From a reader:
The Little Black Book
This booklet surfaces around Lent in some local parishes and is based on the writings of Bishop Ken Untener (1937-2004).
PLEASE advise.Thank you.
I don’t know this book. I understand that it isn’t really by Bp. Untener but dedicated to his memory.
However, I – personally – would not willingly read anything by the late Bishop Untener, may he rest in peace. I would (pace Mary McCarthy) sit there and suspect everything he wrote, even “and” and “the”. Not a spiritually beneficial experience, I think.
That said, from time to time a writer whom you would you suspect to be pretty dreadful in print can turn out some surprisingly good things at different points in his life.
That said, friend, there is only so much time in life.
Read the stuff you won’t have to be suspicious about. If you are worried about a book dedicated to the memory of the very liberal late bishop, then ask around and get the skinny on it from people you trust. In the meantime, there are books available which you don’t have to wonder about for a moment.
UPDATE 3 March 1816:
From a reader:
Now let me offer a positive example of a bishop going beyond ideology to address concrete pastoral concerns.
The late Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw had long heard the many complaints about the poor quality of preaching in the Catholic Church. So he decided to address this pastoral problem directly.
He directed all of his priests to have their Sunday homilies videotaped. He had his own homilies taped as well. Then he arranged a meeting in which he and the priests would watch and critique together the recorded homilies, again, including his own. He even arranged to have some lay people from a neighboring diocese watch the videos and send him their critique. He encouraged his priests to continue the practice of working to improve their preaching. This was not a liberal initiative. This was not a conservative initiative. This was a pastoral initiative and the improved preaching that likely resulted from his initiative doubtless did more to keep Catholics in the pews than any formal church pronouncement!