Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
4 December 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under bishops
, sex abuse  Comments
The NYT surfaces the concerns of Kansas City priests, several conceding that their bishop’s resignation would be a good idea. Fr Michael Clary:
I think it would be easier for us to move forward without Bishop Finn as our bishop.
Bishop Finn is not without defenders, like Fr Vince Rogers:
Yes, there is a divide in the presbyterate, but in my opinion it’s the same old tired divide that has existed from the day he arrived. In a word, some of the priests wish that we had a more liberal bishop, and they are willing to use any means to achieve that end.
On the other hand, some people might posit that having a discredited conservative bishop is better than having an effective conservative. Robert Finn continues to serve as an example that serious sin can be blind, and that committed Catholics who style themselves “faithful” or “orthodox” or “obedient” are no more inclined to be virtuous than those who pose questions, or who are unorthodox, or who otherwise think the Church is going in a bad direction with poor leadership and ministry priorities.
Bishop Finn’s more vocal defenders contribute nothing to the diocese’s practical unity as long as a significant portion of the community think the man should go. And there are concerns that the bishop’s apology seems ambivalent. Fr Matthew Brumleve:
Some say he has made that apology, he has said he’s sorry, but he hasn’t told us what he’s sorry for. Is he sorry he got caught? Is he sorry we don’t see things the way he sees them? Or is he truly sorry for letting down the children of this diocese?
Others think Bishop Finn has satisfied. Fr Angelo Bartulica:
I believe he’s accepted responsibility for what happened and he’s paying the price for it. I don’t understand what more people want.
Let me start a list: sincerity, contrition for specific offenses and the acknowledgement that children were harmed, and that faith has been damaged by scandal, a concession that this is a serious scandal, a disavowal of defenders who perpetrate myths about pornography, an open discussion about what his resignation would accomplish. Bishop Finn will need to symbolic leadership in the range of the witness given by many of his brother bishops of the previous, discredited generation: lifestyle choices and liturgical choices, plus a public ritual not unlike the one given by Archbishop Martin in Dublin.
Otherwise, I suppose I’m content to see him remain in office for what should be sixteen years with a far less effective ministry than it could have been. And if his agenda was more ideological than spiritual, maybe that’s not a bad situation. Too bad that a new Kansas City high school is looking at cutting fundraising expectations 62%. Too bad that sins of exploitation and sex have become a snicker and comedy material. In 2007, I think the bishop was right to focus on the scourge of pornography in the lives of men. I don’t find that effort at all sneer-worthy. Too bad it was limited to the sins of lay people in their homes. Maybe if it included a look at the burdens and temptations within Holy Orders, this episcopacy would have turned out far differently.
Another object lesson in speck, plank, eye. Something we all need to keep in mind. Does Kansas City have a bishop who can lead that mindfulness? And if you think Bishop Finn is the man, why would that be?
4 December 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Advent
, Scripture Leave a Comment
The psalm for Advent’s first Tuesday is the 72nd. It appears prominently on Epiphany, but we get a daytime preview of it on the third Mass of Advent. What do you make of the cosmology implied in verse 7?
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
And here, in verse 17a?
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
The likely end of the moon will be during the sun’s expansion into the red giant phase. The outer layers of the enlarged sun might slow down our massive satellite enough to spiral into the planet. Or expelled gas from the sun before that final stage might be enough to send the Earth spiraling out just enough to avoid the fate of collision and burning to a cinder.
Psalm 72 has had its interpreters focus on the Messianic aspects, otherwise the notion of a human king ruling till the end of the solar system seems an extreme exaggeration. We know, of course, that the reign of God will extend far beyond the end of the solar system. Planets will be swallowed up, or be ejected from the sun’s vicinity. The sun itself will swell up, then shrink to a white dwarf, and eventually cool to a dark ball of frozen carbon, neon, and oxygen. But grace and faith will remain, those tens of billions of years into the future, and beyond. The psalmist may not have had a glimpse into the ultimate future of the sun and moon, but his lyrical words are no less true.
4 December 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Astronomy
, On My Bookshelf Leave a Comment
I just finished Andrew Kessler’s Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission.
This book gives a peppy, irreverent, and informative inside view of the 2008 mission to the polar region of Mars. There are many books out there on space missions. Like those others, Mr Kessler’s book gives a wealth of science information as well as interpersonal exchanges between Phoenix scientists, engineers, journalists, and bureaucrats.
I found his narrative style a bit choppy. The book tends to get bogged down in small details–interesting details certainly, but not always connected to the big picture. The book reads like a series of blog posts. That’s not to say they’re not well-written; they certainly are. It’s just a different style of writing than what I’m accustomed to.
Recommended for Mars fanatics. Otherwise an interesting read, but not absolutely top-shelf.
4 December 2012
Make sure the contractor is sound …
§ 201 § Parishes will search for contractors who exhibit skills appropriate to the scope and significance of the project and who are properly licensed and insured. Candidates should demonstrate their ability to finance and to fulfill their commitments completely and on time and should exhibit skills in the areas of management, supervision, building technology, and construction methods and procedures. They also should have a record of good labor relations supported by positive benefit practices that are consonant with and reflective of the Church’s teachings on social justice. Most dioceses keep careful records of the competence, working methods, completion practices, and fiscal responsibility of the contractors who have worked on church buildings in the diocese to assist parishes with the competitive bidding process. This information can be readily available to the pastor and the parish building committee.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
4 December 2012
Lumen Gentium rejected a notion of a clergy-first institution. One of the consequences of starting with the People of God is that naturally the duties and responsibilities of that people are also emphasized. Every believer is called to witness to the Word:
6. The renewal of the Church is also achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers: by their very existence in the world, Christians are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us. The Council itself, in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, said this: While “Christ, ‘holy, innocent and undefiled’ (Heb 7:26) knew nothing of sin (cf. 2 Cor 5:21), but came only to expiate the sins of the people (cf. Heb 2:17)… the Church … clasping sinners to its bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal. The Church, ‘like a stranger in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God’, announcing the cross and death of the Lord until he comes (cf. 1 Cor 11:26). But by the power of the risen Lord it is given strength to overcome, in patience and in love, its sorrow and its difficulties, both those that are from within and those that are from without, so that it may reveal in the world, faithfully, although with shadows, the mystery of its Lord until, in the end, it shall be manifested in full light.”(Lumen Gentium, 8.)
In a word, grace. God’s grace enables the Church and its believers to give that shadowed, imperfect witness.