Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bishop Bernard James Sheil the Victim of Co-Opting Clowns and Cardinal Cody

There ain't no clout, when your clout is dead. That is a Chicago Commandment. Shakman Decree killed clout in Chicago - "hey, can you help me? - " Not a chance;Tell me about it, walking. Shakman, Dude! No Bosses. Hit the door."

There is no Shakman anywhere else, but Chicago, Cook County and the dumber parts of Illinois. Shakman helped Michael Shakman amass millions of dollars and soulless people get elected, prevents any possible human contact in government and is destroying public service. Shakman like abortion is what passes for progressive thought.

Clout means assistance from someone at a personal level. Clout is a good thing. Goo-goos hate Clout. I have yet to experience a Progressive who ever took an active empirical interest in another carbon life-form. I have been told that they are out there, but, Dog My Cats, I have yet to meet, learn by word-of-mouth, read-about, or tripped over a Progressive (a devout disciple of John Dewey/Hegel/Jane Addams/Roger Baldwin/Margaret Sanger)who would ever dig-in past the pocket lint and fugitive Breath-Savers and claw up a nickel for another human being. I get out a lot too.

Good Works are not Programs. Programs are bureaucracies run by managers with staffs and salaries. Programs are tax-generated by cash. Cash can not do good works; metaphysical impossibility.

Progressives rail against good works, especially good works by public persons. Public Persons who do good works are called Bosses. Bosses are targets of Federal, State and local investigations by Blue Ribbon Goo-goo panels comprised of academics and political outsiders. Political outsiders are people who never do anything for anyone but themselves and call that civic virtue. Rather, Goo-goos badger their enthralled editorial boards, community activists and political suits into legislating programs that cost tax-payers but create armies of dependants. No saloon-keeper alderman can match a loudmouth with a microphone, TV time and politicians who already rented out their souls and principles.

Today, I am reacting to a reaction to my post on Bishop Sheil. Bishop Sheil is out of the general public collective memory. Shiel was co-opted to death, by the Church and the Progressives. As I noted in my previous post, Bishop Sheil was ecumenical long before Vatican II.

Born in a mixed black-white, Catholic-Jewish, Irish-Polish neighborhood on Chicago's West Side, Sheil was lace-curtain Irish. His grandfather had been an alderman, his father was Democratic leader of the 14th Ward. Entering St. Viator's College in Bourbonnais (a later pupil: Fulton J. Sheen), Sheil was ordained in 1910 and assigned to a middle-class parish. He caught Cardinal Mundelein's eye, however, and began to receive promising assignments. He served as chaplain at the Cook County jail, as an assistant at Holy Name Cathedral and was named chancellor of the archdiocese in 1923. A year later, on his first visit to Rome, he was received by Pius XI, and in 1928 he was consecrated bishop.

I got an interesting e-mail from of pal, Elias Crim, who forwarded me a note from a gent who reacted to my recent offering of Bishop Bernard James Sheil. This person noted that a Jewish branch of B'Nai B'rith had established programs similar the CYO ten years before Bishop Shiel put his ideas into action.

This was the Old Testament preceding the New Testament.

The B'nai B'rith Youth Organization began in Omaha in 1924 and spread rapidly, reaching Chicago within a year. Very quickly BBYO became organized in Jewish neighborhoods throughout Chicago, with prominent basketball and boxing programs, in particular.

There were (and are) a boys' arm, called Aleph Zadik Aleph (a/k/a "AZA", using Hebrew letters in Greek fraternity style), and a girls' arm, B'nai B'rith Girls (BBG). Heavy on sports, after-school programs, service projects, and dances, with a typical American emphasis on self-government (teens conducting business meetings with parliamentary procedure, electing officers, publishing newspapers, sending delegates to regional, national, and, by the 1940s, international conventions, etc.)

Bishop Sheil liked that model a lot.

Sheil knew what he was doing, it seems because he had some great roots dug out of the Nebraska soil and brought to Chicago, where Catholics and Jews crowded together around Halsted Street. The athletic/social activity element founded in Faith must have had an impact upon Sheil to be sure.

Catholic Social programs were well established before the arrival of George Cardinal Mundelein, but it was by Mundeleins fiat that talented underlings like Bernard Sheil and Msgr. Hoban were directed to actively improve direct Catholic Action.

The origin of the CYO in 1930 was certainly the most impressive and most dangerous to Progressives. Action was a reflection of Faith and not taxes - bureaucratic programs would sanitize Action of Faith.

The Catholic Church, no stranger to politics, had ambitious clergy who were willing to advance themselves over the bones of good people.

I offer two pieces taken from Time Magazine that are the post mortems of the CYO and Bishop Shiel.

One is from 1954:

Christmas in Chicago used to include one famed celebration. Among as many as 800 children, ecstatic before a mountain of toys and candy-crammed paper bags, workers of the Catholic Youth Organization would labor happily to distribute presents and keep order. And in the middle of the maelstrom would move the founder and father of C.Y.O., The Most Rev. Bernard J. Sheil—a firm-faced Friar Tuck kneeling nimbly beside the toddlers, leading other children by the hand, talking to twelve-year-olds with the dignity becoming their years. To Bishop Sheil, the C.Y.O. Christmas Party was a symbol of his life and work—cheerful, practical action among the big-city poor.

But this Christmas there will be no party. The toys people have offered so far have been rejected or sent to some other charity. The second-hand paper bags C.Y.O. staffers saved all year to fill with candy were thrown away unused. The staff itself was decimated and depressed; Bishop Sheil of Chicago never goes to the C.Y.O. offices any more.

"The Thing You Desire." The Christmas party is only one of many good things that began to vanish from the archdiocese after Shell's dramatic resignation as C.Y.O. director-general last fall (TIME, Sept. 13). He never told why he resigned, nor did his superior, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, but the reason is becoming as plain as the old Water Works on Michigan Avenue. Bishop Sheil, a generous and sometimes over-generous man, had undertaken a great number of ambitious projects and had spread his resources thin. His long-standing liberalism and impatience with reverse-collar bureaucracy had brought him enemies. By the time Bishop Sheil made his well-aimed attack on Joe McCarthy (TIME, April 19), which earned him considerable dislike in some places among the Roman Catholic clergy and laity, the reaction of a few big financial contributors was enough to cause serious trouble. When money sources on which he relied to meet the bulk of the C.Y.O.'s million-dollar budget began to dry up, the cardinal's office began to move in on the C.Y.O., and Sheil quit.

"The C.Y.O. will continue to benefit from your counsel," said Cardinal Stritch to Bishop Sheil publicly, "and will become the thing you desire." But today the C.Y.O. and much of the "empire" of do-good organizations he created are being whittled away.

The Casualties. Of 27 major activities related to C.Y.O., twelve are dead or have been served with a death warrant, four have been transferred to other agencies, two have been cut down and turned over to Catholic Charities, four have their fate in doubt. Among the casualties: If Sheil Institute, a commercial college. Attended mostly by young adults with daytime jobs, it required all students (15% Negro, 30% non-Catholic) to take a course in business ethics along with their other work. It will close in January. ¶ The Sheil School of Social Studies, set up to provide adult education in the liberal arts and philosophy. It has been attended by some 20,000 in its eleven years, was at its record enrollment of 700 when it closed last fortnight. ¶ The Sheil Social Service, which collected food and clothing for poor children, closed in September. ¶FM station WFJL, which promoted religion along with its boxing matches, closing December 31.

Read more:,9171,821045,00.html#ixzz1MnOCx96M

The political clout of Bishop Sheil died along with the mortal husk of George Cardinal Mundelein in 1939. Cardinal Stritch began to undo many of the direct actions for social justice established by Bishop Sheil. Following WWII, the boys who had boxed at CYO came home, established the greatest standard of living the world has ever seen and no longer needed a leg up in life. They had the G.I.Bill, the Taft Hartley Act and the most robust labor movement on earth. The CYO?

Well, another Prince of the Church followed Cardinal Stritchs successor Albert Cardinal Meyer - the ecclesiastical mirror of the political Governor Pat Quinn or Senator Dick Durbin. John Cardinal Cody was akin to Mayor Rahm Emanuel -change came hard, fast and impersonally.

When he moved to Chicago last year from New Orleans, the Most Rev. John Patrick Cody brought along a well-founded reputation as a tough clerical administrator who likes to cut out deadwood. Last week Roman Catholic Cody lived up to his no-nonsense fame by firing one of the patron saints of Chicago-style liberalism: Auxiliary Archbishop Bernard J. Sheil, pastor of St. Andrew's parish and founder of the vast Catholic Youth Organization.

A fire-eater who publicly denounced the "phony antiCommunism" of Joe McCarthy in 1954, Sheil is now 78 and subject to ailments (most recently a broken ankle) that have kept him from performing pastoral duties. Cody visited Sheil with the suggestion that he let a younger man take over financial administration of the parish. Sheil at first consented, but then told a newsman: "I didn't retire. This is a removal." Cody expressed his regret that the matter had been made public—and coolly named a new pastor of the parish.

Since Cody had already replaced 35 other overage pastors, many Catholics agreed that he could hardly fail to seek Sheil's retirement as well. Nonetheless, there were plenty of complaints about the abrupt manner of the dismissal from priests and laymen who felt more comfortable under the free-and-easy regime of the late Albert Cardinal Meyer.

Chicago's Catholics freely credit Cody with a number of notable reforms: he has modernized the archdiocesan seminary, raised the salaries of lay teachers in parochial schools, let assistant pastors elect two representatives to Chicago's influential board of priest consultors (previously all members had been appointed by the archbishop). By the same token, Cody is something of an authoritarian; both his priests and his parishioners complain that his communications, far from being two-way, consist of his sending the word on down. Last month an ad hoc committee organized three meetings attended by 400 Chicago clerics, recommended that priests have a greater share in formation of archdiocesan policy and that assignment procedures be revised. In effect, the committee formed the closest thing yet to a union of priests.

Read more:,9171,835601,00.html#ixzz1MnYkQLjt

Clout is direct action to do good. When your clout is dead, and nothing is deader than dead clout, the game is over.

The Church and Government chose programs over personal acts of good.

Clout is as dead as the CYO.

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