Sunday, June 30, 2002

Stolen from Gerard Serafin's blog: Dorothy Day on obedience

This example was given last month during the press discussion of the rebuke to the Jesuits by Pope Paul, who seemed to think they were straying from obedience to papal directives to which they were sworn. Such obedience never has surprised me, convert that I am. I felt it was part of love, of loyalty, of abandonment, part indeed of that folly of the Cross so emphasized by St. Paul. Obedience, I thought, meant an ordered universe and was proper response to authority. It meant people working together for the common good.

A man had authority when he knew what he was doing, whether performing an operation, filling a tooth, directing a symphony. If a man was an authority in his field, it meant obeying his directions whether, as around the Catholic Worker, it meant Hans in the kitchen, Mike in the engineering line, John in the fields or Martin Corbin in the editor's chair. In the House of Hospitality in the city, it meant whoever was "in charge," who would take the responsibility of doing the job, getting the tobacco, shopping for the groceries, giving out the flop money or carfares or emergency gifts or loans, getting the speakers for Friday night meetings. Authority was certainly decentralized and many shared in it.

Philosophical anarchism, decentralism, required that we follow the Gospel precept to be obedient to every living thing: "Be subject therefore to every human creature for God's sake." It meant washing the feet of others, as Jesus did at the Last' Supper. "You call me Master and Lord," He said, "and rightly so, for that is what I am. Then if I, your Lord, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. I have set you an example; you are to do as I have done for you." To serve others, not to seek power over them. Not to dominate, not to judge others.

Saturday, June 29, 2002

Refusing to despair, clinging to covenant fidelity

A couple of hours ago, I received a very upset email from a listserv acquaintance I hope I might call a friend, without even a subject line. Under the Welborn Protocol, since it has to do with the content of this blog, I will reply here. But I am removing the identity of the sender, since I have not begged his specific consent. (and I would prefer to remain his friend.)

Re: Milwaukee's Greek tragedy

[name], peace and good.

Welcome to our real-life cast, characters worthy of the strangest of Greek tragedies. My ex-classmate Paul M, by whom my entire era of Marquette-trained theologians will be remembered, a predator posing as a victim to extort money from the Church, and wreak vengeance on a formerly-dear friend. My father-in-Christ Rembert W, now to be perpetually remembered for having been a coward once in 1998, and not for an entire adult life of self-donation to the Lord's service, no privacy remaining and bent under a restitution commitment which is, in fact, impossible. The diocesan lawyer and diocesan finance director and auxiliary bishop, who advised and approved the settlement. The district attorney, who was consulted about the settlement before it happened. The national media, who broadcast a tale of sexual assault in the third degree in the morning, but by nightfall found that, although there was enough sin and stupidity to go around, 3rd degree rape was _not_ one of the issues. Dean Eisenberg, appointed to lead the commission investigating clerical child abuse, who, not being Catholic, never realized the Church can break one's heart until it broke his, may perpetual light shine upon him! Professor Lux and Ethel Gintoft, who separately at the same time had the same merciful idea. A specter that roams the internet, unrecognizable yet wearing Dom Rembert's name. Timothy Dolan, who gets to put this Humpty Dumpty back together again. And about two million of God's people in the counties of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, nearly half of whom are Catholic, just now beginning to stop reeling.

At 07:13 PM 6/29/2002 -0400, you wrote:
How is it that you refer to Marcoux as "the extortionist" but not to Weakland as the "theiving liar," or the "hateful slanderer"?

I will not give Paul M the attention he thrives on, he is notorious enough without my advertising him also. The matching term for Rembert in this debacle is "coward," but there is no reason to avoid _his_ name, and all of the Archbishop's faults, including the imaginary ones, are well published in the secular and the Catholic press and also by [famous blog-keeper's name].

How you refuse to acknowledge his own "squealing." Remember that viciousness, and contempt of his; it reveals much.

_What_ viciousness and _what_ contempt? That the archdiocese refused to make any effort to collect judgements made by the courts in its favor (because suits were "frivolous," being outside the statutes) because to do so would be unfair to the suers, who _had_ been harmed? (One of those is the $4,000 dollars our [famous blog-keeper's name] writes about.) Or teaching that, though all abuse of the underaged is the grownup's fault, since it is the adult's place to stop it, that our teenagers need to see that playing drinking games during a "jerk-off" party is a poor way of spending a weekend night, and playing flash-the-thong with married men is not just good clean fun, and that both are dangerous to both soul and body.

Karen, Marcoux has obviously behaved as a profiteering opportunist. This is apparent.

True. One of the reasons I avoid adding to his publicity by using his name.

But your Father, "how the mighty have fallen." David mourned. And even those of us to whom weakland has *much* to answer for, we should mourn too. But let us not pretend as though nothing has happened.

We will never be able to pretend nothing has happened. We will wear the scars of our beating for a very long time. Dean Eisenberg of the Marquette University Law School is dead. Lewd jokes about the deflowering of 53-year-old virgins are the latest vogue and will be with us at least until the next international public figure falls. How many will have trouble learning to love and trust our new shepherd Timothy Dolan, knowing that he, also, is only human, and may himself fail? And that specter that roams the internet has been granted perpetual life among the undead.

Spare us, O Lord. Do not be angry with us forever. Lord have mercy, save your people. To whom else can we go?

karen marie of Milwaukee
"O Lord and Master of my life,
take from me the spirit of sloth,
meddling, lust of power and idle talk;
But give rather the spirit of chastity,
humility, patience and love to thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own sins,
and not to judge my brother,
for thou art blessed unto ages of ages.
Amen." - Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
sorry about missing last night; I didn't have the fortitude to fight with a recalcitrant Blogger after doing the grocery shopping.

for this morning, the celebration of SS Peter and Paul, a little essay by Peter Maurin, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker, on the role of bishops and of us.


1. The Holy Father
appoints a man
named a Bishop
to a seat - a cathedra.

2. From that seat - cathedra
the Bishop
teaches the truth
to all men
so the truth
may make them free.

3. But some people
are Bishop-shy.

4. They are Bishop-shy
because they are
hungry, shivering, or sleepy.

5. They must be
fed, clothed, and sheltered
before they will consent
to come to listen
to Christ's Bishop.

6. To feed, clothe, and shelter them
at a personal sacrifice
is to participate
in the Bishop's apostolate.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

More on confession from Fr. Richard Rohr, in Sojourners Magazine July/Aug 2002 issue:

Hearing confessions is a rather dangerous and lethal profession. It creates a kind of patience with sin that is often scandalous to outsiders. But confession is a very good thing about my Catholic tradition that might not be recognized in the midst of our shame about the pedophilia scandal.

Good confessional practice does not encourage you to read a situation in a forensic or argumentative context, and in fact quite the contrary. The whole purpose is healing and reconciliation. Ours is not "innocent until proven guilty" but actually "guilty and declared innocent." We start with the conviction and move therapeutically from there.

(.....big snip here......)

Our goal is restorative justice, while the best the system can do is retributive justice. The Law cannot ever promise God's restorative justice, much less offer true transformation. We have something much better to give, and we had better not lose it out of fear of lawsuits or fear of looking foolish. We dare not lose our compassion, our patience, our trust, our solidarity with sinners, our capacity for simple kindness, or we have lost everything Jesus taught us. We must both protect victims and heal sinners on both sides, an awesome task in this context. (....... article continues in wisdom, but quoting more wouldn't be fair to Sojourners.)
Giving Yourself Away is Difficult. John Donne knew that, also:

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but O, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
but is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy.
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor even chaste, except you ravish me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

A Thanksgiving for all things, from the hymnal (and also today's Morning Prayer, at least in my old 4-volume).

We plough the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God's almighty hand.
He sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine,
and soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above.
Then thank the Lord,
O thank the Lord for all his love.

He only is the maker
of all things near and far;
he paints the wayside flower,
he lights the evening star.
The winds and waves obey him,
by him the birds are fed;
much more to us, his children,
he gives our daily bread.


We thank you then, dear Father,
for all things bright and good:
the seedtime and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
And all that we can offer
your boundless love imparts,
the gifts to you most pleasing
are humble, thankful hearts.

(antiphon x2)
A letter to the new Ordinary-to-be out in this morning's mail

25 June 2002

Archbishop-elect Timothy Dolan
3501 South Lake Drive
Milwaukee WI 53235

My father, welcome!

Thank you for coming to us. We have been blessed beyond our deserving for the past 25 years, have been tossed into mourning, and have come to have very high, probably too high, expectations for our bishops. Please be patient with us and do not judge us in haste.

I renew my commitment to keep you, our bishop, our city and our diocese in constant prayer. May the Lord's help keep me faithful.

Please, as a special favor to your new people, do not send Archbishop Rembert away, or do anything that would expose him to further public shame. He has been a faithful and diligent and devoted spiritual father for us, as you will be; and we have come to love him, and he us, as we will come to love you, if you allow it. Care for him with the same care with which you will care for all of us, please.

Again, welcome to your new Milwaukee flock.

With obedient submission,
Karen Marie Knapp

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

News of great joy!

We Milwaukeans have a new archbishop-elect, Timothy Dolan, lately of St. Louis. From the interview he gave to the National Catholic Register during the Dallas meeting, and from his words and actions during his press conference this morning, it appears that we will continue to be extraordinarily blessed. Sheep known to shepherd, shepherd known to sheep.

Pray for Timothy Dolan, soon to be the tenth Archbishop of Milwaukee, and for us, his new people.

Monday, June 24, 2002

A confession of wrongdoing from fear

This morning, I openly disagreed with Amy Welborn on her blog, about our local crisis and my father in Christ. No, that was no mistake; but charlieh@teleport.com, one of the vehement crowd that rose up, has touched my conscience. He said that my posting about Ethel Gintoff's merciful mission was "coy" because I did not type the name of my spiritual father, now in need of help. Though I do not see "coy" in it, I still see wrongness in my behaviour.

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, I stopped typing his name on the blog, speaking of all the things he taught to me without using his name, because I wanted to avoid the hate mail I was getting. But I am wrong in this. Why should I behave as though ashamed, why should I have fear? My father in Christ remains that, even though he failed to stand against the extortionist, and now in his old age needs caring-for by his children. The hate mail can be deleted, and offered up with prayers and penance for the good of my city and diocese, as is my job and duty.

So I will write ten times on the blackboard:

I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt.
I will always owe Dom Rembert Weakland a great debt. For he taught me by his word and by his example how to live my vocation, how to live simple and single and submitted in this place and time.

Thank you, Amy. Thank you, charlieh at teleport.com.

karen marie a j b knapp
Reconciliation, Sacrament of, some stray thoughts

I want to talk about a fact of life: I sin. I do dumb things I know I shouldn't do. I avoid doing smart stuff that I know I ought to do. And I am not alone in this. And I need help (we need help).

Gloriously and graciously, the Lord has given us help in the great sacrament of Reconciliation, where we are assured of forgiveness and reconciliation with God, and we receive the grace to keep from sinning and to live the life we are called to.

There are five things we have to have or do in order to make a decent confession, which are (1) a searching and honest examination of conscience, (2) complete acknowledgement of our sins without excuses, (3) contrition, which is the fancy theology word for being sorrowful about our sins, (4) firm purpose of amendment, a determination not to sin again, and (5) restitution, when possible, and penance. In return for our decent confession, we are absolved, assured by the Lord's priest that our sins are truly forgiven, according to the promise of Christ.

For me, the greatest gift and secret of this sacrament is that it makes me be totally honest about myself. Dishonesty and deception does no good. God already knows it all in any case. Since the cost of becoming at one with God is being honest about my dumbest sinning, then let me be embarrassed. Embarrassment, even the public kind, does not kill; in fact it liberates in the long term. But secrets will bind and kill the spirit, and sometimes even the body.

As usual, it seems, those humble, battered, but wise 12-steppers have found that same gift and secret in the school of hard knocks. The fourth through tenth of their infamous steps are awfully (and awe-filled-ly) familiar.
(4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
(5) Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
(6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
(7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
(8) Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.
(9) Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
(10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

The 12-steppers have drawn a map even those of us who have somehow avoided the addictions can follow. For, you see, I know I am firmly addicted to sinning, as firmly as any addict. To stay free, I need all the help I can get.

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and my sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in the deeds that I have done
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask the blessed Mary, ever-virgin,
all the angels and the saints,
and you, my brothers and my sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
Blessed are the merciful

Ethel Gintoff, the retired editor of the Catholic Herald newspaper, has brought together some of her friends to help another elderly friend with his restitution and public penance. See their website for a glimpse of true gratitude or, if you desire, to give aid yourself. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Being Prepared to Serve: CQ, CQ Field Day!

You might remember from my intro when I began this blog, that my little anchor hold is adorned with "a few antennas." This weekend is Field Day (1800 utc Saturday to 1800 utc Sunday), when the amateur radio community all over the country finds out if they really are ready to serve.

The premise is: Can you get on the air and stay on the air? No commercial power, no permanently established antennas. After all, in an actual emergency the power's likely to be out and the antennas returned to the scrap aluminum they came from.

Radio amateurs have been celebrating Field Day every June since 1933, as a combination emergency preparedness exercise, contest (which groups are best, measured by contact counts), public relations opportunity, and an excuse for a good party. Yesterday I spent 5 hours at the Milwaukee Repeater Club's field day site, explaining the chaotic-looking encampment to passers-by at the welcome awning, and listening to other fellow radio amateurs working hard to get on the air, stay on the air, and make as many clean contacts as possible so our contest score is respectable. The generators chug away, Janet makes the rounds with the cold water bottles, some guy yells a medium expletive when a wire antenna in the trees breaks, and finds the slingshot and fishline and spool of wire to fix it ---ASAP and stat, of course. I was supposed to go back this morning for a period of on-air time, but I overdid in the sunshine yesterday, so I'm at home, cold compresses on red body parts, listening to the action. And knowing that our local group has learned how to be prepared to serve in the way we are uniquely able to serve.

Another fluke of the radio amateur's world:

Among telegraphers and radio operators, male licensed radio operators are Old Men, OM's, whether they are 5 years old or 105; and female licensed radio operators are Young Ladies, YL's, whether they are 96 or only 6. So it makes me smile to know that, thanks to the Federal Communications Commission, I will never grow old.

karen marie, operator of amateur radio station N9GNG.

Saturday, June 22, 2002

Serving a Single Master

Today is the feast day of SS Thomas More and John Fisher, martyrs. John Fisher was the bishop of Rochester, Thomas More was a statesman who had risen in the service of the king to become Lord Chancellor of England. All was well while the king also served the Lord God; but when the king, for his own reasons, declared himself the head of the Church, there was a choice: Whom, then, will you serve? St. Thomas and St. John chose to serve God, and not the king, and it cost them their lives.

In today's Office of Readings, we are given one of the letters St. Thomas More wrote to his eldest daughter, Margaret More Roper, while he was in prison awaiting his trial, such as it was, and execution:

Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in his infinite goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now, and made me content to lose good, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God's grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty. In doing this His Majesty has done me such great good in respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest. I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God. Either he shall keep the king in that gracious frame of mind to continue to do me no harm, or else, if it be his pleasure that for my other sins I suffer in this case as I shall not deserve, then his grace shall give me the strength to bear it patiently, and perhaps even gladly. ........

I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to him for help. And then I trust he shall place his holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.

And if he permits me to play Saint Peter further and to fall to the ground and to swear and forswear, may God our Lord in his tender mercy keep me from this, and let me lose if it so happen, and never win thereby! Still, if this should happen, afterward I trust that in his goodness he will look on me with pity as he did upon Saint Peter, and make me stand up again and confess the truth of my conscience afresh and endure here the shame and harm of my own fault.

And finally, Margaret, I know this well: that without my fault he will not let me be lost. I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him. And if he permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for his justice. But in good faith, Meg, I trust that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy.

And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Just arrived home from Cousins Center; and there is a definite second to yesterday's modest proposal. The folk with whom I raised the subject had already been inspired themselves in the same way. I guess, what else could be expected of faithful charismatic people?

for today's contemplation: from St Augustine:

Late have I loved you,
Beauty so ancient and so new,
Late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong --- I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
these things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

A Motion is on the floor, do I have a second?

Tomorrow night I get to go to the Cousins Center, for the Evening of Praise for the 35th anniversary of the Duquesne Weekend, the official beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement, when a group of college students from Duquesne University's Chi Rho Society, on a weekend retreat, had a tangible experience with the Uncreated Light. I hope to locate a lot of friends-from-when there, and I will have for them a proposition.

On May 23rd, we faithful in Milwaukee, unasked, unsought-after, even unwilling, had focused through us for a time the anger and pain and rage of the whole Church and nation. Not actually over our little local crisis, but over the whole miserable national Situation. Very like a lightning strike going to ground through the blitz-bug, or trashing your transciever and computer. Since, willing or not, this has happened to us, we have a duty and an opportunity to offer all this focused pain and fury and anger to our Lord, with our prayer and sacrifices, for our bishops, our priests, and the whole Church in these trials.

So, since I'm going to be at the evening of praise hopelessly early (when you're a wheelchair user, you get your rides when you can get them!) I'm going to take with me a few bookmark-sized patches of some coarse unbleached cloth I found in my sewing-basket --- a decent ringer for sackcloth. And see if any of my friends-from-when are willing to join me in prayer and penance for our bishops and priests, starting immediately and going at least to the Feast of the Dormition/Assumption (August 15th). I'm doing it anyway, I live in an anchor hold, it's my job, but I'd be thrilled if my motion gets a second.
On Reconciliation Within the Church

Please, my brothers and sisters, place yourself in a prayerful attitude of mind and heart, and then read this exhortation. Pope Paul VI wrote it in 1974, but we still need it, because we are still insisting on dismembering our Church.

There is only one Catholic Church, which is not "progressive" or "conservative" or "reactionary" or "liberal" or "Am-" or any other adjective. There is only The Catholic Church, where the bishop is, which Christ has promised forever to protect.

We have no right to tear it apart. We have no right to drive away our sisters and brothers. We only endanger ourselves if we insist on going away from the Church and those same sisters and brothers, out into the howling wilderness.

So read, and pray, and stop using divisive adjectives to tear apart our Church.
Some Situational Wisdom

Click on the bold title to find some hard-won wisdom on the Situation. (pre-USCCB meeting, pre-crisis, post-retirement submission).

His answer when asked if he was going to Dallas, "I can pray for them as well here. I will not go and be in their way."

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

St Cyprian hits the nerve again in today's Office of Readings (let it be so!):

Humility in our daily lives, an unwavering faith, a moral sense of modesty in conversation, justice in acts, mercy in deed, discipline, refusal to harm others, a readiness to suffer harm, peaceableness with our brothers, a whole-hearted love of the Lord, loving in him what is of the Father, fearing him because he is God, preferring nothing to him who preferred nothing to us, clinging tenaciously to his love, standing by his cross with loyalty and courage whenever there is any conflict involving his honor and his name, manifesting in our speech the constancy of our profession and under torture confidence for the fight, and in dying the endurance for which we will be crowned --- this is what it means to wish to be a coheir with Christ, to keep God's command; this is what it means to do the will of the Father.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

All things work together

Earlier today I had an exchange on the REBORN listserv that opened my eyes after I sent it, and I have received permission from Dan'l to share it with you.

Dear dear Dan'l, peace and good.
At 10:01 AM 6/18/2002 -0700, you wrote:
..... somehow the idea struck me that the most terrifying thing
about coming to judgment would not be seeing the Face of the Judge,
but being shown what I myself am, what I have allowed myself to
become, with all the lies and self-deception stripped away. I thought
of this, quite graphically, as filth and corruption

And then I saw a very clear image of dirt, filth, worms creeping
through it. I was revulsed ...
... and suddenly the image, without changing, became a beautiful
thing. It came to me clearly, as if from outside my own mind, that
this was an image of fertile soil in which good fruit could grow.

Have I cracked totally?

No, Dan'l, you haven't. Or if you have, so have all the rest of
us. :) _All_ things are working together for good for those who love God,
and that means _everything_, even our faults and stupidities and strange
crevices of the psyche, and even our sins. Hard to believe when I have to
go to confess some idiot sin or another I done did, but true. The kitchen
scraps and eggshells and dirty bunny bedding of life, spends a little time
in the compost bin with the microbes and the worms, and comes out as brown
gold. The Lord can, and does, do the same with our failings. Of course,
the normal disclaimers: this isn't a license to be licentious, and consult
your own pastor/confessor before making major life changes.
I'm not one who's good at citing Scripture by chapter and verse, but
there's a couple of expositions on this in St Paul's epistles.

Dan'l, enjoy.

karen marie
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit consume our sins together, and by
theosis convert us, as though we were a holocaust, into their unity.
----- John Scotus Eriugena
The Kairos guy has written "a little more on Atonement" that I could not say any better, so I just say, go there!

Monday, June 17, 2002

Fr. Robert Johansen has asked for our prayers and support. Father wrote a somewhat critical review of the latest book by Michael Rose (yes, _that_ Michael Rose!) and it has broken out into full-fledged internet flame war. If you need more of the miserable details, see Father's blog, Thrown Back.
Our needs and our prayer to our Father

Being a mostly-housebound anchor hold dweller whose primary occupation is prayer, I do pray with nobody else present a lot. So today's Office of Readings really struck me, because even when we're alone, we are not alone....

from St. Cyprian:

Above all, he who preaches peace and unity did not want us to pray by ourselves in private or for ourselves alone. We do not say "My Father, who art in heaven," nor "Give me this day my daily bread." It is not for himself alone that each person asks to be forgiven, not to be led into temptation, or to be delivered from evil. Rather, we pray in public as a community, and not for one individual but for all. For the people of God are all one.

God is then the teacher of harmony, peace, and unity, and desires each of us to pray for all men, even as he bore all men in himself alone. The three young men shut up in the furnace of fire observed this rule of prayer. United in the bond of the Spirit they uttered together the same prayer. The witness of holy Scripture describes this incident for us, so that we might imitate them in our prayer. Then all three began to sing in unison, blessing God. Even though Christ had not yet taught them to pray, nevertheless, they spoke as with one voice.

It is for this reason that their prayer was persuasive and efficatious. For their simple and spiritual prayer of peace merited the presence of the Lord. So too, after the ascension we find the apostles and the disciples praying together in this way. Scripture relates: They all joined together in continuous prayer, with the women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. They all joined together in continuous prayer. The urgency and the unity of their prayer declares that God, who fashions a bond of unity among those who live in his home, will admit into his divine home for all eternity only those who pray in unity.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Another prayer of submission

Father, I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or let me be laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty;
let me have all things, let me have nothing;
I freely and heartily yield all things to your will and pleasure.

(by John Wesley)
Please pray for the healing of Gerard Serafin. According to Jim Groark of the OpenCatholic listserv, Gerard has been hospitalized since Thursday with dehydration and other complications of a diarrheal illness.

Gerard is the owner of the Catholic Page for Lovers website and the Blog for Lovers weblog. He, along with Mark Shea, introduced me to the world of the blog.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us!
The part of St. Francis' Canticle of Creatures that never seems to make the hymnal:

Praised be my Lord for all those who pardon one another for love's sake, and who endure weakness and tribulation: blessed are they who peacefully shall endure, for you, O Most High, will give them a crown.

Praised be my Lord for our sister, the death of the body, from which no human escapes. Woe to him who dies in mortal sin. Blessed are they who die in your most holy will, for the second death shall have no power to do them harm.

Praise and bless the Lord, and give thanks to him, and serve him with great humility.

Saturday, June 15, 2002

From my acquaintance Pavel Chichikov, who wrote this on the OpenCatholic listserv; he consistently holds wisdom. The text being contemplated is CCC # 2284-2287:

Transgressions against human dignity run the spectrum from rudeness in
conversation to physical and psychological exploitation and battery.

Violence and the assault on human dignity can take many forms, and there
is often a seamless transition from verbal violence - sometimes
associated by juvenile minds with manliness - to physical mistreatment.

I''ve seen various kinds of exploitation of persons happen in parishes in
which I've been a member. There are scandals waiting to happen, and
others which may never be disclosed, sometimes because either the
perpetrators or the victims are dead

There is much to regret about the present scandal, whether or not the
guilty are small in number. Our Lord tells us that to those who have
been given much, much is expected - and woe to those who offend the
little ones. Those who have been given and accepted much spiritual
responsibility not only betray a trust, they cover the very body of
Christ, hanging in agony on the cross, with the spittle of their inner
contempt for Him, revealed now for everyone to see

I'm not old enough in the Church to be able to judge what the effects of
various reforms have been - or whether or not they were carried out in
the spirit in which they were intended. But it would be a great mistake
for one part of the community of believers to heap all the blame on
another part, as if they themselves were innocent and had no need of
forgiveness - as if Christ need not have submitted His precious body and
blood to the final agony for *their* sake

We are one body under Christ, or we are nothing - in truth the most
pitiable of men.

I am reluctant to comment in detail without re-reading the Catechism passages, yet Pavel has it right. We cannot point fingers. We cannot be cruel to each other. If we are, we only tear ourselves. We are one body in our one Lord --- all of us. And, how dare I ridicule or severely judge anybody else? The judgement I judge is the judgement I will be judged with, and I have sinned and done spectacularly stupid things myself, for which I can only beg for mercy. How can I dare deny that same mercy to anyone else?

Friday, June 14, 2002

Abandonment ---posted while we hope the Holy Spirit works through Roberts' Rules

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me whatever you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures ----
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I do love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my father.

(by Ven. Charles deFoucauld)

Abandonment. Letting God be God. Knowing that I do not and can not control things. I learn it more and more as I become less able and more dependent on others for my basic needs.

When Beverly and her boyfriend come over to take my laundry with theirs to the laundromat, I cannot control when or how they do it, or how quickly they bring it back to me, and it is even beyond my place to tell Bev over again that they ought to get married.....she already knows I believe that.

The EWTN feed has kept my prayer focused these past days. I can pray, but I have no control over what our bishops do or do not do. The Holy Spirit, long-term, protects the Holy Church, God is in charge of each of the bishops and of me, and all I can really do is trust that God knows what he is doing.

Lord, whatever comes, I trust in you.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

What we need to remember, from the hymnal: How firm a foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent Word.
What more can he say than to you he hath said;
to you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

"Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand."

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress."

"When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
my grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only desire
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine"

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
he will not, he will not desert to its foes.
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake.
he'll never, no never, no never forsake.
Mark S, you can't mean this!

Mark Shea wrote on the HMS Blog, that "My bishop impacts my life a lot less than Osama bin Laden does," and "I couldn't tell you five words he's said."

Mark, Mark, you cannot mean this? Or have we really been so spoiled here? Yes, I have teased for many years about the trials the next archbishop will have living up to our expectations of bishops as we have become accustomed to expect in our last 25 years of blessing. But I _thought_ I was teasing.

I thought all good bishops taught soundly and regularly on all the Christian and Catholic basics, as convincingly as their personal gifts allow. (Many of us here set our alarm clocks so we can hear our bishop's homily on the radio on Sunday mornings.) Do not all bishops do themselves, insofar as it's possible, those things they are encouraging their pastors and priests to do? (Like live in groups for mutual prayer and support, and not in private personal dwellings) Do not all good bishops guide and encourage, chide and rubuke, as needed, while always treating us with love, care, dignity, and respect. Always. Don't all good bishops admit their errors and try to make the situation right, without looking to blame anybody else for them (like ours did when he fumbled the Effinger matter in 1978, discovered he had in 1992 when Effinger reoffended, handled it properly in 1992, and openly. And when the Wisconsin courts made the near-automatic judgements for suits out of the statutes that the law calls "frivolous" over the 1978 Effinger cases, the archdiocese made no effort to collect them, because that would not be right or just.)

If Mark is being serious about himself and his bishop, maybe this is why the blogworld seemed to have such a hard time understanding the behaviour of us Milwaukeans in our recent crisis. It was not the particular friendship that shocked us so much, because any of us who had ever heard our archbishop teach on chastity already knew, because he told us, that he had both success and failure on the chastity battlefront. (He taught that, no matter what, giving up the fight was not an option.) And we all knew that he'd had an absolutely horrible transition when he was torn from his community to come to us, we lived through it in 1978 and 1979 and the early part of 1980. For some of us, it was the money; what we could do with $450K! But for most of us, and what was so gut-wrenching about it all was: How could he have so much fear? Fear enough that he would pay off an extortioner? Why did he fail to trust us? How could he have so misjudged our love and care and good judgement; the love and care and good judgement he himself taught us?

While the blogworld was being indignant and scandalized, the real world of Milwaukee was mourning. Our archbishop is not only honored and respected for his office; he, personally, is beloved by his people, and he loves us and makes no secret of it. To watch our spiritual father be stripped of his last shreds of personal dignity in public still breaks our hearts.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

The groceries and the pharmacy are done. By being sweet and smiling, I convinced the transit van driver not to fuss that I had 4 bagsfull. (Officially, he only has to handle 2 bags totalling 40 pounds together, and medical and mobility equipment.) I am learning to be grateful for small blessings. I also encountered my goddaughter in the checkout line, it had been several years since I saw her last.

There are a few ideas bouncing around in my head, but it is almost midnight and I still have an hour or so's worth of chores to do; more bills for tomorrow's mail, sorting medications, ......

catch you all in the morning. Pray for our bishops, that they may be strong for us.
I have just recieved word via the REBORN listserv that Bubbles Sirman, of the recent apology, has had a heart attack and is now in ICU. Please keep Bubbles, real name Douglas, his wife Liz, and their young children in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Today was a tough practical day; I spent the afternoon at the doctor's, marching up and down the corridor without the oxygen and with a pulseox monitor on, so he could complete the annual form my former employer requires to prove I am still disabled and entitled to collect my pension and have health insurance. It has been 6 hours and I still ache.

Tomorrow I get to go grocery and pharmacy shopping. As soon as I stop typing, I have to work on the bills, so they can be mailed while I'm at the grocery. That also promises to be grueling physically. Real life is fun sometimes. Oh well, I can offer it up for the meeting in Dallas.

No original new meditations today --- too busy marching --- but I still have some wise words, in this case a prayer. The author is Fr Louis of Gethsemane, better known as Thomas Merton.

Prayer of Trust

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you, and I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Monday, June 10, 2002

The Eastern Christians have it right --- celibacy is dangerous and difficult outside of religious community. And in the sex (and money and power) obsessed society in which we live, it is even more difficult.

Before we start talking about changing the celibacy discipline, before we condemn our priests for their inperfections, we have to be certain that in our Church we have the support systems necessary for our celibate secular clergy to live that commitment in a faithful and healthy way. In these days when parishes have only one priest, or even share a priest with a couple of other parishes, overwork and aloneness are a way of life for our priests. Being alone, lonely, and exhausted are not conducive to successful chaste singleness. As any 12-stepper can tell us, if we get too Hungry, or Angry, or Lonely, or Tired, HALT, our besetting problems will rise up to haunt us. And when our priests are not successful, there are not only sexual sins, but particular friendships, alcohol or drug abuse, swamp adder attitudes, and the rest of the litany of problems.

So, how do we nurture our priests? Here's a few suggestions (Feel free to add to the list):

In the cities where the parishes are close enough together, the priests could live together, like the old rectories were when parishes had more than one priest. They then can support each other in their commitments and catch the very earliest signs of trouble coming, and prevent it. Out in the rural and exurban areas, make sure the old deanery systems really work, so every week or every other week all of the priests within a reasonable drive can come together for prayer, support, and frank talk. Celibate is not a synonym for lonely.

Be sure your priest gets time off ---real time off. Not planning meetings or mowing the churchyard, but _OFF_. Maybe a day or a half-day every week, and a week or two vacation and a week or two time off for a retreat every year. Don't let your priest get exhausted, no matter how much you need him. And do not keep him so busy that his spiritual life gets neglected for all of the chores. If necessary, do the chores yourself. Give your priest time every day for a solid prayer life.

And, of course, we have to pray ourselves. The priests cannot provide the holiness of the whole Church all by themselves. Some of it is our job.
At Annunciations, Michael posted a quotation from Carlo Carretto which is _absolutely_necessary_. Go there!

He reminds me of my mother, who used to say:

The Church is my Mother, and I love her. Occasionally, she behaves like a whore, but she is still my mother.


The proof that the Holy Spirit protects the Church is how the Holy Spirit inspired some of our more foul popes to keep their mouths shut. They may have been evil people and horrendous examples, but they never even tried to use their office to proclaim their evils good.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

An apology to Bubbles (and other things)

I corresponded with Bubbles Sirman this morning, and it turns out I did misinterpret his target last night, confusing him with the idiots who think the local crisis is an excuse to have their prurient curiosities catered to. I should have known better, knowing Bubbles from REBORN and all, that he wouldn't be into that. Please accept my contrition.

His real target was our passive-voiced, hiding behind the pr flacks and lawyers bishops up to their miters in the Situation. And, though I express myself very differently, about that we actually agree.

Dallas will be extremely difficult, if our bishops are strong for us and serious at all, and I know at least some of them are. And, in the upcoming months after Dallas, there will have to be a lot more public truth-telling. Not "mistakes were made," but "I allowed x to happen and x was wrong." Not "there were indiscretions" but "I did y. I ordered z. I beg your forgiveness."

I have become utterly convinced (any of my friends can let me know if they think I'm wrong---Mark S, Bubbles, Gerard, anybody?) that in the next months, there will be some, maybe many, of our bishops, including some of the cardinals, facing a full diocesan chapel and a bank of international media for their own public Chapter of Faults. And not over decades-forgiven personal sin and ordinary lack of courage either. This will not be easy. It will be no fun for any of us. But it needs to happen.

We need to pray and do penance. That is what will help the bishops to do it, and help us to endure it. That, and my knowledge that I have sinned and I have done spectacularly dumb things myself. So there is no right to ridicule.

Today's wise words come from Bill W:

How privileged we are to understand so well the divine paradox that strength rises from weakness, that humiliation goes before resurrection, that pain is not only the price but the very touchstone of spiritual rebirth.

Saturday, June 08, 2002

Tomorrow is June 9th, but it's a Sunday, so we do not get to celebrate Ephrem the Syrian, deacon and doctor, this year. But I'm not willing to wait a full year to post his prayer, to which I have been clinging in both the "Situation" and the "crisis." It may be a life preserver to others as well.

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power, and idle talk; but give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins, and not to judge my brother, for thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
Sirman on the Mount's "indiscretion"

Bubbles over on Sirman on the Mount posted a definition for "indiscretion" that equated it to "buggery." I don't know, but it seemed a commentary on the "inappropriate nature of my relationship with Paul M------." So whether or not, here goes. Forgive me, Bubbles, if I'm wrong about that.

Whether or not that relationship ever got physical, and how much, we will never know, and it is really none of our business. Our only evidence is Paul M's interview with GMA, and everyone with two functioning gray cells has figured out by now that was as phony as a three dollar bill.

BUT, it also does not matter. The kind of relationship that Rembert W had with Paul M (as evidenced by the Dear Paul Letter) would be seriously sinful, at least for Rembert W, even if they never touched.

Rembert W, like all of us who are pledged to live the evangelical counsels, has made a promise to God to live in chaste singleness. (usually abbreviated "celibacy"). To become involved in any relationship that makes one excessively entangled with any one other individual, or that makes one's own conscience secondary to someone else's conscience, is a violation of that singleness to God, and is sin. And, that is the sin that Rembert W is confessing to, and renouncing, in the Dear Paul Letter, clearly. Rembert W can have only one Love, God alone. There can be no other loves. Paul M must go.

This is such a recognised pattern of temptation and sinning in the Tradition, even from earliest times, that there is shorthand jargon for it in the Catholic vocabulary. That phrase is "a particular friendship." After the emotions of the crisis calm down, take a look at the commentaries on the dangers of the particular friendship, and you'll find the initial sin of Rembert W. Even if, perchance, they never touched, or even if they did. Dear Bubbles, prurience is unnecessary.
While we've been distracted by the "Situation" and by the "crisis"
there have been other prayer needs. A small sampling:

----The rulers of India and of Pakistan wave nuclear weapons over their people's heads in their current disagreements. For peace, or at least truce.

---- Same in the land called Holy. Even a Korea-style armed truce or a Berlin-style wall would be a massive improvement on the current situation.

---- Mallcom, a 10-year-old run over by a car while helping a wheelchair-using lady cross the street at 34th and National Ave on the 29th, is still in the hospital though not on the critical list anymore. A man named Curtis, who is 39, was arrested Thursday for doing the running over. He has problems of his own.

---- Alexis Patterson, aged 7, of the Hi-Mount neighborhood, is still missing. It has been 5 weeks now.

---- The state of the county workers' pensions is still in doubt; the recalls of elected county officials continue.

---- A Jesuit named Greg was ordained priest last night at my parish church. He will be teaching in the Law School at Marquette University.

---- My parish also has a new pastor, he starts work in July. His name is Fr Peter Etzel, SJ.

---- Chronic wasting disease of deer. Geese that have forgotten how to migrate. Garlic mustard, purple loosestrife, Lyme disease. Seagulls lounging in the Convention Center air vents. And, of course, it is tornado season.

---- My nephew, Chad, was born on May 31st. I'll get to meet him when I go to the Knapp reunion in July. My sisters tell me that Chad's big sister Elise is charmed by him.

---- Call to Action is coming to plague us again later in the year (I saw their ad). Wanderer Forum will probably show up also, they always have before. Lord deliver us from the Wandering Actionites. There is only The Church, it has no adjectives!

The "crisis" is mostly passed, but we now return you to the "Situation," already in progress.
The Liturgy of the Hours is always reliable! From today's; psalm 131:

O Lord, my heart is not proud
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great
nor marvels beyond me.

Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother's arms,
even so my soul.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
both now and forever.

Friday, June 07, 2002

From today's Liturgy of Hours:

at morning prayer: Jeremiah 31

This is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

and at the office of readings: Romans 8

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or a sword? As Scripture says: "For your sake we are being slain all the day long; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered." Yet in all this we are more than conquerers because of him who has loved us. For I am certain that neither life nor death, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Come, Lord Jesus, whose covenant fidelity is forever!
An interesting, and gentle, letter

From the Letters to the Editor of yesterday's Catholic Herald and also various places on the Internet:

We appreciate Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland's public apology last Friday and hope that it helps many of us Catholics in Milwaukee to move beyond our shock and dismay to find the voice of the Spirit in this time of crisis.

We were particularly saddened to hear the archbishop say that he considers it his obligation to repay the archdiocese the remainder of money that he has not already contributed toward the $450,000 settlement amount in his case. Not all of us agree that he owes the archdiocese this money and most of us are uncomfortable with the fact that money was paid. However, we wish to help our church and the archbishop as best we can.

We are setting in motion a large group of God's people who will let the archbishop know that we value the 50 years of service he has given to the church by helping to erase the debt of the settlement money.

Therefore, we have resolved to contact as many people as we can on the internet and other lists to ask them to send contributions to the archdiocese, with the notation that the contribution is to reimburse the archdiocese for the $450,000 paid as a settlement in the Weakland case.

June 29th is the feast of SS Peter and Paul. Perhaps we could be free of this burden by then so that the archbishop and the people of this archdiocese could move forward in the spirit of these great apostles.

Nancy Hennessey Cooney
Chuck Cooney
Tom Landers
Marjorie Reiley Maguire
School Sister of St Francis Angela Ireland
Mary Lux
Richard Lux

I wish that I had money so that I could contribute to this worthy gesture of care and love. However, all I have is my prayers, and the archbishop has had them ever since the day 25 years ago that we all wondered "Dom Rembert Who?" even before he was ordained bishop, and he will have them for the rest of my days.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

About Jochebed

It was the summer of 1975. I was back in Ohio for the summer from university, and I had no employment. So I divided up my days, a third of them in the library, a third of them helping at a place called the Charles de Foucauld House, and a third with my maternal grandmother, who was doubling at the time as my spiritual director.

To Grandma, absolutely everything was purposeful, every human activity had its blessing and its proper way, and almost every prayer began, "Blessed be the Lord, king of the universe, who...." Between cleaning and baking and sewing and handwork, we were praying about and discerning my future path. A few months before, I had discovered the hard way that for advanced calculus and organic chemistry I was not fit, so medicine was out of the question at last; but it had been obvious since very early childhood that making things whole, imposing order on various forms of chaos, was my primary talent. Yet,how to use it? And how to make a living, or accept not doing so?

By August, it had become obvious that I would study theology and philosophy even if I had to bus tables and babysit for a livelihood all my life. It was also equally obvious that I would not be marrying and raising up great-grandchildren; my way would be the way of the Counsels. So I was renamed: in my mother's family, every major change in life comes with a new name. Grandma called me Jochebed.

Who was Jochebed? Jochebed (the name means "the LORD is glorious") was the valiant Israelite woman who was the mother of Aaron and Miriam and Moses. She committed her beloved baby Moses to the river in a floating cradle, on the slimmest of chances that he might survive, and he not only survived but was brought back to her side by his royal rescuer. She bore and raised three prophets and servants of the Lord, and then she was forgotten but for a few lines at the beginning of the book of Exodus.

That is our way as humans. We do what we must, and life goes on. One person plants, another hoes and weeds, still another harvests, and all are necessary. Yet there is only One who receives glory.
The Reason for Our Hope (1 Peter 3:15)

Thank you, Bishop Sklba! Your column is on the spot.

Also for your calendar published in the Catholic Herald: Tuesday, Jesus Caritas fraternity meeting; Wednesday through Saturday, bishops' conference. Be strong for us.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

A day of calm. I spent my web time reading the various corners of Maureen's Religion of Sanity site. Wonderful.

Please continue to pray, especially for your own bishop. Also, join me in special prayer for our Bishop Sklba, tossed so unexpectedly and suddenly into the spotlight here in Milwaukee, that he'll be ready and strong for the meetings in Dallas, and for keeping our archdiocese in good order for the new archbishop, whoever he might be.

We have been blessed beyond our deserving for the last quarter-century; the new archbishop is likely to find us quite spoiled.....

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Some Disjointed Day's Wanderings

Rock of Ages, let our song
praise your saving power.
You, amid the raging throng,
were our sheltering tower,
Furious they assailed us,
but your arm availed us,
and your word broke their swords
when our own strength failed us.
And your word broke their swords
when our own strength failed us.

Assailed indeed is the name of the game recently. I need to arrange a ride to the Cathedral to pray in that special place. When it was rededicated after the renovation it was so beautiful, and so very Catholic, and I could go inside again also, like I did when I was more able.

If we returned to public Confession, so that we all knew all of each others' secrets, would we live in less fear? Or would we only abuse each other? Would we be more free, knowing everybody knows everything anyhow, or would we drive the shy and the timid away from Reconciliation altogether? And what does the Seal of Confession mean when the entire congregation hears?

Up until May 23rd, the presumption was that the details of one's long-ago confessed and long-ago forgiven sins were nobody's business but God's. But we have discovered to our pain that they are also the business of any who can use that knowledge as a club.

Unconscionably but providentially (and it's one of those paradoxes how one action can be both!), along with knowing much that we have no right to know, we have documentation of the glories of the love for Christ and his Church, of true contrition, and of the depths inside the human heart. Thanks but no thanks to my ex-classmate, who, I hope, is receiving whatever he was seeking in his noteriety.
(And who I also hope returns the $450,000 he fraudulently received from the archdiocese. If the claim was not a fraud, the Dear Paul Letter would never now be public.)

For myself, and for the other believers here, and for both our bishops, the retired and the administrating, there is only the one thing to hold and remember, and St Teresa said it in her Nada te turbe:

Let nothing disturb you,
nothing frighten you.
All things are passing,
God never changes.
Patient endurance
attains to all things.
The one who has God
finds nothing wanting.
God alone suffices.
Howard Eisenberg, dean of the Marquette University Law School and the head of the commission reviewing sexual abuse allegations in our archdiocese, died this afternoon at age 55, of cardiac problems. He had a heart attack on May 23.

Please pray for his repose, for his family, for the remaining members of the commission, and for our archdiocese and university.

karen marie
A quickie before bed:

Which bishop's turn is next at the public Chapter of Faults? and who are we laity and lowly not-canonically-correct religious to hold ourselves exempt?

Why not bring back public Confession, then none of us would have any secrets from the world.

karen marie

Monday, June 03, 2002

Resisting the Temptations of Donatism

When St. Francis was asked what his brothers were to do about the immoral and corrupt priests and bishops of the 13th century (who make the worst of our current crop look like rank amateurs!), whether they should be avoided or preached against, his answer was to bow and kiss their hands and ask their blessing, for they offer the holy Eucharist for us, giving to us Christ himself.

In the current trials, the deceptive face of Donatism is coming back in fashion. There are groups out there, believing themselves to be Catholic, that are proposing that the Lord does not come in the Eucharist if the celebrant is in some way or other unworthy, and that Absolution by such priests does not absolve. Even reading or listening to the secular news sources, that ugly face pops up. Every bishop who ever mishandled any priestly discipline case by modern standards, no matter how long ago or how corrected since, must go. The teaching of the bishop doesn't need to be listened to if all of the bishop's prudential judgements have not been correct. And even reports of people leaving the Church because, they say, of their bishop's imperfections. Donatism's ugly face peeks out again and again, encouraging doubt and promoting division and schism

If we insist on having only perfect bishops who have only perfect priests, then we will have neither bishops nor priests. For none of us are perfect, all of us have sinned, every single one of us has done spectacularly dumb things, and even the strongest and most faithful of us come equipped with two clay feet. We've had a recent lesson:

"I apologize to all the faithful of this archdiocese which I love so much, to all its people and clergy, for the scandal that has occurred because of my sinfulness. Long ago, I placed that sinfulness in God's loving and forgiving heart, but now and into the future I worry about those whose faith may be shaken by my acts.

The early Church was wise to declare that God can use imperfect instruments to build the kingdom and that the effectiveness of the sacraments does not depend on the holiness of the minister. For me that thought brings some, though meager, consolation. It does not in any way diminish my need to beg forgiveness of all of you."

a lesson both in the importance of resisting Donatism and the need not to use resisting Donatism as an excuse. Our bishops and pastors cannot hide behind any of this to avoid standing straight and speaking their embarrassing truths aloud. And the faithful cannot use any of this as an excuse to go away from The Church, where the bishop is, which Christ has promised to protect, to go out to the howling wilderness where the bishop is not.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

Special thanks to Doug Sirman and Zach Frey of the REBORN listserv for sending me my first html lessons. I have edited last night's posting about the media to make the urls really work: I hope they really do. I've also attenpted to make a working email link in my site description, we'll see if it works as well. I intend to abide by the Welborn protocol for blogging email.
karen marie
Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi

From today's Office of Readings: from St. Augustine

Since it was the will of God's only-begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us forever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.

O precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful that this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.

It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper. As he was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he left it as a perpetual memorial of his passion. It was the fulfillment of ancient figures and the greatest of all his miracles, while for those who were to experience the sorrow of his departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation.

Saturday, June 01, 2002

The Journal Sentinel is Finally Getting It (will the rest of the media? will the rest of our bishops?)
Two Thursdays ago, when a former classmate of mine spun a shocking tale on _Good_Morning_America_, and another gentleman gave to his journalist friend a certain 22-year-old letter, the reporters of the Journal Sentinel sought interviews with the Archbishop. All they got was a short statement. Four basic clauses: I did not sexually assault anybody. There was a settlement agreement, but I respect its confidentiality and can say no more. The settlement payment, like all settlements, did not use funds designated for charitable or for pastoral purposes. I have asked the Holy Father to please expedite the acceptance of my resignation.

And that was all.

The reporters were at their wit's end. The Media columnist even wrote a column expressing his amazement that the Archbishop was not defending himself at all ---"there are 100 better ways the archbishop could handle this."


We know as Catholics, that of course there was not. We cannot defend ourselves at the cost of accusing anybody else of anything; we can only accuse ourselves. That is an integral part of living a submitted life. But, how can this be explained to a mob of reporters more used to the ways of secular politicians than Catholic monastics? It cannot be done.

However, after last night, it looks like the Journal Sentinel gang, at least, are getting it. This is not Mayor Norquist, or some county supervisor or even sport star. This is Archbishop Rembert, who has been very open with them for the past almost 25 years, but not at the cost of anyone else but himself. And he wasn't going to change _that_ now.

www.jsonline.com/enter/tvradio/may02/47631.asp and www.jsonline.com/news/metro/may02/47705.asp

Can the rest of the media come to understand and respect this, though?

And will those of our Bishops and Pastors who will need to speak embarrassing truths in the upcoming months remember that this is how it is supposed to be?

karen marie email to: kmknapp@execpc.com
The gospel reading from last night: St John 21: 15-19

After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others do?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He replied, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you." Jesus said to him, "Look after my sheep." Then he said to him a third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" and said, "Lord, you know everything; you know I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. I tell you most solemnly, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go." In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, "Follow me."