You know, covering the comings and goings in the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is getting to be a full-time job, and it's not at all what I bargained for when we started this blog back in November of 2004. But what are we to do? It is, after all, happening right here in our back yard - we kinda have to say something about it, don't we? At least if we look like we know what we're doing.
Case in point is news of the formation of a new group in the area, the Dan O'Connell Society. (HTs: Cvstos Fidei in Houston and Bettnet, as forwarded to me by Hadleyblogger Ray.) The group describes themselves as follows:
The Dan O'Connell society is a brotherhood of Catholic men who seek to restore the fraternity and fatherhood of the Catholic priesthood. We do our work in the memory of Dan O'Connell a Catholic layman from Hudson, Wisconsin who confronted and was then killed February 5, 2002, by Ryan Erickson a homosexual predator who had been ordained a Catholic priest in 2000.
Acting as spokesman for the group is Dr. David Pence, and in the interests of full disclosure I should point out that when I was a candidate for the state legislature in 1998, Dr. David Pence was a contributor to my campaign. I only met with him one time and liked him very much. I've seen him speak a couple of times since then, and didn't get a chance to introduce myself either time; so I don't know if he remembers me or not, but I do remember him. More recently, Dr. Pence was involved in a group called Ushers of the Eucharist, which took an active role in protesting the giving of the Eucharist to wearers of the Rainbow Sash.
At any rate, here's where the Dan O'Connell Society fits in to our current drama. As Domenico puts it, the Society "says it has the goods on certain high-ranking priests in the archdiocese and if they don’t come clean and resign, the group will release damning evidence about them."
Now, then. What does this mean? Well, it could mean anything, and perhaps that's the message the group intended to communicate. I think Domenico's analysis of the situation is spot-on:
The group sounds a lot like Roman Catholic Faithful. I hope they really have the goods because if they don’t they’ve opened themselves up not only to civil penalties, but also canonical penalties. On the other hand, as I’ve documented over the past couple of weeks, there is a sickness in the heart of the archdiocese that really needs to be cleaned up.
I've got two hands as well, and I think I'm looking at them the same way Domenico is. On the one hand, this kind of thing, complete with innuendo, makes me more than a little uncomfortable. On the other, something really does need to be done here, and one gets the feeling that this whole thing is coming to a head.
Granted, this feeling could exist because a very few of us are overly exposed to it - I wouldn't be surprised if the great majority of parishoners in this archdiocese had no idea what was going on. After all, the MSM isn't going to cover this in the same way they would if it the accusations were flying against the orthodox, conservative element in the Church.
However, I could be wrong about that. And I don't think I'm wrong in my suspicion that a great many people here sense something is not right. They might not be able to put their fingers on what it is, but they know it's out there. And, if the Dan O'Connell Society really does "have the goods," then we're going to find out what it is sooner or later.
Pray sooner rather than later, because the sooner this comes out in the open, the sooner - we hope - it can be taken care of, and the sooner this archdiocese can begin the process of pulling itself back together.
It looks like we're going to be covering this beat a little while longer; as Hadleyblogger Ray said, "When it rains, it pours!" Get your bumbershoots out, everyone - it's going to be a wet ride.