Sunday, May 12, 2013

Motherly advice for the bishops

1.  Very late on May 4th police arrested Worcester’s Bishop Robert J. McManus because he failed 3 sobriety tests administered after he hit a car and left the scene.  May 6th, McManus publicly apologized saying, “I made a terrible error in judgment by driving after having consumed alcohol with dinner.  There is no excuse for the mistake I made, only a commitment to make amends and accept the consequences of my action.”  Ahhhh, a bishop behaving like I expect my kids to behave – fantastic!

However, the very next day the bishop seemed to have changed his mind about accepting the consequences of his actions because he pled “not guilty” to charges of drunk driving and leaving the scene.  Reporters questioned the bishop about the shift but his attorney, a prominent trial lawyer and former legislator, said he had instructed the bishop to not comment.   

Eventually the bishop just said, “My comments made yesterday stand.”  If one is taking responsibility for one’s actions, why “lawyer up” not only at all but with one of the biggest trial lawyers in the state?  Why plead “not guilty?”      

2.  Last week reports surfaced that Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, NJ permitted a priest to be alone with children despite being bound by a legal agreement to not be alone with children due to previously groping a 13-year-old boy.  This week the same Archbishop is accused of ignoring child sexual abuse allegations when he was the bishop of Peoria, IL.  In each case, the comment was “no comment” because the respective dioceses and bishop prefer to speak through their lawyers.

Are you seeing an interesting pattern here?  That’s right.  Both bishops have the middle initial of “J.” 

3.  Our cub-pope Frankie recently told his staff to take “decisive action” when it comes to clerical child sexual abuse situations because it was important to the church’s credibility.  Yet, Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City, convicted in 2012 for failure to report to police that one of his priests was taking pornographic photos of little girls, remains a bishop as does Archbishop Myers.  Well, choosing to not hold bishops accountable is in fact a decision and therefore Frank was “decisive”.  He just didn’t happen to make the decision I would make nor one that protects children or holds bishops accountable. 

4.  Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president of Germany’s Catholic bishop conference recently suggested opening the diaconate to women.  However, within days of that, Robert Eberle, the spin doctor, I mean spokesperson, for the German bishops’ conference explained that Bishop Bob actually meant some sort of non-ordained leadership role for women.  Evidently Bishop Bob, though an archbishop and official voice of the church, is not capable of speaking for himself. 

Are you seeing the same trend I’m seeing this time?  Yes, that’s right.  Men named “Robert” seem to be in the news lately.

But wait! There’s more:

5.  Last Sunday when meeting with the Superiors General from women’s religious orders, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life said he was omitted from the process in which the U.S. nuns were investigated and sanctioned.  He said this pained him greatly.  However, a few days after that, someone from the Vatican, probably named “Robert”, said that Cardinal Joao was mistaken…that the good Cardinal was in fact fully involved in the process.  But, Cardinal Joao, evidently having the audacity to think he might know better what he experienced than some anonymous Vatican person, told reporters that he actually meant what he said.

6.  Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan who paid-off pedophile priests when he was bishop of Milwaukee recently said that homosexuals are welcome at the church’s table as long as they wash their hands, referring to cleansing themselves from what he considers sins associated with their sexual orientation.  In protest a small group of people dirtied their hands and tried to attend Mass at the Cardinal’s New York cathedral.  But, they were denied access and actually encountered the police whom church leaders had summoned to shoo them away. 

Evidently dirty hands are only permitted to consecrate the host not receive it.  And yes, I know you’re thinking like me…  “Where is Bob in all this?”

7.  This week Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley said he will not attend Boston College’s graduation on May 20th because he doesn’t agree with some of the invited commencement speaker’s political views.  Enda Kenny, Ireland’s Prime Minister who supports abortion in the case of saving a mother’s life is the speaker.  Following the “nay-nee-nay-nee-boo-boo” example of his hero Jesus, the Cardinal is opting to stay home rather than sit at table with those he considers sinners.  I’m sure there is a “Bob” behind this somewhere too.

The church’s hierarchy teaches that they best imitate Jesus, so much so that they claim to be ultimate guardians of truth and downright infallible at times.  However, aside from the whole “Bob” first name and “J” middle initial trends, there seem to be a few more disturbing trends in play. 

On one hand laypeople are labeled as too removed from Jesus (or possibly too ignorant) to know gospel truths without their bishops’ pastoral guidance.  But on the other hand many bishops’ behavior greatly deviates from gospel messages, sometimes to the point that bishops speak through lay attorneys who are helping them avoid accountability.  Instead of following gospel values when they deviate from the gospel, they deviate even further from it by trying to sidestep responsibility. Furthermore, bishops who do speak aligned with gospel messages increasingly seem to have laypeople trying to explain their words away.       

I know bishops claim they are parents though they have no children.  But, in honor of Mothers’ Day, I thought I’d offer some parenting tips being as I am actually a parent:
1.  Bob McManus, ditch the lawyer and revert to “Plan A”…tell the truth and take responsibility.  Short of that, you’re not an example.  A personal apology to the person whose car you hit might be a boon too.
2.  J.J. Myers, please resign.  Please also visit every person impacted by the priests and spend time learning about the pain inflicted by your decisions.
3.  Frankie, your actions speak louder than your words.  If bishops Bob and John don’t resign taking responsibility for their actions, a good father would insist that they do.  Thus, it’s time to fire them as bishops.  Short of that, Frank, you have no credibility about protecting kids.  Your admonitions about protecting kids in or out of the womb fall on deaf ears. 
4.  Bob Zollitsch, put on your big-boy pants and tell Bob-the-spin-doctor to stop speaking on your behalf.  Cardinal Joao did an admirable job of this.  Perhaps contact him to take lessons on speaking for one’s self.
5.  The anonymous spokesperson for the Vatican should take responsibility and identify his or herself.  Utterances from unnamed people just don’t carry credibility. 
6.  Tim, it’s time to re-read the gospels.  Jesus welcomed tax collectors and sinners without judgment and hung out with highly flawed people.  If you read the gospels, you will see that any forgiveness that Jesus administered to people was after he ministered amongst them and was not done in a domineering fashion…because – and again this will require you reading the gospels – Jesus told his apostles not to lord it over others.  Please write 1,000 times each, “I will not lord it over others” and “Judge not lest ye be judged” after you write a personal apology and hand-deliver it to each of the people you turned away from the cathedral.
7.  Sean, a real father wouldn’t miss his kids’ graduation for love nor money.  Furthermore, Enda Kenny isn’t speaking about abortion.  Even if he is, he’s not one of your sheep so it’s not your place to correct him.  If you truly think he’s a dangerous wolf visiting your sheepfold, a good shepherd will stand by his sheep to ensure their safety.  You are pulling a sorry childish stunt abandoning your sheep.  Get your carcass to Boston College for your kids’ graduation or don't think for one minute you are a father.  But first, please apologize to your children for your threatened negligence of them due to your judgmental pig-headedness towards Enda.  Then, apologize to Enda.  Finally, please see the guidance given to Cardinal Tim.   

This actual mother wishes all the men who think they are Holy Mother Church's voice, a very lovely Mothers' Day. 

Editorial Note: My bad - I originally wrote this article thinking that Boston College's graduation ceremonies took place this past Saturday.  However, they are not until Monday, May 20th so I've reworded the article.  There's still time, Sean - just like for Ebeneezer waking up on Christmas Day in "A Christmas Carol."  


  1. Mother Ewe, WONDERFUL! Perhaps your best ever (a high standard). Thank you!

  2. Ewe nailed it.

  3. Well said! Please send a copy to Frankie, and our Cardinal, Gorgeous George.

  4. Write on Sister. Write on. I especially love what you said about Sean missing his kids' graduation. If divorced people can get it together for one afternoon's event so can he. The Prime Minister of Ireland was invited by the kids (or the college.) You be polite to your kids' guests. And sometimes you suck it up for the duration of the party.

  5. I find it absolutely baffling that the hierarchy really do seem to think that we will not notice the hypocrisy of their actions. I remember once being told that most of the hierarchy are most comfortable with "mushroom theology" - keep the laity in the dark and shovel s**t on them! Problem is they seem to think we are still ignorant, fearful, illiterate peasants. One day they are going to realise just how far we've come whilst they weren't looking and it's going to be the shock of their lives!

    Awesome, thank you so much! I will now busy myself reading as much of your back catalogue as I can without getting caught not working!

  6. This is terrific. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Dear 'Ewe',
    Yes, yes, and yes again: I second everything you say and say Amen to it all. Brilliant thoughts, keep them coming and thank you for your wit and wisdom! For future consideration: any ideas on how to make the bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, actually take serious notice of your advice? As the previous poster (antipopejoan)said, they seem to think the laypeople are unaware of the hypocrisy of their actions. That arrogance needs to be punctured, the sooner the better!

  8. What if Pope Francis sent all the Cardinals on retreat for 30 days, while drawing up a list of those Hierarchs who need to be retired ASAP...He can get some ideans from websites like Bishopaccountability in the USA & its equivalents elsewhere...
    He can claim it is for the good of Mother Church to take the black sheep out of the flock for a bit, so no more new scandals of irresponsibile leadership occur...

  9. There is a parenting term/tactic in the U.S. when you tell your kid that they are "grounded." This means a kid experiences severe restrictions in activity, especially ones the kid enjoys. So a kid might be grounded from watching t.v. for some number of weeks or grounded from using the car, or even grounded from doing any activities other than those absolutely required like school and homework. There is another parenting term/tactic in the U.S. called "time out." This involves putting a kid in a separate location from friends (and any other audience) until that time the child's behavior is appropriate.

    I think your suggestion is a cross between "being grounded", "time-out", with a side dose of reform-school type summer camp. I like it.

  10. Vale mas una onza de madre que una tonalada de sacerdote. An ounce of mother is worth more than a ton of priest.

  11. @Anka, you raise a very good question.

    The pope's mailing address is listed as
    Apostolic Palace
    00120 Vatican City

    However, the last I heard he's not living in the Apostolic Palace but rather at Santa Maria House in Suite 201.

    The official email address for the pope is via the Vatican Press Office

    If you sent messages to any of those addresses, my guess is that it will go to a handler. I'm not sure if the bishop of Rome would see it.

  12. I don't know whether to laugh or cry out loud.

    Also, I have never felt ashamed about my name, on the contrary! Until recently.

    Many thanks for this post, Ewe. Greetings from Holland.

  13. Unfortunately or not, no one know what Jeshua said or didn't say, since there is a conspicuous lack eye-witness accounts of his life, simply collections of good stories, many of which reflect the innate morality of the writers and their communities. So, I would simply say to all, "Go, and do likewise, follow that inner light of conscience."