Daily archives: March 17th, 2010

Cardinal George Pushing Sainthood for First Black American Catholic Priest

Father Augustus Tolton

From the Sun-Times:

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today that Cardinal Francis George is pushing sainthood for a Chicago clergyman who was born into slavery and went on to become the first black American Catholic priest.

Father Augustus Tolton, who died in 1897, was a priest in Quincy, Ill., New York, Baltimore and Texas before coming to Chicago in 1889.

Tolton was born in 1854, and was seven years old when he escaped with his Roman Catholic mother from a Missouri slave owner.


Wow.  He was only 33-years-old when he died.

Look at that young man staring back at you from Eternity.

And ask him to pray for you.

Coward Shoots 7-Year-Old Desiree Sanders on Chicago’s South Side (Video)

This is as sad as sad gets.

From ABC 7 News Chicago:

A 7-year-old girl is in critical condition after being shot on the city’s South Side.

It happened on the southeast corner of the intersection of 80th and Manistee.

Desiree Sanders was out playing on the sidewalk outside of her home when she was shot.

Police were combing the area Wednesday evening for evidence and trying to talk to any witnesses in the neighborhood.

She was not the intended target, police say.

Seven years old.

Sweet Justice: Measure Advances to Raise Retirement Age For Lawmakers, Judges

First, the scoop from Clout Street at the Chicago Trib:

Lawmakers and judges would have to wait longer to retire and their pension checks would be limited under a measure that got full support today in a House panel.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park, would raise retirement age for full benefits from 55 to 67 for lawmakers and 60 to 67 for judges. They could retire before 67 under the new plan, but the benefits would be lower.

"The day of people retiring at 60 and living 10 years is over," McCarthy said. "There are people retiring in their 50s and dying in their mid-90s. The system just can’t function with those kind of parameters."

McCarthy’s bill also would limit annual pension payments at the same level as Social Security — currently $106,800. The rules would apply to lawmakers and judges employed by the state after July 1. Lawmakers estimated the state would save more than $1.5 billion over 35 years.

Under the current system, some officials are able to receive bigger pensions than their salaries. Former Gov. George Ryan, who last month was denied by the Illinois Supreme Court any future state pension payments, had received about $200,000 annually in pension until he was convicted in 2006 on political corruption charges. He retired as governor with a salary of $150,691.

Heard from a judge not too long ago who had been appointed to the bench. His honor told me he sought the appointment because of the great retirement he would have after one term. I had hoped to hear something about his love of justice. No, he wanted the bench for the retirement package.

I hope the legislature moves this forward quickly.

Disturbing Video: Metra Releases Footage of Woman, Godchild Killed By Train

Just yesterday, I was driving through Park Forest, stopped at the tracks on Western Avenue. The train was moving very, very slowly.

A boy around 11 or 12 walked north to the train, jumped up on a step of one of the cars, climbed between the moving cars, and jumped down the other side. I dialed 911 as soon as I saw him jump on to the train. By the time the call went through, he was safe on the other side of the tracks. I just had visions of this little one slipping just a bit, and that would be it for him.

The above video is chilling. The scoop from the Sun-Times:

Metra has released a chilling video showing a 1-year-old child and her godmother getting hit — and killed — by a train.

The commuter rail service decided to release the video, taken from the front cab of the train, to highlight the danger of crossing the track when a train is approaching,  Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said today.

“Seeing this video is very bone-chilling,” said Pardonnet. “It’s very startling, but it also reminds us that there are only a few seconds to get across the track when the train is coming. It’s literally a matter of life and death, sadly.”

Killed Saturday were Blanca Villanueva-Sanchez, 34, and Maria Cruz, 1, both of North Chicago.

Remember, the train will win.

I’m praying for Blanca and poor Maria.

Episcopal Church Confirms First Openly Lesbian Bishop: CNN

From CNN:

The Episcopal Church confirmed its first openly lesbian bishop on Wednesday, six years after its first openly gay bishop took office.

“I am profoundly grateful for the many people … who have given their prayers, love, and support during this time of discernment,” Bishop-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool said after learning she’d won support from the majority of her church’s standing committees and diocesan bishops.

“I am also aware that not everyone rejoices in this election and consent,” she continued, “and will work, pray, and continue to extend my own hands and heart to bridge those gaps, and strengthen the bonds of affection among all people, in the Name of Jesus Christ.”

Glasspool, 56, was elected bishop of the Episcopal Church’s Los Angeles diocese in December. Before taking office, she needed to win the consent of a majority of the church’s standing committees and diocesan bishops.

The Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles released an informal tally Wednesday showing that Glasspool had received consents from 63 of the Episcopal Church’s 110 standing committees, seven more than necessary.

Glasspool’s ordination and consecration as bishop is slated for May 15.

Coming In June: The Summer of Blagojevich

Rod Blagojevich’s flying circus continues this summer: a judge ruled today there will be no delay in the former governor’s trial.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich won’t be able to delay his trial on public corruption charges, a federal judge said today.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel said the trial should go forward as planned on June 3. He called a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision that could redefine a statute that some of Blagojevich’s charges are based on a “red herring.’’

“I don’t see any reason to continue this case,’’ Zagel said. “This is more than a year to acquaint yourselves with the evidence.’’

Last week, lawyers for the indicted governor made a formal request to continue the June trial to November, saying they’ve been snowed under by recently turned over evidence, and they still await the Supreme Court ruling. Prosecutors opposed any delay for Blagojevich, who debuted on the television show “Celebrity Apprentice’’ on Sunday. They said the ex-governor has had plenty of time to prepare for trial.

The circus comes to town in June.