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Colorado Governor To Media:'WE LOVE OUR CHURCH'
National Catholic Register ^ | May 12-18 issue | Wayne Laugesen

Posted on 05/14/2002 3:02:01 PM PDT by Lady In Blue

 

Colorado Governor to Media:
'We Love Our Church'

National Catholic Register
May 12-18, 2002

by WAYNE LAUGESEN
Register Correspondent


DENVER - One might expect Catholic politicians, in need of secular support, to distance themselves from bishops and priests while the mainstream press feeds at the trough of the clergy sex scandal.

Not Gov. Bill Owens.

Instead, the Colorado Republican joined 53 other prominent Colorado residents in taking a bold and public stand in support of their clergy. Together, they donated money and bought a $20,000 full page ad in the April 7 Denver Post that said, in part:

"We love our Church, we respect our priests, we support our bishops. The failures of the few, no matter how serious, cannot be an excuse for demeaning or suspecting all."

Owens told the Register that he feels extreme compassion for victims of sexual abuse by priests. However, he also feels compassion for priests who face negative stereotypes because of the actions of a few.

"I'm so proud of what my Church has meant to the world, that any blemish on that record is of the deepest concern to me," Owens said.

Owens said he hopes the statement published in Denver might inspire others throughout the United States to publicly support the Church, and build it up in a time of crisis.

"This is a very appropriate time to thank our priests for all that they do for us," Owens said. "It's easy to be supportive during good times, but it's most essential during the tough times. I hope people do this everywhere, whether by the means we chose here in Denver, or by some other means. By whatever means, Catholics need to rally behind their Church because of all the good it represents."

Signers of the Denver statement included several nationally prominent Coloradans, including Peter and Marilyn Coors of Coors Brewing Co.; former Denver Bronco tight end Haven Moses and his wife, Joyce; Congressman Bob Schaffer and his wife, Maureen; and Denver Broncos owners Pat and Annabelle Bowlen.

John Saeman, former president and CEO of Daniels Communications Cos., thought up the idea and carried it out.

Role Models

Haven Moses said he signed the letter because priests provided him role models while growing up in the tough neighborhoods of south central Los Angeles. He attended 12 years of Catholic schools, and said priests in the school and his parish made him a better person. All of his five siblings, in fact, are inner city success stories largely because of the influence of priests and nuns, Moses said.

"They prepared me for the world," said the former NFL star. "They represented to me how important faith is. The priests I was exposed to lived like Christ in every aspect of their lives. They were in constant communication with Christ."

Gov. Owens said that that once he read the text for the proposed ad there was no question, for even a moment, that he not sign and defend it. A member of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Aurora, Colo., Owens has long been an outspoken advocate of the Church and a good friend to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput and other Colorado bishops.

He spoke with five bishops April 19, at the funeral for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White.
"I've had several priests thank me for signing this expression of support, and tell me it's particularly appreciated now in light of everything that's being reported," Owens said. "Clergy are feeling pressure, because while these offenses have been committed by a very small number of priests - relative to the almost 100,000 who have been priests while all of this was going on - it unfairly reflects on all of them and they are definitely feeling it."

Moses says it's difficult, in light of the heavy media attention on priest sex scandals, for the public not to view priests with suspicion.

"People still respect the collar, and I think the reputation will be restored," Moses said. "But right now it's hard for some people not to look at any priest without some level of suspicion, even though it's only a very small percentage of priests who comprise this scandal. It's similar to a phenomenon taking place in our community of color right now. After Sept. 11, people are having a hard time not acting suspicious toward someone who wears a turban, even though it's not a rational response."

Before seeking signers for the statement, the text was run by Archbishop Chaput for his approval. Within hours, an idea had turned into an official statement with the archbishop's blessing, private donations to pay for ad space and a growing list of prominent signers.
"It was nothing short of a miracle," said Peter Droege, a former editor of Denver's archdiocesan newspaper who served as Saeman's assistant for the campaign.

Positive Response

Owens says he has received no criticism personally for signing the ad, adding that press coverage has generally been favorable.

"I have had a lot of positive response from Catholics, and one positive comment from a non-Catholic," Owens said. "I've had six or eight people comment on it in the past week, and when you're governor that's a lot of feedback because you live in this cocoon and people are reluctant to mention things to you."

Not everyone, however, was pleased with the statement and the governor's support of it. The Rev. Bill Kirton, president of the Interfaith Alliance of Denver, spoke out publicly, saying: "It seems like the politicization of religion. Bill Owens has been very outspoken in his support of government help for sectarian, faith-based purposes."

Kirton explained that he's worried about Owens and other "conservatives" from various Christian denominations trying to influence public policy, thus mixing politics and religion.

Mostly, however, the ad has led to new stories throughout Colorado about the prominent expression of support for clergy. Molly Moore, a signer of the statement and the wife of a leading Denver investment banker, was interviewed on Denver's Channel 4 News."The reporter was very fair and balanced, and I was grateful for the opportunity to express my love for the Church and all that my faith means to me," Moore said.

Saeman said the vast majority of comments he has received have been positive, but even most of the negative feedback involved some "deep concern for the Catholic Church."

Owens says he hopes Church officials will do whatever is necessary to prevent future scandals involving inappropriate actions by priests. But he has no advice regarding how the U.S. bishops and Pope John Paul II should manage the scandal.

"I've been asked that by the secular press, and I really don't have anything to offer," Owens said. "I know how to run Colorado, but I'm not in a position to give the Vatican any advice at this point in time. I don't want to appear to be second-guessing or pre-judging those who are best positioned to handle this."

Wayne Laugesen writes from Boulder, Colorado.


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TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: bishopsdefended; catholiclist; loyalpriests
FYI and discussion.
1 posted on 05/14/2002 3:02:01 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Catholic_list;father elijah;SMEDLEYBUTLER;nickcarraway;history_matters;Siobhan
ping.
2 posted on 05/14/2002 3:03:54 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Lady In Blue
Not everyone, however, was pleased with the statement and the governor's support of it. The Rev. Bill Kirton, president of the Interfaith Alliance of Denver, spoke out publicly, saying: "It seems like the politicization of religion. Bill Owens has been very outspoken in his support of government help for sectarian, faith-based purposes."

I do not know who the Rev. Bill Kirton is or what "church" he is a part of -- but it is clear that he is a total idiot.

3 posted on 05/14/2002 3:33:27 PM PDT by Siobhan
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To: sandyeggo; *Catholic_list; frogandtoad; Domestic Church; BlessedBeGod; saradippity; maryz...
A bump for the Colorado Governor Owens!
4 posted on 05/14/2002 3:34:31 PM PDT by Siobhan
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To: Siobhan
I know! He probably belongs to one of these liberal,non-sectarian churches.I can't believe that anyone would be against this petition.I like the humility of this governor,unlike a certain conservative,would be politian on cable TV!
5 posted on 05/14/2002 3:39:10 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: Lady In Blue
Gov. Owens is blessed to have for his bishop the wonderful Archbishop Chaput of Denver, one of the few bright lights we have in the Church.
6 posted on 05/14/2002 3:56:22 PM PDT by Siobhan
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To: Lady In Blue
An Open Letter From Colorado Catholics

April 7, 2002

Recent days have been difficult for Catholics and many other friends of the Church who respect her tireless work for human dignity in American public life. Reports of sexual misconduct by some priests, and of the mishandling of such cases by some bishops, have confused and dismayed many.

The most important thing we want to say now is this: We love our Church, we respect our priests, we support our bishops. The failures of the few, no matter how serious, cannot be an excuse for demeaning or suspecting all.

The vast majority of Catholic priests are good, selfless, committed men of the highest personal integrity and honor. The leaders of our Church are dedicated, conscientious, caring pastors.

It is true that sins and crimes were committed by some priests who engaged in acts of sexual abuse. It is true, too, that Church leaders sometimes attempted to deal with these situations in ways now seen to have been inappropriate.

The following things are also true:

Victims and their families deserve compassionate support from the whole Church community.

The Church needs to act effectively to root these problems out and prevent them in the future.

In justice, we also need to remember that the number of priests involved was very small.

Across the United States, steps have been taken, and will continue to be taken, to prevent tragedies like this from occurring again ? and to deal with them effectively if, despite the best efforts of our Church leaders, they do. Reforms must reflect the wisdom of Catholic tradition and serve the Gospel mission of the Church, not the agendas of special interests within or outside the Catholic community.

In this Easter season, we look for a stronger, more united community of faith to emerge from the present time of testing.

That is our hope and our confident prayer.

[The letter was signed by many prominent Catholic men and women, including Bill and Frances Owens. (Bill Owens is the Governor of Colorado.) It was published in The Denver Post, Sunday April 7, 2002]

http://homepages.msn.com/reportersalley/pleadem/

7 posted on 05/14/2002 4:17:58 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: Lady In Blue
But he has no advice regarding how the U.S. bishops and Pope John Paul II should manage the scandal.
There are two scandals: the sexual abuse of minors by priests; and the episcopal mishandling. The ad speaks only to the first, but not to the second; then again, the purpose of the ad was to support, not criticize.

I, too, love our Church; however, that doesn't mean that our hierarchy is above reproach. Their coverup has been of no service to the flock, and ironically has become a scandal of its own. Would it be too much to ask them to spend their time upholding traditional moral teaching rather than trying to cover their own arses?

For example, why on God's green earth has Shanley not yet been defrocked? AAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

8 posted on 05/14/2002 4:23:41 PM PDT by eastsider
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To: Lady In Blue
former Denver Bronco tight end Haven Moses and his wife, Joyce

Haven was a wide receiver, not a tight end. Haven was one half of the M&M connection; Craig Morton - Haven Moses, during the Broncos Orange Crush days. There used to be signs hanging in Mile High Stadium during Bronco games that said "Thank Haven for Moses".

Haven Moses

9 posted on 05/14/2002 4:36:45 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: Siobhan
Archbishop Chaput is on the board of governors of the Ave Maria School of Law - amen.
10 posted on 05/14/2002 4:45:30 PM PDT by Notwithstanding
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To: Siobhan; Lady in Blue
Rev. Bill Kirton, President, Denver
Cameron United Methodist Church

You may contact the Reverend at:

Bill Kirton, President
tiacolorado@aol.com

The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado
1420 South Holly Street
Denver, CO 80222

Phone: 720-524-1100

Fax: 720-524-1101

The mission of The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado is to promote the shared values and principles of Colorado's faith traditions as a unifying and constructive force in the preservation and renewal of democratic life.

11 posted on 05/14/2002 5:00:12 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: Siobhan
Thanks,Siobhan.I was wondering if Archbishop Chaput was his bishop.
12 posted on 05/14/2002 6:23:29 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Thanks for the info on Dave Moses.I'm not a football fan so I wasn't familiar with him.God bless him for his loyalty to the Church and the wonderful priests who educated him and his brothers(?)!
13 posted on 05/14/2002 6:26:51 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: eastsider
I agree with much of what you said but the best cure is the ROSARY and to make sure that we pray and instruct our children in our homes with the true teachings of the Church,then we'll have a lot more holy priests and bishops IMHO.
14 posted on 05/14/2002 6:29:41 PM PDT by Lady In Blue
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Shouldn't we also contact

Sr. Maureen McCormack, Englewood, CO
Sisters of Loretto

who is on the Board of this Interfaith Alliance of Colorado.

I for one want to see her repudiate the Rev. Kirton by resigning from this odious liberal Socialist association!

15 posted on 05/14/2002 6:34:20 PM PDT by Siobhan
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To: eastsider
For example, why on God's green earth has Shanley not yet been defrocked? AAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

A thought worthy of its own thread.....

And the answer is .....

16 posted on 05/14/2002 6:35:59 PM PDT by Siobhan
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To: Siobhan
And another bump for the Colorado Governor Owens!
17 posted on 05/14/2002 7:34:38 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation
Heartwarming and encouraging.
18 posted on 05/14/2002 8:20:05 PM PDT by tiki
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To: Salvation
And still another BUMP for Colorado Governor Owen's

Governor's of other states please take note of Governor Owen's and follow suit, Peace to all.

19 posted on 05/14/2002 8:39:48 PM PDT by ejo
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To: Lady In Blue
One might expect Catholic politicians, in need of secular support, to distance themselves from bishops and priests while the mainstream press feeds at the trough of the clergy sex scandal.

Unfortunately most Catholic politicians don't need to distance themselves, they are already distant.

20 posted on 05/14/2002 9:32:53 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Siobhan
It is the standard line whenever a conservative does anything religious and gets any press for it. They don't have a real response, so they just say that. Remarkably enough, they don't seem to say the same thing when a liberal priest comes out in support of a Hillary! or when Hillary! speaks at a church.

Hypocrites.

patent

21 posted on 05/14/2002 9:37:07 PM PDT by patent
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To: Siobhan
Rev. Bill Kirton is the President of The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado (TIACO).
22 posted on 05/15/2002 11:42:49 PM PDT by .45MAN
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To: Lady In Blue
Great article. I don't know anything about Gov. Owens, but he sounds like a very good guy. Anyone in Colorado know anything about him?

Maybe here in California we can elect Bill Simon and have another faith-filled Governor in America!

23 posted on 05/16/2002 9:49:09 AM PDT by Gophack
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To: ElkGroveDan
Ping
24 posted on 05/16/2002 9:49:31 AM PDT by Gophack
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Haven was a wide receiver, not a tight end. Haven was one half of the M&M connection; Craig Morton - Haven Moses, during the Broncos Orange Crush days. There used to be signs hanging in Mile High Stadium during Bronco games that said "Thank Haven for Moses".

Smedley, do you have a photo of Rob Lyttle's "non-fumble" against the Raiders?

(No that I STILL bear ill will towards the "officials" who gave the Broncos the Title) :)

25 posted on 05/16/2002 12:07:10 PM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: patent
they don't seem to say the same thing when a liberal priest comes out in support of a Hillary! or when Hillary! speaks at a church.

Or when Jesse Jackson takes a collection for his candidacy during a service wherein he is the guest "minister."

Or when Al Gore goes "African-American" at some service, trumping Robert Duvall's performance in "The Apostle."

Or when Joe Lieberman starts speaking about God as a V.P. Candidate..The list could go on and on

26 posted on 05/16/2002 12:13:46 PM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Catholicguy
No, but here's a picture of Dave Casper kicking Stablers' "fumble" into the end zone against San Diego.


27 posted on 05/16/2002 2:54:38 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
No, but here's a picture of Dave Casper kicking Stablers' "fumble" into the end zone against San Diego.

LOL I still remember that one. Does this mean you are a Chargers fan? I think Vatican Two, in Gaudium et Spes, warned that being a Chargers fan was an occasion of sin.

28 posted on 05/17/2002 5:35:07 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Catholicguy
I'm a fan, almost exclusively, of whomever is playing the Raiders.
29 posted on 05/17/2002 8:19:01 AM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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