U.S. Notes & Quotes

Christian Love to Be Deployed Against KKK

Christ's injunction to love one's enemies is perhaps his hardest commandment, it is said. Last week, Cardinal Francis George, OMI called the people of Chicago to love some very unsavory enemies: the Ku Klux Klan.

While stressing in a Chicago Sun Times quote (March 10) that Chicagoans should “stand up in conviction to oppose them,” George also instructed members to “approach even the members of the Klan with love and respect.”

The quotes were taken from a letter Cardinal George wrote to Father Richard Prendergast of St. Mary of Celle Catholic Church. The letter was sent anticipating a Klan demonstration in Suburban Chicago. Both the cardinal and Father Prendergast urged nonviolent responses to the march, saying “racism is a sin,” according to the report.

Flashdance Traditionalist on Nothing Sacred

While the Religious Public Relations Council was giving its annual Wilbur Award for best TV drama to Disney/ABC's Nothing Sacred, the program was adding a new character-one being described as a “traditionalist” and an opponent of its disbelieving and rebellious priest protagonist. Critics are not confident that the development indicates a change in the attitude the show takes in its title and story line, however.

Jennifer Beals, who influenced fashions by making ripped sweatshirts popular when she starred in the movie Flashdance at age 17, has joined the cast of the controversial ABC television show. She will finish out this year's season and return next year, according to a March 9 report in the Kansas City Star, “and perhaps longer, if Nothing Sacred is renewed...”

“Beals will play Justine, the director of religious education brought in by reformist Father Martin (David Marshall Grant) to replace the popular Sister Maureen (Ann Dowd). “Because she is seen as loyal to the traditionalist Martin, Father Ray (Kevin Anderson) doesn't trust her, nor does anyone else on the St. Thomas staff.”

David Manson, one of the shows creators, is quoted in the report saying, “We wanted a female character who could create challenges for Ray... (including) possible adversarial relationships for Ray so that he's not always at war only with himself.”

But will the show balance its trademark Nothing Sacred Catholicism with a respect for the sacred? Will Justine love the Church?

Critics highly doubt it. The article calls Justine “spirited” but says “her allegiances aren't always clear.”

Parish Financial Planning

A financial consultant company in Philadelphia has found a unique marketing niche: Catholic priests.

“If your boiler breaks down in the middle of the night, your main concern is to get someone out to fix it before your pipes freeze,” begins a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer (March 9).

“But if you're a Catholic priest and pastor, responsible not only for the spiritual life of the parish but also for its temporal needs, the situation can be a bit more daunting. Six years ago Dave Minnick and Bob Tammaro created Parish Business Consulting Inc.... dedicated to helping pastors with a variety of financial concerns—from broken boilers to computerization to collection of school tuition.”

The report notes that in 1983, canon law required that parishes have financial counsel. Philadelphia's Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua has strongly advised each parish to have a business manager.

Minnick, who converted to Catholicism as a teenager, started his company originally to assist his own parish, St. Matthew. Priests quoted in the article praised the service provided by the company.

An archdiocesan spokesman said that business classes were not offered in its seminary because it takes so long to become a pastor. New priests are expected to pick up most of the needed skills from their work in their parish assignments by the time they are needed, according to the article.