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.

Location: near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Come one, Come what?

Sources forwarded to me a message that was sent out today from the Archdiocese to all of the parishes. It included this interesting little advertisement from the wreck-o-vated Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist:

3. Cathedral welcomes all
The Cathedral extends a special invitation to participate in a liturgy, spend time in prayer, or take a self-guided tour should your or your parishioners’ summer plans include a visit to downtown Milwaukee.

Doors are open at the Cathedral 7:30am to 6:00pm Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday from 7:30am until 1:00pm. Weekday Masses are celebrated in the day chapel at 7:45am, Monday through Saturday, and at 5:15pm, Monday through Friday.

Saturday’s Mass of Anticipation is celebrated at 5:15pm, and Sunday Masses are celebrated at 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00am.

OK, fine. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese and all that stuff, but why can't St. John's draw people through its doors by virtue of what it has to offer? Oh, yea, it has nothing to offer.

The fact that the Weaklandista rector of the Cathedral, Fr. Carl Last (of Call to Action fame) wants to advertise the primary purpose of the Cathedral as a tourist attraction, not only devalues what a Cathedral Church could and should be, it drastically overestimates the tourist appeal of this wreck-o-vated edifice.

My questions for Fr. Carl free-at-Last:

What, no confessions? Ever?
When I get there, where is the perpetual adoration chapel? Or any adoration?
Are there any Catholic devotions offered? Rosary, OLPH, Divine Mercy Chaplet?

Question to Archbishop Dolan:

Tourist trap, with your version of Ms. Julie McCoy as Cruise Director?
A solemn, spiritual, prayerful, Catholic church?

Your Excellency, will you ever really make a choice here?

We can only hope (fruitlessly).


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Continuing with the work of the handicapper.

Hi all. Sorry for the silent week. It has been rather busy lately.

Have seen a number of posts about some of the priests listed so far, and received some in direct e-mails. If I do say so myself, there seems to be a consensus that quiet, passive, weak leaders are the desired goal of the handicapper. Strong personalities, orthodox or progressive, are feared (but especially the conservatives).

Shall we continue with some observations?

Brian Massingale (or Bryan, as his mother called him) -- MU professor, by itself, not a plus. Can any professor of "Liberation Theologies" find the favor of B-16? Has some sort of leadership role with Black Catholic Theological Symposium. I think that this group is merely a self-perpetuating source of the victim mentality. How else could you interpret the paper entitled "The Human, the Non-Human, and the Divine in Greek Literature: Where do the Slaves Belong?" (Fr. Massingale, is presently responsibly for receiving papers). Probably has his priorities pretty screwed up. In a conference on dialogue between Catholic and Politics, Massingale essentially blamed bishops for the problems. OK, it might be that some bishops are not clear enough in their teaching of politicians...but, excuse me, who uses the title "Professor"? His time passed twenty years ago.

Len Vladenderen (again, actually knowing the men he criticizes is not the handicapper's forte. Fr's real name is Leonard Van Vlaenderen) -- Evaluation is actually correct here. I hear from Brookfield that he is not really very healthy these days.

James Connell -- Other than being a pastor in Sheboygan, I don't know anything about him. Very little on the internet, so, it could be like Supreme Court nominees...the less the paper trail, the better the odds.

Ross Schecterle (should be Shecterle) -- Could be a darling of His Excellency; sent to work at the Pontifical North American College in Rome as a psychologist. Personally, I am a little bit leery of pastors who seem to be psychologists first, and priests second.

All I can do for today. Don't know much about most on the remainder of the list. So please, post your own observations about the priests listed.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Handicaps -- Day 3

A few more notes on the rather snarkish handicapping list that someone (presumably a fellow priest) assemble about possible future auxiliary bishops.

James Schuerman is member of the faculty at St. Francis Seminary. Don't know him. The handicapper may have something right here, it seems logical to acknowledge that spiritual directors are rarely chosen. According to the Code of Canon Law, it seems that a spiritual director can't act publicly on someone becoming a priest. Would that same learned information also be restricted from action when an auxiliary must act in regards a priest who screwd up? Seems to be asking too much. A member of the Community Advisory Board...does that endear him to the Alliance of Whiners? To his credit, he is not a member!

Thomas Brundage is outgoing pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul parish on the east side. Don't understand the inside baseball about Fr. Hartmann ousting him. Catholic Herald only got worse, or at least more shrill, under his short-lived leadership. Bumped from Tribunal; Bumped from Herald (had "thin journalism credentials"); Bumped to Alaska (I presume)...does not seem that the Archbishop really needs him at all.

Joe Hornacek is pastor of St. Anthony's parish in Pewaukee. Seems to be a rather backhanded reference to "hangovers"? Not sure if I am sold on the notion of "scrapbooking" as a religious endeavor. A founding member of the Alliance...even while vicar for clergy for Archbishop Dolan. Can any significant appointee of Weakland ever have a chance?

Javier Bustos (not Xavier...the handicapper must be an X-Men fan because few Milwaukee priest would think St. Francis Xavier first) is little known. Only ordained five years that enough time?

Well, enough for today.

Comments invited!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Moving through more of the handicaps.

Let's continue with some observations about the handicapped priests...

Timothy Kitzke is the pastor of Three Holy Women parish on the east side. Seems to be well liked by Archbishop Dolan. Was just given responsibility for another parish and a newly ordained associate. Teaches at the seminary...not a real plus there. I am not sure if a designation as "one of Milwaukee's coolest priests" by a somewhat liberal website actually works in his favor. Will he be in accord with Vatican teaching about seminary admissions?

Daniel Sanders is unknown to me. I would wonder if it is here that the writer tips his hand? How can a "dark horse" come in sixth on a list of over forty names? Could he be a Weaklandista candidate? A Sklba clone? Lord help us if that is so.

Robert Stiefvater is Dolan"s Vicar for Hispanics. Somewhat harsh critique by our handicapper. Adequate spanish? In the negative column, a member of the Alliance. A plus - former Director of Vocations. Seems to be a high possibility.

Kurt Frederick or, as his mother had him baptized, Curt Frederick, head of the clergy office for Dolan. An Alliance member. As far as giving advice goes, either he gives bad advice, or he may have a tendency to offer too little, too late. Can he be trusted? Don't know much else.

Some obvious trends of our handicapper to this point: Have no track record, get positive treatment; Work for Dolan, get harsh treatment; Squishy on Church doctrine, get hyped; Orthodox, get slammed.

So much for a Milwaukee priest's insights about what is good for the Church.

Further comments and observations welcome.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Showing the handicapper's handicaps.

Just some initial reflections in the list posted on Saturday.

First, from what I hear, it would be easy to agree with Dad29 with the comments he posted.

I don't personally know know most of the priests listed, so I will have to limit my comments. (That could be difficult.) I will only comment a the first four right now:

Dave Malloy recently got appointed as General Secretary of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. If I am not mistaken it is a five year term. It would seem unlikely that the Pope would pull a good man from that position for the sake of an auxiliary bishop position. My guess is that, while a great choice for the job, his odds should be much longer.

Jeffrey Haines is a pastor in West Bend with a good reputation. A friend from that area remembers an absence when Fr. Haines left to go back to school, but for some reason it did not last long. Academics might not be Fr. Jeff's forte anymore. No advanced degree. Biggest killer here, a member of the priest alliance. Does anyone know if he signed the optional celibacy petition?

Michael Witczak is rector of the now oft re-configured St. Francis Seminary. With the latest decision to close the Seminary's academic portions coming so soon after the Vatican visitation it seems that Fr. Witczak does not have the ecclesial wherewithal. Also, a member of the priest alliance. The fact that Witczak was a parting shot by Weakland at his successor can't help either.

Paul Hartmann (the handicapper has his name spelled wrong). The first of the unfair evals. I like that he has Dolan's favor; don't know anything about "ousting" Brundage. I have to guess that he is a good church lawyer. According to the website of the Canon Law Society of America, he had a term on their leadership board, and was even nominated to run for the office of president. He runs the Pallium lectures which has brought in the best, and most orthodox, speakers this area has seen in 30 years. Not a member of the Alliance priest union, and even seems to be an oft-scorned critic of them. (It should be noted that after Fr. Hartmann complained, they did feel the need to get some document reviewed, re-reviewed, and changed.) As for being a "right wing zealot", on the one hand this is a compliment; on the other, according to people I know who have heard him preach at St. Leonard's and St. Aloysius say that he is solidly Catholic without being harsh. I guess anyone who respects B-16 and JPII would be a right wing zealot in Milwaukee. The best choice so far in my book.

That's all I can do for now.

Request, does anyone know if a list of names of the priests who signed the optional celibacy petition is anywhere on the net? Please let me know. No one on that list has any chance of becoming a bishop.

Further comments are welcome! Feel free to start your own list and send it to the Archbishop and the nuncio.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Who really is handicapped?

I finally got some time to re-type the rather poor quality list of someone's rather cynical "handicapping" of priests who might be potential auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

There are a number of misspellings and gramatical mistakes that I have left as is.

I will wait to offer much commentary on this. All you need to do is read the list to see get an idea about what type of bishop the writer is looking for, and what type of potential leader he is most critical of. By reading who is treated kindly, and those treated harshly, you can judge for yourselves who might really be the best for the Catholics of Milwaukee.

I don't yet know who actually wrote the list, I am sure that they are proud of themselves. There are a couple parish names on the fax list, but I will save those for later comment. If anyone has any clues about the author, please let me know.

Each listing give the priest's name, the predicted odds, and the author's appraisal and comment. Not all of make sense, but that should not be a surprise.

Well, without any more delay...


David Malloy – 5-1, the reasonable brother, will make it, for other reasons – Vatican service, at a different place. Is a Milwaukee priest BUT never really served here.

Jeffrey Haines – 10-1, well liked by Priests, good Pastor, hard worker, good family background. Humble, no post graduate work. Excellent moderator of the Priest Council.

Michael Witczak – 20-1, Roman degree in liturgy. Rector of Seminary, historical jumping off spot for previous rectors. Lacks vibrancy, uninspiring speaker, socially shy.

Paul Hartman – 30-1, has Dolan’s favor, ousted Brundage, quite pompous, obviously working for it, not a priest favorite. Somewhat of a right wing zealot. Some arrogance.

Timothy Kitzke – 40-1, Well liked by lay people. Looks good, sings well, works the crowd. Still young and still really untested. Light theologically. Family background questionable.

Daniel Sanders – 50-1, Dark horse. Studied in Rome, schoolmate of Dolan. Cleaned up Effinger mess, restored parish confidence. Not well known by priests. Keeps a low profile.

Robert Stiefvater – 60-1, Speaks Spanish adequately, fills Dolan language deficiency. Seen as a promoter of himself. Very light theologically. Big spender of other’s money.

Kurt Frederick – 70-1, Takes himself too seriously, more of a journey man follower, always ingratiating himself, not seen as a high profile leader. Lacks scholarship touch.

James Schuerman, 80-1, A dark horse. Innsbruck background earns consideration. Seminary spiritual directors rarely are chosen. Not well known. Is quietly decent.

Tom Brundage – 90-1, Only hope now is Alaska. Lost tribunal struggle with Hartman. Will have to settle for his growing real estate kingdom. Didn’t make it at the Catholic Herald.

Joe Hornacek – 100-1, Too many hangovers from his stern regime. He had the inside in the lasts regime, and proved he didn’t have the stuff. His time and mentor are in the past.

Xavier Bustos – 110-1, Although young, he seems to have it all. A Roman trained Hispanic intellectual. Very intelligent. Time is on his side, but he can afford to wait.

Brian Massingale – 120-1, will need strong outside support, can fit a specific need but probably not in Milwaukee. Some questions linger about his Seminary teaching career.

Len Vladenderen – 130-1, He bet heavily on the wrong horse, and now must live with it. His growing bank account and Las Vegas connections will sustain him, too much on the go.

James Connell – 140-1, Rome, Canon law background plus chancery experience count but previous life experiences are against him. Is a decent guy. Recruited by Cousins.

Ross Schecterle – 150-1, had the episcopacy in mind from the beginning. Must play his Roman cards correctly. Is impatient for higher things. Needs to cultivate patrons.

Joe Juknialis – 160-1, Hasn’t dazzled many people. Is a bit too sure about his own prowess and diocesan politics. Colleagues wonder if he is a successful preacher? Can be caustic.

Brian Mason – 170-1, Still very untested. His present tenure will be determinative. How and if he treats priests with maturity and dignity will be watched.

Jerry Herda – 180-1, Is in a learning position. Priests generally like him. Should have some post graduate scholastic credentials. Must be patient to get them. A decent man.

Steve Avella – 190-1, Always wants more, regarded as an opportunist as his record demonstrates. Is talented, but ambitious. Fellow Dolan historian. Critical of priests.

Dan Pakenham – 200-1, was in the cat bird seat but blew it big time with Diocesan priests and Seminary alumni. Has significant problems and more in his parish now. No, no, no!

Dark Horse Pastor candidates – 225-1. There are many who could be considered. They generally lack scholarship credentials. Here are a few but there are many others as well.
A. Ralph Gross – Physical condition has dimmed his diminished chances.
B. Art Heinze – once Sem prof, didn’t cope well with close friend Jarumbo’s distress.
C. Tony Zimmer – eager and personable, but sings off key in different ways.
D. Ken Knippel – is seasoned. Looks good. Enjoys comfortable lifestyle too much.
E. Bill Kohler – had his season of glory, short on credentials. Just too short.
F. Vic Capriolo – Outshone Brundage in Alaska. Well liked. Great in Fondy.
G. Alan Jurkus – Pinning for years. Despite trying it’s beyond his Cudahy depth.
H. Tom DeVries – Riding high now but Dutch Reformed background eliminates him.
I. Gene Pocernich – Had big ideas once. Overestimates his own abilities grossly.
J. John Hemsing – midnight DUI is on the record. Should stay home more.
K. Carl Last – his name tells it all. And there are other things in the cupboard.
L. Ken Metz – unfortunately wouldn’t even get Kenosha votes. Ego problems.
M. Mike Newman – time is slipping away from him. A hint of scrupulosity too.
N. John Aiello – unlike the emporer he has too many clothes. People like him.
O. Ken Omernick – Had his chances. Didn’t get Roman degree. O’Laughlin mess.
P. Dave Reith – Smooth, capable, offended some in priest council. Officious.
Q. Chuck Schramm – Lost out early in his career, but is too blunt, too cautious.
R. Bill Stanfield – too much running around in his career. Stability – a question?
S. Don Thimm – capable, hard worker, previous chancery work left some wounds.
T. Laurin Wenig – had a free ride for years in his terms. Not exactly a team worker.
U. Tim O’Brien – Ultra political person. The Democrats failed him greatly.
V. Dick Aiken – likes his own brand of luxury, tends to take it super easy.
W. Len Barbian – could have done it years ago, and would have liked it. Too late.

They literally want us to keep our mouths shut!

A new fan of my little effort here sent me this message:

I just found your blog. Nice. I have a question that maybe you can answer.

My husband and I recently attended 8th grade graduation at St. Bernard's. I know this parish well as I was married there.
As I approached for Communion, which I receive on my tongue, the priest would not give me communion. I continued to look at him and stick my tongue out. Of course, I know that you can receive in the hand or mouth.
Feeling stupid and the priest looked so angry, I almost walked away. But I just closed my eyes and he smashed it into my mouth. My husband had the same experience. My parents also had the same experience. We are all members of St. Claire and Fr. Tony has never made us feel unwelcome.
At first I felt humiliated, now I'm just mad. Do you think I should write the priest or the Archdiocese? I feel that I need to speak out to someone.
Thanks for listening.
(name withheld by request)

Hers is a challenge many faithful Catholics have faced. I have to admit, I am a communion in the hand type of guy. But where in the world do all these supposedly open-minded, diversity-promoting, ritual is everything pastors get off saying that some classic traditions in the Church are not allowed in "my" parish? Kudos to, I presume, Fr. Tony McCarthy at St. Clare parish in North Lake.

My reply to this lady, and to all in these situations:

Thank you for reading my blog.

I have heard others who encountered the same type of thing with Fr. Drenzek at St. Bernard...he is no Fabian Bruskeiwicz.

As to writing a letter, I do recommend it. But, there is a qualification.

On the positive side, three times in the last few weeks Archbishop Dolan has advised his priests about the doing things by the book.

While I do not think you will be able to get the Archbishop to discipline Fr. Drenzek, but if enough people write with your same concerns, he might at least send out a message that supports your concerns.

Write him at the Archdiocese:

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
P.O. Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

I hear that he always replies. If he does, please share his response with me.

Good Luck,


P.S. If anyone else has specific examples of some of the outrageousness going on out there, please do share.

P.P.S. I should have the Auxiliary Bishop Handicapping list re-typed tonight. It makes for interesting reading. It it interesting to note that the good Fr. McCarthy referred to above is not even considered (neither for scorn of for praise) on this Weaklandista list.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hot off the Fax Machine!!!!

I have just received a copy of the rumored document circulating among the priests titled "Handicappers View of Auxiliary Bishop Race - May 2006"

It was shared with me by a staffer of a parish where the pastor thought is was worth sharing with the laity. It has made numerous trips through fax machines so it will be better for me to retype it rather than scan it in. I hope to get to it over the weekend.

As a teaser, at the top of the list:

David Malloy - 5-1, the reasonable brother, will make it, for other reasons-Vatican service, at a different place, is a Milwaukee priest BUT never really served here at all.

The text is filled with misspellings and typos. I will re-type it exactly though. As you can tell, it is more a chance for some writer (presumably a priest) to slam many of his fellow priests. The few actually complimented tip the hand of the writer's desire for the type of auxiliary (a spineless do-nothing!)

More to follow....


Is that spine we see growing back there?

A couple of weeks ago Archbishop Dolan is said to have sent out a message to his priests that included warning about the length of masses. Basically, keep it under and hour guys. Specifically (having seen a copy of the e-mail) he told his priests to get the liturgistas under control and don't let them cram and push ever symbol and ritual into every mass. THANK YOU Sir! It's about time. Now when are you going to clean house in you Office of Liturgy and Inclusive Language?

That last little dig aside, it seems that His Excellency is actually beginning to pulls in the reins (just a little, and only sort of), read on...

Yesterday, Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan sent an e-mail to all of his priests. It included these somewhat surprising paragraphs:

10. May I speak to you about a couple delicate issues? The first would be guidelines about hosting a speaker or a group in the parish or under Church auspices. Some bishops, as you know, have drawn up very detailed rules about this. I have not gone that route, and hope I do not have to. Canon Law, diocesan policy already in place, common sense, and love that all of us have for the Church, should guide us. I have trust in your prudential judgment, and in your ecclesial wisdom that you would never invite or host a speaker or a group that has publicly taken stands blatantly at odds with clear Church teaching. There are speakers or groups who certainly may not be "my cup of tea," but who still stay "within the boundaries," and I trust your judgment about invitations to them. We need dialogue, we are not afraid of respectful probing and earnest examination of Church teaching; but there has to be a limit. One speaker whom I would ask you not to have is Dr. Daniel McGuire. He should never be given an invitation or provided a platform at any parish in the archdiocese. He has recently publicly stated that both Archbishop Weakland and I have welcomed him to any parish in the archdiocese, which necessitates this corrective. His position on abortion - - and on a number of other areas - - is so radically outside Church teaching that his appearance at any parish would be a grave scandal and a cause of disunity in the Church. Dialogue about Church teaching and pressing pastoral challenges is always welcome. But the above speaker is not into dialogue but into clear and purposeful dissent from Church teaching: He gets enough attention without us giving him another platform.

11. The second sensitive area is intercommunion. Recently, two priests approached me very upset because each had lately been at funerals where the celebrant had announced, "All are welcome to receive Holy Communion." I don't blame them for being upset. Such a statement is untrue and unjust. While there are indeed situations where the reception of Holy Communion by a non-Catholic Christian under special circumstances is licit, and while I trust your prudence in following Church discipline to determine such circumstances, it is never pastorally wise or theologically sound to publicly announce that, "All are invited to receive the Eucharist." Please do not do it! The bishops' conference, as you know, has issued a very respectful and sensitive set of guidelines that should be adhered to, and which can easily be re-printed in missallettes and Worship Booklets at liturgies such as funerals, weddings, or other big occasions when non-Catholics are welcome.

As to speakers at parishes...yippee. A little late (Voice of the faithful at All Saints, Women's Ordination at St. Matthias, etc.) but at least it's something. But, for two steps forward there is one step back. The Archbishop shows his naivete once again by asserting that, relative to his Weaklandista pastors "I trust your judgment about invitations."

Your Excellency, if you could trust your pastors, you wouldn't need to say anything in the first place. Right?

But, at least there is finally a public statement about Dan Maguire. Now we are just waiting for Fr. Bob Wilde at Marquette to do something.

As to intercommunion, please see my June 4th posting. As for "anonymous" who is appalled that we not invite anyone and everyone to communion, raspberries to you and to the multitude of priests who de-value the Eucharist be making it out to be more like snacks at a cocktail party than the very heart of what makes us Catholic.

The best part about the intercommunion paragraph of the Archbishop's e-mail...did you notice it...hold your breath...I can't really see any equivocation in his part. Now that's a first. Good going Your Excellency! It's about time!


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dissent, R.I.P.

The sad news arrived late yesterday. I am still in (gleeful) shock.

Weaklandista, Fr. Paul Stanosz seems to have gotten out of the blogging business.

His words of limited and questionable wisdom have just disappeared. No good-byes, no closure, no nothing.

I conjecture two possible reasons:

1. Who wanted to read his drivel anyway? He did not want to invigorate the Church; he wanted to be a Lutheran.

2. His level of commitment is insufficient to the task of blogging. I wonder how well he does with vows like obedience and celibacy.

Good Riddance!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Liturgists say the darnedest things.

Or worse, they make others say it three or four times in a weekend.

Consider the scene:

A large suburban parish on the northern edge of the Metropolitan archdiocese of the Flatland south of us.
It's Pentecost, the celebration of the birth of the Church.
The pastor gives a rather lukewarm homily about how "the Church" cannot be defined. (That should have been a warning.)

Then, the topper, the lector gets up and proclaims the following:

"Let us pray that the table of the Lord is the welcoming place of gathering for people of every race, CREED, color, and gender." (Emphasis added.)

Excuse me, but what school of theology taught that understanding of the Church...every Creed??????

Sadly, the Archdiocese of the Windy City has some of the same problems as the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.