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The Bishop Robert Finn saga

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One great mystery of Catholicism may be solved soon: how long does it take for something to get from Missouri to the pope’s desk?

While the best way to boost a bishop’s reputation is for The New York Times to call for his removal, the Bishop Robert Finn saga is clearly over the top. Only the most churchy of church types support his staying as bishop of Kansas City,-St. Joseph, Mo., where he was judged guilty of a misdemeanor in not reporting the very strange priest he had sent to a convent.

They do it to themselves

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I've learned recently that San Francisco's archbishop-in-waiting was arrested for drunken driving, a Hartford pastor assisted at a gay wedding in New York, and, according to a priest-preacher on Long Island, Augustine is the father of Western monasticism.

Good thing the Vatican is watching the nuns.

Invincible ignorance and the bishops

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Many years ago, Cardinal John O'Connor told me about "invincible ignorance" -- you can't be blamed for what you're not taught. He said point-blank that the bishops responsible for invincible ignorance are the guilty ones.

Now some of those same bishops and their successors are foundering in a sea of rhetoric, sinking by weights of their own making. They might want to talk about abortion and the rest, but nothing they say is heard.

What are they talking about, anyway?

What would Mary Magdalene do?

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Once a pope trashes you, it's pretty much downhill from there. So once Pope Gregory the Great in 591 declared that the "sinful" woman in Luke's Gospel who anointed Jesus' feet was Mary Magdalene, a whole industry developed to discredit her. That's big stuff. I mean, she is the one who announced the Resurrection.

Or have they changed that, too?

Fortnight of words

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I'm not sure what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Fortnight for Freedom accomplished except to send folks to their dictionaries for the definition of "fortnight." This new word from the traditionalist lexicon joins the unpronounceable "consubstantial." I haven't heard "perichoresis" anywhere yet, but it's coming.

Should church be a place where you need flashcards to figure out what's going on?

Can we all get along?

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As the stories spin and positions harden, the very real male-female divide in the Catholic church grows and grows. It's bishops v. nuns. As Rodney King asked during the 1992 Los Angeles riots*, "Can we all get along, can we call get along, can we stop making it horrible ... we'll get our justice ... let's try to work it out."

The poison in the stew now is the same as 20** years ago, when Los Angeles erupted into flames, enveloping the lives of real people. Then, media riot coverage incited more riots, thereby inciting more media coverage.

Vatican misses the point again

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As leaked documents cast doubt upon the Vatican Bank and the Swiss guards say the butler did it, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith continues playing "Whack-A-Nun." Vatican congregations have scrutinized women religious, put their major leadership organization into receivership and attacked the writings of individual sisters.

So anyway, do they read the newspapers? Don't they get it?

Following the money

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You can be sure whenever they say it's not about the money, it's about the money. Those pesky LCWR types always seem to want to give it away. To the poor. Whatever will they think of next?

That's what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said, isn't it? The women religious of the United States were spending too much time on social issues and not enough on defending doctrine. Just about every reliable media outlet picked it up, reporting that the US Catholic bishops, who have no moral credibility (and therefore no moral authority), can't get their own job done and so are taking the sisters into receivership.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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