Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Personal Asides: Prelates Above Criticism? Ex-Gov. Ryan Goes to Oxford.
Those who read this website know that I have been occasionally higheven effusive--in my praise of Francis Cardinal George and then quite critical. In the view of two readers whom I do not know Houghton Mathetes and Patricia Tryon praise for the Cardinal must be unalloyed. If I chafe at no response from Superior street to the DePaul University sanction of homosexual advocacy, they say it is unfair because, who knows, perhaps there is some negotiation to return DePaul to Catholicity in the works. Yeah and perhaps not. We have lived too long seeing the dilatory effects of letting things slide to take that on faith. Where we are in the Church today is illustrative of the fact that there has been lamentable laxityand it is well for laity to keep the pressure on.
For them and some others, then, reading these posts will be a trial since I do not share their absolution of bishops from wrongdoing. If one is to be a clericalist, I tend to be deferential to such models as Mother Teresa, Padre Pio and Francis of Assisi rather than swing incense burners at the sight of miters and crosiers. Perhaps if more people in Boston had put the heat on Bernard Cardinal Law for flagrant laxity in failing to punish pedophiles, he would not be in Rome where he is in charge of inspecting the Dewey decimal system in the Vatican library. And then we get to Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco who dispensed the Eucharist to Sisters of Perpetual Indulgencea group of vividly painted male transvestites who had invaded the cathedral to mock the sacrament, as all but evidently he was aware. That he is still presiding without a peep from Rome or any domestic chancery says something. The old boys bishop club still trumps any lay criticism. Niederauer is the worst of quite a few. And the litany of weak archbishops goes back to, and much earlier than, Thomas Cranmer.
No, this is not to link Cardinal George with these examples. But it is not the foolish whim of this site that he or any other prelate get a free pass when the Church is engulfed in disastrous scandal due precisely to laxity of administration and failure to run seminaries effectively here and across the country.
Anyhow, dont be misled that this Cardinal doesnt acquit himself well in the invective department--as I, who have felt the sting of archdiocesan lash, can demonstrate through unflattering second-hand name-calling and third-hand threats. So Mr. Mathetes and Ms. Tryon, you are welcome to read and comment and take issue--but dont think this site exists to be unduly deferential to ecclesiastical dilatoryness when there are ample illustrations to go around.
Ryan to Oxford.
It is too much to ask, as Carol Marin did the other day, that George Ryan express remorse for the briberies that happened on his watch that caused at least one illegal immigrant trucker to become involved in an accident that burned six children alivean accident that may not have happened had secretary of state personnel on Ryans watch not been on the take. Ryan leaves for jail today having said with masterly command of English I was screwed. As were the people to whom he repeatedly misled to win the governorshipsaying he was pro-life and then pulling the Halloween mask off and saying he is pro-abort saying he opposed expansion of OHare and then falling in love with his consort Richard Daley saying he favored the death penalty and then granting clemency to the entire death row fraternity in a desperate attempt to seduce blacks who may serve on his jury going to Cuba to ingratiate himself with Dictator Castro so as to influence the Nobel Prize committee which might get him off the hook.
The poet Francis Thompson in The Hound of Heaven concluded that one so desperate to flee righteous falls into this trap: All things betrayest me who betrayest Thee.
Like all miscreants, Ryan deserved a defense but the fact that Jim Thompson has become such a front man in the name of rectifying injustice is hard to take. Hopes that Thompson would have been a reform governor died early in his four terms. And the expectation that he would be a valued ex-governor using his great intellectual talents in the law were misplaced as well. Thompson chose to be not just a lobbyist but one who accepted all manner of cases including the Wirtz liquor deal that sullied the legislative process. Ryans jailing today closes a portion of that tawdry chapter.