Monday, July 26, 2010

Basic Discipline of Prayer

Ever wondered how to build a really basic, but solid, prayer regimen? Check out this week's bulletin article. As always, comments are welcome.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Drama Continues...

Sadly, Sunday brings us another story in the La Crosse Tribune on the sad case of Fr. Patrick Umberger. It was a not a complete loss however. At least they did a good job of making the case, whether it was their intention or not, that the survival of a parish and the Church as a whole is not dependant on the virtues or even continued service of any one priest or other pastoral minister. My compliments to the people of St. Patrick's who understand this and gave witness to the true foundations of our faith. I especially want to thank Kim Seidel for her excellent editorial regarding how she talked to her two daughters about this. What a great example!

What I object to is the way the Tribune leaves us with the impression that the Diocese of La Crosse could have or should have done more at the time of the incident at the water park. One person talked about how we should know who knew what and when. While that might satisfy the purile curiosity of some people, what is the can of worms that would be opened morally, legally, and practically? Does a parish need to know that their pastor, or any employee, has been accused of something, especially when the police do not feel there is enough to file charges or make an arrest? What will this do to their trust in that person if it comes out later that the charge was without merit or even false? That is the real reason that the Church's policies in this regard insist upon secrecy.

I have had some experience already in my few years of two lay-teachers having their careers ruined because kids new that if they said the "magic word" that teacher's career would be over. And I KNOW for a fact that in both cases the tween or teen girls complaints were without merit. In one case the girls in question were chuckling about it a few years later - but, too late for the teacher whose life was ruined. Thankfully he just lost his job (and career) and not his freedom!

In any case, I have spoken with lawyers who, like us, only know the information that has been printed in the Tribune stories. They have all said that the diocese did what they could have done and what they should have done given the information available at the time. They also agreed that the Church is doing more than what other entities are doing. One does wonder, however, if the diocese is communicating as effectively or aggressively as it could be under the circumstances.

Actually, this problem was illustrated well in a recent CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) poll. In this poll it was revealed that only 34% of Catholics even know that there is a safe environment program in the Church, and only 17% of those polled know what the Church does when there is an allegation of sexual misconduct. If that is the case then it is obvious that we need to do a lot more educating regarding the Church's "Safe Environment Program".

I do wonder why the Tribune even bothers to quote Mr. Isely (of SNAP) anymore. He obviously knows more about what he wishes diocesan review boards would be doing as opposed to what they are supposed to be doing. But then, that shouldn't surprise since he is also more aware of what he wishes the Church was as opposed to what She, in fact, is.

Let us continue to pray for all involved in this sad situation. May the ever-virgin Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, continue to hold us in her loving arms.

Comments? Let me know what you think, especially regarding what else the Church could be doing to reassure people with regards to the safety of their children.