The Great Retread

Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the letter to end all letters, straight from the “Concerned Parents” Facebook page!  Oh, wait… Never mind.  What a letdown!  It’s just a retread from February.  I, personally, found it ridiculous from start to finish.  I think they were trying to be poetic but it’s just nonsensical.  If you need some comic relief, here’s the link to the “Great Retread”: https://medium.com/synapse/the-great-reversal-e6fc788a6541

Note the dramatic title:  “The Great Reversal.”  What is “The Great Reversal,” you ask?  Well, it’s a reversal from believing the teachings of the Church to not believing them.  Was that a big secret?  I’m reasonably sure people have noticed this by now.  Remember when “great” used to mean something?

 An open letter to students from concerned parents

Decades before you were born, we, your parents, grew up in Catholic and other schools where no one was “out.” We heard the term “fag” thrown around classrooms and hallways with casual cruelty. There was overt bullying and brazen gossip based on perceived sexual orientation. There was occasional violence. There was loneliness and even despair among our peers who knew they were “different.” There were suicides as well as descent into slower forms of self-destruction. There was anger smoldering beneath the surface among those who knew they would never be accepted. Our teachers and school leaders? Silent or worse.

I’m sure most of these supposed “Concerned Parents” were not in high school “decades before you were born”.  I think most of us have children in the first decade after we graduate.  I suppose more and more are selfishly putting that one off now, though.  “Gotta have my career, my car, my house – kids come last around here!”  Still, my youngest child in a long line wasn’t even born “decades” after I graduated.  So let’s just say we’re, maybe, talking about high school in the 80s.

Guess what?  I went to Catholic high school in the Bay Area in the 80s. Rampant abuse wasn’t to be found.  In fact, a couple of the kids who considered themselves “gay” and who everyone else thought were “gay” were class and school officers! While an occasional fight broke out amongst the boys, it was never aimed at these guys or girls.  It was usually the jocks fighting over a stolen girlfriend.  Here’s the real shocker!  I didn’t grow up in “progressive” San Francisco.  I grew up in the conservative ‘burbs.  There weren’t teachers hiding violence and shaming of homosexuals because it wasn’t happening.  I can’t believe the blatant dramatic lies being told to affect this generation!

You young students, our sons and daughters, in Catholic Schools in the last decade have grown up with a new reality. You have peers “out of the closet,” and you see that their human dignity is not diminished by their sexual orientation, and you indeed celebrate your unity undergirding the differences. You also have peers whose families are led by gay or lesbian parents; you visit them, they welcome you into their homes, you see their full humanity flowering in their families. Some of you live in such families, newly protected by laws recognizing civil same sex marriage. You may know a classmate who was conceived by in vitro fertilization. You do not see the circumstances of his or her conception as changing in any way the inheritance as a child of God. You include them in your circles without question. This is new, this is a blessed change.

Again, drivel. In fact, I’d have to say violence against all classes has gone up and it has nothing to do with following the teachings of the Catholic Church. In fact, it’s for the polar opposite reason. The only reason people are hyping this fear frenzy against the Catholic Church is because they want the Church to accept their way of life and to influence these kids to think the exact same way. I’ve already discussed the lame “in vitro” argument here https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/new-tactic-for-the-old-hypocrites/

The canard has been repeated time and again, but who in the hell is looking at any of the groups listed in their last paragraph and calling these children evil?  Oh, yeah, nobody in the Catholic Church.  How about you stop telling your children that the Catholic boogeyman is under their bed?  If you don’t want them exposed to Catholic teaching, take them out of the evil Catholic school.  Let me tell you again, for the slower learners: the Catholic Church believes that every human life is sacred.  You people, trying desperately to convince these kids with your dramatic soliloquies, are the ones who place limits on the value of human life.  You promote fulfilling your life before you have children as if they are a hindrance to your happiness.  You promote discarding children for your convenience, because of their sex or their race, or because there are too many of them.  You degrade women by promoting using them for their fertility or renting their womb for a nice paycheck, and you don’t give a darn about depriving children of their biological parents.  Want to deny that?  You can’t, so get over your sanctimonious selves!  You are the reason that kids value and respect life so little that they are beating the snot out of each other!

Then there’s the Catholic Church. Here’s what she says:

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

Note, it doesn’t say “gay” human life, straight human life, black, white, or any other color human life.  It’s ALL human life.  The Catholic Church doesn’t place limits on the value of each unique soul.  That would be you.

“There is no going back.”

Going back to what?  The farcical portrait they’ve painted of the Catholic high schools “decades before their kids were born?”  Please.  The Catholic Church has been constant. The “Concerned Parents” are the ones twisting themselves into pretzels.  They are the ones who show such abject disregard for life that suicides, brutality, and severe lack of respect for their fellow human being are running rampant.  The Catholic Church has been telling us this would be the end result of selfish, anti-life behavior for a long, long time.  You wanted to disregard the teachings of God?  You got death.

However, the language currently proposed by the Archbishop for your faculty’s handbook, in which active homosexuals, including those in marriages no matter how loving, are labeled “gravely evil”“ — that language is what is now repulsive to you.

OK, the “Concerned Parents” Facebook page might want to link to something a little more current.  First of all, “gravely evil” and all of the teachings cited in the original handbook (you’d better sit down for this!) come from the Catechism of the Catholic Church!  Next, the Archbishop actually removed the words “gravely evil” and just spelled out more of Catholic teaching on the subject.  Also, the Archbishop never said anyone was gravely evil.  Please drop the Sam Singer move.   As we’ve explained, time and again, only actions are called evil.  All those opposed to Archbishop Cordileone can come up with is a bunch of retread articles and the same three arguments over and over again.

What a reversal! Stay faithful to your new perception — and thank the current generation of teachers who have helped inform your consciences and boldly inspired you to believe that human dignity is indivisible. Stand with them, and start by learning more about human beings from all the disciplines you study, and most especially from your study of the Gospel of love, from the God who liberates slaves and all those oppressed, from the Spirit that stands with the truth of Church teaching based on the saving presence of God’s grace and mercy in our lives.

Remember, students, they are opposed to the Catechism.  They are repulsed by it, they want you to be repulsed by it, and they freely admit that the teachers are teaching the students to be repulsed by it.  Thanks for the honesty!  What happened to the teachers supposedly NOT teaching against the teachings of the Church?  And how about just a bit of a mention of learning what the Catholic Church teachings really are?  You also kind of left out the itty bitty part about SIN! That is precisely the problem these folks have.  They either no longer believe sin exists, or they believe sin is anything that disagrees with them.  Sorry, not reality. Sin is not based on your preferences.

Beware that your resistance to this handbook language does not get lost in anger or in a judgmental grudge against the Archbishop. We believe in loving even our opponents. We also know that God is God and we are human and we make mistakes. Believe in conversion, the turning of hearts and minds. As the Gospels exhort us: Be the salt of the earth, the light unto the world. Search for the pearl of great price and cherish it. Continue to put your arms around those of your peers who are most vulnerable to those and all hateful words, bring them close, wrap them in layers of protection and reassurance. They need and deserve your loving embrace.

Um, have they seen their Facebook page???  Their resistance was buried in anger and a judgmental grudge a long time ago!  Sadly, they are hoping Archbishop Cordileone and the rest of the faithful are going to convert to the secularized faith they hold dear.  That isn’t going to happen.  They missed the part of the Bible they cherry pick so well that says:

Sin offers death, for wages; God offers us eternal life as a free gift, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

We’re going to choose to follow Christ Jesus our Lord!

Retreat? Reality Check! You’re Being Flanked!

Just more of the same awesomeness from Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone this week!  After a nice week and a half of quiet, Sam Singer and his ilk are back tilting at the windmills.  They’ve been spinning (AKA lying) about how the Archbishop can’t show his face in San Francisco and has “retreat[ed] to the suburbs” (https://twitter.com/samsinger/status/606663339976957952).  Sam cites the Archbishop’s speaking engagement in Santa Clara to 500 people a couple of weeks ago as an example of him cowering in a corner or something.  Ahem!  The Archbishop has been speaking all over the country lately, not to mention ordaining a great group of awesome, young, faithful priests the last two weekends right in the belly of the beast.  I suppose it’s got to be a bit depressing for the “100 Prominent CatholicsTM,” but they might want to come back to this beautiful place we call reality.  I think people can figure out that our Archbishop has now become a well sought after speaker – so yeah, he hasn’t been here every day.  I believe he’s doing this little thing called his job. I guess they might just be hoping people didn’t notice?

This week, Sam’s Spinners (my new pet name for them) have tried to chomp down on the Archbishop’s comments made on “gender ideology” at the Sacra Liturgia conference.  Yep, it’s got me scratching my head, too.  Was this a shock to them?  I mean, the Pope has spoken about it, too.  Haven’t read the Archbishop’s great speech yet?  Here it is: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:-BKAGAIWsMgJ:cal-catholic.com/%3Fp%3D18909+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us.  Now, some are saying he was smug for pointing out that the list of “gender identies” has grown along with the insanity. Somewhere (although I haven’t seen a direct quote) he noted the acronym for “not heterosexual” keeps growing.  Do they always consider reality smug?  Maybe they consider pointing to something predicted to happen and having that prophecy fulfilled a problem?  Not really sure, but you don’t have to be a psychic to have seen that one coming.  I believe the reference to “alphabet soup” was actually coined by the types opposed to the Archbishop.

So, no, the Church doesn’t agree with transgenderism.  Shocked?  I’m reasonably sure you knew.  With the news of the week, why would anyone be shocked that the Archbishop would refer to it?  How does he differ from Pope Francis’ belief about transgenderism?  He doesn’t.  What is a bit shocking (although the stupidity of some doesn’t really shock me anymore) is that those who have appealed to the Holy Father to remove the Archbishop (and the publications that support that effort – AKA National Catholic Fishwrap) would make a thing out of this, since the same Holy Father said (as reported in the same National Catholic Fishwrap):

“Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings,” he continues.  “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”

With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator,” the pope says. “The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate.”

“God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth,” Francis says. “The design of the Creator is written in nature.”

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-strongly-criticizes-gender-theory-comparing-nuclear-arms

Again, the Holy Father and Archbishop Cordileone are on the same page.  Quite frankly, it’s pretty darn funny that those appealing to the Pope to remove the Archbishop are so “offended” that the Archbishop points to the schizophrenia in society that results in the acceptance of transgenderism, when the Pope Francis put nuclear arms and “gender theory” on the same plane!  They just don’t seem to get that the Archbishop is echoing the Holy Father.

By the way, big thumbs up to the Holy Father!  Thanks for pointing out what the liberals don’t seem to understand they are saying about God.  Now, to be fair, some of these liberals are atheists, so I’m not including them here.  However, the Christian ones (which include the ones whining about the Archbishop and saying he’s not following Jesus’ teachings) are saying that God creates mistakes (or accidents, as Pope Francis puts it).  Yes, they never come right out and say it, but that’s what they believe, or at least they’ve never actually thought it through, which is entirely possible.  Think about it: Bruce Jenner thinks that God blew it.  He believes God puts women in men’s bodies and vice versa.  What?  Was God tired that day?  Sleeping on the job?  He knows the number of hairs on their heads but just forgot which sex they were?  At least the atheists are more intellectually honest.  They just say there is no God and it’s all random.

Just to further ruin Sam’s Spinners’ day, this was also noted in the same article linked above:

Francis’ remarks on gender theory in the book follow similar remarks he made in a press conference on the papal plane in January in which he criticized what he called “ideological colonization” of less developed countries by those with more resources.

Recounting the story of a public education minister he knew who was offered money to construct new schools for the poor, Francis said that, to receive the money, the minister had to agree to use a course book with students that taught gender theory.

“This is the ideological colonization,” the pope said. “It colonizes the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure.”

“It is not new, this,” he continued.  “The same was done by the dictators of the last century.  They came with their own doctrine — think of the Balilla [youth groups of Fascist Italy], think of the Hitler Youth.”

Oh-ho-ho-ho, “100 Prominent CatholicsTM!”  In case you didn’t catch that, the Holy Father just called you dictators like the ones who ran the Balilla and Hitler Youth!  Don’t blame me!  You’re the ones trying to use your money and power to oust the Archbishop who is trying to follow the Pope.  I believe he also called you Herod earlier in the article, but I’ll leave you to read that yourselves.

One last little depressing thing for Singer, the Concerned Parents, and the “100 Prominent CatholicsTM” club…This recent little speech kind of blows the whole “The Archbishop is retreating because we’re so awesome!” thing out of the water – again.  Sorry!  Archbishop Cordileone is going to speak the truth and he’s going to support the teachings of the Holy Father no matter what “gotcha moments” you think you can make of that.  When trying to get the Pope to do your bidding, you might actually want to know what HE says before you bash the Archbishop for saying the same thing.  That’s really just one of your downfalls in life.  You don’t have a clue what the Church or the Holy Father teaches.

Tang or Fresh Squeezed?

Wow! Bad week for those opposed to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone! I’m sure some are still passed out celebrating the Irish referendum but while they were on the floor, Cardinal Wuerl dropped a 10-chapter (not counting introduction and conclusion) pastoral letter on why they are wrong. On the heels of that, the Vatican Secretary of State said the Irish vote legalizing gay marriage was a “disaster for humanity.” Completing the trifecta, Pope Francis (you know the guy they are counting on to be so “compassionate” – in other words, the guy who was supposed to rubberstamp sins with a big OK) has said about 100 times in a week or so that “marriage between a man and a woman.” Don’t think Truth is going anywhere anytime soon, no matter how you wish it away or insist it depends on popular vote.

Cardinal Wuerl’s letter can be found here: http://www.adw.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Being-Catholic-Today-Pastoral-Letter.pdf

An article with Cardinal Parolin’s and the Holy Father’s comments here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/vatican-stands-by-cardinal-s-remarks-on-referendum-1.2227805

Do you think Sam Singer’s going to tweet these? Really, you don’t? Yeah, I guess not. Not exactly following his game plan of having Archbishop Cordileone removed by the Holy Father. His poor head must be exploding right now. Cue a bunch of nasty tweets out of frustration about Archbishop Cordileone in 3 … 2 … 1. Knowing Sam, however, he’s probably hoping that the Pope will now remove Archbishop Cordileone AND Cardinal Wuerl.

At some point, the dissenters are going to have to stop the silly game of pitting Pope against his Archbishop. I can’t figure out if they really think the Pope doesn’t know what goes on around here and they think they can shame him into removing our good Archbishop, or if they really don’t grasp the fact that the Pope and the Archbishop both teach the same things. Either way, the dissenters are both confounded and confused, or they seek to make everyone else so.

Let’s look at THE letter of the week from Cardinal Wuerl. It’s directed at his area, but it’s the same type of shenanigans – dissenters saying the Church shouldn’t be Catholic. There are a lot of amazing passages which are not only aimed at his area but go right along with the San Francisco handbook flap. Excuse the heavy quoting, but it’s so awesome I just had to do it.

The Church is not a business, a club, or a special-interest group. The Church is not the result of like-minded people coming together and deciding to form an organization, nor are her moral teachings decided by popular vote or societal trends.

SAY WHAT?! What do you mean her moral teachings are not decided by popular vote or societal trends??? Crazy talk, Cardinal, just crazy talk! Apparently you have not consulted with Sam Singer, Fr. Donal Godfrey, Concerned Parents and Teachers, nor the “100 Prominent Catholics”!

Love this little story Cardinal Wuerl threw in there.

Years ago, in an effort to provide a fuller vision of life to a group of youngsters whose experience was confined to the inner city, we organized a day trip to the country. The day began with a breakfast that included genuine freshly-squeezed orange juice. Cautiously taking a sip, many of the children asked, “What is this stuff?” When told it was orange juice, they simply said, “No it isn’t.”

They had never known the real thing. The only experience they had of anything approximating orange juice was an artificial “orange-flavored drink” sometimes given as part of the free breakfast program. That occasion comes to mind when I reflect on the limited and even contrived version of our faith that some people hold.

Yes! Yes! Yes! We’ve been serving Tang to the kids in the Bay Area’s Catholic schools for at least 30 years! They really don’t know the taste of the True Faith! They have no idea what they are missing and how it can be the most flavorful thing they’ve ever imagined!  They’ve been robbed!

One may choose to be a member of the Catholic Church or not. No one is forced to belong to the Church. We never lose our baptismal dignity of being part of the family of Christ, but we are free to choose to participate or not participate in the life of our family. If one becomes a member of the Church, he or she is expected to believe what the Church believes and attempt to live it out as best he or she can, including participating in the Mass and other sacraments, providing a good example and witness to others, and helping others to know Christ.

So many people like to point this out to our handbook-opposing friends. I’m sure some don’t do it with the best of intentions, because frankly they are just tired and annoyed and they are giving in to it by trying to show our friends the door, but I really think this is important! The Catholic Church is all about free will. You can choose to believe it and the Church will love you, or you can choose to disbelieve it and the Church will still love you. Regardless, the Church will not change for you because it has your best interest at heart.

When we come to the institutions of the Church – its parishes, schools, universities, charitable organizations, health care facilities and more – these too must reflect a genuine Catholic identity with visible communion with the Church, both universal and local, and fidelity to Catholic teaching. As Pope Francis has implored, each of these institutions and those involved in their operation must be oriented toward the mission of the Church (Evangelii gaudium, 27). The purpose of these entities – and the task of those who work for them – is to lead people to Jesus.

Wait! I thought the purpose was to tolerate and accept everyone and whatever they want to do and to make everyone feel comfy and included? That’s what the Concerned Parents and Teachers, et. al., told me. I’m so confused!

Furthermore, a particular responsibility is incumbent upon the bishop with regard to Catholic institutions and their Catholic identity (Veritatis splendor, 116). His is the responsibility to see that our Catholic institutions are places where the faith permeates the culture. Our schools, for example, at all levels, should provide the environment where revealed truth, reason and charity are engaged in an ongoing effort to shed greater light on the human condition. In whatever area of endeavor, the Catholic identity of the effort should be found, for example, in a mission statement. And the message it voices should exhibit a vision of life that is rooted in Christ, articulated in his Gospel and manifested in his Church.

At this point I’d just like to say I TOLD YOU SO! Please see about half of my other blog posts. (Yes, that was a shameless plug!)

Similarly, those who agree to assist the Church in her mission and ministries represent the public face of the Church. Whether Catholic or non-Catholic, they should respect our Catholic identity and avoid behavior that contradicts the very mission of the Catholic institution.

The wider community benefits from the presence of authentically Catholic institutions and faithful Catholic disciples because the richness of Catholic teaching can engage the secular culture in a way that the light of the wisdom of God is brought to bear on the issues of the day. On the other hand, members of the Church, those who serve in Catholic ministries, those people served by them, and the community at large are all impoverished, not enriched, when the ministry’s Catholic identity is diluted or lukewarm.

Oooh! Did you see THAT? The Cardinal totally just backed up the Archbishop’s handbook. Don’t cry, Sam! Just embrace it! The Church is calling you back to your roots!

Pope Francis writes eloquently of the act of assent that is required of those who want to belong to the Catholic Church or who seek to share in her mission and work. His words were addressed specifically to teachers but are applicable to all the areas of Church ministry. “We need to remember that all religious teaching ultimately has to be reflected in the teacher’s way of life, which awakens the assent of the heart by its nearness, love and witness” (Evangelii gaudium, 45).

You do realize this is the guy that you are hoping will remove the Archbishop for saying what he just said, right?

Our failure to live up to the demands of the Gospel is a reality of life, but we are blessed with God’s mercy and forgiveness. The Lord’s capacity to forgive is infinitely greater than our ability to sin. However, failure to always fulfill our Christian obligations is not the same as the decision to reject specific obligations, teachings, commandments and requirements set by the Lord. It is inevitable – though no less deserving of our repentance – that we will sin. But our moral failings must not cloud our belief in the truth of Christ’s teachings. And believing in that truth, we must not fail to proclaim it.

OK, I’m going to get a little bit serious here. I get upset when I see people parroting “DUI!” As I’ve said before, the Archbishop’s handling of it is the perfect example of what we should do when we blow it. Own it! Confess it! Ask forgiveness and move on resolving not to blow it again! The thing that really breaks my heart is that “the opposition” – who are really our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter how annoying they might be – are continuing to ”reject specific obligations, teachings, commandments and requirements set by the Lord.” Our hope is at least purgatory. How about theirs? They’re continuing on with their resolve to sin some more and jump headlong into the near occasion of sin. Who’s praying for them and trying to help them? I’ll tell you who: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. People on “our side” like to say, “Just get rid of the dissenters.” He is holding out hope for them to embrace the Faith. He’s not naïve. He knows it’s a long row to hoe but he’s doing what a good bishop does. He’s going for the lost sheep (yes, there’s way more than one around these parts). We need to pray and pray like crazy he is successful in winning them back – not just winning the handbook battle (although that’s got to be a big goal to protect the students). He’s not going to win them all. Sad fact, but true. Still, maybe he can win some and protect the students which he will do because, well, he’s just that kind of guy. Back to Cardinal Wuerl:

Catholics grew up with the impression that their heritage was little more than warm, vaguely positive feelings about God.

Those years of experimentation left many Catholics weak, spiritually and intellectually, and unable to withstand the tsunami of secularism that came in recent decades. We lost many people because we failed to teach them about right and wrong, about the common good, about the nature of the human person. This left many no longer able to admit that we are sinners who need Jesus because many no longer know what sin is.

Sound familiar? Archbishop Cordileone and the Cardinal Wuerl have decided enough is enough! Quite frankly, we’ve been failed by the Fr. Jenkins (Notre Dame) and Fr. Godfreys (University of San Francisco) of the world and their “I’m OK, you’re OK” kind of Catholicism, while the Archbishop and the Cardinal (and more) are standing up for us all.

By the way, while he doesn’t specifically mention “Primacy of Conscience” argument that those opposed to the Archbishop have made, Cardinal Wuerl does allude to it and totally trashes their conclusions. Make sure you read this document. Most excellent!

Disagreement simply cannot be denounced as discrimination. Some commentators see this situation as a uniquely American way to live both freedom and diversity. It rests upon the understanding that diversity is real and disagreement is not discrimination. Such freedom cannot be negated by a newly created definition of discrimination.

Right! So Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the Church aren’t bigots after all! Please take note, Concerned Parents and Teachers and the rest of the club.

The many challenges Catholics face demonstrate the need to be vigilant. We rejoice in the constitutional protection of our freedom, but we cannot take such safeguards for granted. We must speak out and clearly say, when speaking to the world situation: No Christian should be forced to convert to another faith. Closer to home, no Christian should be forced to accept a secular view of life with its own vision of morality. No Catholic institution should be denied its freedom simply because it wishes to follow the Catholic faith.

I would like to add that no Catholic institution should be denied its freedom simply because their teachers were allowed to unionize. Some have the mistaken notion that because there is a union, the Catholic Church must somehow ditch her missions and ministries. Wrong!

Sadly, it is not unusual to encounter Catholics who were raised in Catholic families, educated at institutions that identify themselves as “Catholic,” and who may attend Mass regularly, yet do not necessarily know or understand their faith or believe it.

Clearly the Cardinal has been to California.

One new effort to abridge religious freedom is the legislation that would require Catholic schools to retain teachers who by their words or actions publicly contradict the teaching of the Church. Some now wrongly claim it is discrimination for the Church to insist that those who teach in Catholic schools present Catholic teaching in word and in witness.

As Catholics, who we are cannot be separated from how we live. Jesus taught us to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and care for the sick and those in need, and the Catholic Church’s history of educating and serving the poor is long and well known. However, there is a false notion that the beliefs of Catholics can be separated from how we live. Ministries such as Catholic Charities, Victory Housing, and our high schools are not independent of the Church. They are as much a part of the Church as our parishes.

In according with religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment, Catholic organizations should be free to operate by the tenets of the Catholic faith, should not be forced to accept the government’s moral views, and should not be required to provide a platform for persons who oppose in both word and action the mission of the Church.

Other factors undermining our Catholic mission and identity come from within, either through explicit dissent, miscatechesis or personal conduct that tends to draw people away from the communion of the Church.

I read stories about other places in the country, and even in Cardinal Wuerl’s locale, but this sounds very, very applicable to the situation in the Bay Area.

More and more, however, measures passed in the guise of “anti-discrimination” are being used divisively to favor one group over another and deny equality to others. Suddenly terms like “discrimination,” “freedom of choice” and “human rights” have been distorted and turned upside-down to restrict religious freedom.

-to disparage as bigoted and mean-spirited anyone who seeks to uphold fundamental truths about the human person that have been recognized throughout history. In a time when for many the supreme civic virtue is “tolerance,” the Catholic faith is considered intolerable. In a time when prejudice has been all but outlawed, anti-Catholicism gets a pass. It is, as more than one scholar has observed, the one remaining acceptable prejudice.

However, there is a difference between one’s identity, which we are called to respect, and one’s actions, which we can very well find offensive even immoral. There are some things that the Church simply will not do, and it is not discriminatory to say, “We do not do that.”

Can I get an AMEN? He goes on to beautifully explain the concept of embracing the sinner but not the sin.

I don’t think I can quote the whole of Chapter 9, but it’s awesome and basically says, “Hey dissenters – We haven’t changed, we won’t change, and you telling us to change doesn’t mean a darn thing! You can try to make us change, but you will fail.”

Chapter 10 is about how awesome the Catholic Church is, and sadly, the conclusion uses the “M” word: martyr. Our martyrdom, thankfully, will likely not be a literal beheading (although you never can tell around here). It will likely be an attempted financial beheading via lawsuits (and that’s already been threatened). In order to prepare for that battle, I ask you to pray for Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Cordileone, and to donate to the fund below (and no, I have nothing to do with Catholic Vote but appreciate their effort).

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE CORDILEONE SUPPORT FUND

The Archbishop vs. The Red Herrings

This little lovely landed on my laptop today.  Just to give you some background, the latest version of the teachers’ handbook in progress for the Archdiocese of San Francisco dropped this week and – shocker of shockers – some don’t like it.  They organized a little group temper tantrum and here’s the announcement for it.  I’ve removed names.  Why?  It was totally public but I just feel sad for the two souls who put it out.  I’m sure one or two of the group will likely claim it but that’s on them.   So, here are some snippets from the press release from “Concerned Parents and Teachers: Teach Acceptance”.  Not really sure why they changed the name in the release but this is what they normally go by.  Just so you can follow along, I’m going to interject but you can see it in all its whiny glory (minus names, phone numbers and links) here: It Harms Our Teachers, Students, Schools and Community 

SF Catholic High School Parents, Teachers & Students
Reject Archbishop Cordileone’s Revised Handbook:
“It Harms Our Teachers, Students, Schools and Community”

WHEN:  4:00 pm  Wednesday, May 20
WHERE:  SF Archdiocesan Chancery, 1 Peter Yorke  Way, San Francisco
WHAT:  Press Conference to reject Archbishop Cordileone’s revised Faculty Handbook
WHO:   Concerned Parents: Teach Acceptance and teachers, students, and allies

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015, concerned parents at San Francisco Archdiocesan schools will be joined by teachers, students and allies to declare their firm opposition to the latest version of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s Faculty Handbook. Parents, Teachers, Students and allies will gather in front of the Archiocesan Chancery Office at 1 Peter Yorke Way.

The Archbishop is attempting to reclassify all employees of four schools within the Archdiocese as part of the “ministry” and “mission” of the church in order to eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections for those staff members.

First, our schools are part and parcel of the ministry and mission of the Church and, thus, so would be the teachers.  There’s really no need to classify them or non-classify them as such.  The schools are covered under the First Amendment’s free-exercise clause and are not limited by anti-discrimination laws intended for a secular employer.  How do we know this?  Because the Supreme Court has said this time and time again, and very recently, too.  If this were not the case, these schools would be REQUIRED to hire teachers who oppose the Church.  They are not.

He has also proposed that teachers and staff at the schools accept handbook language that, among other things, condemns homosexuality, same-sex marriage, contraception, and use of assisted reproductive technology.

And there it is again…The Church does not condemn homosexuality.  This is just another disingenuous attempt to win sympathy.  How about those who claim to know so much about what Pope Francis thinks pick up the Catechism once in awhile?  Really, when you claim to have the moral authority on all things Catholic, you might want to claim to be Catholic first, and then actually know the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Ever notice how they just state what the Church teaches and NEVER back it up with any document to prove it?

If you note, they actually are saying that this revision of the handbook (not final by any stretch) actually concurs with Catholic teaching on same-sex marriage (I’m pretty sure everyone knows the Catholic Church doesn’t accept SSM), contraception (remember that pesky Humanae Vitae? – liberals are still fuming about that one) and in vitro fertilization (documents can be found on this one too). I’m including some documents at the bottom if anyone doubts the Church has condemned all of these. See the difference?  I back up what I say about the Church, and Sam and his minions cannot.  All they can do is parrot “Who am I to judge?”, and most don’t even know Pope Francis’s original topic on that one (hint: none of the above).

These proposals, originally made public in February, were met with an overwhelming outcry from teachers, parents, students and allies of the four schools.

Overwhelming outcry?!  I think not. Look at the numbers.  They just don’t jive with that.  The overwhelming majority (even people outside the Catholic Church) actually agree that the Catholic Church should be able to teach Catholicism.  It’s kind of, well, common sense. (I know, it’s missing in some circles.)   Can you believe the egomania of this crowd: “I think this way, therefore all of society must”?!  Can I, once again, remind you about the inconvenient (for them) little SFGate poll?  (Cue the whining about how we magically could muster votes that they couldn’t – despite the fact that it’s a liberal publication that published the dang poll in the first place!)

In recent days, the Archbishop sent a letter and revised draft Faculty Handbook to at least fifteen Catholic educators. Parents, teachers and students say that while softer in tone, this revised handbook represents no meaningful change from his original agenda.

Can we just talk about the hypocritical use of the word “tone” for a moment? Would you prefer Sam Singer’s tone?  It just gives me warm fuzzies.  The Archbishop’s words are the words of the Church. Sam Singer’s are all his.

As far as the Archbishop’s tone pre-revision/post-revision, can anyone show me how it differs from any document of the Catholic Church?!  Please!  Cite away! What’s that?  I can’t hear you!  Speak up!  Come on, you supposedly have a mountain of evidence in your favor, no?  Didn’t think so.

“Sadly, the Archbishop has changed his tone, but not the substance of his proposal,” said Jim Jordan, a teacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral High School. “The Archbishop even states in the letter that he wants to ‘find another approach to reach the same goal.’ He’s not backing down at all.” Jordan added, “As for the revised handbook language, the committee who drafted it was never authorized to act on behalf of the schools. Their administrators all discouraged them from participating in order to protect them from being in the vulnerable position of creating employment policy for their co-workers.”

Well, glad the fact that the substance hasn’t changed has been acknowledged. Someone might want to let Sam Singer and the Singer mouthpieces (SF Chronicle and SF Gate) know about that.  They clearly haven’t gotten the message as evidenced by Singer’s latest Twitter rants.

I read this and I have to laugh: “the committee who drafted it was never authorized to act on behalf of the schools.”  Dears, the Archbishop doesn’t have to ask your permission for anything.  The Archdiocese owns the schools and the Archbishop is in charge of them.  He can bring in whatever advisors and committees he wants.  It is quite laughable that you have a problem with your peers advising the Archbishop.  Clearly, you think you’re the only ones who should be doing the advising (or more like the demanding).  You wanted consultation, you got it, and now you’re complaining about it?  Yeah, that’s about right.

“Archbishop Cordileone’s latest faculty handbook language, while more conciliatory in tone than the previous version, and eliminating words like ‘gravely evil,’ has the same result: teachers are cast as ministers with no legal protections, with personal lives open to scrutiny from their employer,” said Kathy Curran, a parent of two children in Catholic high schools. “The language is still harmful to our children and is an attempt to camouflage his original agenda and fundamentally alter the character and culture of Catholic education in our high schools.”

At this point I think you all might want to read this little document from Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education (yes there is such a thing): http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccatheduc/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_19770319_catholic-school_en.html

You see, the Archbishop isn’t altering the character and culture of Catholic educations.  He’s trying to uphold it.  Catholic schools have always been considered apostolates of the Church.  We’ve got a whole lot of documents saying as much, so when someone decides to get litigious and try to invoke anti-discrimination laws, they are going to lose.  Why?  Thanks, I’m glad you asked! The Supreme Court, in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was very clear. Justice Roberts, writing the court’s opinion, wrote:

The Court, however, does not adopt a rigid for­mula for deciding when an employee qualifies as a minister.

Justices Alito, with Justice Kagan concurring, wrote:

Religious autonomy means that religious authorities must be free to determine who is qualified to serve in positions of substantial religious importance. Different religions will have different views on exactly what quali­fies as an important religious position, but it is nonethe­less possible to identify a general category of “employees” whose functions are essential to the independence of prac­tically all religious groups. These include those who serve in positions of leadership, those who perform important functions in worship services and in the performance of religious ceremonies and rituals, and those who are en­trusted with teaching and conveying the tenets of the faith to the next generation.

When it comes to the expression and inculcation of religious doctrine, there can be no doubt that the messen­ger matters. Religious teachings cover the gamut from moral conduct to metaphysical truth, and both the content and credibility of a religion’s message depend vitally on the character and conduct of its teachers. A religion can­not depend on someone to be an effective advocate for its religious vision if that person’s conduct fails to live up to the religious precepts that he or she espouses. For this reason, a religious body’s right to self-governance must include the ability to select, and to be selective about those who will serve as the very “embodiment of its mes­sage” and “its voice to the faithful. Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F. 3d 294, 306 (CA3 2006).”

BAM!

Similarly, Justice Thomas wrote:

A religious organi­zation’s right to choose its ministers would be hollow, however, if secular courts could second-guess the organiza­tion’s sincere determination that a given employee is a “minister” under the organization’s theological tenets. Our country’s religious landscape includes organizations with different leadership structures and doctrines that influence their conceptions of ministerial status. The question whether an employee is a minister is itself reli­gious in nature, and the answer will vary widely Judicial attempts to fashion a civil definition of “minister” through a bright-line test or multi-factor analysis risk disad­vantaging those religious groups whose beliefs, practices, and membership are outside of the “mainstream” or unpalatable to some.

(The Justices write a whole lot more awesome stuff that’s going to make some heads spin.  Please read the opinion in its entirety here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-553.pdf)

If someone sued on the basis of a teacher not being a minister, the Church can whip out document after document like THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL talking about the mission of schools and lay apostolates. (LINK FOUND ABOVE). The proof is in the Church documents already.  The Archbishop simply restating them doesn’t put one’s job in jeopardy.  It’s simply letting the teachers know what is expected of them. 

Sacred Heart Cathedral Senior Gino Gresh voiced concern that the Archbishop is attempting to redefine Catholic education, placing at risk the century-old reputation of one of the finest educational institutions in San Francisco. “I love my school. I know I have received a world class, values-based education,” said Gresh. “And fellow students who are LGBT or questioning their sexuality, whose parents are divorced or LGBT, or who were conceived through IVF – all of us, no matter where we come from or who we are, have felt safe to question and safe to learn. Under the Archbishop’s proposals, that would no longer be the case. For me, a great education teaches me to think and to ask questions.  It’s not being told what to think or how to be. ”

Holy cow!  One more time!  The Archbishop isn’t redefining Catholic education. That’s what “Concerned Parents and Teachers” are doing.  That sad thing is that these young students are buying it hook, line, and sinker, due to years of Catholic teaching being ignored.  Safe?  The buzz words are so nonsensical.  Who, exactly, is going to the students and telling them that they are anything less than precious in God’s eyes?  Who is telling them they’re in danger?  These kids are being used as pawns by adults who don’t want to be held accountable by anyone for their actions.  Sadly, this isn’t how it works.  They will be held accountable, and the Archbishop knows it and is trying his darnedest to make sure they understand what God expects of them.  I am so glad we finally have an Archbishop who puts the souls of these students first!

A great education does get students to think and to ask questions, but it’s done in the light of Truth.  Nobody is telling them what to think.  They are teaching them how to think, how to properly form their consciences (I know, a wacky idea!), what God wants of them, and how the Catholic Church is there to help – or at least that’s what should be taught.

Parents and teachers noted that the Archbishop has many platforms from which to educate faculty, students, parents and other members of the school community regarding his interpretations of Church theology, other than an employee handbook. Serra High School parent Lynn Schuette said, “While the Archbishop’s ‘short compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’ may be appropriate for a religious treatise, it is not acceptable for a faculty handbook. His selective list of Catholic catechism fails to reflect a fuller understanding of the Catholic tradition, let alone the centrality of the primacy of conscience and the ‘sense of the faithful.’”

The Truths of the Catholic Church aren’t up for interpretation.  This is the heart of the problem.  These uneducated (and many times non-Catholic) teachers and parents don’t quite grasp that the Church isn’t a club where we all get together and decide on truths.  There’s only one Truth and you apparently don’t understand it. The handbook is a transmission of these Truths as cited from actual Church teachings.  If you don’t like the “selective list of Catholic catechism”, READ THE WHOLE BOOK YOURSELF!  There’s a logical thought!  Really, first you complain there’s too much in the handbook, and now there’s too little?  This is getting rather comical.

And can I just ask, who the heck is Lynn Schuette and how does she have a fuller understanding of the Catholic Faith than the guy with the doctorate in Canon Law and who worked for the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura?!?!?!?!?  I know that’s an organization with a really fancy name, but look it up!  I’m pretty sure it’s you, Lynn, who doesn’t quite understand the teaching on the Primacy of Conscience.  Wait, I know!  Is she also an alumna of Serra?  I guess that would make sense.  Lynn, you might want to actually look at the duties involved with that before you hang your hat on your ticket to Heaven, because you have Primacy of Conscience. Here’s a hint:

1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings. (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a6.htm)

Ouch, that must have hurt!  Oh, yeah, that’s kind of mentioned in the handbook, too.  It’s also kind of what the Catholic school is all about!

Just because I really care, I’m going to throw this little bit of education in here just for Lynn: https://www.ewtn.com/library/DOCTRINE/CONSC.TXT

“Under the revised handbook language, teachers would not be able to dissent or discuss ideas that conflict with the Archbishop’s understanding of Catholicism without risking their jobs,” said Kathleen Purcell, a constitutional attorney and former Catholic high school teacher. “This fundamentally alters the character of our schools. Teachers whose jobs are under threat if they step outside the line cannot provide a safe environment for students to learn.”

Wrong, Kath.  Teaching the Faith doesn’t fundamentally alter the character of “your” (please note the totally necessary use of quotations) schools.  Doing so makes them what they are formed to be!  Also, they can discuss ideas, but cannot dissent from Church teachings.  My family and I discuss abortion, birth control, homosexuality, and a myriad of topics.  (Yes, I realize you are all wondering about now why this is so hard for some to understand.  The only explanation I can offer is that it’s the San Francisco Bay Area. Please pray for us!)  Kath, spin it as you will, but it has nothing to do with the Archbishop’s “interpretation” and everything to do with authentic Catholicism.  It’s so simple. LOOK IT UP! It’s been taught for 2,000 years by the bishops in communion with the Pope.  Feel free to prove me wrong and cite a document or two.

The teachers are represented by the Archdiocesan Federation of Teachers Local 2240. In late April, California State Labor Leaders, Central Labor Councils and 19 local unions stood in solidarity with AFT Local 2240 to call upon the Archbishop to stop threatening teachers’ legal protections. The Archbishop and the Teachers’ Union remain at the bargaining table. Sal Curcio, a Sacred Heart Cathedral High School teacher and member of the union’s Executive Board, stated, “We will not accept language that diminishes our legal protections.”

See their wrongness above in the Supreme Court section.

Just so you know who the players are in the little press release drama, one is part of the “100 Prominent Catholics” who organized against the Vatican’s opposition to a UN resolution on homosexuality.  Another claims the status of “former Catholic” and is a proud IVF user.  Yet another claims to be a former Catholic and a lesbian. One organized the employee petition, and was pretty happy when it was posted on the Cathedral door.  (Who does that remind you of?)  Seriously, I found it on his Twitter account!  Last, but not least, one was a high school teacher in the Oakland diocese and was one of 4 who refused to sign the handbook over there and her contract was not renewed.  Do you think any of them might have some personal motivations?  The problem is, they are in the minority.  They like to think the Church revolves around their whims and proclivities, but it doesn’t.

I’m going to steal a line from a friend and say there are enough red herrings in this press release to start a fish processing plant!  They should just be honest and say they don’t agree with the Church teachings and want them to go away so they’re not uncomfortable – but I suppose that doesn’t make the best press release.

P.S. Promised docs just so the media doesn’t think I’m lying: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19870222_respect-for-human-life_en.html

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

 

Meet the Laity!

A reader told me about a ridiculous tweet made by Sam Singer.  As I looked for that one, I found an even more ridiculous one (well, it might have been a tie):

Struggling SF Archbishop Cordileone desperate for support, cash: campaign begs for $, help: http://www.catholicvote.org/archbishop-cordileone-defense-fund/?ref=fb1

(Sam wasn’t so kind to put the real link in, so I’ll help him out! Use it!)

My response to him?

@samsinger hardly struggling. We know the types who to try and bleed people dry in court and we will defeat you. Meet the laity, Sam.

Seriously, Sam – MEET – THE – LAITY!  Maybe you and those in your little “100 Prominent Catholics” bubble think the Archbishop is all alone.  Sorry, you’ve declared war and you’re going to have to get through these troops before you ever reach him.  Be prepared for some mass casualties.  We’ve been in the war with those opposed to Church teachings almost all of our lives.  We’re a battle-hardened force and we will prevail with God’s help.  Don’t believe me?  You might want to look at who the Archbishop is for a reality check.

Sadly for you, you’ve joined the battle after we’ve been given a great gift.  Twenty years ago, the laity would have had to find someone who knew someone who knew someone (I could have added a few more) to have their message heard in Rome.  Now we’ve got a direct line to the Vatican (and each other) via the pretty little keyboard in front of me.  We can now compile dossiers of the words of Sam Singer with nice little links included for verification.  Whom do you think the Vatican is going to believe, the words you get media lap-dogs to spin or the words you can’t help but spew without a thought that they’d be used against you?  You might just want to stop and think about who effectively lobbied the Vatican for the Archbishop to be right where he is and how they did it.  It had nothing to do with money and everything to do with sheer will and the Grace of God.  Meet the laity.

So, Sam, when you decide to have your cronies start dropping legalese, you can bet we’re not going to wait around for the day you set off a firestorm of litigation against our Archbishop.  You and the “100 Prominent Catholics” took the first swing and you can bet it’s going to be met with full force back from us.  You think you’ve got some big wallets in your club?  Just wait until you see what happens when you utter a threat against our beloved shepherd.  Meet the laity.

The joke is that you think it’s just Catholics who will step up and support him. You are so very wrong.  You are not just dealing with Catholics, you are poking a stick in the eye of all Christianity.  There’s not just one mad mom out there, there are millions (and don’t forget the dads!).  We believe in Freedom of Religion in this country and, yes, even in California.  Freedom of Religion ain’t just for the Catholics.  Think about it.  $55,000 has been raised in two weeks and there’s only a veiled threat of litigation.  Can you imagine what will happen if and when the cronies decide to actually file suit?  Don’t underestimate the power of the Widow’s Mite.  We will protect our Archbishop and our fellow Christians with everything we’ve got.  Living in “Litigation Land”, we know how the game is played and we won’t let you break the bank.  Meet the laity.

Sam can go on with his “desperate” delusion, but we all know this is simply a reaction to the lovely picnic we had last Saturday – one that he said had poor attendance despite the fact there were at least triple the amount of people he’s mustered at his “vigils”. (Must be a bit depressing for him.) It’s amazing watching the liberals come unglued at the sight of families simply having lunch in a park. You’d think we’d just poured holy water on the devil! The Archbishop, apparently, isn’t desperate for support, but it looks like Sam Singer is desperate about something.

Did I mention, Sam, that you should really meet the laity? We’ve been pretty quiet up until now but we’re kind of done with that. #meetthelaity

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE CORDILEONE SUPPORT FUND

I Bet You Think This Canon Law Is About You!

green eyes 2

I think we’ve all seen the headlines akin to “Archbishop Prepares to Fire Gay Teachers!”  This simply is and never was true.  I received similar comments the other day and I think they need to be addressed because they are common arguments made.  It shows the thinking of some of the crew that’s fighting against Archbishop Cordileone.  While Sam Singer is a hack and there are the usual Call to Action or Stop Patriarchy blowhards, I think this comment shows the point of view of rest of the minority who thinks authentic Catholicism shouldn’t be taught in a Catholic school and should be replaced by situation ethics.  I also think it’s a result of the faithful being left in the wilderness so long to fend for themselves and is exactly what Archbishop is trying to prevent for future generations.  One comment:

“You write, ‘They want to teach at a Catholic school but they don’t want to actually teach Catholicism.  In fact, some want to teach against it.  They want to sell abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage.’  As a parent at one of these schools, all the teachers want are their employment rights protected and the ability to live their PERSONAL lives in peace and without fear.  They do not teach against Catholic doctrine.”

And another:

“The reality is that most of the teachers that have been fired a crossed the country for violating church doctrine have been found out by people trolling for information against them.  One mentioned her same sex partner in her mother’s obituary.  Just google ‘catholic teachers fired.’

The current handbook for these schools already asks that teachers follow Catholic doctrine. There is no need, other than a legal one for the Archbishop, to insist upon these changes, particularly identifying teachers as ministers. As a “minister’ they are no longer protected under federal employment law.”

This is snipped for brevity. You can see the whole conversation and my response to the specifics Teach Tolerance addressed in her comment here: (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/sam-the-spin-doctor/#comments)

Teachers teach by example.  Is there anyone on this planet (except maybe Singer) who would deny this statement to be true?  Yes, they use overhead projectors, white boards, books, etc., but if you made that statement, nobody would argue with it, right?  So, when you are a teacher and you let people in the school know you are, say, having an extra marital affair and the students find out, you are teaching something contrary to Church doctrine.  Exposing children to this in any school is no bueno, but it’s legally unacceptable in a Catholic school.  Is it illegal in the state of California?  No way!  Anything goes here in a public school, but, to borrow a phrase from Hebrew National, we adhere to a higher law – more specifically Canon Law:

  • Can. 803 §1. A Catholic school is understood as one which a competent ecclesiastical authority or a public ecclesiastical juridic person directs or which ecclesiastical authority recognizes as such through a written document.
  • 2. The instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine; teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life.
  • 3. Even if it is in fact Catholic, no school is to bear the name Catholic school without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

Now, these teachers don’t have to even be Catholic but they are not to contradict Catholic doctrine and integrity in word or deed.  Unfortunately, some are.

The reality is there are some people who are fearful for their jobs.  They’re already living their sins out loud and some genies just can’t be put back in those bottles. That would require a public repentance.  The problem is these people knew they taught in a Catholic school, but for whatever reason, they didn’t think there would be a problem with making their sins public.  The Archbishop has said that he doesn’t want to give up hope that the situations can be rectified and has hope that nobody will lose their jobs.  What does this mean? It means he loves them so deeply that he wants them to understand the Church teachings and to fear for their mortal souls.  This is why we love him!  People want to think it’s simply about rules, but it’s simply about souls – the students, the teachers, all of us!  The Archbishop wouldn’t just dish out a penalty without first trying to counsel the person.  This is why he won’t say there’s a specific circumstance in which a person would be fired.  He’s not giving up hope.  We, for our part, should pray that his hope rings true!

For the rest of the teachers out there that are doing things which are against Church teachings but aren’t yelling it from the rooftops, they join the rest of us sinners, right?  The vast majority of us are private sinners.  We’re constantly falling off the Catholic wagon in one way or another. (Well at least I am – I have a husband who will back me up on that!)  Do they have to fear about someone pawing through their trash for the used condom wrapper?  Of course not!  Do they have to fear about not being repentant?  Well, yeah, because eternity is a mighty long time, and even private sin affects society (contrary to what Teach Tolerance thinks), but do they have to worry about losing their jobs?  No.

So far, the focus has been on homosexuals only.  (You could say homosexuals are an obsession with some.)  People have been convinced by the media reports á la Sam Singer that this additional wording in the contracts is to weed out homosexual teachers.  Newsflash!  Homosexuality itself is not a sin!!! One more time:  HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A SIN!  People can continue to say that it is, because hey, they are free to live in Factually Inaccurate Land!

What the Archbishop is proposing doesn’t single out homosexuals in the least.  He’s asking that every teacher is “outstanding in correct doctrine, the witness of a Christian life, and teaching skill.” (Remember that thing called Canon Law? I swear to you it’s a good read!)  He’s helping them out by telling them what that means, since some have missed it thus far.  No more being confused by ambiguity. (Isn’t being transparent a good thing? I thought I heard that somewhere – repeatedly. )  The last thing the Archbishop wants to do is have someone lose their jobs because they didn’t understand what was expected of them.

Why are people fearful of having Church doctrine spelled out for them? I keep hearing the complaint “It was already there! How dare he change it?!”  If it was already there, what’s the big deal?  They keep saying it doesn’t change anything.  I agree it doesn’t change a single thing about Church doctrine or Canon Law.  I think the crux of the fear is that people might actually understand that this Archbishop follows Church doctrine and Canon Law (maybe because he actually has a PhD in Canon Law?).  Now that would be something new for San Francisco!

Again, it’s not just homosexuals who are being held to uphold Church doctrine.  It’s ALL teachers.  Here are some examples of some other ways that teachers might be publicly contradicting Church doctrine (anything resembling reality – and there are a lot of them based on the fact I went to 12 years of Catholic schools – are purely coincidental):

  • If they are publicly escorting women into an abortion facility wearing one of the cool crossing guard vests
  • If they are known to be sleeping with another teacher
  • If they are known to be having an affair with another teacher
  • If they have the picture of their homosexual wedding ceremony on their desk
  • If they are suggesting the kids use birth control so they don’t get pregnant
  • If they talk about the “archaic” doctrine on the all-male priesthood
  • etc., etc., etc.

Note that only one of these had to do with homosexuality and it wasn’t the fact that someone was simply homosexual.

The other fallacy being floated (as shown in Teach Tolerance’s comment) is that people are going to be trolling for other peoples’ sins.  Another newsflash – we don’t want to know your sins.  I don’t want people to know mine, why would I ever want to know yours???  This is about peoples’ very PUBLIC displays of their sins. If I was teaching, I wouldn’t worry about my sins because I keep them between me and my confessor!  Simply being a sinful person doesn’t get you fired or we wouldn’t have any teachers at all (or an Archbishop or Pope, for that matter).

Speaking of sins, I’m going to bring up a little item that Sam Singer hasn’t brought up, probably because he’s represented a bunch of people who have done the same thing. While Sam’s not re-hashing it, others in social media are. If you actually live under a rock and haven’t heard about it, lucky you, but you will if you like to follow the Archbishop.  It’s another story from years back now, and I’m only going to bring it up again because it shows how our wonderful Archbishop guides us by example: THE DUI (insert Dragnet music here). While probably the biggest faux pas of the Archbishop’s life (Who would ever think wine, with dinner, WITH YOUR MOTHER would get you into such trouble???), it’s also an example of how we should handle our sins.  (You can argue amongst yourselves about culpability sin-wise, but all we can be sure of is that it was a mistake.)  What did he do when he made that mistake?  He owned it!  He didn’t make any excuses.  When asked, he said he had wine with dinner.  He didn’t argue with the officers or pull a “Do you know who I am???” move.  He apologized, he was contrite, and never drank again when there was the outside shot he might be driving.  I’m sure he probably even went to confession for it because that’s the kind of guy he is.  He didn’t blame the archaic Church or the strict law of the land.  He did something very public and he publicly repented.  A total example for how we should handle our sins (and we all will sin, because there’s not a perfect one in the crowd.)  Is this the guy you think wants to fire people for the heck of it or who wants to go looking for other peoples’ sins?  If so, get a clue.  Stop looking at the spin and start looking at the man.

The doctrine and disciplines of the Catholic Church don’t exist to hurt you.  Stop being so narcissistic!  We all sin.  The more faithful of us Catholics try not to, yet we still fall short and repent and repent and repent.  The dumber ones say (condensed version) “The Catholic Church just needs to allow me to do what I want without guilting me.”  Helllooo!  The rules and truths come from God, and you, with your personal proclivities, are not the only ones bound to them.  It’s a level playing field where we (gay, straight, something in between, black, white, green with envy) all have the same play book. The Church isn’t “bigoted” but you just might be suffering from liberal Catholic privilege where you think the rules apply to everyone else but you.

Sam the Spin Doctor

I’m starting to realize that San Francisco can keep me in blog posts for the better part of the year.  I really have a thing for ranting about hypocrisy and outright lunacy.  Heck, Sam Singer, alone, could keep me in sarcastic remarks for months!

For those who missed my first outing in the blogosphere, Sam Singer is the guy whose reputation is now on the line if he doesn’t deliver Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s head on a platter (oh yes, she did reference Herod and John the Baptist).  I’m not really sure why he thought that would be a cake walk but he seems to be getting mighty frustrated tweeting he “won’t give up until Cordileone is gone.” (I don’t know why but “I’ll get you and your little dog too!” comes to mind when I read that one. Anyone else?)  Clearly he lives in a very myopic world and thinks everyone thinks like the “One Hundred Prominent Catholics” with whom he dines.

So let’s take a look at Singer.  I went to his website just to get a feel for what makes him proud.  You can see on his site that – He’s “The Fixer”, “is nationally known for handling some of most significant public affairs and crisis communications issues of the day”, “a master spin doctor” and one of his jobs has been labeled “best handled crisis of the year.”  Sounds like you are really in trouble and desperate when you hire Sam.  It makes perfect sense that he’d represent the people who are taking on 2,000 years of Catholic Tradition.  I mean, this is likely the case of his lifetime.  Why stop there, Sam? Imagine it – Sam Singer vs. God!  I’m reasonably sure that’s crossed his narcissistic mind.  Sam might want to read the end of the Bible to find out how that one turns out. Whatever did happen to Herod anyway?

Anyway, Sam’s been flinging spit balls at the wall to see what sticks.  Nothing really has, as much as he tries.

Morality Clause-Gate: This is where the fight really started.  Unfortunately (for those opposed to the Catholic Church), it’s the first in a string of non-issues.  Of course schools want their teachers to project Catholicism.  Some teachers, however, wanted to have their cake and eat it too.  They want to teach at a Catholic school but they don’t want to actually teach Catholicism.  In fact, some want to teach against it.  They want to sell abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage. The problem is, the rest of the world says, “Hey! There’s a place where you can get this.  It’s called public school!”  They think they picked a fight with the Archbishop, but I can tell you that they picked a fight with all of Christianity, and even some non-Christians who believe their faith should be freely taught in their schools and that this shouldn’t be impeded by those with some other agenda.

Fr. Illo-gate: Sam is trying so very hard to make Fr. Illo and Fr. Driscoll an issue and yet it’s another one that’s just not sticking.  It may stick around for the “100 Prominent Catholics”, Singer, and the liberals at the Star of the Sea School, but I was just at Star of the Sea for a “Mass Mob” and the Raymond Arroyo talk they sponsored, and support amongst the parishioners and the 500-600 that showed up at each event is not waning.  Anyone who has actually bothered to talk to Fr. Illo knows that none of the caricatures of him ring true.  It also doesn’t help Singer that all of the stuff he’s coming up with (altar boys, Examinations of Conscience, etc.) are very, very old news stories that didn’t come out until the Archbishop’s “morality clause” made news.  Everyone knows that, if it was truly a big deal, it would have been immediately in the news, not months or years later.  You also don’t bring up 10-year-old stories if you aren’t desperate.  BTW, Catholic World Report did a crack job filling in the details that were so conveniently left out. Hat tip to them! http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3845/attacks_on_sf_pastor_aim_to_test_abp_cordileone.aspx

Sprinkler Gate: Kind of a big faux pas to try to accuse a church that does more for the homeless than any other denomination of being anti-homeless people.   The church does have the right (and an obligation) to keep its property clean.  They also have a duty to keep people from harming themselves on the property. Preventing them from being in a place where they feel free to shoot up is a good thing!!!  Everyone knows that the homeless are always allowed on that property. They are just not allowed to use it as a bathroom nor a drug house.  Also, and this is really huge, where is the anger from those “100 Prominent Catholics” for the power washing of the homeless done Monday – Friday in front of their businesses on Market St.???  Those people are actually hit with power washers if they don’t move in time.  The readings are really high on the hypocrisy meter right now!  The Cathedral sprinkles two doors where excrement and needles are regularly found (the doors away from traffic, which makes for a perfect place to do such things) and doesn’t touch the rest of the property, and the Archbishop is evil? Riiiiggghhht!  I’ll tell him next time I see him out there washing down the property or trimming the bushes.

The last debacle for poor old Sam (and the biggest indication he should head for the nearest door) – THE poll!  Sam had his minions at SF Gate run a weekly poll on whether or not the Pope should remove Archbishop Cordileone.  Ouch!  That one really didn’t work and might possibly be his most epic miscalculation. I’m not even sure that I thought it would be the awesome landslide it was at 88% for Archbishop Cordileone staying and only 12% thinking he should go.  Supporters of his ouster are desperately pointing out it’s not a scientific poll.  Somehow we had some magical way of creating more of a landslide then they could (we’re Catholics, not magic fairies).  I’m sure there was nationwide support but they had the same week to garner support and it didn’t happen.

Sam just isn’t getting it (although he might be starting to).  Can he really think the Catholic Church, which has survived 2,000 years of persecution (yes I did mention those pesky 2,000 years again), is somehow going to bow to him?  Probably – I’m sure that’s what megalomania does to a person.  He’ll continue to dredge up ten- year- old stories that we all know about as if they are something new and salacious or maybe, if he’s lucky, he’ll find out that one of these holy men forgot to turn off the water while they brushed their teeth.  What a scandal that would be with California being in a drought and all!  Whatever it is, I’m sure he’ll keep spitting into the wind until someone gets tired of throwing their money into the fire.