Mike Tegeder and the Archbishop

This is the latest instalment of the correspondence between Mike (the pastor) and his Archbishop over my talk in Minneapolis, which is due on Wednesday next!

Dear Archbishop

Yesterday the office manager at Cabrini called me at Kateri saying that there was a registered letter for me and should she sign for it? Hoping that I won some kind of jackpot, I said of course. When I got to the office I was surprised to find out that the missive was from you and that the postage was $6.49. I was shocked. You should know I am rather frugal and tend to reuse postage stamps. The only registered letters that I have gotten are from law offices (mine have been about bequests and not subpoenas) and I have to say I would never have contemplated such correspondence from my local ordinary.

I hope you would consider me a brother and when you have the urge to communicate please call my cell phone, office phone or send it by email. It usually works much faster, is much cheaper and seems to have a less legalistic tone. I do consider you my brother.

But as a brother, in the spirit of fraternal correction, I must clear up something. In your second sentence you say that I told Charlie Lachowitzer that I wished to speak to you directly about Tony Flannery’s visit. Actually I conveyed to him an invitation for you to come and meet Tony when he speaks. Only as that seemed unlikely in his opinion did I offer that if you wanted to talk to me that I would gladly see you. I did not request it. I did request to Andy Cozzens my wish to talk with Father Whitte and the Ministerial Review Board after my deacon was cleared to express my disgust with their star chamber tactics. I have not heard back on that but I am patiently waiting.

Always a stickler, I thought that I had cleared this up with your Administrative Chancellor (great title, who thinks these things up?) after Michael emailed me (saving postage) to the same effect that I had requested a meeting with you. But here I must commend you for employing Michael. Any lay employee caught in flagrante delicto would have been summarily canned. But I suppose being at your side you can keep an eye on him. Too bad Curtis Wehmeyer was not similarly positioned.

But I digress, and I continue to pray according to your dictate at our meeting, even imploring Our Lady of Perpetual Help, patroness of Redemptorists in good standing such as Tony, And this prayer has already been fruitful. In the registered letter you now request that Tony “not be perceived in any way as being sponsored by the Catholic Church.”   I will indeed announce this publicly and will even have a sign up at the lectern to that effect noting that it comes from you, the Chief Catechist of our Archdiocese.

You say in your costly letter that your personal preference would be to cut off dialogue. Perhaps you too have been inspired by Pope Francis’s words:   “Personally I would have been very worried and saddened if there hadn’t been these … animated discussions … or if everyone had been in agreement or silent in a false and acquiescent peace.” And as he said in Brazil to the young people assembled there, let there be trouble in our dioceses.

This whole episode reminds me of a book that I read in seminary, Philemon’s Dilemma. It is very good as is Tony’s book, A Question of Conscience. You might consult them.

with challenging love,