Friday, September 10, 2010

Personal Asides: Jockeying for Mayor is Kiss of Death for Quinn…Wha? Do Monsignori Titles Cost $5,000? Tell Me It’s Not So!

 Feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentino*  
                                              Poor Pat. 
        I almost feel sorry for Old Watery Eyes. Almost.  Daley’s announcement that he won’t run came at the very worst time for Pat Quinn. It means that the money normally coming from Chicago to finance the governor’s campaign has dried up as Big Labor, Big Business and liberal source harbor their funds for the Big Push…backing the right guy for mayor. 
        Quinn can justifiably say: Thanks a bunch, Rich.   That may be the deciding blow that finishes off Democratic control of the governorship. Not that Quinn isn’t capable of blowing it himself (he’s done an excellent job thus far).   
                                             The Big News… 
       …about a Berwyn Catholic pastor blowing his top in a published letter to his congregation and dissing Cardinal George is not about the scattering of Monsignor titles for favored priests.  As a matter of fact, I think the return of Monsignors is a good idea.  That’s not the point. 
        The big news is that Fr. Thomas McQuaid of St. Leonard’s Church in Berwyn blew the lid off what I imagine is one of the Vatican’s deep-dark secrets… a secret those of us who inhabit the back pews had hoped disappeared from the Church in the bad-old Middle Ages (noted for sanctity but also some $$$ abuses).  In his letter to the faithful, Fr. McQuaid said this: 
       “Months ago I asked the Cardinal not to move forward with this plan calling it shameful in view of the economic situation we find ourselves in these days. You ask `Why is this an economic issue?’ It is `expected’ that a `gift’ be offered to the Vatican for each title conferred. In the past I think the `expected gift’ was around $5,000 each.  I suspect that now it is probably $8,000-$10,000 each—of course we will never know.  Again it’s your money!”  Emphasis mine. 
           Holy Smoke, Batman!  You mean this same-old, same-old digging in your purse to get a title conferred to worthy clerics is still in effect as it was when Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales?  This is only slightly different than what happened in the 17th century when my paternal forebears tilled the soil in Bavaria and looked up the hill at the prince-bishop who had been installed for reasons of clout!  
          This validates Bob Novak’s statement to me after he was received into the Church (and having read the unexpurgated Church history following Christ’s ascension):   
           “Tommy, the Church has got to be divine to have outlasted all the villains and just plain jerks through all the centuries!” 
            Fr, McQuaid was totally right about no answer from the chancery. The archdiocese told (which deserves more than just a hat-tip) that the Vatican charged $150 for each scroll the new domestic prelates receive but as to whether there are other higher costs, no response as yet.  Not surprising.   
        The other stunner was that Fr. McQuaid cited the failure of  “the Cardinal, Bishop Rassas and Fr. Ed Grace [the former vicar for priests]  to have protected children from the abuse of Fr. Dan McCormack and the inestimable damage done to these young people and their families and the millions of dollars paid for the Archdiocese in settlements.”   
         In the Middle Ages a priest writer of such criticism might expect to be  hauled off and promoted to work in a Trappist scullery.  By the way, has anyone checked on Fr. McQuaid recently?  Is he still at St. Leonard’s?  Just asking.

St. Nicholas of Tolentino [1245-1306].  Born at Sant’Angelo, Pontano, Italy he was the son of parents who had been childless until middle-age and who prayed at the shrine of St. Nicolas of Myra to have a child who when born they named after the saint.  At the age of 18, Nicholas became an Augustinian friar, was later ordained and became a gifted preacher.  He gained prominence rapidly and served as a peacemaker in a country torn by strife between the Guelfs and Ghibellines who struggled for the control of Italy. He suffered greatly from illness but offered up his pain as mortification.  He was canonized by Pope Eugene IV in 1466.


  1. "It is `expected’ that a `gift’ be offered to the Vatican for each title conferred..."

    For the love of all that is holy, Tom, what is your basis for taking this naked assertion as gospel?

  2. "By the way, has anyone checked on Fr. McQuaid recently? Is he still at St. Leonard’s? Just asking."

    Tom, to our benefit he's still here at St. Leonard's.

  3. Novak simply restated the moral of the second tale of Boccacio's Decameron. To wit:

    A Christian sought to convert a Jewish friend. The Jew decided to visit Rome, and the Christian despaired - knowing the rampant debauchery of the Roman clergy. But when the Jew returned, he converted. He said that for Christianity to flourish as it did with such utterly corrupt leaders, it must be God's own truth.