Longtime pastor removed from St. John Cantius Catholic Parish in Chicago amid investigation

The Rev. C. Frank Phillips, founder of a religious order of men and pastor at the storied St. John Cantius Catholic Parish, was removed last week by the Archdiocese of Chicago amid an investigation into allegations of improper conduct with adult men, according to church officials.

In a statement to parishioners, Cardinal Blase Cupich explained that he had made the decision to “withdraw” Phillips after learning “of credible allegations of improper conduct involving adult men.” Anne Maselli, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said in an email that the allegations do not involve any minors.
continue at Chicago Tribune

A few other details:

The religious order of St John Cantius is run by Canon Phillips, who happens to not be a member of the religious order of St John Cantius.  He remains a member of the Congregation of the Resurrection and is not actually a Canon of St John Cantius, even though he founded the canons and was their superior.

The Archdiocese of Chicago owns the St John Cantius parish itself.  For whatever reason, Cardinal George never made the order independant which seems odd.

A few months ago, Bishop Athanasius Schneider was scheduled to give the Canons a spiritual retreat. Cardinal Cupich personally intervened and forbid Bishop Athanasius Schneider from preaching in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Also see: Pope denounces ‘restorationist’ orders

Fr. Isaac Lenten advice

There is no shortage of good advice for making Lent fruitful. Every year, when Lent begins, there are articles, videos, blog posts, and so forth explaining how to prosper during Lent. It is wonderful that we have these. In our times, when secularism runs rampant, they are necessary. I want to give you a few bits of advice that come from some of the greatest experts we have.
continue at Along the Way

St Patrick: "I came to the Irish peoples to preach the Gospel and endure the taunts of unbelievers"

via iBreviary Office of Readings[italics original, emphasis mine]
From the Confession of Saint Patrick, bishop (Cap 14-16:PL 53, 808-809)
Through me many peoples have been reborn in God

I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing. Today I can offer him sacrifice with confidence, giving myself as a living victim to Christ, my Lord, who kept me safe through all my trials. I can say now: Who am I, Lord, and what is my calling, that you worked through me with such divine power? You did all this so that today among the Gentiles I might constantly rejoice and glorify your name wherever I may be, both in prosperity and in adversity. You did it so that, whatever happened to me, I might accept good and evil equally, always giving thanks to God. God showed me how to have faith in him for ever, as one who is never to be doubted. He answered my prayer in such a way that in the last days, ignorant though I am, I might be bold enough to take up so holy and so wonderful a task, and imitate in some degree those whom the Lord had so long ago foretold as heralds of his Gospel, bearing witness to all nations.

How did I get this wisdom, that was not mine before? I did not know the number of my days, or have knowledge of God. How did so great and salutary a gift come to me, the gift of knowing and loving God, though at the cost of homeland and family? I came to the Irish peoples to preach the Gospel and endure the taunts of unbelievers, putting up with reproaches about my earthly pilgrimage, suffering many persecutions, even bondage, and losing my birthright of freedom for the benefit of others.

If I am worthy, I am ready also to give up my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for his name. I want to spend myself in that country, even in death, if the Lord should grant me this favor. I am deeply in his debt, for he gave me the great grace that through me many peoples should be reborn in God, and then made perfect by confirmation and everywhere among them clergy ordained for a people so recently coming to believe, one people gathered by the Lord from the ends of the earth. As God had prophesied of old through the prophets: The nations shall come to you from the ends of the earth, and say: “How false are the idols made by our fathers: they are useless.” In another prophecy he said: I have set you as a light among the nations, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

It is among that people that I want to wait for the promise made by him, who assuredly never tells a lie. He makes this promise in the Gospel: They shall come from the east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is our faith: believers are to come from the whole world.

The Secret Paths That Led Ireland’s Catholics to Forbidden Mass

On Ireland’s southwest coast, in County Kerry, there is a small village called Caherdaniel. Nearby, there is a national park, a fort that offers glimpses of the Skellig Islands, and the sloping shores of Derrynane Bay. And, etched into this countryside, is the Caherdaniel Mass Path. Like other such paths around Ireland, this narrow track was used by Catholics to attend mass 300 years ago, during a time of religious persecution.

The locations of these passages were closely held secrets, which is why it took Irish photographer Caitriona Dunnett years to research her project Mass Paths. It was the one at Caherdaniel that first sparked her interest. “I photographed it and remembered learning about the penal times at school,” she says. “It inspired me to research and find other penal paths to photograph.”

Beginning in the 1690s, the Protestant-controlled Irish Parliament, in conjunction with the English Parliament, passed a series of increasingly stringent, brutally wide-ranging penal laws that imposed serious restrictions on the already oppressed Catholic majority. No Catholic person could vote, or become a lawyer or a judge. They could not own a firearm or serve in the army or navy. They could not set up a school, or teach or be educated abroad. They could not own a horse worth more than £5. They could not speak or read their native Gaelic.
continue at Atlas Obscura

Abp. Listecki wants to milk a cow

Last Thursday, I made my way to St. John the Baptist Parish in Clyman. On the way, as the sun was setting, a full moon was rising. There was a red hue upon the farmland. Even before the spring greens, the land was rich with color. It reminded me of just how beautiful our state is no matter what season it happens to be. Perhaps that’s why I love Our Wisconsin magazine. It reminds us not to forget the treasure that we possess.

When I was Bishop of La Crosse, it was always eye candy to travel along the Mississippi, or through the Bluffs, the farmlands of Arcadia or the Dells. One of my favorite events was the blessing of the farmlands, the produce, some animals and farm equipment. It usually took place in the fall, and we were often blessed with good weather. After the Mass, I performed the blessings, and together we had a great farm meal. Once, in a celebration of our family farms that took place in Necedah, Cardinal Dolan, then the Archbishop of Milwaukee, gave the initial talk, and was feted with his favorite meal, meatloaf (I think he had three helpings, covered with ketchup)
When I was named Bishop of La Crosse, Cardinal Francis George told me he wanted a picture of me milking a cow. I guess he found it funny, this kid from the industrial part of South Chicago lost among the acres of farmland. However, I loved it. Although I was never able to fulfill his wish (Cardinal George died 2015), it is still on my bucket list. I’ll keep my hands warm and ready for when Bossy is available.
continue at Arch Mil

So far my favorite Abp. Listecki picture is firing the cannon.  Hm, come to think of it, there's the guitar one, the sideburns, the chucks, the peace pipe, and the Army Greens

But really, I think the cow milking pic might top them all.

Diocese of La Crosse terminating pension plan for lay workers, update D.Lax press release

Termination could affect more than 1,000 former and current lay employees
Hundreds of current and former employees of the Diocese of La Crosse have learned the pension benefits they were counting on won’t be there for their retirement.

Bishop William Patrick Callahan informed members of its Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan in a letter that the diocese is terminating their pension plan, which has been underfunded for years.

After much analysis, discussions and prayers, it has been determined that it is necessary to terminate the Diocese of La Crosse Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan at this time,” Callahan wrote in the letter dated Feb. 27 and received by many employees over the weekend.

The plan covered Catholic school teachers, custodians, secretaries, rectory workers and other lay employees throughout the diocese, which serves 19 west-central Wisconsin counties covering an area extending from around Bloomer to the north, Prairie du Chien to the south, Wausau to the east and the Minnesota border to the west.

“It is alarming,” Regis Catholic Schools President Mark Gobler said Tuesday, estimating that more than 1,000 people could be affected by the change.

The pension plan members won’t learn the full impact of the plan termination until late May, when the diocese promised to deliver more information, Gobler said.
continue at Leader Telegram


Also: Chippewa Herald: Diocese of La Crosse to eliminate pension for lay workers

Update: an explanation
This is a problem of defined BENEFIT pensions. This is why everyone business included has moved to defined contribution plans over defined benefit plans. This is smart and if I were in the plan I would take it. Market is high and a good time to exit. People can now invest as they choose. The benefit will be less but it will be there. Ask railroaders...oh wait the federal government bailed them out. Won't they bail out the church? We'll need a better union.
Update: wow, even made the LA Times

Update: La Crosse Diocese press release

Diocese of Green Bay celebrates 150th year with film premiere

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - A film two years in the making premiered Sunday afternoon in Green Bay at the Meyer Theater.

The Diocese of Green Bay celebrates its 150th Jubilee in 2018, and the milestone was marked with a documentary.

"We had to gather a lot of information from a variety of places," Justine Lodel, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Green Bay told Local Five. "So there's video in there, there's still photographs, there's drawings, there's animation, there's just a plethora of things. I think people are going to find it very interesting the way we tell the story."
continue at wearegreenbay

Cardinal Dolan in MkeCH: Cardinal Harvey stays true to his Milwaukee roots

You grand folks of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have known and loved him a lot longer than I have, so please pardon my presumption in claiming some special affection here.

My provenance goes back only to Sept. 1, 1972, when I arrived as a new man at the North American College in Rome, there to be warmly welcomed by the friendly class ahead of me, among whom was one Jim Harvey, a second-year seminarian from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

While not what you’d call an effusive, backslapping guy, Jim was unfailingly friendly and helpful, and we hit it off from the start. Seems like we had a lot in common: both our dads were named Bob, and had served in the Pacific during the war; both of us were the oldest of five kids, with two brothers and two sisters; both Jim and I had been attracted to the priesthood from an early age; both of us were lifers, entering the seminary right after eighth grade; and the two of us had warm attachments to home, me to St. Louis, him to Milwaukee, to our two dioceses which had fostered our faith in a sustaining Catholic culture of vibrant parishes, great priests, wonderful sisters, excellent parochial schools, and happy homes and neighborhoods.

Oh, we had our differences: he was rather trim, while I was . . . never mind; he was good at golf, thanks to his dad, who ran a driving range, while I wasn’t bad at softball.
continue at Milwaukee Catholic Herald


WisSJ: Murder of Latin Mass priest still unsolved 20 years later

Wisconsin State Journal also doing feature of Fr. Alfred Kunz's murder.  A good article, a few snippets.  Go read the whole thing there.
A private investigator from Hoffman Estates, Ill., who studied the Kunz murder while doing research on another case involving a priest a few years ago, said during a 2015 interview that the sheriff’s office was doing a credible job with its investigation. “There’s no physical evidence to incriminate a suspect and there are no witnesses,” Thomas Hampson said.

Hampson, who did intelligence work for the U.S. Air Force and the state of Illinois and now heads an alliance that tracks down child sexual predators, believes detectives know who murdered Kunz but the person they needed to make the case stand up in court “was not forthcoming” with them, probably out of self-preservation. And that person is dead,” he said.
article at WisSJ

Also much discussed in the article is Fr. Kunz's celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass and promotion of Catholic morality, in addition to one former Madison bishop accused of allowing Fr. Kunz's reputation to be tarnished, and if one reads between the lines, Bp. Bullock may have thought that Fr. Kunz had it coming so to speak.

I hope a renewed focus on this tragedy will bring about a final closure for the people of the Diocese of Madison.

St. Cloud MN Diocese to declare bankruptcy after sex abuse claims, 4th diocese in MN to do so

The Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud will become the fourth Minnesota Catholic institution to declare bankruptcy following a flood of clergy sex abuse claims.

Its announcement reinforced Minnesota’s position as the state with the largest number of bankruptcies related to clergy sex abuse. It follows dioceses in New Ulm and Duluth, as well as the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which filed for Chapter 11 in 2015.

The St. Cloud diocese is facing 74 claims of clergy sex abuse. Thirty-one clergy serving 30 parishes are accused of abusing children over the decades.

“This approach is the best way to ensure that available resources will be distributed equitably to all the victims and survivors, while allowing the diocese to continue its vital ministries that benefit the people of our 16 counties,” Bishop Donald J. Kettler said in a statement released by the diocese.
continue at STrib 

Twin Cities Archdiocese bankruptcy drags on, legal cost exceed $17 million

Meanwhile, legal costs keep climbing. Recent documents show they now exceed $17 million, or nearly as much as the archdiocese's entire operating budget for last year.

Fees for victims' attorneys, which typically consume one third of a settlement, could run $30 million to $40 million, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel wrote in a recent memorandum.
article at STrib

JS: How an inner-city Milwaukee parish thrives with the help of its old friends

It’s a stereotype that dates from the middle of the last century. According to the standard narrative, white families fled the inner city by the thousands, usually in a rush, often in a huff, for what they considered the safer, greener pastures of suburbia. On their infrequent trips back, the exiles watched in horror as familiar landmarks fell, old businesses closed, and their own houses steadily deteriorated. Longstanding ties with the old neighborhood were effectively severed, and former residents looked back, when they looked at all, with a sense of wounded nostalgia.

And then there’s the St. Michael Alumni Association. Its members, some 900 strong, all graduated from the parish school of St. Michael’s Church on N. 24th and W. Cherry streets — a school that closed nearly a half-century ago. Even though they’ve lived elsewhere for most of their lives, the alumni have maintained close ties with each other and, more remarkably, with the parish of their childhoods, providing both moral and material support to a community that bears almost no resemblance to the one they knew when Sister Damian and Monsignor Bernard walked the halls.

Why such impressive fidelity? Part of the reason may lie in the historic strength of the original community. St. Michael’s, whose pencil-thin Gothic spire is still a dominant landmark on Milwaukee’s west side, was founded in 1883, when German families, many of them Catholic, were covering the blocks north and west of downtown with towering duplexes and modest alley houses. St. Michael’s become one of the largest parishes in the archdiocese, with 1,100 households by 1905. More than 99% of them were German by ancestry.
continue at JS

JS Feature: Murder of Dane County priest Alfred Kunz still unsolved after 20 years

Twenty years ago Sunday, a teacher at St. Michael's School in the small farming town of Dane arrived for work to find the priest on the floor in a pool of blood.

Police determined that the priest, Alfred Kunz, 67, had likely been attacked late the previous evening after he returned from recording a radio show called "Our Catholic Family."

His throat had been slit.

The case remains unsolved.

Dane County Sheriff David J. Mahoney is hoping to change that with the launch of a social media campaign.

"On the 20th anniversary, we thought we would start releasing information to the public that has not been publicly released," he said. "If holding back the information has not done us the service of bringing people forward, it’s time to start releasing information."
continue at JS

Good to know there is still an effort to give this saintly priest some justice.

Bp. Paprocki: USCCB oversteps in statement on public sector unions

God's Goalie
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, has publicly criticized the brief and said the U.S. bishops’ views had not been solicited.

“There is the presumption of a consensus on this issue, when it is not clear to me that we have that consensus,” Bishop Paprocki told the Register in an interview following this week’s oral arguments for the Janus case.

“While the Church … supports freedom of association for workers, it is not part of Church teaching that someone who is not a member of a union must still pay dues,” Bishop Paprocki said.
story at NCRegister

Marquette: Encouraging Students to Skip School For Anti-Gun Protests

From Marquette University News:

Marquette issues statement on National School Walk Out Day

Marquette University reassured prospective students applying to Marquette they will not be held back from admission if they receive disciplinary action for taking part in National School Walk Out Day. “If a student receives disciplinary actions for peaceful protests, it will not affect your admission to Marquette,” the university said in a statement.

Story aired on WTMJ-TV (NBC 4), Feb. 27, 2018This can only be read as encouraging students to participate in an anti-gun protest, which several school districts have said violates their rules.
continue at Marquette Warrior

The Lord's Prayer in Aramaic

Prairie du Chien Mass to launch series of events marking La Crosse Diocese's 150th

The Diocese of La Crosse will launch a series of sesquicentennial celebrations Saturday at St. Gabriel Church at 506 N. Beaumont Road in Prairie du Chien.

Bishop William Callahan, the diocese’s 10th bishop, will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. to commemorate the founding on March 3, 1868, with a reception following.

St. Gabriel, the oldest active church in the diocese, at one time was in the running to become the cathedral church for what now is a 19-county diocese.

The Vatican ultimately chose La Crosse to be the see city for the diocese.

Noting that “150 years cover a lot of history and so much evangelization — telling the good news,” Callahan said, adding, “We’ve done that very well during our first 150 years, and we should all share a bit of the glory that comes with it.”

The Mass will be live-streamed on the diocese’s website.
continue at La Crosse Tribune

Preparing for Siena Catholic Schools: Catholic schools grading and assessment evaluated

RACINE — The Siena Catholic Schools of Racine group is making some final adjustments before it becomes fully implemented in July. Recently, grading and assessment have been put under the microscope.

Teachers and administrators have been participating in multiday professional development sessions in order to learn better practices and techniques to help with student growth.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has distributed assessment and grading “guidelines” to teachers and principals in an effort to improve student achievement.

Brenda White, president of Siena Catholic Schools, said an archdiocesan task force was created to evaluate the best grading and assessment practices for teachers, and has been involving local schools in the discussion.
continue at JournalTimes

Active shooter training held for Madison diocesan staff

With stories of workplace and school shootings making up the latest news headlines, the task of learning how to protect one’s self and save lives is gaining importance.

Staff members from the Diocese of Madison and other organizations in the Holy Name Heights building recently took part in active shooter training in order to be prepared to react to an event, if it should happen.

The purpose of the training, presented by Deputy Josalyn Longley and Cindy Holmes from the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, was because “we want you to be able to take responsibility to participate in your own survival,” said Holmes.

‘Run. Hide. Fight.’

The two presenters said that the average active shooter event lasts four to eight minutes, more than 70 percent of active shooter incidents are over in five minutes or less, and the national average for response by law enforcement is five to six minutes.
continue at MadCatHerald