Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Personal Asides: Prelates Above Criticism?…Ex-Gov. Ryan Goes to Oxford.


The Cardinal.

Those who read this website know that I have been occasionally high—even 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 laxity—and 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 Indulgence”—a 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, don’t be misled that this Cardinal doesn’t 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 don’t 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 alive—an accident that may not have happened had secretary of state personnel on Ryan’s 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 governorship—saying he was pro-life and then pulling the Halloween mask off and saying he is pro-abort…saying he opposed expansion of O’Hare 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. Ryan’s jailing today closes a portion of that tawdry chapter.


  1. Does Mark Brown do Lotto Picks?

    Thank God, for dead certainty!


  2. Mr. Roeser, you distorted what I wrote. I did not say the cardinal should never be criticized. I said that in this case you should keep the pressure on DePaul. Your attack on the cardinal in this case actual undermines your effort to get DePaul to change.

    You are an intelligent man. It is wrong to caricature your opponent then proceed to knock down the straw man you created rather than respond to the point your opponent made.

    You are upset that the cardinal did not swing back at the president of DePaul. Well, you swung back at me by means of a distortion of me that you created. That's morally worse than the lack of a direct response from the cardinal.

    I do not understand why lay Catholics seem to think that the solution to the problem of Catholic universities rests primarily with the bishops. The solution rests with lay Catholics who form the constituencies of these universities. They need to keep unrelenting pressure on the universities. Assuming that the bishops can fix everything is a form of clericalism and an abandoning of the lay Catholic's baptismal obligation to live out his Catholic faith in the arenas in which he is active. Catholic parents, donors, etc. have far more influence over what happens at Catholic universities than bishops do (except at diocesan schools or pontifical universities or seminaries). That is what John Paul II himself said in Ex corde ecclesiae: the responsibility for keeping a Catholic university Catholic rests with the Catholic university. Bishops have only the last resort of withdrawing the name Catholic.

  3. Houghton, I'm glad Mr. Roeser is pressuring the Cardinal. One of the Cardinal's responsibilities is to certify that an institution is a Catholic institution or not.

    We can't pressure De Paul when De Paul has a fund raising machine, alumni donations and a great basketball program.

    How much of that would fizzle away if they were no longer a Catholic institution. Like Mr. Roeser, I would take it to the boss.

  4. Houghton,

    You skip the part where 90% of the donors to a Catholic University look to the Cardinal/Bishop for guidance on whether the donation is going to a legitimate cause. When the local prelate raises these issues, the donors follow. In the case of DePaul, Loyola, St. Xavier, Rosary/Dominican, Barat(RIP), etc...the Cardinal is certainly justified in questioning and challenging the Catholic mission of these instiutions and can do a great deal of good by adding some hierarchical scrutiny to some very questionable schools.


  5. Ryan was the perfect RINO.... Republican in NAME ONLY. When a politician starts to get full of him or herself and looks to his or her position as a source of MONEY for himself or others LOOK OUT! In the end not even the swinging to the LEFT will save the sorry skin of such a despictable politician!

    And such was George Ryan who took DOWN the Republican Party in Illinois and opened the door to BLAGO.

    My first wish is that true Republicans could have publicly stoned Ryan for what he did to Illinois!

    My second wish is that Ryan be put in a Stateville cell next to one of the delightful commuted sentence "BUBBAS" who could show his gratefulness to Ryan by giving him a night of special "bliss"!

    But no, in true politican style and thanks to the help of another creepy RINO he gets Club Fed!

    But then Tom's neo-con President Bush will probably Pardon ole Ryan who after all was one of the good ole boys like Rosty whom Clinton pardoned. AND YES TOM I DO KNOW THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO PARDON SUCH POND SCUM!

  6. Mr. Lawrence, if I am reading you right, you think that by being politically not very reliable, being imprisoned and sexually assaulted is a reasonable consequence.

    Along with California Attorney General Bill Locklear, I find this alongside of a disturbing trend of wanting to cause violence, even sexual violence, to your political opponents.

    This is disturbing, and unfortunately regarded as a some sort of justice. However, may I suggest, if you disagree with a politician, vote him out of office, rather than coming up with some sort of ultra-perverted French Revolutionary justice for those that dare disagree with you.


  7. I and many others are simply tired of politicians and white collar criminals getting "special treatment" in cushy "club fed" type prisons. Explain to us why they should receive such special treatment John.

    George Ryan handed a special favor to some of the worst criminals in prison. I am sure that he would not be afraid to join them in the badinage of a special blissful evening of political discussion. I am sure to them George Ryan is a folk hero! As such he should have a very enjoyable time with them. Don't you think, John?

    John Powers you must not let your furtive imagination run away with you!

  8. Mr. Powers,

    And you miss the part about the donors having an awful lot more influence directly on DePaul than via the cardinal.

    You guys are political experts, you and Mr. Roeser. All I'm doing is what any intelligent manager would do--analyze the structure, who has authority to do what. If you have a misbehaving junior manager who is giving you trouble as a low-level employee you don't go to the CEO but to the misbehavor's supervisor. Yes, ultimately the CEO has authority to discipline the junior level manager but we all know that people who are constantly running to the big boss asking him to fix things when another, more direct course of redress is at hand.

    Universities are now run as businesses in many ways. Their product is the prestige of their faculty and research facilities. This is bad for the culture but it's a fact. They consider their customers to be the students and their parents. They are accutely sensitive to market trends. The supervisor of the president is the board of trustees. They can hire and fire him. The board of trustees is the appropriate channel to turn to.

    But, but, but, but, but, they don't listen to us, people whine. True. But why not? They aren't going to listen to the cardinal if they think that he does not represent the opinions of what they consider to be their true customers. Indeed, they may be reading their market as wanting something different than the cardinal wants. They have to be set straight on that by their market or they will just blow off the cardinal's complaints.

    I can't understand why professional men of business and politics take such an ill-informed and blundering approach to this particular business.

    It may in fact be true that the constituencies of a university like DePaul no longer give a rat's rear end about the things you and Mr. Roeser and I care about--Catholic faith. But if that's true, then even if Cardinal George were to do what you want him to do--withdraw permission to call the university a Catholic university--the university, if it reads its market as not caring about that, will tell the cardinal to get lost and will happily go on naming itself by some marketable variation of "Catholic."

    So in the end, the cardinal has to have backing from the university's most powerful constituencies if his actions are to have any effect.

    Yet you and others tell me, but, but, but, but the university won't listen to us. The cardinal has to bring in the big guns. Sorry, but if the university won't listen to you, then that's the problem, right there--an insufficient Catholic constituency that cares about DePaul's missing Catholicism.

  9. Yes, Houghton, the donors surely have more influence than the Cardinal.


    DePaul donors aren't hearing about the controversey in the major media. They certainly aren't hearing anything negative from DePaul. If they are aware of DePaul's un-Catholic actions, then they are already supporting it with their money.

    I think you have to go to the boss on this one.

  10. I happen to like his Eminence a great deal and, in many of his efforts, have enormous respect for him as we have an entrenched liberalism in this area that requires an almost unconscionably massive pesticidal effort to eradicate.

    DePaul University has become one of the more entrenched and visible pests--and the alma mater of some our area's political, corporate. and judicial luminaries. However, its wading into the promotion of pansexualism--that never ending LGBTQ, etc., etc., movement is a scandal of major propotions and a blot on the Church here. Cardinal George now must decide whether to act in his role as shepherd, especially of the vulnerable, or just be another corporate sheep. If the former, it requires an act of public fortitude--as DePaul needs to decide whether it is Catholic or just catholic. And Chicago Catholics need to know how that decision occurred and the reasons for it.

  11. Uh, Freidrich, if big-money donors to DePaul sit around waiting to hear from the cardinal archbishop whether they ought to give their money there or somewhere else, that's news to me. The horses are long since out of the barn. The big-money donors for the most part align with the Amchurch, Catholic-Lite sort of catholicism found at DePaul. Any big-money or small-money donors likely to really be affected by a Word from on High from the archbishop are already very much aware of what has happened to Catholic schools and have long-since redirected their money.

    Sure there are a few in the middle. But the day is long past when Catholic fundraising depended on the archbishop's placet. Certainly his endorsement of a particular charity carries weight with many donors and his unendorsement of a Catholic school would make waves, but not all would be in the direction you wish.

    I hate to break the news, but faithful Catholics are already a small minority in the world of "Catholic" philanthropy. How else do you think the Catholic universities managed to become so faintly Catholic? Self-proclaimed Catholics (many of the CINOs) long since secularized, including many of the wealthiest.

    But I don't expect I'll convince any of you. You already know all the answers and you really don't need any help from someone who really knows the inside of the beast--not me, of course, but let's just say, "a friend of mine."

    So I'll sign off now. I've said my piece.