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Wednesday, October 01, 2003

"I knew that! You think I didn't know that? Of course I knew that! I'm not being defensive! You're the one being defensive! Why is it always the other person being defensive? Ever think about that? Why don't you think about that?! Is it me, or is it him? It's him, isn't it?"

Or, Memo to Metro Detroit Catholics: "Lose the e-mail address. Now."

UDM and the Archdiocese got caught in the National Catholic Register's klieg lights over Call to Action's Nun 'n' Fun Conference hosted by the University a few weeks back.

Face facts--the mentality that wishes lay people would simply pray, pay and obey is far from dead, as the lame responses from the relevant Catholic authorities show.

Let me see--10? No, not even close. How about 20? Nope, still not enough. 30, maybe? Nah, a little too subtle. Let's try 50.

Yep--50 megatons ought to do it:

At the conference, members of the coalition elected Sister Jeanine Grammick, Sister Beth Rindler and Sister Donna Quinn as the organization’s new executive team.

The Vatican suspended Sister Gramick’s outreach to homosexuals in 1999. Sister Rindler began an underground women’s Eucharist group in 1991 — a group that meets monthly to celebrate Mass without an ordained male priest. Sister Quinn is the co-founder of Women-Church Convergence, a coalition of 32 feminist groups committed to a participatory, egalitarian and self-governing model of church.

Care to guess the name of the lead investigator whose efforts led to Gramick's suspension? Come on--think ironic. Really, really ironic. As in "Wake the hell up!" ironic. Here's Women-Church Convergence, which is especially useful if you forgot to take your senna this morning. Then there's Sister Rindler, an advocate of the same thing that got Tony Padovano the bum rush last May. Yet Sr. Rindler is perfectly welcome, smack in the middle of the Archdiocese. Perhaps Padovano's right: The Church is sexist, after all.

“The speakers are women of conscience,” Sister Rindler said. “They were led by God, you might say."

You might. Sophia knows we wouldn't, but you might. You knuckle-dragging kyriarchists.

"Healthy dissent means you don’t do something just because somebody else says so.”

Unless we say it. Then you'd better snap to, buster--you'd be amazed how quickly we can revert to our ruler-wielding ways when the mood takes us.

Asked whether St. Thomas Aquinas’ description of heresy in the Church as gangrene might apply to their actions, Sister Rindler responded,

"Who the hell is he?"

Oh, no, wait--she said something else:

"Hitler was able to do what he did because people followed. I don’t think it’s always the wisest thing to just follow a so-called leader.”

And, with the Hitler reference, Sr. Rindler concedes the argument. Still, it's good advice to take when Sr. and the Sisters start asking you to follow...

[Important and heartening story about cancellation at Madonna University snipped--but go and read!]

Gesund was one of the local Catholics who contacted both the university and Cardinal Maida’s office.

“Nothing happened,” she said. “That’s what is so frustrating. I don’t understand the silence in the face of public scandal. The shenanigans that go on are the direct result of the silence from the leaders of our Church."

Cardinal Maida could not be reached for comment.

Pecksniffian/Mottramist silver lining? "Well, at least he's consistent on this issue..."

Now, the moment I've been waiting for: Adventus Neddum.

Ned McGrath, director of communications for the archdiocese, said the archdiocese was unaware of the conference.

“We didn’t have any knowledge of it aside from a notice of it in the diocesan newspaper,” McGrath said.

Er, look at the cc: for my e-mail. Also, NM's comment about the newspaper invites the following volley: What was it doing there in the first place? Ack.

Nathan--er, Ned--continues:

“The conference wasn’t sponsored or endorsed by the archdiocese,” McGrath added. “It was an independent free-standing organization that met on the campus of University of Detroit Mercy. People have the right of assembly.”

If I had three wishes from the lamp, one of them would be expended on a mandatory national remedial constitutional law class for all citizens, in which it would be drilled into the heads of the students that THE PROTECTIONS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS APPLY TO WHAT IS CALLED "STATE ACTION" AND DO NOT APPLY TO PURELY PRIVATE ENTITIES NOT ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT--E.G., MY NEIGHBORS DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE IN MY BACK YARD TO, SAY, RE-ENACT "P*** CHRIST."


In other words, Mr. McGrath, I submit your constitutional argument needs work.

McGrath would not comment on how many letters or e-mails the archdiocese received.

Enough to interfere with his ability to find Zig Ziglar's "Lift for the Day" in his inbox, apparently.

“We receive calls on all sorts of things,” McGrath said. “If they are from people within the diocese, we deal with them as best we can. They are responded to on a case-by-case basis.

Still waiting for your response, Ned. My constitutional right to free speech is being stifled by your refusal to acknowledge me!

Well, it might work--it's the same logic he used....

University president Sister Fay did not respond to Register inquiries.

She really, really wanted to--until she realized you were the Register, and not the Reporter. Imagine that happens all the time.

The communications department has received no phone calls or e-mails regarding the event,” said Gary Lichtman, media director for the University of Detroit Mercy.

Are they for real? Seriously? Real serious? Well, I'm sure the Bosnian lunch lady at the school cafeteria didn't get any calls or e-mails either. I would hope they would concede that a chain of command that requires you to go to the Audio-Visual Department to get things done is a mite perplexing.

“If there were people who had comments, this is the first we’ve heard of these people. I cannot speak for the president or anyone else.”

She got at least one. Trust me.

“We did not sponsor or promote this event. It is not our event and nor did we participate in any way,” Lichtman added. “The conference was held in a banquet room of the conference center. The conference center is run by Sodexho, a separate entity that is hired by the university.”

"Nope, nothing to do with it a'tall. Nope. Even though we're not in the process of demanding a retraction from CTA regarding its notice or anything. It could have been held on Mars--er, Venus--for all we had to do with it."

Believe me when I tell you that UDM will not run that splendid piece of legerdemain past a jury in a slip and fall case. Not successfully, anyway.

The rental policy for the conference center states that the university “reserves the right of refusal for any group,” but Lichtman could not say whether the university had refused to rent the conference center to any groups in the past.

[Update: Lichtman has since found a list of groups banned from renting the center: Call to Holiness, Priests for Life, Courage, Adoremus, the National Catholic Register....]

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