Friday, April 29, 2011

Vatican Blognic: When in Rome, Tweet/Blog as the Romans Do (but in English, please)

One of the many wonderful things that have happened under our most recent Popes has been the acknowledgment of the computer age, blogging and even Tweeting. Monday, May 2, the day after the Beatification of Blessed John Paul, the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications will be holding a "blognic" for 150 bloggers from around the world to discuss the Church in the Blog Age (or whatever else they feel like. The Pope is not scheduled to appear, or blog.

Two Minnesota bloggers, The Ironic Catholic (IC, to her pals), who blogs under that name out of St. Mary's University in Winona, where she is a Professor of Theology (and a mom of four), and Susan Vigilante (what a great last name!), who blogs as the Desperate Irish Housewife ("Desperate" to her pals) will be present and most assuredly will be reporting back via their blogs, and Twitter.

Also invited:
Hilary White Writer for
Joan Lewis EWTN
Rocco Palmo
Roderick Vonhögen
Sandro Magister: L'Espresso
Taylor Marshall
Thomas Peters also
Tim Kelleher
There will be a less formal gathering on May 3 and many Americans not invited to the formal event will be present for that.

IC posted this on her blog, today

When In Rome, tweet as the Romans do....

I'll be leaving Saturday from Minneapolis and arrive in Rome this Sunday, 8 am. I will be attempting to tweet through the experience, but we'll see how that works. And I'm not tweeting through masses, people. I'm actually a luddite at heart who became accustomed to social media largely through learning to teach hyper-wired college students, as well as through Sic's web development side work. But luddite or not, I will try my best to get a picture of the Crescat with a Swiss Guard. And perhaps talk her down. Although she is picturing Thelma and Louise, I'm afraid I'm more of an ironic Jiminy Cricket type.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, click here. If you like twitter, you can see what everyone is tweeting by searching through the term #vaticanblognic . If you don't do twitter and want to know what's going on, check the Twitter widget on the left sidebar of the IC website. And if I'm good, I may even blog a bit, and Sic (spouse of the Ironic Catholic, of course) has said he will try to post as well (although the man is watching our four young kids!).

Prayers appreciated. Thanks for all the good wishes and more--I've been mightily humbled by the positive response to it all. Easter peace everyone, and see you soon--virtually or in person!

p.s. big news when I get back about little Anthony, the boy with CP who needs a family--more on this later but you can preview it here!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rosary-making ministry in Davenport touches Catholics worldwide

At The Mustard Seed, a Catholic bookstore in Iowa City, Roy and Roberta Wilsons hold knotted cord rosaries they made.

In Rome in October 2002, while waiting with Catholics from around the world for a papal Mass to begin, Roy and Roberta Wilson believed they saw the Blessed Mother’s hand at work.

As the couple passed time by making knotted cord rosaries, nearby pilgrims showed interest. Members of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City, the Wilsons tried to teach rosary making to the Catholics, many of whom didn’t speak English.

“Amazingly, they learned the quickest of any group we’d ever taught,” Roberta said. Then, she learned why.

“A man three or four rows behind us said, ‘Praise to Our Lady of the Rosary!’ It was her feast day. So we had some help from her.”

The Wilsons believe Mary has guided them throughout the 14 years they’ve been making and donating knotted cord rosaries, which Roy said have gone to Catholics on six continents. The couple makes 1,200 to 1,300 of the devotional aids each year, and several Catholics who learned the art from the husband and wife also make and donate rosaries.

The ministry has spread further than the Wilsons imagined it would when Roy took up the craft in 1997.

That year he was on a retreat at which a fellow participant, who was often seen carrying cords, piqued his curiosity. “I had to ask, ‘What are you doing?’” The man showed Roy a rosary and asked, “Would you like to learn to make these?”

Roy, who works as a tile setter, learned. “When I got home, I had to make the rosaries; I didn’t know why. I think Our Lady was whacking me around a bit.”

As he continued crafting them, requests poured in from friends, family and fellow parishioners. Seeing he needed help fulfilling those requests, Roberta started making rosaries, too.

Since then rosaries have gone to hospitals, rest homes, mourners at funerals, residents of several foreign countries and, with the help of St. Wenceslaus’ Knights of Columbus, to U.S. troops overseas. The cord rosaries are hard to break, so they’re well suited for children and soldiers, said Roberta, a school teacher.

The most challenging request for rosaries came in 2008 from a Slovakian seminarian who met a friend of the Wilsons while in the United States. The seminarian, now Father Jan Dolny, asked for 600 rosaries for everyone who would attend his ordination Mass — just two months away. Friends and family of the Wilsons ended up helping the couple make 850 rosaries — while praying for each future recipient.

The agnostic boyfriend of one such recipient later went through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Roberta said. “He was overwhelmed by the idea that someone in a different country was praying for him.”

Brother Erik Ross, a Dominican friar native to Wisconsin, also was moved by gifts of rosaries that the Wilsons sent his community in Poland in 2008. Many of the rosaries went to people whom missionary priests minister to in various countries, Br. Ross e-mailed the Wilsons. “Your generosity, and the generosity of your whole network of rosary-makers, is just astonishing… you are an example and witness to all of us,” he wrote.

Hearing such examples of how rosaries and prayers have touched people keeps the Wilsons going, Roberta said.

Roy agreed. “Realizing I can help promote the faith and bring people closer to God is my reward.”

Monica Hemingway feels similar benefits. She said that after taking a rosary-making class from the Wilsons about three years ago as she prepared for confirmation, she fell in love with the craft. “I like knowing my handiwork will be used by other people and they’ll be able to enjoy it,” said the 16-year-old member of St. Mary Parish in Iowa City. She has helped the Wilsons with rosary-making workshops at the Davenport Diocese’s youth rallies and given rosaries to family members, dinner guests and others. “It makes me feel closer to God and other people.”

At Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire, the rosary ministry has snowballed since the Wilsons taught a class there a couple years ago at parishioner Jennifer Hildebrand’s invitation, she said. Prayer partners for Catholics preparing for first Communion or confirmation pray with the knotted cord rosaries, then give the devotional aids to the parishioners when they receive the sacraments. Hildebrand estimates about 300 rosaries also have gone to residents of Grand Bois, Haiti, home to Our Lady of the River’s “sister parish” and where LeClaire parishioners have made mission trips.

For St. Wenceslaus parishioner Jan Dostal, knotted cord rosaries offer a way to reach out to an ill or injured Catholic. She takes them and Communion to patients at University of Iowa Hospitals. Lapsed Catholics there decline the Eucharist but seem happy to receive a rosary, she said.

She and her husband, Bill, have made the rosaries for at least a decade since taking a class from Roy. “As much as we try to pay him for his cord, he absolutely refuses,” Bill said. “He and Roberta are just so devoted to this. It‘s a wonderful cause.”
Davenport Catholic Messenger

Friday, April 15, 2011

New St.Paul-Mpls center offers accounting services to churches, schools


The newly opened Parish Accounting Service Center at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is helping to relieve some of the burden on pastors and parish leaders while providing a level of financial expertise many par­ishes cannot afford on their own.

A result of the archdiocesan Strategic Plan, the center offers participating parishes and schools comprehensive accounting and bookkeeping services, including bill paying, record keeping and financial reports. Participation is voluntary.

“If you’ve got any questions about the accuracy, the usefulness or the timeliness of your reporting, or if you’ve got better things for your [staff] to do than to be bookkeepers, we can take that burden off,” said John Bierbaum, archdiocesan chief financial officer.

Applying best practices

Bierbaum said the PASC applies best business practices to the church, a goal of the Strategic Plan.

“I was involved as the CFO of a multi-division public company, and that’s what we did there — create a centralized accounting system to accomplish exactly the same things: . . . drive some costs out of the system by essentially creating economies of scale,” Bierbaum said.

“[The PASC] enables us to assure some transparency in the numbers and some consistency between parishes as to how they report the numbers,” he added.

PASC employees all have accounting degrees and parish experience, said Mary Jo Jungwirth, PASC project manager. “I wanted to make sure [the employees] . . . really understand the environment in which they’re working,” she said.

After a parish contacts the PASC, whose offices are at the Chancery in St. Paul, employees visit the parish and work with key leadership to assess current operations, Jungwirth said.

“We do a lot of listening, then come back with a business plan based on how they operate and the funds that they’re bringing in,” she said. “Next, we talk through the business plan and come to an agreement. Then an accountant works with them to transition the parish to the service center.”

PASC employees work with parish leadership on an ongoing basis, offering reports they think might be helpful. However, the parish maintains full control of its financial decisions.

“Accounting is what we’re actually doing; that’s the product,” Jungwirth said. “But it’s about a systemized process of doing financial accounting and data collection and management. So it’s looking at the archdiocesan parish and the parish operations in a holistic way.”

Rates are determined based on parish size, and participating parishes are required to use the Logos Management Software System. The center will help parishes convert to Logos if they are not already using the software.

A ‘cost-effective’ solution

Business administrator Jon Jakoblich’s parish, Transfiguration in Oakdale, was one of the first to use the PASC’s serv­-ices.

“It’s certainly reduced a labor burden,” he said. “Now they’re generating monthly reports, like a balance sheet, a statement of activities and also cash flow projections. That’s the big one, . . . those cash flow projections. . . .

“Another way that they’ve helped us,” he said, “is by thoroughly analyzing all of our business practices, our internal controls, making sure all those are in place and they’re sound, quality practices.”

Jakoblich said he would recommend the PASC’s services to any parish.

“I think it’s a very cost-effective solution for what they’re able to provide us, which is a lot more financial analysis than I, as a very busy business administrator, could do on my own,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to partner with someone with some additional expertise and a lot more time on their hands to sit down and create these reports, analyze these things, and then hash things over with me. . . .

“It’s going to provide us with a much higher level of financial reporting and give us better information that’s going to enable us to make decisions — the right decisions — to keep our finances on track.” Catholic Spirit

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Highland Park Planned Parenthood Good Friday Prayer Vigil Schedule 8:30-4:00 p.m.

Pro-Life Action Ministry's annual all-day Good Friday Prayer Vigil is quickly approaching. This is one of the most moving events you could attend to commemorate the passion and death of our Lord Jesus. This event will bring for you a deepened awareness and spiritual understanding of Jesus' suffering and death which won our salvation. And it will greatly enhance the Good Friday services at your own church.
Please invite everyone you know to be a part of this vigil.

Archbishop Nienstedt: Opening Prayer, 8:30

Bishop Piche': 10:00

Fr. Randy Kasel, St. Charles, Bayport: 11:00 (he holds a prayer vigil most every Friday at 3:30 there also).

Fr. Humberto Palomino, St. Mark's, St. Paul, 12:30; He is an excellent homilist and obviously, bi-lingual.

Fr. Michael Becker, Rector, SJV Seminary, 1:30; He is also an excellent speaker. I heard him at the National Organization For Marriage rally at the State Capitol last Summer.

Fr. James Livingston, Chaplain, North Memorial Hospital, 3:00



All Day April 22, 2011

8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Planned Parenthood Abortuary

1965 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN

Join with us to pray in front of Minnesota's highest volume abortuary on Good Friday. Fifteen area pastors will lead in scripture and prayer each half hour throughout the day. A life-sized cross will be our sign as we carry the cross of abortion. An area will be cordoned off for a family-safe day of prayer.

More than 2,000 Christians joined in prayer throughout the day at each of the last two Good Friday Vigils. Please come for an hour or two, half the day or the whole day.

Music in the morning by the Franciscan Brothers of Peace and for the remainder of the day, Richard Schettly and Company.

Thousands around the country will join Catholic Church at Easter

A young adult raised in communist Cuba, an African woman who grew up as a Muslim, a marine being deployed in June, and a former abortion clinic administrator, along with tens of thousands others around the country, are joining the Catholic Church in the United States at Easter.

These catechumens, now known as “the elect,” and candidates for full communion have all participated in a process of conversion and study of the Catholic faith through Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA has several stages, the most important of which is the moment when they will receive or complete the sacraments of initiation, usually at the Easter Vigil. A catechumen is a person who has never been baptized; a candidate is someone who was baptized in a Christian tradition and now desires to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. In some dioceses, the candidates also include baptized Catholics who never completed their sacraments of initiation and weren’t raised in the faith. . . .

In the Austin, Texas, area, Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director and author of the bestselling book “Unplanned,” is getting ready for yet another “unplanned” conversion that will bring her into the Catholic Church. In September 2009, Johnson was asked to hold the ultrasound probe during an abortion. In the monitor, she saw the baby struggle to get away. This experience, and her unease with Planned Parenthood’s emphasis on increasing abortions, gave her the courage to leave her job and undertake a journey of conversion. She went to the Coalition for Life’s office down the street, a Christian pro-life organization whose members were a constant, prayerful and peaceful presence outside the clinic. There she received practical help as she navigated joblessness, legal problems with Planned Parenthood and broken friendships. Her pro-life advocacy also met the disapproval of her pro-choice church. Many of her new friends are Catholic, and through them she has learned about the faith. She and her family will join the Church at Easter, along with 911 others in the Austin Diocese. . . .

Young people whose parents are in the RCIA program or who are past the usual age for receiving the sacraments of initiation can join a special version of the RCIA for children. The Archdiocese of New Orleans reports that of the 132 catechumens entering the church at Easter, 48 are under age 18; and of the 150 candidates, 10 are children. Likewise, the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, shows that 56 of the 206 catechumens and 28 of 366 candidates are children.

Though larger archdioceses usually boast the largest overall number of converts—New York (1,600), Philadelphia (811) Washington (1,100), Seattle (1,000+), Portland-in-Oregon (875), Cincinnati (1,100), Galveston-Houston (2,490), Atlanta (1,912), Louisville (504), Milwaukee (613), Saint Paul and Minneapolis (643) — the Diocese of San Diego, with 1,253 people (425 catechumens, 828 candidates) entering the Church at Easter, is proof that you don’t need to be large to show some very impressive numbers.

Comparatively smaller (in population) dioceses also report numbers that illustrate the vitality of the Catholic Church in the Midwest, South and Southeast of the United States. The Diocese Birmingham, Alabama, has 487 people joining the Church at Easter; the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia, 421 people; the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, 355 people. The Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, will add 800 new Catholics; the Diocese of Cleveland, 513; the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, 450; the Diocese of Toledo, 572 people; and Grand Rapids, 568.

The Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, will welcome 434 people (98 elect and 336 candidates). Over half (224) are Hispanic, the fastest growing ethnic group in the diocese.

Some rural dioceses, which encompass an entire state—such as the Diocese of Boise, Idaho, with 195 catechumens, and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, with 128 catechumens and 247 candidates, for a total of 375 soon-to-be new Catholics— also are signs of active and effective evangelizing faith communities. . . .

These numbers are based on participation in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, a part of the RCIA process usually conducted at the beginning of Lent. They do not include infant baptisms, which in 2010 totaled 857,410 according to the Official Catholic Directory (OCD). For 2010, OCD reported that there were 43,279 adult baptisms in the United States and 75,724 people received into full communion.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Why I Love Jesus" Meme

I got "tagged." Pal Cathy of Alexandria, aka Cranky Cathy, Queen of the Twin Cities Catholic Blogging Corps the Recovering Dissident Catholic megasite, must be mad at me. Someone tagged her and she dug up some old grudges and brought me into the recently resurrected meme culture.

A check of Stella's index tells me that I've been involved with a dozen or so memes in the past, but I have been thankful for the past year or so to think that this blog activity had ceased. Uh, uh. Now Cathy sez that I have to give you five reasons "Why I Love Jesus" (I hope I have more than that) and then tag I must tag five more folks to get them to do the same. So be nice to me today and tomorrow or else I might be choosing you.

#5 I Love Jesus because I was born into a good Catholic family, and while people who talk as much as we do occasionally get into arguments, we still talk to each other lo these many years down the line.

#4 I Love Jesus because even after I fell away from the Church as an adult, despite 12 years of elementary and secondary catechism and religion instruction, I still considered myself to be a Catholic, although a very bad one, and ultimately reverted and returned to the Church. I know Jesus had much to do with that. I sure wouldn't have had the discipline to do that myself. Thank you, Jesus.

#3 I Love Jesus because He accepts me despite my many faults. And he gives me the grace of the sacraments, especially Confession, and a loud conscience, that doesn't permit me to go long without retuning to the Confession box. And he has me living in an area where Confession 7/24 is readily available, in walking distance if need be.

#2 I Love Jesus because He keeps trying to improve me. Despite my resistance. A few years back I began to say the Rosary now and then but despite my half-hearted intentions, I was never able to say it seven days in a row. A few months ago, I broke though that "ceiling of sloth" and began to say the Rosary daily, to the point now that I feel guilty If I don't do it. Although I must admit that occasionally I have to revert to the "Emergency Rosary" to get it done within the time limit. [Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Pray for me now and at the hour of my Death. Amen.]

#1 I Love Jesus because He does love me. For most of my life I could not understand the Second Great Commandment: "Love Your Neighbor as Yourself." If I didn't love myself, how was it possible for me to "love my neighbor?" Once I understood that Jesus did love me, I began to comprehend that I must be loveable if Jesus did love me, with all my faults. And therefor I should be loving myself, and loving my neighbor, too.

Most of you can start breathing now. Here are the people that I have chosen to play the "I Love Jesus" Meme: Laura, the Crazy Mama, the Ironic Catholic, Sanctus Belle, who blogs at Our Lady's Tears, the Badger Catholic, and Sancte Pater, the internet Photoshop whiz who designed my new header!

Michael Voris on Why He Was Banned from Speaking on Church Property in the Diocese of Scranton


Click on bottom right arrows for full screen view!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

R.I.P. Bishop William H. Bullock - St. Paul - Minneapolis, Des Moines, Madison

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him;
may his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God,
Rest in Peace. Amen.


William H. Bullock, bishop emeritus of Madison, Wis., whose service to the Roman Catholic Church began with parishes in Minneapolis and Edina, then as an educator at St. Thomas Academy, has died.

Bullock, 83, died Sunday of lung cancer at a pastoral center in Madison.

Bullock's 51 years of active service to the church culminated with his mandatory retirement in 2003 after 10 years as bishop of the Madison Diocese. Previously, he was bishop of the Des Moines Diocese for six years.

At the time of his 80th birthday, Bullock told the newspaper of the Madison Diocese: "The next big thing I will do in my life is die, and I want to do that well."

Among Bullock's defining moments in Madison were the creation of an office of Hispanic ministry and authorizing construction of a Catholic Multicultural Center, which provided social services for new immigrants and the poor. He also created a diocesan sexual abuse review board, made up mostly of laypeople.

"He wanted to make sure we were doing what the Lord calls us to do, which is greeting a stranger and making a guest feel welcome," Monsignor Daniel Ganshert, who served as Bullock's assistant, told the Wisconsin State Journal.

Bullock was born in 1927 on a family farm near Maple Lake, Minn., and he turned to his rural upbringing as an icebreaker during a one-on-meeting with Pope John Paul II.

Bullock recalled saying to the pontiff, " 'Holy Father, I am quite nervous here today -- I am a simple farm boy from Minnesota and here I am in the presence of the successor of St. Peter.'

"At that moment, the Holy Father took my hand and said, 'And I am a simple peasant pope from Poland, but God wanted to use us both.' With those kind words, I was then at ease in our visit."

Bullock graduated from Annandale High School during World War II and attended what is now the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul before serving in the Navy during the war.

After the war, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in philosophy, then entered St. Paul Seminary. His post-graduate studies took him back to St. Thomas and Notre Dame.

Bullock was ordained in 1952 at St. Paul Cathedral, then was associate pastor at St. Stephen in Minneapolis (1952-55); Our Lady of Grace in Edina (1955-56); and Incarnation in Minneapolis (1956-57).

He entered education, teaching religion at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights starting in 1957 and was its headmaster from 1967 until 1971.

He returned to parish work in 1971 as pastor of St. John the Baptist in Excelsior from 1971-1980 and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Minneapolis in 1980.

In 1980, Bullock became an auxiliary bishop for the Twin Cities archdiocese, then was appointed bishop in Des Moines seven years later.

A citation accompanying an honorary degree in 2005 from the University of St. Thomas noted of Bullock: "Your life as a priest and as a leader of hundreds of thousands of Catholics in the Upper Midwest has served both as an inspiration and a lesson for us all."

In June 2006, Bullock had an audience at the Vatican and was thrilled by the "enormous privilege to be able to shake hands with Pope Benedict XVI," noting that they were born three days apart.

Bullock described Benedict as "a man of great clarity and precision in his teaching and consistent in the clarity with which he preaches."

Bullock is survived by two sisters, Adelaide "Addie" and Elizabeth "Betty" Bullock. A public funeral mass open to the public will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Thursday in Madison at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 401 S. Owen Dr. Interment will be in Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, Madison. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Catholic Multicultural Center through Our Lady Queen of Peace. Star Tribune

The Diocese of Madison sadly announces the death of Most Reverend William H. Bullock, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Madison

The Diocese of Madison sadly announces the death of Most Reverend William H. Bullock, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Madison. Bishop Bullock died peacefully the afternoon of Sunday, April 3rd, at the age of 83 at his residence at the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center in Madison. In recent weeks, Catholics in the Diocese of Madison were asked to pray for Bishop Bullock, who had only recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Funeral provisions are pending and an update, regarding final arrangements, will be posted as soon as they are available.

Bishop Bullock was born on April 13, 1927, in Maple Lake, Minnesota. After serving in the United States Navy during World War II he completed seminary studies and was ordained a priest for the then-Archdiocese of Saint Paul in 1952. Father Bullock undertook three parochial assignments before being named an instructor and then headmaster at St. Thomas Academy, St. Paul. Concurrent with his duties at St. Thomas, Father Bullock completed an M.A. in Liturgy and Religious Education at The University of Notre Dame and an ED.S. at St. Thomas University. From 1971-1980 he served as Pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Excelsior, MN and in 1980 was named Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. On February 10, 1987 Bishop Bullock was named by Pope John Paul II Bishop of Des Moines and on April 13, 1993 was named the third Bishop of Madison. Serving past the age of retirement, Bishop Bullock began his service as an active Bishop Emeritus on May 23, 2003.

As shepherd of the Diocese of Madison for ten years, Bishop Bullock outlined his priorities early on: encouraging increased spirituality among the priests and laity of the diocese, evaluating ways to efficiently use buildings, programs and agencies, and to build a vision for the Diocese together. Bishop Bullock, at his installation in 2003, stressed the importance of Christian love in this vision, saying: “First, loving and trusting God and second, loving our neighbor generously and without resentment. If we continue to do that, nothing will be able to separate us from the love of Christ.”

During his years of leadership of, and service to, the Diocese, Bishop Bullock established the official archives of the diocese; established the thriving St. Thérèse of Lisieux Lecture Series, as an opportunity to experience that life giving presence of Catholic Tradition, to learn more about their faith and to live charity more authentically; led the Diocese of Madison in celebrating its 50th anniversary (1996), and gave the great work started by St. Martin House a real home through formally opening the Catholic Multicultural Center (2002). His vision at the CMC is continued through the generous leadership and work of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, in Madison.

Bishop Robert C. Morlino often said of Bishop Bullock in life, and repeats now in his passing, that “He was an ideal predecessor for me and I could not be more grateful for that. The impact of his labors here bears fruit to this day, and I’m thankful to have known and served with him. Please pray with me that he may be granted by the Almighty those gifts which served as his three-word Episcopal Motto: Grace, Mercy, Peace.”

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Catholic Multicultural Center through Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church would be appreciated. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Archdiocese of St. Paul-Mpls: 33 priests accused but not named

The archdiocese's list of those facing sex abuse allegations dealing with minors stays unpublished, counter to what others have done.

The archdiocese's list has been around for nearly eight years and is the subject of at least one lawsuit filed by a man who says he was sexually abused as a teenager by a former Twin Cities area priest.

The question of whether to reveal the priests on the list came into question again this week when St. John's Abbey in Collegeville released the names of 17 monks who have faced credible allegations of sexual abuse or other misconduct. The disclosure was part of a settlement of lawsuits against the abbey.

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who has represented thousands of clergy sex abuse victims, and victims' rights advocates have pressed to make such lists public for years. Doing so helps victims heal, leads others to come forward and protects children from possible future abuse, they say.

"Until all the names of the all offenders become known and exposed ... other survivors will suffer in secrecy and silence and shame until they know they're not alone," Anderson said. "Kids remain at risk. Those offenders could be in schools, our neighborhoods; they could be in churches."

Archdiocese officials counter that releasing the list could subject someone who is innocent to false accusations. Andrew Eisenzimmer, legal counsel for the archdiocese, says at least eight of the 33 priests on the list are dead and the rest no longer are in the ministry.

So far, the courts have sided with the archdiocese and barred publication of the list. Mike Finnegan, an attorney with Anderson's law office, said the Diocese of Winona has a similar list with 13 alleged abusers from the clergy identified, but it too has been kept private by court order.

"I don't believe all of them [33 priests] have been credibly accused," Eisenzimmer said. "I'm largely basing this on what I know about each of those cases."

U.S. bishops commissioned the John Jay College of Law in New York to compile a nationwide statistical summary of the clergy abuse of minors not long after the church's clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in Boston in 2002. Dioceses were asked to review their records over the past 50 years and submit data for the study. Among the findings by the Twin Cities archdiocese: A total of 26 diocesan priests had been accused of sex abuse involving minors. If priests of other religious orders and other dioceses who had worked in the archdiocese were included, seven more priests, 33 in total, were known to have been accused of abusing minors.

Eisenzimmer said that that total hasn't increased since the information was submitted to the John Jay study almost eight years ago.

"We included people in the John Jay study that probably there's serious doubts about whether the allegations are true or not," he said. "The study asked us to identify allegations of sexual abuse. But it defined allegations quite broadly, as any accusation that's not implausible. To be ... as honest as we could, we put people in that category where there had never been a criminal proceeding to determine whether they had abused someone; there had never been a civil proceeding of any sort."

Terence McKiernan, president of, which tracks Catholic clergy sex abuse cases, said he's aware of about 24 dioceses that have made public lists of clergy accused of sexual abuse involving minors.

Publication can help victims heal and encourage others to come forward, he said. They also can help prevent future abuse, he argues. Often, the listed priests have never been prosecuted or charged because the statute of limitations has run out.

"If the list isn't out there, survivors are going to suffer in silence," he said. "Until they know that someone else has suffered the same thing they did, they think they're the only one. Many of the priests on the lists are still alive. The question is, 'Who are they, and where are they?' Is one of those priests the kind gentleman that moved in next door and is very kind to your kids?"

Restoring trust in Milwaukee

Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for the archbishop of Milwaukee, said that archdiocese began in 2004 to publish a list of "restricted" diocesan priests "due to substantiated reports of sexual abuse of a minor." At the time, victims' rights advocates and others were calling for such a list to be made public. The list is updated regularly online at the archdiocese's website, Topczewski said.

"We felt that in the climate in Milwaukee at the time ... that this was a good step in rebuilding trust, being transparent and providing information in a way that provided the assurances ... that we've done our due diligence in responding" to abuse reports, Topczewski said.

Eisenzimmer stressed that the Twin Cities archdiocese is in compliance with nationwide church regulations aimed at protecting children. By not publishing the list of the 33 accused priests, "we've taken a different approach, which I think is kind of a nuanced approach, and is respective of victims, it's respective of the parish community, it's respective of the leadership in that parish community," he said. Star Tribune