Friday, March 04, 2005

My John Myers Headache

Saying that I have a John Myers problem is like saying I have a Ray Burke problem -- it's ceaseless....

But, you ask, given his pastoral promulgation of Republican talking points such as, "those who propose tax cuts to stimulate the economy may in all sincerity believe that their way is the best method really to help the poor. This is a matter of prudential judgment," why has Myers been out of the line of fire?

Don't worry. I'm about to compensate.

Since arriving in Newark right after 9/11 -- a confluence of events making the most tragic period in Jersey history even worse -- Myers has improved upon his predecessor's relatively impoverished quality of life by:

  • buying a farm, "Villa Margherita," and having the stables illuminated so his poor horsies don't have to trudge around in the dark
  • overhauling the archbishop's suite at the cathedral rectory to the tune of six figures, sinking capuccino machines into fine Italian marble

...and the list goes on.

But is this prince among men content to swim unbothered in an opulence made possible on the backs of working people's contributions? Of course not.

Great warrior for human life and dignity that he is -- the life and dignity of wealthy humans -- Myers has his sights set on torpedoing his archdiocese's commitment to an inner city Ted the Great saw as a sacred trust. It's said that the archbishop will soon close 42 parishes as part of a project with an Orwellian name: "New Energies." Ugh.

And then there is Sacred Heart School, a thriving elementary in a downtrodden area of Newark. Terry Golway recently did a splendid piece for America (21 February) on the school's precarious place as a beacon of light where all Myers wants to see is darkness.

This leads me to believe that the recent vogue of massive closings (big double-digits in Boston, Toledo, and of course St. Louis) are some perverse way to boast one's decisiveness and curry Roman attention and favor -- "Look, Holy Father! I can close more than he can!"

But back to Sacred Heart. According to Golway, its principal, Augustinian Brother Patrick Byrne, gets "The implied, or sometimes not-just-implied, suggestion that the church's precious resources would better be used in the education of Catholic kids."

Did Byrne hear this from McCarrick? According to him,

"I remember when Cardinal [Theodore] McCarrick was here as our archbishop, he'd tell me that he didn't care if the children were Catholic or not, as long as they were evangelized with Catholic values, and as long as they came to know and love the Lord."

Brother, let the church say, "AMEN!"

Anyone who dares tell me that McCarrick is not the greatest who ever walked these hallways, especially in these times, is in for a top-of-the-line whupping. I'd take The Ted's Catholic values of dialogue, serene fidelity and commitment to service and the common good over Myers' priorities of blunt force, public hypocrisy and clerical chauvinism anyday of the week.

If that wasn't enough to get your juices flowing, I leave you with one last beauty: it's long been known that the office of Myers' best friend and former vicar general, Msgr. Steve Rohlfs of Peoria, featured shrines to dead queens (namely, Victoria and Elizabeth the Queen Mother). Like his pal, Rohlfs just left Illinois for a new job on the East Coast: rector of Mount Saint Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg.

In a sane world, we call that "putting the elephant in charge of the peanuts."

Let's all pray for the archbishop's big intention: that he gets moved to Rome and won't have to deal with the ordinary people his office has elevated him above anymore.



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