Monthly Archives: March 2007

Gay priests and more

Am returning The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church to OP Library, which got it for me from the Oak Lawn Library.  It’s a 1,282–page stunner, both in intensity — fascinating in sense that watching a car wreck is fascinating — and shock effect.

Almost 13 years ago, I stood in the old Kroch’s & Brentano’s on Lake Street in Oak Park and brought the store to complete silence with the mention of “gay priests.”  I was at a mike in the rear of the store facing 40 or so people who were there to hear me talk about my just published Bending the Rules: What American Priests Tell American Catholics

I was saying how I’d run across reference to the phenomenon while interviewing for my book.  Priests had mentioned their being out of the gay loop among fellow priests.  Bishop Bill McManus had told me he knew of gay priests who kept their vows and did good work.

But the very concept had quieted book buyers on a summer night.  Now we have heard much about it, even from the head U.S. bishop a few years back, and I have written about it.  And there’s this book, about which more later . . .


Charlie Madigan, fie!

Open letter to Charles Madigan @ Chi Trib: Dear Charlie, I am simultaneously shocked and depressed (not a good situation) at your distancing yourself from genteel people today in re: divorce, Newt Gingrich, the Clintons, etc.:

I’m seeing lots of marriages marked by some pretty embarrassing divorces, behaviors the genteel would call “scandalous” and a bushel basket of unvarnished chutzpah.

“The genteel would call ‘scandalous,’” you say? But aren’t you among them? Depression followed shock at this revelation, as I say above. Fie!

In a lesser matter, confession is best a private matter, Charlie. You are right about that.  But what’s this giving the Battling Clintons a pass? Momentarily putting yourself beyond the pale of the genteel is one thing, but naivete? Inexcusable in a hardboiled newsman.

“We don’t really know, do we?” you say about their marriage being for show. Right.

We do really know, however, that Bill got his forgiveness, or at least “counselling,” from a certain Rev. Jackson as stuff was hitting the fan, as has many another Democrat.

My apologies, Charlie. Can’t do this thing justice. Am running off to confession. In the unlikely event that I announce my sins, you will be the first to hear.



Curious and curiouser in today’s papers

* Surprise firestorm over morality statement by Gen. Pace, chairman of chiefs of staff?

[W]hat was striking was the awkward thud [Pace’s] words made as they hit the floor in the broader court of public opinion

Writer Rex W. Huppke is surprised here or plays dumb. This broader court?

Politicians, including several high-profile Republicans, spoke up, . . . . . Many Americans found Pace’s words as dated as they were inappropriate, a sad echo from an unenlightened past.

How many? We do not know. But H. welcomes the “backlash” and turns to – guess whom? – Rick Garcia,

political director of the gay rights group Equality Illinois, who says, “I think we are at that tipping point where, increasingly, you can’t use anti-gay slurs. Anti-gay slurs are being put in the same category as racial and ethnic epithets.”


a) most papers wouldn’t even run “faggot” when reporting Ozzie Guillen’s attack on a columnist. At tipping point, hardly. We have tipped.

b) The general said gay sex is immoral: that’s a slur? To Garcia, of course, but also to Huppke, apparently.

People will believe what they want and justify it, as Pace did, by saying it’s how they were raised or pinning their feelings on religious tenets.

Beware religious tenets.

The general is a public figure, though, and when he spoke last week, he was not asked to share his personal view.

Way at the end, H. gets to the point, admitted by Pace afterward: his purview is policy, not morality.

But in today’s climate, it was refreshing to hear him address the morality part. And it’s not a good sign when a Chi Trib reporter betrays his own bias in this fashion. Doesn’t suprise us, but we’d like a really real surprise now and then, would we not?

* Semi-full description of knifer is good enough for Chi Trib as i-d in all points bulletin in case of Edgewater stabbings:

a man in his early 20s, standing 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8, weighing 140 to 150 pounds, with a light complexion and dark-brown eyes.

But Sun-Times breaks the news. The guy is “Hispanic.”

* Driver missing, SUV to blame for death, injuries:

[A man] was killed and eight others were injured when an SUV plowed through the Subway’s picture window . . .

No alcohol was found in the vehicle and an investigation is under way . . .

That’s it, except info about the victims.  So the SUV had not been drinking.  Did it have a driver?

CNN, fair and balanced

“The most interesting part of this story will be whether or not President Bush pardons Libby on his way out the door a year and a half or so down the road. Somehow, it would be the perfect parting gesture for an administration that has come to view things like the Constitution and the nation’s laws as inconveniences that only serve to get in the way of their agenda.”

— CNN’s Jack Cafferty, The Situation Room, March 6.

From FMB: The Weekly Slant, a short email message that arrives on Saturday, to which one may subscribe here.  (FMB=Fight Media Bias)

How to kill a story

Can’t tell you how annoying this is, when a world renowned newspaper, two actually, LA Times and its sister paper Chi Trib, runs a dumb misuse of a word that changes the meaning of the account but is close enough to be accepted:

RAMADI, Iraq — The commander of U.S. troops in Iraq wanted some sweets, and nothing was going to stop him. Not even tramping through a neighborhood that only days ago had been teeming with snipers and Al Qaeda fighters who would love nothing better than to say they just shot Gen. David Petraeus.

With soldiers casting anxious glances along the desolate dirt road, the four-star general made a beeline for a tiny shop and helped himself to a honey-coated pastry proffered by the owner. Oblivious to the flies buzzing around his head, Petraeus chatted briefly with a man who said his cafe had been damaged in recent battles between U.S. forces and insurgents.

Days ago this might not have been possible, but in a brazen [my emphasis] effort to show off what they say has been a shift of allegiance in Sunni insurgent territory, U.S. and Iraqi officials Tuesday brought an all-star cast of military and political figures to Ramadi.

Brazen?  Susman means bold, or else she chooses to denigrate a brave, dramatic move by a commanding officer.  Are there no copy editors?  At Times or Trib?  Ridiculous.

About that word you’re using . . .

LOOK OUT: I’m tired of this politically correct restriction. Can’t say the N-word? Heck with it, I’m going to say it: Negro. There. That felt good. Now the C-word. You don’t know what the C-word is? Colored.  . . . .

. . . The N-word is not merely banned as epithet. It’s become unpronounceable. Panic grips hearts at the sound. It has totemic significance. It’s the evil eye looking at you, Boy (and Girl). It knows where you live. . . . .

ELECTION: . . . . the New Leadership Coalition–Dolan, Lyon, Meyer, Shiffer–sounds the bell for fiscal change. Overspending is the Oak Park problem, and spending in the wrong places.   . . .

MANIFESTO: Oak Parkers, wake up! You have nothing to lose but your bill for the costs of letting trustees muck around in commercial real estate!

[Entire column here]

Man bites dog in Sun-Times

Oak Park native and Sun-Times staffer Dave Newbart manages to admit that Sun-Times columnist Paul Molloy, whose obit Newbart has in today’s paper, promoted conservative values — “but in an eloquent way,” he adds. Conservative but eloquent, what do you know? 

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History lesson from defeated general

From Reader Ed, who got it from his friend Bill:

“It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and
our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered
by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my
strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was
too late. Accordingly, I’m readily willing to yield my command to these
obviously superior intellects, and I’ll, in turn, do my best for the
Cause by writing editorials – after the fact.”

Robert E. Lee, 1863

Patience worn out, revived somehow

Joseph’s brothers sell him passing caravan, coming from Gilead with gum, balm, and resin, heading for Egypt.  They would have already drowned him in a well if one of them, Reuben, hadn’t intervened.  Their beef against Joseph, the youngest of them, was that their father, Israel, liked him best.  They also resented him personally, as a “dreamer.”  This was sibling rivalry to the Nth degree.  It’s in Genesis 37.

In Matthew 21, on the other hand, we have the vintner patiently sending his agents to the tenants, who killed or manhandled them, one group after another, including the vintner’s sons!  We may ask what the vintner was thinking next time they won’t do that, until his family is half wiped out?  It’s a story, of course, told by Jesus to show God’s patience with his people.  No more, as in the story, he says, and the chief priests and pharisees got the message.  Like Joseph’s brothers, they would have did him in, but held back because of his popular support.

The 105th Psalm recalls or tells us that Joseph, “sold as a slave” in chains, was avenged by “the Lord,” who “called down a famine on the land” and ruined their crops.  The sequence of readings (Lent 2, Friday, C-cycle) places the Christian God in stark contrast to the pre-Jesus God.  Same God, but changed somehow, and that’s to be explained in the coming Lenten and Passiontide readings.


Later, Reader Phil gives retort simple:

If there were such a thing as Taliban catholics you would probably be a marked man for mentioning Reuben and beef during Lent.

To which I:

If you caught that, how many others did?  Oy vey.

Russert is revolting, say St. Louis U. students in revolt

Canned grad speeches from speakers who get college’s name in the paper.  Blah.  Line up the speaker qua speaker, not qua celebrity, you oafs.  “Bingo!” the Harvardites yelled every time Russert, with 42 honorary degrees on his wall, used one of his boilerplate phrases, which apparently were not hard to look up.
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