Get Up, and Get Moving....

An opportunity for people of serious and orthodox Catholic faith of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to share the means to improve their own Churches.

Name:
Location: near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blah, blah, Blog.

OK. So the title could, according to some, just as easily apply to my own (or any) blog. But, I found one worthy of scornful note.

Fr. Paul Stanosz, Pastor of a parish in Franklin, WI, has started his own diatribes entitled The Church in Hospice.

Some initial observations about his drivel:

- Well Father, you do make yourself sound smart. But, long paragraphs and run-on sentences do not prove intelligence.
- Why is it that "researchers" get to present broad statements with no facts to back them up? Reminder good Father, anecdote is not analysis.
- By your academic guise of confidentiality and anonymity, are you not contributing to the culture of secrecy that you criticize?
- If you are so unhappy about everything in your life, why stay with it? With that much emotional baggage in your life, it is surprising that you chose sociology over psychology for your self-therapy. I guess you prefer to blame everyone else for your unhappiness.
- Last, but not least, if the references to celibacy were any more numerous, there would be no room for all the references to homosexuality. Come on Father...let's really talk about transference and/or repression!

A google search for references to Father Stanosz show some interesting efforts on his part:

Admittedly simplistic summary #1: Old seminaries made men gay, 1970's and 80's (close to home?) seminaries let them be gay, and modern seminarians still make them gay, but they just don't realize it yet.

Simplistic summary #2: Prayer is avoidance of sex. What then does the good Father consider sex itself?

After asking a few questions of someone in the know, I understand the Fr. Stanosz is a frequent presenter to our seminarians under the auspices of something called "spiritual formation." Given what I see in his own words, I have trouble seeing how he has a positive sense of spirituality or formation. There is a part of me that fears that his advice would comprise calling for a new 40 Hours service...also known as a weekend at a bath house.

Well, no surprise from St. Francis Seminary or the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
In this regard, Fr. Stanosz might be correct, there should be great fear that these are dying institutions. Where he goes wrong is the insipid arrogance that he should be mindset of the solution. Hey pal, I can only guess, but I think you might be the opposite.

One last thing that should not come as a surprise...Fr. Stanosz is a member of the priests union. I wonder what he recommends for their next group activity?

Still hoping and praying...

Mike

Friday, April 21, 2006

Meet my Son, the soon-to-be para-professional in a religiously oriented non-profit corporation that offers some warm fuzzy God-moments.

Hi all, let me take another moment or two considering just a small part of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's vocations website: www.ThinkPriest.org.

Maybe out of some ill-founded hopefulness, and trust in my own example, I looked at the page of the webstie entitled: "My Son is Thinking About the Priesthood" What I offer today to Fr. Lobacz are a few questions. First about what is missing, as opposed to what is there:

PRAYER? Should not parents pray for their kids who might have a vocation, or even that they might have a vocation?

THANKSGIVING? Wasn't there a time when parents were thankful for a child who even considered a vocation? I realize that this has to be careful not to become undue pressure, but if a child worked toward being a doctor or lawyer, would they not be thankful? If you child found a good, healthy, relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, would a parent not be thankful?

But, these are likely not seen a qualities that are to be part of our professional search for people to fill jobs. Rather than our Church lifting up a spirit of valued vocations. I realize that there is a link at the bottom of the page to "more ideas", but the first things presented show the first priorities a person holds.

One last point/question: What is this near irrational obligation to always place "life as a single layperson" on par with Holy Orders or religious life? How can the state in life that requires no action, and the absence of a choice be the same as pursuing a vocation? I am so glad that every unmarried 9 year old is fulfilling their "vocation". I hope that they will soon have their own page at the thinkPRIEST website.

Enough for today, gotta run...

Mike

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I do declare...Whatsoever do you mean?

To be honest, I do not recall if that line was really spoken by Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, but hey, it came to mind. Remember the scene from the movie when, needing to impress Rhett Butler at pretty much the same time that Atlanta is falling in flames, Scarlett makes a green dress out of the long drapes that hung in the great room at Tara. That great moment in cinematic history was only topped years later when Carol Burnett spoofed the scene by donning a green velvet dress that still had the drapery pole resting across, and feet beyond, her shoulders.

The lesson: you may tear things down to make them new somehow, but if you don't do it right it will be a bad joke.

So, have you checked out the new and improved Archdiocese of Milwaukee Vocations website? Definitely a renovation in the spirit of the Cathedral's. Nice portrait Fr. Lobacz. But, don't you feel foolish now for putting "St. Francis Seminary: Center of Ministerial Formation for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee" at the top of every page. So glad you were in the loop on that decision....

By the way, how do our vocations at four other institutions feel about not even a link? Fr. Lobacz, to make life easier for you (I understand you like to have your days starting no earlier than 9:00 a.m. and ending no later than 5:00 p.m.) here are the links to cut and paste:

The Pontifical North American College -- 2 seminarians
http://www.pnac.org/

The American College at Louvain -- 1 seminarian
http://www.acl.be/

Theological College, Washington -- 2 seminarians
http://www.theologicalcollege.org/

Ave Maria University Pre-Theologate, Florida -- 1 Seminarian
http://www.naples.avemaria.edu/pre-theologate/

It really must be that last one that causes Fr. Lobacz, formerly of Archbishop Weakland's Cathedral Staff, to have the rather constipated non-smile on his face.

Now, I understand that editorially things might slip by when launching a new website. Making that green dress takes time, and the drapery pole might get missed, but how is it that at a website entitled "Think PRIEST" the section seeking to explain celibacy refers to "He or she must be able to form mutual friendships"?

Or how about the first question listed after the "he/she" explanation, basically, how much sex will have been too much. Fr. Lobacz's answer is that "most diocese... will require two years of celibate chastity." Maybe that's a true answer...but, what does this archdiocese require? A week, two weeks? Most dioceses also require rectory living and orthodoxy...where do we stand on those?

And then there is the question about falling in love after becoming a priest. As open-minded as things are here in Call to Action-ville, this spiritual challenge is clarified for the asker with a reminder to maintain appropriate boundaries with "both men and women." Welcome to Brokeback Rectory! The next question on the page, specifically on homosexuality, and with a curious need to include bi-sexuality (hmm...I wonder why?), leads me to ask...is the self-induced, self-defined, self-deluding happiness of "self-acceptance" really the final threshold that the Vatican is expecting on this subject? You have heard of the Vatican, haven't you?

The last thing of note on that page...nice picture of a man in a cassock...Is that really St. Francis Seminary? Or even the Archdiocese of Milwaukee? NO.

Well, that is just a short review of one page, actually one section of one page, the vocations website of Archbishop Dolan's own staff. Go figure..the drapery pole is still showing.

Three months ago, before the renovation of the website, I commented on the old website. There I listed a couple good one. Check them out. You may even see words like adoration, rosary, and magisterium. You might even see pictures of that invoke manliness. Chivalry-like manliness, not Brokeback Mountain.

Just a thought or two for today. What are we to do...?

Mike

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A May-December romance?...of sorts.

St. Francis Seminary...Episode IV, A Lost Opportunity

That was the thems of my last column. Therein I indicated that a few observations about the pending cooperative relationship between St. Francis Seminary and Sacred Heart School of Theology would be forthcoming. Well, here are some preliminaries...

First, how exactly does Sacred Heart justify its enthusiasm about this? According to page one of their website, they specialize in being a "National Roman Catholic Seminary serving second-career vocations." Yeah, it is real true to mission to throw a couple dozen twenty-somethings into the mix of about a hundred or so fifty-somethings. Maybe it can work...but, like the new young bucks that show up in your office, there are inevitably fireworks. Stay tuned.

Second, if his Excellency is actually trying to solidify the academic formation that his seminarians get, is Sacred Heart really going to offer anything better?
- Look at the Sacred Heart Faculty page...what is the deal with the three priests in rather bad looking ties?
- How much strength of character, or solid faith, will the young men get from a professor who proudly proclaims his visits to NYC gay nightclubs? I can't wait for the Village People review as part of the next fundraiser.
- If academics is just one of four areas of focus (along with spiritual, pastoral, and human formation...whatever that last one really means) then what is accomplished by leaving 75% of the focus to the same dysfunctional people who led to the problems we already have.

Third issue, what public evaluation, or assurances do we have the Sacred Heart has overcome it's own sex scandal history? Or the fact that, at least once, it was a darling of the Call to Action crowd?

All in all, I have to be honest and say that jury will be out for awhile in this one. Sacred Heart has been such a non-entity for the last few years that I should probably give it the benefit of the doubt.

So, from here on out, if you want to see a seminarian from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee...look at the other cars as you drive the east-west portion of the I-894 bypass.

We'll watch for more...

Mike

Monday, April 10, 2006

St. Francis Seminary...Episode IV, A Lost Opportunity

A way to understand the plans for St. Francis Seminary, its true meaning, and what it reflects about the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Episode IV, A Lost Opportunity

A not so long time ago, in an Episcopal See not so far away...

OK, so it is a stretch, but play along for a few moments.

Who gets to play Luke Skywalker? It would have to be one of the young, devout, energetic seminarians. I nominate Luke Strand just for the ease of the name.

Obi Wan Kenobi? Who is the wise old sage in this drama? There don't seem to be any in this Archdiocese. (The closest might be Brother Bob Smith, but he is being saved to be Yoda in future episodes.)

Princess Leah? Plenty of strong-willed, Jedi-master wannabes around to fill that role. But none will ever be able to pull off the skimpy outfit from the third movie.

Han Solo? Archbishop Dolan probably thinks this is his role: the rising star pilot, who thinks he has just enough experience to mentor young Skywalker, but too full of himself to make any real sacrifices for the cause (minimal turnaround at the end of that movie notwithstanding).

Chewbacca? Fr. Mike Witczak: big, kind of burly, likes to hang out next to Han Solo, and everything he says is generally unintelligible. As a sidekick he is better seen and not heard. No best supporting role here.

C3PO? Bishop Sklba? How many characters in this Archdiocese are merely going around offering the Biblical Greek version of "Oh, my...Rembert Weakland where are you?

R2D2? Fr. Paul Hartmann, the only one scurrying about actually getting anything done but probably gets zapped by the Death Star a few times in the process.

And last, but certainly not least, who will play Darth Vader? +RGW? Too easy. Fr. Dave Cooper? Nah, he can't concentrate long enough to lift a chalice validly, much less lift his enemies off their feet with his mind (which may not be all there in the first place). Early casting suggestions came from the bureaucracy at the soon to be a strip mall, Cousins Center, but neither JPII, nor B-16, are right for the role. The best light-saber wielding, build me a death star, come to the dark side actor we have....Fr. Carl Last. (Heard to have said, Luke...come to my gay man's Call to Action meeting. Luke Strand rightfully declined.)

I will prepare some further commentary on the lack of improvement by entrusting education of our seminarians to Sacred Heart School of Theology. Stay tuned...

Mike

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sorry for the delay....

Hi folks, or last least the dozen or so readers I might have.

Sorry for taking about a month off. Life just gets away from me. I know that I need to be more committed to this whole blogging thing.

Just for basic observations today, I went the vespers service at the Cathedral last Sunday night to mark the one year anniversary of the passing of John Paul the Great.

Some observations:

1. Thank you Archbishop for booting the gay marriage event from the Cathedral. Please, keep that backbone in a handy place, it does you no good stored in the bottom drawer as it has been.

2. There was a pretty good crowd for this event, in spite of the virtual news blackout about its occurrence. Remember last year when crowds of kids came from Marquette and the seminarians were there? No such presence this time. I guess Fr. Carl "Call to Action" Last would rather only advertise for gay rights.

3. Where were the priests? With the Archbishop presiding, and the Rector Last scurrying about, I saw only one other priest there (or at least only one collar). I think it was Fr. Paul Hartmann...so no surprise. (On this and the backbone theme...can we talk about a new auxiliary bishop for this diocese? Readers, write your papal nuncio with your suggestions!)

4. I know that vespers is a pretty scripted service...but Fr. Carl..not one petition for the late Holy Father? Isn't that why we were all there? Again, some men's priorities show themselves regardless of what we might try to say.

Well, there you go. Back with some gusto. I will try to keep up with things.

Mike