noses. They've wondered why their bishops have allowed liturgists, most of whom seem to be nothing more than frustrated beauty-pageant planners with a certificate from Notre Dame, to deconstruct the Mass into a cross between a Kiwanas lunch meeting and a Girl Scout campfire singalong. They've wondered why their bishops have given support or at the very least not silenced dissidents within their dioceses who speak and act against the church's teachings on sexuality and abortion, while failing to give support to those who are committed to living with the truth the Church teaches about homosexuality, artificial contraception and abortion. They've wondered why their bishops have all but personally wielded pickaxes in the "renovations" of their churches. And, through it all, they've wondered where their own hard earned, graciously donated money has gone.

And now they know.

No, the pattern of "decision" making that's coming to light actually confirms what most Catholics have believed about their bishops for a while. What's shocking is that we're seeing that even with many of the "orthodox" bishops we thought we could trust, the needs of the Brotherhood trump the Gospel, almost every time.

The church turned a blind eye, not institutionally but in case after case, instance after instance, until it might as well have been institutional policy. And for a long time the church got away with it.
Why? Part of the answer is that so many of the serial seducer priests preyed on the powerless. They moved on adolescent boys in families in turmoil, teenage boys in families that had no connections, no status, no one to look out for them. They preyed on families without fathers. In fact, in some of the grimmer cases they were asked in by overwhelmed mothers who were trying to hold to the church in a rocky and dangerous world. The mothers wanted their sons to know a man they could look up to.

One wonders if those who run the American church fear that if they remove all the sex-abuser priests the church, which has a shortage of priests as it is, simply won't be able to operate anymore. Local churches would close; schools would be understaffed. And this is perhaps the central reason--not the only reason but the biggest one--the cardinals have reassigned abusive priests, and sent serial seducers for psychotherapy, sending them back to parish work when they'd been "cured."

This is absolutely correct, and Noonan puts it clearly and beautifully. But she, like so many others who publicly comment on this, miss an undercurrent, or perhaps are understandably reluctant to voice what they feel or are even begining to know. She implies, not surprisingly, that this situation is one part surprise to those in charge and another part grudgingly acknowledged out of a desperate need to keep the chuch staffed. Partly. But the more horrifying thing we have to face is that in some cases a few bishops and even more of their underlings - diocesan and religious order vocation directors, seminary rectors, and so on - this situation was no accident. (The upcoming Good-Bye Good Men will undoubtedly have a few stories to tell along that line.) For some, the priesthood functioned as a wickedly convenient cover for a few pedophiles and more than a few active homosexuals, the latter of whom knew about each other and protected each other. There. And, I think we'll see, even those not directly involved in this kind of behavior were constrained in their ability to deal with it because almost everyone of them - just like every one of us - has something, somewhere in their past that they dearly want to remain unknown to the wider public. So the silence remained. Call it blackmail if you like. And so the desperate silence, the urgent settlements ruled the day. Until the courts and the lawyers came calling. And maybe we'd want to thank God for that.


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