Anti-Catholic Bishop-bashing….


A Letter from the Editor

(A medieval John Greenleaf)

Dear Readers,

A couple readers of Another Voice have rather strongly reprimanded me for contributing “ever more to the destruction of the Catholic Church.” One reader told me to come out and honestly admit that I am really anti-Catholic and that I must take “great delight in bishop-bashing.

So for the record (once again) let me state a few personal positions as clearly as I can:

(1) I am the proud product of eight years at a Catholic grade school, four years at an excellent Catholic high school, four years at a truly exceptional Catholic college. And I have two doctorates from Catholic universities. I am proud and grateful for the Catholic education I was fortunate to receive.

(2) For almost fifty years I have worked at and for Catholic institutions. I am neither anti-Catholic nor anti-bishop.

(3) I am VERY concerned about what I see as a major leadership failure by our Catholic bishops going all the way from Rome, Italy to New York City, USA.

(4) Our bishops have turned their backs on contemporary people and the contemporary world and now have their heads deeply planted in the sands of a nineteenth century ethos that stresses triumphalist clerical authoritariansm.


What do we mean by authority in the church?


I           The ability (power) to create specific consequences in the life of another.  The power which affects the public order of the church.  This is: Impersonal: normative and legal authority. We see good contemporary examples in people like Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal-in-waiting Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

II         The ability to motivate and transform people based on trusting relationships.  This is operative and relational authority. We see the best historic example in the life and spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. We see it as well in the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

What behavior do I look for in our bishops?


I           Genuine listening…….not a paternalistic dismissal of what the people have to say.

II         Contact with contemporary reality. In November the USCCB decided to shut down the American College in Louvain. The hallmark of Louvain is that its theologians have always had one foot anchored in Catholic tradition and the other solidly rooted in contemporary life. Closing the American College of Louvain is a sign of the closing of the American episcopal mind.

ÌII        Consonance of word and deed. I am disgusted for instance at new cardinals who spend $15,000 on their red costumes and rings, when most of the world is in a serious economic depression. When this dissonance was brought to the attention of one new cardinal, he chuckled and said: “the poor we will always have with us…”




U.S. Bishops Anno 2010: The Seductive Appeal of Old-fashioned Catholic Conservatism

Unable to Live in the Present and Refusing to Accept the Challenges of Tomorrow

Our Bishops Today have Only Rear-View Mirrors in their Wagons


As they Backup Full-Speed into the Triumphalism, Legalism and Clericalism of a Nineteenth Century Catholic Ethos


A Reflection as the Vatican Provides In-Service Training to the College of Cardinals

How Authoritarian Followers Think: Rome Has Spoken so Shut Up and Obey

1. Uncritical Thinking


Without starting from objective evidence, authoritarian followers uncritically accept conclusions that support their religious and ethical beliefs and prejudices.

  • Authoritarian followers do not have a very critical outlook on anything unless their authorities have condemned it for them. Then they can be extremely critical.

2. Compartmentalized Minds

  • Authoritarian followers easily endorse inconsistent ideas.
  • Just present slogans and appeals to traditional values, and then present slogans that invoke opposite values in the name of tradition…..Yes-saying authoritarian followers are likely to agree with all of them.

3. Double Standards

  • When their ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy for authoritarian followers to use double standards in their judgments. They simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what they have decided to do.
  • E.G. More black criminals in America are condemned to death than white.

4. Hypocrisy

  • E.G. The conservative homophobic bishop who in secret has a boy-friend…….

5. Blindness To Self

  • If you ask people how much integrity they personally have, guess who pat themselves most on the back by claiming they have more than anyone else.

6. Profound Ethnocentrism

  • Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups and out-groups, and it’s something people do quite automatically.
  • Good guys and bad guys — the holy and the diabolic, the orthodox and the heretical.

7. Dogmatism: The Authoritarian’s Last Ditch Defense

  • By dogmatism one means: relatively unchangeable, unjustified certainty.


(With appreciation to Bob Altemeyer and his book The Authoritarians.)

Change in the Church: Non Violent Direct Action

In our country, the Tea Party People are running wild and


In OUR church, narrow-minded bishops from

Rome to Madison


running wild and irresponsibly.




The usual refrain from official churchmen is that “the church is not a democracy.”

This is of course ….. Nonsense!

Informed people know that the church – in fact — is more a democracy than a monarchy.

The church is the “People of God” not a hierarchical superstructure in which clerics preside over all the “sheep.”

An archaic and dictatorial monarchy is the style of Pope Benedict and his crop of cardinals and bishops.

Joseph Ratzinger’s institutional style is absolutely alien to the spirit and style of Jesus of Nazareth.

But his style was absolutely the style of Imperial Rome.

The choice is clear:

…….. Do we want the style of Jesus of Nazareth or the style of

the Roman Empire?……

It is time for a change!

An Understanding of Contemporary Church Power

(1) All hierarchical systems are dependent upon the obedience and cooperation of the “faithful.”

(2) The “faithful” have the ability to limit or withhold their contributions and obedience to the system.

(3) If the faithful withhold their contributions and refuse obedience to the system in LARGE ENOUGH numbers and for long enough time, the hierarchical system will have to either negotiate or collapse.

Friends, it is time to act!


Case Study: When Barrel Vision Episcopal Leadership Regresses to Denigration and Control


The Situation in Madison

Bishop Robert Morlino, Diocese of Madison, defends clericalist priests and

scolds parishioners


Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, WI has scolded people from two parishes in his diocese for demanding the removal of priests that they claim are acting in a paternalistic, clericalist and pre-Vatican II manner.

The bishop has defended the priests who are members of the radically conservative group called the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest.  They were founded in 1957 in Spain.

The society, based in Murcia, Spain, is known for a staunch, traditional approach to Catholic practice. There are now Society priests in several parishes in the Madison diocese.

In churches where they minister, the priests have prohibited girls from being altar servers, dispensed with the common practice of using lay people to assist with communion and have added liturgies celebrated only in Latin.

Morlino has chastised parishioners for waging a letter-writing campaign to the papal nuncio and other authorities.

From Morlino’s reprimand:

“It grieves me to acknowledge that the reputation of three happy, holy, and hardworking priests has been seriously tarnished by rumor, gossip, and calumny (lying with the intent to damage another’s good name) by some within the parish   community….

“Furthermore, activities such as protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, doorto- door canvassing for signatures on a petition, etc (that is, exerting organized political pressure on people, where the end justifies any means) is an appropriate tactic in a political campaign, but not in the communion of faith which is the Catholic Church.

“Groups such as “Call to Action” and “Voice of the Faithful” regularly employ such tactics against legitimate authority in the Church. Because these groups dissent from basic tenets of Catholic Doctrine and Discipline, they are not recognized as Catholic in the Diocese of Madison, much less are they able to exercise legitimate authority. It is my hope that these clarifications will prove helpful.”


Practical strategies for a genuine REFORM of the “reform of the reform.”

Post-Election Meditation: Trust Seems in Short Supply

Building Cultures of Trust

In the church, in politics, in corporations, in banks and in the courts, trust seems in short supply these days. We have moved far beyond healthy skepticism, which makes building cultures of trust difficult. And ongoing stories of betrayal or victimization undercut efforts to build elements of cultures of trust….

(1)   Trust starts with the individual, having to do with a person’s character, resolve and ability to change.

(2)   Trust must involve others, and it evolves in the context of social cultures, which provide for conditions where the task of building trust can occur and thrive. 

(3)   Trust also involves risk, for without risk there is no need to trust.

In his book “Building Cultures of Trust,” Martin Marty describes “cultures of trust”  in this way: Cultures of trust exist “when there is evidence that through internal or external means the religious, political, economic, artistic, scientific, technological, educational, and linguistic expressions of a group lead participants to count on each other and keep commitments.”

  • People of faith play an important part in the civic conversation when it comes to the task of building cultures of trust. 
  • Faith is by definition trust, built upon the expectation that God is reliable.
  • We must facilitate a conversation that leads to trust, without engaging in compartmentalization that ends in further polarization in church and society.
  • Our goal is not to convert the other but to effectively and respectfully collaborate.


I would like to think that we can make our churches  into ever stronger and ever more effective creators of cultures of trust……If not, we are dishonest and we are wasting our time calling ourselves followers of Jesus of Nazareth.