Monthly Archives: November 2007

Empire strikes Jesuits

Chicago Province Jesuits’ insurance company wants out of the Rev. Donald McGuire SJ suits, claiming

the Jesuits knew of McGuire’s pedophilia as early as 1969 and because they knew of his condition the policy does not cover McGuire, among several other reasons . . .

Empire Indemnity provided

[t]hree umbrella policies . . . to the Jesuits from Nov. 30, 2002 to 2003, then again from 2003 to 2004 and 2004 to 2005. The allegations of abuse by the three John Does does not fall under the coverage period,

its suit filed yesterday in Cook County Circuit Court claims.


The Chicago Jesuits have presented McGuire with a dismissal decree from the order, which still needs Vatican approval to become official. McGuire said he has appealed to the Vatican not to allow the dismissal.

However, as extensively documented in a 2004 book, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, by Jason Berry and Gerald Renner, the Vatican is extremely reluctant to honor Americans’ requests for prompt punishment of sexual abusers; and the Jesuits may have a long wait before McGuire is expelled.

It wasn’t so hard after all

This priest went along with parishioners who wanted an old-style Latin mass, analyzing his elitism in the process.

As a promoter of the widest range of pluralism within the church, how could I refuse to deal with an approved liturgical form? As a pastor who has tried to respond to people alienated by the perceived rigid conservatism of the church, how could I walk away from people alienated by priests like myself—progressive, “low church” pastors who have no ear for traditional piety?

He tells about it in “My Second First Mass: On presiding at a Latin liturgy” in the latest America.

All those peas in the same pod

Tom Roeser on same-sex attraction in all-male seminaries:

[S]eminaries provide an attractive and welcoming association of young men, many of whom have the same associations-and makes them want to be priests since identical associations can be cultivated.

Like meets like.  They don’t dream of Jeanie with light brown hair but of each other.  Tempting, I presume.

If the hierarchy does not understand this-and there is ample reason to believe the hierarchy [in Chicago] does not-there is no hope for reform.

He argues for de-celibating the priesthood.

The mouse roared

The Mary McCarthy-Flannery O’Connor exchange is worth remembering, in which the sophisticated McC, lapsed as to her Catholicity, tells O’C, a believer, that the sacramental host is great symbolism, to which O’C., quiet as a church mouse toward the end of a long evening’s conversation, made her “most famous” remark, “an economical swipe at the reductive, liberalizing view of religion,” wrote Paul Elie, senior editor with Farrar, Straus and Giroux and author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage (2003). 

O’Connor told a friend about it: 

We went at eight, and at one, I hadn’t opened my mouth once, there being nothing in such company for me to say.  . . . .  Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them.

Well, toward the morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater [Mary McCarthy] said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most ‘portable’ person of the Trinity.  Now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one.

I then said, in a very shaky voice, ‘”Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.”  That was all the defense I was capable of. 

While we stop with Flannery O’Connor, let us consider her comment about her mother and naming a dog Spot:

[She] once told a friend, “I always thought that if [my mother] had a dog she’d name him Spot — without irony. If I had a dog I’d name him Spot, with irony. But for all practical purposes no one would know the difference.”

“By its nature, irony is the most ephemeral of literary devices, and the wit, or malice, or affection it encrypts is inherently fugitive,” continues Paul Mankowski, S.J., in First Things (March 2003).

The old and the new at a Latin mass in Berwyn

In the latest Chicago Daily Observer:

Interspersed with Today: The Latin Mass in Berwyn
By Jim Bowman

St. Odilo in Berwyn wound up its triduum of old-style Latin masses Tuesday night, Nov. 20, with not quite the 400 people of the first one, two weeks and one week earlier. Maybe 300 this time, parishioners and others who came out on a dark and stormy night to celebrate a divine mystery.  . . . .

more more more


Two of the boys, it appears

The boys called them the party priests.

They held pool and lake galas where drinks were freely flowing, even for their teenage guests. They let the young boys drive and smoke in their cars, left dirty magazines around the rectory for them to read, and talked openly in graphic terms about sex.

For boys just entering the awkward stages of adolescence, nothing seemed cooler than hanging out with Monsignor Thomas O’Brien and Father Thomas Reardon of Kansas City.

Except for the price that many of the boys — now men — say they paid. They allege that the priests used their positions of power to prey on the youngsters, plying them with alcohol, groping them and offering them money for sex.

The Missouri Supreme Court has cleared two dozen suits for trial.  The trials are coming soon.  Another sorry tale, told in a Kansas City Star takeout of 3,400 words in today’s paper.  At least it’s still news.

Wuxtry. TCS touches third rail

One of the hottest buttons around is discussion of racial-genetic disparities in IQ, or cognitive ability, or general intelligence (“g”).  TCS Daily (technology, commerce, society — a truly techie, even geek-like thing to call a blog — tries it out with “Race, IQ, and Education,” by Arnold Kling. 

He opens with an anecdote that would be familiar or evocative of the familiar for many public school parents in Oak Park and elsewhere:

In the 1990’s, when my daughter was in middle school, her principal created a remedial math class for a handful of students. All of them turned out to be African-American. The local chapter of the NAACP took offense, and the principal was dismissed.

Yes.  Our first principal, for our first first-grader in 1977, was careful to sprinkle black kids among several classes, for integration’s sake.  A few years later, he tried to reverse this, proposing to move kids together in core subjects according to achievement but gave it up in the face of teachers’ revolt, I was told, privately and credibly, the new superintendent.

Arnold Kling’s much later incident “helps to illustrate the three contentious issues caught up in the IQ-race controversy,” he writes:

1. Is there such a thing as innate cognitive ability?

2. Is there such a thing as race?

3. Is there a difference among races in average cognitive ability?

There we have it, a bold move into the minefield.  He continues:

As I see it, there are four approaches for dealing with these issues. The approaches are: segregationism; denialism; compensationism; and individualism.

Read the rest if you’re interested.

Editor’s complaint

Moan and groan, groan and moan.

“I see Craigslist as a negative-editorial product,” says Seattle Times editorial page editor James Vesely (excerpt by Romenesko, your best source for what mainstreamers are thinking).

“Why? Because it claims the profits normally shifted to the newsroom. Without the obligations of journalism, e-commerce becomes the anti-newspaper. Media companies, especially newspapers, are by default nearly the lone agents of the democratic form of government.”

When will they learn?  When will they ever learn?  It’s capitalism, stupid, which has supplied your bread and butter for your whole life but now has places to go and new ways to supply the demand.

The Jesuits have a good lawyer

He is the man who sent the ex-governor away.

PATRICK M. COLLINS: The tough, straight-arrow federal prosecutor who spearheaded the investigation from the beginning and sent Ryan to prison is now in private practice with the blue chip law firm of Perkins Coie. Among other things, he is advising the Jesuit order in the case of the Rev. Donald McGuire, facing federal charges that he molested young boys.

To know or not to know, that is the q.

Peter Singer on investigating genetic black-white differences as regards intelligence:

[T]o say that we should not carry out research in this area is equivalent to saying that we should reject open-minded investigation of the causes of inequalities in income, education, and health between people of different racial or ethnic groups. When faced with such major social problems, a preference for ignorance over knowledge is difficult to defend.

He’s not my favorite scientist, but I think he has nailed the issue in the James Watson brouhaha that has given legs to this very sensitive discussion.

%d bloggers like this: