Sep 112014
 

poltergeist_tv

They’re back, yes it is the Nuns on the Bus part 3 returning like a sequel to a bad horror movie.

This time it’s the Catholic sisters versus the Koch brothers.

That’s one way to look at the upcoming “Nuns on the Bus” tour, which hits the road next week (Sept. 17) for the third time in three years, a month long trip though 10 key U.S. Senate battleground states to campaign against the influence of outside money on politics.

The issue has come to be identified with the wealthy industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch, whose huge contributions to conservative political causes have raised concerns about the role of “dark money” on elections.

The spigot for such undisclosed donations, which can be made by unions as well as corporations, was opened by the controversial 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision. That was followed by another 5–4 ruling in April of this year, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.

“It’s all about ‘we the people’ standing up against big money,” said Sister Simone Campbell, who heads Network, a Catholic social justice lobby on Capitol Hill that is organizing more than 75 events in 36 cities along the 5,252-mile route.

There is at least this at the end of the column:

(Editor’s note: David Gibson assisted Sister Simone Campbell in writing her memoir, “A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community,” which was published earlier this year.)

But hey you know David Gibson is totally subjective. Oh and just by the way he just kind of forgot to mention that the Nuns on a Bus are partially funded by the George Soros “Faith in Public Life”. Yes they are complaining against evil political money if it is donated by conservatives. Although since the Koch brothers support same-sex marriage and abortion you would think Sister Simone would see them more as allies. Still she probably follows the Harry Reid Koch fanaticism.

Still it comes down to the nuns removing the speck from their brothers eye while having their vision obscured by a plank. This is known as the Plank constant, the proportional constant between what you rail against and your own complicity measured in hypocrimeters. So a course a nun partially funded with Soros money who spoke at the 2012 Democratic convention and basically went on a bus tour for them is the perfect representative to speak about wealthy people and their political causes.

In a related story here is one that has not gotten the attention it deserved. Via A Shepherd’s Voice

This week’s _Catholic San Francisco_, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco has an important and comprehensive expose of the motivations and funding of ‘Catholic’ homosexualist groups seeking to undermine the Church.

The actual article starts with:

Gay rights money funds archbishop’s critics

Faithful America part of national progressive advocacy network

September 10th, 2014

By Valerie Schmalz

“Many Catholics in the San Francisco Bay Area were surprised by the strong negative reaction to Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone’s decision to give a talk about traditional marriage at a June 19 Washington, D.C., rally organized to support marriage.

_A national online petition from Faithful America and a nationally publicized June 10 letter from 78 politicians and others urged the archbishop to withdraw from the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. The letter and petition citing “hate” speech by the National Organization for Marriage and the labeling participant Family Research Council as a “hate group” created a media storm and disturbed many local Catholics and pastors.

Most are used to attacks on the archbishop for his strong advocacy of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and family, but the reaction seemed disproportionate to the event – which was a talk at a rally by a Catholic Church leader who has given many talks in support of marriage and family across the country and in the media.

The cause for surprise among Catholics may be they assumed the powerful reaction was spontaneous. Now there is abundant evidence the reaction was both well planned and financed by Faithful America, an organization that is supported directly and indirectly by politically powerful and wealthy men and by grant-making foundations who have devoted millions of dollars to promoting acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) behavior....”

It goes on to detail funding via a flow chart and promises two more parts in this series with the next coming out on September 12th. It is rather rare to see something like this come out in a Diocesan newspaper and it is certainly welcome.

Sep 102014
 

The decision by Cardinal Timothy Dolan regarding the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade seems to be another Rorschach inkblot test in St. Blogs and elsewhere. Opinions range from the Cardinal being wicked to modeling Christ with a range of positions in-between.

To summarize the situation as I understand it. The private group New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Inc. organizes the annual parade has allowed this year a LGBT group to march with a banner. Pressure has been mounting over the last decades or so, but up to now no message banners were allowed. They ran into sponsorship problems last year where companies like Guinness pulled out to due to this general restriction as applied to a specific group the LGBT community. So apparently this year they caved into pressure because of the PC sponsorship problem. There was never a restriction regarding people as described under the initialism of LGBT. To add fuel to the fire, this year Cardinal Dolan is the Grand Marshall.

Added in to this was another smaller controversy. Msgr. Charles Pope had written a post regarding the question “Time to End the St. Patrick’s Parade and the Al Smith Dinners?” At the time I had originally read his very balanced post, there was much I agreed with in general. Subsequently the was post removed.

Many of you have expressed concern about a blog post I wrote on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was removed. I am grateful for your concern about this and all the issues we discuss here. I removed the post upon further reflection due to the strong nature of the language I had used in parts of it. I apologize if the language I used caused offense. Source

It seems likely that he was first asked to remove the post from his Archdiocese. I certainly could find no strong language in his post (which can be read here). At the time I quipped on Facebook that the removal of this post would lead to a minor Striesand effect and that the post would be linked all over the place. Sure enough afterwards I saw this post on more blogs than usual even for the usual quality of the Monsignor’s writings. It even got covered on Brietbart, with a very misleading headlines (or the usual standard for headlines) “DC Priest Punished for Calling For End to Gay St. Patrick’s Parade in New York City”. Can’t say I was impressed with the content of the Austin Rose article which brought in ancillary complaints about the diocese and equated punishment with having a post withdrawn. It also reprinted the Monsignor’s column.

My own opinion concerning this has varied in reaction from wanting to go on full rant to ultimately decide on a waiting period to digest before pushing “post”. I think part of my original strong reaction to what is really a parade that has lost any serious connection to St. Patrick himself as a saint was that the increased pressure on Catholics and others to give up any objection to same-sex acts. Over and over we are getting pressured out of the public square. For example the President’s recent executive order regarding LGBT workplace discrimination with again no religious exemption. Constantly in the headlines are stories regarding fired teachers or organists who had attempted to get married or gotten pregnant using IVF. The mechanisms of society are bent on displaying Catholics as ignorant bigots with no possible defense regarding same-sex acts. Plus combined with the Cardinal’s less than helpful remarks regarding Michael Sam it just seemed like a long retreat from defending Catholic teaching.

Still what it comes down to is my prudential answer to the situation, did not match the Cardinal’s prudential answer to the situation. God is his great wisdom and mercy did not make me a priest or worse a bishop. So while I would rather he step down as Grand Marshall at the minimum, I am not going to freak out over it. I wish he could use it as an opportunity for a “magisterial moment” a play on “teaching moment.” Condensing Catholic teaching or really the natural law down to a sound bite has a high-decibel signal loss where the only information that gets trough is that your a bigot.

After forcing you to read though my reaction, I would like to point you to some pieces that I thought especially good (which means I agreed with them). Interestingly this two pieces are both a reaction to what Elizabeth Scalia at Patheos had to say regarding this situation.

The first being a post from the Darwin’s The Prodigal Son Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means.

The other is Steven Greydanus Gays, Jesus and St. Patrick’s Day. He explores both the analogies and disanalogies of the story of the woman caught in adultery. He also goes on to quote Phil Lawler of CatholicCulture.org:

If this really is a Catholic event, it cannot include a group defined by its opposition to Church teaching. If it is a Catholic event, forget Guinness, forget NBC, forget the hoopla, and quietly honor St. Patrick.

But if it is not a Catholic event — if it is just another civic celebration, to which all are welcome, regardless of their attitude toward the Church — then it’s time to end an anachronism. There should be no reviewing stand outside St. Patrick’s cathedral, no sign of Church sponsorship. Cardinal Dolan should step aside as grand marshal.

Sep 042014
 

Recently the Boston Globe announced a new Catholic new site “Crux: Covering all things Catholic”.

After their aquistion last year of John L. Allen Jr. as an Associate Editor this move was no surprise and Allen has continued to turn out columns always interesting to read.

Still I wondered how long until Crux was just another National Catholic Reporter. When he worked for them he was pretty much their only redeeming value. News content is being provided by multiple sources such as the Catholic News Service and the Religion News Service. Not a great fan of either, especially RNS and David Gibson.

Today they ran a column by Margery Eagan which was pretty much full National Catholic Reporter mode. Never go full National Catholic Reporter.

  • Reference to inquisition “nunquisition” – check
  • Reference to crusades – check
  • Reference to crackdown – check
  • Dissident nuns are awesome (helping the poor don’t you know) – check
  • Brings up sex abuse crisis – check
  • Makes you dumber reading it – check

You can write articles such as these from a boilerplate template.

What is so idiotic about these articles is they talk about “alleged” complaints by the Vatican when it is so obvious these charges are exactly right. You could side with their dissent, but you can’t call it orthodoxy. It is such a dishonest complaint. Her complaint that the Vatican criticized them for being too Obama-care friendly isn’t even factually correct.

Sep 042014
 

Many will have already seen the following news:

A news release from the Diocese of Peoria Sept. 3, 2014.

It is with immense sadness that the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Bishop of Peoria and President of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation, announced today that the Cause for Sheen’s beatification and canonization has for the foreseeable future been suspended. The process to verify a possible miracle attributed to Sheen had been going extremely well, and only awaited a vote of the Cardinals and the approval of the Holy Father. There was every indication that a possible date for beatification in Peoria would have been scheduled for as early as the coming year. The Holy See expected that the remains of Venerable Sheen would be moved to Peoria where official inspection would be made and first class relics be taken. Subsequently, the Archdiocese of New York denied Bishop Jenky’s request to move the body to Peoria. After further discussion with Rome, it was decided that the Sheen Cause would now have to be relegated to the Congregation’s historic archive.

Countless supporters especially from the local church in Central Illinois have given their time, treasure and talent for this good work with the clear understanding that the body of Venerable Sheen would return to the Diocese. Bishop Jenky was personally assured on several occasions by the Archdiocese of New York that the transfer of the body would take place at the appropriate time. New York’s change of mind took place as the work on behalf of the Cause had reached a significant stage.

Bishop Jenky is what is technically called the “actor” of the Sheen Cause. The Diocese of Peoria and the Sheen Foundation have prayed and labored for this good work for the last twelve years. The Bishop is heartbroken not only for his flock in Peoria but also for the many supporters of the Sheen Cause from throughout the world who have so generously supported Peoria’s efforts. It should be noted, however, that saints are always made by God not by man. Efforts for many causes have sometimes taken decades or even centuries. Bishop Jenky urges that those who support the Sheen Cause continue their prayers that God’s will be made manifest.

No further comment will be released at this time.

What? When I first saw this I thought surely there must be more to the story. What is the Archdiocese of New York’s side of it? Really this couldn’t just be this insane? If it is as it seems to be than this is a great moment in evangelization. The nightly talk show jokes pretty much write themselves. Well at least it isn’t as bad as the Cadaver Synod.

First off if the Archdiocese of New York thought it had primary claim of his body, then exactly why did they not start the cause in the first place. Oh hey let the Diocese of Peoria bear the costs and the investment of time and then have the body as an attraction to draw people.

Although certainly there is a much more charitable way to look at the situation instead of following the money. Then I was shocked when one of my readers sent me a copy of a letter reportedly from the late Cardinal Francis Joseph Spellman. Cardinal Spellman was the Archbishop of New York when Archbishop Sheen was alive. I am providing you with the text of the letter and an image of the actual letter.

Dear Successor:

If in the off chance that Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen ever has a formal cause for sainthood, please sabotage it. That will fix him for not giving me the one million dollars raised for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and embarrassing me in front of the Pope.

When I said outside the Pope’s office “I will get even with you!” to Archbishop Sheen I wasn’t kidding. If you can please arrange this to happen just before any official Vatican action it would be greatly appreciated.

Wishing you a blessed year, I am

Very sincerely yours,

Archbishop of New York

Aug 282014
 

While the #TacoBeerChallenge started as an ironic Twitter joke, the straightforward message resonated and pictures of carne asada wrapped in a corn tortilla are proliferating on the web–though members of the pro-life movement have tried to hijack the hashtag to harness the attention for their cause.

“What do ice buckets have to do with ALS? I don’t know. What do tacos and beer have to do with abortion? I don’t know that either,” Grimes writes for RH Reality Check. “What I do know is that eating tacos and drinking beer is more pleasurable than getting doused with ice water, and that lawmakers around the country are passing increasingly restrictive anti-abortion access laws.” Via Time Magazine

It is quite true there is no relationship in this abortion funding challenge and the acts purposed. Tacos and beer matches the abortion support rhetoric where language is obtuse hiding behind phrases with no mention of the reality. Really if they wanted a challenge in line with abortion values with a more signifying act. Perhaps the Pigs Blood Bucket Challenge makes a more accurate correlation visually.

Really for abortion supporters the bucket challenge is for unborn children to kick the bucket.

Aug 252014
 

I first ran across Mission Statement’s while in the Navy. They were trying to adapt Dr. Deming’s Total Quality Management (TQM) into their own program called Total Quality Leadership (TQL). I wasn’t much impressed by the idea of mission and vision statements since I figured they were just another element in bureaucratic paperwork and were just another exercise in time wasted. There hasn’t been anything since then to change my mind.

So when I started seeing these in parishes it seemed to me they didn’t have much vision or knew their mission other than promulgating buzzwords and being inclusive/welcoming/vibrant/caring.

My exacts thoughts were that if you had a Mission Statement and it didn’t directly quote the Gospel imperative or another passage from the Gospel You’re doing it wrong (if you’re going to do it in the first place).

So today I found myself nodding-my-head in total agreement as I read this post by Diane Harris on Cleansing Fire. She provides examples of these statements from her diocese and they are representative of what I have seen. It is not that they are really awful or without any merit. Just that they look like statements from a committee without the urgency of the Gospels.

Now if you were going to have a personal Mission Statement what would it be?

I kind of like Catholic Answer’s Patrick Coffin’s tag line in this regard.

“Be a saint! What else is there?”

Aug 212014
 

Via Rich at  Over the Rhine and Into the Tiber with “Kick the Bucket”

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is discouraging its employees from taking the ice bucket challenge for the ALS Association over the group’s embrace of embryonic stem cell research. Instead, would-be bucketeers should send donations to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute. Here’s a snippet from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s story:

“We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in this,” Andriacco said. “But it’s a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit.”

An embryo must be destroyed to harvest its stem cells, Andriacco said. Many Catholics relate that to abortion.

The Archdiocese asks that any money raised is sent instead to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa, where the research is only conducted using adult stem cells.

Rigg and Tom Otten, principal of Elder High School, plan to take the ice-bucket challenge — for the research institute — Thursday morning at Elder, Andriacco said.

The idea behind this campaign is rather brilliant. Appeal first to the vanity of celebrities to get the ball rolling and than the vanity of others as they post their own YouTube videos of this. This is selfie charity.

So much for not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing, since that can never go viral. Add a bit of shaming to get others to follow and you have a nicely crafted campaign that so far has raised over 40 million dollars. Even if the ALS Association supported totally ethical research, selfie charity is still unfortunate. The mixture of imposed penance, doing something good, broadcasting your penance for the cause, and then the chain-letter aspect of getting others to join in is perfect in a Madison Avenue sense, but otherwise unfortunate. Just wonder how this will escalate with other charitable causes? We have already seen the Fire Challenge, what’s next?

John Paul II Medical Research Institute, Donation page

On the funny side of this:

Barren, Minnesota: Inspired by a viral charity challenge that involves achieving a monetary goal and ice buckets, the St. Bartholomew youth group issued a “boiling bucket of glop” challenge: donate or collect donations of $100 to their Fall mission trip to Appalachia, and one of the youth group members will get dunked with a boiling bucket of glop. They earned $3.27. …

You’ve seen all the USCCB Sword Swallowing Challenge videos by now. Everyone from Catholic celebrities like The Curt Jester writer Jeff Miller, Fr. Robert Barron, and Jeff Cavins, to your friends have posted videos of themselves slowly dropping swords down their throats to help raise money for the USCCB. …

Thanks Eye of the Tiber, if I am a Catholic celebrity I am suddenly being tempted towards selfie charity. Where is my web cam and YouTube account?

Aug 192014
 

“Pope Calls For New Crusade”

Thomas L. McDonald’s reply to this Vox headline is all you need to know about the strong amount of idiocy condenced down to a headline and spilled into a story.

As for Vox I already knew to avoid it like the plague, but to make sure I went and got a Voxcination so I can be totally immune to their anti-Catholic link-bait headlines.

Aug 122014
 

Last week I had posted about how speaking about sin and repentance was so lacking in homilies I have heard. So this story caught my eye:

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A chapter of a nationally-recognized Christian group that seeks to reach children with the gospel of Jesus Christ is under fire for teaching kids the biblical doctrine of sin and eternal judgment, in addition to sharing about the love and mercy of God.

The Portland chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is facing resistance from some area residents as they conduct voluntary summer camps in the area and plan on hosting after-school Bible studies in local public schools. The problem? CEF teaches children that each person is a sinner in need of the Savior.

Those who oppose the group assert that because of this, CEF does not present “Jesus loves you” mainstream Christianity, and claim that the organization is “hardcore evangelical fundamental.”

“They pretend to be a mainstream Christian Bible study when in fact they’re a very old school fundamentalist sect,” resident Kaye Schmitt told local television station KATU.

Robert Aughenbaugh also told reporters this week that preaching to children about sin might give them feelings of fear and shame.

Aughenbaugh, Schmitt and others have organized a group called Protect Portland Children, which seeks to speak out against CEF’s message and influence parents not to allow their children to attend its events. It has set up a Facebook page that has so far generated over 800 likes. It’s profile photograph is of a child holding a sign that reads “I am not a sinner.”

Source

This is the type of story where I carefully check to see that the source was not a parody site. Or at least not intentionally one.

Now as to the details of the story I have no idea how CEF presents their message or how prudently it is presented.

“We do teach about sin,” Esteves stated, “[But] we’re not nasty. We’re not high pressure. We’re not negative, but we teach what the Bible teaches that every human being is a sinner in need of a savior.”

Still I think it is illustrative of a general trend. Where self-esteem trumps everything so really there is no need of a redeemer in the first place. Having negative feelings towards something you have done must be banished as unhealthy. It is like the former Catholics who speak of “Catholic guilt.” This “guilt” which they have pushed to the ground not realizing it was a sign of a functioning conscience. When moral relativity holds the day there must be no trespass by a properly (or even improperly) formed conscience. If somebody experiences “fear and shame” for something they did, than it could be the beginning of wisdom and a properly understood “fear of the Lord.” That must be prevented at all cost. Esteem was once tied to merit, but like many concepts now has been set adrift as its own like rights and responsibilities.

Scrupulosity and Jansenism are both errors. As is to call yourself a sinner like Uriah Heep called himself humble. As is the tendency to admit your a sinner, but to excuse it because “you are only human” as if the saints were something else. Detection of sinfulness seems to come easier when we look at others more exacting than ourselves. King David was obviously shocked when was revolted by a story of wrongdoing only to have the Prophet Samuel tell him “You are the man!” There seems to be a thousand ways to go wrong in regards to understanding our own sin, but Jesus never taught about a wide gate with lots of foot traffic. Hard as it is to come to an understanding of personal sins like King David did, it seems even harder to repent of them.

One of the things I love about being Catholic is the deepness of thought and necessary distinctions. My first thought on seeing the little girl with the “I am not a sinner” was to wonder if she was not yet of age of reason and also not yet fully culpable of sin? If so maybe a “I have Concupiscence” would have been more fitting. I wonder if a Facebook page with a teenager holding the same sign would have got an equally positive reaction? If anybody thinks young children above the age of reason can’t sin they must have quited different observational and personal experiences than myself.

Aug 062014
 

In the theological turmoil that followed the Second Vatican Council, the theory of the “fundamental option” is among the most pernicious developments. Fundamental option separates specific moral actions from a more general – fundamental – orientation of life. It holds, therefore, that specific sins do not bear on the status of one’s soul, or on the destination of one’s soul after death. All that matters for salvation, in this view, is that one “fundamentally” lives for God rather than evil.

One theological casualty of fundamental option theory is mortal sin, which has long been defined by the Church as a grave wrong committed with full knowledge of the attendant evil and deliberate consent of the will. Instead, the theory holds that mortal sin is not a specific action, but an orientation that lies at the deepest level of freedom within an individual who rejects God. But given the gravity of such a rejection, the theory holds that such an orientation is nearly impossible for those of sound mind. If an individual makes the fundamental option for God, then his actions, no matter how grave, cannot be mortal sins – or damnable offenses – because, at root, the person means well.

From a post by David G. Bonagura, Jr. at The Catholic Thing

Since I first read this post it has been rolling around in my mind along with some other thoughts. It seems to me that the fundamental option theory has really become the default view. While you hardly ever hear someone speak of it by its name, you often hear a view derived from it. It sounds so reasonable to suppose that since you are generally a good person that lapses really don’t affect your salvation. Many that would not hold to universalism do hold to a personalism when it comes to salvation. Fundamental option theory has become kind of a “once saved, always saved” for Catholics. The “Here I am Lord” centrality where God is lucky to have us.

So I can certainly identify this in the culture and among Catholics. Worse though is how often I find that I can identify this in myself. That I want to bargain with God as Abraham did.

“Lord I use to have all these serious sins. Can I be saved if I have whittled them down to five serious sins?”, “No, well how about four serious sins”, “Well then, how about three grave sins?”

It becomes quite easy to transmute the Call to Holiness to the call to be good enough. To dismiss Jesus’ call for us to be holy as the Father is holy as just hyperbole. To hear the Parable of the Tares and think “Well tough luck on those tares, being of the wheat myself.” To separate out the intention to be good from my actual actions. So easy to resign yourself to the purgative way without doing much purging, much less advancing in the states of perfection. To be satisfied with spiritual mediocrity on the way to joining the Laodicean and causing a gag reflex in Jesus.

It is quite annoying to start out writing a post about others holding the heretical fundamental optional theory and then realizing that you are not immune from it either. Like Saint John Henry Newman looking at his face in the mirror and realizing he was an Monophysite. At least for him it ended well.

The fundamental option theory also seems to be the hidden hand behind the majority of homilies I hear. Going to a number of Catholic parishes in my diocese I get a fair sampling even if not statically significant. The majority of homilies I have heard are of the “Dog that did not bark” variety. What is missing is significant. Now everybody has their hobby-horse sins that they want excoriated during the homily. Hobby-horse sins are almost always those sins we hold others to have and that we think ourselves free of. I want to go more general than that. What I find missing (except in the scriptural readings) is any mention of sin, repentance, growing in holiness, and salvation. Listening to a homily I am usually totally unscathed in regards to realizing I had something to repent of. Really I am a target-rich environment for being properly scathed.

There is such a generic country club feeling to so many homilies. That we are all part of the club. More thought seems to be given to what topical joke can be used to start or end the homily than any actual serious reflection on the readings. Much less any call for conversion. That we even showed up to Mass is suppose to be to our credit instead of seeing that “We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”

Now sometimes we hear that the homily is suppose to “To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I have even heard this phrase used in a homily. Much more comforting than afflicting going on. Interestingly the quote was first used in regards to journalism. Still I don’t want to put all the blame on the homily since it is rather silly to think that we are suppose to get all that the Church teaches condensed down to under ten minutes on Sunday.

The default theology of the fundamental option theory goes hand-in-hand with why their are lines to Communion and not to Confession (in most places and I love seeing the exceptions). If we are good enough with those good intentions not much need for the confessional. No need to repent if our sins are just not that important and besides God will understand.