I do not know what possessed me to pick up the February 14, 2019 edition of Catholic San Francisco this morning following Mass at St. Ignatius Catholic Church at the University of San Francisco but I would like to think it was an answer to one of my prayers. If this isn’t the answer, I would hate to think that God is screwing with my mind this bad.
On page four is an article New USCCB council member ‘honored to be a voice for my fellow lay Catholics’ written by Tom Burke about the appointment of Tim Connors to the National Advisory Council of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I must admit, I was initially stunned, but after contemplating the entirety of the article, Connors makes the perfect candidate. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame; a practicing member at his parish, St. Raymond in Menlo Park; and married for 24 years to his wife Wendy who are raising their three daughters in Catholic schools. The eldest daughter, I might add, is now a “Golden Domer,” having followed her father’s footsteps by attending Notre Dame. So far, I think you will agree, Connors has excellent qualifications for nomination to the NAC.
But let’s be honest, what placed Connors ahead of whomever else was nominated for the position is the fact that Connors knows how to manage money, lots of money. As Tom Burke writes quoting Connors, “I’ve gotten to know Archbishop Cordileone very well from my work on the Finance Council for the archdiocese and on shared pilgrimages to Lourdes with the Order of Malta. As we (Cordileone and Connors) were discussing the church and key strategic decisions we face, the archbishop described the NAC to me and inquired about my interest.”
Am I this dissolution to think that Connors was tapped solely for his Catholicity? Look, I applaud the guy, but let’s face facts: the Roman Catholic Church is in trouble because they can’t admit they have a serious problem with clergy sexual abuse cases, which is affecting all facets of the Church, including money, which is precisely why Connors was tapped for the job – his business acumen not his understanding of Canon Law.
One thing I learned as a manager in the airline industry was you can make a profit by cutting your expenses; in the Catholic Church’s case, either selling real estate or leasing out your Catholic schools or both to help the bottom line on your profit and loss statement. The Church is in dire financial straits, and one only had to read page nine in this same publication to learn that Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, you remember him from one of my earlier blogs who received approval from Pope John Paul II to transfer $57 million into a cemetery trust fund in 2007 specifically to shield it from lawsuits by sexual abuse victims is at it again. This time, Dolan posted a Twitter video on February 4th about why he was compelled to close seven schools in his archdiocese of New York.
“Today we made the painful announcement that seven of our beloved Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York are not going to reopen next fall. … These are painful and difficult decisions and I ask for your prayers for those especially impacted,” in the text accompanying the video.
Two schools, each in the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx, and one each in the borough of Staten Island, Dutchess County, and Sullivan County will be shuttered at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. “You know, I’d rather be opening some new ones instead of closing the gems that we’ve got, but reality sets in,” Dolan said in his video. Who does Dolan think he is, Trump?
One last thing: what is it with the Archdiocese of San Francisco and its priests traveling to Lourdes to recruit? Like Cordileone who accompanied Connors, Bishop Tom Daly, who at the time was president of Marin Catholic, chaperoned three young men, two of whom I know personally, to Lourdes, and wouldn’t you know it, all three became diocesan priests.
In conclusion, I do wish Connors well, and I pray that he will be authentic and candid, and tell the other 47 members of the NAC including bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay men and women what they need to know rather than what they want to hear. Let’s pray!