Friday, March 13, 2009

New Orleans 10.3.1994: Scheming Bishops and People's Liturgies

I need to pay more attention to what is comprised by the act of listening. Somehow, reason—Enlightenment reason as a tool of domination—is connected to this interest, for me. Listening and domination are antithetical to one another. In order to become a culture (or church) able to listen, we have to reject the dominative impulse in Enlightenment reason.

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Yesterday, Sean D. told Steve he has been disciplined because he invited an AIDS patient to speak to the seminarians’ spiritual formation group, as well as a Pax Christi person who spoke about the people’s liturgy. When seminarians complained to conservative bishops, Sean’s office was split in half, and W. Maestri took over the spiritual formation work.

Then, oddly, in the evening as we had dinner with Al A., Al told us that John B. had spoken to the seminarians at St. Ben’s re: Al’s people’s liturgy, and T. Rodi responded with a letter informing them that the liturgy is unorthodox. Two more names from our past flowing together with the present: Sean, a friend of C.J. McNaspy from our present, and T. Rodi, our bête noire at Notre Dame who even then was headed to a suave, good-looking bishopric, and John B., husband of Karen C.

What can it all mean? It’s as if I’m inside something whose contours I can only barely see. But as M. Wolf said yesterday, if we could see, we’d be dead.

Yesterday, Kathleen also showed us the newsletter H. Cohen sends out for his “Closer Walk” ministries. It has a column written by him screaming about birth control, militant homosexuals, the threat to the family, which is the cornerstone of American society, and on and on. It screams about being “truly” Catholic with the pope, Splendor Veritatis, etc., etc. Clearly, lots of money backs all this tripe, like the money (Paul N.’s) that bought Hannan a personal radio station.

What does it all mean? The only way I think I can hope to “figure it out” (how little the phrase fits) is to tell the story from inside, as I see it, tracing the contours with my hands in darkness. M. Wolf says we must speak now. She says Schulte is eager, eager to hear the CUF people. Al A. says he and other theologians have gotten warnings from Schulte, saying that he is bishop and they answer to his definition of orthodoxy. Al’s was in a hand-addressed envelope, unlike others’, a sign of the special attention his radicalism merits. Schulte has spies in Al’s classes.

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