Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Diocese of Lincoln

The best pastoral planning is the rejection of everything promoted by the Conference for Pastoral Planning and Council Development. Link to Liturgy Guy

Monday, November 30, 2015

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

I'm pretty sure he was a fraud. I'm more sure that people who don't have a complete grasp of what he said and what he thought shouldn't be promoting him.

As I say, I'm pretty sure he was a fraud:

Certainly there's a lot to be explained if he wasn't:
    • "According to my own principles, I cannot fight against Christianity; I can only work inside it by trying to transform and convert it. A revolutionary attitude would be much easier, and much more pleasant, but it would be suicidal. So I must go step by step, tenaciously." (Letter, Mar. 21, 1941)
    • "The more the years pass, the more I begin to think that my function is probably simply that... of John the Baptist, that is, of one who presages what is to come. Or perhaps what I am called on to do is simply to help in the birth of a new soul in that which already is." (ibid)
    • "Sometimes I am a bit afraid, when I think of the transposition to which I must submit my mind concerning the common notions of creation, inspiration, miracle, original sin, resurrection, etc., in order to be able to accept them." (Letter of Dec. 17, 1922)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Government

The central insight of public choice economics comes from the observation that when some issue in society is turned over to the government for the government to supervise, the government employees do not manage the issue for the maximum benefit of society as a whole. The concept is explained in the article Public Choice Economics in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics: 

"Although most people base some of their actions on their concern for others, the dominant motive in people’s actions in the marketplace—whether they are employers, employees or consumers—is a concern for themselves. Public choice economists make the same assumption—that although people acting in the political marketplace have some concern for others, their main motive, whether they are voters, politicians, lobbyists or bureaucrats is self-interest. In James Buchanan’s words the theory 'replaces romantic and illusory notions about the workings of governments with notions that embody more skepticism.' " 

A Christian summary of the theory would be that even government employees are marked by original sin.

Monday, July 28, 2014

What Can I Say about the Pope?

I had intended to reserve this blog to the one topic I cared about and on which I thought I had something useful to say—what the pastoral planners are doing to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. But it turns out that I have another topic that I think fit those criteria, how people should talk about the Holy Father.

My first rule is that I don’t care what non-Catholics say about him. They have no reason to treat him like he’s somebody special. If they tell the truth it has the added benefit of letting Catholics know what others think about their religion. I think there’s a fair number of Catholics who think the world has a respect for Catholicism that does not exist, and we’re all better off knowing the truth.

My second rule is that everybody should feel free to say what they really think. I don’t know a reason why we can’t tell each other what we think is true.

Does that cover every situation? Non-Catholics should say whatever they like and Catholics should say whatever they think is true? No. There's still the way Catholics say what they think. I don’t like the way a lot Catholics talk about the Pope when they disagree with him. I don’t like when they talk about him the way Democrats talked about Bush in 2006 and Republicans talk about Obama now. People who talk about him like they know what he’s supposed to be doing and they know he’s not doing it. I don’t like Catholics to talk about the Holy Father in a dismissive way--the way that liberal Catholics usually talked about the pope from 1968 till the election of Pope Francis, with a brief break for Pope John Paul I.

Lots of Catholics talk about the Holy Father like that, like he’s some stranger to them, like part of his job is to meet their expectations. Let’s assume that the Holy Father said something really stupid, how should you react? Should you say something that makes clear that you are entirely separate from him and what he says? Make sure that everybody knows that although you’re Catholic, you’d never say something that dumb? Or should you wince, and pray and hope that the Holy Father can fix it? If he were to say something really stupid and embarrassing would it be like some politician you don’t like doing something stupid? Or would it be like your father doing something stupid in public?

Now it is possible for people to disagree with the Holy Father without being like that. Phil Lawler is a smart guy and a good Catholic and he says that the Holy Father’s talks with that Italian atheist guy, Eugenio Scalfari, were "imprudent." So criticizing the Pope is something that can be done respectfully, but I wonder if I can do it? Can I criticize a pope in a respectful manner and also be correct in my criticism?

I think it’s something that’s easier if you have historical perspective. I can say it was a mistake for Pope Alexander VI to help his son, Cesare Borgia, conquer Italy. And I think it would have been perfectly proper for a good Catholic in 1500 to oppose this, and speak against it. (Machiavelli, though, thought it was a good idea.)

Well, that shows I can do it, but that one was just too easy. I’ll try again with a little less historical perspective. Let’s see if I can criticize in a correct and respectful manner any of the popes of the last 75 years.

Pius XII was a very intelligent, learned and energetic man. He spoke ten languages. When he was pope he made many decisions about the Church himself. He carefully controlled many things in the Church, more than any Pope has ever done, maybe more than any other Pope would have been capable of doing. 

During his papacy the Modernists were working in secret to win adherents among priests and theologians. Every year they were a little stronger than the year before. Because Pius very closely controlled the work of the Holy Office to make sure that people who taught in behalf of the Church were teaching the truth, other means of fighting heresy fell into disuse. A bishop or theologian isn’t going to criticize another theologian if he knows the Pope is supervising an investigation of that theologian. A prominent teacher who was teaching something questionable wouldn’t be criticized because it was assumed that if he was doing it in public Rome knew about it and Rome thought it was OK. So the normal ways of dealing with error fell into disuse. They were really needed in the 1960s when there were heretical theologians in every newspaper, magazine and college, and they weren't there. The heretics were not publicly opposed.

So can I criticize Pius for over-centralizing so much in the Church, including dealing with heretical teaching ? I don’t think I can. Certainly there were bad results that came from the over-centralization, but during the pontificate of Pius it was very important that there be no errors in these matters. The times were so critical. Dietrich von Hildebrand, Jacques Maritain and St. Josemaria Escriva were suspected of error. A wrong decision in their cases would have been disastrous. All three were important in holding things together in the 1960s and 1970s. Pius may have known that making so many decisions himself was not the ideal way for the pope to preside over the Church, but he also may have known that the times were so critical that it was the right thing for him to keep everything under such tight personal control. So I have no criticism of Pius.

John XXIII is sometimes criticized with the word "imprudent," by people who say he didn’t realize how delicate the Church was. The Church couldn’t handle the pope running around saying "Throw open the windows." I’ve read that even using the word "aggiornamento," which I understand means "updating," was imprudent. And, it’s said, ecumenical councils should only be called when there is a pressing need, and in the absence of one he shouldn’t have called Vatican II.

Again, I don’t know. I know that Vatican I had never been closed, only adjourned, and having an ecumenical council not open but not quite closed either isn’t the way things are supposed to be. The First Vatican Council was not closed because it hadn’t finished its work. Vatican II issued documents that addressed questions that the Fathers of Vatican I intended to address but did not. They had to leave Rome because of its impending conquest by Garibaldi. I think 1962 was a better time for the council than any time after 1962. Every year the Modernists were stronger and stronger, in the seminaries, in the religious orders, among priests and religious. They worked in secret and that suited them. Their power and influence steadily increased during the years after 1910. It was hard to contain the Modernists when they emerged into the light of day after the council. If a council did not meet until 1972 or 1982 they would have been that much stronger. Maybe it would not have taken a council for their emergence. Maybe the council forced their hand and they stopped being secretive prematurely (from their point of view). 

Eventually there would have been a council to close Vatican I and to deal with the issues left unaddressed and the later it came, the harder it would be for the Church. A lot of trouble came after the council but I don’t think it was caused by the council, it was caused by the Modernism that was living and growing in the Church leading up to the council. The Church wasn’t "delicate" for any reason but that. Aggiornamento and the council brought the Modernists out of hiding, and fooled them into thinking this was their moment, their chance to take over. It wasn’t. But if they stayed in hiding longer, things might well have been worse.

If I were to criticize Paul VI for anything it would be his deference to elite opinion. He seemed deferential to the people who embodied this elite "wisdom." But, again, maybe he was right. Maybe right then an all out push against the zeitgeist would have broken the Church, maybe into many pieces. He succeeded, mostly, in keeping in the Church the people who would have supported the all out push, and he did it without a schism. 

If you don’t remember the 1960s you may not know how strong that zeitgeist was, how convinced people were that everything was going to change, that big changes were necessary and inevitable and fighting against change was evil. For example, in the United States abortion was so thoroughly rejected in 1963 that Planned Parenthood said it was against abortion, and in 1973 the Supreme Court imposed unrestricted abortion on the whole country. I think Paul had a harder task than any other Pope I’m familiar with. People, especially intellectual elites and people with worldly authority, demanded change, big change, and people in general were convinced that this was at least inevitable and probably good. People in authority in the Church were in the forefront of demanding this change.

Paul did not strongly resist this call for change, except when he had to. During Vatican II things were not that bad. Everybody knew there was a faction pressing for change. But everybody also knew that there was an opposing faction who thought the essentials had to be preserved. After the council, though, the liberals were able to sell people on the idea that at Vatican II their side won, and everything was going to change and we were going to make up new doctrines as we went along. For three years that idea gained increasing strength. In June 1968 Paul issued an apostolic letter entitled "The Credo of the People of God." After that liberals could still say everything changed, but they, and people who paid attention to Paul, knew that the pope did not agree. They pretended that Paul's "Credo" changed nothing, but they were wrong. Their opponents had something to cite that said even after Vatican II the Catholic faith remained the Catholic faith. Jacques Maritain suggested the Credo to Pope Paul, and he wrote its first draft.

What the world wanted from Paul more than anything else was, of course, contraception. He, of course, could not give in, could not teach error, and did not. In the reaction to Humanae Vitae we can see what may have happened if he had refused change on everything. Almost no one stood with Paul, a few scattered bishops, a few isolated, unpublicized, intellectuals. The bishops of Canada formally voted against Humanae Vitae. Paul got through this crisis without a schism, but what if the crises kept coming? Paul bent to the prevailing winds a lot. He did not interfere very much with the liberals who had power in Church structures, but how much progress could he make acting alone, without allies? 

And Paul did not just get the right answer in "Humanae Vitae" but wrote a prophetic document. 

The times were revolutionary. The Church was Satan's special target. Paul had few allies among the bishops and prominent priests, and fewer among intellectuals and academics. I think Paul did miraculously well in leading the Church under the worst circumstances.

As far as I know neither I nor anyone else has any criticism of John Paul I.

Liberals and some other critics of John Paul the Great complain that he was not a good administrator. There is some element of truth in this, but the bigger truth is that when you're doing one thing you're not doing another. He looked beyond Rome and overlooked problems in Rome, but what he did in the world was much more important than what he didn't do in Rome.

The people who complain so bitterly about Pope Francis were not really happy under Pope Benedict. They complained that he wrote books about Jesus when he should have been doing something else, something that would have totally ended the power of liberals in the Church. I was never impressed with the argument. Pope Benedict’s teaching, in his talks, in his official documents and in his books, is a gift to the Church that will last for a long time. He did so much to fix the Church's attitude toward liturgy. That gift is going to last too. And he could have done much more administratively in the Church if he had more help, if he had bishops willing to help him the way he helped John Paul.

So what about Pope Francis and Scalfari? Apparently Scalfari is a famous atheist in Italy who talks to famous people, then writes about the conversation as if he has a transcript, but actually any way he wants to. I think the question is what do you want from the Pope? Should he make an attempt to communicate with atheists? If so how should he do it? I think talking to this guy with his ground rules is fine. If the Holy Father turned down an equally famous atheist, who would have been fair and accurate, then the Holy Father made a mistake, but I don't think that guy exists.

Because Scalfari did not accurately report the Holy Father's words there were errors that had to be fixed. This is where the upset comes from, but I don't think it's a big problem. The problem was that the news media said the Holy Father said stuff that no Catholic should say. Again, not good, but how bad is it? I think there are three relevant audiences. First there are people who don't know much about what the Church teaches. I think this is the group Phil Lawler cares about. Certainly we'd prefer that they get the Pope's opinions correctly reported, but they don't appreciate the fine points anyway. If they hear only the first report they get the impression that the Pope is a nice guy who wants to connect with atheists, and they don't appreciate or understand why the controversial quotes are controversial. If they happen to pay attention to the second report, the one where the Pope's real views are explained, then they get the straight story and why the misquote was a misquote. 

The second group consists of the liberal Catholics who get all happy when they hear that the Pope said something that contradicts Catholic teaching. Now I guess I don't really like that, but if they gets their hopes up and then dashed often enough they might just accept that the Holy Father is a Catholic, despite their wish that he wasn't. The Holy Father has talked to this guy three times now. The first time there was a big kerfuffel because nobody knew how he worked. The second time there was a smaller one. The third time even smaller, since we had already been through this twice. I don't think the last interview really did any serious harm to anybody in the first two groups. 

The third group condists of the people that these interviews really bothered. I'll call them "conservatives." 

"Conservatives" like to hear the Pope saying "conservative" things. Many were mad because the first reports had him saying liberal things. They were especially mad this time because the Pope had done this twice before, and they thought he shouldn't have put himself in a position to be misquoted again. Some say that they don't think the problem is the atheist's method, but that the Holy Father actually says this stuff. I really don't know why they prefer that option, but some of them do. I think that if an atheist actually had a Pope telling him non-Catholic things he'd write it down verbatim, maybe ask for it to be repeated, maybe use his phone to record it. 

Now we don't have an unorthodox Pope, but if we did our problem would be that, and not that he talks to atheists. Anyway, I think that the reason these people are mad is because they think the Pope should only say things that make them happy. I think they should just offer it up. This pope is more informal and more likely to be misquoted than Benedict, but the media put a lot of effort into misquoting Benedict too. The National Catholic Reporter used to say that Benedict kind of approved of condoms, in a way, sometimes. I don't think they actually believed it, but they enjoyed saying it. The Holy Father thinks (or thought) talking to Scalfari does more good than harm. The harm done seems to me to be temporary and not important. The good might be very important to some people, maybe to Scalfari himself. I'm sure the people who get so worked up about these interviews are just wrong. As a matter of fact I worry about them. If they can't handle this, how could they handle a real persecution?

This post is too long, but summarizing it is pretty easy. It's possible to respectfully disagree with the Pope, and some people do. But I think the people who do this are usually wrong, and the popes are usually right.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Big Meeting in Frankford

The parishioners of St. Joachim in Frankford are hosting a presentation from their canon law consultant to talk about the appeals process, developments with their appeal, recent developments in Rome and insights on the future of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia based on Boston’s experience.

Location: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 4442 Frankford Avenue. 
Time: Thursday October 24, 6 PM.

This would be especially important for people in a currently threatened parish. This is an opportunity to learn about the options before the bad news comes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Should Be Done? Part 4

A commenter asked a question after the "Why Does St. Joachim Have To Go?" post. I wrote an answer, but couldn't get it to appear as a reply to the comment, so I'm putting it here as a new post. Here’s the question: assuming that the archbishop has a specific goal for the number of parishes the archdiocese should have, how should we get there, given the present situation? Or, "which closed parishes should be left open, which open ones should be closed, and which consolidations should have occurred in different permutations?" I’m going to take this question to mean "What should the archbishop do right now?"

I don’t have "one simple trick that lets you undo the damage the pastoral planners have done to your diocese." And much as I love the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, if I had the simple trick the first thing I’d do is send it to Bishop Lennon in Cleveland, a diocese that the planners have done great damage to. That operation was lead by one of the leading lights of the Conference on Pastoral Planning and Council Development, who appears now to be unemployed. If the pastoral planners could do what they claim, the Diocese of Cleveland would need a pastoral planner more than any other diocese. Not only is their former pastoral planner gone, but he has been replaced by no one. They do without the expertise of a CPPCD planner, and they are better off, although the damage done by their former pastoral planners remains, and festers. I wonder if Archbishop Chaput has spoken with Bishop Lennon and has heard whatever the bishop learned from having been through the CPPCD wringer.

This question assumes that I’m right about the Philadelphia pastoral planners. If I’m right, the planners are not just wrong, they’re way wrong. My post entitled "What's Behind the School Closing Campaign?" states what I think is wrong with the planners’ goals for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, with evidence. I analyze the evidence under four categories: 1) public choice economics; 2) the planners’ ideology; 3) class antagonisms; and 4) fixation on committees. To try to summarize that very long post I conclude that 1) one of the planners’ motives is to be in charge, to boss people around, "to make a difference"; 2) the planners’ ideology is the futureChurch/"Gather Faithfully Together" religion, not the Catholicism that that the popes have taught, not the religion whose tenets are stated in the Catechism ; 3) they represent the "Belmont" group in the class war described in Charles Murray’s Coming Apart; and 4) everything they do and want to do is pushed through committees, which interferes with the archbishop’s governance of the diocese, and, in fact, any kind of individual responsibility for anything. Their plans are not just bad, they’re real bad. We could be seriously injured by what they’re up to. Cleveland has been.

So how can what they’ve already done be fixed? There’s no short cut. I think that the Archbishop should find a priest, a holy priest, a wise priest and ask him to look at what’s been done, and think about it carefully. Some faithful Catholic priest who is not part of the process should look at everything carefully and see how bad it really is. Not a committee, one man. He should tell the archbishop whether the whole pastoral planning operation is an Emperor’s new clothes kind of thing, and whether the right thing to do is to accept the bad decisions this process came to or try to fix them. There’s no magic answer. Somebody should look hard at everything and see if fixing some of it is possible. I think it will be, and I also think that if somebody had done this for the diocese of Cleveland, they’d be a lot better off now. This isn’t easy, it’s hard, but I think it should be done, in justice for the parishes that have already been dealt with, and to prevent disaster for the rest of the archdiocese.

That investigator should look at everything the planners have done and see if there are any real injustices. Many people claim to have been lied to. They should have the opportunity to explain to him why they think that. He should try to figure out if it’s true or not. If lies were told regarding the process of closing some particular parish that should go on the injustice side of the ledger.

He should also decide if there is class based discrimination of the kind that Charles Murray writes about. I think it’s likely there is and that it would indicate an injustice that ought to be fixed. The fact that Frankford can support an Episcopalian church, but not a Catholic one certainly seems odd. The way Frankford and Holy Savior were treated seems to support the hypothesis.

He should look at everything, especially those places where people are complaining the most. I think people complaining is a good mark that something may be wrong, and lack of complaint may indicate that what was done can be left alone. I think he should look at everything, though, and consult people who actually are familiar with the facts. He should look at what the author of the Philadelphia Church Project website has written, but also try to talk with him and see what he thinks beyond that. He should also talk to the pastors involved, in confidence, to see if they know more than they’re saying in public because they don’t want to hurt the archdiocese with dissention. Even if they think what I think, there’s no good that would come of them speaking in public.

Another possible source of information would be employees of the archdiocese who know what was done, but establishing a secure channel of communication for them would not be easy.

Finally, what if he decides that some real injustices have been done and some parishes ought to be re-opened, and the archbishop agrees? There shouldn’t be immediate closures to make up for them. Getting to the archbishop’s desired number, if he has one, will have to be put off for five or ten years. A parish that was wrongly spared by the planners’ incompetence shouldn’t be closed now. Keeping those open, giving them a chance to survive if they can, would be worth it. Closing a parish to make up for the resurrection of one that was wrongly closed would just cause way too much animosity.

One reason this took so long to write is that it used to be longer. I had a longer description of the Frankford situation, and some specificity about what ought to be done there, but if I’m an expert on anything it’s the planners and their ideology. I don’t have special factual expertise about Frankford, so I took it out. I just want an unbiased person to look at all the facts and evaluate them fairly.

Another reason it took so long is that I looked again at the process and the criteria they claim to use. Here are some of the criteria. They look for "Active advisory councils, with recommendations put forth by the parish based on consultation with their Parish Pastoral Council, Parish Finance Council and Parishioners" and for "Trained, qualified and competent leaders in both paid staff and volunteer positions" and "Just compensation for employees." If they’re telling the truth, then if the pastor is not a good bureaucrat, and doesn’t do things they way they want, the way Dilbert’s boss does things, they punish the parishioners by closing the parish. And who is the "they"? Who are the actual decision makers? Well, that’s secret, too. What’s clear is that the committee that supposedly makes the decisions is too big to make any decisions. Somebody runs it, but it’s very important that we not know who. Here’s the committee: "Regional Bishop and the Dean for the area under study, Coordinator of Archdiocese Planning Initiatives, Monsignor Arthur E. Rodgers; Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Monsignor Daniel J. Kutys; Chancellor, Monsignor Gerard C. Mesure; Vicar for Clergy, Monsignor Daniel J. Sullivan; Office for Black Catholics William Bradley; Office for Catholic Education, Jacqueline Coccia; Office for Communications, Ken Gavin; Office for Cultural Diversity, Reverend A. Bruce Lewandowski; Office for Parish Services and Support, Marc Fisher; Office for Parish Services and Support, Bob Miller; Office for Stewardship and Development, Sarah Hanley; Office for Real Estate Services, Deacon Thomas Croke; Office for Secretary for Temporal Services, Jim Bock." that’s quite a bureaucratic lineup. I’m pretty sure that if the committee did any real work they wouldn’t let somebody from the Office for Communications be on it. With that list of people nominally responsible for this disaster, it’s going to be quite difficult for anybody to say that "mistakes were made" but really big mistakes were made and at sometime the archdiocese has to realize that, and the truth is, the sooner the better.

This process has done a lot of damage. The longer an honest examination is put off, the worse it will be for the archdiocese.

Anyway, I'm very grateful for the question. This is what I wanted to write in my "What Should Be Done?" series of posts and which I couldn’t quite get myself to do. I didn’t want to face how bad things were and how hard they would be to fix. Your comment made me do it. Like I said, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t wait around for this answer, but I’m glad I wrote it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

St. John Neumann on Who's in Charge of Parishes

In the 1960s there was a decision made that the truths of the Catholic faith would no longer be taught in religious education classes. Since then, every once in a while people say that we've rejected that paradigm, and now it's different, but it's not. Things are about the same. Now we have the same 1960s religious education courses, just with some Catholic facts sprinkled over them. The people in charge of religious education don't mind the addition of random Catholic facts, liturgical seasons, what the Paschal Candle is, stuff like that, but they keep the courses pretty free of the basics of Catholicism. You may think that's kind of harsh, but if you've spoken with graduates of the religious education system you'll know it's true.

Some people express surprise that the bishop is in charge of the diocese and the parishes, and that "in charge" means "actually in charge." That's just true, though, and it'll be true till the end of time. I don't blame people for not knowing. I blame the people who decided that religious education classes must exclude a great deal of the Catholic Faith.

St. Ignatius of Antioch was an old man when he was martyred in the year 107. In 107 they were about as close to the death and Resurrection of Jesus as we are to WWII. On his way to Rome to be martyred he wrote letters to the Catholics of various cities. Here's what he wrote to the Catholics of Smyrna:

“See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery (the priests) as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

Don't do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. You can't have a proper Eucharist without the bishop's permission. If you separate yourself from the bishop you've separated yourself from the Catholic Church. This was true then. It's true now. It will be true till the end of time.

Liberals don't want us to know these truths, so they are buried or ignored in religious education classes. I don't blame people for not knowing the truth about bishops' role in the Church, but it should especially be known in Philadelphia because of St. John Neumann's insistence on this truth. (BTW, I just counted and I've published 44 posts so far. Eight mention St. John Neumann.)

When he became bishop of Philadelphia some parishes were under the control of boards of lay trustees who were elected by the parishioners. St. John Neumann would not tolerate this. He went to court, to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, to regain control. 

The judge asked Bishop Neumann why the Church is called the Roman Catholic Church. St. John replied:

“Our church is called Roman Catholic because the Pope, who is its head, resides in Rome. According to the laws of the Pope, the bishops administer their dioceses; and according to the laws of the bishops, the pastors govern the congregations. If anyone wants to be a member of our Catholic Church, he must be united through the pastor to the bishop and through the bishop to the Pope. The union is effected through spiritual obedience. Whoever does not render this obedience does not belong to the Catholic Church, because this arrangement is its essential unchangeable constitution.”

Judge Woodward, a Protestant, was very much on the side of Bishop Neumann. Here's what he said to the trustees of Holy Trinity Church which is still at Sixth and Spruce:

“You Germans are a disgrace to our city. For ninety years you have been quarreling with your bishop! You had an Irishman for a bishop, an American, and now you have a German. You are satisfied with none, obedient to none. If you want to be Catholics you must obey the Pope and the Bishop in all ecclesiastical affairs. You cannot expect that the court will protect your disobedience.”

Here's what he said to the trustees' lawyer: If the trustees “are not satisfied with their church and bishop, they are free to change their faith at any time; there is freedom of religion with us. But, so long as they choose to remain Catholics, they must obey the Pope and their bishop in all religious matters.”

That's pretty much the story. That's the way it was in 107, in 1854, and 2013. That's the way it will be till the end of time.

St. Ignatius, St. John Neumann, Judge Woodward and Archbishop Chaput are all on the same page. Archbishop Chaput is in charge of the archdiocese. He's in charge of the parishes. I don't really know what advice St. John Neumann would give Archbishop Chaput on the wisdom of the planners' campaign to remake the archdiocese. (I suspect he might tell the archbishop to think critically about these plans that stir up so much opposition, and not to assume that the way the planners talk to him is the way they talk when he's not around.) But I do know what he'd say to us about the archbishop's power to do it. Archbishop Chaput is in charge and we have to respect that. There is no other way to be Catholic.