Thursday, February 20, 2014

THE ARCHBISHOP IS JUST LIVING ACCORDING TO TRADITIONAL REPUBLICAN VALUES

New York Times columnist Michael Powell writes today about John J. Myers, archbishop of Newark, New Jersey:
A Church So Poor It Has to Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace

KEARNY, N.J. -- Mater Dei Academy sits shuttered, blue drapes pulled across its windows, atop a hill in this working-class city....

For generations, this blond brick Catholic elementary school tossed a lifeline to the immigrants who, wave upon wave, washed ashore here. The Archdiocese of Newark closed it two years ago. Church officials offered deep regrets; the church's wallet is thin to the touch these days....

All of which brings me along a winding and narrow road that switches back and forth across the wooded Capoolong Creek to a splendid 8.5-acre spread in the hamlet of Pittstown. This is rural and rather affluent Hunterdon County, 49 miles from Mater Dei.

John J. Myers, the archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, comes to this vacation home on many weekends. The 4,500-square-foot home has a handsome amoeba-shaped swimming pool out back. And as he’s 72, and retirement beckons in two years, he has renovations in mind. A small army of workers are framing a 3,000-square-foot addition.

This new wing will have an indoor exercise pool, three fireplaces and an elevator. The Star-Ledger of Newark has noted that the half-million-dollar tab for this wing does not include architects' fees or furnishings.

There's no need to fear for the archbishop's bank account. The Newark Archdiocese is picking up the bill....
A half-mil for renovations on the archbishop's retirement home, even as archdiocesan schools are being closed? Well, really, why not? Why not do those lavish renovations rather than dedicate the money to charitable works, or keeping the schools open? Isn't that in keeping with the dominant right-wing values of our era? Isn't the archbishop just being Tom Perkins -- a guy who worked hard enough to rise to a position of prominence in his chosen profession and now says that entitles him to whatever he can get? Don't Republicans and captains of industry agree that this is a perfectly just and appropriate way for questions of wealth distribution to be resolved? So why shouldn't Archbishop Myers think that as well?

The archbishop, as we learn from this 2004 New York Times article, is, after all, a conservative:
... Archbishop Myers is one of a handful of outspoken bishops whose conservatism has become controversial....

During the past month, Archbishop Myers made national headlines by publishing a pastoral letter declaring that Catholic elected officials who support abortion rights should not receive holy communion. In New Jersey, where polls consistently find that voters have liberal views about abortion, his letter caused an uproar....

The archbishop's unflinching traditionalism has led many Roman Catholics to view him as a conservative caricature, Rush Limbaugh with a collar....

After John Paul II became pope in 1978, the Vatican sought to rein in the liberal activism of some American bishops, rewarding traditionalists like Father Myers by moving them rapidly up the ranks. In 1990, Father Myers was named bishop of Peoria....

He began issuing pastoral letters emphasizing his strict interpretations of traditional Catholic doctrine and arguing that any Catholic who voted for politicians because of their support for abortion was not worthy of receiving communion....

When a teacher at a diocesan high school invited a speaker who favored the ordination of women, she was fired.... He also forbade Catholic hospitals to give rape victims a "morning-after" pill that would prevent a pregnancy (a restriction he later eased)....
As a young man, Myers was the kind of employee his CEO liked, so he made a rapid ascent up the corporate ladder. He achieved a position of prominence. Doesn't conservative doctrine tell us that he deserves whatever perks he can get?

6 comments:

aimai said...

Yes, this article made fun reading while one read across genres for the now traditional "Pope emphasizes poverty" story that is also circulating around the ordination of the next batch of cardinals. I guess I will suspend my temporary fondness for Francis until he sends a few Jesuit auditors to Newark.

Dark Avenger said...

They didn't have to close down any schools in Germany, but the Pope did put the brakes on the "Bishop of Bling":

It’s a message that stands in stark contrast to the Bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, whose personal requests for lavish fixtures such as a $20,000 bathtub for his private residence drove the cost of the bishopric estate’s renovation up to $43 million – more than five times the original estimate.

Trying to escape the firestorm that the renovations ignited, Tebartz-van Elst boarded a budget airline to Rome on Oct. 13 in hopes of gaining an audience with the pope. For eight days, he waited in uncertainty. Then Francis saw him for 20 minutes on Oct. 21, only to suspend him indefinitely two days later.

It's not a strong enough response, some Germans say. “I think Tebartz-van Elst should have been stripped of his post. There’s no way he can ever be a role model again,” says Jeanny Müller, a Catholic from Munich.

Rick Massimo said...

Well, sure, and think of all the jobs Myers creates!

Julia said...

Who cares about getting through the gates of heaven when you can get through the gates of one's faaaabulous villa?

Victor said...

Camel's everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief as they continue to go to the back of the line.

More Catholic (or almost any American Christians) will be ahead of them, for the 'passing-through-the-eye-of-a-needle" test!

Brian D. O'Neill said...

Gawd, what a shameless, greedy A-hole Myers is. Not the same grand scale of excess that the "Bishop of Bling" showed, but it's the thought that counts.

I live in NJ and as an employment attorney have counseled some Catholic school teachers in disputes where the diocese was crying "the poor mouth" to justify reductions in teacher pay. Now we know why.

Frankly, this is worse than CEO greed, because of the nauseating hypocrisy relative to Church teachings. Ah, "What would Jesus do?"