Saturday, May 3

David Mills at the Touchstone Blog says he'll have more to say about Bennett anon, when he's had a chance to think about it, but what he has up at the moment isn't too shabby:

Predictably, some liberals see this as hypocrisy and some conservatives do not, but Bennett should not be let off the hook. He has presented himself as a prophet, and made a vast amount of money thereby, but the standards for behavior in the Prophet's Manual are very high....

Peter Steinfels on the priest who inspired On the Waterfront

Mob domination of the New York waterfront had already been the subject of a Pulitzer Prize-winning exposé by Malcolm Johnson of The New York Sun. It was Mr. Johnson who pointed Mr. Schulberg toward Father Corridan, a man with an encyclopedic knowledge of waterfront skulduggery and a passionate commitment to the dockworkers.

The chain-smoking, salty-tongued Father Corridan was not immediately receptive to Mr. Schulberg's project of writing a screenplay. "We're doing tough stuff down here," Mr. Schulberg recalled the priest saying, "and don't need a Hollywood movie."

But Father Corridan invited the writer to meet his band of rebels operating out of St. Francis Xavier Labor School on West 16th Street in Manhattan. Soon Mr. Schulberg was deep into what, on Tuesday, he called "a world I couldn't imagine existed," of arbitrary power over who worked and who did not (employment was doled out in four-hour shifts), of daily kickbacks, of beatings and killings ensuring that no one got out of line.

Father Corridan was giving them a sense of hope," he said of the union dissidents. "If they got together and stood up to the mob, eventually they could clean up the union and get the rights that autoworkers and steelworkers already had."...

Halfway through Mr. Schulberg's remarks, James T. Fisher, co-director of the Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham and host for the session, introduced a clip from "On the Waterfront." It was the well-known scene where Karl Malden preaches a blazing sermon from the hold of a ship after a conveniently rigged "accident" has just silenced one of the rebel workers.

"Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary; they better wise up!" the priest shouts. "Every time the mob puts the crusher on a good man — tries to keep him from doing his duty as a citizen — it's a crucifixion!"

When a goon yells, "Go back to your church, Father," the priest retorts: "Boys, this is my church. If you don't think Christ is here on the waterfront, you got another guess coming."

The speech was in fact based on a talk that Father Corridan had given repeatedly. "The speech was written more by Father Corridan than me," Mr. Schulberg said. "Eighty percent of it was his words."

Rod Dreher, now of the the Dallas Morning News, has some words for his new bishops:

The pain and suffering that Bishop Grahmann has inflicted on this diocese with his mismanagement of sexually abusive priests – most especially in the Rudy Kos case – would have made a priest with the barest hint of a conscience retire to a monastery to do penance for the rest of his days. Bishop Grahmann, whose motto might be, with apologies to Louis XIV, "L'Eglise, c'est moi" (I am the church), has carried on with a royal disregard for the good of the diocese and its people. Given the disastrous blow to diocesan morale, credibility and finances caused by his leadership, it was clear even to those of us who followed this story from afar that Dallas Catholics needed a fresh start. Bishop Galante would have given us that. Bishop Grahmann wouldn't have it.

Though he is incomparably more diplomatic than Bishop Grahmann, it must be said that Bishop Galante hasn't distinguished himself as a man of vision here, even in his limited role. He had to be prodded by media revelations into dealing responsibly with Cliff Garner, the local priest who participated in a pornographic and salacious Web site for gay Catholic clerics. As a designated point man for the U.S. bishops' conference on the priest abuse scandal, Bishop Galante has talked a lot about the problem but hasn't forthrightly addressed the root causes of the systemic corruption. (To be fair, he isn't alone among the bishops.)

Though Bishop Galante did us all a service in revealing how Bishop Grahmann thwarted him as he tried to remove alleged genital groper Ramon Alvarez from the cathedral, the coadjutor is seen as an ambitious time server by knowledgeable clerics, both here and in Rome. Be that as it may, Bishop Galante deserved a chance; Bishop Grahmann refused him and got away with it.

That the Vatican has allowed Bishop Grahmann to persist in his obstinacy suggests that he has a protector in Rome. Who in the Holy See is looking out for the laity in Dallas?

Surely somewhere in the Catholic hierarchy, there must be a bishop or two who see the episcopate as a form of service, not as personal property of the sitting bishop, to be defended no matter what the cost.


Blog Archive