“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

February 9, 2009

Hans Küng Lobs (another) Stupid-Grenade at the Pope

In my recent commentary about the crisis in the Legion of Christ (This Is No Time for Happy-Face Stickers), I said:

“Watch and see. You'll soon notice certain people trying to use this scandal to malign Pope John Paul II (a long-time supporter of Fr. Maciel and the Legion), in a way similar to how some are right now attempting to exploit the recent SSPX Bishop Williamson Holocaust-debacle against Pope Benedict XVI.”

Here is an example of what I meant about how certain people make use of seemingly disparate issues to advance their agendas.

Fr. Hans Küng has oh-so-helpfully lobbed his very own “stupid-grenade” into the volatile  controversy (which is really a non-controversy) surrounding SSPX Bishop Williamson's inane remarks about the Holocaust.

Who better at this moment to challenge Pope Benedict’s recent un-excommunication of four right-wing prelates than another 81-year-old?
The recent papal edict re-enfolding Bishop Richard Williamson, a British holocaust denier and misogynist, has offended Jews, set interfaith relations back fifty years, repudiated Vatican II’s own views, and left the 40 or so women recently excommunicated because of their illicit ordinations breathless with indignation.
It has also has provoked a sharp response in a German newspaper, one that is being quickly sent around the world on the internet. Its writer is the eminent professor of ecumenical theology at Tubingen University, where he continues to teach eager classes, although he’s not permitted by Rome to teach as an official Catholic theologian.
It is just one of the paradoxes in the story of modern Catholic thought, and in the personal life of Rev. Hans Kung. He is, and has been since 1954, a Catholic priest. When he travels, he stays in the various rectories of Catholic parishes, hearing the confessions of the faithful, as he told us in Toronto in 2002, “as much as I am able.”
With his easy charm, impressive intellect, and clipped accent, Hans Kung, ever a sharp thorn in the Vatican, strides once more onto the ecclesial stage. The world-known Swiss Roman Catholic priest and theologian, who served as a peritus or expert at the Council (1962-65), he shared this responsibility with his German colleague, Josef Ratzinger, then a progressive thinker. How their paths would diverge.
To get right to the point, Kung in his article on February 3, wished Barack Obama were Pope. “The mood in the church is oppressive, reforms are paralyzed, and the church in crisis,” he says. “Benedict is unteachable in matters of birth control and abortion, arrogant and without transparency and restrictive of freedom and human rights.”
For Kung, Benedict should act as Obama has done, declaring a crisis, identifying the problems, proclaiming a vision of hope, revitalizing ecumenism, gathering competent colleagues of either gender, and using the power of his executive office to issue decrees (unhindered by such institutions as a democratically-elected Congress or a Supreme Court.)
But no, “the Pope is reorienting himself backward, inspired by the ideal of the medieval church, looking toward the Council of 1870, not the one of 1965.” (read article)

Legionary Priest: “This Is More Than Just a Crisis In Management”

Legionary of Christ priest, Fr. Thomas Berg, a friend of mine whom I've quoted here before, has just released a new statement regarding the unfolding crisis in the Legion of Christ:
Dear everyone —
Christ's peace.
I write to you this Sunday morning with my heart in my hand. I know personally that so many of our priests, section directors, have been working for hours on end, meeting with groups of RC, first to break the horrible news and then to accompany them, often themselves reduced to the point of tears. Then there have been the endless follow—up phone calls, private conversations. Believe me, we have all been trying to do everything possible to reach out to all of you personally.
But my heart aches because our best efforts have not been enough. I want to reach out to you as a brother and friend this morning and try to assure you, if nothing else, that we are here. I know further efforts are underway to attempt to respond more adequately and formally to the confusion you all feel, not to mention the hurt and betrayal. I beg you, in the midst of such pain and hurt, please bear with your directors.
At the same time, however, I also beg you forgiveness for the disastrous response which this crisis has received from our upper LC leadership. There is no other way to say it: in so many respects, Legionary superiors have failed, and failed miserably to respond adequately to this crisis, and not surprisingly, have engendered in many of you and understandable lack of confidence. Those are the facts and your reaction is natural and reasonable. With all my heart, on their behalf, I apologize. Our superiors are human instruments; I know in their hearts they have trying to do the right thing, under inhuman pressure. Please understand that.
I am not making any excuses, however, for the fumbled media responses (which I believe have been too often unfairly attributed to Jim Fair our communications director who needs your prayers and has earned a very high place in heaven for what he has had to endure this week), for the appearances of being less than forthcoming, for the lack of information, for the confusion of messaging. For that, there is no excuse in a way, and tragically is largely due to the ineptness of many of those in leadership positions to respond with expertise and diligence in a crisis management situation like this.
But it is more than just crisis management. The thing I am most pained about—I share this as a brother—is the near absence of but fleeting suggestions of sorrow, and of apologizing for the harm done, both to alleged victims of Maciel, and, frankly, to all of you. I am deeply, deeply sorry, and I personally apologize with my heart in my hand to each and every one of you.
I understand your feelings of betrayal. For twenty-three years I have loved and tried to follow Christ in the Legion. I can say before God, in spite of my many human frailties, I have been faithful. I have also, more than many of you to be honest, gone out on limb after limb, trying to defend Maciel. I have lived my priesthood always with that cloud hanging over me, always having to essentially apologize for being a Legionary. You feel betrayed? You feel rage? I can only say that the rage, and raw emotions that I have felt these past days (the hardest days of my entire life, emotions like I have never experienced) are only a glimpse of the unspeakable hell that victims of priest sexual abuse must go through. My thoughts and my heart have been so often with them these days…
I know that many of your are utterly confused about what you are feeling and about where we go from here. In no particular order, let me offer my advice and counsel as follows:
1. Most of you are going through the stages of mourning. Understand that and know what that means. This is a very useful site: http://www.cancersurvivors.org/Coping/end%20term/stages.htm
2. Keep talking to your section directors. Let them know how you feel. Let them know if you are satisfied with their response to you.
3. Many of you might find it to be a wonderfully freeing and healing experience to offer acts of reparation for those suffering the effects of priestly sexual abuse. You might also find it healing to reach out to persons who, in any way, have found themselves hurt by their experiences with the Legion or RC.
4. For your own spiritual needs right now:
a. Remember you are free to speak with anyone, inside or outside the Movement about your pain, your reactions to this tragic news, and for ease of conscience to speak to whomever you believe can best help you at this time. I would encourage you to reach out to and find guidance from priests whose holiness and sound judgment you trust, whether Legionaries or not.
b. Your spiritual experiences—even when they came through the letters of the Founder—are valid, and real. God was working through those instruments. The sad revelations about Maciel do not change that. Try to thank God for the past, and sing his praises for the way he has done in your lives through RC. Prayer of thankfulness will help you. Prayer of thanksgiving for this deliverance he has given us now, and for the purification which we are undergoing will also be very helpful.
c. If you still find the letters of the founder helpful in prayer, feel free to use them. But it is certainly OK to leave them aside. Remember that in many ways, the spirit and charism we have lived is Pauline. Continue to nourish your spirit on the letters of St. Paul.
d. In your meditation, go back to the bedrock truths of your life and ponder them serenely before God and let him use that meditation to soothe your hearts: the Incarnation of the Son of God, the Redemption, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, your Baptism, your call to a more deeply committed Christian life, and a loving meditation ("Mary meditated on all these things in here heart") of all the wonders God has done in your life.
e. I also recommend using The Better Part by Fr. Bartunek, and any other spiritual writings be Legionary priests. You might find those helpful. Your section directors should also be able to point you in the direction of other sources on which to nourish your souls. Share your ideas with each other.
Finally, I encourage you to speak to Legionary leadership, and even in the form of petition letters, demand nothing less than full transparency regarding the case of Fr. Maciel. Demand that Fr. Alvaro seek an independent third party investigation (perhaps in the form of a temporary review board or Visitation team from the holy see) into uncovering any Legionaries who may have been accomplices to Maciel. Demand that a similar body guide Legionary leadership in introducing any needed reforms into the internal culture, methods and religious discipline of the Legion.
And remember: "Entrust your life to the Lord, and He will act."

Let's pray for each other. With all my love, gratitude to all of you for your fidelity.

In Jesus,

Fr. Thomas Berg, LC
P.S. Please spread my message far and wide to as many RC members as you can.

Could These Be Future Homes for Uppity Catholics?

Like you, I've heard about the alleged existence of secret government-established "detention centers" before, but only from the black-helicopter crowd, so I personally never paid any attention to the claims, dismissing them as preposterous, because "our government would never do something terrible like that to its own citizens. Right?"

"Well," the voice of reason reminds me, "isn't the government that would never do something like that to its citizens the same government that legally protects and sanctions and pays for the murder of millions of babies, the most defenceless of its citizens, through abortion?"

Point well taken.

So that's why today, when I ran across this detention-camp article that seems to lend credibility to the claims, I thought I'd post it here for your consideration and comments. 

Personally, I can totally see this as being part of a gradually expanding effort on the part of some in our government who would like to see trouble-makers of all kinds sequestered, if they get too vocal in their criticisms of things like FOCA

Combine this with the fact that the U.S. military has just recently redeployed a full combat brigade, formerly engaged in combat operations in Iraq, to take up duty right here in the United States — in preparation for massive "civil unrest."

If these are dots we should be connecting, I'm not liking the pattern I see emerging here. 

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., has introduced to the House of Representatives a new bill, H.R. 645, calling for the secretary of homeland security to establish no fewer than six national emergency centers for corralling civilians on military installations.

The proposed bill, which has received little mainstream media attention, appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany.
The bill also appears to expand the president's emergency power, much as the executive order signed by President Bush on May 9, 2007, that, as WND reported, gave the president the authority to declare an emergency and take over the direction of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments without even consulting Congress.

As WND also reported, DHS has awarded a $385 million contract to Houston-based KBR, Halliburton's former engineering and construction subsidiary, to build temporary detention centers on an "as-needed" basis in national emergency situations.
(read article)