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."
"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?"

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What We’re Reading (Summer 2014)

Suggestions from Francis P. Sempa, Eve Tushnet, David G. Bonagura Jr., Gregory Wolfe, Thomas Bertonneau, Lee Trepanier, Daniel McCarthy, Micah Mattix, Chuck Chalberg, and Richard Reinsch, at The University Bookman

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ordered lives

Abbie Reese, author of Dedicated to God: An Oral History of Cloistered Nuns, tells of her years visiting the Corpus Christi Monastery of the Poor Clare Colettine Order in Rockford, Illinois, in the University of Chicago Magazine.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Judge's Catholic faith under scrutiny in Milwaukee archdiocese case

Marie Rohde reported at the National Catholic Reporter on Monday's oral argument in John Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee (7th Cir., 13-3783).

There's also this report locally: Judges challenge Archdiocesan positions in bankruptcy case, by Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rembert Nation exceptionalism

From time to time a post here draws anonymous comment bewailing that Archbishop Weakland's faction is still effectively running things in our Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Something like that assumption pops up, from across the divide, in this post by 'A Faithful Catholic' in which we find this aside.

"Even in the Milwaukee area, we have had a priest that was recently censured for concelebrating mass with a woman priest."
See the "Sviluppo" to this post at Whispers in the Loggia. (P.S. The Rafters has since closed.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Back to Nicea

AsiaNews reported Bartholomew: With Francis, we invite all Christians to celebrate the first synod of Nicaea in 2025
"Speaking exclusively with AsiaNews, Bartholomew says that together with Pope Francis 'we agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries, the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated'."
(via Whispers in the Loggia)

The Myth and Reality of Second Marriages among the Orthodox

Sandro Magister posts
"There is a widespread opinion that the Eastern Churches permit a new marriage after divorce, and give communion to the remarried. But this is not the case, as Nicola Bux explains. Only the first marriage is celebrated as a true sacrament."
The explanation referred to is "The Orthodox Church and Second Marriages", by Nicola Bux, translation by Matthew Sherry. As described, Orthodox practice appears more strict than the Catholic practice of divorce, annulment, and remarriage in the U.S.

It further appears that a half-century of post-conciliar ecumenism has not included even many Catholic cardinals actually studying-up on Orthodox belief and practice.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CUF continues Common Core critique

The CUF Milwaukee Newsletter for May 2014, just arrived by email, concentrates on the Common Core controversy.

The lead story 'Attend Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Help Shrine on Saturday, May 31'. The motive for the pilgrimage is the Archdiocese of Milwaukee adopting the Common Core education standards.

Next story is "Critical Review of popular catechetical text is available on Chapter Web site". The text is The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth (Third Edition), by Brian Singer-Towns, reviewed by Margo Szews. The review is posted here.

(The CUF Milwaukee website looks a little like a blog. I'm surprised they don't convert it to one using something like WordPress.)

Newsletter page 2 includes "Mark your calendar for our Msgr. Popek Award Dinner with Bishop Morlino on Oct. 19", though one has to go to the website home page to see that he declined to adopt Common Core in the Diocese of Madison.

Also on page 2, the newsletter takes up the question "Does 'obedience' to one’s bishop require acceptance of Common Core in diocese?" Does that get you to 'wonder' what their answer is?

Page 2 is a chart, "Comparison of Two Types of Education: Type #1 (Traditional) vs. Type #2 (CSCOPE & Common Core)", by Henry W Burke. (Hint: Type #2 is said to involve 'group-think'.)

UPDATE: Catholic parents group calls for archdiocese to drop Common Core, by Erin Richards and Robert Gebelhoff, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Thrown and alter

As a prelude to an examination of the latest inquiry by a United Nations committee into the Catholic Church child sexual abuse scandal of recent decades, The Economist provides this background.
"Popes and their officials have long benefited from the Vatican’s unique dual status in international law. As the Vatican City State, it can shelter prelates wanted for questioning elsewhere and play host to offshore financial institutions such as the Vatican Bank. But when world leaders visit the pope in Rome it is to meet the absolute ruler of a global entity, the Holy See. As the Holy See, the Vatican engages in diplomacy, holds observer status at the UN and signs most treaties. The Holy See is sometimes called a sovereign entity without territory, although its sovereign, the pope, is also the ruler of the Vatican City State."
Here are the Wikipedia entries for Vatican City and the Holy See.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring 2014 priest appointments announced

Our Milwaukee Catholic Herald reports
"Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, in consultation with the Priest Placement Board of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, has appointed the following priests for ministry in the Archdiocese, effective June 17, unless otherwise noted."
As I understand an explanation Dave Pawlak once provided in a comment, the listed appointments of priests as "administrators" are until our Archbishop formally makes them pastors.

For our parish,

"Fr. Aaron Esch, from associate pastor, St. Alphonsus Parish, Greendale, to administrator, St. Alphonsus Parish, Greendale."
"Fr. Kevin Barnekow, from shared associate pastor, St. William Parish, Waukesha, and St. John Neumann, Waukesha, to associate pastor, St. Alphonsus Parish, Greendale."
Fr. Esch succeeds Fr. Alan Jurkus, who is completing an extension of his term as pastor and delay of his retirement.

Often the brief flurry of excitement at the appointment of a new pastor turns out to be like that which occurs between the alarm clock going off and hitting the snooze button, but we can always hope and pray that this is not such a time.

Elsewhere in our cluster of parishes, Fr. Chuck Schramm completes his time as pastor.

"Fr. Brian Mason, from associate pastor, St. Mary Parish, Hales Corners, to administrator, St. Mary Parish, Hales Corners."
"Fr. Gideon Buya, newly ordained, appointed associate pastor, St. Mary Parish, Hales Corners."
No news for St. John the Evangelist, Greenfield, or St. Martin of Tours, Franklin.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Gaslighting the GOPs?

Mickey Kaus explains at The Daily Caller.
"I’m not suggesting the White House is intentionally provoking Republicans over Benghazi, the better to produce counterproductive overreach. OK, sorry. I’m totally suggesting the White House is intentionally provoking Republicans over Benghazi. It’s not like this is something the White House hasn’t been accused of before. Remember the 'birther' controversy, where Obama delayed releasing his birth certificate for years as the conservative fringe wound themselves up in greater and greater knots of paranoia? 'Look, what a bunch of crazies' was Obamas implicit message then. That may be his message again. Sure beats 'The debate is over.'

"The technical term for this maneuver, I believe, is 'gaslighting.' The key to gaslighting, of course, is that you give your enemy a legitimate reason to go overboard."

The term is derived from the plot of Gaslight, as he notes Maureen Dowd explained. He goes on,
"A 'gaslighting' strategy would be a subtle variation of David Plouffe’s 'stray voltage' gambit–under which the Obama White House provokes legitimate controversy, perhaps by releasing questionable, Pinocchio-baiting statistics (e.g. women earn 77 cents what men earn), in order to keep an issue in the public eye. Here the administration would provoke a controversy that’s so legitimate, and behave so maddeningly, that it distracts from issues the administration wants out of the public eye–all while it makes Republicans seem unappealing obsessed with the side issue."
Stray voltage is another term with a non-political origin. Mr. Kaus links to this political explanation of the term by Major Garrett.