Monday, April 5, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Pre-Dated Cardinal’s Letter Calling for My Censorship…It’s Repeal, Reform and Replace…More.

 Easter Monday. Feast of St. Vincent Ferrer*
                                   Cardinal’s Pre-Dated Letter. 
            In rechecking Cardinal George’s letter to the advisory board of Catholic Citizens of Illinois asking that they censor me in all my personal writings (not just CCI stuff) I find it is dated March 25, 2009…more than one year ago!  Does that mean (a) he wrote it a year ago and our government-run postal service just delivered it?  Or (b) he wrote it a year ago anticipating what I would say about his support of ObamaCare if only Hyde language were included—a truly stunning example of prescience?  Or (c) an administrative snafu at Chancery where a secretary typed in the wrong date? 
           If you picked  item “c” you’re right.  Enclosures of my articles which came with the letter are current.  But shows you how meticulous they are at checking details at Chancery before his signature is affixed.  So the date was a year of so off—what’s the big deal?       
                                             The 3 Rs. 
             We’re in the middle of a mild debate over alleged “softies” in the conservative movement. Are they softies or realists? The original line was we should repealObamaCare right-off. Some candidates hustled that slogan until they were made aware of the fact that there are some good things in ObamaCare that were pirated from Republican thinking…purloined actually.  Remember, there was no “negotiation” with Republicans: the Dems just took some ideas and wham! incorporated them.  The ideas had been floating around in Paul Ryan’s ideas. 
             So to call right out for “repeal” means xxx’ing some good ideas.   So cool  it, friends.  The thing we do…once we vote out the Indonesian Prince in 2012 where he can’t impede our efforts by vetoing them…is repeal much of it, reform other elements and replace the good with the bad.  That’s repeal, reform and replace.  So we should resist(another “r”) the purist hairsplitting.  
                                             Michael Steele.
           Michael Steele could be…I don’t know…a good political candidate but he’s a distinct liability as a national chairman.  Ever since he took over as RNC chairman he has acted like a national candidate. A bad one. And that’s not how a party chairman should act. The media in Washington have instructions from his RNC staff to go to him pronto for newsworthy comments.   But when he is interviewed he is likely to put his foot in it. And also, like most candidates. Michael is a spender with contributors’ money—Big Time. He’s been spending RNC funds like there’s no tomorrow.   
            His defenders say he must be kept for two reasons. One, he is a very good fund-raiser and the RNC has raised more money under his leadership than has the Democratic party. But let’s be fair. The reason isn’t Michael Steele: it’s the disastrous Obama administration. Heck, I could be chairman and with the low popularity of ObamaCare and Obama himself I could be extolled as a great fund-raiser. 
          The second is that ditching him creates some horrendous p. r. problems because Michael is black.  To which I say it was a mistake to choose him anyhow simply because he is black—and don’t kid this old guy, that’s why they did it: p. r. I don’t see any great influx of black supporters who have come to the party since he has become its first black chairman.  
          That always was a shallow dodge: cute. Too cute.  The latest escapade at the Voyeur lesbian-bondage club in North Hollywood should be the end.  After a fund raiser a group of young bloods went to the weird hangout on the GOP dime.  This is the worst kind of publicity the party could have. I know-I know: Michael wasn’t there and a consultant arranged for it and she’s gone is immaterial.  But rotten judgment.  Rotten administration.  This is the worst.   
          Besides, he’s an egomaniac who’s using the job first and foremost for his own future political aggrandizement.    
          He is there because the Dems have given the nation its first black president and the RNC wanted to counter by picking its first black chairman.  
      Point: counter-point.  
      As if a black Republican National Chairman can counter a black president for African Americans.  It means nothing.  Especially to African Americans who vote Dem 97% straight ticket with Obama on it.   Does anyone think Michael Steele will have remotely anything to do with blacks voting Republican? 
          If you do, get real.  
        He ought to be either fired or sent out to run for a Maryland job where he’s from.  Preferably the latter.  And here’s the best reason. 
        If you don’t think the Dems won’t run TV commercials on this guy…his extravagant spending…his insistence on taking the entire RNC to Hawaii for its winter meeting when the rest of the country was wallowing in recession…and allowing treats to be spent on a weird gay bondage nightclub, you’re naïve. And they won’t care a fig that he’s black. 
        The danger is this: Making Steele a horrific case history on loose administration, wild spending and libertine excesses (the Voyeur-lesbian bondage club in North Hollywood), the Dems are going to trim drastically water down the landslide that is sure to come in 2010. 
         I say: If he won’t quit…fire the guy.  Now.  Pressure should be put on your National Committee members like there’s no tomorrow.  
                       Shut Up—You’ll Wound the Body of Christ.
        Finally a guy wrote me about the anecdote that happened to me as a kid of 8 in 1936 (to review it scroll down) and said:  
     “Hey! That’s symptomatic of the kind of mistake the Church made with the revelations of the first homosexual priest “clubs” and then the priest-pedophile scandals. Shut up about it or you’ll wound the body of Christ!”

       Bingo. That’s why I wrote it.  
                        The Pope’s Preacher Said WHAT? 
       Fr. Ranierro Cantacamessa, whose official title is “Preacher to the Papal Household” last week compared findings of laxity on punishing priestly pedophilia leveled against Pope Benedict XVI to the sufferings undergone by the Jewish people during the Holocaust. 
        He said, “They [the Jews] know from experience what it means to be the victim [sic] of collective violence…The use of the stereotype, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to that which is collective, reminds me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”  The more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.  Hmmm. There are lessened degrees of shame in anti-Semitism?  
        They just don’t get it, do they?  
       From The Wall Street Journal which carried the story:  “These troubles were further stirred with the emergence of documents showing how the Vatican’s internal disciplinary procedures can take years to run its course. In 1990, the diocese of Tucson, Arizona began an investigation into allegations against Rev. Michael Teta who joined the diocese in 1978. 
        “Under rules enforced by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, the Tucson diocese investigated the charges for 7 years before convicting Fr. Teta in 1997 of having solicited sex during the sacrament of confession and coercing men and teens into having sex. Fr. Teta who was suspended from the ministry in the early 1990s appealed the charges to the Vatican. It took six years to uphold the diocese’s judgment, according to Church documents. Pope John Paul II defrocked the priest in 2004…Vatican officials say the system now works faster.” 
      How cheering.  Not taking six years anymore, huh?  Do I hear five anyone?  Four? Three?  
      I don’t know if this guy continued being a priest and exercising his faculties until he was defrocked or not—but he could have very likely since the suspension was under appeal for six years. Scary to think of.  
       For a balanced view of the problem…which begins with the laxity of the seminaries’ rectors and bishops starting in the `60s who produced the lavender priesthood…the hierarchy’s lamentable errors in handling the abuses—or more appropriately said not handling them… SNAP’s connection with the hugely rich personal injury lawyer Jeff Anderson of Minnesota…and The New York Times… scroll down a few days to the article on “The Lavender Priesthood.”  
       Summary: nobody should get off the hook and reform should be swift, thorough and without obfuscation.  And we don’t need any Vatican preachers comparing what’s happening to those who were negligent in protecting children from pederasty to stereotypical hatred of Jews that induced suffering and the Holocaust.  
                *: Easter Monday. Feast of St. Vincent Ferrer [1350-1419].  Born at Valencia, Spain, a genius in precocity but also cursed (he thought) by growing up to become one of the most handsome young men of his time.  He entered the Dominican priory at 17, ordained deacon shortly after, he was appointed reader in philosophy at Lerida at age 21…akin to holding a chair in philosophy…it being the most famous university in Catalonia. While holding the chair he published two treatises.  Transferred to Barcelona, he preached at a time of great famine: corn which had been dispatched by sea had not yet arrived. Undaunted, Vincent predicted that ships carrying the corn would arrive the next day.  He was severely criticized for this including by his superiors but lo! the next morning all Barcelona looked out its windows and saw the tall masts of the ships carrying the corn. 
                His monastic superiors were still not mollified but considered him a lucky guesser and a sensationalist so they transferred him to Toulouse, France where he remained in seclusion for a year. There he was sorely tempted by the blandishments of women who seemed to want to fall at his feet and induce promiscuity.  When spurned some sought to blacken his name. Vincent was ordained anyhow and became famous for his homilies which resulted in conversion of a number of Jews, including the famous rabbi of Burgos, who became bishop of Cartagena. 
              Now this was a time of great schism…and great moral laxity… where rival popes were reigning in Rome and Avignon and when even great saints were divided in their allegiance (you think we have trouble now?) It happened on the death of Gregory XI when 16 of 23 cardinals peremptorily elected Urban VI in deference to the popular cry for an Italian pope.  But after they had done so, they believed they were unduly terrorized and so with the other cardinals they held another conclave where they elected Cardinal Robert of Geneva, a Frenchman, who took the name of Clement VII, ruling at Avignon while Urban ruled in Rome. Vincent was among those who recognized Clement in Avignon.  Vincent continued as confessor to rulers, including Queen Yolanda of Aragon and taught at the cathedral at Valencia. 
              When Clement died, Vincent accepted as his successor one Peter de Luna who took the name Benedict XIII.  Thus what is known as The Great Western Schism started.  It claimed Vincent for a time: he was condemned as a heretic by the Spanish Inquisition because he taught that Judas had repented.  Benedict the anti-pope backed him and beckoned him to serve him.  Doing so probably saved Vincent’s life.  But there was beginning in his mind the stirrings of doubt that Benedict was authentic—and that he may have made a mistake.   
               The new pope (Benedict XIII) greeted Vincent at Avignon for Vincent was by then a famous preacher.  Benedict asked Vincent to be his confessor and  offered Vincent a bishopric, even a cardinalate but Vincent was growing more doubtful of Benedict. Further, he became convinced that the adamant Benedict was hindering restoration of unity.  Then a council of theologians urged the Avignon pope to come to Rome and try to arrange unity.  Benedict declined and the tugging and pulling on Vincent from Rome and Avignon with two rival popes cause Vincent’s health to break down at one point—understandable. So he decided to get out of there and be a missionary. 
             His work as a missionary was extraordinary—preaching to enormous congregations in Carpentras, Arles, Aix, Marseilles.  A number of people became what could be called his “groupies.”  They called themselves the “Penitents of Master Vincent”—helping him set up meetings, staying behind for a time to see that those who Vincent converted affiliated with local churches.  On he went: to Lucerne, Lausanne, Tarentaise, Grenoble and Turin converting people by the thousands—adding Genoa to the itinerary and then to the Netherlands, the “Penitents of Master Vincent” going with him.  Then he was recalled to try to settle once and for all the spectacle of disunity in the Church. When asked by King Ferdinand of Castile and Aragon what he thought, Vincent said Benedict’s intransigence was hindering reunion.  
      With that Ferdinand and other kings withdrew support from Benedict, his pseudo papacy capsized and he was deposed—back to being plain old Peter de Luna.  The theologian Gerson wrote to Benedict: “But for you this union could never have been achieved.”  Benedict was finally at prayerful ease: he had weathered the storm and helped reunify the Church.  The Western Schism had ended and he, Vincent, had played a masterful role in restoring unity. 
          Seemingly that was all that was keeping Vincent alive. He spent a few years after that preaching in Brittany and France but his mission seemed to be accomplished.  When he returned to Vannes after a series of sermons in Nantes with his entourage the “Penitents of Master Vincent,” it was recognized that the old man was failing. He died on Wednesday in Passion Week in 1419, one of the most popular homilists and Wise Men of the Church.  In 1455 he was canonized.

1 comment:

  1. Umnnnhhh....

    Does the Diocese of Tucson have ANY excuse for not reporting the priest to the cops and DA?

    Any excuse at ALL?

    Wearing a collar while in prison--where these perps belonged--is small comfort.