Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Working Labor Day

I spent the whole weekend in a most unenviable way. All the fallout from the Gulf Coast has all the dioceses scurrying. One tendency which is most bothersome to me is episcopal grandstanding, if you have not noticed that already. "Archbishop Hughes, my diocese stands ready to offer housing for all your clergy." "Archbishop Hughes, my diocese stands ready to fill all our empty convents with your nuns." "Archbishop Hughes..., etc." Enough "standing ready" already, and besides, why is it that when the faxes don't go through to Archbishop Hughes (as, of course, they won't, his fax machine being underwater), they feel the need to 'CC' the fax to all the rest of us bishops on the East Coast, with a request to 'convey the information in case we get through to him.'? I mean, is that really necessary? Not to name names, but just because the Diocese of Saginaw has seventeen empty rectories, is hardly something for Bishop Carlson to go announcing all down the East Coast, as though the rest of us should go green with envy.

Not that I haven't been active myself. As soon as I heard about the Hurricane Katrina disaster, I sent a pastoral letter immediately, which I had read at every parish from the pulpit. I also took up a second collection, and had an intention added to the prayers of the faithful. Not to brag, but there were a few dioceses in which a special intention for the hurricane victims was noticeably lacking. Including a few suffragans of the Baltimore Archdiocese.

Of course, the inevitable press release was hard on the heels of my pastoral letter. We decided to do a joint one between Keeler, DiLorenzo, McCarrick and myself, for a cumulative effect. Unfortunately Keeler and DiLorenzo don't really get along, so there were some tensions. DiLorenzo kept saying that the hurricane in Louisiana was nothing compared to what was going on in his intestines after the burritos that he ate in Keeler's dining hall. And my good friend Cardinal Keeler doesn't usually take kindly to that kind of humour. McCarrick, by the way, showed us all a letter from the Pope saying that he won't be accepting his resignation for another two years. McCarrick is very quite proud of it, and he keeps bringing it out whenever one of us shows up in his chancery: he even brought it with him, in a manila folder, to Baltimore for our meeting. He keeps talking about sending a fax of it to Archbishops Burke and Chaput, but we told him that was probably bad form. No grandstanding, you know.