Monday, June 9

Greeley weighs in on One Year Later

It's been a year since the Dallas meeting, and the furor about abuse seems to have disappeared off the front pages and out of the television evening news. It would appear that some bishops have decided that the problem has been solved, and they are back to business as usual. In many dioceses, priests are still making the decisions about whether brother priests should be charged to the independent review board and reported to the civil authorities. If there is one lesson that has been learned from the scandals of the last 20 years it is that few priests--especially priests on the chancery staff--can make negative decisions about friends or classmates.

Christianity Today has links to reactions to NH's new Episcopal bishop.

Poynter points you to scads of stories on the growing scandal in the Filipino church.

As the Church Turns..

Pastor sues parishioners for what they've said about him on their website dedicated to keeping their school open.

Another story here.

Very early tomorrow morning, we are off to points west and slightly north. Michael has a business lunch in downtown Chicago, during which Joseph and I will shop and stroll, unless it's thunderstorming (as predicted), then we're in big trouble. Tomorrow night we'll be at the Brewers-Marlins game, then Wednesday back down to the Catholic Marketing Network exhibit and whatever other fun we can find. I will blog a bit right this minute, then you probably won't hear from me again until Wednesday. Blessing? Curse? You decide..

John Allen reports no new Boston archbishop quite yet

The senior Vatican official who spoke to NCRsaid it is possible there will be an appointment within the next two weeks, and that two-three names are still under consideration. He declined to identify those names. In any event, the official said, it is almost certain that a decision will be made before the Vatican's traditional summer break in August. The only thing that could prolong matters, the official said, is if the pope's choice for the job turns it down and the process has to begin again. The decision-making structure of the Vatican had been out of town June 5-9 for the pope's trip to Croatia. Consideration of the Boston appointment, along with other business, will resume June 10.

There's an abuse case involving a Holy Cross priest who served up here in South Bend and eventually ended up in Arizona.

The article I've linked above attempts to dissect who knew what and when did they know it, including this concerning our own bishop:

"In 1998, there was an allegation that made its way to Father Epping. It didn't come directly to him," Nussbaum said. "It came through other sources."According to Phoenix officials last week, that complaint came from a man in Arizona who said he was molested by LeBrun on a camping trip as a child.Nussbaum said Epping conducted an investigation into all the complaints. [Bishop] D'Arcy said he believes it was Epping who came to him in 1999 with the allegations against LeBrun."I asked for and received (LeBrun's) resignation as pastor," D'Arcy said.

.....After LeBrun left Little Flower, he apparently went into therapy."They (Holy Cross) gave me information of allegations that they were taking seriously and that they were sending him to therapy," D'Arcy said.The bishop said Holy Cross told him they were sending LeBrun to the Southdown Institute, which is in Canada.Epping has described Southdown as "a therapeutic facility for priests and religious men and women who deal with all sorts of issues."D'Arcy said he met with LeBrun after his time at Southdown and that LeBrun requested to return to ministry in the diocese.The bishop said he not only refused the request, he also removed LeBrun's faculties. LeBrun would not be permitted to distribute Communion, anoint the sick or administer any other sacrament.

There. Was that so hard?

From NRO:

Even Kucinich's own staff doesn't know his position on abortion.

Later in his speech on the House floor, Kucinich lashed out at the partial-birth-abortion-ban's supporters, a group that included 62 Democrats."Advocates of this bill who say they stand in defense of life would be more believable if they worked to support families with adequate child-care funding, child tax-credit relief for vulnerable families, and peace," Kucinich said. "For some, this debate is only about politics. The fact that other abortion legislation, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, has been advanced on the publicity of the Laci Peterson tragedy shows the unfortunate politicization of this debate."

Kucinich's vitriol seems surprising in light of his not-so-distant support of the partial-birth-abortion ban.

Also surprising is that he singled out the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which would make it a federal crime to harm a fetus during the commission of another felony. Kucinich voted for the same bill in both October 1999 and April 2001, the last time the House considered it. The legislation, recently dubbed "Laci and Connor's Law," is now pending in the House and Senate.Many Democrats and pro-choice groups oppose the bill on the grounds that by treating a fetus as a distinct human entity that has a right not to be harmed, the law is paving the way toward outlawing abortion. But Kucinich is hardly a traditional Democrat on this issue. Indeed, he has said he still believes that life begins at conception.

Finding a 33,000 pound marble altar from an about-to-be-demolished Brooklyn Heights church and taking it to CT.

Renovations like those at St. Mary's are part of a wider movement in the Catholic Church, according to the Rev. Gregoire Fluet, pastor of St. Bridget of Kildare in Moodus. A return to classical styles of architecture and decoration in the churches coincides with a renewed emphasis on the “otherworldliness and mystery” of faith, Fluet said.“There is an effort to bring a certain sense of mysticism back to Catholic worship,” Fluet said. “I think in the '60s the emphasis was more on the here and now. But people look to religion to point them to truths beyond the here and now.”The work at St. Mary is more than superficial, Fluet said. “It's a rediscovery of our roots.

And, as someone astutely pointed out in a comments box last week, the Holiday-Inn lobby/multipurpose structures of the 70's just weren't going to last - not only would we get tired of them, the carpet would wear, the plastic chairs would crack and the banners would, eventually fall apart. Bound to happen.

A story about the Rev. Robert Klein's last service as a Lutheran minister before he crosses the Tiber:

Klein will attend St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, and after three years of formation, will be ordained in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, encompassing Delaware and nine Eastern Shore counties of Maryland. The Roman Catholic Church accepts a few married pastors — mostly Lutherans and Episcopalians — as priest candidates if they come from a faith tradition close to Catholicism, Klein said.Carol Schlenker, staff liaison for the fellowship, said he has been an example to others for his faith and his family devotion.He will stay married to Christa, who plans to convert to the faith, along with their two grown daughters, Renate Klein and Maria Hollenbeck.

An interesting article about a Wisconsin priest with no intentions of retiring from his missionary work in Bolivia, even after 40 years.

The article contains this rather startling nugget:

Despite the poverty and the poor economy, Penchi said the people value education and are eager to see their children graduate from high school and go on to college.The parish school, which is for grades 1-12, has two sessions to accommodate the many students. The school's morning session has 902 students enrolled. The afternoon session has 1,044 students.

And from Kansas City, a Guatamalan Carmelite sister lives out the Gospel in her own country

She knew something was wrong more than 20 years ago, when she came upon a 23-year-old Mayan woman in tears because women of her race could not become nuns.Indigenous Mayan women did not have the same opportunities for education as the upper class of mixed European and indigenous blood people known as Ladino, Prado said.But she thought that this woman's calling was no less divine. It took several years, with requests that had to work their way all the way to the pope, but Prado started her own order of Carmelites that welcomed Mayan women."God insisted," she said. "God speaks with a stronger voice than people."People who have seen the work of the nuns in San Andres Itzapa return with accounts of women sheltering orphans and the elderly, providing comfort and refuge through years of war.

The One Year Later evaluations are starting to come in - a year, come June 16-18, since Dallas.

The Dallas Morning News


US News

What do you think? Has anything changed? Could it?

Barbara Nicolosi has some inside scoop on Mel Gibson's Passion film.

Without seeing the film, I do want to weigh in briefly on the Jewish issue. It is an important issue, have no doubt about that. The plain fact is that certain aspects of the Gospel accounts have indeed been extrapolated and taken out of context by some Christians over the past two thousand years and used as an excuse for anti-Jewish attitudes and worse. This reality shouldn't be dismissed. It is a powerful echo through too much of Christian history.

What modern readers (and viewers, I suppose) need to understand is this:

The passion narratives were shaped, in part, by the context in which the evangelists were writing: namely enormous tensions within Judaism. Note that I say within Judaism, not between Judaism and Christianity. For while relations between those who saw Jesus as Messiah and those who didn't were fluid and more and more ambiguous as time went on, (culminating in the definite separation near the end of the century, clearly reflected in John) there is no doubt that the Synoptic evangelists, at least, saw the events of the passion and related them as people coming out of a Jewish tradition speaking to other Jews. In other words, they saw themselves firmly in the prophetic tradition - the tradition of Jeremiah, for example, who spent his prophetic career excoriating Jewish leadership for infidelity. It is important to note, as well, that during this period - especially in the wake of the failed Jewish rebellion and the destruction of the Temple, there was a great deal of mutual blame-throwing going on among various divisions in Judaism. This is part of the picture we can't forget.

Secondly, the people of Judea did not condemn Jesus to death, nor did the entire population of Jerusalem. Temple leaders did this work, Temple leaders who had their own agenda (part of which was their relationship to Roman authority) and to whom theological issues were of far less importance than other factors.

All of these factors demand that our reading of the passion narratives be extremely nuanced and extremely aware of every dimension of historical context. If you want more, this document from the Pontifical Biblical Commission has much of interest to say.

It would be a terrific challenge to get this across on film, and I find the comments of the priest Barbara cites to be quite interesting on this score.


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