Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spring and summer book shopping

I've updated my book list with the textbook and other resource material from classes I attended as Confirmation sponsor for one of my nieces, and with books purchased while in Madison for a meeting, at a church rummage sale in one of our neighboring suburbs, while vacationing on Madeline Island , and during a conference in Huntington, New York.

How to Live, What to Do: Commemorating Wallace Stevens’ Birthday

Thomas G. Sowders posted last year. The 135th anniversary of Stevens' birth is October 2nd.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Those red arrows on the Highway 32 markers

In 100 Years of Gratitude, in The New York Times this past Sunday, Richard Rubin recounts a recent trip to France to search for historic sites from the First World War. A local man took it upon himself to serve as a guide.
"Soon he was telling me about something else and asking, yet again: “Want to see?” We spent nearly five hours together that afternoon, driving across fields and through little villages where this or that had happened in the fall of 1918, until we ended up on a rugged dirt trail atop a wooded ridge. A few yards below on either side were more networks of German trenches, some trailing off to pits that had once held machine-gun emplacements or howitzers. This was the Côte Dame Marie, high ground of paramount strategic importance to the Germans. For four years, they had used it to repel French assaults and thus retain possession of a large chunk of the Argonne Forest, the key to controlling a vast area. Then, in October 1918, the American 32nd Division, National Guard troops from Wisconsin and Michigan, managed to wrest it away from them, at the cost of many American lives.

"My host, Jean-Pierre Brouillon, beckoned me over and gestured down the hill through a section where the trees weren’t too dense so I could see the grade of the slope, which looked to be around 60 degrees. He pointed at the foot of the hill, a few hundred yards below. “They came up from down there, into machine guns, rifles, artillery, everything,” he said, and looked at me with an expression that said: Can you believe that?

" 'The French didn’t drive the Germans out of here,' he declared, visibly moved. 'The English didn’t do it.' He shook his head at the thought of what it must have taken to charge those heights. 'Just the Americans,' he said. 'Only the Americans could do it.'

Sunday, August 24, 2014

No Theatricks

Ferdinand Mount reviews The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke from the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence, by David Bromwich, and Moral Imagination: Essays, by David Bromwich, in the London Review of Books

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What Would Jeremiah Do?

Samuel Goldman at The American Conservative on how Jewish history gives today's Christians an alternative to cultural secession. (via University Bookman)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Late summer reading

In the 'From The Desk Of The Parochial Administrator' column by Father Aaron Esch in last Sunday's parish bulletin (St. Alphonsus, Greendale),
"If you are looking to do some spiritual reading this summer, I offer two suggestions. These are both books I’ve read and recently returned to. The first is Fulton J Sheen’s Life of Christ. This is a classic work by the well-known author. It will help you come to know better our Lord and his Gospel. A more recent work that I have been paging through recently is Catholicism by Robert Barron. You may be familiar with his excellent mini-series by the same name. Father Barron lays out the basics of our Faith in a compelling manner."

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ratzinger on a smaller Church

Time for some Resourcement.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki predicts the Future of the Catholic Church to be smaller quantity but higher quality in the blog post adapted from his July 22, 2014 "Love One Another" email.

In turn, a post on it at The Badger Catholic drew an Anonymous comment with a link to a quote from Joseph Ratzinger to the same effect at Fr. Z's Blog.

He links to his source, a quote at the Catholic Education Resource Center from Faith and the Future (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009) by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Note its original publication was in 1969 when he was Father Joseph Ratzinger.

He did speak to the same effect as a Cardinal in a September 5, 2003 interview by Raymond Arroyo on EWTN's The World Over.

"Raymond: Talk for a moment about the New Springtime. The Pope has talked a great deal about the New Springtime and you, yourself have laid out your own ideas. Your vision is a little different from some. Some see the numbers growing and everybody believing and dancing hand-in-hand (the Cardinal chuckles) into the millennium. You see a different picture. Tell us what that picture involves. How do you see this Springtime evolving?

"Cardinal: As I do not exclude even this dancing hand-in-hand, but this is only one moment. And my idea is that really the springtime of the Church will not say that we will have in a near time buses of conversions, that all peoples of the world will be converted to Catholicism. This is not the way of God. The essential things in history begin always with the small, more convinced communities. So, the Church begins with the 12 Apostles. And even the Church of St. Paul diffused in the Mediterranean are little communities, but this community in itself is the future of the world, because we have the truth and the force of conviction. So, I think also today it should be an error to think now or in 10 years with the new springtime, all people will be Catholic. This is not our future, nor our expectation. But we will have really convinced communities with élan of the faith, no? This is springtime — a new life in very convinced persons with joy of the faith.

"Raymond: But, smaller numbers? In the macro?

"Cardinal: Smaller numbers, I think. But from these small numbers we will have a radiation of joy in the world. And so, it’s an attraction, as it was in the old Church. Even when Constantine made Christianity the public religion, there were a small number of percentage at this time; but it was clear, this is the future. So we can live in the future, just give us a way in a different future. ..."

So there are your links for future reference.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Cruxification of John Allen

Here's the future Crux website.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What happens when they put in a sidewalk

The police blotter in the latest issue of Franklin Now included,
"An unidentified male rang a resident's doorbell in the 7700 block of South 51st Street and stated he could read people, could tell that she was rich, said something about President Obama and then stated that he was done talking to her and left ..."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Going on 40 years plus 40 years in the vocation desert?

In his From The Desk Of The Parochial Administrator column in Sunday's bulletin (page 2) Fr. Esch notes,
"Monday, July 28, is the Annual Seminary Golf Outing. It’s one of two major fundraising events each year that support St. Francis de Sales Seminary."
and
"The chances are good that a young man studying there right now will serve at St. Alphonsus in the near future. ... Pray for our seminarians, and pray for more vocations to the priesthood."
Maybe even a vocation from St. Al's. If that's ever happened in our parish's 75 years, I've never heard it mentioned.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Monstrous (sp?) changes at St. Al's

With Fr. Alan Jurkus's retirement, Father Aaron Esch takes over at our parish (St. Alphonsus, Greendale), though not yet with the title Pastor.

And so his column, June 22, 2014 bulletin, page 2, is "From the Desk of the Parochial Administrator", and includes this.

"if I have any pastoral plan for the future it is this: Pray! Pray! Pray! In particular, it’s a great hope of mine to begin Eucharistic Adoration as soon as possible. In order to do this, we must first purchase a monstrance, since the parish doesn’t own one."
Without getting into specifics, I calculate a monstance today will cost less than half what our parish spent on a Liturgical Consultant for the 2002 building project.

I hear the money was pledged in short order. In his column two weeks later, July 6, 2014 bulletin, page 2, Fr. Esch says,

"The response to the request to raise funds for the purchase of a Monstrance has been tremendous. Thank you! When the Monstrance is purchased, we can organize a period of Eucharistic Adoration, hopefully, at a regular time each week."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

'Hey there, ho there, ya hey hey, stay in Milwaukee and die!'

Those closing lines to the Hey Der Milwaukee Polka came to mind with the news that Archbishop Weakland not moving after all, reported by Maryangela Layman Roman at the Milwaukee Catholic Herald.
"For the second time, Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland’s plans to return East to live in a monastery have fallen through."
Or maybe it's the third time (see this earlier post).

While we have two monasteries here in Franklin, I've never heard that he or they have expressed an interest in having him move here.

UPDATE: Providing another bit of evidence that our clergy don't pay attention to the Catholic Herald, Fr. James Connell on July 1st posted at SNAP Wisconsin An Open Communication to Archbishop Rembert Weakland, O.S.B. protesting some local priests' planned July 17th farewell luncheon.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Should Hartford Buy Wallace Stevens' House?

An editorial in the The Hartford Courant noted his longtime home at 118 Westerly Terrace is on the market.
"Hartford should pay tribute to its leading literary lights such as Mr. Stevens. ...

"But buy the house?"

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

West Milwaukee manufacturer plans move to Franklin

Tom Daykin reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
"Galland Henning Nopak Inc., which makes hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders and metal scrap baling equipment, plans to move to a 50,000-square-foot building at 10179 S. 57th St., in the Franklin Industrial Park, according to a city report.
[...]
"Galland Henning Nopak is seeking a special use permit, which the Forward Franklin Economic Development Committee is to discuss at its Monday night meeting. A Plan Commission hearing on the permit application is set for July 3."

The police blotter in Franklin Now included an op-op-ed.

"A resident in the 7700 block of West Maple Ridge Court reported someone took their flag off their flag pole, folded it and placed it on their porch at about 9:45 a.m. June 14. The resident stated this was the second time someone removed their flag, supposedly in response to an opinion article/letter her husband placed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Judge rules she can't OK archdiocese reorganization plan

Annysa Johnson reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the latest development in our Archdiocese's bankruptcy.

If stewardship is a two-way street, as opposed to the second leg of one-way trip down Pray, Pay and Obey Streets, then one might have been wondering and continue to wonder about the stewardship involved in our Archdiocese's supervision of litigation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Archbishop Listecki to appear at Press Club luncheon

Annysa Johnson posted at Newswatch in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on this September 3rd event.
"Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki will field questions from local journalists at a Milwaukee Press Club luncheon in September, one month before the scheduled confirmation hearing on the archdiocese's bankruptcy reorganization plan."
In other news, the luncheon also is a week and a half before the scheduled Synodal Declaration.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Archbishop, the insulting, and the ridiculous

In response to the recent petition against opposing use of the Common Core education standards in our Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Archbishop Listecki sent this June 9, 2014 letter to Steve Becker and Abby Figi of Catholic Milwaukee Parents Against Common Core.

Mr. Becker and Ms. Figi replied in this June 16, 2014 letter.

Our Archbishop states that "Catholic schools operate in the Archdioces under my direction. Period." I have to wonder if that categorical statement was vetted my our Archdiocese's bankruptcy lawyers. But I digress. Becker and Figi in their reply (page 2) cite the USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education to distinguish a bishop's role of oversight of schools from Archbishop Listecki's claim of sole direction.

Archbishop Listecki goes on, "To think I would allow anything to jeopardize the Catholic identity or academic excellence of our schools is insulting, at best." In the previous paragraph he had said "I take your concerns very seriously," but that turns out to have been just a formality. Anyway, no one said he would intentionally "allow anything to jeopardize the Catholic identity or academic excellence of our schools". They're merely suggesting he made a mistake in judgment which they expect will have that effect.

Next he says "The standards of our Catholic schools far exceed the Common Core standards." If that's the case, then he's wasting everyone's time with the Common Core standards. If our schools already have higher standards, then it's also hard to make sense of his next statement that "Common Core standards are just one of many ways we measure the success of our students." And if they are being used as a measure, then that contradicts the next sentence in which he says "These standards are neither 'adopted' or 'adapted'." They're adopted or adapted as a measure of success. The next contradiction is in the next sentence, "In addition, the standards do not have any impact on curriculum or content whatsoever." So they are insignificant, yet he's defending them as if they are indispensable.

Becker and Figi, in their reply, also pointed out further contradictions between statements on our Archdiocese's website and what Archbishop Listecki says, which I won't repeat here.

He goes on, "Parents already are welcome to review any and all aspects of our schools curriculum". What the point of that would be is unclear because this sentence continues "but to think that parents are more qualified than our academic experts to select said curriculum is ridiculous." That's an odd statement, particulary from someone with a law degree. Surveying my household, 50% have been a lawyer as long as Archbishop Listecki, another 50% got a degree from the same law school he did, and 100% say that in the law the trier of fact is not bound by any expert's opinion. In the present context, parents might struggle to create a curriculum, but might well select among schools for their kids by comparing curricula.

As an aside, I note that in the context of the clergy sexual abuse scandal, our local bishops still take the position that in every case their reliance on experts was reasonable. They say criticism is based in hindsight; I say it's based on this misunderstanding of the role of experts.

As Becker and Figi point out, other bishops have decided differently on Common Core. If bishops must rely on experts in choosing curricula, is Archbishop Listecki effectively saying it is ridiculous for other bishops to reach a different conclusion regarding Common Core? And if bishops can consider expert opinion yet reach different conclusions, then how is it ridiculous for parents to do the same?

Archbishop Listecki asserts "I, and others, have clearly and repeatedly stated that in our Catholic schools, all curriculum in every content area is grounded in Catholic Church teachings." Well, I believe they stated that. But at the beginning of my last stretch as a catechist, I found the textbook used at our parish (St. Alphonsus, Greendale) was not on the approved list at the USCCB website. So I'm not inclined to assume that curriculum will conform to stated good intentions.

No issue involving our Chancery would seem complete without something like the following from the Becker and Figi letter.

"Your office would not meet with us and the Superintendent has put us off and now canceled our planned meeting."
(via CUF Milwaukee and The Wheeler Report)

P.S. Social Media: The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is on Facebook, and so is Catholic Parents Against Common Core-In the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Say yes, men, to the Synod

Last week our Archdiocesan weekly looked forward to the Synod held over the weekend just past. This included looking back on its origin.

Here's the opening paragraph to the front page article ‘New Pentecost’ catalyst for archdiocesan renewal, by Brian T. Olszewski.

"It began in 2012. Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki called together a group of people from throughout the archdiocese to serve as an Archdiocesan Synod Preparatory Commission. Their mission was to determine whether the time was right for an archdiocesan synod. Their advice to the archbishop: It was."
I can see why, given what our Archbishop says in his page 3 Herald of Hope column, At last, Archdiocesan Synod to begin.
"When I first mentioned the possibility of a synod, it was met with a sense of skepticism. Was this the right time? After all, we are in bankruptcy. How do we plan for the future? My response: Is there ever a right time?"