A Humble Suggestion for the College of Cardinals

By: Saturday February 23, 2013 9:00 am

Father James Martin, SJ, humbly proposed to the college of cardinals that they look beyond their own ranks for a new pope, and offered himself as an obvious choice. (Gotta love those Jesuits and their fine sense of humor!). But I think the good father didn’t go far enough.

Things are in a real tough place for the Roman Catholic church, from the scandal of bishops protecting priests who sexually abused children from the law to the non-transparency of the Vatican Bank that is putting their relationship with major EU banks in jeopardy to liturgical translation battles and other worship wars to . . . well, you get the idea. What is needed is something — someone — really outside the box. Someone that will capture the attention of the world. Someone whose selection will be so out-of-the-blue that it could only be seen as a miracle, an act of God. Someone like . . .

 

A Little Fundraising Advice for LA Archbishop Gomez

By: Friday February 8, 2013 6:42 am

According to the Los Angeles Times, Roman Catholic Archbishop José H. Gomez is worried about money. Says the paper, “The archdiocese has hired a New York company, Guidance In Giving Inc., to study the feasibility of a large-scale fundraiser that would shore up a bottom line hit hard by costly abuse litigation.” How large is large-scale? The Times puts the size of the proposed campaign at $200 million.

Cardinal Mahony Confirms That Archbishop Gomez Knew of Mahony’s Actions

By: Saturday February 2, 2013 9:00 am

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the Roman Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of LA, seems to agree with at least part of what I said yesterday about the actions of current LA Archbishop José H. Gomez. Mahony certainly confirmed that Gomez didn’t suddenly learn of how Mahony handled things in the last few weeks, and that as the two of them collaborated closely on the transition from one to the other, “Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors.”

Reading Mahony’s letter today only reinforces my suspicions that Gomez’s recent actions against Mahony were not driven by any sense of outrage, but rather are aimed at deflecting criticism of the archdiocese onto his predecessor. But insofar as Gomez kept silence until the courts forced disclosure — as Mahony says that Gomez has done — Gomez is as complicit as Mahony, and the actions to restrict Mahony’s public ministry are more window dressing for the public and less the product of disgust at Mahony’s conduct.

I look forward to hearing Archbishop Gomez’s reply.

Better Late Than Never for Archbishop Gomez on Handling Cardinal Mahony

By: Friday February 1, 2013 7:48 am

Roman Catholic Archbishop José H. Gomez shook the Catholic world yesterday by imposing unheard-of sanctions against his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony for Mahony’s actions to shield predatory priests from accountability during his years as the head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In most of the coverage, this was rightly hailed as a strong action to advance the cause of justice, and to provided at least a measure of accountability even though criminal liability is probably not possible because the statute of limitations has probably expired. The coverage misses one very negative aspect of Gomez’ actions, however.

Does Cardinal George Serve God, Or Mother Nature?

By: Wednesday January 2, 2013 3:28 pm

The Illinois state Legislature is gearing up to consider passage of The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (HB5170), a marriage equality bill. Unsurprisingly Cardinal Francis George, Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, opposes the bill.

What is surprising is Cardinal George’s reliance on “natural law”, not Bible references, to make his case.

The Difference Between Boy Scout Executives and Catholic Bishops

By: Saturday October 20, 2012 9:00 am

With the release of the “perversion files” compiled by the Boy Scouts of America, one of the talking points of the Catholic hierarchy and their defenders has gained more support. “See, child sexual abuse isn’t just a Catholic problem.” As Archbishop Timothy Dolan correctly noted last year, abusers are found in the ranks of not only priests but also teachers, coaches, family members, and yes, boy scout troop leaders. But the release of the Boy Scout files also undercuts those same talking points, too. As Archbishop Dolan incorrectly noted, the attention — and the lawsuits — aren’t restricted to the Catholic church.

Both organizations were clearly worried about institutional reputation, and the records in both the church and the scouts show how they worked to cover up, hide, and otherwise keep things out of the media and the courtroom. Both groups need to be, and increasingly are being, held accountable for this failure. But there is a significant difference between the two groups. One tried to weed these abusers out of their leadership; the other shifted these abusers around.

Meet the (formerly) Rev. William Cramer . . .

Late Night: Intrinsic Evil

By: Monday October 1, 2012 8:00 pm

Part of what’s got my back up here is just the passive-aggressiveness of it, as if Paprocki is God’s Perpetually Angry Receptionist, saying he’s not ACCUSING you of taking all the paper clips out of His drawer, but maybe you should think VERY CAREFULLY about what kind of employee you want to be. For your own sake. And clean out the damn fridge already; it smells like something died in there.

Bishop Robert Finn’s Next Problem Is Himself

By: Saturday September 15, 2012 10:00 am

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Robert Finn, was convicted nine days ago of failing to report suspicions of child abuse, but the diocesan website is silent with regard to the trial, let alone the verdict. Maybe that’s because of some other documents on the website, published with Finn’s signature, seem to imply that Finn ought to be removed from his position as bishop.

But there are only two people who can remove him — Finn himself and Pope Benedict. I’m not holding my breath waiting for either to act.

A Texas Abortion

By: Saturday June 30, 2012 6:00 pm

This is my story of getting an abortion in Texas, of my rights being exercised. Even with the laws in place to convince me otherwise, I still made the right decision no matter how much it hurt. I believe I have the right to go through this painful experience without paternalistic intervention “for my own good” as I am solely responsible for myself and my body.

Questioning the Paternalism of Patriarchs

By: Saturday May 5, 2012 9:00 am

Patriarchal paternalism is at the heart of leadership, according to the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in their assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Sadly, that kind of paternalistic leadership rarely works out well. See the stories pouring out of a Philadelphia courtroom over the last month, or the horrific story from Sister Joan Chittister, OSB from her recent trip to Africa.

I thank God for those who speak out against anyone who imperiously looks at the world and asks “Who are you to question us?” I thank God for the sisters of LCWR, and especially for Sister Joan.

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