To travel from St. Louis to Phoenix at this time of the year was to go from below zero to a very pleasant low twenties celsius. Before I went to give my talk I watched the Irish news on my ipad, and saw the interview with Cardinal Burke. I had heard so much about him during my two days in St. Louis, where he had been archbishop, and all the hurt people he left behind him, so I was interested. I am still totally baffled how any Church person can read the Gospels about Jesus’ table fellowship, and still refuse the Eucharist to people. According to the news Bishop Leahy was present at the talk. That would seem to me to be a very foolish thing for him to do, especially in the context of the proposed synod in the diocese. Does he really agree with the way Burke is openly challenging Pope Francis at the moment, and does he also agree with refusing the Eucharist to people. I know I am far away, but I have not heard Bishop Leahy saying anything publicly about these issues. Can we take it that his silence implies agreement with Burke?
Two people at my gathering here in Phoenix this evening that I was pleased to meet. The first was Bob Kaiser. Bob is clearly not in the best of health, but his enthusiasm for change in the Church has not diminished.
I was introduced by Margaret MdBride, the Mercy sister who got into trouble a few years back, because she sanctioned a termination of a pregnancy at a local Catholic hospital when the mother’s life was clearly in danger. She was excommunicated by the local bishop – and a long and painful saga went on, which eventually was resolved. Margaret is a lovely, quiet woman, who made what she thought was a simple and obvious decision, and found herself all over the international news, and banned from the Church. It was another of these crazy stories that makes one ashamed of the way Church authorities behave. Thankfully, Margaret has come through it all, and is in good form. I was delighted to meet her.
Tomorrow morning I am off to Sacramento, where I have an early afternoon session. My Irish Redemptorist colleagues will be interested to know that I understand that both Mick Geraghty and Brendan Cunning will be in the audience. That is enough to intimidate anyone!!!!!