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.


By Association (CCR)

The Leaven is the diocesan publication led by Archbishop Joseph R. Naumann.  The May 20, 2011 issue had Naumann’s article reprinting and commenting on a March 18 blog by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.  Dolan is the president of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Thought I have met Archbishop Naumann numerous times, it is always the first introduction for him.  I am simply an entity to whom he nods and moves on so I claim no personal connection nor conversation with Naumann.  He is a busy man and I am another face in the current  crowd.

Archbishop Dolan’s blog retells his encounter with an outraged and courageous man, a baptized Catholic, who took advantage of the symbolic collar to confront the sexual abuse.  The man was not accusing Dolan of abuse but was expressing his contempt for the abuse scandal and the cover-up by the church.  In the second paragraph of Dolan’s blog he says, “..left me so shaken I was near nausea”.


It is good that Dolan was near nausea as are many of us each time we read another recounting of a priest physically and/or sexually abusing a child.  The nausea often gives way to vomit when we further read of Bishops and Archbishops covering for the pedophile.

And the victims?  If only they could vomit away the fire-brand scorching their being as they “…staggered with shame and anger from the damage of the wound…inflicted…”.   (Page 2 Column 1, May 20, 2011, The Leaven)

Memory preserved in stress is often skewed.  Fight or flight alters perception of a very public situation.  Dolan’s reaction was “What to respond?  Yell at him?  Cuss him out?  Apologize?  Deck him?…I staggered with shame from the damage of the wound he had inflicted with those stinging words.”   Flight or flight.

One of the surest and most effective techniques in advertising is the use of the expert, the famous person, the cultural icon as association to the product.  Spread the affirmations and heighten the acceptance.

Upside down displays that ugly underbelly concept.  Guilt shared is guilt diminished.  Teachers, Scout leaders, family members abuse, so abusing priest have companions thereby sharing the guilt.   Searching from earliest memory I have no recollection of confessional moments when a priest asked me if anyone else forgot morning prayer or took an extra cinnamon square from the confectionery on the corner.

In the third column of Archbishop Dolan’s blog, the The Leaven reprints the following:

“Notwithstanding the happy ending, I was still trembling…and almost felt like I needed an exorcism to expel my shattered soul, as I had to confront again the horror this whole mess has been to victims and their families, our Catholic people like the man I had just met…and to us priests.”

Dolan calls the ending ‘happy’ because the Denver airport scene ended with a handshake and a joke about exorcism.  Dolan’s words place the horror …to victims, families, Catholic people and priests…in the same bundle.  With all due respect,  Archbishop, you and your priests only stand at the edge of the hell lived by victims.  You only smell the smoke of the cover-up while much of the church is consumed by that stench.

Archbishop Naumann’s ending comments include a request for prayer for priests “…that we might strive to be shepherd after the heart of Jesus Christ.  Pray that we have the courage and generosity to lay down our lives in love for the good of the people we are privileged to serve.”

The Jesus Philosophy is a thing of richness of spirit while dressed in physical poverty.  The story goes that the man, Jesus, did lay down his life for the good people.  He was laid down in blood and pain, stripped of the meager garment and rope sandals.

Perhaps the good people, the people clinging to hope in their Catholicism, don’t want the death of their priests as evidence of service.  Perhaps  being “troubled”  (Bishop Finn/Ratigan/Troubled? The Bishop Is Troubled? ) isn’t enough.  Perhaps excuses and justifications by associations are bogus enough to be left with the other baggage.

Perhaps privilege to serve demands opening the doors wide enough for good people to be privy to  records, to documentation, to  resources, to  information, to every incident of cover-up.  Perhaps the good people served do not want the death of their priests but rather want their priests to live the life of  the Jesus Philosophy.

Archbishop Naumann concludes:  “Pray for our priests that they not grow weary or discouraged despite the challenges of their ministry.”

How odd.  Once again, the focus is directed towards the priests–their weariness, their challenges, their discouragement.  How very odd.

With Due Respect (CCR)

Rev. Alberto Cutie’ , an Episcopal Priest, wrote “Dilemma:  A Priest’s Struggle With Faith and Love”, recounting some of his reasons for leaving the Catholic Church.  Rev. Cutie’ is now married to Ruhama Buni Canellis.  His book describes the Catholic Church as ‘disconnected, misogynistic and  an institution that continues to promote old ideas’.

On Saturday, January 15, Monsignor Michael Mullen’s response appeared in the Kansas City Star newspaper.  Monsignor Mullen is pastor of a Kansas City, Kansas parish.  He was also a Ward High School classmate of my husband, graduating from the Kansas City, Kansas school in 1954.   Known for years as Fr. Mike, we had great respect for him as a fellow student, a fine man and a well-respected priest.  My response to Monsignor’s writing in no way diminishes that history and respect.

In his response, Monsignor Mullen encourages the reading of the writings of Pope Benedict XVI and The Leaven Diocesan newspaper  in which Archbishop Naumann has an article.  As point of fact, I have not read either of these suggested writings nor do I consider them a definitive source for understanding the scope of the Catholic Church.

I question the efficacy of reading Pope Benedict and/or Archbishop Naumann if the hoped for result is a clear and honest understanding of the working of the Catholic Church.  The perspective would be skewed.

If one wanted to understand Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado and the Legionaries of Christ, would the writings of Maciel be the source?  Would years of accumulated material praising Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado bring counterpoint to Fr. Cutie’ criticisms of the Catholic Church?  Once highly praised (and carefully protected) by John Paul, Marcial Maciel Degollado was eventually  banished him from active ministry as the extent of his double life was brought to public knowledge.

As the Catholic Church studies the case of beatification for John Paul, would the writing of George Weigel give the balanced perspective of the life and work of Pope John Paul?  Consider Weigel’s whitewashing of John Paul’s failure in the abuse crisis contrasted with Fr. Andrew M Greeley calling the abuse crisis “the greatest scandal in the history of religion in America”.

History requires factual material laid out to the best of the recorders ability.  History requires a search for unbiased and studied materials from many sources.  History does not judge men, philosophies or movements  simply by the standards laid down by the entities’ agenda.

Rev. Cutie’, Monsignor Mullen, Archbishop Naumann definitely have the right, perhaps the duty, to preach from their perspective.  That right and duty does not extend to excluding the facts.

As a Gentle Reader, you know that the Catholic Church has been a part of my life since my infant baptism.  You also know that my readings convince me that ‘misogynistic’, ‘disconnected’ and an “institution that continues to promote old ideas” are aligned with history and with fact.  My hope is that we, lay members of the church, can bring about the openness and honesty leading to far-reaching changes.

Not Even Sub Prime (ccr)

Maybe I need to find a new something-or-other, a way to consume my thinking and push out what seems to be a fixed frustration.  Maybe.  Problem is that there are so many reminders.

The Leaven is the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City In Kansas.  It publishes news, editorials and columns of interest to Catholics.   The July 2 issue, page 16,  had a beautiful picture of a former high school classmate and his wife celebrating 50 years of marriage.  Archbishop Naumann celebrated with many couples reaching the 50 year milestone.  Lovely human interest story and a tribute to those who stayed true to the marriage vows.

My habit with magazines and newspapers is to start with the last and move to the first.  Have even been known to read the last chapter of a book first, insuring that the end justifies the read.

Moving on to page 4…

“Deacons stand ready to serve” is the headline announcing that the archdiocese’s first permanent deacons will be ordained next year.  Deacons ” baptize, witness marriages, officiate at funerals and burial services, proclaim the Gospel, preach…  The permanent diaconate is the third order of clergy in the Catholic Church….today’s permanent deacons are all about:  assisting pastors and serving the poor.”

The quoted material is from The Leaven article and page 15 of the July 2 issue gives a profile of the permanent diaconate.  Nothing in the article references women so I am assuming that there are no female deacons.

My disclaimer:  I salute and appreciate these men giving so much of their lives to the service of their belief.  I salute and appreciate the service that takes them into the workplace, serves the poor and assists the parish.  I salute and appreciate the deacons for assuming some of the burdens of time and energy for their church.

My question:  Why am I not worthy to serve?  Why am I not worthy to perform in even “the third order of the clergy” in the Catholic church?  Why does my genetic make-up predispose me to less than in my church?

I can clean the sacristy.  I can cook and serve food at church events.  I can launder altar linen.  I can work in a parish office.  I can sew when garments are needed.  I can work to raise funds for many church purposes.  I can serve at food kitchens.  I can volunteer at charity services.  I can clean the church for Christmas and Easter.  I can wash endless dishes at parish events.  I can prepare and serve food at funeral lunches.  I can handle prayer lines and visit the sick.  I can attend Mass, serve a lector or Eucharistic minister.

And still I am sub prime, not even worthy of  third level deacon duties.  No wonder I am frustrated with trying to understand why my sex makes me less than.