A Time to Sow And A Time To Reap (CCR)

A correction prompted by the May 27 issue of the Kansas City Star which I just read, the day after I viewed the Fox 4 newscast.  The principal of St Patrick’s School, Julie Hess, sent the letter in question to the Vicar General Robert Murphy.  Murphy, according to the newspaper article, met with Ratigan and outlined the parameters of Ratigan’s behavior.  At this point, I do not know what Murphy, Finn’s principal deputy,  communicated to Finn.  I suggest that this Kansas City Star story be read in its entirety.  Friday, May 27, 2011, front page,  Alan Bavley and Glenn E. Rice


Friday, May 27, 2011  Fox 4 News  6:00 PM

Bishop Finn, Spiritual Leader and so-called Shepherd of The People held a news conference.  Head down, eyes averted, Bishop Finn read a prepared statement.

I did not attend the news conference so am writing of what I observed on the Fox 4 news.  During this past week, I have written about the Ratigan situation that culminated in the May 27 statement by Finn.  My blogs are summary of articles in the Kansas City Star, The Leaven and my personal reactions to the stories.

In 2008, civil law suits filed against the diocese headed by Bishop Finn, hopefully raising the shepherd’s awareness of danger to the children of his flock.

In May, 2010, the principal of St. Patrick’s School, (where Ratigan had access to the children) wrote to Finn expressing her concerns over Ratigan’s behavior towards the children.  (Correction noted…the letter was sent to the Vicar General Robert Murphy–second in the chain of command.)

The principal worked the chain going to the man expected to take firm action.  Finn admitted to receiving the letter.  Ratigan was not removed at that time.

May 2011  Finn stands before television camera to admit that:

1.  A year earlier Finn had the principal’s letter.  (May 2010)

2.  Six months earlier Finn had the images from Ratigan’s computer.  The diocese returned that computer to Ratigan’s family.  (Dec. 2010)

3.  During those six months, Finn was aware that Ratigan was not adhering to the rules laid down by this shepherd’s monitoring of Ratigan’s behavior.

A reporter attending the news conference asked Finn if he planned to resign.  According to the news story, Finn responded that he was looking towards the future–and then Finn left the room.  (May, 2011)

Perhaps Archbishop Dolan can control that nausea thing and welcome Finn to  New York.  (May 26 blog referencing The Leaven, May 20, 2011)

Perhaps Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann’s concluding prayer gets tweaked a bit to “Pray for” the Catholic People “that they  not grow weary or discouraged” despite the horrors of the ongoing revelations of the abuse and cover-up scandal that allows sexual and physical harm to children to go unpunished. (The Leaven, May 20, 2011)

Perhaps Bernard Law has an opening at the  Church of  Mary Major in Rome.


Throwing Stones

The question asked was:  “Did I want to throw stones or build bridges?”

A seemingly sincere and legitimate Catholic publication was soliciting subscriptions and donations using the glass house image.  If I admitted that my house is glass, which indeed it is, then I could be expected to protect my own sins,  heft the stones and build the bridges.  If memory serves, one of the target bridges was to sort the clergy abuse scandal and construct a pathway leading to reconciliation.

Hand me a stone and stand back.

My answer is that I will continue to throw stones until the walls come down.  In my small and insignificant way I will hammer at the cover-up, the obscenity of abuse by clergy, holy men consecrated to serving their God sexually abusing children.

Don’t ask, don’t even suggest that I build a bridge between bishops who covered-up by reassignment, between perpetrators who abused without consequence or conscience and young Catholics who will live damaged lives because stones were not thrown.

Rather than thinking bridge, come–stand beside whatever mountain of stones will be required.   The walls that protected must be destroyed.  Justice is demanded, else the whole church thing is a joke, a sad and sick joke using God to mask the evil.


An unintentional hiatus but a hiatus just the same…

You are an amazing group, Gentle Readers.  Some of you, noticing the dearth of blogs, have contacted me asking the why of the dry spell.  I appreciate you more than I have words to express that appreciation.

My calendar has little respect for anything but the passage of time so that cluttered life-map cannot be excuse or  reason.

Some rearranging of family schedules has encroached on my version of disciplined writing, but adjustment should never be that difficult.  Union Station on the occasional Thursday rather than the standard Friday visit is simply a tweak that will eventually be realigned.  (Hi, De.)

Taking on a few extra commitments isn’t overwhelming, though some have been more time-consuming than expected.  In addition, I have spent hours writing two short stories depicting life changing events.  The stories processed important pieces of my history and I value the time and thought spent writing them.

Stutter steps while learning to handle the chores of this place should be just that–stutter steps–and nothing more.  Still, I continue to stutter.

The litany could get longer, but the point isn’t that chiseled and truly doesn’t matter.  My mind has gone underground, sort of like the moles building a city under the top soil of my yard.  Some of me has disappeared.

Hiatus is a brief stoppage, a thing to end on schedule.  I will find what is missing and look forward to tomorrow.

Now, Do It Now

There are many clichés to cover the idea of’ reading between the lines, of mindfulness  in awareness, of reaching out before a need is voiced.  This is a good day for that.

We all know people who struggle, short-term or in a sort of perpetual depressive state.  Some struggle with loud bumps and moans letting the world know that this is a bummer.  Some struggle with times of being overwhelmed, drowning in details and no life-preserver in sight.   Others struggle with a quiet, “Fine–I am fine” when we know fine does not cover the pain.

So in case anyone is listening, this is Now, Do It Now Day, a day to put our personal concerns under the stack and take an action that will surprise and soften the life of someone in our prism.  A note, a phone call, handling a task that isn’t getting done, anticipating, understanding with true compassion and taking action.

No Massage of History (ccr)

Originally published July 8, 2010    Reviewed today after minor editing.

The Kansas City Star carried a letter of gag-inducing sarcasm referencing those who dare to challenge the actions of the hierarchy that  covered-up sexual crimes against children.  The writer blindly (my opinion) supported the actions of the church hierarchy.

The writer of that letter labeled the cries for justice as a “massage (of) history in an effort to self-serve, confuse or divide…”

Wondering how the writer’s God of love and justice would judge the venom of his letter.  Maybe it is OK to self-serve, confuse and divide if you are on the dark side of the church.

It is not a massage of history to note that Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop James Moriarty of Ireland.  Bishop Moriarty admitted that he did not challenge the Dublin Church policy of covering up sexual abuse of children by priests.

It is not a massage of history to write about a church absolutely addicted to rigid male hierarchies, relegating women to second class status.

It is not a massage of history to focus on Jesus being more inclined to care for the needs of people rather than the perpetuation of dogma.

It is not a massage of history to note that Jesus lived in poverty without coffers to pay for lavish dress and appointments.

It is not a massage of history to note that sexual abuse of minors appears in the records  as early as 1908 and with consistency from the 1930’s through the 1980’s.

It is not a massage of history to wonder at the portrayal of Mary, the perfect woman, free of original sin and eternal virgin even as she gave birth to Jesus.

Every young Catholic was given Mary as the image of perfect womanhood.   Mary, Virgin Mother of Jesus, was the  impossible model, the unattainable goal.  The Mary, as constructed by the church, proved that all other women were unworthy no matter how great the effort.  None other could be both virgin and a mother.

Maybe that paradox is  the excuse for deeming women as unworthy of ordination.


One Good Something Invites Another (CCR)

Michael Feldman, What Do You Know, on NPR reads bits of news designed to start his show  by invoking audience  laughter.  Today Michel chuckled through the bit about the Pope having forgiven the Jews for the  death of Jesus.


The Pope and his predecessors  fostered centuries of hatred towards the Jewish people for what a handful of men did in 33 A.D.    In 2011, the Pontiff of the Catholic Church forgives the Jewish people. Following that line of reasoning, we can expect forgiveness for the Spanish people who conducted the Inquisitions.  Oh, wait…The Spanish Inquisition was Catholic sponsored so no forgiveness  required.

Following the Pope’s lead in finding a solution for a centuries old hatred problem, I offer my admittedly simplistic solution for hunger, prejudice and poverty in the world.

Abandon the Pomp and Circumstance way of conducting Church ceremonies.  Dress Church leaders in Jesus clothes, much the same way that certain contemplative orders dress.  House and feed church leaders in the manner of low to middle-income people of the congregations.  Keep only those Church museum quality treasures that Jesus could have carried in his preaching life.  Look at gold in terms of mitigation of suffering rather than enhancement of facilities.

And finally, take a long look at the nature of humans in all our characteristics purported to be  created in the image and likeness of God.  If the church believes that God knew what He was doing, it is time to beg the forgiveness of gay men and women for centuries of Church sponsored hated.  It is time to beg the forgiveness of women for centuries of second class treatment.  It is time to beg forgiveness from decades of men and women forced to choose between birth control, celibate marriages or too many children.  It is time to prostrate before the thousands of victims of church accepted child abuse and cry in shame.

One good something invites another.

What Price Violence?

Before the ramble begins, the disclaimer:  I am not a ‘dove’.  The hot snowball impossibility of that position never made it up the flag pole.  We are a people of sex and violence.   Neither am I a hawk defending the position that power and anger win the toss.

I am taking a position of respect for those who sincerely believe in and work for peaceful means of change.  I am taking a position of gratitude to our military men and women who defend against that power and anger sucking the soul of  the world.

I am not a proponent of stricter gun laws. Cain and David used rocks.  In some countries, rocks are the weapon of choice for certain crimes.

An NPR sports commentator recently  spoke of the glory of violence on the playing field.   He was against any rule changes to diminish the worship of that glory.  I leave that discussion to the fans.

“The themes of democracy, justice and empowerment are being displayed on the streets in several countries.”

“John Covington’s newest recipe for controlling Southwest Early College Campus (violence) calls for a total of 18 security guards and police officers mixed with a dozen additional hallway monitors.”

Both quotes are from the front page of The Kansas City Star, Tuesday, February 15, 2011.

Fires burn in the halls of an early college campus.  Fires burn in the streets of Cairo, Iran, Yemen, Bahrain.  Military personnel and police presence continue to increase in efforts to control the violence, put out the fires of protest.

In an educational setting designed to prepare  for college some students are mirroring the behaviors of Arab demonstrators demanding democracy, justice and empowerment.

Sucking the soul from the world…..