Via Media

Via Media


Bishop Untener

posted by awelborn

Passed away today. From a reader:

Bishop Kenneth Untener, aged 66, died today. He was diagnosed with leukemia in January of this year. He had been the bishop of Saginaw, my home diocese, since 1980. While I cannot say that I was overly fond of him, de mortuis nihil nisi bonum, so I would just ask you to join me in praying for his repose, and especially in praying for the speedy selection of a successor to his see.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(32)
post a comment
Neil Dhingra

posted March 27, 2004 at 4:21 pm


May he rest in peace. This is from Bishop Untener’s “Why I Decided to Become a Priest”:
“Not long ago, I came upon a television news clip about a fellow in a small Nebraska town who made violins, cellos, and violas. He was fairly young, and somehow had acquired this craft, and it was his life’s work. The story fascinated me, for in a way it was my own. You see, this young man had a wood shop, and he crafted these musical instruments… It takes a long time to make a masterly crafted cello, or violin, or viola. You have to select good wood, with tone and beauty. Then you have to shape it, carve it, sculpture it into a musical instrument. There was no machine to do the shaping. It was all by hand. But it was more than just the shape. It was the sound.
“Now this fellow did this as his life’s work. He wasn’t looking over his shoulder to something else. He was doing what he wanted to do. And what he did was helping people to make beautiful music, for people came from all over the world to buy his violins, or cellos, or violas.
“Expansion? Branch offices? Upward mobility? Promotions? Big bucks? These were the farthest things from his mind. He was doing what he wanted to do. And what he did was something beautiful for God, and for people. He could settle into what he wanted to do, and what he was good at, and not have to worry about all the things that people often worry about …
“When I saw this news clip, I realized that it was a metaphor for what I was about. I can craft homilies and articles, speak the right word to someone in need of a good word, celebrate liturgy, anoint the sick, prepare people for marriage, help people approach death as a good friend, speak the good news of the Gospel … and settle into this art, this craft of being a parish priest … this life of doing something so good it was almost too good to be true. And to have no pressure to expand, to be alert to new opportunities … no pressure to look over your shoulder to something else. The only pressure is to do well what you do. You are in the thick of life, crafting words from the good Word of the Gospel for people who want only the right word to help them make their lives into music.
“This was the ‘workplace’, the shop that I wanted. This was my home, the place from which I could do what I wanted to do. This was freedom … I think of the words of the beautiful Psalm:
O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
For the measuring lines have fallen on pleasant sites;
fair to me indeed is my inheritance. (Psalm 16:5-6)”



report abuse
 

Todd

posted March 27, 2004 at 4:28 pm


Peace, all.
I heard Bishop Untener speak once in the late 80′s. He was single-minded about preaching the gospel. During his talk, he was challenging, sometimes brusque, but also uncompromising when it came to good preaching at liturgy. He also abjured the fancy things, the extra things. The message I got was to stick to the basics (be it preaching, music, liturgy, etc.), strive to do them well, but most of all, strive to do them in service to others.
I know many people in his diocese who spoke with deep regard for his gospel witness.



report abuse
 

Dale Price

posted March 27, 2004 at 4:59 pm


Ditto your reader’s comments–de mortuis nihil nisi bonum. My multi-faceted frustrations with the bishop will not be rehashed here.
He was an intelligent, charismatic man and a powerful speaker–it would not be a stretch to call him “gifted”–and I remember a particularly fine homily by him which powerfully related the scriptures to life experience. He persuasively spoke of his love of his priesthood. He also lived in very modest accommodations during his tenure, which many, many more bishops would do well to emulate.
His battle with leukemia also does him credit, because he gave no indication that it was this dire.
May he rest in peace.



report abuse
 

Fr. Brian Stanley

posted March 27, 2004 at 7:22 pm


Let me echo Dale’s encomium. As a priest of the state of Michigan, I found myself quite frustrated at times with Bishop Untener. Nevertheless, he was a good man and a terrific preacher, who dearly loved his people. Few people outside his diocese knew that he did not have an official residence as many bishops do, opting for a room at the Catholic hospital in Saginaw, but spending most of his time on the road, spending a week or two at each of the parishes in his diocese. He was a vagabond, in a certain sense, like Our Lord, with “no place to lay his head,” but for any pastor who would take him in for the time.
He also was a “peg-legged” bishop, having lost a leg when he was still in the seminary, due to some chronic illness and subsequent amputation. It never slowed him down, and he continued to play hockey with a prosthesis, even into his days as a bishop.
Eternal rest grant unto Bishop Untener, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. Amen. May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.



report abuse
 

Michael Roverse

posted March 27, 2004 at 8:40 pm


I had the very pleasurable opportunity to listen to Bishop Untener speak at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California in the late 90’s. In this single encounter, he came across as a brilliant man intellectually, as a compassionate priest and as a gifted speaker who could also relax and play the piano (yes, with one leg!) and sing with the crowd. He also worked diligently to improve the preaching of his priests recognizing that along with the altar, the ambo is the place where a priest will touch the most people in his week’s work. Those who drop dire hints impugning his ministry after his death reveal more about their own character than his. He was a faithful and faith-filled servant of the church. He will be missed. Requiescat in pace.



report abuse
 

Chris

posted March 27, 2004 at 9:25 pm


I have much for which to thank Bp. Untener. He and the Saginaw diocese in general provided the impetus for my learning my Catholic faith as an adult in the nine years I lived there. If it weren’t for that situation, I’d still be a lukewarm Catholic or worse.
May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Also, let us pray for his successor.



report abuse
 

Larry Tierney

posted March 28, 2004 at 12:42 pm


On a personal note the death of Bishop Untener is very sobering. When we read that his diagnosis was the same form of leukemia, AML, as my wife, it became a family affair with prayers for his recovery, as well as Allene.
This is a very aggressive cancer that is difficult for older people to beat. Mt wife was dx on May 25, 2003, and is doing well, however it took extraordinary will to survive nine admissions, lasting 95 days through 7 months.
We were blessed to have the company of two priests and an incredible nun, who made the journey easier.



report abuse
 

Sherry Weddell

posted March 28, 2004 at 1:13 pm


Dear Larry:
God bless you and your wife! I worked my way through grad school on an oncology unit that treated AML all the time and I know exactly what you are talking about. Your wife is made of heroic stuff and I am so glad that you had compassionate support from priests and religious as well. May God give you both an especially blessed Easter.



report abuse
 

Rod Dreher

posted March 29, 2004 at 7:39 am


Have to admit it’s startling to me to read some of these comments. I am not disposed to speak ill of the dead, but I find it hard to find anything to praise about the leadership of Bp. Untener. As Michael S. Rose wrote in the Feb. 2001 issue of Catholic World Report:
In Saginaw, Michigan, under the leadership of Bishop Kenneth Untener (another former seminary rector), parishes are already commonly run by nuns and “lay pastors.” One Michigan priest put it this way: “Bishop Untener doesn’t think he needs priests. One guy comes to consecrate the hosts for a whole month and that’s it for the duties of the priest.” (It is instructive to note that Saginaw, with a Catholic population of 140,000, has averaged only one priestly ordination a year during the past decade.)
Untener was also well known for his support of New Ways Ministries, and his friendliness to Dignity, if I am not mistaken.
He may have personally been kind and merciful, and in any case, I don’t wish to speak ill of the dead. Still, he was a force for destruction within the Church before he died, and the sad fact of his death from cancer doesn’t change what he represented.



report abuse
 

Rod Dreher

posted March 29, 2004 at 8:34 am


Michael S. Rose writes (full article here:
The use of sexually explicit textbooks that undermine teaching on sexual morality was part of a wider program of “sexual reassessment” or desensitization that seminarians were forced to undergo during their formation for the holy priesthood.
At the same time Father Kosnik was teaching seminarians at St. John’s in Michigan (attended by seminarians from all dioceses in that state), sexually explicit movies were shown to seminarians as a part of a morality course. Fathers Kenneth Untener and Robert Rose were seminary administrators at the time. (Father Untener was named Bishop of Saginaw in 1980 and Father Rose was named Bishop of Gaylord in 1981, and later Bishop of Grand Rapids.) Shortly after the Vatican announced that Untener was going to lead the Saginaw diocese, the Detroit Free Press and the National Catholic Register reported that he was summoned to Rome to explain his seminary program. With the help of Detroit’s Cardinal John Dearden, he apparently argued successfully in his own defense.
According to Detroit priest Father Eduard Perrone, the “porno flicks” were shown at the seminary as part of a class on morality. “They showed a man masturbating, a woman masturbating, couples copulating, homosexuals humping,” he recalled. The crudely produced films, he said, were supposedly put together by doctors who worked for clinical sex study institutes. “There were ladies in the class too,” he explained, “because at that time they were already teaching seminarians and laity together.”

Don’t trust Mike Rose? Google “Untener” “seminary” and “masturbation” yourself, and see what you find.



report abuse
 

Todd

posted March 29, 2004 at 10:07 am


Peace, Rod.
Happily deconstructing bishops first thing Monday morning, I see. I applaud your diligence so early in the week. I have to wonder why you never became a Congregationalist or a Quaker just to rid yourself of a hierarchy that repeatedly fails to measure up to your moral or intellectual standards.



report abuse
 

Elizabeth

posted March 29, 2004 at 10:33 am


It is not disrespectful, only honest, to speak honestly of someone after they die, as Rod has done, rather than gushing falsely over how “wonderful” they were. I’m sure Bishop Ken was a sincere and gentle man, and may his soul rest in peace and may God be as merciful with him as I hope God is with me for all the dumb mistakes I make in my puny little ministry. But that doesn’t change the fact that he was one of the worst Bishops in the country and did more to destroy the Church in Saginaw than build it up. When I first became Catholic I attended the above-quoted Fr. Perrone’s parish in Detroit, and I remember several families who drove almost 3 hours there for mass on Sunday from Saginaw because they could not raise their kids in the mess that was their own local parish. I’ve become a relatively tolerant person when it comes to liturgical banality and imperfection in those that run and work for the Church (considering I work for the Church myself and realize how difficult and many faceted the situations both pastors and lay “ministers”, for lack of a better word, find themselves in). However, the things in Saginaw were beyond “imperfect”, they were downright in disobedience and openly dissenting from the truth, and purposely so. Just because a diocese is destroyed with a humble, smiley, happy face doesn’t make it better; it is almost worse because people learn to accept the twisting of truth because it comes from someone who is considered so “nice” and “humble”. And seriously, what is less humble than dissenting from the Church and “doing your own thing” (that goes for SSPXers as well as liberals!). And there is also nothing more UNJUST than making a Catholic’s own parish so intolerable they can’t pass on their faith there (and there is a difference between mediocre liturgical music and catichetical imperfection than downright intentional perverting of the faith for the next generation…I hope most of you know the difference!). We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the former Bishop of Saginaw as he was…probably (I should assume) a well meaning man who deeply misunderstood his faith and calling and let his own agenda take over his obligation to his flock to give them the Faith. His successor, for lack of a better word, has one hell of a job ahead of him. We should pray for both the old and new bishops of Saginaw.



report abuse
 

Dale Price

posted March 29, 2004 at 11:18 am


Rod and Elizabeth:
Let me put it this way: I won’t go to mass in a Saginaw parish. I’ve been ambushed by “the Saginaw Blessing” three times in two different parishes, three (IIRC) different priests. Want to know how it goes?
“May our God bless and keep you/
May she let her face shine upon you/
And be gracious to you/
And give you her peace.”
http://dprice.blogspot.com/2003_05_01_dprice_archive.html#94922677
http://dprice.blogspot.com/2003_10_01_dprice_archive.html#106605395326062237
Catchy.
That, coupled with the metronomic guarantee of at least one gruesome (not minor or a matter of taste) lit abuse at every Mass is why I know where the boundaries for the Lansing and Gaylord Diocese are. A real PITA, but I have no other choice when I visit my family. HDOs don’t need to be exercises in listening to Daddy grind his molars to a pulp. Then there’s the Bishop’s recycling of a proven abuser to a parish with a grade school–the gust that drove my evangelical brother away from a promising, if tentative, interest in Catholicism. Bishop Untener was less than pleased with those who protested the assignment once they got wind of the priest’s past. Then there’s the cookie cutter iconoclasm of every new or renovated church in the Diocese–beige Catholicism par excellence. His inability to inspire vocations, despite his charisma and the deep Catholic roots of the region, is a legacy his backers need to acknowledge–and explain in terms that don’t use shrug terms like “secularism.” His last ordinand was in 2002, and the guy was not raised in the Diocese. He’s also responsible in large measure for the existence of the northernmost Byzantine parish in the Eparchy of Parma.
BUT.
What is served by hammering him in death, or refusing to acknowledge his real virtues? He sold the bleeding bishop’s residence–is that only good when an O’Malley does it? Emphasizing the importance of scripture and preaching only counts when you’re Francis Cardinal George? He battled against a daunting physical handicap for most of his life, but it’s only inspiring when the Pope does it?
Flaying him after the fact isn’t going to do anything other than make us feel slightly better. By and large, people there loved the guy. They were also blind to his deeply, deeply-flawed leadership, but it wasn’t some 25 year snow job, either. No, we shouldn’t let people turn him into a plaster saint. But we also can’t deny his other side, either.
Orthodox Catholics would do well to remember “wise as serpents, gentle as doves.” If nothing else, we’d steal more marches on the progressives that way.
Bishop Untener is gone, and Saginaw will be getting a new bishop–one with quite a reconstructive task before him. Pray for him. And for Ken Untener.



report abuse
 

Rod Dreher

posted March 29, 2004 at 12:05 pm


Dale, I don’t have any interest in “flaying” the bishop in his death. I simply think that we should be honest about his strengths and his weaknesses in an evaluation of his legacy, and not let the natural (and mostly commendable) charity one feels toward a decedent keep us from recognizing the bad that person may have done in his public life, as well as the good. I added the material above because everyone was eulogizing Bp. Untener so generously, and it was (and is) my impression that he was a far more destructive force in the Diocese of Saginaw than one would think from reading this morning’s blog comments.
Todd, if you’re saying that my objecting to Untener’s allowing a program of showing pornographic videos to seminarians as part of their formation is an instance of my having unreasonably high standards, well, golly fella, I plead guilty. Remind me not to send folks to you for religious education, at least without their raincoats.



report abuse
 

Chris

posted March 29, 2004 at 12:33 pm


For clarification of my previous post, the conditions in the diocese were WHY I decided to look for the truth (what I saw there couldn’t be it). Bp. Untener and his cronies merely pointed out the need for me to dig, but I realized they wouldn’t tell me what I needed to know; it was people like Fr. John Hardon that taught me about the Catholic Church.
If conditions weren’t like they were there, but less low-key, like in other parts of Michigan, I would have never started to actively seek the truth.



report abuse
 

Rod Dreher

posted March 29, 2004 at 1:14 pm


If conditions weren’t like they were there, but less low-key, like in other parts of Michigan, I would have never started to actively seek the truth.
I see your point, Chris, but that’s like thanking the arsonist for helping you find the location of the nearest firehouse. ;-)



report abuse
 

Todd

posted March 29, 2004 at 3:18 pm


Greetings and peace, Rod.
No, I wasn’t saying it. I was merely commenting that your high standards are universally known, and that any criticism of a bishop coming from you, far from being newsworthy, is simply par for the course.
Sad to say, I’m not a religious educator. So your raincoats are safe at home, my friend.



report abuse
 

Rod Dreher

posted March 29, 2004 at 5:00 pm


Todd: I was merely commenting that your high standards are universally known, and that any criticism of a bishop coming from you, far from being newsworthy, is simply par for the course.
Ad hominem attacks say nothing about the substance of anyone’s complaint against Untener or anyone else, Todd. I’m not asking these bishops to walk on water, y’know.



report abuse
 

michigancatholic

posted March 29, 2004 at 8:24 pm


I appreciate the honesty here. Emphasis only on good is misleading in this case, for sure. I think, in a Christian spirit, it is important to state this plain truth for the record. There should be no mistake made about what happened here. The miscarriages of morality at St. John’s & all the other instances are simply a part of the historical record now, for example.
However, also in a spirit of Christianity, we should pray for the dead, whoever they are. And we should also pray for the successor of this man, who will have a lot of work to do.
Orthodox, and you know who you are (and this includes me), you must always remember Who is the centerpiece of your faith. To the degree that we are in union with Him, we will be kinder to the progressives (as they lose influence) than they ever were to us. Please remember that. Have no fear, and be gracious but truthful. Truth is a trait of your Beloved, as is charity. Show both.



report abuse
 

Kevin Miller

posted March 29, 2004 at 10:31 pm


Actually, Rod, you pretty much are. I mean, when a bishop does do something good, your usual response is along the lines of, “So he’s just doing his job; what’re we supposed to do, give him a cookie?”
Noting your real view is not an ad hominem attack. It’s just, well, noting your real view.



report abuse
 

Bill

posted March 30, 2004 at 9:17 am


Kevin,
Bishop Untener thought it was a good idea for seminarians to watch pornography! Do you think somebody has to have “high standards” to find that a little odd? If so, I guess we have gotten the bishops we deserved.



report abuse
 

Jay McNally

posted March 31, 2004 at 4:03 am


Ken Untener was very proud of his radical liberalism. He was a keynote speaker at Call to Action in Michigan.
It is not speaking ill of the dead to acknowledge that the homosexualization of the priesthood was clearly part of his agenda at St. John’s Provincial Seminary — the evidence is overwhelming.
It is also not speaking ill of him to say he gloried in knowing that some years (typically) he did not ordain a single priest from his diocese.
It is not speaking ill of the dead to say that “orthodox” Catholics consider his diocese virtually dead.
These are facts.



report abuse
 

Karen

posted March 31, 2004 at 2:03 pm


Chris, Rod, Dale, and Elizabeth,
After reading your comments (for he first and last time), I must say I am ashamed to be affiliated with the Catholic religion. I pity you and your small views. Unfortunately, the average “Catholic” wouldn’t have the courage to stand up to your nonsense. Before you judge others, I’d take a deep look into your own souls. Bishop Untener has done more for his people, and the Catholic faith in the Saginaw diocese, than the Vatican could ever dream of doing. His courage to stand up to the great power of the Vatican and actually serve the people defines the strength of his character and commitment to God.



report abuse
 

Rick

posted March 31, 2004 at 7:45 pm


I fall in with the critics of Bishop Untener who have spoken already in this forum.
I can add the remarks of my pastor who wrote the church bulletin on Jan 18:
The diocesan priests met with the incoming bishop twenty three years ago to express their concerns about the dwindling number of priests.
The obvious inference is that BU knew right from the beginning about this major problem in the diocese. And, today, we see that he did not have a big impact on increasing the staff with any priests, homosexual or heterosexual. His indifference to this problem is palpable. Whatever happened to “feed my sheep”? It seems that he was indifferent to that Biblical call to action.
God rest Bishop Untener. And God, send us a holy priest to be our bishop! We’ve been liberal for twenty four years, let us be holy for twenty four years, we pray.



report abuse
 

John

posted April 1, 2004 at 12:38 pm


I must throw my hat in with Karen when I say that I am disgusted by the small, narrow-minded, and ignorant comments posted by some of the above people.
I wonder if any of them knew Bishop Untener personally, or, had the pleasure of being a member of the Diocese of Saginaw. If they had, I’m sure that their otherwise distasteful opinions of him would surely be different.
He told it like it was. He knew that the church could not survive as it was, he knew that it needed change. That we needed to think of it in different ways. He helped the Church of Saginaw to grow and to become more than it ever has been.
One more thing, “The Saginaw Blessing” as quoted above is wrong, it goes like this:
“May the Lord bless and keep you/
May He let His face shine upon you/
And be gracious to you/
And give you His peace.
May the Lord bless and keep you/
May She let Her face shine upon you/
And be gracious to you/
And give you Her peace.”
I’m sure that they’re singing it right now, full-voiced and with arms held to Heaven, at his funeral.
May the Angels and Saints welcome him and may we, as people of peace, people of the church, remember him and his example always. May his successor continue the work that he started, and may the Diocese of Saginaw continue to grow and lead the way for Catholicism in America.



report abuse
 

Matt

posted April 1, 2004 at 8:46 pm


It’s kind of scary to see those who never lived or worshipped in the Diocese of Saginaw to so easily call a deceased bishop to task.
All I can tell you is this. The man had a doctorate from the Greogrian University. The reason he had problems from Rome was the he KNEW Rome. He knew he was the moderator of the word in his diocese. He was not a branch-office manager of the Pope’s Roman Catholic Church.
He was shepherd of the Church of Saginaw.
Was he perfect? Heavens no.
But those who could see his funeral today and attempt to tell me that it was not a sacred event (with or without kneelers), are simply looking to defame a man who does not meet a definition of holiness based in the structure of the church and not the word of the Gospel.



report abuse
 

Roseanne Sullivan

posted April 2, 2004 at 2:22 pm


I’m unhappy to find out the things you describe here about Bishop Untener. I found this blog because I have been googling his name to try to track down a copy of a “Catholic Update” on the preferential option for the poor, which I read once and which was published by the US Council of Catholic bishops. Someone told me Untener wrote the article. I’m writing a paper for a social justice course at the San Jose Institute for Leadership in Ministry and thought Untener’s approach of putting the poor first in all meetings was laudable.
Knowing that his morality had eroded so far as to show “pornographic videos to seminarians as part of their formation” adds another data point to a negative portrait of the kind of bishops we have in the U.S.
Untener like Weakland seems to believe that it is possible to be a good priest and bishop while dispensing with traditional notions of chastity.
The American hierarchy and the theologians they quote are happy about the change in the teachings about social issues. The book we are reading for the social justice course makes this remarkable claim about Pope Paul VI’s Octogesima Adviniens “Members of the church, including the hierarchy, according to the pope, will need to recognize the importance of these issues of social morality and no longer be preoccupied with the traitional area of Catholic morality, namely, sexuality.”
People who think like the author (Mich) seem to believe that the Church’s moral teachings on the proper place of sex are outmoded and prudish. Mich also implies that since the church teachings about capital punishment and war are changing, then sexual morality teachings could (and should) change. They are very impatient with the current leadership for holding the line for marriage as a union between one man and one woman that must be open to life and for continuing to teach that sex in any other context is a grave evil.
Sounds like Untener was made of the same cloth.
After living out my youth as a member of the generation that helped put the sexual revolution over the top, I know for a fact that the Church’s teachings on sexual morality are from God and that the rules exist for our protection. Just for one example, look where homosexual lust led Weakland. He was so fond of his lover that the boyfriend was able to convince him to defraud the Church out of $450,000 on a trumped up charge of sexual abuse.
I pray for the grace to be able to articulate a counter argument that I know to be true: That following the Gospel and taking care of Christ in the poor is impossible without chastity. If not me, someone else has to say this. Or many of us have to say this. The gospel of “letting it all hang out” is on the ascendance. A whole generation exists that has no concept of sexual self control.
An active homosexual or heterosexual who is living an unchaste life is impure in thoughts and motives and disobedient to the Spirit. Such a person cannot give God’s unconditional love to the poor or preach the Gospel disinterestedly.
God rest Untener’s soul.
God help our church.



report abuse
 

Jan

posted April 8, 2004 at 9:24 pm


Rod, you have so utterly misconstrued Untener’s tenure that it makes me sick.
1. The reason very few men are ordained in this diocese is that the good bishop and the Archbishop of Detroit had an agreement to send all young men to Detroit where there is a dire shortage of priests so that they could be mentored by older, more experienced priests in well-established parishes. It’s called “learning the ropes” here in Chicago. But the gist of it is that very, very few parishes in Central Michigan are large enough to require more than one priest. So let the young priests learn at the hand of experienced priests about the ins and outs of running a parish, handling finances, etc. while also serving the faithful in underserved areas. It’s painfully logical that a parish of 100 families in a town like Edenville in a county that only has 2 towns doesn’t need a full-time priest at the expense of a large inner-city parish of 3000 families where only 1-2 priests were available to meet their spiritual needs. Later, after a good 6 years in the Detroit Archdiocese, the young priests rotate back and take over the spiritual leadership at 2-3 rural parishes with a nun at his right hand to help with all of the administration. This was a very viable solution to the needs of the Catholic faithful in the entire state to prevent having to close these parishes in tiny rural areas where the next closest parish might be 25 miles away. Maybe that’s not far by urban standards, but in an area that averages 244 inches of snow each winter, that’s a huge trek. For people like my parents it would have meant no church at all. Is that really a viable solution that a good bishop should have even considered?
2. You claim there hasn’t been a seminarian ordained from the Diocese of Saginaw in several years. Wrong! Four seminarians just from little St. Norbert’s parish in Munger were ordained in the last 2 years. Two were ordained in Rome, one ordained in Detroit and another ordained in Montreal. It’s a pity you skew statistics to meet your need to diminish the accomplishments of a very well-respected bishop.
3. Uber-Katholische vitriole is unnecessary and despicably un-Christian. It’s time to remember that Untener was one of the very few Catholic bishops who did not have a plethora of sex scandals during his tenure. The one that he did have was sent to him by an archbishop who was less than forthright about the background of the priest in question. You might have questions about the idea of teaching sexual morality to seminarians during their formation, but maybe if a few dozen other bishops had tried addressing such issues before ordination we’d have had a much different situation today. It might humble you to realize that Bishop Kicanis, as rector of St. Mary of the Lake, was openly gay and the entire seminary was a pit of homosexuality under his leadership. More young men left the diocesan formation programs as a result of the situation and only the Jesuits and Redemptorists benefitted from fallout by getting the healthy young men who couldn’t tolerate Kicanis’ duplicity. Yet Kicanis was “rewarded” with his own diocese in Arizona. That’s a stroke of brilliance, isn’t it? At least Untener wasn’t gay…maybe that’s a little something for you bashers to consider when evaluating the quality of his shepherding.
I’ve been gone from the Diocese of Saginaw for 16 years, but given the current trends in the Church at the moment, I’ll take a man like Untener over an Uber-idiot any day.
Bishop Untener, may God hold you close and count all of souls you redeemed for Him in the judgment of the character of your soul.



report abuse
 

Mark

posted April 19, 2004 at 5:04 pm


During the mid-1980s Bishop Untener permitted the cathedral to be shamelessly used as a staging area and launch pad for protests against atomic weapons at Wurtsmith AFB, some 100 miles north of Saginaw. These were called “Faith and Resistance Retreats” and usually went on for several days in early August. Bishops from the Episcopal and Methodist churches were invited to speak. To protest foreign policy with regard to Central America, a mock cemetary of dozens of crosses stood in front of St.Mary’s Cathedral, each bearing the name of some alleged victim of the Contras. When priests were arrested at Whitehead AFB, MO and sentenced for taking a jackhammer to a missile silo, a “Solidarity Mass” was carried out here as well. Bishop Untener even rented out a local theater, the former “Cinema & Suds”, to screen his favorite film of that time–”Romero”. At one time he rented out the local Saginaw Civic Center just to hold a service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. “Peace Poles” appeared at a number of parishes and schools.In the Summer of 1994 at Bay City St. Joseph’s Church the priest would have the faithfull recite a Pax Christi prayer after the Offertory. Printed copies of the prayer were provided and the sheeple complied. This continued until the Brady Law was passed by Congress. Bishop Ken would also begin talks by making an out-of-place remark about “assault weapons.” One such instance was at Blessed Sacrament of Midland, MI in 1994. The presentation was called “A Question of Life” and was to have been taped. The pro-lifers who packed into the parish hall were puzzled by the bishop’s non-sequitur.
In the secular press, the Saginaw News in particular, Untener disparaged “John Birch Catholics” and Mother Angelica. He said she was confusing the faithfull. Strange remark from one thought to champion the empowerment of women in the Church.



report abuse
 

Chris

posted July 24, 2004 at 11:56 am


For those who wonder whether those making “disparaging” (their words, not mine), remarks of Bp. Untener wonder whether any of them ever lived in the diocese, I can say, yes, I did. For nine years. After I attended my first Mass on the only college campus-associated parish in the dicoese, I walked out of the building, looked at the “Catholic Church of ——” lettering on the building and said, “I don’t care what that says, it’s not a Catholic Church.” That Mass was not recognizable to an 18-year-old Catholic who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. It has not gotten better.



report abuse
 

Jim

posted March 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm


I think we really need a new Inquisition to purge the Church of homosexuals, child rapists, freemasons and other satanists who have, obviously, infiltrated the Church. I think they should burnt at the stake.



report abuse
 

Lynn

posted May 16, 2014 at 6:06 am


Wow! Have been thinking of converting but am seriously put off by the hypocrisy I’ve seen here. It’s been mentioned here that a core belief is not to speak ill of the dead and I can’t help but to wonder why this is mentioned at all when so many have done exactly that. I’m not a catholic but do subscribe to that belief. Do some honestly think that to mention this edict is sufficient validation to go against it? And, I have to say, the timing of these comments are so reprehensible to the core beliefs of any Christian, regardless of where they practice their faith. Maybe these are the poor, the riff raffs of whom he often spoke of. I will hope that many prayers have been said for you and that they’ve been answered



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to Michael, whom he remembered, among other things, as on

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But here's the thing.Whether or not Yates' original novel in

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, right?Well, here's a worthy recipient for your hard-

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No?Okay...how about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling Episcopalians, all the better.To tell the truth, you can bl

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every minute of labor, describing the intensity of discomfor

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.