Rome -- Both in the media and on the street, defenders of Pope Benedict XVI pushed back this weekend – in effect, insisting that the pope still enjoys popular support, and that media focus on the Catholic church vis-à-vis the sexual abuse of minors, as opposed to the broader culture, amounts to “moral panic.”
It seems that just about everyone has a few favorite movies they can watch over and over. I caught one of my favorites on television the other evening - director Tom McTiernan’s 1990 The Hunt for Red October. It is the first in novelist Tom Clancy’s series about the Catholic educated Soviet-era analyst-turned-president Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin here, then Harrison Ford took over). Even though the film was released as the totalitarian Iron Curtain was disintegrating, the intelligent cat-and-mouse game between the captain of a Soviet nuclear sub and Jack Ryan and a US nuclear sub still makes for great viewing no matter how many times I see it.
I coached my share of terrible CYO basketball and baseball teams so I’ve got some sympathy for Michael Kman, the onetime basketball coach of Our Lady of Lourdes in Enola, PA who now faces criminal charges for trying to fix some games. Apparently Kman thought his team was not getting a fair shake from the referees so he offered them $2,500 to ensure victory.
When I coached my kids’ teams we were so bad that the refs and umpires always tilted toward us – mostly out of sympathy – though it never made any difference in the outcome. We always, or almost always, lost. In fact, it would have cost me more than $2,500, much more, to put a game in our win column.
But there was one game where this was not the case.
I was coaching my youngest son’s seventh grade baseball team and we were to play, ironically enough, Our Lady of Lourdes (this one from Bethesda, MD.)
Church closures spell hard times for candle maker
By Rick Moriarty, Religion News Serivce
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- One of this city's oldest candle makers is planning to slash its work force in part because of decreased demand from a shrinking number of Catholic churches to buy its products.
Emkay Candle told its 46 employees that as many as 38 of them will be laid off in 90 days. That would leave just eight people to make candles at the company, which has been making them at the same location since its founding in 1925.
Tom Roberts has the report on the main page about the situation in Boston where a student was denied enrollment in a parochial school because his parents are lesbians.
The most important thing about the statement issued by the Archdiocese of Boston was that it focused exclusively on what is best for the child. That is what schools should do, and it is heartening to know that this was the focus of the Archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools, Mary Grassa O’Neil. She did not seek to blame the pastor, she did not castigate the parents, she said what needed to be said: we will help find a good school for this child and our schools are open to all children.
The Washington Post today carries a deeply human depiction of seminarians on the brink of ordination as the sex abuse scandal goes global.
Central to the story is Msgr. Steven Rohlfs, the seminary's rector, who had overseen this class for the past six years. Rohlfs is excited for the 24 young men approaching ordination; he also fears for them.
According to the story by William Wan, Rohlfs "had often told them about the job he'd held before becoming the seminary's rector -- the one that sent him to bed many nights a broken man. For seven years, he had investigated priests accused of sex abuse" in the Diocese of Peoria, Ill., before coming to Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmetsburg, Md. The piece includes frank interviews with seminarians about sacrifices involved in leaving careers and other ambitions and about dealing with celibacy.
Here's a press release from the National Association for Lay Ministry.
Hard to imagine a CYO coach spending serious money to rig the outcomes of games in the Harrisburg, Pa. diocese. But it's true.
Michael Kman, 45, of Enola, Pa., is charged with solicitation to rig publicly exhibited contests and harassment.
Kman is accused of offering $2,500 per game to two officials between January 2009 and January 2010 in exchange for fixing the outcome of the games, state police said.
Kman was a basketball coach for a local Catholic Youth Organization program
at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Enola, state police said.
The Diocese of Harrisburg immediately released a statement deploring such behavior by this layman and taking swift action against game-rigging, saying,
The diocese suspended the Youth Protection Clearances that allowed Kman's involvement with youth and youth activities in any parish or school in the diocese.
Every time we’ve covered the sex abuse crisis on Interfaith Voices, I wondered about the possibility of false accusations against priests. When guests say that priests should be removed from ministry if there is a “credible accusation,” I wondered, what makes a charge “credible?” And who decides?