Thursday, December 12

In case you're wondering what St. Lucy is holding in her little dish up there - well, of course - it's her eyes, you know...

From Zenit: an interview with canonist and blogger Edward Peters about the new sexual abuse norms and, naturally, canon law.

or not...

Someone just emailed me saying that news of Law's submission of his resignation is breaking. But I can't find it on the page he sent me...we'll see...'s 12:30, and FoxNews just reported that they have "learned" that this is the case..

Here’s a question:

Over the weekend, I read Jack Finney’s novel Time and Again. Why? Well, I keep running across the title mentioned as the “best time travel novel ever written” and a cult favorite, etc, and since time travel is a genre that really, really bugs me – it just never ever makes sense, even if you buy the possibility of time travel, there’s always some problem or glitch that, if you think about it too much, makes the whole thing unravel. So I was curious to see if this one could make it work. It did, sort of.

Anyway, the book was pretty good and kept me up late Sunday finishing it, but there was one passage that got me curious. The protagonist is reading a newspaper from January, 1882, and he reads:

And I was fascinated by ARCHBISHOP PURCELLS’ DEBT, just below the Choctaw story. For reasons the Times didn’t explain….Archbishop Purcell apparently had five thousand creditors claiming he owed them $4,000,000 and there was some prospect that to settle these claims a number of “houses of worship would…be sold to the highest bidder.” Cardinal McCloskey seemed upset, to say nothing of the congregations, and the Times said, “The case is now ready for trial, and will be one of the most interesting in the history of American jurisprudence,” and I thought so too.

Now, Finney takes pains to make his book historically accurate, so I assume these are real events he’s talking about. Cardinal McCloskey was Cardinal Archbishop of New York City in 1882, and Archbishop Purcell was Archbishop of Cincinnati for a good long time, until he died in 1883. And I did find one reference to an article written about the "1878 Financial Failure of Archbishop Purcell," but quick Googling and a search through my limited resources here at home give me nothing else.

Does anyone out there know anything about this episode? I'm always interested in examples of how the hierarchy cleans up messes, particularly those it's responsible for.

I haven’t blogged any opinions about the unresolved situation in Boston. That’s because it’s unresolved and I’m not really into spending my time crafting arguments about a matter that could go one way or another. Once the decision is made I’d feel the discussion has more value. It’s sort of like projections before an election.. “If Jane Doe wins, this will be why and this is what she’ll do.” And then she loses. Or wins for completely different reasons. Look at the LA Senate runoff. All the preelection analysis turned out to be pretty useless, since, it comes out afterwards that Terrell was a fairly abysmal candidate and, among other things, Landrieau was able to capitalize on some issues largely unnoted in the weeks preceding the election: the issue of sugar imports, for example.

So with Boston.

We’ll know soon enough. Then we can analyze, critique, and most importantly, continue to pray for the Church in Boston.

Some have jumped on the Cleveland paper’s statement that it’s puzzling that a peace activist and social worker would kill another person. Note, the commenters, say, that they don’t take that stance when an abortion facility is damaged or an abortionist shot. They don’t wonder at the oddity of a prolifer killing. They imply that it’s natural and fully to be expected.

Well, that’s a little harsh. Not the point about the bias against anti-abortionists, but the point about the Cleveland case. Forgive me, but yeah, if a peace activist and social worker with no history of violence confessed to shooting another person and setting a fire that burned the body – I would find that…surprising. I’d find it puzzling. In fact, I do.

I have deleted a post below that got 41 comments attached to it, comments which:

a) were mostly posted by two people whose names start with "J"


b) are straying from the point and hijacking da blog


c) bore the hell out of me.

If you find yourself in the midst of a fascinating dialogue with one other individual in the comments section, do us all a favor and take it to email, or start your own blog.

Via Domenico and Catholic World News: Law to meet with Pope on Friday

An interesting accounty of the yearly protests at Fort Benning and how the event benefits the local economy...

In its 13th year, the protest has attendance that swells to the thousands. College students join Catholic nuns and retirees, marching to the gates of the base with white crosses and wooden coffins, symbolizing deaths of Latin Americans. The atmosphere swings between that of a funeral and a spring break party. Men and women dressed in black robes and covered in fake blood lie on the grass before the gate, a reminder of innocent lives lost. Solemn tears mix with massive, exuberant shouts as people walk around the chain-link fence onto base property, subjecting themselves to the judicial system for federal trespassing. Crossing the line, they call it. Thousands have risked imprisonment at Fort Benning, including actor Martin Sheen.

....Hotels and restaurant owners can't help getting a little giddy when protest time rolls around. At the Colony Inn, a small, family-owned hotel just up the road from the gathering, the lobby was so full Saturday morning that by mid morning, the desk clerk hadn't had time to put up the "no vacancy" sign. Minivans and station wagons filled the parking lot, and a sign out front read "No Parties!"

"We started filling for this weekend months ago," manager George Snyder said. A longtime resident of Columbus, Synder said he has mixed feelings about the protest. He supports Fort Benning; soldiers and their visitors provide yearlong revenue. But the protesters are considerate and don't cause him trouble.

"Some townspeople have got the wrong idea about these protesters," Snyder said. "Tonight the protesters will be staying here along with the soldiers. It's a GI payday, so lots of the soldiers will be pretty tore up, but there won't be any words between any of them, that's for sure."

Snyder's reaction is common among hotel and restaurant owners. They may not agree with the protest, but they aim to please. The protest means big bucks for the city, according to figures from the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau. Although the town forked out close to $137,000 in overtime pay and personnel for the weekend, it pulled in close to $5-million this year from the 5,400 protesters, said Peter Bowden, deputy director of the bureau.

If you'd like to peruse news stories describing how folks across the country are celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe, click here.

Poll results indicate American Catholics still value bishops' authority

The findings released Wednesday are the results of the fourth LeMoyne/Zogby poll since November 2001. The joint venture is intended to track American Catholics' attitudes about church doctrine and public policy. The survey found, on average, 66 percent of American Catholics consider war with Iraq justified under certain circumstances. After being told the bishops oppose a potential war, 57 percent support the bishops' position. The survey also found American Catholics are significantly more knowledgeable about the priest sex-abuse scandal than about the bishops' statement against pre-emptive strikes in Iraq. Nearly all Catholics surveyed, 96 percent, are aware of the sex abuse scandal, while 28 percent are aware of the American bishops' position.

The survey was conducted in mid-November, two months after Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the United States Catholic Conference, sent President Bush a letter outlining opposition to possible war. The letter outlined just-war principles, the conditions under which war is considered acceptable. The concept of a just war is rooted in the traditions of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

...The survey also found American Catholics' approval for the job of the bishops remained at 69 percent, the level recorded in March, at the height of the sex-abuse scandal. A poll in fall 2001 put the bishops' approval rate at 84 percent.

Archbishop Myers of Newark issues pastoral on sexuality

Doesn't mention sexual abuse.

In the new letter, the archbishop said he took pains to strike a positive tone. But the section on abortion is both graphic and provocative."How often do proponents of 'choice' mention the little arms and legs ripped off in vacuum aspiration abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy?" Myers wrote. "When was the last time an abortion propagandist in the media spoke or wrote of the scalded skin of a body aborted ... in the second trimester?"One church critic said Myers should have used the power of a pastoral letter to discuss his handling of the sex abuse crisis - both in Newark and in his former diocese - and what the scandal means for the future of the church."The whole thing he did missed the point of what is needed at the moment," said Eileen Flynn, a theology professor at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, who supports ordination of women and allowing priests to marry. "People have lots of questions. They want answers and information."

Flynn said she was surprised that a pastoral letter focusing on the sacredness of the human body failed to mention the death penalty, the poor, or the Bush administration's plans to wage war against Iraq. "What about the Iraqi bodies and the bodies of American soldiers?" she said.

Here's the text of the letter.

After 200 years, Jane Austen gets a new face.

Police searching for motives in priest killing

The biggest riddle is what could possess Montgomery to kill, especially given his background as a peace activist and social worker. Montgomery, who was raised in King of Prussia, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, graduated from the University of Dayton in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in social work. While there, he was a member of Ploughshares, a national peace-activists group that has roots in his Pennsylvania hometown. After undergraduate school, he earned a master's degree in social work from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. In the early 1990s, he moved to New York, where he worked with Brooklyn Catholic Charities and as a social worker with a hospital, helping place children in foster homes and with adoptive parents. In the mid-1990s, he entered the Franciscan order, studying in Michigan and Indiana before enrolling at the Catholic Theological Union, a graduate school in Chicago.

Bishops subpoened in Boston

In addition to Law, the subpoenas have been issued for Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn, N.Y., the nation's fifth-largest Catholic diocese; Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H.; Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans; Bishop Robert J. Banks of Green Bay, Wis.; and Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y. At least one additional bishop and several priests who have assisted Law in dealing with the sexual abuse issue have also been subpoenaed, according to the people familiar with the grand jury inquiry. The identities of the other subpoena recipients could not be determined by the Globe last night.

You just have to wonder....

SF archdiocese settles suit brought by priest

The San Francisco archdiocese has settled out of court a civil suit by one of its priests, Fr. John Conley, who claimed the archdiocese suspended him for reporting a possible clerical sexual abuse incident in a parish rectory five years ago.The settlement came as jury selection was about to begin in the trialIn November 1997, Conley witnessed what he termed a “wrestling match” between a priest, Fr. James Aylward, and a teenage rectory worker.Conley went to the archdiocese and reported it, where he was told to immediately report it to the district attorney as suspected child abuse. Conley was placed on administrative leave for what the archdiocese termed unrelated behavioral probl


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