Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Upon arriving at Most Holy Redeemer rectory yesterday (where I stay while in Chicago--my Mom's parish, before she died), I learned of the death, the day before my arrival, of one of the (retired) associates here:  Fr Joe Ruiz.  The obituary in today's Chicago Tribune said he "shared life and faith with hundreds of people throughout the Chicago Archdiocese..."  I simply remember him as a gentle soul who was the one who anointed my Mother before she died.  He was not the greatest preacher since Cardinal Newman, but he cared for people and had the heart of a servant.

I wonder:  should he be referred to as "a church official"?

This is how Msgr William Linn of Philadelphia has been characterized in the press following his sentening of 3-6 years in the general population of a prison (which is a quasi-death sentence).  Is the press using this language to distance Fr Linn's actions from the Catholic clergy?  Not likely-- it is more possible it is attempting by this vocabulary to distance the Catholic Church from anything sacred...

Has Fr Linn also been someone who shared life and faith with others?  Certainly so.  Is he taking the rap for others (living and dead) who are more directly responsible for abuse of children?  Probably.  Is is therefore able to avoid culpability?  No--just look at Penn State, not an altogether unfair analogy...  But the argument that Fr Linn deserves hard time instead of house arrest because otherwise he might flee to the Vatican?!  Really??  This kind of logic, I thought, ended with the 2 defeats of Al Smith in the 1920s.  In any event, even if he did flee, I could virtually guarantee there'd be the swiftest extradition proceeding anyone has ever seen when Benedict would dump him back to the States without a qualm.

What should be Fr Linn's obituary (yes, this is a bit early)?  I would hope it would be similar to what Fr Ruiz's (or mine) would say-- a series of quotes:

"O God, be merciful to me, a sinner" (the tax-collector)
"Bury this body wherever you want; only remember me when you are at the altar of the Lord" (St Monica)

Footnote:  a friend sent me a message (with which I completely agree) that any fine leveled against Penn State by the NCAA should be directed toward programs to protect children from predatory sex offenders.  What do you think?

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