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A reader notes that "Following the death of Fr. Paul Wickens, things are not very pacific ..."

In West Orange, a church divided



Making coffee fun to the last drop

Distant cousin Peter Berres is hiring for the expanded retail outlet of his coffee-roasting business.

"This logo is ‘Have fun,’ but it’s not snooty," Berres says. "We can’t deal with pretentious types. We’re down-to-earth Midwest people here. We are not Starbucks."
Meanwhile Starbucks struggles with being widely regarded as insufficiently pretentious for Vienna.


Some dads have been known to use the "That's for nothing, now try something" approach, as does the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in this press release

on the new bishop of La Crosse.
Mr. Isely there says
SNAP members urge Catholics to remain skeptical and vigilant.
Presumably even with regard to SNAP.




History at work

My favorite Socialist, Frank Zeidler, mayor of my home town of Milwaukee from 1948 to 1960, is still going strong.

His brand was the very frugal "Sewer Socialism." At the the City's pay-as-you-go pace, the local urban freeways would never have opened. Maybe that would have been just as well.

I heard Mr. Zeidler give a presentation with local historian John Gurda. Zeidler had a bit of an ironic tone when he noted that he couldn't convince the City Council to pay $600,000 to buy the insolvent local rail rapid transit system in the early 1950s, and now there are occasional proposals to build new light rail at $10,000,000 a mile.


A reader thoughtfully notes this from the Boston Globe.

What would Orestes Brownson do?
Orestes Brownson (1803-1876), once a member of the Transcendentalists and associate of Emerson, but after his conversion and for the last three decades of his life was the most prominent Catholic public intellectual in American history. This latter part of his career seemed to me conspicuously missing from the brief Globe story. After breaking with the Transcendentalists, he edited and largely wrote Brownson's Quarterly Review. The Orestes Brownson Society hopes to post its entire run online. Other works by Brownson are posted at the Society's site and on mine.

If you spot any indication that Brownson was a "weathervane" during the half of his life after he became a Catholic, feel free to point it out.

After his death, Brownson's twenty volume collected works were edited by his son, who included little from before Brownson's conversion to Catholicism. Brownson then largely faded from public memory. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. wrote his Harvard senior thesis on him, Orestes A. Brownson: A Pilgrims' Progress (1939). Russell Kirk wrote a section on Brownson in his The Conservative Mind. I don't remember hearing of Brownson before reading Kirk's book.

You might find some one volume selections from Brownson's works in print. Professor Carey has also published an exhaustive bibliography and four volumes of Brownson's early works omitted from his collected works.

Here are a few other articles on Brownson.

Why Orestes Brownson believed the U.S. needed the Church by Peter Lawler

Orestes Brownson: A Revival by Gerald J. Russello
review of The American Republic by Orestes A. Brownson, reprinted with an introduction by Peter Augustine Lawler

Orestes Brownson and the Truth About America by Peter Augustine Lawler

Shaping Catholic Education , by Mark Sullivan
review of Religion and the Public Schools in 19th Century America: The Contribution of Orestes A. Brownson by Edward Power

Brownson's Quest for Social Justice by Edward Day, C.SS.R.

That Sturdy but Erratic Reformer, Orestes Brownson by Henry Steele Commager
review of Orestes A. Brownson, A Pilgrim's Progress, by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.



In a one horse open sleigh,

my Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Berres near their farm in Marathon County, Wisconsin, circa 1910.

Merry Christmas!




A reader reminisces about the pre-bureaucratic Church.

Back in the Good Old Days (that would be from 1965-1985, when I was a staffer at [a parish in Milwaukee's western suburbs]) the "Parish Staff" consisted of the following: three priests, one school principal, one parish secretary, one housekeeper for the priests, one full-time maintenance and one part-time maintenance guy, and moi, the part-time organist/choirmaster. The priests all lived in the rectory, thus earning the ‘lower option’ salary. The housekeeper also lived there, and received only a stipend-sized check. The secretary got competitive pay, as did the principal. The organist? Was paid by the ‘old rules’--a $50.00/month raise for each child, from a $400./month base (1972 forward.)

See, when priests took their responsibilities seriously, they were the ‘directors of Liturgy,’ (but they made space for the sacristan-crew of ladies who were quite influential in matters of decor.) The "director of music" ran the show in the back of the church, not the front. The pastor was also the "director of administration," sometimes not artfully…

Even conceding the need for a head bookkeeper and a couple of part-time assistants, what’s this "Director of Administrative Services?"

Many priests give the impression either that they are ignorant of or opposed in principle to some of their responsibilities for efficient and effective management of lay staff.

On growth of admininstrative staff in declining organizations, see Parkinson's Law by C. Northcote Parkinson.




The December 23, 2004 issue is now online, temporarily at the above URL.

Religious artwork welcomed in this art gallery
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New Gallery in Converted Commercial Building Features Abstract Art. Sounds like a headline from The Onion.

Painting represents parish’s renewed faith
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Other art news comes from St. Veronica Church, my old parish.

Fr. [Mark] Payne was named pastor of the parish about a year and a half ago. Admittedly, he was somewhat overwhelmed. The once thriving parish was facing a series of challenges, including the pending merger of its school with four other area schools to form St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. Financially, the parish was also struggling.

The challenges were "really affecting me personally," admitted Fr. Payne in an interview with the Catholic Herald. "One day as I was returning the Blessed Sacrament to the tabernacle, I had something of a vision. What popped into my head was the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

"I walked back to the altar — at the time I was very emotional — because I felt hopeless. What was I going to do? What was going to happen to the parish?" he recalled.

But the image he saw convinced him he should place the parish under the care of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

Gosh, it all sounds so ... so Catholic. Fr. Payne immediately had the parishioners join in saying the Hail Mary (Where's that in The Bible? --ed. Luke 1:28, 43, see John 2:3). He then sought an artist but found that the painting would cost $1,200, which the parish couldn't afford.

The next day,

As he was preparing for Mass, a parishioner — who wants to remain anonymous — walked in and gave him a certificate of deposit, saying she had been wanting to donate it to the parish for some time.

The value of the CD, said Fr. Payne, was $1,200 ...

Speaking of The Onion, Catholic Parish Attributes Turnaround to Blessed Virgin.
"More and more as the community has been praying, financially we’re doing better. Things are really picking up," he said, convinced that intercessory prayers to Our Lady of Czestochowa have made the difference.
The parish that prays together, pays together?

P.S. during that Financial Crisis a few years back at our parish, we sent out a flyer listing various big expenses, parking lot paving, recoating roof, replacing organ, in the hope that would get parishioners to donate more in their weekly envelopes. It didn't, but a parishioner anonymously (except to the pastor) sent a check for the listed cost of a new organ: $120,000. The challenge remains to make contributing to the day-to-day operation and routine maintenance of the parish more satisfying. This prayer concept shows some promise; maybe we should look into that.

Giving gift of life
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Reading the previous story, I had a sudden urge to rent a video of Going My Way. Now I'll have to get The Bells of St. Mary's, too.

The Schoenstatt Community is a movement within the Church which involves Marian devotion and spritual renewal in daily life. Fr. Hector Vega is a Schoenstatt priest who, while at the Schoenstatt headquarters in Waukesha got to know the Bruckbauer family, Schoenstatt members through their Pewaukee parish. In 2003, Fr. Vega's kidneys began to fail.

Several members of Fr. Vega’s family were tested as potential donors, but none matched. Thirty members of his Schoenstatt family also volunteered to be tested and four were found to be matches. The first to volunteer was Ruth Bruckbauer.
Wait a minute, this miracle happened last Spring, so why is it in the paper at Christmas ...


In another Christmas miracle of modern medicine, Karen Marie Knapp is home.


Brian Saint-Paul now writes the Crisis Magazine e-letter, but he sounds like he's channeling Deal Hudson.

But there's another item I wanted to bring to your attention, and this one might make you a little angry.
I'm not angry but am a dissatisfied subscriber since Crisis handled Hudson's recent problems in such a way that most of its regular columnists are gone.

Saint-Paul notes this article on the possible rediscovery of ancient Cana.

Archaeologists debate biblical Cana
The original location of Cana was reportedly lost almost 2,000 years ago when everyone in town had so much wine to drink at a wedding reception that none of them could find their way home.


Dear Caring Parishioners

Begins a letter from our pastor about the Financial Crisis. He uses It's A Wonderful Life as an analogy, starting with George Bailey's uncle losing the Building and Loan's bank deposit. I analogize to George's brother, and say our pastor is on thin ice here.

A $88,000 current budget deficit ... $88,000!

This money wasn't misplaced. It's just not there, mainly because weekly envelope collections have fallen off, and have fallen off dramatically.

Soon painful cuts will have to be made. This remarkable community we love will be force to become ... well, something less than it it today.

How, you might wonder, could weekly envelope collections fall dramatically if this community is so remarkable and beloved? Might it be that it is not so remarkable and beloved as parish leadership appears to assume? Might saying this in the face of contrary facts indicate that parish leadership is a bit too complacent about the status quo, that parish leadership is unwilling to examine anything they've done or are doing as causes of the financial problem?

If we send enough checks, the pressure will be off, and it will be "business as usual," just as it was in the parish Financial Crisis of a few years ago. That one was dealt with by raising tuition and fees and minimizing raises for staff. The underlying problem, that weekly contributions were flat, was not addressed. As I've noted before, the parish then undertook millions of dollars in renovations and additions. Parish leadership thought that the parishioners were bound to find the new and renovated "spaces" so pleasing that they would spontaneously give more in weekly contributions, and gladly also give to pay off the construction debt. Looks to me like maybe we didn't.

If we don't send enough checks? I can't see that breaking through the complacency; cuts will be quietly blamed on ungenerous parishioners ungrateful for their remarkable parish.

Won't you come to the rescue? Please?
Call me Pavlov's Catholic. Receive envelope, write check.




A reader notes this article on the unquiet end of the abuse advisory board of Seattle's Archbishop.

Stance on priest abuse troubles task force




More than 100 report clergy abuse to mediation system this year

Out of that 100 plus, 47 have settled through Archbishop Dolan's mediation system, two did not participate in mediation, 22 are in mediation, six were investigated and the claims deemed unsubstantiated, and nine are still being investigated, leaving 11+ undescribed.

... a representative of a group of clergy abuse victims criticized the individual mediations, saying the archdiocese was trying to close many cases before the state Supreme Court possibly takes up a lawsuit that could give victims recompense in civil courts.
I say settle them all ASAP, even if it means selling more real estate.
"It's typical for a big corporation to peel away as many settlements as possible for the lowest price and least amount of concessions," said Peter Isely, a regional representative for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Typical not only of a big corporation, but of a small corporation, or an individual for that matter.
"None of these settlements, as far as we know, contain anything that would make the church safer for children or bishops accountable for what they have done."
Which indicates it was the wrong means to achieve those ends.
Isely also criticized the amount of money victims have received from the archdiocese, which, based on what victims have told SNAP, averages from $30,000 to $50,000 a person, he said. Isely said that's among the lowest in the country.

But a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said comparing Milwaukee to other dioceses is not a fair comparison.

Why not?
"I don't think our mediation is based on whatever other dioceses are doing. It's to help victim survivors who come to us," said Kathleen Hohl. "It's a system designed specifically for the 10 counties of the archdiocese to help work with victim survivors."
That doesn't explain why helping victim survivors involves less money here than elsewhere. Now if she said that as members of the Church of Milwaukee we have historically been cheap frugal, even for Catholics, and the Archdiocese is spending what it can short of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, that would make sense.


Russia, The Sick Man of Europe by Nicholas Eberstadt




A reader notes an editorial criticising as insufficient a sentence of a year in jail and ten years probation in a Green Bay molestation case involving a former Norbertine priest.

Priest’s sentence leaves doubt

Update: Perhaps due the the public reaction, the judge amended the sentence, so that

Sex-offense registry mandatory for priest

A reader also notes a controversy over a policy of the Bishop of Green Bay.
Zubik won’t name alleged abusers

Update: The Wisconsin Chapter of SNAP criticized Bishop Zubik's policy in this

Press Release

Update 2:

SNAP will be

gathering at the Chancery in Green Bay
to deliver this
letter to Bishop Zubik

Update 3:

It should have been a snap to figure out what would happen next.

Mothers organize local chapter of anti-abuse network


On-site church audits best

The USCCB proposal to cut back on-site audits and rely more on questionnaire results to check each diocese's policies for preventing sexual abuse of children draws this editorial.

"Trust but verify" was a sound basis for policy when President Reagan applied it toward the former Soviet Union. It would be an equally sound policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to adopt toward the 195 Catholic dioceses across the country.
The bishops and their staffs are as trustworthy as the Soviet Union. But they mean that in a good way.
Because of the special nature of this ongoing crisis, standard procedures won’t do. Which is why the church’s highest officials have to make sure they are doing everything they can to make sure the public understands they are doing everything they can to protect children. Even the perception that the bishops are retreating from the reforms enacted in 2002 could do serious damage to those reforms and to the church.
At this rate it wouldn't be long before damage will mean to "make the rubble bounce," to use another Cold War era phrase.


A reader notes this report of the reaction of VOTF and SNAP.

Church Audit Plan Rankles Advocacy Groups

Update 2:

And this (pay to view) editorial from The New York Times

Shepherds Finessing Their Flock
which quotes the Bishops' own review board.
The panel warned last March that "there must be consequences" for bishops who led the years of cover-up.
It's starting to look like some bishops would see us in Hell first, which wouldn't be so bad if it were just an expression in this context.




Mass today included a bit of liturgical dance, accompanied by a song by the choir, and followed by applause. From time to time the Director of Music reminds us that the choir is not performing, but merely leading, so maybe we were supposed to get up and dance along.

Also at Mass today, the lights were turned out. Not for dance, but for dramatic effect during an announcement regarding the parish's Financial Crisis.

We had a Financial Crisis in 1999. Our pastor would not allow the School Committee to even present to the Parish Council a recommendation to eliminate one half-time position, so the committee instead recommended raising tuition. (A large part of the committee then resigned.) Not long after, we undertook $4.5 million worth of additions and renovations.

Not surprisingly, enrollment in the parish school has since been declining as tuition rose. Not surprisingly, weekly envelope contributions that were not sufficient when the parish had no mortgage are even less so now that it does.

So the parish is mailing everyone red envelopes for an emergency donation. It surprises me that the Church hasn't canonized whoever invented the envelope, who appears to be the true patron of many a parish.


Milwaukee investor looking to start progressive troupe

Lester E. Schulz hopes to form a new local theater company to stage "overtly political works with a leftward tilt."

The retired executive wants to start in Milwaukee a progressive theater company, shunning the term "liberal" because of the negative connotations it has acquired.
Since these negative connotations came from the left's discrediting of the formerly respectable term "liberal," it's only a matter of time until they discredit "progressive."
"I think liberals are looking for something to do right now," Schultz said. "Theater people are well-educated, open-minded and sensitive, and, boy, has sensitivity taken a holiday in America."
This is shaping up as a kind of chamber theater. An echo chamber theater.
At this point, Schultz is looking to assemble a group of supporters who would form a steering committee that would pursue his idea and reach a consensus on how to proceed.
Unemployed grant writers should polish up their resumes.


A reader points out this biographical bit about Mr. Schultz from the article.

A Milwaukee-area native who in the 1960s was an assistant to the president of the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, he was vice president of development at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., in the mid-'80s ...
My reader makes some connections.
LCA (now part of ELCA) is easily the most liberal of the Lutheran synods, and the Benedictines…well…does the name “Rembert Weakland” ring a bell?
Sure, tall guy, liked to analyze things, had rocky relationships and bad break-ups with a boyfriend and his Archdiocese, now retired to a website.

Update 2:

Speaking of ELCA ...




Sewage damage payouts come as a surprise

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) recently settled claims by 63 north side homeowners for sewage backing up into basements. MMSD and United Water Service, which manages its operations, did not admit responsibility.

John Cheslik, the top Milwaukee United Water official, said his company agreed in July to split the $66,000 cost of investigating the cause of the backups with the city and MMSD.

"We're still assessing what actually happened out there," Cheslik said. "The situation is incredibly complex and we're having trouble coming to some conclusion. We thought it was in the best interest to settle with those people right away."

Which, somehow, reminds me of O. J. Simpson's search for the real killer.




The December 16, 2004 issue is now online, temporarily at the above URL.

Bishop Sklba reflects on 25 years as bishop
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His reflections are in response to written questions from a Catholic Herald reporter.

Q You will soon celebrate your 25th anniversary as a bishop. During these past 25 years as an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese, how do you think the universal church has changed?

A As you know, I’m convinced it takes at least 70 years for sufficient change of mentality to implement a council. ...

Since the problem can't be the implementation of the Council, it's must be the mentality of anyone who wonders if the Council has been implemented well.
As the church becomes increasingly aware of the many ecumenical dialogues, for example, we have moved from initial conversation between new acquaintances to an age of reception. Nothing should be done now without sensitivity to the convictions and practices of other Christian traditions.
Except, of course, the evangelical tradition.
The perennial struggle between centralization and more local autonomy has surfaced in new ways. How does the church maintain fundamental unity amid the worldwide rich diversity of languages and cultures? What represents "uniformity" rather than "unity?" Unfortunately today there seems to be too much stress on uniformity.
Like people who claim "... our problem, however, at least in my experience, is the wide diversity in current practice from one parish to another" as Bishop Sklba did one year ago.




An English Medieval Christmas

Heard Liber unUsualis at the St. Joseph Center Chapel, part of Early Music Now's concert series. My musically trained wife called them excellent.


A reader notes this at BettNet.

I was watching TV last night and during one break I saw a commercial for some cable channel’s program called something like "Following the DaVinci Code". ...

... I see Fr. Richard McBrien, wearing his collar, of course, saying in a little snippet: "Could Jesus have been married? Of course." Nice. And we wonder why people are confused about their faith when Catholic priests appear on TV spouting heresies. ...

No doubt the same clerical garb he wears as Fr. Richard McBrien in the picture accompanying his column our Archciocese's Catholic Herald newspaper, as opposed to what he wears when he's just Richard P. McBrien.

My correspondent continues,

Of course, in some Local Churches, people who cannot read music are the ‘music directors,’ and are awarded MA degrees by their local Seminary in (what else?)—Liturgy. This with a foundational BA in Fashion Design…
Hey, I don't remember much about reading music and I can sing those hymns. But this might explain how Liturgy has become a kind of fashion design. At our parish the new Advent line has no entrance procession. But in a return to a classic look, blue is out, purple back in.


VOTF Meeting with Fr. Joe Juknialis

What don't you get from a weblog that you get in a newspaper? One thing is reporters who have been given assignments. I had considered going to hear Fr. Joe Juknialis speak to the local Voice Of The Faithful chapter this morning at St. Margaret Mary Church but instead put up the Christmas lights.

Fr. Juknialis is Director of the Preaching Institute at Saint Francis Seminary. His topic was "Vatican II Values and Phophetic Listening."

The presenter, Fr. Joe Juknialis will emphasize the Vatican II values we share and call us to build bridges within our Church. The question, "What are we willing to dialogue about for the sake of unity?" will be explored.
Maybe there's a hint of his views in the small group discussion in which he participated at the Priest Alliance Meeting February 5, 2004.




'Dimebag' was heavy metal cult god

His name may not resonate with mainstream music fans, but in the world of heavy metal, guitarist Darrell Abbott had his place in the guitar god Parthenon secured long ago.
Either he was the Athena of heavy metal, or Gemma Tarlach is not headed for the Pantheon of music critics.




The December 9, 2004 issue is now online, temporarily at the above URL.

Open to the Word once more
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Bishop Sklba discusses a Catholic approach to the Bible.

As Catholic Christians, we are not held hostage to the literary meaning of that Word.
Did he mean that literally?


A reader joins those having difficulty dealing with the election results.

Confirmed! Bp. Wilton Gregory will be Archbishop of Atlanta. Evidently the North has not finished punishing the South for its, ah, transgressions—so more torture will be inflicted.

What a deal! Bp. Trautman runs Liturgy (one can hardly prevent auto-spewing on typing this);

Try thinking of liturgy like a box of chocolates ...
Bp. "We’re Banko" Skylstad is USCC President, and Bp. "the pedophile problem is fixed" Gregory to Atlanta, a nice assignment.
Episcopal headache, upset stomach, that ache-all-over feeling? Take a dose of Karen Marie Knapp's archives.

Purgatory will be shortened, I suppose.

Hanukkah, Purgatory, where would we be without the Maccabees?




With the election over, we reach out to the Democratic Underground.

Awful Church Music by Thomas G. McFaul
Now there's a common ground initiative.


Steinle was as committed to family as to the law

The morning paper has this obituary for a prominent local lawyer, including this description by his son Timothy Steinle, also a lawyer.

"Dad was from the old school," he said. "He believed in the adversarial nature of lawyering. Other lawyers will walk into court and shake hands and be buddy-buddy. But once he walked into the building, he was adversarial.

"Lawyers on the other side would say, 'What's wrong with your dad?' But that's the way he was. He wasn't there to make friends."

This points out a problem with the misnomer "adversary system." Our legal system is not an adversary system, it is an advocacy system. It's the clients who are the adversaries.


A reader (who needs an updated return email address) notes this sneak attack on Haight Ashbury.

This paragraph has a fair amount of wisdom for those who insist that "I can’t impose my values ..." or that "Everybody’s really an artist ... ."

And when you read the brief on the author, you may be even more surprised.

"The greatest error of the hippie movement is its amateurism, its innocence, and its ignorance. The result I presume of allowing everyone a creative soul. A good assumption under a strict artistic rule--but a bad one where all rules are discarded and all discipline, art, creation, or tension are thrust away. The hippie generation with its acceptance of all with no values, no judgments, is impossible, nay stupid. To attempt to make no judgments is to deface oneself into a mere potato—just as the style of culture called entertainment does. The object is to produce mashed potatoes for mashed potato heads. All soft, thickly packed, gooey and heavy. Where there are no standards or comparisons or judgments we achieve no style, we receive trash called art, superficiality called inspiration."

--Ronald Guy Davis, Founder, San Francisco Mime Troupe, (Guerrilla Theater), Member, Berkeley Free Speech Movement

Quoted in They Marched Into Sunlight, by David Maraniss, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003




MAPA Convening Board November 5, 2004

The local priests' union leadership met again. (Their previous meeting is discussed here.)

They heard from Bishop Sklba in response to his copy of their letter,

A letter to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick expressing our affirmation for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death and expressing our disagreement with the practice of withholding the Eucharist from Catholic politicians who do not vote in accord with the Church’s teaching on abortion.
Regarding other correspondence,
The letter to Archbishop Dolan requesting greater consultation before directives such as the 1st Reconcilaition/1st Eucharist directive are handed down was approved unanimously at the general meeting and the letter was sent on Thursday, October 14th.
After discussion of the original letter that was presented [to the full membership] by [Fr.] Kenneth Mich on September 30th, a consensus was reached in which a totally new letter would be written expressing our desire to see the continuation of seminarians being formed with lay students. The revised letter would also contain an affirmation of the formation approach that is already in place at St. Francis [Seminary].
At least as to sending letters, it looks like St. Paul had it comparatively easy.
The Alliance also received a letter from John Yockey in response to the letter written to Cardinal McCarrick. We decided a response would be appropriate and we will ask Steve Avella to draft a response.
Not identified further, but I assume referring to Fr. John Yockey of St. Jerome Church, Oconomowoc.

Not much to report from the focus groups, except Priest Rights.

They will continue to follow up with the committee set up by the Archbishop to review the process used for priests who have an accusation brought against them.

The group wants to insist on a meeting with the review committee as well. However, they are not sure whether or not the committee has met yet.

So don't feel bad; sometimes a priest can't figure out what to do with his own questions, let alone a parishioner's. The committee is working on a couple flyers.
The first is on the initial steps a priest should take after receiving an initial call from the Vicar for Clergy informing them that an accusation has been made against them.
Step One: Think back; have you molested anyone?
The second will contain information on how to respond if a priest is put through the review process.
Like, say, "truthfully"?

Next board meeting December 10th. Minutes sometime thereafter.




Minutes of Finance Committee Meeting November 16, 2004

Picked up a copy after Mass today to see the latest on the parish financial crisis.


$76K behind last year at this time. 1,400 pledges have been collected from 2,880 families.

The committee hasn't been just sitting there wondering why half the parish isn't pledging. At the October 19, 2004 meeting
The question was posed: How do we reach parish members who do not give to the annual appeal? The [parish] council approved a gratis marketing strategy to evaluate non-giving parishioners by having a local marketing firm call a sample of non-givers and report the results.
That we don't first do at least as much to try to reach non-Mass-attending parishioners is my pet peeve, but I digress.

Here's the result of the survey.

The non-giver marketing call sample was not productive, 409 calls were made, mostly hang-ups. Further calling was not warranted.
Hang-ups meaning they won't talk even though it's from the parish or because it's from the parish. Half the parish; now that's devangelization.


The game's not going so well, so let's see what's in today's New York Times. Hey, there's a review of some football books, including Johnny Unitas: America's Quarterback, by Lou Sahadi.

... Unitas compiled innumerable statistical records, but the Colts were forced to cede pride of place to Vince Lombardi's Packers, generally thought to be the greatest football dynasty of them all. The Packers were led by [Bart] Starr, who set few, if any, records. He merely won. Sahadi, the author of many sports books, doesn't talk much about Starr.

The Boys of Winter by Joe Queenan




"Diogenes" sums up,

just before bedtime




Mark Follett, founder of Relevant Radio, and a couple of his colleagues spoke to the local chapter of the The St. Thomas More Society. The chapter has a monthly First Friday Mass followed by a breakfast with guest speaker at Marquette University.

Mr. Follett had been involved in the family business in Green Bay, one of the nation's largest purveyors of appetizer items to restaurants. The sale of the business went through on September 10, 2001. Mr. Follett then had to decide how to spend his money and time.

He decided that he ought to do something to communicate the place of Christian Faith in everyday life. Where so many others in the past witnessed to their faith after traveling to distant lands, he concluded that radio provided a means of doing the same in our time.

To do so effectively requires forms and formats that get a hearing. The name "Relevant Radio" rather than something explicitly Catholic was chosen for this reason. Many people who see "Relevant Radio" on a billboard, for example, will tune in and like what they hear, but would not even tune in if it was called, say, "Immaculate Conception Radio." For the same reason, the program formats are often similar to commercial radio, such as the current drive-time "Morning Air" and late afternoon call-in "Drew Mariani Show."

The network's owned stations stretch from the Twin Cities to Northwest Indiana. It has a few affiliated stations scattered around the country. It plans to acquire more stations when it can and develop a full 24 hour schedule of programs. (That means programming produced to meet Relevant Radio's needs, not necessarily only programs produced in-house.)

The money to acquire stations and get them started usually comes from major donors. The continuing operation of stations, it is hoped, will be paid by contributions by listeners and by local Church organizations and groups which can advance their specific missions by radio.

All this is expected to take time; the organization is in the early years of a ten year plan.




The December 2, 2004 issue is now online, temporarily at the above URL.

Dec. 8 is special time to renew devotion to Mary
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Our Archbishop writes in anticipation of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

... on Dec. 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX would solemnly promulgate the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, making explicit what the church had held from the earliest days ...
Presumably meaning defining as dogma one position that had been held since the earliest days. It obviously wasn't the consensus position until after the time of Thomas Aquinas.


Received this call for papers for presentation at the meeting of the Wallace Stevens Society in connection with MLA 2005.

Michael D. Greaney, Director of Research of the Center for Economic and Social Justice writes that the Center's Once-and-Future Books imprint has republished The Four Winners: The Head, the Hands, the Foot, the Ball by Knute Rockne.




My Congressman makes The Onion.

Under the new plan, participating citizens will be asked to list their favorite teams on their W-2 forms. At the start of each major sports season, program participants will visit their local Social Security booking offices to review point spreads and sample playoff trees. Citizens' team selections will be subject to approval by their employers, who contribute a percentage of wages to the employee Social Security Earned Benefits Fund, or "pot," under the new system.

"For too long, Social Security has been managed by an elite group of government accountants and economists," said U.S. Sen. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a longtime advocate of Social Security reform and athletics-based gambling. "Why let your retirement money sit around in an account when you could double or triple it in a single year? Under the new plan, anyone with access to a sports page can control his financial destiny."

Added Ryan: "Assuming, of course, that Favre keeps a lid on those turnovers next season."

New Social Security Plan Allows Workers To Put Portion of Earnings On Favorite Team


Found out today that we've been selected for the annual parish mission to the Guadalupe Homes Orphanage in Santa Apolonia, Guatemala. This will be our fifth trip.

Illustrated here from the 2004 trip you see Sean, an engineering student, with Neto's assistance, researching the effect of centrifugal force on pants that you'll grow into.

You can assist us in advancing Christ's mission, American-Guatemalan understanding, and Sean's scientific research, by becoming a sponsor. [PDF]

If the photo isn't enough, here's more information. [PDF]


Attire matters

Some boys intentionally have their pants falling down. What's the harm?

Consider a new study by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, based in Cambridge, Mass., which found that, on average, 60% of black male students in the United States do not graduate from high school. The statistics are more troubling for Milwaukee, where more than three-quarters of black male students fail to graduate from high school, says the Schott Foundation study, "Public Education and Black Male Students: A State Report Card."
Okay, but what's the connection?
Wearing your pants to expose your underwear is a style that evolved in prison, where inmates aren't allowed to wear belts for fear that they may hang themselves or harm others, [Judge Greg] Mathis explained. The style took off after rap artists began wearing their own pants without belts, consciously imitating felons.

... "When you wear those styles, you're conditioning your mind to go to prison. ..."

Or as the columnist's husband put it,
"... Unless you plan to be a hip-hop artist, what about having your pants hanging off your (rear) is conducive to achievement and success in the real world?"


The time to threaten war, and to wage it if necessary, was when Clinton and the French let Saddam defy and, in effect, expel the weapons inspectors, who had found and destroyed many weapons. That course would have strengthened the UN's mandate, rather than undermined it.

What Is a Just War? by Garry Wills, review of Arguing About War, by Michael Walzer


Fantastic Art:Virtual exhibition curated by Amie Scally

MetaCops! by Link Yaco, John Heebink and Bill Pearson

The Philistine Manifesto by John P. Palmer

Mr. Dooley's Philosophy by Finley Peter Dunne

Welcome to The Program: A Guidebook for New Antarctic Workers, by "F. Scott Robert"

Business Plan Archive and Creative Destruction, by David Kirsch

The Dilbert Newsletter by Scott Adams

Misleading the Public: How the Social Security Trust Fund Really Works, by David C. John

Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication

Dedicated to Democracy by Corey Robin, review of The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War by Greg Grandin

The End of an Era: Yasir Arafat

A Conversation with Colin Powell by P. J. O'Rourke

Empire and Its Discontents by Eric Voegelin
Excerpted from chapter 3, "The Process of History," of Order and History, vol. 4: "The Ecumenic Age"

The wreck of the former S.S. America by Rafael Pastor Bedoya

The Neolib Attack on Adult Stem Cells by Michael Fumento

Bush vs. Kerry: Email Newsletters Rated, by Jakob Nielsen

URLs: Part I Deconstructing web addresses and Part II URL tips - how your knowledge of the structure of URLs can help when problems arise

Dirty Harry Goes To Church by Doug Giles


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