Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tom Bethell on US Bishops

Tom Bethell is an excellent writer whose works are known to most conservatives. He's also a Catholic; this is an excerpt from an essay in the New Oxford Review:

Just as he [Abp. Sambi, Papal Nuncio to the USA] had not initially understood what I had said, so it will be a considerable job for him to absorb the vast amount of information available about the Catholic Church in America. The easy solution will be to seek advice from senior bishops. They in turn are eager to offer it and would like nothing more than to nominate their own successors.

This can create problems, as happened under the previous Nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo. He retired recently at the age of 75 and is in Rome, reported to be seriously ill with lung cancer. (He not only smoked but rolled his own cigarettes.) Rome has been so grateful for American financial largesse over the years that the episcopal recommendations of American cardinals, notably those of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, were often accepted without demur or investigation. [Bernardin was largely responsible for Bishops named in the Midwest, including Rembert Weakland, Richard Sklba, the execrable Bp Ryan of Springfield, IL., Daniel Pilarczyk, Jos. Imesch, and others...]

This system endured until the scandals of 2002. A great embarrassment arose when two homosexual bishops were appointed in succession to the Diocese of Palm Beach. Both were forced to resign within less than four years. The apostolic administrator who acted as custodian before the second was named was Robert Nugent Lynch, a Bernardin protégé who was and still is the Bishop of St. Petersburg, Florida. [There's that name again: Bernardin...]

Three years ago we heard from a cardinal on the Congregation for Bishops that in this instance the authorities in Rome were directly misinformed while investigating potential candidates. [Say it Ain't So!! Mein Herz!!] Since then, they have been investigated more carefully, and overall there was an improvement in the final years of John Paul II's papacy. There has been less input from American cardinals except where their own archdiocese is involved.

In any event, my wife took it as a good sign that Pietro Sambi is looking to increase his own manpower and do his own research.

I write in early May, and in the four months since he was appointed, there have been four episcopal appointments, including Donald Wuerl and a much needed replacement for Bishop Imesch in Joliet, Illinois, announced at the same time as Wuerl. In addition, Richard Lennon (Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and the interim administrator there after the resignation of Cardinal Law) was appointed to Cleveland, and Frank Dewane was named Coadjutor bishop of Venice, Florida. Dewane, 56, is a late vocation and has spent a good deal of time in Rome. Two other American cardinals are over 75 and have submitted their resignations: William Keeler of Baltimore and Adam Maida of Detroit. Keeler, a local priest told me, has been "in the hip pocket of the sex-ed lobby." [True fact. ALL the objections to grade-school SexEd programs were submarined by Keeler and/or his henchmen. This includes objections made to programs written by Planned Parenthood cooperators...] Maida saddled Detroit with $40 million in debts incurred by the John Paul II Center in Washington, D.C. (near Catholic University). The Center turned out to be a white elephant.

Although most sentient Catholics understood that Jos. Bernardin was a pernicious influence (to put it mildly), it's very good news to learn that the current Nuncio is nobody's fool.

HT: The Cafeteria is Closed


M.Z. Forrest said...

It is encouraging. I'm waiting for Bp Bruskewitz to be named to an Archdiocese. When AB Dolan is named to Chicago, Detroit or New York, Milwaukee would seem like a logical place for Bruskewitz to go given his history in Milwaukee. I can see the Journal Sentinel's introduction now. Oh that would be a beautiful day!

Dad29 said...

Not likely that BpB will return to Milwaukee--and for that matter, you make a big assumption when you postulate that AbpDolan will go on to a larger See.

HOWEVER, it's entirely possible that one of BpB's boyzzzz will succeed AbpDolan, OR become an Auxiliary here.

THAT would be good, too!