Monthly Archives: March 2010

Death of a story

The canon lawyer who handled the Father Murphy case in Milwaukee in the ‘90s, Rev. Thomas Brundage, debunks the NY Times and AP articles about it, including the alleged quashing of his church trial and the role they say the Vatican played in that.

With regard to the inaccurate reporting on behalf of the New York Times, the Associated Press, and those that utilized these resources [including Chi Trib and Sun-Times], first of all, I was never contacted by any of these news agencies but they felt free to quote me.

Almost all of my quotes are from a document that can be found online with the correspondence between the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In an October 31, 1997 handwritten document, I am quoted as saying ‘odds are that this situation may very well be the most horrendous, number wise, and especially because these are physically challenged , vulnerable people. “ Also quoted is this: “Children were approached within the confessional where the question of circumcision began the solicitation.”

The problem with these statements attributed to me is that they were handwritten. The documents were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting. The syntax is similar to what I might have said but I have no idea who wrote these statements, yet I am credited as stating them.

As a college freshman at the Marquette University School of Journalism, we were told to check, recheck, and triple check our quotes if necessary. I was never contacted by anyone on this document, written by an unknown source to me. Discerning truth takes time and it is apparent that the New York Times, the Associated Press and others did not take the time to get the facts correct. [italics added]

The rest of his article in The Catholic Anchor, of Anchorage, Alaska, severely undercuts the claim that the present pope, Benedict XVI, had anything to do with the matter.  The case was never quashed, but Murphy died a defendant.

Moreover, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger, headed, did not handle abuse cases until a few years after Murphy died.

[T]he competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001. Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court.

When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly, and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger.

Major knockdown here of major Catholic scandal story.

Hat tip: CatholicCulture.Org, to which I was sent by New Oxford Review’s excellent News Link.

More: Here’s a recent report, by Catholic News Service, of the 2001 switch of abuse cases to CDF:

On March 27, the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, ran the full texts of two landmark documents that in 2001 placed the sexual abuse of minors by priests among the most grave sins, and established that allegations be handled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal Ratzinger.

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The first leftist

This by Dean Russel is a 1951 analysis of how French revolutionary fervor went wrong after just two years, as freedom from government restraint was replaced by embracing another kind of constraint.  It includes this from “a holder of high political office” in 1936:

[I]n 34 months we have built up new instruments of public power. In the hands of a people’s government this power is wholesome and proper. But in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy, such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people.

Power to the people, but which people?  FDR knew.  The ones he gathered in Washington.

So it is today, as we hear regularly from “demagogues who promise us something for nothing.”

The first leftist

This by Dean Russel is a 1951 analysis of how French revolutionary fervor went wrong after just two years, as freedom from government restraint was replaced by embracing another kind of constraint. 

It includes this from “a holder of high political office” in 1936:

[I]n 34 months we have built up new instruments of public power. In the hands of a people’s government this power is wholesome and proper. But in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy, such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people.

Power to the people, but which people?  FDR knew.  The ones he gathered in Washington.

So it is today, as we hear regularly from “demagogues who promise us something for nothing.”

Way to skin the education cat

Get that kid out of the classroom and in front of his computer at home, like in Florida and “dozens” of other states:

Full-time virtual charter schools are operating in dozens of states. The Florida Virtual School, which offers for-credit online classes to any child enrolled in the state system, has 100,000 students. Teachers are available by phone or e-mail from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

And here is a truly revolutionary part:

The state cuts a funding check to the school only when students demonstrate that they have mastered the material, whether it takes them two months or two years. The program is one of the largest in the country.

And AP courses?

Kids who enroll in Advanced Placement courses — 39 percent of whom are minority students — score an average of 3.05 out of 5, compared with a state average of 2.49 for public school students.

Instapundit led me to this in WaPo.

Pound, black-beautiful, Orr bleachers, the horrible Father Murphy

* Reading Pound’s Pisan Cantos — p. 39 of New Directions ‘48 edition — I find “the American lady, K.H.” inquiring for d’Annunzio.  Who she?  Who he?  She, I dunno.  He was Gabriele D’A, poet, novelist, war hero, predecessor of Mussolini and for a time his rival for fascist affections.

* “Black Friday,” said a nameless Chi public school coach about two days ago, when lots were fired from CPS sports jobs as deficit kicks in (which ObamaCare will exacerbate).  Oh?  Black is bad?  He’s allowed to talk that way? 

One who was fired or downsized, not from a sports job but from the office that kept its list of clouted applicants for elite schools, was Greg Minniefield, who is black. 

Minniefield

Which means every day is black for him, and beautiful too, as Rev. Jesse J. used to say, when he wasn’t putting big financial squeezes on big companies.  So quite a disconnect here.

Don’t joke about a guy losing his job, you say.  But we assume he’s clouted and will find something else, or someone somebody sent will find one for him.

* Lacking the resources of a Mayor Daley, who plowed up an airport in the dead of night, surprising the air traffic controller on his way to work next morning, Quincy Miller (not the b-baller) had to do his night-time mischief one bleacher seat at a time, denuding the spanking new stands at Orr High on the West Side, from which he lived a block away.  800 of them, over three months, without being stopped.  He also “hacked,” I presume chiseled or sawed, off some of this new stadium’s aluminum facing.

He was chased by a security guard in January, dropping a cell phone which was given to the police, but not till Friday was he caught and charged.  Mayor Daley has never been charged.

* The Rev. Lawrence Murphy abuse case.  Abuse took place at a Milwaukee-area school for the deaf.  150 cases (200, says NYT), from ‘50s to ‘74.  He admitted it, was sent to a retreat house.  Twenty years later the Congregation for Defense of the Faith, which Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, then headed, declined to try him, sentencing him instead to do penance.  NYT has the story, reprised by AP in Sun-Times, Manya Brachear and free-lancer Marie Rhode in Chi Trib.

Lawrence Murphy

Rev. Lawrence Murphy

M. died in ‘98 at 72.  Victims’ accounts include his assaulting boys in their dorm beds while others saw or heard it and knew it was going on.  In ‘90s, Cardinal Bertone of the CDF said M. was too old, sick, it happened too long ago.  M. was also forbidden to say mass outside his diocese.  Whistle had been blown in ‘74 by Chicago priest working in deaf ministry, Rev. David Walsh.  He told Archbp Meyer, then of Milwaukee, to whom M. admitted charges.  M. was sent for a time to a retreat house up north in Wis. 

Walsh also told Archbp Cousins, Meyer’s successor, and then the apostolic delegate in Wash., DC.  But what sent M. packing was confrontation with alums of the school with Milwaukee Sentinel reporters.  He denied all, resigned from the school.  In ‘93, more accusations, investigation started in Rome, with results as above.  Card. Bertone, Ratzinger’s #2 man at CDF, gave M. a pass, citing a now defunct one-month statute of limitations on reporting abuse during confession.

God being in his heaven does not mean all’s right with the world, pace the Browning character.  Neither does so much being wrong with the world mean God’s not in his heaven.  Or so I believe.

Wuxtry, school aide falls on sword

Reading about the Chi Public Schools apparatchik who took the fall for the little list of clouted applicants to elite schools, various noteworthy items:

. . . Duncan ordered admissions requests tracked over several years, creating a lengthy and detailed compilation of politicians . . .

Whazis, tracked?  Either Trib copy editor did this or was so challenged by it, he gave up.  I refer to this sequence:

The Tribune revealed earlier this week that Duncan ordered admissions requests tracked over several years, creating a lengthy and detailed compilation of politicians and influential business people who intervened on behalf of children during his tenure.

Look.  Can’t a newspaper be clear and concise and punchy?  Apparently not.

Then this, which seems to be a diminishing of the important story the Trib broke a few days ago:

The lists, used mostly in appeals cases, also show inquiries from politically unconnected parents. [How many?]

There is no evidence that principals were forced to admit unqualified students. Indeed, many applicants were still rejected after powerful patrons became involved.

Crazy.  A reader might ask, “So what’s the problem?” 

Care and prudence is one thing, pulling back Uriah Heep-like is quite another.

What also of this?

The girls were not accepted to Whitney Young, because of low test scores.

Were not accepted to?  Not by?  Or at, assuming by someone there, say, the principal?  Whazis accepted to business?

The quotes are good, supporting the obvious conclusion that this guy fell on his sword for his old buddy Arne Duncan.

The Rev. Susan Johnson, senior minister at Hyde Park Union Church who has known Pickens since childhood, said: “To sacrifice someone of his caliber and race and gender is just such a waste of talent.”

And gender?  What’s that about?  Race we get: it’s standard racialism away with which no white person could get.  But what’s the gender business?  Black male achievers so rare, or what?

Then we have an “unwieldy” bureaucracy at the Chi Board of Ed?  So stated by the reporters.  You can’t wield that bureacracy for love or money, it just won’t be wielded.  Instead “tangled”?  How’s corrupt and incompetent?  Politically infested.  Come on, Trib peoples, say something.  It won’t kill you and it could save a subscription or two.

More to the point of apparatchik falling on sword:

“David was a very honest and loyal lieutenant to Arne Duncan,” said Bill Gerstein, a high school principal and longtime friend of Pickens. “He was loyal to a fault and honest to a fault. In organizations, oftentimes the people who do the work and follow through on initiatives — they’re the first ones to go.”

I love the honest to a fault.  He didn’t lie. 

Then way at the end of the story, in hard, not digital copy:

Through a spokesman, Duncan declined to comment.

Of course not.

"Wimpy" is good

Sister Helena Burns likes “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”  Calls it

the best movie of 2010 so far. Everything about it is sterling: the acting, the story, the dialogue, the soundtrack, the pacing, the humor, the editing. Everything clicks and pops.

Having just yesterday bailed out from true-life attitude and behaviors to watch “Bounty Hunter” at the Lake — was well rewarded with untrue-to-life stuff as to cops, robbers, etc. (so what? who needs the real thing?) and with wise theme commentary on marriage and what makes it work: the Aniston woman and Gerard Butler quite good at this part of this basically feel-good movie — I am specially alert to this un-wimpy review.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” avoids all kinds of movie-making tropes, and is a surprisingly fresh and profound take on young people’s development of character. There is no snarkiness or smart-aleckiness. Just kids as kids trying to survive and make their way in life, getting involved in downright hilarious, yet not too impossible, adventures.

It is nonstop entertainment — including adolescent boy gross-out humor — but it’s never quick and cheap. It’s all expertly folded in to a fully-fleshed out story. Every scene deftly advances character and plot.

She’s not bad herself.  Her copy moves along, this puiling out stops of praise is not her usual approach, hence is more credible here.  I will have to catch a Holy Week matinee of it.  Does that mean I did not give up movies for Lent?  ‘Fraid so.  I’m not the boy I was in the early ‘40s, no.

Health-scare

Beginning to clear out the augean stables of various note pads strewn throughout various pockets, desks, tables including dining room, shelves, and other points of interest:

* Old friend Bob K., Democrat leaning Socialist if not there already, quotes Scripture to his purpose of selling the then in ramming process now accompli Obama-scare, a.k.a.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

 (not kidding), while dwelling also on plight of poor.  To him I say, as to old friend Joan, who buttonholed me on OP Avenue some months back and recommended my reading the Bible, your unimpeachable motivation should not be confused with strategy. 

You assume Obama-scare is good for poor people, even as public school and other public budgets are slashed because of a dearth of public money.  Tax more, you say, but there’s an end to that somewhere, as businesses cut back under tax burdens and the nation heads for big fiscal trouble. 

Bob, Joan, all you good Christian and other kind-hearted people, consider what you want done to the common weal.  Your commendable impulses are getting us all in big trouble, especially the poorest among us, as I told you, Bob, in our recent email exchange.  I won’t say “repent” — I’m not one to offer or demand that alternative — but I do say rethink your position.

* More later from the stables . . . .

Root canal, anyone?

This anti-Coulter protester thinks she’s at the dentist:

Canadian girl

It’s in Ottawa, where

Concerns for “public safety” forced the cancellation of American conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s speaking engagement at the University of Ottawa Tuesday night.

Hate speech, you know. 

Celebrated author Mark Steyn [was] summoned [in December of ‘07] to appear before two Canadian judicial panels on charges linked to his book “America Alone.”

The book, a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, argues that Western nations are succumbing to an Islamist imperialist threat. The fact that charges based on it are proceeding apace proves his point.

Well if you don’t want a root canal, how about a little fascism?

On the road to Rome

The Canadians are coming, the Canadians are coming!

A group with three churches in the Ottawa area has taken up the Vatican’s offer of a special legal structure enabling disillusioned Anglicans to return to Rome.

The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada — a denomination already closely aligned with Catholic precepts — is the first in Canada to approach the Vatican like this.

As with the others, they keep their liturgy, their prayer books, and their married clergy, operating under “a separate set of rules for the group, much as [has been the case] with Eastern Rite Catholics.”

For the latter, in Chicago go to the Ukrainian Catholic church just off Chicago Avenue, in Ukrainian Village, and have a chat with the Roman Catholic priest, as #2 Son and I did a few years back on Father’s Day, until he begged leave to get back to wife and kiddies at home, it having been a long day at the office, I mean in the sanctuary.

That’s Sts. Volodymyr and Olha, 2245 W. Superior, 312–829-5209.  There’s also St. Joseph the Betrothed, 5000 N. Cumberland, 773–625–4805.

The advantage of such a liturgy, behind giving a chance to brush up on your Cyrillic alphabet, is you don’t have to listen to a priest spelling everything out but can surrender yourself to the mystery of it all, mystery being the lost child of liturgical practice in the wake of Vatican Two.

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