Friday, April 12

Tonight I'm probably going to try to read much of the pertinent sections of Catherine of Siena's Dialogue and return later with a report on what she has to say that might be helpful in the Present Situation.

A sizzlin' Indiana Friday night....

Law's staying. Blames the problems on poor record-keeping.

"My desire is to serve this Archdiocese and the whole Church with every fiber of my being. This I will continue to do as long as God gives me the opportunity," Law wrote.


And there, my friends, is the problem.

My desire.

A great, great piece by Mark Shea on Catholic Exchange that says everything that really needs to be said on this.
The spotlight on:

Bishop John McCormack of Manchester, New Hampshire

. He served as priest personnel director for a time under Law. Let's shine the light on some of Bishop McCormack's finer moments:

Via the Globe:

In 1988, several weeks after Pollard reported his alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. George Rosenkranz to the Archdiocese of Boston, the church official who handled abuse complaints said he found nothing to justify removing the priest from ministry.


The Rev. John B. McCormack, now bishop of Manchester, N.H., said Rosenkranz merely had ''sexual issues,'' adding that what Pollard viewed as abuse - acts that included Rosenkranz's request that he masturbate in front of him - may simply have been expressions of affection, according to Pollard.

....In relation to Shanley...

Two years after he dismissed Pollard's complaint, McCormack took a far friendlier approach with Shanley, despite Shanley's controversial advocacy of sex between men and boys.


''Sensing the loneliness that comes with leaving a parish where you and the parishioners have meant so much to each other,'' McCormack wrote in one of more than a dozen letters to Shanley, who had been placed on sick leave and sent to California in 1990, ''the only thing I can think of are the words of Shakespeare - `Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.'''

More in this article from the Manchester Union Leader

And then there's this, also from the Union Leader, which contains this nugget near the end:

In another letter that year, McCormack told Shanley there had been no additional legal activity against him, and McCormack praised him. “It is wonderful how you maintain your sense of humor in the midst of your difficulties,” McCormack wrote.


The documents also contained McCormack’s handwritten notes of an anonymous complaint he received in 1993 from a man who alleged Shanley molested him in the 1960s.


“Handled it okay — angry — told me I would burn in hell for what just happened,” according to McCormack’s notes of the conversation.


“He was mean to me. . . . He made me scared to death of him,” McCormack added.

He was mean to me???????? Aside from the glaring issue of a lack of sympathy for the victim, we are moved to ask - Is this the way mature, psychologically healthy men speak? I have a 19-year old son, and I have no doubt that even he, in this moment poised between adolesence and full manhood, would never use the phrase of another, he was mean to me. What are we, five?

Spotlight on McCormack. Spotlight on Banks of Green Bay. Spotlight on Dailey.

Are you ready for your close-ups?




From the Boston Globe:

Cardinal said to be unsure about resignation.

First of all, have you watched the news? Have you seen the video of the Cardinal's castle...er..residence? 'Nuff said. Whatever else I may think about our bishop, (which is not anything bad, except for his lack of courage regarding Notre Dame), he does live in a pretty cool place: in one neighborhood over from ours, on a residential street, in a ranch-style home situated next to a Lutheran church.

Anyway.

With local and national television crews camped outside the cardinal's Brighton residence, the advisers said Law met with a group of six bishops and two priests who urged him to remain. The bishops have been arguing that calls for his resignation are generated by news coverage and that Law is the person best suited to handle the sexual abuse crisis that has roiled the archdiocese since January, according to the advisers, who asked that they not be identified.

Here's my Irresponsible Speculative Scenario of the Day:

Say you're the vice-president of a company that's really messed up - with the IRS, with stockholders and so on. In the past couple of months, some of the problems have leaked out, and agitation has begun, as have polite inquiries from the IRS. The president of the company presided over the book-cooking, to his benefit, as well as for the benefit of you and several other vice-presidents. There are calls coming for the president to resign - to turn over the reigns to an outside auditor who can figure out what's wrong and straighten things out.

Would you be enthusiastic about this outside auditor coming in? Or would you blanche at the very prospect and deeply prefer that the old president stay? Wouldn't your own fear of exposure and loss of position move you to say that the current president is the ...person best suited to handle the [financial] crisis that has roiled the [company] since January

So whenever you hear of bureaucrats flocking to the defense of another bureaucrat, remember that little imaginary scenario. I'm just sayin'.

Moving on:

But some have privately advised Law that he should step down because he has lost his moral authority and has become a hindrance to the church's ability to raise money to finance day-to-day operations and its programs to aid the poor.

You notice that even the press buys into the line that financial crises are hurting the church's ministry to the poor. Subsequent statements in the article, however, don't support the idea that this is the real concern:

The official, who asked that he not be identified, said the damage done to the cardinal's reputation has imperiled fund-raising that supports much of the archdiocese's annual operating budget. The cardinal's Annual Appeal, which normally brings in about $16 million by the end of May, may raise barely half that amount, the official said yesterday.


The chancery's annual operating budget is more than $40 million. If the fund-raising campaign comes up $8 million shy, it would likely mean major cuts in operations, even as the church prepares to sell off properties to pay tens of millions of dollars in legal settlements to those who says they were sexually abused by priests.

Now. Undoubtedly, some of that Appeal money goes to Catholic Charities, but let me assure you, much of it doesn't. The "chancery's annual operating budget" of more that $40 million is probably completely different - it refers to various diocesan offices and programs, some of which are important, others of which could be cut today and no one, except the person in charge - probably a polyester-suited woman with short grey hair and a candle burning to Gaia in her office, would miss it

.What bothers me about this article is the sense that It's All About the Benjamins. The pressure's mounting, but why? Because moral authority has been compromised? Because children have been harmed? Because there's been a grievous failure of responsibility?

No. Because donations are down. That ain't the way it should be.

A word on that: You may be tempted to cut your donations yourself, but be careful. Sure, if your diocese is embroiled in this kind of thing and is paying all kind of settlements, by all means, don't contribute to the diocese's guilt fund. But do continue to support all the wonderful ministries that are out there. Contribute to your local Catholic school, even if you're a grandma. They can always use the money. Send your bishop's appeal money right to the soup kitchens, shelters and other ministries they tell you those funds go to support. Give to your parish. Don't stop giving completely. Just redirect it to sources that need it and that you can trust.




Phillip Lawler in the WSJ on The Scandals.

Even after Father Shanley was finally removed from active ministry in Boston in 1990, archdiocesan officials hid his transgressions. Incredibly, one auxiliary bishop of Boston (Robert Banks, now the bishop of Green Bay, Wis.) assured officials of a California diocese that they had no reason to worry about Father Shanley's background. Another (William Murphy, now of Rockville Center, N.Y.) assured the wayward priest that he would not disclose his whereabouts when plaintiffs' attorneys came calling. Cardinal Law himself wrote to Father Shanley in 1996, thanking him for his "years of generous and zealous care." He even recommended him for a position in a New York City home for troubled youngsters.

It's not just Law that needs to go. There's a slew of bishops that should be turning in their croziers right about now. Is it happening?

More wisdom from a reader:

I'd like to throw my lot in with Fr. Neuhaus and say that I couldn't care less about the press's motivations in covering the scandal. In fact, I imagine that they probably think they are helping kick the last leg out from underneath the Church (or at least some of them do). Bully for them.


In reality they are cleansing the wound. They are shining the light in the darkest corners so that nothing can lurk there anymore. We are probably in for some bad times as the scandal grows but at some point the stables will be clean. All that will be left are those priests faithful through it all and what strength will our Church have then.


Mark Shea has a better alternative name for Francis Kissling's organization:

I think it's much more plain to use their own acronym CFFC: Charlatans for Fetal Crucifixion

Finally, a Catholic institution doing something right when they hear an abuse accusation
Good stuff Catholics do (An ongoing series)

Catholic Action for Street Children in Accra, Ghana:

CAS runs a House of Refuge in Laterbiokoshie, Accra. In this day-centre, street boys and girls play games and rest. They can receive medical treatment, wash and keep their money and belongings safe. Very importantly, the Refuge is also a place where they can receive advice about their life and future.


CAS runs several programmes. Children attend literacy classes and they can learn about different trades in the demonstration classes. There is a possibility to 'go on sponsorship', which means CAS helps a child to really move off the street and learn a trade or go to school. CAS' Hopeland Training Centre takes a special place in providing a sponsorship placement for street children.

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