Live Long and Prosper

Friday, April 23, AD 2010

Leonard Nimoy is calling it quits as to any future portrayals of Mr. Spock, and is retiring from show business.

Leonard Nimoy, the actor who has famously portrayed “Star Trek’s” original alien Spock for over 40 years, has announced he’s officially hanging up the pointy Vulcan ears for good. Nimoy, 79, plans to retire shortly from show business and the “Star Trek” convention circuit, according to the Canadian newspaper Toronto Sun.

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4 Responses to Live Long and Prosper

Stevens to Retire

Friday, April 9, AD 2010

Get ready for Obama appointment, Round 2.

Supreme Court Justice Stevens announces he will retire in the summer.

Not sure how the timing will work on this, especially as Obama and the Democrats try to avoid being too contentious right before the November elections. That might play in our favor as far as getting a more moderate nominee. It will also be interesting to see if the GOP can or will delay the nominee as they have the 41 votes to filibuster.

The names being thrown around are the same ones being thrown around before; we’ll see where he goes with this pick. Time to start praying again.

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39 Responses to Stevens to Retire

  • Jerry Ford’s gift to liberal Democrats everywhere finally decides to call it quits during a Democrat administation, which shocks me as much the sky being blue and water being wet.

  • I don’t foresee a filibuster. There are only 41 Republicans, and it will just take one R to break a filibuster, and in this case I highly doubt Snowe, or Collins, or even Brown would join in one.

    Anyway thus passes Gerald Ford’s great gift to the country.

  • Heh, Donald beat me to the punch by seconds on the gift remark.

  • Stevens being from Chicago Paul I was in a hurry to give him a proper “the Chicago Way” send-off. 🙂

  • I have to admit, going to 90 to make sure his replacement shares his views is pretty stout.

    I agree that the filibuster seems unlikely, but there is a chance and that might affect the choice of nominee.

  • Pray for what?

    I don’t say that to doubt the efficacy of prayer, or to discourage anyone from praying for the souls of the Supreme Court members. But the way this game is played, 100% of nominees from Democratic presidents are activist pro-choicers, and 50% of Republicans’ nominees are originalist pro-lifers.

    The only way loyal Catholics get someone palatable is if the paperwork gets mixed up in the mail, and Bishop Gomez gets on the Court and some liberal judge takes over the Diocese of LA.

  • Pinky:

    Well, one could always hope the Democrats make their first mistake.

    But if that’s not a hope, then I think we should pray that he picks someone more moderate on the issue rather than the absolute “abortion is a right and ought to be fully funded by the federal government” crowd. There are various shades of being pro-choice, and we can pray that we get a lighter shade than Stevens.

  • I for one am going to start praying that Scalia does not fall over with a Heart attack

  • I for one am going to start praying that Scalia does not fall over with a Heart attack

    Yeah. . . where will we find another judge as dependably pro-torture as he is!

  • Through Obama.

  • “Yeah. . . where will we find another judge as dependably pro-torture as he is!”

    Why the entire liberal wing of the court unless you do not consider partial birth abortion to be torture, in addition to infanticide.

    From the Ginsburg dissent in Carhart, the Supreme Court decision upholding a law against partial birth abortion joined in by Stevens, Souter and Breyer.

    “Today, the Court blurs that line, maintaining that “[t]he Act [legitimately] appl[ies] both previability and postviability because … a fetus is a living organism while within the womb, whether or not it is viable outside the womb.” Ante, at 17. Instead of drawing the line at viability, the Court refers to Congress’ purpose to differentiate “abortion and infanticide” based not on whether a fetus can survive outside the womb, but on where a fetus is anatomically located when a particular medical procedure is performed. See ante, at 28 (quoting Congressional Findings (14)(G), in notes following 18 U. S. C. §1531 (2000 ed., Supp. IV), p. 769).

    One wonders how long a line that saves no fetus from destruction will hold in face of the Court’s “moral concerns.” See supra, at 15; cf. ante, at16 (noting that “[i]n this litigation” the Attorney General “does not dispute that the Act would impose an undue burden if it covered standard D&E”). The Court’s hostility to the right Roe and Casey secured is not concealed. Throughout, the opinion refers to obstetrician-gynecologists and surgeons who perform abortions not by the titles of their medical specialties, but by the pejorative label “abortion doctor.” Ante, at 14, 24, 25, 31, 33. A fetus is described as an “unborn child,” and as a “baby,” ante, at 3, 8; second-trimester, previability abortions are referred to as “late-term,” ante, at 26; and the reasoned medical judgments of highly trained doctors are dismissed as “preferences”motivated by “mere convenience,” ante, at 3, 37. Instead of the heightened scrutiny we have previously applied, the Court determines that a “rational” ground is enough to uphold the Act, ante, at28, 37. And, most troubling, Casey’s principles, confirming the continuing vitality of “the essential holding of Roe,” are merely “assume[d]” for the moment, ante, at15, 31, rather than “retained” or “reaffirmed,” Casey, 505 U. S., at 846”

    Scalia’s dissent in the earlier Carhart decision which overturned a law banning partial birth abortion:

    “I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court’s jurisprudence beside Korematsu and Dred Scott. The method of killing a human child–one cannot even accurately say an entirely unborn human child–proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion. And the Court must know (as most state legislatures banning this procedure have concluded) that demanding a “health exception”–which requires the abortionist to assure himself that, in his expert medical judgment, this method is, in the case at hand, marginally safer than others (how can one prove the contrary beyond a reasonable doubt?)–is to give live-birth abortion free rein. The notion that the Constitution of the United States, designed, among other things, “to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, . . . and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” prohibits the States from simply banning this visibly brutal means of eliminating our half-born posterity is quite simply absurd.

    Even so, I had not intended to write separately here until the focus of the other separate writings (including the one I have joined) gave me cause to fear that this case might be taken to stand for an error different from the one that it actually exemplifies. Because of the Court’s practice of publishing dissents in the order of the seniority of their authors, this writing will appear in the reports before those others, but the reader will not comprehend what follows unless he reads them first.

    * * *

    The two lengthy dissents in this case have, appropriately enough, set out to establish that today’s result does not follow from this Court’s most recent pronouncement on the matter of abortion, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992). It would be unfortunate, however, if those who disagree with the result were induced to regard it as merely a regrettable misapplication of Casey. It is not that, but is Casey’s logical and entirely predictable consequence. To be sure, the Court’s construction of this statute so as to make it include procedures other than live-birth abortion involves not only a disregard of fair meaning, but an abandonment of the principle that even ambiguous statutes should be interpreted in such fashion as to render them valid rather than void. Casey does not permit that jurisprudential novelty–which must be chalked up to the Court’s inclination to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue. It is of a piece, in other words, with Hill v. Colorado, ante, p. ___, also decided today.

    But the Court gives a second and independent reason for invalidating this humane (not to say anti-barbarian) law: That it fails to allow an exception for the situation in which the abortionist believes that this live-birth method of destroying the child might be safer for the woman. (As pointed out by Justice Thomas, and elaborated upon by Justice Kennedy, there is no good reason to believe this is ever the case, but–who knows?–it sometime might be.)

    I have joined Justice Thomas’s dissent because I agree that today’s decision is an “unprecedented expansio[n]” of our prior cases, post, at 35, “is not mandated” by Casey’s “undue burden” test, post, at 33, and can even be called (though this pushes me to the limit of my belief) “obviously irreconcilable with Casey’s explication of what its undue-burden standard requires,” post, at 4. But I never put much stock in Casey’s explication of the inexplicable. In the last analysis, my judgment that Casey does not support today’s tragic result can be traced to the fact that what I consider to be an “undue burden” is different from what the majority considers to be an “undue burden”–a conclusion that can not be demonstrated true or false by factual inquiry or legal reasoning. It is a value judgment, dependent upon how much one respects (or believes society ought to respect) the life of a partially delivered fetus, and how much one respects (or believes society ought to respect) the freedom of the woman who gave it life to kill it. Evidently, the five Justices in today’s majority value the former less, or the latter more, (or both), than the four of us in dissent. Case closed. There is no cause for anyone who believes in Casey to feel betrayed by this outcome. It has been arrived at by precisely the process Casey promised–a democratic vote by nine lawyers, not on the question whether the text of the Constitution has anything to say about this subject (it obviously does not); nor even on the question (also appropriate for lawyers) whether the legal traditions of the American people would have sustained such a limitation upon abortion (they obviously would); but upon the pure policy question whether this limitation upon abortion is “undue”–i.e., goes too far.

    In my dissent in Casey, I wrote that the “undue burden” test made law by the joint opinion created a standard that was “as doubtful in application as it is unprincipled in origin,” Casey, 505 U.S., at 985; “hopelessly unworkable in practice,” id., at 986; “ultimately standardless,” id., at 987. Today’s decision is the proof. As long as we are debating this issue of necessity for a health-of-the-mother exception on the basis of Casey, it is really quite impossible for us dissenters to contend that the majority is wrong on the law–any more than it could be said that one is wrong in law to support or oppose the death penalty, or to support or oppose mandatory minimum sentences. The most that we can honestly say is that we disagree with the majority on their policy-judgment-couched-as-law. And those who believe that a 5-to-4 vote on a policy matter by unelected lawyers should not overcome the judgment of 30 state legislatures have a problem, not with the application of Casey, but with its existence. Casey must be overruled.

    While I am in an I-told-you-so mood, I must recall my bemusement, in Casey, at the joint opinion’s expressed belief that Roe v. Wade had “call[ed] the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution,” Casey, 505 U.S., at 867, and that the decision in Casey would ratify that happy truce. It seemed to me, quite to the contrary, that “Roe fanned into life an issue that has inflamed our national politics in general, and has obscured with its smoke the selection of Justices to this Court in particular, ever since”; and that, “by keeping us in the abortion-umpiring business, it is the perpetuation of that disruption, rather than of any Pax Roeana, that the Court’s new majority decrees.” Id., at 995—996. Today’s decision, that the Constitution of the United States prevents the prohibition of a horrible mode of abortion, will be greeted by a firestorm of criticism–as well it should. I cannot understand why those who acknowledge that, in the opening words of Justice O’Connor’s concurrence, “[t]he issue of abortion is one of the most contentious and controversial in contemporary American society,” ante, at 1, persist in the belief that this Court, armed with neither constitutional text nor accepted tradition, can resolve that contention and controversy rather than be consumed by it. If only for the sake of its own preservation, the Court should return this matter to the people–where the Constitution, by its silence on the subject, left it–and let them decide, State by State, whether this practice should be allowed. Casey must be overruled.”

  • Why the entire liberal wing of the court unless you do not consider partial birth abortion to be torture, in addition to infanticide.

    Wel then, I am confused. . . after all, since torture isn’t wrong, then how can partial birth abortion be. . .

    Unless. . .

    Of course! It makes sense now: abortion means no children. No children means no children’s testicles. And if there are no children’s testicles to crush. . . the terrorists win!

    Ex Conservatatione Quod Libet

  • I am sure phosphorious that you will be able to cite a text where Scalia ever indicated that he was in favor of someone’s testicles being crushed. On the other hand I have just provided you with chapter and verse where the liberal wing of the court views as a constitutional right the ability of an abortionist to stick scissors into the base of an unborn infant’s skull. However, I suppose in your view that since it is abortion it cannot be torture. Res Ipsa Loquitur

  • Don,

    phosphorius is right. Obama prefers murder to torture.

  • Bush’s legal advisors has defended Bush’s right (I don’t know if a “lib” president is invested with a similar “right”) to crush a child’s testicles to extract information from his parent. Scalia is known to have defended Bush’s torture policies in toto.

    Bush ordered torture to be performed. Did Obama ever order an abortion to be performed, partial-birth or otherwise? A distinction a “conservative” should take seriously.

  • phosphorius is right. Obama prefers murder to torture.

    Whereas I can’t think of anything that conservatives prefer to torture. they defend it every chance they get.

  • Actually many conservatives oppose torture. Many liberals (such as Pelosi)supported the CIA interrogation techniques (though she lies about it.) Obama, given his penchant for murder would likely not oppose past interrogation techniques if the right situation arose. Did he order any murders? See discussion on assasinations below.

  • Phosphorious raises some very good points, and I would like to follow up with a post of my own. I would just ask phosporious if he could kindly supply some of the links or other supporting literature that shows that Bush’s legal advisors defended his right to crush a child’s testicles, where Bush so ordered such an action to be taken, and the opinions offered by Scalia demonstrating his approval of such. I look forward with great anticipation the roundup of this information.

  • Google “Yoo testicles” and you will see the defense. As for proof that Bush actually ordered the crushing of testicles, child’s or not, I assume that’s a matter of State security that only a traitor would pry too closely in. If the terrorists knew about it, they would train their children to withstand testicle crushing, after all.

    But Bush did order the torture of prisoners. And Scalia supports it. . . citing I believe “24” as proof that law enforcement needs “lattitude” in the fighting of terrorism.

    But gentlemen, we digress. The point is that abortion is the litmus test, and nothing else.

    On that, conservatives can agree, no?

  • “Did Obama ever order an abortion to be performed, partial-birth or otherwise? A distinction a “conservative” should take seriously.”

    Nah, he merely defends it as a constitutional right and raises campaign funds trumpeting his opposition to laws banning partial birth abortion, what the late pro-abort Senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan referred to as “barely disguised infanticide”.

  • I assume that this interview on 60 minutes is what elicts phosphorious’ attempts to defend Obama on abortion by attacking Scalia on torture:

    Viewing Leslie Stahl attempting to question Scalia is rather like watching Bill Clinton attempting to teach a course on legal ethics. She didn’t have even the foggiest notion of what he was talking about.

  • “The point is that abortion is the litmus test, and nothing else.”

    The point is phosphorious almost a million dead unborn children a year and your desperate attempts on a Catholic blog to supply political cover to a President who is dedicated to this continuing forever.

  • Stevens’ retirement troubles me because, every time a justice retires many people speak in terms of litmus tests related to societal issues such as abortion and freedom religion. In discussing such tests for prospective nominees most individuals focus solely on the subject of abortion.

    The use of abortion as the sole litmus test that nominees must be subjected to is akin to tunnel vision because, most social conservatives fail to realize that the adoption of such a position is tantamount to heresy in many circles and no politician would risk their careers by taking such a position openly and publicly because, it would alienate an extremely large bloc of voters who see overturning Roe v Wade and it descendants as potentially causing even more harm than good because, attempting in their eyes restoring the status quo as it existed before 1973 could engender the return and resurgence of backroom abortionists who are not medically trained.

    I would advocate the development of additional tests. For example, how would the nominee defend the rights of the disabled, minorities and women?

  • “I would advocate the development of additional tests. For example, how would the nominee defend the rights of the disabled, minorities and women?”

    In other words, shut up about the right to life of the unborn. Additionally, what attempts are there on the scale of abortion in reference to unborn children to deny rights to minorities or women? Unborn disabled children are of course often targeted for abortion because of their disability.

  • I assume that this interview on 60 minutes is what elicts phosphorious’ attempts to defend Obama on abortion by attacking Scalia on torture

    I am attacking the smug, self-righteous Catholics who only object to the sins that political liberals commit.

    Which is every poster here, far as I can tell.

  • In other words, shut up about the right to life of the unborn.

    Because, of course, if abortion is not the only issue, then it is no issue at all.

    Heresy is not necessarily the abandoning of Church doctrine. Focusing on one bit of doctrine to the exclusion of all else will do quite nicely.

  • The point is phosphorious almost a million dead unborn children a year and your desperate attempts on a Catholic blog to supply political cover to a President who is dedicated to this continuing forever.

    Obama has dedicated his life. . . and beyond. . . the making sure that mothers kill their children?

    Wow. . . I had no idea. . .

  • What are the penalties for refusing to abort your child?

  • Phosphorious it would be much more concise if you simply said: “I’m a liberal and I don’t give a damn about abortion. Go Obama!” That is, after all, what your position boils down to.

  • The Cajun is right, how much damage does President Obama want to incur in order to nominate another pro-abortion advocate.

    I think he will, he seems to believe he is invincible and 2012 is far away enough to recuperate lost prestige.

    He apparently doesn’t really care about the Dems this election cycle, so why not write this election off. Besides, what’s the worse that can happen? The Democrats will have a small majority in the House and in the Senate he’ll have veto powers that can’t be overcome.

  • At no time did I argue that anyone needed to be silent about the rights or lack thereof accorded to the unborn. I merely assert that a multitude of sociopolitical issues must be considered in addition to when nominating a successor to Justice Stevens.

    As for my assertions regarding the nature of politicians and their desire to maintain their positions at the expense of their morals, such a school of thought has existed in some form or other since, the foundation of the Roman Empire. Indeed both Machiavelli and Gracian discussed this tendency at length.

  • Mr. McClarey, I know very well how many fetuses are subjected to abortion because of their disabilities. I myself am possessed of cerebral palsy characterized by ataxic presentation.

    I merely sought to point out that in my opinion if an individual chooses to focus on the issue of abortion alone, while failing to review the positions taken by a prospective nominee on other sociopolitical issues is possessed of a focus so narrow that it fails to meet the standard set by Saint Basil Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure, and Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

  • Nathan, I rather think all of the Saints you name would be protesting outside of abortion clinics constantly if they were alive today. Abortion is the human rights issue of our day, and to sit on our hands because of opposition from pro-aborts is not an option.

    I think Cardinal Ratzinger put it well in a letter:

    “2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).

    3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    Catholics and all who cherish innocent human life must be untiring in their battle against the crime of abortion.

    In regard to your disability, my prayers. One of my sons is autistic. I have no doubt that if there were a test to determine autism in utero, many of his autistic peers would not be alive today, just as has occurred with 90% of Down Syndrome children where such a test does exist. This slaughter of the innocents must stop and I will never cease working against abortion until I take my final breath.

  • Phosphorious it would be much more concise if you simply said: “I’m a liberal and I don’t give a damn about abortion. Go Obama!” That is, after all, what your position boils down to.

    As opposed to saying that the mere mention of torture distracts from abortion, which is the only sin.

  • I agree they would be protesting, and they would be examining the positions held by candidates in regards to other issues as well so that could more fully ascertain the candidates in order to have a fuller understanding of their character, so that they could more effectively battle them.

  • Phosphorious your laborious dragging of red herrings through this thread merely demonstrates that my concise version of your position is totally accurate. Such tactics may work at Vox Nova, they are absolutely of no use on this blog.

  • I merely sought to point out that in my opinion if an individual chooses to focus on the issue of abortion alone, while failing to review the positions taken by a prospective nominee on other sociopolitical issues is possessed of a focus so narrow that it fails to meet the standard set by Saint Basil Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure, and Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

    An aspirant for a seat on an appellate court of last resort who proposes to uphold Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton is in doing so subscribing to a particular conception of judicial review favored by Laurence Tribe. A judge engaging in authentic judicial review declines to apply administrative rules which conflict with statutes and statutes which conflict with constitutions. A judge engaging in Tribean judicial review assumes plenary authority to annul any statute or administrative rule incongruent with the policy preferences of law professors, so long as his shallow and smart-assed clerks can gin up a salable excuse. An adherent to Tribean judicial review is unfit for any office or public trust, period.

    Judge Stevens was one of four members of the federal Supreme Court who contended (in a dissenting opinion issued in 1977) that the federal and state governments were required by constitutional provisions to appropriate public funds to provide abortions on demand. Congress should have stuck a fork in this bastard a long long time ago.

  • In this country, ‘sociopolitical issues’ are the business of legislators, not judges.

  • The reason it appears that Roe v. Wade is all that matters is because, in addition to being about the civil rights issue of our time, it also has become a proxy for two opposing views of constitutional jurisprudence. How a judge is likely to vote on Roe tells me almost all I need to know about that judge.

52 Responses to Expiration Dates

  • If Bishop Roger Morin continues his indefensible defense of the CCHD, he should be making that list soon.

  • I don’t see this list as very constructive, and some of the choices are downright baffling. For instance, I have a great deal of respect for Bishop Loverde in Arlington, Va. A bishop who personally marches outside abortion clinics, and writes series on the danger and prevalence of pornography; who sends his future priests to good seminaries. Why is it that we are eager to see him resign?

    The same could be said for many of the bishops on that list, I am sure, although I am not familiar with all of their work. I don’t understand why we would speak so uncharitably about so many dedicated bishops, and I think this type of flippant derision is in tension with the Catholic mission of this site.

    It’s not that I think the bishops are beyond reproach. I just think our criticism of the bishops should be more measured. As it is, I have no idea why most of those bishops are on the list.

  • Couldn’t disagree more John Henry. Many of the bishops in this country over the past four decades have been an ongoing affront to faithful Catholics. Blog criticism is a small penalty for the wholesale clerical malpractice they have been engaged in. As to Bishop Loverde, a good starting place would be to become familiar with the case of Father James Haley.

  • I hadn’t heard about the Father Haley case (not sure how I hadn’t). At the same time, I notice you, like a good litigator, have changed the subject. The question is not whether bad bishops should have to endure the criticism of irrelevant bloggers, but whether you have evidence that every one of these bishops is, in fact, a bad bishop, and whether the type of flippancy displayed in your post is a constructive way to address the (admitted) problem of bad bishops.

  • How many people actually PRAY for their Bishop?

    Oh, it’s true that I can’t stand liberal Democrat clergy (bishops or priests) who place the false gospel of social justice and peace at any price ahead of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    But that said, how many of us lift our priests and bishops up in prayer? If we have time to criticize them at a blog site (I confess my guilt!), then surely we have time to pray for them.

    PS, I think the Bishop for my Diocese (Raleigh, NC) is absolutely great and I pray for him every night, but I would do that even if he were a liberal Democrat – perhaps more so if he were.

    I won’t mince words: CCHD and much of the USCCB is biased towards that stupid liberal Democrat idea that we can somehow create peace on Earth by social justice programs. Horse manure. Only the Second Coming of Christ will do that.

  • Ditto what John Henry said. Couldn’t agree more.

  • In regard to each of the bishops mentioned on the list John Henry I believe they are bad bishops and I would be happy to give chapter and verse as to each bishop noted as time allows. Flippancy and humor can often be important tools when pointing out that authority has been abused. Heaven knows that silence and polite criticism seems to have been little good in bringing reform to the “hapless bench of bishops”, in Bishop Bruskewitz’s ringing phrase.

  • I understand where John Henry is coming from.

    Granted I may not have taken the same approach as that website, but our bishops are not above criticism.

    Decades of inaction and gross display of horrible management have boiled to the top in the form of blogging.

    Now the faithful have a forum to express their joys and displeasures of our Catholic faith.

    A bishop that not only does nothing, but does things that tear down our faith, for example the terrible bishop from LA, Cardinal Mahony, are leading thousands astray with their form of leadership.

    To stand by and do nothing probably falls under the sin of omission.

    My two cents worth.

  • I would be happy to give chapter and verse as to each bishop noted as time allows.

    Right. But you haven’t. I don’t mind criticism, but the person criticizing bears the burden of proof. If I put you on a list of ‘bad Catholic bloggers’ (which I would not do), I doubt you would be particularly impressed by the assurance that I could cite chapter and verse about why you’re a bad Catholic blogger.

    You’d want to see the evidence prior to being placed on the list, or at least at the time you were placed on the list. And blogging isn’t nearly as hard as being a bishop. Given the difficulty of the job, I think we owe a little more upfront courtesy to bishops.

    And, notice, you’ve said that ‘flippancy and humor can be important tools when pointing out authority has been abused,’ but you’re not pointing out any abuse here; just highlighting a ‘bad bishop’ list and saying you hope they retire. We should at least provide reasons if we’re going to be rude enough to compile a list of who we’re hoping will retire soon. And, really, the list seems unconstructive anyway, even assuming arguendo that humor can sometimes be constructive, and that these are bad bishops.

  • I’m not too impressed with Loverde. He encourages Altar girls. That’s enough for me to not trust him.

  • There are some Bishops on this list that really shouldn’t be on here. My own Bishop – Donald Wuerl – made the list, and I don’t think he belongs in the company of Trautman and Clark. I think he’s been too weak when it comes to the issue of dissident Catholic politicians, but he’s more outspoken than his predecessor, and is generally a very Orthodox and good Bishop.

  • Phil – I think that’s hilarious. There were two dioceses in the country that didn’t permit altar girls. Loverde changed the policy to allow them. I have my own criticisms of Loverde (and I’m shocked by the Fr. Haley case), but if altar girls is one of your main criticisms of any bishop I’d say he’s doing a great job. I’d also agree with Paul on Wuerl – again, criticisms can be made, but he is no Mahoney.

  • Don,
    You’re familiar with Bishop Lucas, I would assume. What are the criticisms of him?

    Regarding Fr. Haley, we have only ever heard his side of the debate. Arlington is by far the most conservative and traditional (politically, liturgically, morally) diocese I’ve lived in (Chicago, Green Bay, Peoria, and Washington D.C.). Regarding female altar servers (hardly an essential issue, I would think), he’s made it optional – up to the pastor’s discretion. Neither my current parish nor the one I worshipped in when I first moved here has them.

    I think the people who run that website are in for some disappointment when some of the Bishops are moved to more prominent assignments, as recently happened to Lucas and is likely to happen to Gregory and Kicanis. That the Pope selected Wuerhl for DC and made O’Malley a cardinal when the previous cardinal was still under 80 (which he hasn’t done for any other archbishop in the US, and not for many elsewhere) seems like has confidence in them too.

  • Cute. Two things.

    First, if you’re going to time things down to the hour, minute, and second, the least one can do is correct for the proper time zone in which these bishops live.

    Second, I love the emergence of political correctness in the Catholic Right. “Bad bishop” has suddenly come to mean “a bishop who insulted me by some subtle or significant dig at my own very special and excellent personal faith.”

    The time zone error belies the narcissism behind this kind of an effort and its support.

  • “Right. But you haven’t.”

    But I shall. As a matter of fact a “bad bishops” series of posts is taking shape. Thank you for the inspiration!

    “And blogging isn’t nearly as hard as being a bishop.”

    By the “fruits” of many bishops over the past few decades I doubt if hard work necessarily equals productive or good work.

  • “I don’t see this list as very constructive…” I have to agree w/ John Henry. And your claim that this list was “Something cheerful for a Thursday morning!” proved false. Wasn’t it St. Francis who always knelt upon seeing a priest no matter how scandalous that priest’s behavior? And as a rather well-known priest and preacher to millions has said, if we spent as much time praying for our bishops as we do criticizing them…

  • I think John Henry is correct on this one. Even if you have qualms with the Bishops, this might not be the best avenue or way of expressing it. I’m not sure that one can quite so easily create a list of “bad” bishops and for it to be entirely accurate. Obvious mishaps aside, one does not live in every diocese and observe every move and action of a Bishop. A lot of it has to hearsay and even then, some conceptions are inevitably biased. There is much a Catholic can be doing to promote God’s reconciling action in the world, being an actual agent, rather than compiling a list of Bishops you can’t wait to see gone retired from their office.

    In any event, I think the list is absurd. I’ll pray for the Bishops and the whole church and for everyone who has no qualms with this list.

  • I would disagree with some of the bishops on this list. I would also add my bishop who just directed the local Catholic Charities not to do any work on behalf of pro-life issues in the coming Legislative session. Only economic issues are to be pursued. Pro-lifers have been advised, essentially, to find other means and resources to pursue pro-life legislative progress. No help from the diocese.

    I would disagree somewhat with saying bishops are above reproach. I agree with praying for them. This first and foremost. But when they enter the political arena, then criticism is fair. When there is outright dissent from Church teaching – even more so. Life’s tough, they’re not babies and I do have a voice.

  • I don’t think anyone offering criticism here is saying that the Bishops are above reproach. I’m disagreeing with this general method.

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  • In regard to Bishop Lucas I thought he did a poor job in cleaning up the Bishop Ryan mess. I live just to the north of the Springfield diocese so I am painfully familiar with the details.

  • Fair enough Eric. Though such an approach is sometimes effective with thick, clerical skulls.

  • “Wasn’t it St. Francis who always knelt upon seeing a priest no matter how scandalous that priest’s behavior?”

    Mary Beth I think it is precisely that type of attitude, and I was guilty of it, that unknowingly aided and abetted predatory priests and the bishops who concealed their crimes. I will never give a priest or a bishop a pass on criticism simply due to their office, but rather hold them to a higher standard than I would a member of the laity.

  • One recalls Erasmus’ “In Praise of Folly.” Rather cutting critique of the clergy of the day. Perhaps Donald can name his bishops list after that.

  • John Henry,

    You can laugh all you want. It is as laughable as people who say that single issues should not determine how people are going to vote. We, who oppose abortion see it as laughable. Here’s what is not laughable to me, a Virginian from the diocese of Arlington:

    While Loverde scores well with the abortion issue, he has failed miserably when it comes to protecting the sacred liturgy. Any bishop who cannot understand how promoting girl servers leads to a road we all hope we won’t end up on (women ordinations) is either blind to the mysticism of the sacraments or just doesn’t care about the historic fabric of the Church.

    When a bishop decides to invites girls to serve, because he feels backed up in the corner by the Vatican into permitting the Latin mass for people who want it, that is not good leadership. That is plain politics.

    When a bishop tells a woman she cannot receive the precious Body on her knees because of his misunderstanding or his misinterpretations of written documents, that is leadership gone astray.

    Where are the boys lining up to jump at service to the Lord on His altar where the priests have taken Loverde’s words into action?

    I tell you, I worked at a parish where I had to instruct girls on how to serve and never have I felt more confused at the lack of honor and commitment by both sexes who decided to stay on and serve at the altar.

    When a bishop gives in to pressure from groups that don’t desire holiness from the liturgy, but some sort of political correctness, then we have failed leadership.

    OK..let’s talk about Fr. Haley now

  • Did I miss something, but what controversies was Christoph Cardinal Schonborn involved in?

  • Bret,

    He officiated a “balloon” Mass in Vienna, and then had the audacity to claim that it wasn’t really a balloon Mass.

    Then yesterday he took a month-long vacation to Medjugorie.

    He’s a big fan of those fake apparitions.

    Regardless of where you stand on Medjugorie, a bishop is not allowed to violate another bishop’s ruling on matters such as these. His mere presence is already causing a scandal.

    He’s lost all credibility in my eyes.

  • I’m with John Henry on this one.

    I’ve been critical of particular bishops in the past, but I never thought anything of it until I started looking at some nasty “progressive” Catholic sites. I was able to recognize their contempt where I’d never noticed my own. (That’s how sin usually is, isn’t it?)

    Donald McClarey is right about the danger of undue respect. Personally, I’m afraid that I’m off-the-charts erring in the other direction. There’s got to be a way of showing respect, obedience, and suspicion. I haven’t figured it out.

  • When criticizing bishops or priests, one must ask if it is criticism aimed at improving the Church, or at settling scores. Much of the criticism I see online seems more of an exercise in amusing or gratifying the like minded rather than actually doing anything constructive. The website linked above seems like a perfect case study of this sort of sniggering attitude.

    Just my five cents.

  • JohnH,

    I already gave you two cents.

    You accept Canadian peso’s?

  • “I already gave you two cents.”

    Tito, two cents don’t go as far as they used to!! 🙂

  • I’m old.

    I remember when I could buy a small round bubble gum in one of those glass globes at the supermarket for a penny!

    Or was it a dime?

    Anyhoo, I pretty much put all my pennies in a jar labeled “retirement fund”.

  • A penny. I remember those days too.

  • Any bishop who cannot understand how promoting girl servers leads to a road we all hope we won’t end up on (women ordinations) is either blind to the mysticism of the sacraments or just doesn’t care about the historic fabric of the Church.

    Maybe if the Right-wingers didn’t spend so much time in the 1940s telling everyone there was no need for the Dialogue Mass because the altar server making the responses represented the laity of the congregation, people today might buy the Right-wing new assertion that the altar servers are “little priests”.

  • Don, I have lived in the Springfield diocese for the past 4 1/2 years, and I didn’t see what was so awful about Bishop Lucas. He inherited a real no-win situation and while he could have done better cleaning up the mess Bishop Ryan left behind, he also could have done a whole lot worse. (At least he didn’t leave the diocese bankrupt from sex abuse lawsuits.)

    It’s true he didn’t come out publicly swinging against pro-abort pols like Springfield’s own Dick Durbin; but maybe it wasn’t necessary. When the pastor of the parish Durbin attended, or used to attend (Msgr. Kevin Vann, now bishop of Fort Worth, Texas) said he wouldn’t give Communion to Durbin, Bp. Lucas didn’t publicly say anything, but did he really have to? He simply let the pastor’s decision stand, and to this day (according to a conservative Catholic blogger of my acquaintance) Durbin attends Mass in Chicago or D.C. whenever possible, since he knows he can’t go to Communion at home.

    Needless to say his successor will still have a tough job ahead of him. Until further notice, on the last weekend of every month, all parish Masses in the diocese are offered for the intention that God send us a good and holy bishop. Hopefully those prayers will be answered.

    The episcopal rumor mill, such as it is, has been pointing to Auxiliary Bishops Paprocki and Perry of Chicago as possible contenders, but we shall see. (If new bishop rumors reported by local media were infallible, your bishop’s name right now would be Vigneron!)

  • Also — Tito, what the heck is a “balloon Mass”? When I Google that phrase all I get are results related to mass balloon launches and/or balloon events in Massachusetts!

  • Elaine, I think Bishop Lucas was far too slow to act and left too many of Ryan’s cronies in positions of power for far too long. For the benefit of people who don’t live in Illinois here is a brief overview of the sordid story of Bishop Ryan:

  • In regard to Bishop Ryan, he might have remained Bishop of Springfield but for the agitation of a small group of lay Catholics who were widely denounced as nuts. I thought they were nuts at first. How foolish I was.

    These people knew what was up in the nineties. I find it impossible to believe that Bishop Lucas didn’t have precisely the same information from the moment he took over in 1999.

  • Don, the story you linked to is from 2005. Since then there have been no further scandals or revelations of past scandals, and no new multi-million-dollar lawsuits — which is more than can be said for some other dioceses. It appears that the Msgr. Costa incident (which occurred just before I moved to Springfield) might have been the catalyst that finally got Bishop Lucas to act. The investigation mentioned in the story finally wound up in 2007, and confirmed what everyone already knew about Bishop Ryan, Msgr. Costa, et al.

    If Bishop Ryan’s actions inflicted potentially fatal wounds upon the Church in the Springfield Diocese, Bishop Lucas at least stopped the “bleeding” and got things stabilized; it will be up to the next bishop (and probably one or more after him) to make it healthy again.

  • Oh by the way Tito — never mind — I found pictures of the balloon Mass, which is exactly what I suspected it was… a Mass with lots of balloons, and Eucharistic bread that looks like it was picked up at a 2-for-1 sale on pita pockets at the local supermarket. Has Cardinal Schonborn gone off his rocker or what?

  • I am sorry that many folks do not see the crassness of this website. I am also sorry for the coy sophistry with which the owner denies detracting from them. Some of the men on the website could have done truly disturbing things. Some of them were favorites of mine until I heard about one scandal or another – filthy art exhibits in the cathedral, Holy Communion knowingly given to Protestants, and so on.

    In private and personages are the key phrases, though.

    In private we may feel how we feel, and may share our feelings with others privately. But to publicly broadcast our misgivings does little to help the Church. Moreover, if we join our adversaries in hostility to our leaders, whose side, exactly, are we on? I do not see how this website can possibly be said to build up the faith, hope, or love of the Catholic faithful.

    Personages is precisely not what these persons are. They are not primarily “famous people,” even if they themselves have gotten too comfortable in their role as “really important.” They are primarily human beings, individuals with souls every bit as much as you or I. They are not cardboard cut-out supervillians, but real people with shoes and socks, stains on their shirts, bad stomachs or consciences, nieces and nephews who think they’re “the best,” and anxieties or regrets about the future and about their mistakes. Those bloated with pride have unfortunately become so as a consequence of their position. All the more reason for us to remember that they are just who they are – damaged souls in need of their Savior.

    To be frank, the solicitation for prayers on their behalf rings tinny and hollow given the clear intent of the website. I wonder, sometimes, what scandals I might cause if put into such a strong limelight. What scandals, brothers and sisters, do you think you might cause if your peculiar vices and foibles were magnified by greater opportunities to sin than you yet possess? These men are not unique in experiencing or capitulating to cowardice or lust, to greed or sloth.

    The site is clever and well-designed. I wonder whether it is of any benefit to souls out there, or whether it is rather only a misplaced outlet to really very legitimate anger over the mis-shepherding of the Church in so many places. A better outlet might be prayer and fasting for our shepherds, and encouragement to others to model for our bishops the sort of calm, strong love that they wish to receive from them. Needless to say, this site does not in any way model for us the sort of respect and obedience we are supposed to demonstrate for our bishops.

    God bless.

    Ryan Haber
    Kensington, Maryland

  • To be clear, by “this website,” I meant the GoodbyeBadBishops one… not American Catholic, of which I am very fond.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    “Mary Beth I think it is precisely that type of attitude, and I was guilty of it, that unknowingly aided and abetted predatory priests and the bishops who concealed their crimes.”

    No, sir, deference to the office of priest is not to be confused with complicity in the crimes of one. A petty example to make my point. Today I sat in line for sometime to make my confession at a large church in the area with several, often long, lines. Only one line was in use until a man, dressed entirely in black with a sweater zipped up to his chin (and so without a visible Roman collar, if he wore one) decided to leave the line and stand in the second, vacant line for the same set of confessionals, thereby perhaps intending to bypass those of us in the first line. I said to him, “Excuse me, sir. There is only one line in use right now; we have been waiting.”

    The man in line next to me whispered, “He might be a priest.”

    I responded, “I don’t know if he’s a priest, but I do know that there’s a line.”

    There is no call to “give a pass” on criminal or immoral behavior. At that moment, I would not have fought the man in black for my place in line, but I took sensible measure to ensure that everything was on the up-and-up.

    If I personally know of criminal or immoral activity going on, I will do what I can to stop it. Publishing a list of bishops I do not like and the times at which they are projected to retire hardly accomplishes – or even advances – this goal. Moreover, a number of the men on that website have not actually even been accused of anything miscreant or malfeasant. They are only managing their diocese in a way that somebody else does not like.

    It is a funny thing, how much their detractors feel they know about most of these bishops and their circumstances, compared to how little they probably actually know about either.

    If one of these bishops intervened in my family and said, “Hey, look, you’re not raising your daughter right!” I’d be right to ask what the heck he knows about my daughter. It’s very much the same situation. There is so much going on even in a parish that only the pastor knows about. So many of his decisions are based on factors of which I am totally unaware – of which I must, for good reasons, remain totally unaware. I am not here speaking about gross criminality, like child abuse; but about decisions I do not understand, like who excommunicates or does not excommunicate whom.

    It is very easy to stand back and carp at Catholic bishops, but on precisely whose side does such ugliness place us? Are we then advocates for Christ and His Church, or are we playing the Devil’s advocate?

  • One last note before going off to bed, Mr. McClarey. I note your case for Fr. Haley comes from the Washington Times. While we are perhaps more sympathetic to that paper’s overall bias than we are to its competitor’s, I still wonder how reliable on religious matters a source may be that is owned by the Moonies. The Rev. Sun Myung Moon believes that he is Jesus Christ, and in true ecumenical spirit presided over the marriage of (Catholic) Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to a Korean acupuncturist.

    I know something of Fr. Haley’s case through personal contact with some people directly involved, and know that it is not as clear-cut a case of the mean bishop persecuting the orthodox priest as it the WT makes it sound.

    All this illustrates a point I made in my previous post – there is a LOT of information a bishop considers in some of his decisions that we just do not know. It is dangerous to think that we know more than we do, and to make rash judgments as a result.

  • Ryan, the Father Haley story has been all over various media sources, and the fact that I cite the Washington Times is completely irrelevant as to what happened to Father Haley.

    In regard to priests and bishops, I think an exaggerated deference to them did cause too many Catholics to turn a blind eye to manifest corruption among the clergy. I know that was certainly true in my case, and it is an error I am not going to be guilty of again. I respect the priesthood and the bishops, and I will follow their lead as shepherds of the church. However, when they act like fools or corrupt shepherds I believe it is the duty of the laity to point this out.

  • Not to get off topic but is this assertion accurate?

    “Maybe if the Right-wingers didn’t spend so much time in the 1940s telling everyone there was no need for the Dialogue Mass because the altar server making the responses represented the laity of the congregation, people today might buy the Right-wing new assertion that the altar servers are “little priests”.”

    And even if it is, how many Catholics are still around that remember or paid attention to what “right wingers” were saying in the 1940s about the server taking the place of the laity? (One would have to be past age 70 to fall into this category.) So how is it relevant to the current situation?

  • I agree with Donald’s last post.

    Too many times have these bishops and priests been given a pass.

    Many of them may have been alerted of their behavior and mismanagement, ie, as in Cardinal Mahony, yet they still continue to abuse their positions and the faith.

  • Right, but it’s a red herring, Donald and Tito. I said right off the bat that I was setting aside criminal and grossly immoral behavior, about which we have a duty to challenge anyone, and publicly if the behavior is public.

    Many of the bishops listed on the website aren’t even accused of anything criminal or grossly immoral, but only of running their diocese in a way that others don’t like. That’s a whole different question.

    That’s a whole different question.

    Moreover, the point remains that the WhenWillTheBishopRetire website is crass and uncharitable. It will help, as far as I can tell, precisely zero souls grow in faith, hope, or charity – and that is supposed to be the work of every Christian.

  • Katharine,

    If you are still reading this post and its comments, what the heck is a right-winger, and what has one got to do with liturgy? Is a right-wing liturgy one with swastikas? What? I don’t get it.

  • Ryan,

    I see where you are coming from.

    But the website can serve as a warning to the faithful. The faithful can take the knowledge that they may be in the diocese of one of these bad bishops and not be led astray from Christ.

    Jesus will take care of the rest of them as he fashions millstones for each one of them.

  • Tito,

    A well-formed conscience smells a rat a mile away. We do not need to weigh in on every battle over whether people in a diocese are kneeling or standing during the consecration.

    The simple fact is that the website in question does not build unity in our Church, but rather suspicion and discord. A website devoted to catechesis would very likely accomplish the same effect of fortifying souls, without the deleterious effect of setting flock against shepherd. That is my chief objection to Michael Rose’s book, “Goodbye, Good Men,” which is mentioned on the website’s FAQ. I spent 3 1/2 years in seminary, and before I “shipped out,” I had dozens of well-meaning but entirely ignorant people ask me if I was being sent to a “gay seminary,” (I was not) and even telling me that I should, “tell the bishop to send me only to a good one.” The real problems with the book were numerous; first and foremost, that Rose was a day late and a dollar short. The problems cited were mostly eliminated as far as 10-20 years before the book went to press, and he knew it when the book went to press.

    This website will have only one effect: it will increase people’s the distrust of their bishops. It is a vent for (legitimate) anger, but it is not a legitimate or productive vent.

    Again, I am not talking about criminal behavior or gross immorality (like breaking vows of celibacy). I am talking about the management (or lack thereof) of a diocese. When we begin to criticize without knowing the full story, and we rarely know the full story, we are treading on thin, thin ice.

    Saints have upbraided popes; they have not publicly maligned them.

    It would be good to remember that not only bishops will have millstones about their necks in the life to come.

  • Ryan,

    Your charitable and fine comments are duly noted.