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Showing posts with label Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Show all posts

Monday, July 21, 2008

Banned at the Basilica of the National Shrine

As I have mentioned on these pages here, here, and here, The Faithful Departed, by Philip F. Lawler is the most important book on the Church's sex abuse scandal. Anyone interested in understanding the roots of one of the worst scandals in the Church's history needs to read Lawler's book -- which may be precisely why the U. S. bishops don't want anyone to read it. The following is excerpted from a story by Christopher Manion in the June 26, 2008 issue of The Wanderer.
'Phil Lawler, author of The Faithful Departed, the excellent book chronicling the decline and fall of the Church in Boston ... is getting the censorship treatment from, of all places, the bookstore of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. There, Lawler's book has been selling so well that the bookstore scheduled a book- signing event on June 26. Once the announcements went up, however, higher-ups demanded that the book be removed from the shelves. Lawler was notified that his book signing was cancelled, no reason given.

'What could the bishops object to in Mr. Lawler's book? Perhaps these observations in his final chapter:

'Only a small minority of American priests — 2–3 percent, by most calculations — were ever accused of sexual abuse, whereas the vast majority of bishops were involved in the cover-up efforts. . . . With the [2002 Dallas] Charter in place, the bishops could and did answer all questions by saying that they were following the policies set by the USCCB. The Dallas norms were designed not so much to deter abuse of children as to deflect criticism from bishops. . . . The arrogance of the USCCB in presuming to instruct students about sexual abuse was breathtaking. For years, trusting parents had sent their children into Catholic parishes and schools, confidently assuming the church leaders would protect them. Now the same church leaders who had betrayed the trust presumed to instruct the parents and the innocent children about the dangers that children might face. Rather than ensuring the innocence of young students, these programs were designed to put the burdens of reporting on the children. . . .' (pp. 191- 193)

'Perhaps the ban was occasioned by the book's treatment of Cardinal Law's departure from Boston. But Mr. Lawler once worked closely with Cardinal Law for two years as editor of the archdiocesan newspaper. Lawler is a gentleman, and his treatment of the cardinal is almost serene. But some bishops still have ruffled feathers.... Whatever his reasons for banning Lawler's book, Msgr. Rossi, the rector of the Shrine — who works for the bishops, and not for the laity — will not explain them. The good monsignor obviously doesn't want to take any chances — or any calls from the Wanderer, either: we left several messages with his secretary, but have yet to hear from him....'
When Governor Frank Keating submitted his resignation as chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Review Board, examining sex abuse by Catholic priests, he compared the American hierarchy to the Mafia, saying: "To resist Grand Jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church."

I think Governor Keating's remarks were overly harsh and unfair -- to the Mafia!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M.
The Catholic University of America
Delivered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Washington, D.C.
July 17, 2008

Archbishop Wuerl, President and Mrs. Bush, Vice President and Mrs. Cheney, Mrs. Snow, Kendall, Robbie, Kristi and members of the Snow family, my sisters and brothers all:

What is the measure of a man? This question has been asked over and again from the beginning of time by philosophers and theologians, poets and writers, statesmen and common folk, believers and atheists --- in short, by all of those who share our human mortality. What is the measure of a man? It is a good question; an important question; an enduring question; an ultimate question when we face the death of someone we know and love. Someone like Tony Snow.

In his case, our answers to the question are immediate. He was a loving husband to his wife Jill and an adoring father to his children Kendall, Robbie and Kristi. He was a wonderful son to his father and step-mother and a great brother. The measure of a man can certainly be found in the love of family: love given and love received.

In Tony’s case that loved spilled over to touch and include many others, part of an extended family, and they are here today in this magnificent Church. Friends who grew up with Tony or who shared moments of his life --- both personal and professional, both great and small, both joyful and difficult --- people who became his companions on life’s journey. The measure of a man can also certainly be found in such people: those who made up his every day.

And his every day was lived to the full. It was only last year, on the steps of this Basilica, that Tony --- sharing his own experience --- advised the graduating class of The Catholic University of America: “Live boldly. Live a whole life.”

No one of us among his family or friends believes that Tony’s life was long enough. And, yet --- in the face of its brevity --- we respond in faith, as believers, that the measure of a man is not found, as the Book of Wisdom comforts us today, “in terms of years (Wisdom 4:8).” It is, indeed, our faith that reminds us: “the just man, though he die early, shall be at rest. For the age that is honorable comes not with the passing of time. He who pleased God was loved (and) … having become perfect in a short while, he reached the fullness of a long career; for his soul was pleasing to the Lord (Wisdom 4: 7-14).” For people of faith, people who believe, the true measure of a man lies in his efforts to please God.

Tony shared that conviction of faith. He believed, as St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans affirms, that “no one lives for oneself” and “no one dies for oneself (Romans 14: 7),” that we live and we die for the Lord, that we are his. And to the Lord, above all and alone, we shall give an accounting for our life.

And what a life he lived! From his earliest years growing up in Cincinnati, Tony Snow “lived a whole life.” He excelled in school and athletics and it should come as no surprise that he was on the debate team. He attended Davidson College and loved to tell stories about his brief days as a self-described “socialist.” At graduation, Tony was not sure what he wanted to do with his life --- perhaps become a social worker or a teacher. After graduate studies at the University of Chicago, his career path emerged: he would become a journalist, a decision that shaped the rest of his life and that, eventually, introduced him to his wife and brought him here to Washington. It was here that the whole world would come to know him. An editor, columnist, broadcaster, analyst, presidential speechwriter, member of a rock band, White House press secretary and news commentator, Tony Snow was destined to live a “whole life” and in the process, to do great things. And, yet, the measure of this man’s life was never his job or title or even the long list of accomplishments in the public eye, as impressive as they all were. The measure of this man’s life can be found in his character, in his optimism, in his joy and humor, in his courage, in his passion for what was good and right and true, in his love for God and family and neighbor and country. Tony Snow did not need a long life for us to measure. It was, rather, we who needed his life to be longer.

"I don’t know why I have cancer,” Tony wrote in Christianity Today last year, “and I don’t much care.” He continued, “We don’t know how the narrative of our lives will end but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face to face … those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main and faith to live --- no matter how their days may be numbered.” Those words are for all of us to hear.

The passing of anyone we love moves us to question: what is the measure of a man? Whatever our answer may be, we can be sure that the measure of a man is not found in words or titles or length of days but, rather, in deeds done, in a life lived, in a love shared and in the beliefs that made it so. The Gospel of St. Matthew tells us today: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, clean of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the just (Matthew 5: 1-12) … these are the measure of a Christian man. For Tony Snow, these were the ways he embraced to “live boldly” and to “live a whole life."

When he spoke to the graduates of Catholic University last spring, Tony shared an especially poignant and profound thought about his latest battle with cancer. He reflected that “While God doesn’t promise tomorrow, he does promise eternity."

For Tony Snow, that promise has now been fulfilled. Amen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Funeral Arrangements for Tony Snow

Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., President of The Catholic University of America,
presents 2007 CUA commencement speaker Tony Snow with an honorary degree.

Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for Tony Snow at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, July 17, at 10 A.M. The Archbishop of Washington, The Most Reverend Donald Wuerl, will preside, and the President of The Catholic University of America, Very Reverend David O'Connell, will be the Celebrant and Homilist at the Mass in the Shrine's Great Upper Church. President and Mrs. Bush will attend and the Mass will be open to the public.

In May of 2007, Tony Snow gave Catholic University's commencement address from the steps of the Basilica from which he will be buried.