Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Personal Aside: “We Have a Letter from the Cardinal Today.” Hey, it’s About Me!

             Wednesday in Holy Week.*                   
                           A Letter About Me…but Not To Me.  
         Every Catholic who goes regularly to Sunday Mass knows that every so often after the priest reads the gospel and begins to shuffle through announcements there’ll be a letter from the boss. 
          So the celebrant will say,  
        “Uh, today we have a letter from His Eminence Francis Cardinal George.”  
       It’s usually calling attention to some charity or other worthwhile thing.  Ah but today I have a letter from His Eminence Francis Cardinal George.  I have it but it was not sent to me. But it’s about me. It’s a letter he has taken the time to send to every advisory committee member of Catholic Citizens of Illinois (of which I’m chairman)—but interestingly enough not me…although it’s all about me.  Text of his letter is below. 
          The Cardinal objects to my writing and wants me to either shut up or be forced to shut up. To which I say that’s tough. 
       My writing is done here on this blog, is picked up sometimes in The Chicago Daily Observer and in addition I write a weekly column for The Wanderer, the oldest national Catholic newspaper in the United States and write material that I use on a radio station in this city where I question Republicans and Democrats on current public affairs issues. 
          During my corporate career as a Quaker Oats vice president I had freedom of expression from two CEOs and the board to contribute Op Eds and go on the radio to discuss public issues with the qualification that my corporate identification not be referred to.  The media respected this and for 27 years there was no problem.    
         With this as background, understand: I am not under sanction to Cardinal George and will not be silenced by him.   He’s tried to do this once before—as has the lay chancellor of this archdiocese…and it hasn’t worked.  
        Nor will it in the future. 
       Nothing I write is in the name of Catholic Citizens of Illinois (except a fund-raising letter for it once a year)…and my views do not reflect to the slightest degree that organization. Catholic Citizens, by the way, is not an arm or an adjunct in any sense of the Archdiocese or to him.   Those who founded it with me…and I guess I’m the only original survivor extant now… insisted that it follow strict observance of the magisterium of the Church but in no  way reports to, is funded by, or beholden for its positions to the archdiocese.  
      We structured it that way purposely so it is independent of the archdiocese while being fully authenticist in support of the teachings of the  Church.  Since Cardinal George has been here, our officers were hassled and hauled down to the Chancery…sometimes singly sometimes as a group… purportedly to get rid of me (this while I was hospitalized:nice going).  Nice try; a cowardly try—but it didn’t work.   
          Any hope that I will be intimidated by tactics that involved calling around to my Catholic friends…which happened earlier…to get me to shut up or resign as chairman or get my board to fire me… has been and will be fruitless.   
           I am also, by the way, Chairman of the City Club of Chicago.  In like manner, anything I write here or anywhere else has nothing to do with the City Club of Chicago.  Interestingly enough, I was critical of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin at times…but we got along.  He could tolerate dissent and the free, robust exchange of ideas.  Those times have passed, unfortunately. 
           Again: I can’t repeat it enough.  
           What the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago wants to do is to get the board of directors and advisory committee of Catholic Citizens of Illinois to shut me up knowing full well that what I write are my own views solely. Catholic Citizens have nothing to do with it.  It’s my views he doesn’t like and wants to squelch.  Catholic Citizens is only a dodge. 
       This goes by an ugly word—but the only word that fits: censorship, dissent removal, gag action… by one—and/or ones… who don’t understand the 1st amendment,  free speech or dissent. 
           His Eminence’s petulance doesn’t scare me. Frankly, if I were to be scared it would have been 40 years ago when I was then aged 41 and the father of four children…fired as an assistant commerce secretary summarily by Richard Nixon who was displeased when I pointed out that in my view the conferring of subsidies to minority businesses in the way I was directed to do it carried a political quid pro quo which I didn’t want any part of…nor did I intend to become the goat ala John Dean…nor did I want to use public  relations techniques of  dickering with government funds for political purposes.   The man who warned me about the dangers was, coincidentally, Jackie Robinson who was a business executive…a Republican…and sensitive to possible conflict of interest.  
           When you’re a sub-cabinet officer and you’re canned publicly for “insubordination” by a sitting president you endure the social ostracism equivalent of having your epaulets and buttons jerked off by your boss, your sword broken over his knee and tossed onto the parade ground.    
         So after that, merely having a letter circulated about me behind my back with the attempt to be remonstrated, cajoled and socially coerced into shutting up doesn’t cut any ice with me.    That’s an indecorous way of putting it but that’s the way it is. 
          But all the same, I’m appalled that it’s immaterial to him that these tactics are employed since I am and have been a journalist and commentator in one way or another since 1953.  It’s hard to believe that a somewhat sophisticated man, a former university professor, wants me to either shut up, agree to be silenced or by intimidation… be shut up. 
                                        Text of the Letter.  
           Now that I have that off my chest…take a look at his letter to the board and advisory committee of Catholic Citizens of Illinois, a copy of was not sent to me but which was forwarded to me by a recipient: 
            Dear Mr ______, 
           I write to you because you are a member of the Advisory Board of Catholic Citizens of Illinois whose chairman is Mr. Thomas F. Roeser. 
         Mr. Roeser has taken in recent years to writing essays that are filled with factual errors and misrepresentations about events in the Archdiocese of Chicago.  His writing about both clerical and lay officials of the Archdiocese are also personally insulting and filled with contempt.  At times when the Pope or the bishops’ teachings or activities do not conform in every detail to his political convictions, he descends to hate mongering. I’ve included a recent example for your consideration. 
         Would it be possible for you to use your role as advisor to Catholic Citizens of Illinois to put an end to the hate literature produced by the Chairman?  Thank you. [Emphasis mine]. 
                                                  Sincerely yours in Christ,
                                                 Francis Cardinal George OMI
                                                Archbishop of Chicago. 
           See what I mean?  
           He encloses articles written by me for this blog which have no reference whatsoever to Catholic Citizens of Illinois. To read all my articles, you merely have to scroll down this blog.  
         Hate literature? Give me a break.  Read it for yourself.  
       I have said Benedict XVI is my pope but has some cleaning up to do.  I have not denounced the Cardinal in any theological way but criticized his allowing functionaries…as described in the nonpartisan Internet publication Politico…to virtually guarantee Church support for ObamaCare if the abortion issue is fixed.  I have said he seems politically na├»ve to imagine that social justice means ever-more accumulation of government control and higher taxes.   I delved into history, describing Msgr. Jack Egan as a close soul-mate of Saul Alinsky.  That’s been proven. I described my own meetings with Jack and Andrew Young a close friend of mine. A toast that Jack made at a Quaker Oats reception that was in error.  I said unfortunately I don’t believe someone who has been cloistered in an religious order since early age is an expert on working people’s problems.  Hate speech, is it? 
         Hate speech?   
         If the Cardinal wants to get rid of hate speech he’d have long ago silenced Rev. Michael Pfleger, a good buddy of Louis Farrakhan who has spoken during Mass at St. Sabina’s and who has called Judaism a “gutter religion.”  Instead the archdiocese will reward Pfleger with a tribute to his work for…ahem…the cause of “social justice.”  This award for one who shouted before a storeowner’s place of business “come out or we’ll drag you out like a rat!”  
          What have I written recently on this blog?  
         The latest has to do with the pedophilia crisis facing the Church and the Pope.  I balanced it as well I could citing the divergent differences between the Pope’s infallibility or faith and morals and his human failings that all of us are heir to—as well as the fact that some people confuse infallibility with impeccability…impeccability which no one has but God.  
         Continue scrolling and you’ll find that I praise the cardinal’s statement as president  of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for opposing the Senate’s failure to include Hyde amendment language in ObamaCare…but…and this is where I evidently anger him…for implying seriously…confirmed by news reports… that ObamaCare could have been supported by the bishops if the Hyde language were included.  His spokesman denied this when the story came out but his official statement all but confirms it.  
           To me, the Catholic bishops of the United States and their hired emissaries had no right…nor have no right… to commit Catholic  support of a monstrosity like ObamaCare even if pro-life safeguards were guaranteed…under the false rubric of “social justice.” Other alternative legislation including bills introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) ignored by him as USCCB president means they have been summarily dismissed from consideration.  
            His statement in the letter that in my writings I indulge in  hate mongering when the Pope and bishops do not support my views is…frankly…a falsehood—and he knows it to be such. If I am blunt…and I am…that’s how I have chosen to live my life.   
            There you have it.  Scroll down and read away.  
          *: Wednesday in Holy Week. Judas goes to the chief priest and says “What will you give to me and I will deliver Him to you?”  Betrayal has been endemic throughout the history of the world but this episode has many ramifications. Judas thought he had the best of both worlds…a supporter of Christ who felt as the Apostles’ treasurer that perfumes and oils poured on His feet would be better served given to the poor.  A true liberal position. Then as a humanitarian Judas would betray One who is not sufficiently filled with concern for the poor.  But it didn’t work and in desperation, consumed with the sin of despair, Judas hanged himself. 
          Compare it to the Judas Goat Bart Stupak who delivered a handful of pro-life Democratic representatives to Pelosi and Emanuel.  Stupak already was certified as a hero of pro-life to have tied up its passage ostensibly for principle. Now he was going to tie up his reelection by joining pro-lifers who would be, he imagined, assuaged by his securing an Executive Order ostensibly to defend life with those pro-aborts and liberals who would cheer him for voting their way.  A brilliant three-cushion shot he thought! Not so. Stupak lost endorsement for his reelection by Right to Lifers who promise a tough Republican pro-life opponent for November.   
        Concurrently, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and NOW have sought a tough Democratic opponent for him in the August 2 Democratic primary. Result: If Stupak isn’t knocked off by his own supposed pro-abort allies whose representatives gave him the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver, he will likely be defeated in the general by a populace sickened with his deceit.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Sheila Simon—Just What Quinn Needs, Bespectacled Banjo-Playing Tax Hiker…Channel 2 Fires Ann State: Big Mistake.

   Tuesday in Holy Week*
          
                              Another Divorced Jewish Balloonist?   
         In February, 1975 the Republican party of Chicago decided to go after Boss Daley by running a divorced Jewish balloonist, Richard Friedman.  Splendid choice.  See, they thought they would cut into the old man’s totals. Friedman, 41, was an ex-Democrat, head of The Better Government Association…and for a touch of glamour he was dating Jori Luloff , the first woman TV news anchor in town.  Didn’t work.  
        Now Pat Quinn the Pander Bear who is down in the polls under a state senator Illinois doesn’t know much about, has decided to add a touch of glamour to the ticket: Sheila Simon of Carbondale, the late Paul Simon’s bespectacled, banjo-playing lawyer, who plays in an eclectic blues and boogie band known asLoose Gravel where she not only strums the instrument but plays the bassoon and also sings vocals.  Add to these credentials the fact that Sheila Simon is enthusiastically in favor of the same 33% income tax hike that Pander Bear favors…she being picked second after the first choice, State Sen. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest said she didn’t favor a tax hike until and unless Pander Bear cut more off the budget. 
         That decided it for Quinn so he picked Sheila Simon who said right off that she wants a 33% tax hike.  
         Sheila had an earlier stint in politics, thrust ahead by the power of her family name, when she tried to get elected mayor of Carbondale located at the junction of Rt. 13 and U. S. Route 51 population 25,597 (2000 census) located 96 miles northeast of St. Louis on the edge of the Shawnee National Forest.  Well she lost—to Republican Brad Cole who was a top assistant to Gov. George Ryan who is now in jail for corruption.  Cole made the news locally when he announced in 2007 that at the age of 35 he had made a resolution to get married that year.  No one was interested enough to see if he did get married and I meant to look it up before I wrote this…but I forgot.  
         Now, running for Lt. Governor, Sheila Simon may tie the town’s most famous resident.  That would be, of course, Agnes Ayres Henkel who for publicity purposes took the name of plain, simple and unforgettable Agnes Ayres. She was picked as an extra for a movie by the powerful film producer Jesse Lasky who took a shine to her. He cast her opposite Rudolph Valentino in the blockbuster film of 1921 The Sheik.  She also made The 10 Commandmentswith Cecil B. DeMille but that was all.  Jesse Lasky got tired of her and she went on the vaudeville stage and later to a mental institution where she died of a stroke at the age of 42.  
         If that is all the excitement you can take about the 2010 Democratic state ticket, I’ll close now but will keep you informed later—if I remember to do so.   
                      Channel 2: STOP!  Big Mistake Firing Ann State! 
          If those at Channel 2 CBS Chicago haven’t cut the severance papers for their TV anchor Ann State, I would plead, indeed implore, them to give this act another think-through.  They say they were firing her because she doesn’t exhibit enough familiarity with Chicago.   
            Now Channel 2 is my favorite station of all and I urge themindeed I entreat, abjure, beseech, importune them not to do so. I have seen all news anchors here since Clifton Utley, Austin Kiplinger,  Fahey Flynn and Jorie Luloff and Ann State is indubitably the best.  At least the equal of Rob Johnson of whom I am also very fond.   No I don’t know her but I’ve now gotten into the habit of tuning her in for the news…and I have found her with a twinkling civility, a wit, a lively understated irreverence that I find fascinating. In her own way she is Reaganesque.  You know how Reagan used to smile with his eyes?  That’s what she does.   
            What’s the matter with you people at 2—are you dumb?  Listen, that answer that she doesn’t know Chicago is bogus. I have never seen her at wit’s end of  Chicago knowledge. In fact I assumed she was born and reared here.   
           Whoever made that decision is the one who should be fired! Here I was spinning the dial futilely to catch Ann State when my wife showed me the story that she is to be fired.  Let this be a consumer survey of ONE! It’s a big-big error, executives!  Don’t you understand what you have in Ann State? Someone who gives this city an air of Irish sophistication, the aura that Spinoza meant when he defined “a cause of itself” as “that whose essence involves existence cannot be conceived unless existing.”  
         In short something which was meant by Aquinas when he said a person has “an ens realissimum possessing the attribute of absolute necessity.” 
         Nor am I being ironic, sarcastic or fey.  Listen to me: Reconsider!  Don’t fire Ann State!           
     _________________________________________________________
           *: Tuesday in Holy Week. The reading is St. Paul to the Hebrews [12:1-13].  His words are simply these: We must continue the fight.  We must not give up hope. A man after Mass at St. John Cantius came to me and said “I read you in The Wanderer because you give me hope?  But I must ask you—is there anything to hope for with the country now in the grip of the liberals?”  
          The answer: Of course!  Don’t think me perverse but Obama makes me wake up every morning with clenched fists. I am thoroughly eager to advance victory in 2010 and eager…brimming with fight…to live to 2012.  Even when we undergo trials, we should take comfort in Christ’s example.  Let’s go on and cheerfully endure these trials preparing to rise to a new life with Christ on Easter…and beyond.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Personal Aside: It’s the Lavender Priesthood that Causes Catholic Church Scandals—but Nobody Wants to Say So.

     Monday in Holy Week*
            
                               Lavender: That’s the Problem.  
             Fasten your seatbelts.  This will be a long one.  You might want to read it in installments.  
             The last time I wrote about the responsibility the Vatican has for sweeping pedophilia and other sexual sins under the rug, some guy contacted me brimming with erroneous theological rectitude saying—“who are YOU to judge the Popes?”  
      Huh? All of us can judge popes--since we have the gifts of free-will, critical judgment and utterly no prohibition on making our views known if they are malice-free and  informed. Criticism in historic context is not verboten. But at the same time, those who have accepted the Faith under the magisterium of the Church can never have any just reason for changing that faith or calling it into doubt. Why not?  Because God is never sparing with His grace and the evidence for accepting the Faith is such that a Catholic does not have objectively valid grounds for doubting or denying what he claims is trouble in believing. 
          Criticism of past popes if one the issues should not be confused with Satan’s work.  
            Peter was the greatest.  Viewing popes in my lifetime, Pius XI was a liberal scholar, he a forerunner (with Leo XIII who was far more balanced  skewing excesses of capitalism, socialism) of the “social justice” papal and theological mindset seeking to instill some “morality” in the capital markets --Quadragisimo Anno implied international bankers are wicked: okay but then as with most clerics, economics was not his strong suit. 
          Pius XII outstanding, maintaining an even keel in World War II, promulgating brilliantly that Communism was an evil force; and for this as payback, victimized cruelly because of this to allege he was a crypto Nazi from a fictitious play, “The Deputy,” that fabricated his alleged anti-Semitism out of whole cloth (ignoring his heroic rescue efforts of hundreds of Jews for which he received accolades from the chief rabbi of Jerusalem).  
       John XXIII rightly called Vatican II into session but it was the so-called “spirit of Vatican II” in his latter years and following his death that embraced often thoughtless, excessive and mindless “reform” by theological liberals. Read the documents and you’ll see that the doctrines ratified were sound—sample: pantheism condemned…clerical celibacy upheld….abortion condemned…the Bible prominent…brilliant on the essence of religious life, freedom of education, historicity of the Gospels, the morality of war, purgatory, on the teaching of sexual pleasure, on the universal call to holiness, on veneration of saints etc. Paul VI suffered mightily in striving to turn back the revolutionaries imbued with the “spirit of Vatican II”… saving the day and who by the grace of God rallied and wrote Humanae Vitae which earns him 4 stars in my book.  
     JPI died too early to be rated. JPII a classic world leader despite administrative curial difficulties who collaborated with Reagan, Thatcher and Lech Walesa to help overthrow communism. Benedict XVI with a weakness for eco-liberalism and “capitalist greed is bad” theories is still one of the world’s greatest theologians…and even enforced more strictly rules against priestly sexual abuse despite serious personal and curial administrative lapses which let some erring bishops go free. 
           You shouldn’t judge popes?  That’s the kind of goofy misplaced robot-style blind-folded-ness that led the human side of the papacy into grievous error many times in the past…has produced the Protestant reformation…as it threatens to stir disunion again. Fortunately sometimes deluged by a sea of zircons the Church has developed great diamonds… popes who served civilization brilliantly every 500 years or so…including: 
          Gregory II, five hundred years after the crucifixion of Peter, a former Roman senator turned Benedictine monk,  who stood tall against the barbarian tidal wave that threatened to sweep away all vestiges of Christianity—starting the counter-revolution that converted the barbarians into the ballast that became Christian Europe for a thousand years… 
        Gregory VII, another Benedictine monk 500 or so years later… who inspired scholasticism, saving the great manuscripts of antiquity…including Aristotle and Plato…to enrich and fortify the ages….Pius V a great Dominican 500 years after that who applied the doctrines of the Council of Trent building a canonical structure that exists to this day…and 500 years after that John Paul II with all his imperfections administratively who strove mightily to overturn communism and who with aforementioned help did.  
          But lest you think the litany of popes is the whole story of Catholicism, hang tight to the end of this long (I confess) post. 
                                      The Lavender Emerges.    
           Largely the institutional laxity of curia and diocesan functionaries is responsible for undue toleration of the Lavender Priesthood including failure to discipline the seminaries, religious orders and so-called “Catholic” universitiesdue to a largely absentee and compliant papacy, aided by weak, bishops, putty in the hands of their bureaucracies —dominated by a mindset that prattles “we must not allow scandal that engulfs the Church to scandalize the world.”  Important: not all homosexuals are child abusers—but all child abusers…especially of little boys…are homosexuals. Spurious so-called statistics from the psychological industry are politically correct accommodations.  
       Permissiveness of the Lavender Priesthood has been… and will continue to be… disastrous unless it is corrected immediately.   The toleration and winking at it…as with the case of the Chicago jailed pedophile ex-priest  Dan McCormack where the then rector of Mundelein told the Sun-Times he would ordain McCormack yet again…and went from there to auxiliary bishop of Chicago…bishop of Tucson and number two in the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops—soon to be number one…while the paper’s religious reporter was let go since after its publication she could get no archdiocesan spokesman to return her call--is inexcusable…and shows that in pushing her out, the ultra-liberal paper collaborated with the archdiocese.  
       --That and the fact that the p. r. spokesman for the archdiocese was quoted as telling the press “well, he didn’t rape anybody”.   How’d you like to have your 8-year-old boy sexually fondled and hear that comment?  
        In all too many cases the papacy, curia and offending bishops have not applied the view of the Apostle Paul who said “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor  idolators nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 
              Lest some other Simple Mind thinks I am going south on the Church I love and have venerated since childhood, let’s review the theological facts. 
                                    7 Inflexible Truths. 
              Let’s review the bidding of indelible lessons from Fr. Ernie.  
    1. It has been the unanimous teaching of the ancient Fathers that
 the Church was born from the side of Jesus Christ on the cross.  2.  By Christ’s death and resurrection, the New Testament replaced the Old Law. 3. By His death on the cross, Christ merited human salvation—making it possible for those before and since to receive the manifold graces they need to reach heaven.  4. In Against Heresies, St. Ireneus identified the root of all heresies as the unwillingness to accept the Church’s teaching centered in the Vicar of Christ on earth, the visible head of the Church, the bishop of Rome. 
              5.  This means there is one Church established by Christ: the Catholic Church which is governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.  Does this mean other Christian churches have no standing? No, but they exist in greater or less measure in their divinely ordained fullness (read this as subsisting) in the Roman Catholic Church.  
           6. The infallibility of the popes, defined by Vatican I teaches that when they speak ex cathedra or “from the chair” on doctrines of faith and morals, they are immune from error. This may seem like hair-splitting but being immune from error on faith or morals is not the same as the perception that everything they say on any subject is infallible.   So far a perfect record although  Honorius I came close, did not attend a consistory where his representative promulgated error and shrugged it off pragmatically—for which he was properly anathematized.  
         7. Again: Infallibility does not mean that popes are immune from error on matters where they don’t speak ex cathedra or judgments they may make on social issues as human beings or administrative failings…nor that their judgments are free from error in the realm of non-doctrinal matters. To think otherwise is to confer on them impeccabilitywhich is a far different thing. 
          What we have here with pedophilia swept under the rug is this: This disgraceful condition of toleration for the Lavender Priesthood has invaded the bureaucracies of many archdioceses including Chicago’s…and has  permeated the Vatican curia. The latest case is toxic. But let’s be clear anent The New York Times’ revelations insisting Benedict alone is to blame. 
          Not so. To insist that Benedict or John Paul II solely are responsible for laxity in dealing with pedophilia is akin to saying  a president of the United States is guilty of the derelictions of subordinates (though conceding, that in Watergate Nixon was personally involved in cover-up and in Bill Clinton’s abuse of the intern Monica Lewinsky after which he lied under oath,  he undeniably was).  As we know from a practical point of history, there have been given latitude to presidents…JFK for the Bay of Pigs (by believing without checking what the CIA’s Alan Dulles and Richard Helms insisted would be a success)…Jimmy Carter for believing that the stupid rescue attempt of the Iranian hostages via helicopters could work.  
         In most cases of gross error, popes and rulers aren’t personally involved. But they must take responsibility.  There is no doubt that the secular media want to indict Benedict personally for dereliction for one reason alone: He stands for absolutes in moral theology that the relativist media find objectionable. God-hater and atheist fulminator Christopher Hitchens who assailed Mother Teresa on TV during her funeral and Irish rock singer baldy Sinead O’Connor are the most extreme examples.   
            Saying this doesn’t absolve the Vatican of responsibility or popes who are supposed to administer their office meticulously.  And it is a fact that the Vatican declined to defrock a Milwaukee priest who abused as many as 200 deaf boys even though a number of bishops repeatedly warned it about the consequences. It is also a fact that correspondence addressed to then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was often ignored and that he and/or his subordinates did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests when he served as an archbishop in Germany or as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.  But before you make the final judgment, consider this:  
                                The New York Times Inquisition.    
         For these things The New York Times is assailing Benedict.  If they were objective they would also be assailing Obama for evading culpability for allegedly offering the post of secretary of the navy to ex-admiral Rep. Joe Sestak  get him out of the way from running against Arlen Specter—a federal crime worthy of impeachment if provable. If they wanted to be true to their so-called “objective”  investigative image The Times wouldn’t be sweeping THAT under the rug…as indeed it IS.   
        Several reservations must be considered before we get to the facts. First, contrary to implications in The Times Ratzinger was not the point man from 1981 until his election as pope in April 2005.  He did not have any responsibility for handling the overall Vatican sex abuse response until 2001, four years before he became pope.  
      Second that which the media considers a “smoking gun” is not. They refer to a May, 2001 letter from Ratzinger to the bishops recommending that certain grave crimes including sexual abuse of a minor should be referred to his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and that they are subject to “the pontifical secret.” Sounds conspiratorial but it pertains to the church’s disciplinary measures—not to be construed as holding back on reporting cases to the police. 
            Third, a story that relatively few cases were subjected to a full canonical trial is misleading. Strong American bishops fought canonical trials because Roman trials can last years and even then may not be conclusive. In fact handling 60% of the cases by the bishops themselves is seen as evidence of renewed need for action. In the recent past, Pittsburgh  Bishop Donald Wuerl removed a priest after allegations of sexual abuse.  The priest appealed to Rome.  The Vatican ordered the priest reinstated. Wuerl himself went to Rome and got the job done—but the experience convinced many U.S. bishops that canonical trials were not the right way to handle this.  The problem seemed to be then that the Vatican was more concerned about the rights of accused priests than the child victims.   
                                       The Milwaukee Case. 
         Still, the facts are extremely serious.  The case against the Milwaukee priest was called to the Vatican’s attention in 1996 by none other than Archbishop Rembert Weakland (himself later a self-admitted homosexual…although there could be some speculation as to his motivation). Whoever was responsible…Ratzinger’s staff or him personally…the fact remains that Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters from Weakland.  
      After eight months of inexcusable laxity and non-response Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to the priest’s dismissal.  The fact remains that Bertone ended the process after the priest wrote to Ratzinger saying he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was beyond the Church’s own statute of limitations—and was given a pass.   
          Meaning the criminally guilty pedophile priest was never tried or disciplined by the Church itself but got a pass from police and prosecutors who ignored reports from the victims.  A total of three archbishops of Milwaukee were told about the priest’s derelictions but never told civil authorities. So don’t get the idea the Milwaukee case was an exception.  We all know it isn’t. In fact, while Dan McCormack was awaiting sentencing for a crime he confessed, he and a group of archdiocesan clergy…including at least one Higher Up—not the archbishop, though-- went off on a vacation together.   
            The question remains: what will the Church and the Pope do about this laxity?  Merely writing tracts and issuing statements of remorse without reforming the Curial deficiencies are insufficient. Everyone dealing with the Curial bureaucracy on this and other matters know the legendary Italianate winking and inefficiency.  The anomaly of last week was Benedict’s lecturing Irish bishops for laxity which he himself showed as bishop of Munich. There’s no avoidance of the fact that his handling of the crisis, in Munich, at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or as pope cannot be improved.  To me, it should include far more than the ordinary reforms—but should concentrate on The Lavender Priesthood that also affects too many bishops. 
        Benedict must reform it now and replace it with an alert immediate response action team.  The cases are endemic. More than a decade ago a downstate Illinois prelate was reported as constantly on the prowl in his automobile for young men to pick up.    What happened? Nothing: the guy was allowed to retire when his successor was appointed.  
           The laxity throughout the Church on the Lavender Priesthood was and is a virulent disgrace.  
            Then there is this fact:   Most of the charges and convictions come from an organization known as SNAP.   
                                         SNAP’s Denial of Fact.  
           While there is no doubt the media enjoys exploiting leaks in the bark of Peter, slurring of the curia and its officials including the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger now Benedict XVI…much of their reports have come not from their investigations…but from an organization which is worthy of some scrutiny itself.  
      I say this as one who works as a columnist for The Wanderer, the oldest and most venerable national Catholic weekly in America…the first and to a startling degree the onlyCatholic newspaper to sustainedly spotlight these abuses with definitude…investigators who belong to an organization called SNAP [Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests]…whom I interviewed repeatedly…have personal axes to grind against the Church beyond the immediate charges they make.  Those axes do not erase the validity or their original charges but nevertheless exist.  Two major points. 
        First: The SNAP people as social and political liberals cannot bring themselves to admit that homosexuality which has run rife, producing the Lavender Priesthood, is the overwhelming cause of the scandal. They have adopted the same cultural bias of today’s liberals and media about homosexuality…that it is not a sinful choice or a weakness and definitely not an abuse of the sexual faculty…but misled by certain liberal pathologies they believe that it is neither reversible but merely a normal variation, like being left-handed.  
      In fact if SNAP had used its findings to blast the Lavender Priesthood, the chances are great that the media would be loath to run the stories.     
        Most SNAP authorities declare that if in fact homosexuality is the cause, the so-called “repression” factor is responsible: victims are those too ashamed of the sin that “dare not tell its name.” Many feel that matters would be improved if only the Church would relent in its insistence of the male only priesthood. Others have told me that celibacy should be relaxed (not understanding that the celibate priesthood is not covered by inflexible moral norm but is a tradition).  
          But most important: The conclusion of the SNAP people is adamant—that homosexuality is NOT the cause of pedophilia. That’s every bit as much denial as the Church has done with erring priests. This goes hand-in-hand with a drive, popular in our culture, that homosexuality is on the way to being accepted by the nation, the armed services and it’s only a matter of time when it is embraced by the Church totally. 
                                    Louvain’s Heresy.  
             Such is the statement of none other than the chairman of the department of moral theology of the up-to-now renowned  Catholic University of Louvain:  
       I think we are virtually on the edge of accepting the homosexual relationship.  The Church will accept the homosexual relationship like those divorced and remarried. We must live as brother or sister or brother and brother and sister and sister as the case may be…What is important is that the relationship be recognized as valuable, fruitful, meaningful, alternative, creative relationship.  We are on the verge of accepting this.” [The Meanings of Human Sexuality,  New Ways Ministry, 4th National Symposium] as cited in Catechism on Homosexuality [Eternal Life publication 2003, written by the late theologian Fr. John Hardon SJ and  published with the imprimatur of Bishop Raymond Burke, then bishop of LaCrosse, Wis.]. 
            The Louvain chairman’s words are, of course, heretical and at total variance with the traditional teaching of the 2000-plus year old Catholic Church.  The definitive position that while homosexual inclination is of itself not a sin but something to be disciplined…practiced homosexuality is a mortal sin and has been declared many times by the Popes as matters of faith and morals. 
        The document of Vatican II On the Church in the Modern World states that in matters of morality  man cannot make value judgments according to personal whim.  “In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose on himself but which holds him to obedience…For man has in his heart a law written by God. To obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.” 
         That is this: the sexual nature of man and the human faculty of procreation are essentially superior to all other lower forms of life. At the root of this superiority is that human sexuality pertains exclusively to marriage and to a finality which is unique in the visible world of living beings.   
             Further that sexual actions belong to conjugal life, do not depend solely on sincere intentions or on people’s motives but are determined by objective standards—based on the nature of human beings and their acts while preserving the full sense of mutual self-giving and procreation in the context of true love.  
           Cultural decadence and laxity have led some thinkers and theologians to defend homosexuality by analyzing the morality of human acts regarding their intention.  How a person enjoys sexual pleasure is seen by many as unimportant…and the sin that the Apostle Paul maintained excludes one from the kingdom of heaven is seen…with tortured linguistics…as a form of gay-ness or gayety.    
           Second: I asked both the founder and the executive director of SNAP to tell me if their organization is funded heavily…or at all… by the Personal Injury Bar which has a direct financial stake in suing the Church…making SNAP a direct beneficiary of their largesse as well.  That was several years ago.  To date I have not received any systematic denial that they are not so funded and they have not submitted financial records that would deny it. The conclusion is that they indeed do have a tie-in with the personal injury bar. 
 
        Thus they have a pecuniary reason for digging up scandal that harms the Church: their jobs and livelihood depend on it. Nor do they make a pretense of being devout Catholics who fulfill their obligations by going to Mass each Sunday. The founder told me she does when she thinks of it but her attendance if irregular at best.  The executive director makes no pretense that he is an observant Catholic—in fact he told me he is no longer a Catholic at all.    
                  Catholicism’s Greatness Beyond the Popes. 
           In conclusion, Catholicism’s priceless lineage is far more than the litany of popes. Consider the brilliant examples of  Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Padre Pio, Theresa of Avila, Theresa of Lisieux, Dominic, Benedict the founder of monasticism, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, Augustine, Anselm, John of The Cross…on and on through the ages.    
       Moreover who can not acknowledge that civilization was saved by the monks, the creation of academic life by the great clerical professors, the contribution the Church made to science (notwithstanding the fiction concerning Galileo which cannot stand scrutiny), its gigantic contributions to art and architecture…its devising the foundations of international law, its birthing the original idea of widespread charity, its inscribing the origins of western law, its up-building of the concept of western morality. 
            If this article puts into perspective the contemporary scandals with the stature of the Church as an essential conduit for eternal salvation and a civilizing treasure—at the forefront of the development of laws, science, and institutions constituting western civilization—it will serve this writer’s intention.  
   -_________________________________________________________
    *: Monday in Holy Week. Yesterday—Sunday—was Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday which memorialized the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem with the blessing of palm leaves before Mass.  At St. John Cantius we do a procession before Mass commemorating the victorious entrance of the Savior into Jerusalem. The reading was from one of the synoptic gospels…Mark, Matthew, Luke.  The reading today concerns the anointing of Christ at Bethany six days before Passover by one Mary (Catholic tradition says it was Magdalene) who washed his feet with her tears, anointed them with precious, expensive oils and dried them with her hair…and the remark of Judas—probably the first modern liberal—that the money should be conserved and given to the poor since it comprises a day’s wages …together with Christ’s rejoinder that the anointing is fitting since it is the preparation for His burial.               

Friday, March 26, 2010

Personal Aside: Obama Says Joe’s Obscene Explective was “the Best Thing In the Signing Ceremony.” More.

   Feast of the 7 Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary*
           
                                     Obama Wants a “T” Shirt.  
           Joe Biden, the Catholic pro-abort and silly ass who’s vice president of the United States, guffawed as he told a Democratic fund-raiser yesterday that President Obama pronounced Biden’s obscene explective “the best thing that happened” in the signing ceremony. As he gave Obama a man-hug, Biden said…while the microphone was on live… that “this is a big [obscene explective] deal.   Joe likes throwing around the “f” word.  It makes him seem manly and a tough guy.  
          Knowing Biden’s proclivity for invention on the spot, the Obama quote is probably apocryphal.  Biden chortled in his simulated Big Man macho style to say that Obama would like to have a “t” shirt printed with the obscenity but that there wasn’t time enough.  Hahahahaha!  
            Laugh now but they just may take babbling Joe to the rubber room one of these days.  He shows signs of delirium every week now.  Media think he’s a scream, dismissing the fact that he suffered two aneurisms of the brain within months of each other—one in February, 1988 and the second in May of that year.  Can those things affect intellectual stability?   Yes, surgeons say but Capitol old timers dismiss it, maintaining that he always was a horse’s rear end, jerk and clownish showboat even before the illness hit.  
                             Repeal Not Likely?  Don’t Believe It. 
             The Rasputin of the Left whose diabolical influence extends all the way to the presidential court,  ex-con who served 5 months in Terre Haute federal penitentiary (kiting checks, not paying employees’ withholding)  Bob Creamer, husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, says never fear, once the goodies of the health care bill become known, there will be no chance of repeal.   
             Creamer has personal reason to know this isn’t true.  Reason: he helped organize the senior citizens’ taxpayer revolt that stormed Dan Rostenkowski, leading an old lady to climb on the hood of Rosty’s limo which got nationwide media attention leading to major repeal of a Medicare expansion act. . 
             The story is this: In 1988, Ways and Means chairman Rostenkowski teamed up with the addle-pated George H. W. Bush health and human services secretary Dr. Otis Bowen, a liberal, to pass a Medicare expansion bill.  It greatly enlarged coverage of medicines, nursing home and hospice care.  But some of the better-off senior beneficiaries were expected to pay for the benefits.  The upper 40% of recipients would be taxed up to $800 per person starting in 1989 and after. 
             The expansion was hated by conservative seniors but Rasputin Creamer added to that group an army of hard-core Lefties who wanted the feds to pay all the costs.  On August 17, 1988 Rosty went to Chicago’s Copernicus Center on Milwaukee avenue, a center of the Polish community thinking he was proclaiming good news to the oldsters.  But when he arrived and was ready to start his speech, he found that they were furious about the extra cost they would incur. 
             They made so much of a racket that Rosty couldn’t speak so he quit the place and got in his chauffeur-driven limo.  That’s when several dozen of them including Creamer’s Finest struck the car with placards while the TV stations, alerted by Creamer, recorded the scene which was shown nationally.    
               A 69-year-old woman jumped on the hood of the car as it started up—to prevent it from leaving.  Wisely deciding not to order his limo to pull out with the old lady as a hood ornament, Rosty jumped out and hot-footed it down Milwaukee avenue…the crowd following in hot pursuit with the TV cameras whirring.   Creamer orchestrated it from start to finish. 
              The demonstration triggered a national movement to repeal it and sure enough, on Nov. 23, 1989, scarcely more than a year after the demonstration, it was repealed.   
              By arguing repeal of goodies will not be popular and will never be done, Creamer argues against a grassroots action that he himself helped build.   
              Of course you won’t read or hear about the demonstration against Rosty in Chicago’s supine media which with few exceptions operates as an armature of The Squid.  
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    *: The 7 Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This feast originated in 1688 by the Servites and was extended to the entire Church. The 7 Sorrows are: 1.  The Prophecy of Simeon “Your soul a sword shall pierce”…2. The Flight Into Egypt3. Losing the Holy Child at Jerusalem4. Meeting Jesus on His Way to Calvary...5. Standing at the Foot of the Cross6. The Descent from the Cross where the Body of Christ is placed in her arms...7. The Burial of Christ.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: The Hungry Five…Biden Does One Dumb Quayle Thing a Week…The Sun-Times’ Column’ing Thug.

       Feasts of the Annunciation and St. Dismas*
          
                               The Hungry Five.
          How are the hungry five doing…swing district Dem incumbents in Obama’s state who voted for Obamacare… since the African-born mixed-blood Prince delivered us to European-style health care? Poll taken by “We Ask America.”   This is important since normally the Dems should be significantly ahead—but they’re not.  
            8th district:             Bean [D]  38     Walsh [R] 38.
           10th district:             Seals [D] 40     Dold [R]  37.
           11th district:     Halvorsen [D] 30     Kinzinger [R] 42
           14th district            Foster [D] 36      Hulgtren [R]  38
           17th district             Hare  [D] 39      Schilling  [R]   32
          Gee, that hope ‘n change’s really something. 

                               Biden Out-Does Quayle 10 to 1.
          Of course you can’t expect the mainstream media to zing Joe Biden for his unutterably dumb remarks which are now happening about once-a-week.  That’s because there are two media standards—one for dumb conservatives who immediately draw insults Jon Stewart, Jay Leno and Dave Letterman… and one for dumb liberals which go uncommented upon.  The liberal standard: Dumb liberal vice presidents like Biden  commit merely innocent gaffes that all of us can. Dumb conservative vice presidents like Quayle are threats to the republic because if they succeeded to the presidency, God knows what would happen. 
          Joe Biden however has broken into the Guinness Book of World Records for saying thoughtless, air-head, abysmally stupid things on the average of one a week.  The last was when Obama was on hand to sign the health care bill.  Biden forgot the microphone was on and grappled the president in one of his man-hugs and said “this is a big [obscene expletive deleted] deal!” on March 25 before the media and a big signing crowd. Hahahahahahahaha.  
           Laugh: but why would anyone with a clear mind even think of blurting the four-letter word describing sexual intercourse at a time like that?  Answer: Joe Biden trying to be one of the macho gaffawing big boys would.  He loves the “f” word because using it makes him feel manly.  “An hour late?  Give me a [obscene explective deleted] break” he said to a live microphone at Union Station on March 13, 2009.  
          Take a look at the record of this chortling, un-self-controlled idiosyncratic bloviating buffoon who is next in line for the presidency and you’ll soon discover there’s nothing there to laugh at whatsoever.  He’s not just a chronic exaggerator but a pathological liar (the mystery being he never imagines he can get caught)--one who claimed to have heard Franklin Roosevelt on TV calming the country after the Crash of `29…one who challenged a heckler in a crowd to compare IQs with him (the heckler would probably walk away with full honors)… 
           …one who appropriated Neal Kinnock’s bio without credit including telling a rapt crowd  the fable that he Biden worked in a coal mine (Kinnock mined in Wales, Biden bragging that his experience with mines was in Pennsylvania)  and was the first one in his family to go to college (untrue)…who bragged to a crowd that he was tops in his undergrad and law school when on the latter he had to take his exam over again because he was caught cheating.  
            The media think he’s charming. As the airhead book editor of  the Christian Science Monitor (which I’m not sure anybody reads these days) Marjorie Kehe, wrote “which autobiography would you rather read—Joe Biden’s Promises to Keep or Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue?”  Hahahahaha. See: that’s what I mean.   Liberals who make gaffes are fun; conservatives who do the same are threats to the world. 
          Well laugh all you want at your good-natured goofball veep, liberals—but remember: this guy was operated on for two…not just one…aneurisms of the brain—the first to correct an intra-cranium and berry aneurism in February, 1988 and the second to correct a recurrence in May of the same year.  Good old liberal joe-what-a-character hahahahahasha.  
                                 Old Steinberg. 
           Why should anyone care what an AARP-joining, self-publicized confessed wife-beater who spent a night in jail, flunked out of Highland Park Hospital rehab and then wrote a book about it entitled aptly Drunkard think about anything? Well the local tabloid Pravda does…and since it has no soul,  in place of analysis it  carries Neil Steinberg’s snarling snark four days each week giving him a full page each time for vapid thoughts of this Ohio-imported I-hate-all-conservatives wise guy hit man.  
          Of course he siphons up the leak first trickled by The Squid’s personal p. r. cosmetician, lefty Lynn Sweet who said that since Dan Lipinski is afflicted with severe diabetes he should be ashamed of voting against the African-born Prince’s plan to put a sixth of the economy in irons. Figure that out. 
      I guess the point must be that Lipinski’s House medical coverage covers it whereas he would have to pay extra in private life.  Devastating argument, Lynn—right from  Axelrod’s distilled urine reservoir which sprays on anybody who has the resolve to stand up to the Prince. Right on cue came the yap-yap-yap of The Squid’s gossip Sneed… and now, appropriately bringing up the rear comes Drunkard. Of course the real reason is Lipinski is pro-life which to Drunkard, Axelrod, Sneed and Sweet is anathema.  
  __________________________________________________________
          *The Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary…and St. Dismas.  Of the Annunciation we wrote yesterday concerning the Archangel Gabriel.  It takes its name from the great tidings announced by Gabriel to Mary concerning the incarnation of the Son of God…setting forth the divine purpose to give the world a Savior, to the sinner a victim of propitiation, to the righteous a model and to the Son of God a new human nature willing to suffer pain and death to satisfy God’s justice for our sins. But let the balance of this piece concern Dismas, the Good Thief who is not only a saint but the only human ever to hear from the lips of Christ Himself that “this day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” Imagine: no one else in human history…Mary Herself, Peter, Paul—anyone—had heard this from the lips of the Master.  
          And to hear those glorious words, Dismas, who probably led a life of skullduggery worse than many of us have, had only to utter these words: “Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.”  The late great Chicago Daily News journalist Dempster McMurphy wrote of Dismas that he exists as a divine baseball outfielder…far-far in the distance…snagging the foul balls that zoom out of the park and head his way.  As one who could well fall into this category, I say “St. Dismas, remember me when I come sailing over your head heading for God knows where…snag me into your glove as the Great Outfielder you are, returning me to the divine Catcher at home base in your kingdom.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Personal Aside: If Quinn Picks Garrett He’ll Get Another Betsy McCaughey…Jack Roeser for GOP National Committeeman.

    Feast of Gabriel the Archangel.*
           
                                      Another Betsy.
            The widely publicized and devastating crack made by multi-millionaire Democrat (the press calls her a “millionaire” but in Lake Forest they’re dime a dozen) State Sen. Susan Garrett yesterday that Pat Quinn hasn’t cut enough budget to warrant asking for a tax increase should…if Quinn is sane…warrant her being dropped from consideration as lieutenant governor.  If not and Quinn goes ahead and picks her, he will have himself to blame if he gets a Democratic version of Betsy McCaughey (pronounced “Mc-Coy”).  
            McCaughey was a fresh-faced, brilliant young thing when she blossomed out of the blue as Republican George Pataki’s pick for lieutenant governor of New York when Pataki ran for governor the first time in 1995.  Pataki chose her because she had gained national attention for a brilliant article she wrote skewering the Clinton health program in of all publications The New Republic. 
         Her article based on her reading the 2000-plus page legislation was such a bombastic hit that writer Tom Wolfe said that with one article she “shot down the Clinton blimp.”  Appearing everywhere on TV during the battle over HillaryCare, McCaughey struck Pataki as the kind of free-form, non-political young woman who would appeal to soccer Moms.  
            After all, why not?  She was born middle class in Pittsburgh to a family where the father was a maintenance engineer (read: janitor) at a nail-clipper manufacturing company.  She got a scholarship to Vasser where she got an MA in American history, leveraging that to another scholarship at Columbia where she got her Ph.D in constitutional law.  Beaming, witty, irreverent with flaming red hair she became the talk of the conservative movement and Pataki needed some pzazzz on the ticket. 
             They were elected and he got the pzaazz.  As the media covered her as a refreshingly candid lieutenant governor, she was quoted incessantly about how Pataki and his administration wasn’t cutting it.  They fought brilliantly: Betsy won all rounds and to show her independence, when Pataki delivered his State of the State and she was presiding, she kept standing up in defiance.     
             So much for the refreshing blast of fresh air.  She was dropped from the ticket when Pataki ran for reelection. Now she has a talk show in New York.   
             Quinn can do what he wants but if he goes Susan Garrett, he ought to know that he is no match whatsoever for this smart, educated, un-programmed liberal.   Can you imagine him answering her by droning on how he disagrees with her because everyday, ordinary, regular working people in the Land of Lincoln where the governor’s mansion is the people’s house…you know. 
              Go ahead, Pat.  Pick her.   For one thing, she’s right that you haven’t cut enough. She’ll make an ass of you very shortly…unlike Betsy McCaughey who waited until after election to do it. 
                                          Why I’m for Jack Roeser. 
               People acquainted with the both of us…Jack and I…know that we’ve had our ups and downs over some aspects of politics—but never over principle.  Since our first encounter Jack and I made up…then we had another bout of disagreements and made up again…vowing never to disagree—then we did and have had a great time with the controversies we have engendered. 
                I don’t have to tell you that Jack and I aren’t related even though we have the same surname.  Jack’s paternal people come from Luxembourg which has a town namedRoeser population 642. My paternal people come from Wurzburg, Bavaria, Germany but no town or even hamlet is named after any one of us.  Reason: we are all placid farmers and serfs who worked for the Prince who owned the castle on the hill.  On my trip to Bavaria I saw the castle and the dingy place where the Roesers began.  
                 Now Jack and I are where both of us want to be…friends and conversation partners…debaters, partners, sometimes disputants but always…always…friends. 
            Jack is an engineering genius and a down home political philosopher.  I’m for him for many reasons...one of which is that the Illinois Republican party needs someone with youthful verve, vigor and the enthusiasm of a virile stripling. The fact that Jack is all these things makes me think that…as a young sprout myself… if I continue to apply myself like Jack has, maybe I, too, will make something of myself.  
             Jack is being opposed by…guess who?...Jim Oberweis whose win-loss record is something like 0 for 9.  
            That should make it easy, Jack.  Go to it and God bless you.  The party sorely needs you.               
                _______________________________________________
       *: The Archangel Gabriel. Angels, as Ernie used to tell us, are meant to be mediators, designed to express the will of God.  They’re shown as messengers and appeared in Western art before AD 600.  Before Constantine they were painted without wing.  But Archangels are one step higher: Michael driving Satan into hell; Raphael healing the blind Tobit.  And then we get to Gabriel, one of seven. He appeared to Daniel and explained a vision about future events (“You are a man specially chosen”),  In the New Testament he appeared to Zachary to announce that Elizabeth, his wife would bear a son and his name should be John. 
          And it was Gabriel who appeared to Mary and told her that she would conceive and bear a son whom she must name Jesus. Theology tells Catholics that an angel is a pure spirit with no body, who does not depend for his existence on matter. The Bible tells us that angels constitute a vast multitude beyond human reckoning. An Archangel is a chief or ruling angel.  In a wider sense, an archangel is of higher rank: Michael is an archangel although he is the prince of the Seraphim.  The name Angel applies only to one who has remained faithful to God—however devils are also angels by nature but are not called as such. . “Angel” is the special name for the choir of angelic spirits from whom guardian angels are sent to minister to human needs.  
         A  Guardian Angel, Ernie would say, is a celestial spirit assigned by God to watch over each individual during life. This general doctrine is part of the Church’s tradition based on Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. Then Ernie would say: “Well, you may ask what is a devil? He is a fallen angel or evil spirit, especially the chief of the rebellious angels, Lucifer or Satan [Matthew 25]. Adorned at his creation with sanctifying grace, he sinned by pride and along with his followers was denied the Beatific Vision. His abode is hell and he does not enjoy the benefit of Christ’s redemption. Yet the devil remains a rational spirit who is allowed by God to exercise some influence on living and inanimate creatures.” 
        Angels are replete in Catholic theology. They ministered to Christ after His temptation in the desert.  Christ told us there are more than 12 legions of angels in heaven. The angels of little ones continually behold the face of the Father; angels will separate the good from the wicked on the Last Day. The Acts of the Apostles describe how an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison for them during the night. Also an angel spoke to the deacon Philip who delivered Peter from his jailers; one struck Herod with a fatal disease; one stood by Paul during a terrible storm at sea. How many kinds of angels are there?  St. Paul describes them as thrones and dominations, principalities and powers, archangels and powers to which the Catholic tradition has added the cherubim and seraphim from the Old Testament and “common” angels.    And that’s all I know about angels.   But I have woefully digressed. Today is Gabriel’s Day.  Appropriately his feast is close to the Annunciation where he played so conspicuous a part---on March 24. 
           Finally you will be interested to note that Gabriel has been designated the patron of workers at the post-offices, telegraph offices and telephone offices by Benedict XV in 1921.  The Post Office especially needs an angelic guardian.