Bishop Morlino attack

No time to comment but Diane at Te Deum has the scoop.

Lets just say the young Catholics I know either love Catholic Teaching or don't care and don't go to church anymore.  There's no in between.  The 71 year old crowd clinging to their Hans Küng theology are a (tie-)dying bunch.  It the whole thing or nothing at all in the new generation. 

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, Duluth, MN

jgardner @ Flickr

From belltower

damiendude @ Flickr

Looks like the former Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart(located in the heart of Duluth) was turned into a concert hall.  uhhhhg!   UUUUUHHHHHG!

The new cathedral is not horrible, although incredibly bland.  For example, look at the stained glass in the sanctuary.  Umm, I think I saw that same pattern on carpet in the 70s.  And white washed walls?  ..........zzzzzZZZZZZzzz....  oh sorry I fell asleep staring at them.  The good news is that it was build in a way that a minor renovation could vastly enhance its beauty.  As the episcopacy is recovered(as it has in Duluth), so will our cathedrals.

Gone fishing...

Be back in a week!  Thanks to Ray at Stella Borealis for recommendations on church.  There are rumors there is wi-fi available in literally no mans land.  I am going to try my best to unplug and REEEAD, and of course fish.  I'm hoping to take on Good Bye, Good Men; The Way of a Pilgrim; and maybe The Silmarillion which I've oddly enough not read yet.  I get into so many discussions about Tolkien's creation account and I've never even read it.   I'm sure the kiddies will enjoy some fresh air.

A week and a half until the installation of Bishop Callahan(Wednesday Aug 11th).  It will be interesting to see if he addresses the Fr. Umberger situation(maybe a bit indirectly).  I will be at the installation Mass.

"Snowshoe Priest" miracle moves U.P. bishop's cause for sainthood

Marquette, Mich., Jul 28, 2010 / 03:27 am (CNA).- Following a four-month investigation, the Diocese of Marquette has closed its inquiry into an alleged miracle attributed to its first bishop, Servant of God Frederic Baraga, who is known as the “snowshoe priest.” The inquiry now proceeds to the Vatican for further consideration.

The alleged miracle concerns a reputed tumor found on a patient’s liver in various diagnostic tests. The patient, the patient’s family and their parish priest prayed for healing through the intercession of Bishop Baraga. Bishop Baraga’s stole was also placed on the patient’s abdomen, after which the patient’s pain ceased.

An exploratory surgery by doctors found no tumor, according to the diocese.

Bishop Baraga was born in Slovenia in 1797. He came to the United States in 1830 as a missionary to the Odawa and Ojibwa tribes of the upper Great Lakes region, traveling through the vast territory by canoe, boat, horse, snowshoes and dog sled. His Ojibwa-English dictionary is still in use today.

Consecrated a bishop in 1853, he served as the Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, which would later be called the Diocese of Marquette. He died in 1868. The Bishop Baraga Association was established in 1930 to promote his cause for sainthood, which was officially opened in 1952.

The tribunal investigating the bishop’s alleged miracle collected medical documentation and interviewed witnesses, including doctors and medical personnel involved in the treatment.

The diocesan inquiry closed with a July 17 ceremony at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. Members of the canonical tribunal which examined the possible miracle signed papers attesting to their work and verifying the authenticity of the documents.

Further inquiry at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints will examine the tribunal’s work, determine whether the event cannot be explained by science and whether it could be attributed to the intercession of Bishop Baraga. After reviewing a document detailing the bishop’s life and virtues, the congregation will then advise Pope Benedict about the cause.

The Pope will decide whether to bestow the title “Venerable” on Bishop Baraga, the Diocese of Marquette reports. If the miracle is verified and attributed to the bishop, the Pope will decide whether to beatify him. Another recognized miracle would be necessary for Bishop Baraga’s canonization.

The postulator of Bishop Baraga’s cause is Dr. Andrea Ambrosi of Rome.

Image from Matt @ HolyWhapping

Let us not forget Archbishop Burke is a newly appointed to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

Bishop Alexander Sample of the Diocese of Marquette I believe is a (recently appointed) board member at the Shrine of Guadalupe, and also speaks about Bp Baraga on mp3 here.

Hundreds protest National Organization for Marriage rally in Madison

Hundreds of protesters shouted down same-sex marriage opponents today on the steps of the state Capitol, drawing an angry rebuke from one Republican lawmaker.

A rally planned by the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage that attracted about 50 supporters of traditional marriage spurred a counter protest by about 500 who support giving gay, lesbian and transgender couples the right to marry.  [Does anybody know the actual numbers?]

State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, scolded the protesters, which he termed “the hard, anti-Christian left,” for being disrespectful the NOM speakers. He said conservative activists don’t engage in the same behavior.  [So much for free speech]

“I’ve been here for very extreme feminist rallies – we never shout them down,” Grothman said.

“It’s only the people behind you who are scared to death of the truth,” Grothman said, drawing derisive cheers from the protesters.

Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger, whose group was one of the organizers of the march, said the purpose of the rally was not to disrupt the NOM event. [LOL!]

“The purpose of the rally was really to show the LGBT community supports marriage, too, and to really highlight the need for marriage equality in Wisconsin,” Belanger said. “We want to show that people in Wisconsin are fair-minded and marriage is something we agree with (NOM) about – it is important and it does provide caring couples with the legal protections and respect we think everyone deserves.” [They want to redefine marriage, obviously no sensible person would discriminate]

The pro-marriage equality protesters marched up State Street from the Library Mall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, and peacefully but loudly expressed their opinion of the NOM event, which is part of the organization’s nationwide “Summer for Marriage” tour. Capitol Police cordoned off a space in front of the State Street entrance of the Capitol for the NOM rally.

“Keep your hate out of our state,” shouted the protesters, drowning out the speakers at the NOM podium. [LOL!]

NOM executive director Brian Brown tried to remain undeterred by the protesters.

“We’re standing up for a great good,” he said. “We’re standing up for the foundation of our society.”

Fifty-nine percent of Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2006.

State Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, said at the Library Mall rally preceding the march that the constitutional amendment was presented as a tool to turn out conservative voters. But he said the move has backfired on conservatives, pointing out that voters younger than 30 voted overwhelmingly against the ban. [The state also exists outside of Madison Mark]

“Those are the people who are becoming the majority and taking over as decision-makers,” Pocan said.

Pocan, who married his partner in Canada where same-sex unions are recognized, said the campaign against the ban strengthened the movement.

“We want marriage equality, and we are not going to stop organizing and agitating until we get it,” Pocan said. [LOL!]

John Becker and Michael Knaapen, a Milwaukee couple who also married in Canada, said they are not waiting for demographics to shift.

“Too many have suffered for too long,” Becker told the crowd. [The life expectancy of an active homosexual man is 20 years less than a heterosexual man.]

”Their hatred of my marriage will never be stronger than my love for my husband,” said Becker. [If I call myself a woman, does that make me a woman?]

Among the speakers at the NOM rally were Madison Bishop Robert Morlino and Julaine Appling, CEO of the Wisconsin Family Council.

Appling thanked the NOM supporters for coming, saying “you have real jobs, you have real lives.” [We aren't federally funded to hold rallys like the Left is]

“Marriage is under attack in Wisconsin,” said Appling, who led efforts to pass the same sex-marriage ban. “Standing for marriage as God designed marriage is not easy.” [I think marriage advocates should start focusing on what we call Natural Law.  This isn't a religious issue per se.]
 Video available at WisPolitics 

H/T Versol'Alto

The Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee WI

Fascinating read over at KimmyStyle on Milwaukee's Pabst Mansion.  Read the whole thing

Here's a snippet:
[After Fredrick Pabst passed away] the heirs put the mansion up for sale and in 1908 the Archdiocese of Milwaukee purchased it as a residence for the archbishop.

Many of the more larger grander homes were being torn down and the Pabst Mansion was next but thank God the Archdiocese stepped in and saved it from certain ruin at that time.

That is one of the beauties of Europe to me, they preserve their architectural jewels for the next generation to appreciate and for history's sake, unlike some in the U.S. who are constantly tearing down our historical buildings and homes in search of the next McMansion site-how perfectly vulgar. [I couldn't agree more]

In the mid-1970s the Archdiocese put the home on the market hoping a preservation group or society would acquire it, others wanted it made into a parking lot (how ingenious) but the funds never materialized.

A local entrepreneur served as the interim owner while a preservation group pursued funding. With 23 mortgages and a large state grant they acquired the mansion in 1978 and opened it to the public.

Thank you Wisconsin Heritages Inc., the preservation group with the foresight to save this treasure.
 For more on the Pabst Mansion, click here.

Too bad Catholic churches in Wisconsin were not treated with the same reverence

Fr Umberger trial set for Oct. 19

An Onalaska priest accused of having three sexually graphic pictures of nearly nude children stood mute Wednesday to a felony charge filed against him.

A not guilty plea was entered on behalf [...because he won't lie already admitted his guilt] of the Rev. Patrick Umberger, 59, to one count of possession of child pornography after a judge bound the priest over for trial when he waived his preliminary hearing in La Crosse County Circuit Court. The case is set next for an Oct. 19 status conference.

Umberger, a priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish in Onalaska since 2005, was arrested July 14 at the rectory when state agents said they discovered the photographs on his computer, according to the complaint.

The priest told a state agent he is sexually attracted to boys and young men and searched the Internet for pictures of boys 12 to 15 years old, the complaint stated.[Anyone know how to find the report?]

He denied ever having sexual contact with children but did admit to using a software program that regularly cleaned his computer hard drive.

Umberger, who also taught at St. Patrick School and is chaplain at Aquinas Middle School, has been removed from active ministry pending the investigation.

His arrest comes almost one year after a family and two Wisconsin Dells Noah’s Ark Water Park employees said they saw Umberger follow several young boys into a bathroom by a children’s pool area July 22, 2009, according to a Lake Delton police report.

Umberger was found standing next to a 10-year-old using a urinal and told an officer he was near the restrooms because he had prostate problems and had to urinate often, the report stated. [By the way, Umberger was there with his sister and her family, not by himself....]

Park officials revoked his season pass and placed him on a watch list. [But that doesn't explain why he had a season pass]

Umberger told state agents that La Crosse Diocese attorney Jim Birnbaum and vicar for clergy the Rev. Joe Hirsch counseled him about the incident after receiving a letter about the water park incident.

Birnbaum said previously he discussed the incident with Umberger but couldn’t recall when or who else was present at the meeting, and that no restrictions were placed on the priest after verifying his medical condition.  [Does it really matter if Listecki was there or not?  If Umberger lied to all of them, what else could they have done?]

The diocese issued a statement Friday saying it was “shocked and saddened” by the criminal charge.

“The diocese was not aware of any computer misuse, any attractions to boys by Father Umberger and much of what has been currently reported,” the diocese stated.

The diocese declined to elaborate or return Tribune phone calls pending the criminal case. [Legal beagles barking even though they want to]
La Crosse Tribune

Obviously this thing wont go to trial.  I wonder what the DA wants for a sentence.

Fr Umberger pleads not-guilty

A Diocese of La Crosse priest stood mute today to a possession of child pornography felony charge filed against him during a brief hearing in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

A not-guilty plea was entered on behalf of Patrick Umberger, 59, after he waived his preliminary hearing. The case is set for a status conference in October.

Umberger, priest at St. Patrick's Catholic Parish in Onalaska since 2005, was arrested July 15 when state agents found three sexually graphic pictures of nearly nude children on his computer, according to the complaint.

Umberger denied ever having sexual contact with children, but did admit to using a software program that regularly cleaned his computer hard drive.

The priest has been removal from active ministry pending the investigation, according to the Diocese.
 La Crosse Tribune

LCWR president Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA called to Rome

You may remember this betrayal last year when the LCWR lead by Sr. Marlene Weisenbeck endorsed a version of the healthcare reform legislation that forced taxpayers to pay for elective abortions.  They also either intentionally lied or were woefully misinformed and publicly stated that the legislation was "pro-life" and did not fund abortion.  Since then three states have drafted their implementation of the federal healthcare takeover and all three funded elective abortions.  Weisenbeck is no longer president of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, WI, but still is president of the LCWR. 

Well I have caught wind that Sr Weisenbeck has been called to Rome, and apparently is already there.  I don't know any other details yet.

Umberger preliminary hearing today

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Father Patrick Umberger has a preliminary hearing this morning in La Crosse County Circuit Court. The hearings are to show that prosecutors have enough evidence to support the charges.

Umberger was arrested two weeks ago after an investigation by the state's Justice Department and Onalaska Police. Umberger admitted in a criminal complaint that he had used his church owned computer to view and store pornographic images of children. Pending the outcome of the case, the Diocese of La Crosse has suspended him from duties. He was serving as pastor of St. Patrick's in Onalaska at the time of his arrest.

We will have a crew in court today and will bring you more information here on and on our Live at Five, 6pm, and 10pm Reports.

Fr. John Hardon on genuflecting

Father lectured many times on the Eucharist. He loved praying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Toward the end of his life it became more and more difficult for him as his mobility was decreasing, but he was so determined. Some time before he became so ill, he lost the feeling in his legs. How could he still walk? We marveled that he still could stand to say Mass and even more that he would still genuflect at each consecration and every other part of the Mass that called for genuflection. It took some time, but he did it.

Father Hardon lamented the fact that so many persons did not see it as necessary to genuflect before the tabernacle containing our Lord Jesus Christ. Granted, there are persons who are unable to genuflect for physical reasons but, those reasons being absent, why not genuflect? During one lecture, Father postulated that if a V.I.P. were to come, people would definitely pay proper respect—so why not give the adoration due to Our Lord present in the tabernacle? However, what really hit me hard and left such a lasting impression was a simple statement he made. He said, “If you cannot bend the knee to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, you cannot bend your will to God's will.”
Marian Catechists

The venerable ecclesiastical office of dog whipper

Thank you to Br. Stephen for a good laugh today!

The post on dogs receiving communion apparently sparked some discussion in the house. Fr. Robert dropped me a note saying that Br. Adam had shown him the post and that he thought what I said didn't go over the line, but that I shouldn't forget that dogs in church were quite common in the day and that one of the things that shocked Muslims about Christian churches was that dogs ran free in them. He sent a link with more background, which touches more on Protestants and dogs in church, but the material was very interesting.

You might also be interested in the Wikipedia article on the venerable ecclesiastical office of Dog Whipper.
A dog whipper was a church official charged with removing unruly dogs from a church or church grounds during services.

In some areas of Europe during the 16th to 19th centuries it was not uncommon for household dogs to accompany - or at least follow - their owners to church services. If these animals became disruptive it was the job of the dog whipper to remove them from the church, allowing the service to continue in peace.

Dog whippers were usually provided with a whip (hence the title) or a pair of large wooden tongs with which to remove the animals. They were generally paid for their services, and records of payments to the local dog whipper exist in old parish account books in many English churches. In some areas a portion of village land was made available for the use of the dog whipper, the small park named 'Dog Acre' in Birchington-on-Sea is the remnant of such a grant.

Some villages employed dog whippers in a more general capacity, dealing with stray and disruptive dogs throughout the village. In this sense dog whippers were precursors of modern animal control officers.

Dog whippers became less common from the late 18th century onwards, presumably because animals were increasingly unwelcome at church services. One of the last recorded dog whippers was one John Pickard, who was appointed to Exeter Cathedral in 1856. A small room in the cathedral is still known as the Dog Whipper's Flat.

A dog whipper's whip survives in the parish church of St Anne at Baslow in Derbyshire and a dog whipper's pew is preserved in St. Margaret's Church in Wrenbury, Cheshire. A notable carving of a dog whipper removing a dog with his whip can be seen in the Great Church of St. Bavo in Haarlem.

With the advent of animal shelters, this job became obsolete.

Arch. Burke may need to bilocate.. or trilocate..

Yesterday Arch Burke was appointed as a member of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. This is very exciting because there are many worthy causes for American Saints from the Great Lakes area, including Ven Solanus Casey and Fr. John Hardon, SJ. Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is also a cause close to his heart.

"Promoted out" of the US?

Ok - let's count 'em...
'nuff said - LOL
Te Deum laudamus! 

His Excellency is also President of the Commission for Advocates

A Farewell to Bishop Callahan

Yesterday my parish St. Matthias Church in Milwaukee, had a farewell Mass for one of our Auxiliary Bishops William Callahan, as he prepares to leave to become Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse. He had celebrated at many Masses over the past four years at my parish, including Christmas and the Easter Vigil. We loved having him at our parish and invited him back. He said that he felt that St. Matthias was "very welcoming and felt like home to him."

At the end of the Mass, my pastor brought forth two gifts for Bishop Callahan. One of the gifts was a picture of our church's main stain-glass window which we give to members of our parish who are leaving and have made a difference in our lives. Bishop Callahan sure made a big impression on each and everyone of us.

At a reception after the Mass, my family and I got a chance to say goodbye to him. We had met him many times before and he was very friendly and easy to talk to. When my friend and I approached him, he placed his hands on our shoulders and said loudly, "Now this is the next generation of priests!" That made me feel very happy and excited because Bishop Callahan was someone that I looked up too. His gentleness, humor, and love for God and His people truly inspired me. May he continue to inspire other young men to become priests and to love God where ever he goes.

Bishop Callahan as you leave for La Crosse, may God bless you, hold you and keep you in His care. May God's mercy shine on you, guide your work, guard your resting and keep your faith forever new.

Farewell Bishop Callahan! We shall miss you.

And welcome to La Crosse where there is a vat of boiling oil awaiting you. :\

Victims must show Green Bay Catholic diocese knew of prior sex abuse

APPLETON — Attorneys for two boys molested by a Roman Catholic priest must show proof the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay knew of prior abuse for the civil case to proceed, a judge said Thursday.

Outagamie County Judge Nancy Krueger said attorneys for Todd D. and Troy J. Merryfield must show proof of sexual abuse of children, not just that the diocese's knowledge was limited to "reasonable inferences" or "sexual impulses."

Krueger laid down those guidelines Thursday in a hearing on diocese motions to dismiss the case, and to prohibit punitive damages if the case proceeds. She did not set a date for ruling on the motions.

John Feeney, a former priest, abused the Merryfields in 1978 when they were 12 and 14, and other boys at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Freedom. Feeney is serving a 15-year prison sentence for sexual abuse convictions.

Based on a 2007 state Supreme Court decision, victims of clergy abuse can sue under the fraud statutes outside the normal six-year statute of limitations. Victims must prove they were unaware of the fraud until a later date when it was discovered.

The Merryfields say the diocese failed to inform St. Nicholas Catholic Church parishioners of Feeney's past, including his church-ordered sexual abuse counseling.

Church attorney Patrick Brennan said Merryfields' attorneys have been investigating, taking depositions and filing affidavits for more than two years, adding no proof exists Feeney had a history of sexual abuse before 1978.

Evidence they have uncovered does not meet standards for admissibility.

"I don't believe all the incidents cited by the plaintiffs meet that criteria," Brennan said. "We don't think there are any facts showing any prior incidents of molestation."

He added the Merryfields and their family did not adequately seek relief before the normal six-year statute of limitations expired.

Rumors and reports that Feeney showered with children or swam with them in the nude also would not be admissible, he said.

The Merryfields' lawyers disagree, citing allegations and reports forwarded to the diocese by other priests that date to the early 1970s.

Also, a 1974 letter from a diocese board said Feeney was "working under risk," said Michael Finnegan, one of Merryfield's attorneys. A 1983 memo from the diocese shows what officials knew prior to 1978, he said.

"We are trying to use that as the state of mind of the diocese — what they knew and what they heard," Finnegan said. "I believe there is enough evidence here."

Finnegan said he doesn't have to prove Feeney actually abused anyone, just the diocese knew he had the potential do it.
Wausau Daily

Well we all have the potential of any sin.  But it will be interesting to see what was indeed known to the diocesan staff.  It was a different world back then, we still had a don't ask, don't tell culture(and not just in the Church I might add). 

Fr. John Hardon advice on entering the Jesuits in the 1980s

To offer us some protein, Miss Best was kind enough to drive us every week to sit in on the theology classes she was taking with Rev. John Hardon, S.J., at St. John's University. While the man was brilliant, the classes were dull -- based as they were on impenetrable phenomenological addresses by Pope John Paul II. But I made the most of the question periods, probing that saintly priest with all the Faith-testing, Jesuitical questions that 16-year-old smart alecks are driven to ask. And Father Hardon parried them brilliantly, as Jesuits have done for centuries. He shot down in flames every doubt my personal Screwtape had whispered in my ear, and built up in my mind solid habits of faithful reasoning. I will be grateful to him in eternity, I hope.

When my high school friend (not I) expressed an interest in the priesthood, Father Hardon offered advice: "I wish that I could recommend you apply to the Society of Jesus," he said in his careful way. "I love the order, and wish it could be saved. But I cannot in good conscience send any young man into its seminaries. The closest thing today . . ." And that was how Father Hardon sent my friend and me to visit the Legionaries of Christ.
 John Zmirak at

The site seems to have been updated recently and I can't get the article, the link is for the cached version.

UW shows middle school students how to experiment on aborted babies

The two dozen middle school students were tired and hungry at the end of a long day, but still fully engaged, raising their hands to ask such questions as, “How do you spell cryopreservation?” and “What, exactly, is a stem cell?” Renowned UW scientist Jeff Jones, a pioneer in stem cell research, had these kids under his spell.

In his welcome, Jones described his own career path, beginning with his work at the Cincinnati Zoo with exotic animals and in vitro fertilization.  That led to his work with human in vitro fertilization and helping childless women have babies; next came groundbreaking work with the UW’s Jamie Thomson, with whom he derived the first five human embryonic stem cell lines.

Cap Times

Trying to find that Dr. Frankenstein of the next generation.  Our tax dollars hard at work.

SNAP letter to Bp Morlino regarding Sinsinawa concert

Dear Bishop Morlino:

We are writing about a credibly accused child molester who was recently sued and lost his teaching job but will soon lead a concert in your diocese.

He’s Bradley T. Barrett and this Sunday, he’ll be at the Sinsinawa Mound (near Dubuque), which run by Dominican nuns. Barrett leads the Chorale Midwest and the Chorale Midwest Chamber Singers.

Last year, he was sued[apparently not criminally charged?] for molesting a boy in Missouri. That lawsuit is still pending. Administrators at the University of Northern Iowa (Barrett’s most recent employer) have fired him. And in Missouri in the last few months, others have come forward reporting abuse by Barrett as well.

You are responsible for the safety and well-being of every Catholic in your diocese. A simple Google search would have shown that there’s a current civil lawsuit, filed just last year, charging that Barrett repeatedly molested a Missouri boy. Given this fact, it’s stunningly careless for you to let any Catholic group bring Barrett into your diocese. [These people make great points but come across as complete idiots.  Why would Bishop Morlino care about the day to day operations in Sinsanawa]

We know the man who has courageously taken legal action to expose Barrett and protect other children. We know his attorneys[I'm $ure you do], who are very experienced in this field, having represented hundreds of child molestation victims.

Even after filing suit, Walker continues to take other steps to warn parents and protect kids.

For these reasons and others, this is a credible allegation. Any reasonable decision-maker would think long and hard before giving a position of respect and honor, not to mention greater access to kids, to Barrett.

Yet that’s precisely what some Catholic nuns in your diocese are doing. [These nuns also escort women to abortions clinics.]
We strongly suspect that if the Dominican nuns were lobbying in Madison for the death penalty, abortion rights or gay marriage, you would not take a “hands off” approach. You would most certainly use all your influence and power to stop them.

So please don’t pretend to be uninvolved. Please use your considerable power to stop this reckless and callous move, and make sure that Brad Barrett is never invited back into your diocese. [Again, SNAP could be a great group that I might even support, but until they get off their high horse they will just continue to sound pretentious and overblown.  I'm not holding my breath...]

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you. David Clohessy [aka God]
Executive Director, SNAP
SNAP press release

Fr. Thomas Reese SJ wonders aloud

Nobody suspected Father Pat was anything other than the spiritual leader who took special interest in their kids' religious education. That's not uncommon in such cases, said Rev. Thomas Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. [not to mention a pro-abortion Catholic]

"It's a terrible shock when this happens," Reese said. "The question people will ask is, did the diocese know?"

La Crosse Tribune article on reactions to the Fr. Umberger scandal.

All I can say is this, the accusers of the diocese(what had been known and done) will be brought to silence once the diocese goes public.  I seriously question the legalistic need to not comment on this publicly.  The lack of a good PR staff and the over emphasis of one lawyers opinion is dragging all the members of our diocese through the mud. 

Chicago seminarian bikes through Wisconsin and Minnesota

These last couple days have been quite an adventure. Yesterday, we woke to a major rainstorm pelting our host church in La Crosse, WI.
We finally arrived at our host church yesterday in Pepin, WI and, to my great joy, I found fellow seminarian Dan Thelen (Class of 2015, Diocese of La Crosse, WI) waiting for me on the steps.
A few days off the bike really won't help the situation and would only prevent me from reaching my goal of cycling all the way across the country. 
[In St Paul]I suppose my favorite part about this area is not one, but TWO Catholic cathedrals (one of them is a basilica)! I haven't had time to visit either one yet, but they are enormous from the outside and tower over the whole city. It is obvious that the Catholic presence here is significant, a fact that brings me great joy.
The whole story at Onward to Holiness

Fr Umberger story is mentioned in diocesan newspaper

ONALASKA – Father Patrick Umberger, a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, was arrested on July 14 for allegedly possessing child pornography.

Pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Onalaska, Father Umberger also served as chaplain of St. Patrick School, Onalaska, and Aquinas Middle School, La Crosse. He was also the diocesan webmaster at one time and maintained a personal website devoted to Catholic prayer and catechesis.

In a statement issued after the arrest, the Diocese of La Crosse said that Father Umberger was suspended from active ministry during the investigation: “It is the policy of the Diocese that pending the outcome of the investigation, Father Umberger will not be assigned any duties, and that policy will be followed by the Diocese and Aquinas Catholic Schools. This action should not be interpreted as an assessment of guilt or innocence.

It is taken to protect all parties involved.” In a July 17 letter read at St. Patrick’s weekend celebrations of the Mass, Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Richard Gilles sought to console St. Patrick parishioners upon hearing of the allegations against Father Umberger.

“It is at times like this that I recall very clearly St. Paul’s words about the body of Christ – that when one member suffers we all do,” he said. “By that same teaching, we can help to build up the body of Christ, to lift one another up with our prayers – those which are public and those expressed in the deep recesses of our anguished hearts.”

Onalaska pastor arrested as part of investigation In the letter, Monsignor Gilles assured St. Patrick’s parishioners that area clergy would continue to provide sacramental support at St. Patrick’s.

He also quoted a message from Bishop William P. Callahan, bishop-designate of the Diocese of La Crosse. Bishop Callahan will be installed as 10th bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse on Aug. 11.

“During difficult times like these we are all brought to our knees,” Bishop Callahan said in the letter. “My prayer is that we not be afraid to face the difficult issues and as a Church, place these in the Lord’s hands. Our Catholic faith is grounded in Jesus Christ. I pray that as we approach Jesus in Holy Communion today we can pray for God’s healing for one another, for Father Umberger and for all of us in the Diocese.”
 The Catholic Times

Reportedly there were many at Mass last weekend at St Pat's in Onalaska who were brought to tears.  Not much was said of the issue except at the end of Mass, letters from both Gilles and Callahan were read.  Parishioners were told of the "priest shortage" and that the diocese would do its best to find a replacement.

Update: By the way, if you want to follow the Fr. Umberger events, you can click the label below or click this to see just the posts that refer to the recent events.

University of Wisconsin Co-Sponsors Pro-Abortion Forum With Planned Parenthood

Madison, WI ( -- After having been the subject of many months of criticism for building a new second-trimester abortion center, the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority is now facing criticism for co-sponsoring an event with Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business.

An open records request, conducted by Pro-Life Wisconsin, revealed a $2,000 check written to sponsor a day-long summit purportedly focusing on Wisconsin women’s health.

The $2,000 check was written by the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority [UWHCA], and in return, University of Wisconsin Health was listed as a sponsor.

PLW officials told today that the Wisconsin Women’s Health Policy Summit, held this past May, included presenters such as Nicole Safar and Lorraine Lathen of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and promoted abortion under the guise of reproductive health.

Planned Parenthood was also a sponsor of the event along with the University of Wisconsin.

Donna Katen-Bahensky, president of UWHCA, approved the sponsorship, according to emails the pro-life organization obtained.

“Parents need to know that when they send their child to UW for a degree, particularly for a medical degree, there will be exposure to and high pressure to conform to an extreme abortion agenda,” said Virginia Zignego, communications director and a UW-Madison graduate. “This is just another example of our state-funded University of Wisconsin pushing chemical and surgical abortion.”

“When will the flow of money into pro-abortion coffers end?” asked Peggy Hamill, state director. “Nine of my children have attended UW schools, and as a parent and taxpayer, I am disgusted with this attempted indoctrination of our youth into pro-abortion extremism.”

That's my problem with the UW system.  I'm okay with progressives teaching my kids in college, but what I'm not okay with is tuition & tax dollars supporting the abortion industry.  Big Abortion doesn't seem to get the fact that abortion is not progress and it's not Forward Thinking, it's backward feminism that demeans women and compromises who they are exponentially more than an unexpected pregnancy would.

Prayers for Milwaukee area flood victims

This is the account of the man who rescued the driver of a Cadillac Escalade from a sinkhole shortly before 8 p.m. at N. Oakland and E. North Aves.:
Mark Pawlik, 46, was walking across the North Ave. bridge and talking to his friend on the phone when he noticed a traffic light had sunk into the ground.
Just the red, yellow and green lights were above street level. He told his friend he'd call him back. It was still pouring rain, but he wanted to stop and take a picture.
A moment later a man driving a black Escalade pulled up to the intersection at North and Oakland avenues, going east on North Ave.
"The Escalade just went wham!" Pawlik said. "Everything went down. The power line went like 'pow' and then I think it was sewer water was just pouring into the hole."
Pawlik leaned over the edge of the sinkhole, which was then about 15 feet by 15 feet.
"I said, 'Hey, man, are you OK, are you OK?' "
Pawlik said the man kept saying, "What happened? What just happened?"
The driver pulled himself onto the hood and then fell down into the hole. He pulled himself back up onto the hood, and Pawlik took his hand and then his belt loop to get him out of the hole. He said he was the only person in the car.
By that time, several people had gathered around the edge of the hole.
Pawlik could see that the ground had given way beneath the asphalt and yelled at people to get back.
Pawlik said he and several others tried to reach 911 but got busy signals, so a few people flagged down a city bus and asked the driver to call in the emergency.
Police arrived and put emergency tape up, and an ambulance took the driver of the Escalade away.
Pawlik, who owns a towing company, said the hole was about 20 feet deep.
At a 9:45 p.m. news conference, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said crews were still on the scene with the Escalade, which was still running because it had been filled with gas just before the incident.
More from JSOnline

The interview for the "stay-at-home mom" position

You: I see. How much will I get paid?

F.E.: Oh, nothing. And you definitely don't get paid for overtime OR get holidays off. It's pretty much a 365 day a year kind of gig. Oh, wait--do you accept kisses and hugs as a form of payment? What about mud pies? What about dandelions? If so, you're going to BANK, my friend.
Read the whole thing at It's On My To-Do List

Great upcoming conferences at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Queen of the Americas Guild Annual Conference—July 30th and 31st

The Guild will host a 2-day conference at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse. This year’s topic is “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Bringing us to her Son through an understanding of Church law.” The conference will examine Our Lady of Guadalupe’s relationship to the laws of the Catholic Faith. As Canon Law is intended to be our guide, so too, is the timeless message of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will be the keynote speaker. To learn more, or to register, call the Guild at 630-583-1822 or email .

Canon Law Conference for Canonists and Civil Attorneys - August 3rd and 4th

Hosted by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, other featured speakers at this conference will include Benedict T. Nguyen, Rev. John J. Couglin and Rev. James J. Conn. The Conference fee is $199. To make reservations, call the Shrine at 608-782-5440 or go to

Marian Catechist Consecrations and Consecration Renewals—August 7th and 8th

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI—Sunday, August 8th

Please preregister with the Marian Catechist National Office to participate in the entire weekend. The Consecration Mass will be on Sunday morning.

Mother of the Church Marian Symposium—Saturday, August 21st

This all-day symposium at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse is sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Speakers include His Excellency Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, His Eminence Luis Cardinal Aponte Martinez, Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins, Dr. Mark I. Miravalle, Father Peter Damian M. Fehlner and Emcee Drew Mariani. The cost is $30 per person. To make reservations, call the Shrine at 608-782-5440 or go to

Fellowship of the Unashamed

I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won't look
back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God's hands. I am
finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth
knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and
dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I
don't have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live
by faith. I lean on Christ's presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the
power of God's grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my
companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I
will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the
table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid
up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know,
and work until He stops me.

And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is
clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid

Mission statement for

To catch up on some other news

La Crosse - The Rev. Robert Chukwu, 59, made the plea in Crawford County Circuit Court to three counts of misdemeanor theft and entered an 18-month deferred prosecution agreement, said Jim Birnbaum, attorney for the La Crosse Diocese. The plea means Chukwu admits no wrongdoing but concedes a jury likely would have found him guilty.

Two of the three charges will be dismissed after 18 months if Chukwu obeys all conditions of the agreement, Birnbaum said. A restitution amount will be determined at a later hearing.

A felony theft charge filed Jan. 29 accused Chukwu of sending money and items to priests, a nun, a school and family in Nigeria between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2009, according to the complaint. He holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Nigeria and had been assigned to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Gays Mills and St. Phillip’s Catholic Church in Soldiers Grove.
La Crosse Tribune
Waukesha - The former pastor of St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Brookfield who was charged this year with the theft of $9,300 in church funds was sentenced Wednesday to 100 days in the county work release jail.

Leonard Van Vlaenderen, 51, of Cudahy was convicted by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis after Van Vlaenderen pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of felony theft.

Davis left open the option that Van Vlaenderen could serve his jail term in Milwaukee County, where the priest lives and cares for his elderly mother and aunt.

If Milwaukee County authorities agree, Van Vlaenderen could end up serving much or all of his jail term at home on electronic monitoring, officials said.

Davis told Van Vlaenderen to report to the Waukesha County work release jail on July 28 unless arrangements are made by then for him to serve his sentence in Milwaukee County.

Van Vlaenderen was accused of obtaining repayment from the church for computer equipment that had been purchased in March 2006 and August 2006 with a parishioner's credit card but was returned for refunds, according to a criminal complaint filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Van Vlaenderen used receipts from the purchases to request reimbursement from the church, the complaint says.

The parishioner told police she had no idea Van Vlaenderen planned to seek reimbursement.

He also was accused of using church funds to purchase a computer in March 2004 that was given to a Chicago resident, the complaint states.

Van Vlaenderen has been under scrutiny since his arrest in December 2007 on a misdemeanor charge of possessing cocaine. He was convicted of that charge in 2008 and spent a year on probation.

The church began reviewing its finances in December 2007, shortly after the arrest of Van Vlaenderen, who arrived at the church in 2002.

An audit that the church conducted showed that the church lost nearly $128,000 over three years in thefts of cash from its weekly collections, and the audit found a correlation between the missing money and the tenure of Van Vlaenderen.

Van Vlaenderen, who is on medication for clinical depression, said he was sorry for what he did.

"I apologize to the court, to my family, my friends, to the parishioners of St. John Vianney, all of God's people of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for the hurt and disillusionment caused by my . . . clouded wisdom. Words cannot adequately express my remorse. I did wrong," he told Davis.

He's back!!!

Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker will return to the Brewers' broadcast booth on Friday when the Milwaukee Brewers meet the Washington Nationals.

The announcement was made Wednesday morning on WTMJ-AM (Radio 620).

Uecker, 75, had heart surgery on April 30 to repair a leaking aortic valve as well as an enlarged aorta. Uecker has been in recovery since the surgery.

No other details were immediately available, including whether Uecker will travel with the team for road games.
Mil Journal Sentinel

Chant workshop in Madison

A Treasure of
Inestimable Value
October 1-2, 2010

Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center
Madison, Wisconsin

co-sponsored by the Diocese of Madison
and the Tridentine Mass Society of Madison

The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 112)


Friday, October 1, 2010
You do not need to be a trained musician to attend either session.

3:30-4:00 p.m. Registration & Gathering

4:00-5:30 p.m. Welcome & Opening Prayer, Music History Session I with Fr. Skeris

5:45-6:15 p.m. Evening Prayer with Bishop Robert C. Morlino, presiding and music ministry by the Madison Diocesan Choir

6:15-7:30 p.m. Dinner (Fish Fry)

7:30-9:00 p.m. Music History Session II with Fr. Skeris

9:15-9:30 p.m. Night Prayer

Saturday, October 2, 2010

8:45-10:15 a.m. Chant Session I with Fr. Skeris

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break (with refreshments)

10:30-11:45 a.m. Chant Session II with Fr. Skeris

12:00 p.m. Mass (Novus Ordo) in the Chapel with Bishop Morlino, principal celebrant and music ministry by workshop participants

1:00 p.m. Departure

Our Clinician

Fr. (Dr.) Robert A. Skeris has been a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee since 1961. He has studied at the Universities of Notre Dame (USA), Cologne and Bonn (Germany). He received his Doctor of Theology from the University of Bonn.

He served from 1986 through 1990 as Professor and Prefetto della Casa at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome where he also had been named Consultor to the Vatican's Office of Pontifical Ceremonies. He is the President Emeritus of CMAA (the Church Music Association of America).
Registration at Diocese of Madison

HT Dad29

Mo. Special Olympics ousts Superior ex-priest over abuse

Hopefully we don't need to rename this blog to the Badger Scandal...  Here's the background on Tom Ericksen.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Roman Catholic priest who was part of a $5 million sex abuse settlement in Wisconsin two decades ago was suspended from a volunteer position with Special Olympics Missouri and has admitted some of the abuse.

Mark Musso, president and CEO of Special Olympics Missouri, said the former priest, Tom Ericksen, 62, of Kansas City, was suspended indefinitely last week after the organization learned of the 1989 settlement with the Diocese of Superior, Wis.

Ericksen admitted in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday that he had fondled three boys but denied having contact with a fourth child involved in the settlement. He said the settlement totaled about $5 million.

"I just fondled and stuff like that," Ericksen said during the interview in the lobby of his Kansas City apartment building.

"But I can't say I didn't do inappropriate things. ... But I never had sex" with them, he said. Ericksen also said he has not abused any children since leaving the priesthood, including Special Olympians.

"They think of me as an ogre. That I did this many more times. But I haven't," he said.

Ericksen said he had been volunteering with Special Olympics Missouri for about five years.

Bishop Peter Christensen of the Diocese of Superior was out of the office Monday and did not return a call seeking comment.

The settlement was a civil matter and no criminal charges were ever filed against Ericksen. Such charges could have triggered some online databases that track sexual offenders.

Musso noted that nothing turned up in a background check on Ericksen when he applied to volunteer. Musso said Ericksen's duties typically included checking in volunteers at area games and he was never "in any role in which he'd have direct access to athletes."

The settlement came to light recently when two men came forward to say Ericksen had abused them when he was pastor at their Wisconsin parish. Musso said Ericksen was suspended the day that Special Olympics Missouri learned of the settlement.

Ericksen left Wisconsin in 1983 and was removed from the priesthood in 1988. He said he first moved to Minneapolis, where he worked for AT&T as a customer service representative, and moved to Kansas City in 2005.

He began volunteering with Special Olympics Missouri soon after he arrived in Kansas City.

"It's my way of ministering now," he said.

The Duluth News Tribune has reported that two victims want Wisconsin prosecutors to file charges against Ericksen. Neither men responded to messages left at phone numbers listed in their names. Sawyer County District Attorney Tom Van Roy also did not return a call seeking comment.

Also Monday, David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called on the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to post information about Ericksen and every other "admitted or credibly accused priest" who is in the area.

Rebecca Summers, spokeswoman for the diocese, said it has considered posting such information on its website, but she wasn't sure if it would do so. She noted that Ericksen has never worked in the diocese and is not registered as a parishioner.

Fr Umberger the webmaster, battle with cancer, & thoughts on diocese decision

To clear up this little misnomer first;  Fr. Pat Umberger is a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse. He is NOT the diocesan webmaster and did not have an office at the diocese.  It appears as though the implication is that he did this on diocesan property which he did not.  He is a parish priest of St Patrick's parish in Onalaska.  He at one point was the webmaster of the diocese, while still working as a full time parish priest.  As you might be able to tell from looking at the diocesan website, it was designed a long time ago and only recently has had content regularly updated.  The updates were done by diocesan staff.  The Tribune took the information from Fr. Umberger's website.
On 26 August 2005 Bishop Listecki named Father Pat Webmaster for the Diocese of La Crosse.
Fr. Umberger has definitely had no involvement with the diocesan website since he got cancer in 2008.

As best and I can piece together, there are some of the details on his cancer.

Date: April 8, 2008
As most of you know I was diagnosed with a Uveal Melanoma (Eye Cancer) twelve years ago. It was treated with Proton Beam Radiation in Boston and had been doing just fine, with some usable vision, until 15 months ago when there was an interior bleed. There has been no usable vision since then. I have undergone many surgeries in Boston and Rochester in the past months, and laser procedures to prevent abnormal vessels from breaking and to reduce eye pressure. Despite that the problems continue and the pressure remains eye and the eye painful and troublesome. We decided to day that it's the best course of action to remove the eye. I hope to have it done as soon as possible! I'll meet with a doctor at Mayo in Rochester tomorrow and set a date and course of action that will include a prosthetic eye in time (about 6 weeks after the surgery). I'm very much at peace with the course of action and have felt for some time that it's the best option. Keep me in your prayers. I'll let you know the exact date of the surgery soon! There will be no more pain, no more weakening eye-drops and no more trips to Boston. I'll only miss the trips to Boston.
Date November 24, 2008 
As you know, I was diagnosed this Summer with Multiple Myeloma. I'll be undergoing a Stem Cell Transplant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester during the month of December. This is not the "fetal stem cell" transplant the Church opposes, since it is necessary to destroy a life in order to obtain the stem cells. The stem cells will come from my own blood.  I'll be evaluated the first week of December, then receive injections to increase the number of stem cells and send them into the blood.  Then I'll be connected to machines five hours a day, when blood will be drawn and stem cells taken out. The stem cells will be frozen and I'll be given massive doses of Chemo.  Then the stem cells will be reintroduced.  The hope is that they'll start producing healthy blood cells.  When resistance returns, I'll be able to return home.  I should have Internet access during this time, and should be able to send Morning Prayer myself.  Keep me in your prayers and know you're remembered in mine as well!
And I finally found his blog where he updated his progress during the cancer treatment.
The last public post is this on January 9th 2009.

I had a more difficult day yesterday. I tried very hard to eat breakfast, but had nausea and was unable to keep it down. When we went to the Hospital my white blood cell count was .1 … which is where it needs to be. Platelets too, were very low … and today are at 8. I was given two liters of fluids and told to go home, but to watch my temperature. I was go call if it got up to 101.3. They were fairly sure it would reach that.

I wasn’t interested in anything yesterday. I slept all day simply because I was lying down. My caretaker said it was 5:30 and assumed that meant 5:30 in the morning. We took my temp and it was 101.4. Bill called Station 94 and they said to bring me in.

I continued to have diahhrea problems and still have that today. I was very weak, that’s for sure. So they did vitals, a bazillion blood and other tests, and then started IV’s for hydration and antibiotics as well. I imagine cultures will return soon.

People couldn’t be nicer or more helpful here. They say, “You’re in the bottom of the trench,” and thats where I need to be. Today I’ve received constant IV’s, platelets, red blood cells, antibiotics, etc.

Well, in short, I’ve been admitted to Methodist Hospital where I’ll stay for several days or even a week. But I’m in a very good and safe place. 70% or more of transplant patients end up in the hospital.]

I took no interest in anything today, sleeping most of the time … and going back and for the to the rest room. But at 5 or 5:30 I turned on the news. That’s been OK, but things seem to move awfully fast. Thanks so much for your precious prayers on my behalf. They’re precious to me, that’s for sure! Don’t stop praying now. And be assured of my ongoing prayerful support.

So I guess the point is when Umberger told the diocese and Birnbaum that he had problems with frequent urination, it seemed pretty damn probable that it came from his medical condition.  In hindsight, sure it could have been a warning sign.  But a priest of perfect record for 30 years, appeared to be exemplary in performing his duties, plus almost died from cancer treatment(that's why he stopped the blogging after this post) six months prior.....  Well, I'm pretty sure I'd make the same decision in those shoes.

For all Badger Catholic coverage of Fr Umberger, click here.

Diocese of Madison CCHD funds to support job education, area farmers

For some background on this, check out last year's  USCCB Catholic Campaign for Human Development scandal.  Basically it appears the CCHD has become a funnel from parishes to liberal groups supporting abortion and homosexual "marriage".  Bishop Morlino last year also withheld his CCHD funds and put them to a more appropriate use.
(Madison) As the nation’s bishops continue to scrutinize the distribution of the national portion of the US Church’s annual Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Bishop Robert Morlino has assured the Diocese of Madison that all donations earmarked for local use will only benefit initiatives, groups and programs consistent with authentic Catholic social teaching, as a matter of justice. To this end, after receiving recommendations from a local advisory committee, Bishop Morlino has decided that all of this year’s funds will help fund the Madison Catholic Multicultural Center’s “Just-Us Artisan Producer” project, and the initiatives proposed by diocesan Cluster 350’s Justice and Peace Committee.

Bishop Morlino is extremely grateful to Fr. Jim Murphy and the members of the diocesan CCHD advisory committee for their hard work and recommendations, with regard to how the diocese should best disperse local CCHD funds. Likewise, the bishop and the diocese thank all those who have so generously contributed to the CCHD collection. In a letter of thanks to Fr. Murphy, Bishop Morlino stated “I have complete confidence that these two projects which you have recommended will remain beyond reproach and faithful in all respects to authentic Catholic social teaching under the guidance of our diocesan priests.” A number of people in the diocese will benefit greatly, from the programs receiving these funds.

In 2008 and 2009, the Diocese of Madison earmarked the entire national portion of the CCHD collection to the victims of Hurricane Ike, on the Gulf Coast, and the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor, respectively. The decision to send directly to these two causes came after increased concerns that some funds donated to CCHD, in the past, had gone to support initiatives of either scandalous or, at the very least, groups or programs, which also undertook projects or political initiatives with which the Church did not desire to be associated.

The bishop’s decision was made to avoid and further scandal in this regard and to assure that all funds, so generously given by our faithful Catholic people consistently go to benefit only programs in line with authentic Catholic social teaching, as they intended.

Notes regarding programs benefiting from Madison’s local CCHD funds:

Catholic Multicultural Center’s “Just-Us Artisan Producer” Project ($10,000) – Program will prepare food for restaurants and other food providers purchased from local farmers, while training persons with major barriers to employment in marketable skills in this field. The work of the Catholic Multicultural Center is managed by Msgr. Ken Fiedler and Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Madison.

Cluster 350’s Justice and Peace Committee Initiatives ($6,000) – Cooperating with Family Farm Defenders, which partners with many area farmers, as well as local businesses, schools and hospitals, seeks to help people meet basic nutritional needs and encouraging fair compensation for producers. Cluster 350 is composed of St. Boniface, Lime Ridge, St. Patrick, Loreto, Holy Family, La Valle, and Sacred Heart, Reedsburg, WI.
Diocese of Madison

Usus Antiquior of the Cistercian Rite used for first time in 40 years in Sparta WI

This morning our subprior, The Rev. Robert Keffer, O.Cist., said a private Mass in the Usus Antiquior of the Cistercian Rite in what was most likely the first time that the older form of our rite has been used in the U.S. in 40 years. I hardly need to tell you what joy this gives me to report.

This is a matter that has been under discussion in the community for some time. About half of our Masses are already said in Latin according to the reforms of the Cistercian Rite that followed Vatican II. For the last 18 months under the leadership of our prior, Dom Bernard McCoy, all Masses have been said ad orientem. The return of the old rite to the house follows logically.

Let me be quick to say that this does not indicate that we will be making a wholesale return to the old books. The occasional conventual Mass may be said in the old rite as well as some private Masses and there has been some talk of returning to the older rite on the days we sing the Office of the Dead, but we shall probably remain largely where we are. The Divine Office and the Mass are currently offered in the Ordinary Form with all of the dignity that our small community can muster. As many of you know, our Br. David has spearheaded a multi-year project to create new folio-sized Choir books for the Abbey that incorporate the changes made at the time of the Council while retaining the traditional Latin texts and providing a dignified English translation in a second column. We do our best to present the reformed Cistercian Rite with the noble simplicity it was intended to have. Our former abbot, Dom Blaise, was fond of saying, “Americans shouldn’t say they don’t like the Novus Ordo. They’ve probably never seen it.”

Fr. Robert emailed me this morning after his Mass and, like many others who celebrate the Extraordinary form for the first time, he said that he was taken with its sense of prayerfulness and rightness. He also mentioned that he found the tutorials at the Sancta Missa website of the Canons Regular of St John Cantius particularly helpful in addition to the expert coaching of our oblate brother, Frater Lawrence.
 Sub Tuum

Statement from Diocese of La Crosse

On Wednesday, July 14, 2010, the Diocese of La Crosse and Aquinas Catholic Schools learned that Father Patrick Umberger had been arrested as part of a criminal investigation.

Father Umberger has served as pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Onalaska, as chaplain for St. Patrick School, and as chaplain of Aquinas Middle School. It is the policy of the Diocese that pending the outcome of the investigation, Father Umberger will not be assigned any duties, and that policy will be followed by the Diocese and Aquinas Catholic Schools.

This action should not be interpreted as an assessment of guilt or innocence. It is taken to protect all parties involved.

Consistent with diocesan practice, the Diocese has been in touch with and is cooperating with civil authorities. Aquinas Catholic Schools will cooperate fully with civil and diocesan authorities during this investigation.

Because this is an ongoing investigation, there will be no further comment from the Diocese or school officials.

All questions and requests for information should be directed to the diocesan attorney, James Birnbaum, at 608-784-1605.
 Diocese of La Crosse

Cassocks, not just for formals anymore

HT Chris Gillibrand

Diocese knew of Umberger following boys into bathroom incident

The Diocese of La Crosse placed no restrictions on an Onalaska priest despite learning he had reportedly followed young boys into a water park bathroom last summer, the diocese attorney confirmed.

The Rev. Patrick Umberger, priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish in Onalaska since 2005, now is accused of having child pornography after a state Department of Justice investigation that traces back to the water park incident.

But the diocesan attorney Jim Birnbaum called the water park reports an “unsubstantiated allegation.”

Umberger, 59, also confessed to state agents he’d had anonymous sexual encounters with males and females, none of them minors. He visited gay chat rooms as well, he said, where online cameras showed nude individuals engaged in sex acts, according the DOJ report.

Umberger told state agents Wednesday he met with Birnbaum and Vicar the Rev. Joe Hirsch sometime after the July 22, 2009, incident at Noah’s Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, according the report.

Umberger said the diocese received a letter about the incident, possibly from Lake Delton police, the report stated. Lake Delton police Chief Thomas Dorner said the department did not send the letter and has no record of sending a police report to the diocese.

A family and two Noah’s Ark Water Park employees reported seeing Umberger repeatedly follow boys into the bathroom near a children’s pool area, according to the Lake Delton police report.

Umberger was found standing next to a 10-year-old using a urinal, the report stated. Umberger denied intentionally following the boys and told an officer he had prostate problems and had to urinate often, according to the DOJ report.

Park officials revoked Umberger’s season pass and placed him on a watch list.

Birnbaum said Friday he discussed the incident with Umberger but couldn’t recall when or who else was present at the meeting. He declined to identify what exactly was discussed during the meeting, citing attorney-client privacy, but said the diocese verified Umberger’s medical condition that caused frequent urination.

Birnbaum termed the incident an “unsubstantiated allegation.”

“There was no crime,” he said.

The diocese did not impose any restrictions on Umberger’s contact with children, Birnbaum said.

“We’ve never had a complaint about him,” Birnbaum said.

Lake Delton police did forward its report to Onalaska police, who asked the Department of Justice to investigate Umberger for potential sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography.

Onalaska Assistant Chief Troy Miller said the department immediately turned to the DOJ, though he was unsure of the exact date, to avoid any conflict of interest. Many officers attend St. Patrick’s Parish, Miller said, and the department has an officer in the school for DARE and GREAT programs.

Umberger was arrested Wednesday at the church rectory and charged Thursday in La Crosse County Circuit Court with one count of possession of child pornography after agents discovered three sexually graphic photos of nearly nude children on his computer, according to the complaint.

Umberger was removed from active ministry and teaching pending the investigation. The diocese was not aware before the arrest of any improper computer use, Birnbaum said.

“What’s happening right now is a shock,” he said.

Umberger told a state agent Wednesday he is sexually attracted to boys and young men and searched the Internet for images of 12- to 15-year-olds, according to the complaint. But he denied ever having sexual contact with children.

Umberger, who told agents he had been receiving chemotherapy treatments for cancer, also is diocese webmaster, taught at St. Patrick’s School and is chaplain at Aquinas Middle School, according to his website. He previously served parishes in Arcadia, La Crosse, Mauston, Wonewoc and Elroy.


I'll post my commentary once I get a chance.

Blessed Martyrs of Compiègne, ora pro nobis!

When monastic vows were suppressed by order of the Assemblée[during the French Revolution], city authorities came to the monastery to interrogate each sister as to the motives of her vocation and to offer freedom to any who wished it. When none chose to leave, the officials returned with armed guards that they posted as sentinels within the cloister: they believed that the sisters were afraid to speak for fear of being overheard. One by one the nuns were brought to be examined. When Mother Henriette's turn came, she handed them a written response and asked them to read it aloud to her:
How false are the judgments
that the world makes of us!
Its profound ignorance
disapproves of our promises,
all that it adorns itself with
is but pure vanity.
Its only reality
is the sorrow that devours it.

I despise its pride,
I consider its hatred an honor;
and I prefer my chains
to its spurious freedom.
O day of eternal celebration,
O day forever holy,
when, vowing myself to Carmel
I won the heart of God.

O beloved and precious bonds
I strengthen you each day;
all that the earth can offer me
is worthless in my eyes;
your sarcasm, worldlings,
compared to my joy
is a dead giveaway:
that joy outweighs all the cares
to which your soul is prey.
Read the whole story at

Chapel at the St. Joseph Orphan Home, Superior, WI

Thanks to commenter Steve for posting this.
Since I was at the Wisconsin site I remembered some postcards that show the interior of the Chapel at the St. Joseph Orphan Home in Superior.
These will BLOW YOUR MIND when you see what people once built in a small chapel in an orphanage.
They might also bring tears to the eyes when you see what Catholics used to design for their churches and how far away from that ideal we have fallen.
Check out the pictures below.  Let's find out what happened to this priceless heirloom of the Badger Catholics. 

From Architectural Antiques LLC
Architectural Antiques conducted this salvage of the Chapel of the Angels which was hidden on the top floor of St Joseph’s Children’s Home in Superior, Wisconsin

Quick Facts from one of our favorite Salvages to date.

Designed by Cleveland architect, Emile M. Ulrich, the orphanage was completed in 1917. The chapel, a gift from the Bishop of the Diocese of Superior, was not completed until 1919.

The children's home operated until 1963 when foster home programs eliminated the need for such a facility.

After that, it was used for other social programs (refugees, day care and handicapped center) up until 1984.

Changing needs and the inability to find new uses for a building are the first steps toward its demise.

St. Joseph's stood empty for over a decade when a decision was made to gut the building for remodeling.

While the rest of the building was not as significant and had been substantially changed over the years, the complete destruction of the virtually unchanged, two-story chapel would have been a great loss.

While the orphanage itself was Neoclassical in style, the exception was this chapel, truly this was a chapel of and for the Angels.

Baroque-rococo design & Style.

Artisans from Italy and Czechoslovakia crafted many of the stained glass windows. Italian marble, ornate plaster work, gilding, carved oak pews (undersized for children), and statuary made up much of the chapel's interior.

Salvage efforts by Architectural Antiques successfully removed a majority of all items that could be reused.

The firm attempted as complete a salvage as possible, spending numerous man-hours on scaffolding painstakingly removing the ornamental plaster work, much of it covered in gold leaf, from the walls and ceiling.

Much of the plaster work, light fixtures, paintings & bishop chairs featured cherubs & angels, a consistent theme throughout the chapel.

Those pieces as well as marble alters, stained glass and the oak pews were all saved and have been integrated into other homes or offices.
Unfortunately Architectural Antiques LLC did not take more pictures.  There are only a few and none of the chapel in total.

A church in Spokane, Washington states it has obtained many of the furnishings.  I'm glad they found a good home.
Many of the present furnishings were obtained from St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Superior, Wisconsin.
The Sisters of St. Joseph ran the orphanage until its closure.

Photos courtesy of

Why can't we build churches like this any more (and why are we gutting the ones we have)?

Onalaska priest admits to porn possession - followed boys into bathroom

Onalaska police were aware a Catholic priest now charged with having child pornography repeatedly followed several young boys into a Wisconsin Dells water park bathroom almost a year ago, according to police reports and court records.

A family and two Noah’s Ark Water Park employees saw the Rev. Patrick Umberger, 59, trail the boys into the bathroom by a children’s pool area July 22, 2009, according to a Lake Delton Police Department report.

Umberger, priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish in Onalaska since 2005, was found standing next to a 10-year-old using a urinal, the report stated. He told an officer he was near the restrooms because he had prostate problems and had to urinate often.

The officer told Umberger that park officials had revoked his season pass and drove him to his car. The officer noted she questioned Umberger for an hour and he never had to use the restroom. Noah’s Ark Operations Manager Justin Strayer said in a statement Thursday that Umberger remains on the park’s watch list.

Lake Delton police also forwarded the report to the Onalaska Police Department, which later discovered photos of the priest with young boys on his Facebook page, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Onalaska police asked the state Department of Justice to investigate, but police would not say when or why.

Umberger told a state agent Wednesday he is sexually attracted to boys and young men and searched the Internet for pictures of boys 12 to 15 years old, according to the complaint.

His computer had three sexually graphic pictures of nearly nude children Wednesday, the complaint stated.

Umberger was charged Thursday with one count of possession of child pornography. He is prohibited contact with children and computers as part of his $10,000 signature bond and returns to court July 28 for a preliminary hearing.

Umberger denied ever having sexual contact with children, the complaint stated.

He did admit to using a software program that regularly scrubbed his computer hard drive.

Umberger’s removal from active ministry pending the investigation “should not be interpreted as any indication of assessment of guilt or innocence,” Diocese of La Crosse attorney Jim Birnbaum said. The diocese did not return Tribune phone calls seeking information on who would take over duties at St. Patrick’s.

Umberger also is diocese webmaster, taught at St. Patrick School and is chaplain at Aquinas Middle School, according to his website.

He previously served multiple stints around central and western Wisconsin, including stops at parishes in Arcadia, La Crosse, Mauston, Wonewoc and Elroy.

News of his arrest spread quickly through the St. Patrick’s parish membership.

“Everyone I talked to that is a member there is shocked,” said a church member who asked not to be named. “I mean, he’s our priest.”

Jessica Kirchner — an associate of Birnbaum — said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the diocese was not aware of Umberger’s alleged inappropriate computer use.

Milwaukee Archdiocese spokeswoman Gillian Lester-George said in an e-mail that Archbishop Jerome Listecki, former bishop in La Crosse, was “surprised and saddened” to hear about Umberger’s arrest.

“Archbishop Listecki had no previous indication that there were any potential issues that would have prevented Fr. Pat from serving in public ministry,” Lester-George wrote.

The Department of Justice has asked that anyone with possible information on Umberger’s case call (715) 839-3830.
La Crosse Tribune

Needless to say, I think this is a big shock to everybody in the diocese.

In regards to the "diocese webmaster" title he has on his website; this information is outdated. My understanding is that Fr. Umberger has not been the diocesan webmaster since he started cancer treatments a few years ago. The diocese has staff hired that now works on the website. They still use Umberger's original design though.

Regarding the cancer, he had almost died. He had been updating a blog daily on his progress and he was in rough shape. It was my understanding that most parishioners who knew the details thought he wouldn't make it. The blog appears to have been taken down now.

I think it makes this revelation all the more shocking as he was very well known in the diocese and thought of as fighting the good fight. The Catholic Times had run a story on him in the last six months and his web ministry. Unfortunately it's not online.

Also, Msgr. Bernard McGarty had been helping out alot at St Pats in Umberger's absence during his cancer treatment and recovery. He is a retired priest from La Crosse. I assume in the interim that he will again be the one filling in.

As disturbing as this is, let's not forget to pray for Fr. Umberger, for his conversion, and especially for the children exploited in those photographs.