Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blair cover-up project

Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, has a conundrum on his hands. He recently tried to replace a popular pastor at a parish with a new pastor of the bishop's choosing.

The old pastor, Fr. Thomas Leyland, said he was being forced out for criticizing the bishop, in violation of canon law. He appealed to the Vatican.

Now, it comes out that the priest the bishop tried to put into the parish, Fr. David Nuss, allegedly had an affair with a woman. And the bishop has known about this for some time.

Okay, first, how stupid was the bishop to insert this priest into an explosive situation knowing that he had this skeleton in his closet? He didn't know this could come out>

Second, Blair apparently acted as if this was all news to him when parishioners confronted him with this information earlier this month, but on Sunday the diocesan spokesman came clean. Here's the excuse:

"He knew about it, but he treated it as you would treat a sin in a confessional manner," said Sally Oberski, director of communications for the Toledo Catholic Diocese. "We don't publish people's sins."

Until now apparently. Until the bishop's hide is on the line. Then all bets are off. If he treated it like it was under the seal of the confessional, then it should never come out no matter what.

But if it wasn't actually a confession, why should Blair treat it as if it was? Why should Blair protect Nuss under these circumstances?

Finally, have these bishops learned nothing? As the old axiom says: "It ain't the crime; it's the cover up." Had Blair simply done the right thing up front, we wouldn't be reading about in the paper. Instead we see that despite all the audits and mandatory training and criminal background checks of volunteers, there's still no one doing anything about those most responsible for the mess we're in--apart from the sexual predators themselves--the bishops.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Father's day at the beach

Sometimes you just want to shake your head at this stuff. A priest in California was one of three men caught in an undercover sting at a nude beach. Cops were investigating reports that people were having sex in the bushes.

Further investigation revealed one of the men is an associate pastor at a Catholic Church in Nipomo.

Sheriff's deputies said 52-year-old, Geronimo Cuevas was standing in the bushes off the trail that leads down to the beach at Pirate's Cove, masturbating.

When he was approached by an undercover agent, investigators said he grabbed the deputy's crotch.

People who knew Cuevas as a man of the cloth are shocked by the allegations.

"I think that's unbelievable. I mean I've seen him. He serves his masses. He's been a preacher over there for quite sometime. It's just absolutely unbelievable," said Wes Lingerfelt.

Unbelievable? Sadly, not. As long as we remain in denial about the problem of gay priests in the ranks, this is going to keep happening. And don't give the BS about celibacy being the cause. Sexual desire of whatever stripe is not an irresistible force. There are plenty of desires that people resist: the desire for food, for drink, for tobacco, to strangle certain bishops. But since society has determined that sex is the most important thing in all creation, then we must also label all sexual desire as not just good, but also more powerful than the human will. They've made it into God.

I do feel bad for the poor fellow astounded at seeing his priest arrested for such, but like too many Catholics he labors under the illusion that the mere trappings of religiosity, such as preaching and saying Mass, are evience of holiness. After all, how many people think they're going to heaven because they deign to acknowledge the existence of God and are "nice" to other people? I can't how many times over the past five years of this crisis that I've seen parishioners of molesters astonished or in denial about "their" priest.

There's a higher standard by which all of us, but especially priests, are to judged, but most people aren't using it. I'd bet a million dollars that if someone had regularly looked at Father Cuevas' public behavior in his daily life with a more serious eye, they wouldn't have been surprised by this. Saddened, yes, but surprised, no.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lost in abortion-land

This is a good one. An apologist for Planned Parenthood and abortion in the majority Catholic Asian country of the Philippines says that Pope Benedict's motu proprio on the Missal of Bl. John XXIII should worry women interested in abortion.

Yeah, I didn't get it either. But then for this crowd abortion is the most holy sacrament of the culture of death and everything relates to it. (And they say pro-lifers are obsessed!) As usual, she quotes a pro-abortion Catholic feminist as if she was a spokesperson for all Catholics.

When Pope Benedict XVI recently made his announcement about wider use of the Latin Mass, Catholics all over the world had a lot to talk about all over again. Many Catholics are worried, Bishops included, about what the move represents as a whole, apart from the alien language.

Local feminist, Ms. Rina Jimenez David wrote in the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

"Striking is the Pope's bending over backwards to accommodate the backsliding elements of the Church while remaining resolute in his refusal to meet with and engage in meaningful dialogue with other members of the flock: women and gays in particular. Ironically, scholars say the future of the Church lies precisely in the greater inclusion and involvement of these two sectors of the Catholic faithful."

Rina, a Catholic, recalls attending the Latin Mass as a child and the feeling of exclusion that comes from not being able to understand the mass. She also described the feeling of attending her first English/Filipino mass after Vatican II, calling it liberating and inclusive.

So weird. She gets even weirder when she starts complaining about the recent guidelines issued by the Philippine bishops on how to dress appropriately at Mass. Apparently, modest dress and worship in Latin (she makes the classic error of conflating the 1962 Missal with Latin Mass) are just another attempt by The Man (in this case the Pope and the Church) to oppress women and turn them into baby-making machines.

Suuuuuurrrrre. The title of her blog post is "Lost in Translation." No kidding.

One man's orthodoxy is another man's heterodoxy

In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News blog, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles responds to a question whether the real problem with the sex abuse crisis is "a lack of discipline and orthodoxy in the seminaries" by agreeing and then giving a narrow definition of orthodoxy.

Well, first of all that's one of the things that we still are studying. As you know, the bishops are conducting a study of causes.... In our case, many of the priests came out of the "good old days" -- Latin-only, cassocks-only.... Most of our cases did not come out of post-Vatican II, they came out of pre-Vatican II.

So orthodoxy, according to the cardinal, is post-Vatican II, cassock-less, Latin-less. Of course, the statement is misleading, but what's new from Dodging Roger. The Cafeteria is Closed gives some statistics on the abuse that show quite clearly where the problem lies.

Overwhelmingly, they were ordained prior to the election of John Paul II and rates of abuse dropped precipitously after. Also, the cast majority were ordained in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, with the peak decade being the 60s.

Rather than coming from the "good old days" most of these priests were during and after Vatican II, which is not necessarily a slam on the Council, but disproves Mahony's contention.

More importantly, when did the cover-ups occur? When did the majority of the bishops shuffle off predators and perverts to new assignments and new dioceses? Sorry, Rog, but that was on the watch of you and your peers.

Catholic World News recalls that Mahony once said Cardinal Law of Boston should resign because of the number of lawsuits in Boston. This Los Angeles situation dwarfs the worst of Boston. Will Mahony be consistent and turn in his own resignation? I didn't think so.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Socialism doesn't solve anything

Gotta love those liberals! But they're a little dense, you know? Here's an example:

Ezra Klein writes in an op ed in the Los Angeles Times about employee vacations. Mainly he's trotting out that hoary old chestnut about how all those advanced Socialist nations of Europe mandate employer-paid vacations while American workers are guaranteed nothing, bupkiss, nada. In fact, those Europeans get a boatload of freebies:
THE MOST astonishing revelations in Michael Moore's "Sicko" have nothing to do with healthcare. They're about vacation time. French vacation time, to be precise.

Sitting at a restaurant table with a bunch of American ex-pats in Paris, Moore is treated to a jaw-dropping recitation of the perks of social democracy: 30 days of vacation time, unlimited sick days, full child care, social workers who come to help new parents adjust to the strains and challenges of child-rearing.


"The United States," they write, "is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation." Take notice of that word "only." Every other advanced economy offers a government guarantee of paid vacation to its workforce. Britain assures its workforce of 20 days of guaranteed, compensated leave. Germany gives 24. And France gives, yes, 30.

We guarantee zero. Absolutely none. That's why one out of 10 full-time American employees, and more than six out of 10 part-time employees, get no vacation.

But here's the payoff in this article:
This is strange. Of all these countries, the United States is, by far, the richest.
That is indeed strange. After all who would have thought that countries where the government requires companies to give pantloads of expensive benefits to employees would not have the strongest economies? Who would have thought that the country that doesn't require companies to pay employees for days and days of not working--but they may if they wish for certain productive employees--would be the richest? It's like that country promotes a certain amount of efficiency and productivity thereby assuring that those employees have a job to go back to after their vacations.

This is like all those liberals who are confounded that in America in recent years the incarceration rate has increased even as the crime rate has decreased. You don't say! How could that be?

Liberals start with the presumption that America is bad, corporations are evil, and criminals are misunderstood and then they're confused when the exact opposite of what they expect happens.

Extraordinary or Ordinary?

Catholic News Service quotes the Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi as saying that Pope Benedict "concelebrates his daily morning Mass in Italian using the current edition of the Roman Missal."

This is an obvious reference to the Catholic World News story from yesterday that Pope Benedict celebrates his private Mass using the Missal of Blessed John XXIII.

A few points to ponder: CNS says that the Pope "concelebrates" according to the Missal of Paul VI. Perhaps we have some Clintonian parsing going on here because, of course, you can't concelebrate under the Extraordinary Usage of the Roman Rite. So can we conclude that when BXVI concelebrates he uses the Ordinary Usage and when he celebrates alone he uses the Extraordinary Usage?

Another point to ponder: The Holy Father, in his motu proprio clearly indicated that we shouldn't call it the "Tridentine Mass" or "Tridentine rite" anymore since it is in fact the same rite and the same Mass in the one Roman Rite. We should call it Extraordinary Use or Mass according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII.

Yet here is the Catholic News Service, the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, calling it the "Tridentine rite" and "Tridentine Mass." I expect such sloppiness from secular news sources, but from the official Catholic news agency? Not good.

The root of dissent

Why does it seem that no matter what the outward issue is, it always comes back to "pelvic issues."

Here's the obituary of Joseph Hernon, a history professor.

Joseph Martin Hernon Jr., 70, a history professor and author of a study of character in the U.S. Senate, died of cancer June 29 at his home in Boston.


Before Dr. Hernon taught at U-Mass., he was Catholic University's most prominent critic in the mid-1960s. He spoke out publicly on several matters, most notably when he claimed that the university refused to hire a professor because he was not Catholic. The university said the candidate was turned down not because of his religion, but because he was divorced and remarried.
That's the dissent. And the underlying reason? Could it be...
Survivors include his partner of 10 years, Matthew Griffing of Boston, and a brother.
There you go. You will note that not every obituary for Hernon that I found online included that tidbit, but it "do explain much, do it not?"