The public relations war to redefine the anti-Catholic movement at St. Cronan parish continues, again in the national version of their bulletin, NCR.  This time Tom Fox pens a panegyric to Fr. Gerry Kleba, who continues to excuse the behavior of Sr. Lears and, by extension, the “womenpriests” Hudson and McGrath– all from St. Cronan’s.  

A person may be dedicated to a cause that is unjust.  Undermining the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is such a cause.  Opposing the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, is such a cause. Excusing error and leading souls astray, souls under one’s particular care, is such a cause.

Fr. Kleba believes Sr. Lears, who was seemingly afforded more due process than many now on death row, was treated unfairly.  However, his recollections of a meeting with his Archbishop prove the point that fairness is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.  Fr. Kleba’s recollections of the conversation at this meeting have no corroboration other than his own words.  The Archbishop, however, has consistently refused to defend himself by publicizing the words and events of confidential meetings; therefore, let me just opine that we don’t have the full story.

This is very sad, but Fr. Kleba doesn’t understand that the person who looks bad in all of this is himself.

Consider this published quote attributed to Fr. Kleba.  Do you know to whom he is referring?

Kleba sighs: “He is such a good man. But when you live in the shadow of the world’s biggest organization and you feel like the organization is the embodiment of Jesus, somehow you don’t remember anymore how you have to be the embodiment of Jesus. The Gospel says, ‘Love others as you love yourself.’ If you don’t have a self to love, you have nothing to share. You’re just going through the motions.”

Archbishop Burke, you say?  Wrong– the answer is Justin Cardinal Rigali.  The above quote is taken from an article in the Riverfront Times from 2002.  
You see, criticizing his Archbishop and undercutting his authority is not new for this dedicated priest. And, if he is quoted accurately, he certainly gives an impression that the Roman Catholic Church is not the embodiment of Jesus.  A reading of Mystici Corporis might be helpful on this issue.

Below is an excerpt from the NCR article:

Dedicated St. Louis priest like others you know


July 28, 2008

[…]Kleba does not hide his thoughts about Lears’ departure. He says he feels she was treated unfairly by the archbishop.

Speaking about a meeting he had with Archbishop Burke earlier this year, Kleba said, “He called me in and one of the things he wanted me to do was fire Sr. Louise and I said that this case is still open and I have to assume that while I don’t know much canon law, a person is innocent until proven guilty.”

“I told him I couldn’t fire her. He told me to seek out some further advice.”

So I decided to get a lawyer.

That move cost Kleba $790. The amount was more than it cost him four decades back to be ordained a priest, he said.

An e-mail he sent out to friends following his visit with Burke was critical of the archbishop’s action in the Lears’ case. The e-mail eventually got circulated on the Internet.

But he’s not worried. “What have I got to lose?” he asked.

Kleba, at 66, is at an age when many other Americans his age are retiring. He has no plans to retire. His work, he says, is going forward.

Just like a lot of other retirement aged inner city priests we know.