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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Where have all the good men gone?

Since I posted my observations about the appointment of Fr. Ross Shecterle as rector of the American College at Louvain, a couple of you have sent me e-mails asking the same basic question from various perspectives...With all of the oddballs that remain in our parishes, why would His Excellency release presumably good priests and leave us with the dregs?

Let's give this issue some perspective. According to the archdiocese there were five priest who retired this past summer (I trust that they still will be helping out somewhere locally) , this loss would be offset by the five ordinations. Actually evening out like this is a new phenomena, so it is basically a good thing. But them what happens, three priests are released to serve outside of the Archdiocese. Add to those three Fr. Shecterle, and the Archbishop could have (if he really wanted to) had four more priests to serve his flock than he had just weeks before. That would be four places that wouldn't need to share a priest; four large parishes could reclaim an associate pastor; four people serving our "shortage" of priests here.

So why would the Archbishop let them go? I alluded to some of the possible reasons in comments about Fr. Shecterle. Here are four possible reasons laid out:

1) There is a bona fide need in some other place or setting.
2) The priest is a real leaker and it is best that they go away.
3) The priest is a climber looking to become a bishop and needs to have his resume lengthened. (This requires the Archbishop to be cooperative and agreeable to the climbing mentality.)
4) The Archbishop really does not care about what happens to the faithful here in Milwaukee and uses his priests as pawns to endear himself to others in his way to bigger an better things.

Shall we try a basic analysis of four priests now in question?

Fr. Ross Shecterle: Do you remember the list that some anonymous priest, or priest put together "handicapping" possible future auxiliary bishops? This is what was said of Fr. Shecterle:

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.

So, he could be a climber. Is there a bona fide need in Belgium? Well, there are only eleven seminarians!!! What do you think? Is he a leaker? Well, he is a "counselor," who does not like wearing black, clergy clothing. So, the other sounding like he could be stuck in the 1970's, the jury is out on this one. Does this help Archbishop Dolan? The American College itself seems to be pretty small, beyond being another excuse to travel to Europe, the key element might be that the college has its own committee of bishops for oversight. I trust that all of them are thankful to His Excellency for his willingness to share a priest. Maybe they will repay the favor someday! So for Shecterle, let's call it a half point for climber, and a half point for the Archbishop endearing himself to other bishops.

Now let's go on to the others recently released. According to the Archdiocese there were three priests hitting the road this past summer.

The first, Fr. Thomas Brundage is heading to Alaska. Isn't that the modern day version of someone fleeing to the French Foreign Legion to hide from something? Fr. Brundage was also on the handicapper's list:

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.

I would definitely guess that there is a need up in the great white north. Locally, he was Judicial Vicar and seems to have been pushed out of that; headed the local Catholic gossip rag, and seems to have faultered; now in Alaska he is once again a judicial vicar and is a pastor of a parish. It seems that on his departure to Alaska, Archbishop Dolan gave Fr. Brundage the ringing and resounding affirmation of saying that he is "competent." Hmmmmm?

So, the rationale here, definitely a need; but since he seems to want to keep going to high profile positions, even though he trips up in them, can it be that he is a climber in his own mind, and a leaker in the Archbishop's? You can assign the points.

Next we have Father Eugene Kinney. First off, there is clearly a greater need in Las Vegas. For perspective, according to Catholic Hierarchy.Org, Milwaukee has one priest per 983 Catholics and Las Vegas has one priest for every 6,482 Catholics. As for his priestly qualities, I know nothing about Fr. Kinney, I think it can be said that: he is not a member of the priests union; he serves in a parish in Las Vegas, not some specialized ministry; he would take his kids to World Youth Day; and he wants the sanctuaries of churches to be quiet, prayerful places. All in all, he seems to be a good priest, and a fairly substantial loss to the Archdiocese. Some thought should be given to the degrees of seperation issue....Fr. Kinney's new bishop is from Philadelphia, Philly is where Archbishop Dolan's former Archbishop is....hmm, a little bit of #4?

Last of the movers is a Fr. Thomas Olszyk. Going to the Military Archdiocese as their judicial vicar. (What's the deal with sending away canon lawyers...what, or who, scares them away from Milwaukee? The Archbishop not like them? The Chancelloress wants less competition? Fr. Hartmann being isolated?) At age 61, likely not a climber. There is the fact that the Archbishop of the Military is Edward O'Brien, Archbishop Dolan's predecessor at the North American College in Rome and, more importantly, the Vatican designated head of the recent seminary visits. Seems to be a guy to keep on you list of possible character references. All in all, Fr. Olszyk looks to be a good man, serving a bonafide need.

So, the tally of why we are sending priests away: One likely leaker (who wants to be a climber); one possible climber (who wears sandals and could like the enneagram); and two serving genuine needs. But, all four have ways of reflecting well on Archbishop Dolan's generosity and creates an image that he is having overwhelming vocational success. (Some succcess, but net losses continue.)

Oh well. these four are "released" to serve elsewhere (sounds like the end of a prison term), and we are left in the prison of mediocrity the Archbishop allows to continue.

Mike

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

They're Hittin' the road.

Since yesterday's column about the appointment of Fr. Ross Shecterle, a priest from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, as rector of the American College of Louvain (a seminary with a colorful history to say the least), I have gotten e-mails asking why his Excellency is sending away any priest when we really need them here in Milwaukee.

First, the context: Look at last spring's priest assignments list. Most significant might be the fact that while there were five men ordained to the priesthood in May, this was offset by the fact that five men retired at the same time. In truth that is good news...no net loss on that count for this year. But then we have to account for the fact that His Excellency "released" (sounds like the end of a prison term) to service elsewhere. So, the net change was a loss. The disturbing thing is that this is a completely voluntary loss, that we have to simply accept. Worse, if Fr. Shecterle had come back after having been released, it seems that there would have been the potential for a net gain! But, we wouldn't want that would we?

So, why would the Archbishop do this?

As with Fr. Shecterle, I proposed three otions (and it could be a different answer for each):

1. The priest is "a climber" who needs resume points, and the Archbishop agrees.
2. The priest is a leaker and should be sent away, or kept away.
2. The Archbishop doesn't care about Milwaukee, or only wants to keep other bishops happy about his being such a nice guy so that they will recommend him for bigger things and new colored hats.

I admit that my options have flaws. Why would anyone go to work at Louvain? Other than the fact that it has a board of bishops overseeing. Not just one bishop like a local seminary.

From the spring assignments list, Fr. Thomas Brundage has gone off to Anchorage, AK. Is this the American version of fleeing off to the French Foreign Legion to hide from troubles? Released to work in a parish in Alaska and to be the Judicial Vicar of Anchorage, Fr. Brundage left having received a resounding and ringing vote of approval when His Excellency called him "competent". Remember how some anonymous priest evaluated Fr. Brundage on the auxiliary bishop handicapping list:

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.

So, another priest, or priests, seem to indicate that Fr. Brundage wanted a succession of high profile positions here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and stumbled (failed?) each time. As to why he is released...could the priest be thinking option #1 while the Archbishop is thinking option #2?

Next on the released (from prison) list is Fr. Eugene Kinney. OK, I know nothing about him. He wants less socializing in the sanctuary of church...that is good. Took a group to World Youth Day...another good. Is not a member of the Priests Union...wow, a three-fer.

So, Fr. Kinney seems to be a good priest, and seems to have taken a simple parish position in Las Vegas. Doesn't seem to be a climber...no indication of being a leaker...what then is the Archbishop's rationale? Hmmmm?

Lastly, we have Fr. Thomas Olszyk. He has gone off to become Judicial Vicar or the Military Archdiocese. Seems logical, was a long-time Air Force Chaplain himself. At 60 years old is he too old to be climbing much more? He is released to work for Archbishop O'Brien, Dolan's predecessor at the North American College, and the one chosen by Rome to oversee the recent seminary visits. Seems to be a good man to have on your list of character references, eh Your Excellency. Keep him happy.

(Two canonists gone...what does that mean? Does His Excellency not like canon law? Is Madame Chancelloress or Fr. Hartmann pressing to be the big shot?)

There you have it, not the same reasoning for each and every departure, but lot's of reasons to ask more questions. Basically, it comes down to the simplest question: Don't we deserve the good priests? Please send away the Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, Priest Union members!

Mike

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Life in the Big (or not so big) City!

Congratulations to Fr. Ross Shecterle, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, on his appointment as Rector of the American College of Louvain (that's in Belgium). I guess te best way to describe the American College at Louvain is that it is the older, yet neglected cousin of Timothy M. Dolan's own Pontifical North American College. I guess it would be like comparing UWM to UW-Madison, or the Coast Guard Academy to Annapolis.

I am sure that Fr. Shecrerle's mother is very proud of him. He is now rector of what I can only guess is the smallest, most over-funded Seminary in the world. According to their website, the American College at Louvain has a grand total of 14 seminarians, only 11 of whom are even studying for diocese in the USA and one of those is a religious order priest. It is also interesting to recall that the American College does not have the greatest of reputations when it come to...shall we say, encouraging the Brokeback Rectory mentality. Given Fr. Shecterle's inclination to be the epitome of ecclesiastical decorum, there is little wonder that he might be the fitting choice to take one the reigns (and the whip) or a historic "pink palace" seminary. We have noted his casual attitudes before. It can also be recalled that Fr. Shecterle's name was on the infamous, priest-slamming handicapper's list of future auxilairy bishop candidates. At that time I pointed out, and still stand by, a big fear of any priest who is a psychologist primarily, and a priest secondarily.

Now, a question that all us lowly little faithful church-going Catholics of Milwaukee can ask is why, if he is a good priest, let him go and supervise an overwhelming 11 seminarians. If he is a good priest, why can't he preach regularly to a parish here in Milwaukee? That would be 11 vrs what, a 1000 or 2000 at a large parish?

So, what's the reason for Father Ross to be sent to Belgium?

Is he climber who wants to add a notch to his resume? If so, why would his excellency tolerate that? Could is be a pat calling the kettle black scenario?

Is he, in reality, not a very good priest? Maybe the Archbishop wants to keep him out of Milwaukee. At 150 to 1 odds on the handicappers list, I don't know whether this makes him a threat to good Catholics or to the bad priests.

Last option....does the Archbishop just not really care about us for good or ill, no matter what? (Where is that schedule of flights to New York, or Detroit, or Baltimore.....)

All in all, the question has to be asked...with all the problems here in Milwaukee, why let any, even midling priest go?

Mike

Saturday, September 23, 2006

These ain't no Joan of Arcs!

Remember when we first learned the stories of the great women saints. From the Blessed Virgin Mother right on down through Catherine, Joan of Arc, and Mother Theresa...a thread that lifted them to great spiritual influence is the fact that they cast off the social expectations (I'll even say relegations...I can be so much like Phil Donahue) to be a voice of strength that called the supposedly "strong" men to a better-lived faith. No sacrificing of the feminine (take that Dan Brown), but it was through that unique perspective of a woman that they saw the strengths of the Church and of a well-lived faith. It from their unique womanly perspective that they proclaimed the Church all the louder.

Now for the irony of ironies....in our supposedly more developed, more informed, less chauvinistic era, the upcoming Archdiocesan Convocation for Women seems to have given up on the examples of Mary, Catherine, Joan, and Theresa.

I especially like the part (read closely) where there will be a break-out session, oh sorry, a "Networking" session, on "traveling dinner groups". Now that's WomenChurch at it's best. I can only guess that they will be meeting in the room between the "knitting club", and the "barefoot and pregnant cooking class." I love it when groups like these want it both ways.

Maybe I am being too harsh. Maybe the theology of the traveling dinner group is a logical result of the deeply devoted and solidly Catholic catechesis that will anchor such an "Archdiocesan" event. (Note, that this means it is as if it were the Archbishop's own event...Your Excellency, I hope you like the traveling dinner groups!) But, to be fair, I should look at the whole schedule of the Convocation. I bet I'll be overwhelmed by all of the solid Catholic teaching that will inspire future Catherines, Joans, and Theresas.

The keynote address is to be offered by the Rev. Dr. Trinette McCray. Hmmm? Something about that name strikes me as something other than Roman Catholic. The Cardinal Stritch University website confirms that she is Executive Director of the Office of Vocation Development. Hmmm? Something about that concept strikes me as something other than Roman Catholic! CSU indicates that it is "in the Franciscan Tradition." That must be a pretty broadly defined tradition. St. Francis was told "rebuild my Church." The Rev. Dr. Madame McCray represents a whole new floor plan.

OK, fine. The Coven, oops, the Convocation will have an ecumenical element before getting into the meat of a Roman Catholic catechesis. Let's move on to the next item on the schedule.

What the heck are "Cafe Conversations"? "Please pass the sugar." "Do you see what that woman in the corner is wearing...and after Labor day no less." "Are they using a new blend for the mocha lattes?"

No matter what they are....how exectly do they differ from the later "networking" sessions? It seems logical that they should more correctly take place in cafes somewhere. Shouldn't an Archdiocesan event offer something that your average cafe can't? Oh, let's be a little nutty...how about a qualified teacher of something essentially Catholic? I realize that this is an attempt by these 1970's leftover ladies (no burming of undergarments please) to steal the naming cadence of the kids "Theology on Tap." But even at the bars, they bring in supposedly qualified speakers.

I am sorry, to go from a non-Catholic keynote, right into "mutual sharing around a compelling question" smacks of the Baptist leading the Congregationalist to who knows where. At least the Archbishop's now hollow seminary or Marquette University would have a dissenting theologian on hand to make things try to look Catholic. This "Archdiocesan" event doesn't even want to fake or feign any Catholicism.

So today's question: Your Excellency, you wrote pretty well a few weeks ago about the upcoming Call to Action pity-party....how different is this event that you are sponsoring? Oh yea, you might get invitations to traveling dinner parties.

Mike

Friday, September 22, 2006

And your point is...?

Kudos to His Excellency for the theory put forth in his most recent Herald of Hope column.

The sad question is whether this has any real world impact at all? At your seminary? Among your staff? In your Cathedral? In your parishes?

The fear that I have is that, once again, it is a case of all talk and no action.

One can only wonder....

Mike

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mr. Smith goes to .... anywhere else.

MF sent an e-mail again. Parenthetical comment: MF, feel free to post your comments directly to the blog! Actually, MF (an alias to protect her anonymity) sent two e-mails, one after the other to me. The second was more self-indulgent than the first:

Great job on "Minaret," I sent the article far and wide--hopefully it will end up on some important Vatican desk in the Congregation for Divine Worship & the Sacraments . . .I have distributed your blog comments also.

Not to toot my own horn...but, please feel free to forward my observations far and wide! Readers, please let me know, for selfish reasons, when you forward my simple diatribes to others.

Now, we should take a moment to consider "MF's" first e-mail:

Dear Mike,

I was speaking with a friend and they were telling me that they had heard that Brother Bob Smith was no longer working in the education office of the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Do you know anything about this? Did the Weaklandista put him out or did he leave of his own volition. Would love to know your thoughts.

With faith and prayers,

MF

The Brother Bob issue is interesting. I have commented previously that Brother Bob Smith is the first, if not only, bold statement or assertive action be His Excellency. (Example 1, Example 2)

MF, I have heard rumbling surrounding the same issue. According to the Archdiocese of Milktoast website, Brother Bob is no longer part of the Archbishop's "Executive committee". That leaves the Archbishop's self-appointed, self-chosen, self-defined (do you get the picture that there are no excuses or rationalizations for the make up of this group) closest advisory group the includes two, possibly, three ex-nuns, and a former Jesuit University edu-crat.

Now, it must be noted that Archdiocesan website (honestly, a not-so-user-friendly place if there ever was one....how much are our contributions are paying for this example of web-based doublespeak..by this I mean that Madame spokeswoman could, if asked, say things are "available on the website", but they are so hidden and so hard to find that, morally speaking, I wonder if she speaks a lie when she tries to assert this notion of false availability), indicates that Brother Bob is still considered the main "contact" for "Educational and Formational Services." This could be an over sight but the problem is that if you call the listed phone number, 414-769-3300 (prank calls appreciated...), the rather uncooperative woman who answers tells you the Brother Bob "no longer works here." Either the telephone operator, or the website is wrong (can we say "lying"?).

Now, there is little that I could say about Bro. Bob's nascent termination, but concession has to be made to the fact that even though Bro. Bob was appointed by His Excellency (the at least titular head of the Milktoast Archdiocese), said same Brother Bob Smith seemingly never resigned from extensive responsibilities at Messmer Schools. For now, the ongoing/former/present President of Messmer Schools (there are now two of them), is listed merely as serving an "administrative" role.

So, did the Weaklandistas lead a coup to oust Bro. Bob? Well, honestly, I don't know. But, it can honestly be said that they (the reductionist Weaklandistas) are still employed by his Excellency, and Bro. Bob is not. So what can you conjecture from that?

The motto at Messmer is "Doctrina, Fides, Gubernatio"...(Doctrine, Faith, Governance/leadership) I wonder which of these most disturbs the staff of the soon to be sold Archbishop Cousins "sort-of-Catholic Center ? Which, if not all, of each of these three things has the Archbishop chosen are worthy to be sacrificed for the sake of the warm fuzzies he would like to perpetuate? He seems willing to sell out on each!

Please do post your comments.

Mike

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Just wait a minaret!

Catching up today on reading other blogs. Bettnet reminded of the story that was in last week's Journal Sentinel about the Muslim prayer that was belted out last Monday at "our" Cathedral in commemoration of 20 Muslims listening to a prayer leader in some mosque somewhere, and who catechised those poor souls on the passages in their sacred scriptures that gave instructions on how flying passenger-filled jet airplanes into buildings constitutes their version of the new evangelization. I know, I know...not all Muslims are terrorists. But pretty much all terrorists of late are Muslims. Go figure.

I agree with Bettnet's questioning of the basic notion of "Concert Masses". I would also concede that the powers that be at the St. John, in-the-round dinner theater, do not have the benefit of hindsight that we have after this weeks primal (see, I did not say Islamo-Facist) reactions to Pope Benedict's cogent reference to to the most significant deficit in Islamic theological discussion (read the whole thing folks before you say anything, or don't say anything at all!). Sadly, Fr. Carl Last never has any foresight either. I am told that Fr. Carl fancies himself a liturgist, but I wonder in what religion?

I also have to concede that Karl Jenkins, a new age, self-proclaimed mystic, intended the concert to have the Muslim prayers. But, watching the news this week got me thinking about what might have been the really bold thing to do. I got the idea when I was watching coverage of Churches being burned, nuns being murdered, and effigies being torched (someone point me to the Koran passage that says when you can't respond to a bona fide theological challenge, go on a bloodlust rampage). It got me thinking about Jenkins need for the concert's "Call to Prayer" to be in Arabic. Why not try and show the diversity, and enhance the unity of the Catholic Church itself?

Maybe Fr. Carl, or the musicians, or (here's a crazy idea) the Archbishop, could have said something about bringing in one of our Eastern Catholic brethren whose liturgy is in Arabic (Maronite, Chaldean, etc.). But, Cathedral spirituality presumes that only Americans oppress Muslims, they could never concede that Muslims persecute Christians.

So here we go again...how does the Archbishop's own parish church allow this to happen?

We gone over this a few times already, it has to be one of the following:

1) Fr. Carl and his staff misrepresented things to their boss (and the boss, the Archbishop, will do nothing about it);
2) Fr. Carl and his staff are more concerned with the elitism of a concert, than they are with the sacredness of a mass. In other words, they a reductionist idiots about our central sacrament;
3) Fr. Carl and his staff did their jobs, kept His Excellency informed, and yet he still chose to let this happen because he agrees with it.

Before I close, to those who will argue that we cannot be hard on the idea of "concert masses" because Mozart, Beethoven and others all wrote masses. But remember, unlike Jenkins, they started with the beauty and integrity of the mass as the Church holds it and brought it to new heights. Jenkins, on the other hand, objects to a perceived insufficiency in the mass, and seeks to change into his own new age image.

The Archbishop did not do the radio mass from the Cathedral this morning. I am sure he had a good reason, but maybe if he hung around a little more, oddities like this would not happen in his own Cathedral. Either that, or dump Fr. Last!

Mike

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Wild, Wilde, West side...

Today's (Sunday, September 10th) Journal-Sentinal, page 14a, bottom right corner.

Who is Milwaukee's largest "Catholic" university deciding to honor first this year?

Look, no surprise from Fr. Wilde's reductionist funland on West Wisconsin Avenue. This year's first honoree is a pro-babykilling, pro-sodomy, death taxing, congressman. (So much for his days at a Baptist Seminary.)

Congratulations Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, for being this years first example of Marquette University's complete and hypocritical sell-out.

Please send observations, words of condolence, or best wishes as they leave the Church:

robert.wild@marquette.edu

Copy, or send a seperate message to:

archbishopdolan@archmil.org

Just another day for the Catholic Church in Milwaukee.

Mike

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Unloading some buckshot.

Just a few random thoughts, issues, and ideas:

It has been almost one week since my shot across the bow (am I too firearm oriented today?) of the powers that be at Trinity Academy in Pewaukee. More than one e-mail came in either accusing me of things, or warning (one from learned experience) that one does not criticize these people and get away unscathed. So far, so good...no horse heads in my bed...yet!

Also, a reminder of a tool that should be every bloggers friend: Wisconsin Circuit Court Access. Just enter names of important, or not so important, people and see what comes up. Oh, just for the heck of it, try it with names of say...a teachers from Trinity Academy. "Hmmm, I will have to think about the teaching skills used in "domestic abuse" or the resume value of "harrassment restraining order".

Message to John Hemmer, letter writer to the editor published in today's Journal-Sentinal. Point in your favor for "Dolan may as well be a politician." Strike against you for "the truly Christian thing to do would be to open the doors to all victims of priest sexual abuse and pay whatever is necessary to satisfy every substantiated claim from however long ago." Study up on the reason for a statute of limitations. It protects you as much as it should protect priests.

Message to Archbishop Dolan regarding "our Catholic Herald": Kudos on dropping McBrien, criticisms on dropping Weigel. I remember when Weigel came and gave a Pallium Lecture about Pope John Paul. You introduced him as something to the effect of a close friend and great churchman. So, the strength of your conviction is to treat McBrien and Weigel in the same way? Are they no different in your worldview or churchview? I guess not. If that is how you treat your friends, some might say it would be easier to be your enemy...maybe then I could get a job at the Cousins Center.

That's all for today. Let me know what you think.

Mike

Friday, September 01, 2006

Is it "protestor", "protester" or "protestant"?

Thanks to Dad29 for commenting on my last post by including a very timely article about the age of confirmation that was carried by Zenit on August 29th. In that article it basically says that the Vatican made it clear years ago that if parents approach the diocesan bishop as an appeal of the decision of the parish to delay confirmation for their child, they are in the right, and the parish is in the wrong.

OK, pretty simple so far... We can confirm younger than junior year in high school, and so long as the parents can guarantee (I suspect objectively) the quality of the preparation, then the kid should be confirmed. The people have a right to the sacraments!

Now, going back to my previous post. I still do not have a firm personal opinion about what the age of confirmation should be. But, the existence of an instruction from the Vatican on this matter dating back to 1999, begs the question as to why this instruction (and its clear option for parents) is totally, let me repeat that TOTALLY, ignored by His Excellency.

Once again, either 1) the Archbishop wants to ignore this option in Church law; 2) his staff intentionally kept this aspect of Church law hidden from His Excellency; or 3) his staff is incompetent and did not really research this matter. Remember, I asserted that both sides would rather use anecdote and opinion than fact. I guess that this could go for the Archbishop's staff as well.

Barring some actual facts from the madame spokeswoman of the Archdiocese...you decide!

Now this instruction begs another question. Recall my little reference in the previous post to "a small more-Catholic-than-the-rest-of-us private school in Waukesha County" who were possibly circumventing the local bishop to get their students confirmed younger than the local norm. In the comments, I did include a link that would make known what school I was referring to.

After that posting, and in light of the Vatican instruction carried by Zenit, I got a rather terse and mean-spirited little missive from a parent of a kid or kids at that school. Here is what the mom, in part, wrote:

You are being terribly unfair to the devout Roman Catholics who are willing to make the personal sacrifices to send their kids to Trinity Academy. The sacrifice is sometimes personal when ignorant people like you fail to realize that they are doing exactly what Holy Mother Church intends for our children.

OK, so now I am ignorant. The woman would refer to the same Zenit article and Vatican instruction as justification for her "we-are-always-right-and-you-are-always-wrong" attitude. But actually, I would contend that their protest against the local bishop is now even worse. If the school and it's families had respected the bishop, and even gotten an answer they did not like, it seems clear that an appeal to Rome would have sided with them. Isn't that exactly what the 1999 instruction did some other kid?

So, why not go to the Archbishop? Yes, I realize that requires a great deal of patience since he defers so much authority to an entrenched bureaucracy, but it seems that a good Catholic at least tries to respect its bishops. Instead, Trinity Academy does not trust the local bishop (understandably, and with reason), but they do not even trust the bishop to do the right thing when told to by the Vatican. So, as I read things, they trust no one but their own opinion about the Catholic faith, and those who agree with them blindly.

Sorry folks, there is no such thing as selective obedience, which is a cafeteria Catholicism that should be condemned on both sides of the spectrum.

Lastly, to the snippy woman who sent me the e-mail. If I am unfair or ignorant, it is probably moreso about what the Archbishop did in this matter, and not what the school intended by its secret confirmation excursions to Rome.

Oh how I enjoy getting everyone upset!

Mike