Friday, August 13, 2004

Howdy from CRM East
I would just like to introduce myself to all the readers of CRM. I am Fr. J.C. Maximilian Garrett, a friend of Fr. Tharp's from the seminary, and he invited me to be something of the East Coast Correspondent for CRM. I am a priest of the Diocese of Trenton, NJ; having just been ordained a priest this past May. In fact, since the "powers-that-be" at the seminary conspired so that then Deacon Shane Tharp never preached to the Theology Division therefore I never heard him preach, I invited Fr. Tharp to preach at my First Mass of Thanksgiving (on May 16), and he did a most spendid job. I still get requests for copies.
In any case, prior to entering the seminary I was a college professor and director of a graduate program. I have a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Counseling Psychology. Now, please do not hold that against me, among my colleagues I was known for being quite the critic of modern psychology which has completely diovorced its from any philosophical basis in reality. You will certainly hear more on my thoughts of what is wrong with modern psychology as I post to CRM, but I will share one my sayings that Fr. Tharp seemed fond of, "Kill your inner child and grow up." Dr. Paul Vitz is so correct in his analysis that modern psychology has become largely a pseudo-religion which worships the Self. If any body among the readers of CRM needs a therapist, I recommend that they look for a referral from, for they screen their members to make sure that they are faithful to the teaching of the Church.
One of the reasons I think Fr. Tharp invited me to be the East Coast Correspondent is because we frequently "raged" about the conditions of society. I was originally going to make my first posting about a line in the movie Collateral which I thought captured a major problem in American society. However, since I am from the State of New Jersey, how can I not comment on the resignation of our governor, James McGreevey. I will save the comments on Collateral for another post.
While I am sure that there were many in the State that did not know that Gov. McGreevey was gay, his announcement really did not come as much of a shock to people who pay attention to State government. So what really prompted the Gov. to resign and "come out"? I strongly believe that it was to become a martyr of a sort. While believing completely, not just because I am a faithful Catholic but also because of my clinical experience as a psychologist, that the homosexual orientation is gravely disordered, that in and of itself is not a reason to resign from office (especially in the liberal bastion that is NJ; which has the most liberal laws permitting fetal stem cell research in the nation, thanks to McGreevey, who also signed into law our domestic partners act; color me shocked). Even his adultery, as shameful and painful for his family (he has two daughters, one from each of his wives) it is for his family, would not really be a huge issue for New Jerseyans. The immediate reason for his resignation is that he is likely facing a law suit from his "lover" for sexual harassment. However, that was just the straw that broke the camel's back. Gov. McGreevey was seen as a really upcoming star of the Democratic Party; not only in NJ but possibly even nationally, but once he became governor he was connected to one problem after another. The first and biggest was appointing his "lover" to a $110,000/yr job as the State Director of Homeland Security. While questionably ethical, what made it a real problem was that Golan Cipel (the "lover") is a foreign national, with no real security background, who could not even get the basic security clearance. For the State that lost the most number of its citizens in the attacks of 9/11/01 this was a huge slap in the face. Apparently it was more important to give his "lover" a high paying job, than for the Governor to be a) sensitive to the families and friends who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks, and b) be truly concerned about the State's security. Then the Governor appointed an ex-con to head the State Police, and this man so demoralized the troopers that eventually even the Democrats were looking for an "honorable" way of removing him (unfortunately that was making him the police director for the city of Trenton, so now that department's officers are demoralized). Most recently Governor McGreevey's two closest fundraisers have been charged in Federal courts for criminal behavior, including hiring a prostitute to try to get a businessman in a compromising position (it failed). While the Gov. has not been implicated, as of yet, the fire is getting very close. Apparently at the Democratic National Convention, McGreevey was avoided like the plague. His poll numbers are very low.
By resigning now he is getting a lot of sympathy, and being called courageous. Of course by not making his resignation effective until Nov. 15 (alledgely to make a smooth transition; but did he really keep the State Senate President, a Democrat, so out of the loop that it will take 3 months to get him up to speed?) the Governor avoids a special election which could have been bad for the Democrats (they expected him to not only finish his term but run for re-election, so they did not really have an heir apparent ready). I really do not want to be partisan, I am a Catholic first and foremost (personally I wish we had a true Christian Democratic Party, like those that sprung up in Europe shortly after Pope Leo XIII's social encyclicals that tried to promote the Church's social teachings), but nothing of the Governor's actions seem honorable, and I have to question if this is really going to be helpful for the Democratic Party. NJ was going to be in the "D" column come Nov. (not that I am happy with that; Senator Kerry is a gutless, spineless weasel who could not make an important decision if his life depended on it -- oops, a bit a bitterness leaked out). Supposedly McGreevey staying in office until after the election will "help keep it that way" but I don't see how. I mean he will now be a constant reminder and target for criticism. I mean I think that you would want him to get off the stage as quickly as possible; the Governor-to-be, Senator Cody, has not been a big name so not too controversial. I just don't get it; but that is politics in the garden state -- covered in fertilizer.
Well, enough of Jersey politics. Until next time, this is CRM-East.

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