USF: Traditional, Progressive or Door #3?

I’m sure all sorts of strange noises of shock and exasperation came out of my mouth as I was reading this:

https://sffoghorn.org/2016/04/21/traditional-progressive-both/

And then this came out before I could even get an article written:

http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4847/USF-Basketball-Coach-Doesn%E2%80%99t-Want-Faithful-Catholics-on-the-Team.aspx

So, you’re going to get a two-fer.  Let’s take them one at a time.

It’s taken me awhile to process this boatload of fantastical theories.  It rather epitomizes why the vast majority of schools bearing the “Catholic” moniker are a danger to society.  I mean, people actually believe what is spewed here is Catholic!

Traditional, Progressive, Both?

How about neither?  I choose door number three.  Dissenting is probably what that door would be labeled.  No progress is being made.  In fact, we’re kind of stepping back to the decadence and debauchery of ancient Rome or Greece at the University of San Francisco.  Without a doubt, it’s anything but traditional unless you’re counting lunacy as some sort of tradition.

The tall, dark wooden doors of the St. Ignatius Church are open every day from dusk ’til dawn, yet a relatively small fraction of the USF’s students are seen among the pews. Metal crosses decorate the front walls of many classrooms in the Lone Mountain building, though only a handful can be seen in any of the newer classrooms down the hill. The prevalence of the school’s religious identity appears to have slowly but surely weakened on campus over the years.

The school’s religious identity has slowly but surely weakened?  I don’t think so.  Unless slow and sure means 100 miles per hour in a Midwestern thunderstorm.  That said, most of USF sees things through a myopic lens, so 50 years for them is FOREVER.  Wait until they find out how long eternal life and hell last.  What a wakeup call that’s going to be.  Unfortunately, I’m reasonably sure it’s not considered much there.

A majority of students are mainly attracted to USF because of its liberal and open-minded reputation. While the University is proud of its close connection to the progressive city of San Francisco, it also has a deep Jesuit Catholic identity. At times, it’s hard for some people, students especially, to reconcile these two aspects of USF.

Deep Jesuit identity?  Again, people need look at the history in total.  It’s not just one person’s lifetime.   Does anyone see the “Jesuit Catholic identity” of their founders in the vast majority of today’s Jesuits?  One would have to wonder if these kids actually know the names of Jesuit saints.  There are not two aspects of USF, just the one, liberal, open-minded one, progressive (or the stupid one, as those of us with some knowledge and sanity would say).

As she cautiously sipped her freshly brewed latte in the cafeteria in the University Center, Consuelo Reyes, a sophomore communications major, explained her initial attraction to USF. Reyes said, “[I could] see honesty, progressiveness, sincerity, and integrity rooted in the values that this school had when it came to education.”

How about Catholicism?  Anyone? Not important?  Didn’t think so.

At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, USF President the Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J. spoke at the annual faculty and staff meeting. During his talk, he proposed a conversation on the Jesuit university experience. In an email response to questions about his proposal, Fitzgerald wrote, “[I] asked deans and directors to have conversations with their team members about how well we are fulfilling the vision statement that we articulated back in 2008.” He explained that the first round of conversations would discuss USF’s Catholic and Jesuit tradition while the other “four essential features” of this tradition would be part of later conversations.

As director of USF’s University Ministry, Julia Dowd has been involved in these conversations at USF. She said that although Catholicism gets a bad rap in society these days, “It’s important to claim who we actually are because if we don’t, other people get to claim what ‘religious’ looks like.

Ummm… Honey, you don’t get to explain what Catholicism is.  You don’t get to define it.  You don’t get to shape or change it.  It is what it is, and anyone can look to Her teachings to see Her.  What does “religious” look like?  Who the heck cares when the school you attend doesn’t even teach the True Faith?

A year ago, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone sparked conflict with many local Catholics with his decision to require teachers at Catholic high schools to sign a morality clause that depicts sex outside of marriage and same sex relationships as “evil.”

Holy Moses!  Do your homework, dear student reporter!  THIS IS WHAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES!!!  This isn’t some new and exciting teaching Archbishop Cordileone invented.  HE WAS CITING THE TEACHING OF THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH!  Get it through your thick skulls, liberals.  If you don’t like it, fine.  Just admit that it is so and that you dissent from it.  Stop this whole “Isn’t the Archbishop a great big meanie?!” routine and admit that you HATE the teaching of the Faith you profess.  I mean, a little honesty would be nice.

In opposition to the archbishop’s edict, 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members, including many Catholic educators, former Catholic Charities board members and executives, and the father of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady Jr., published a full-page open letter in the San Francisco Chronicle that asked Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The signers wrote, “Archbishop Cordileone has fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”

Or, as most of us can see, the Archbishop is teaching the exact same thing as Pope Francis.  You know what’s funny?  The non-Catholic flaming liberals point this out on a regular basis.  Sadly, they’re a little more honest than the Catholics. 

Among the signers of the letter was Charles Geschke, whose family name is on USF’s Geschke Center and who served USF’s Board of Trustees for about 18 years.

Via a phone conversation, Geschke who went to a Jesuit high school, a Jesuit university, and taught at a Jesuit college for about five years, said he signed the letter because, “As a lifelong Catholic and very involved in Catholic causes, I didn’t feel he [Cordileone] represented my viewpoints on what it means to be a Christian in a pluralistic world.”

Oh Mr. High and Mighty, heaven forbid the Archbishop doesn’t represent your viewpoints!  Because, you know, that’s oh so important.  The megalomania of these rich, liberal Catholics is staggering.  Pluralistic world?  Does the word “missionaries” mean anything to you?  Again, might be nice if you knew just a bit about the Jesuit missionaries after your Jesuit high school and college tenure.

The archbishop’s action has made it more difficult for some students to associate with Catholicism because of his exclusivity. When asked about the significance of Cordileone’s stance, Reyes said, “It’s important to recognize and respect each individual student’s decision to either engage religiously throughout their academic career or not.”

How about this?  It’s important for the students’ moral souls to teach them just what the Catholic Faith is.  What a thought!  Imagine a Catholic school trying to help people gain heaven!  Nobody is putting a gun to these students’ heads and making them accept Catholicism.  They can accept or reject it, but that doesn’t mean a Catholic school or a Catholic bishop shouldn’t do everything possible to teach authentic Catholicism.  The only threats being made here are to the Archbishop. 

In addition to the archbishop sending a bold and conservative message to the San Francisco Catholic community, last summer Fitzgerald faced a situation which seemed to represent the tension between Catholic principles and his own apparently more liberal views. Fitzgerald attended the San Francisco Pride Parade with others from USF in support of LGBTQ+ members. This happened the same week he removed a tweet an assistant in the university’s communications office sent out under USF’s Twitter account in support of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land. When the tweet was criticized by conservative Catholic groups, Fitzgerald issued a statement that said the tweet did not reflect the views of USF. This caused some confusion and upset among USF students: if even their own president was having trouble expressing to his multi-layered identity, how were they supposed to have an easier time?

Oh, believe me, Fr. Fitzgerald doesn’t have any Catholic principles, so his liberal views aren’t in conflict with anything other than authentic Catholicism and he really doesn’t give a rip about that.  I’m quite sure the only reason for a tweet retraction is that someone with money wasn’t too happy.  Money is the only thing that could possibly stop Fr. Fitzgerald from erasing every last trace of Catholicism.  Might be the only reason crosses still exist on that campus.

“It’s clearly a sensitive and relevant topic, I mean for students for faculty for staff, everyone, for Father Fitzgerald. Right?” said Conor Smith, a USF resident minister. “So I think it’s a great question to be asking like where does the university stand on some of these issues and is the university’s stance necessarily reflective of the student body and the staff and faculty who work here.”

LOL!  It sounds like the liberals a starting to turn on each other.  I’m all for Conor Smith’s proposal.  Let’s hear the answer, Fr. Fitzgerald!  Well?  Come on, let’s just put the cards on the table.  I’m sure young Conor doesn’t understand the careful balance of donor money.  We probably should let Conor in on the fact that money really does make the liberals’ world go ‘round.

The identity formation dilemma for students at USF is nuanced and multifaceted. Attempting to address all parts of a student’s identity and not compromise their progressive ideals (for those who have them) is not an easy task for a Jesuit university to accomplish, though it is critical to acknowledge the multiple layers of students identities — which seems to be the goal of these conversations. The root of the tension for USF lies in balancing students’ identities with modern times, all while maintaining the core Jesuit and Catholic education principles.

Interviews with various members of USF’s community revealed a range of reactions to this tension. Reyes explained her battle with this tension and her concerns about coming across as hypocritical. Although she is currently not practicing Catholicism as she has in the past, she is worried that if she were to return to practicing, her progressive values would conflict with Catholic rules.

Let me just clear this up for you, Ms. Reyes.  Yes, your progressive values would be in conflict with Catholic truths (or doctrines, as those who actually practice the Faith call them.)  Full disclosure: you will also most likely find yourself in conflict with the Catechism, Canon Law, and a lot of disciplines.  Catholicism isn’t for wimps.  We are the Church of martyrs.  Conflict is our middle name, whether it be internal or societal.

Sophomore media studies major Jennifer Kang said she hasn’t experienced any sort of religious pressures at USF. “I never felt like an outsider as a non-religious person,” said Kang, who also observed, “USF is pretty conscious of change and current events and is willing to hold important conversations about it.”

A simple “Gag!” will suffice here.  That’s because USF is about as non-religious as you, Ms. Kang,  unless moral relativism is now considered a religion.

Connor Smith, who worked for a USF volunteer program in the Philippines after he graduated from Boston College, said, ”Working with Jesuits and working and going to school at Jesuit establishments — that is the educational model and framework that includes things that have become really important to me.

Smith took a moment to share his own complexities of having a Catholic identity and being a gay man, since he believes the church’s conservative approach to social issues will carry on. “You work for a university that can’t necessarily ‘come out’ so to speak and support gay issues or any other issues that the church is terrible at addressing,” said Smith. After a moment of reflection, Smith shrugged and sighed, saying, “To keep that identity as both progressive and a Catholic is hard.”

Connor Smith just spelled it out even if he doesn’t know it.  These two “identities” (they are really choices) are completely incompatible.  If they are claiming both, one of them is a lie.

Now let’s look at Coach Azzi’s comments.  Totally intimidating don’t you think?  First she says:

Azzi said of anyone who “has an issue” [with her same-sex attraction lifestyle]: “I don’t want to coach them anyway.”

And then she says:

They first told four players over lunch, and their response — and that of their teammates later — was ‘overwhelmingly supportive.’

Um, yeah.  Coach Azzi, let’s think about this.  Do they have a choice?!?! You just said you didn’t want to coach people who didn’t accept your lifestyle, and then you say that they were overwhelmingly supportive?   You’ve basically said “Get in line or you don’t play here!” No pressure on the players here. How so very “tolerant” you are!

Lastly, there’s this:

The Chronicle quoted one student saying, “Frankly, I don’t see how this can have a negative effect on our program. If someone loses interest in our program because they hear that two of our coaches are married to one another, they are clearly missing the point.”

Who’s missing the point?!?!  You know, the one about the University of San Francisco supposedly being a Catholic school.  Don’t feel bad, anonymous student.  Most people at USF, teacher or student, seem to miss that minor little point.  Grooooooaaaaaannnnnn!

Just one last bonus for you from Fr. Fitzgerald: 

http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4846/USF-President-A-Priest-Congratulates-Staff-on-Same-Sex-Marriage.aspx

Coach Azzi has entered into a civil marriage according to the laws of the land,” Fr. Fitzgerald stated. “We will afford her every benefit and legal protection which she is due. The university is a Catholic Jesuit institution that is purposefully diverse and dedicated to inclusivity.

It’s so wonderful to see Fr. Fitzgerald follow in the tradition of so many of the Jesuits who were martyred rather than to ever follow “law of the land” that was contradictory to the Faith.  Oh, wait.  Maybe not so much.  Honestly, how do the Jesuits like Fr. Fitzgerald and his ilk live with themselves?  I mean, it’s just EMBARRASSING!  Certainly doesn’t sound like the heavy hitting Jesuits who built the order!  Anyone see these saints putting forth the drivel of Fr. Fitzgerald?

And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league – all the Jesuits in the world – cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted; so it must be restored. ~Edmund Campion (Restored, USF, not destroyed! I think you’re mixing up some letters.)

To have prevented one single sin is reward enough for the labors and efforts of a whole lifetime. ~Saint Ignatius (It would seem like 97% of the modern Jesuits have gotten this one completely backwards.)

Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. ~Francis Xavier (Who knew the Jesuit schools of America would resemble Francis Xavier’s missionary territory?!)

Freedom of belief is pernicious, it is nothing but the freedom to be wrong.  ~Robert Bellarmine  (Take that all you moral relativist!)

Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.  ~Peter Canisius  (You modern Jesuit college types have fallen far away from the inventors of Jesuit education!)

So, please USF, how about you spare us all of the “Jesuit Catholic identity”delusions and admit you gave that up a while back?!

What’s Wrong with a Multicultural Rave?

 This is a sarcastic blogger’s dream story: http://abc7news.com/education/14-st-ignatius-students-suspended-for-attending-racist-themed-party/1178327/ and http://www.cbsnews.com/news/san-francisco-students-suspended-over-race-themed-party/

First, a disclaimer: I do not advocate the teens’ actions in any way, shape or form. Aside from the whole racist component (which I doubt the kids thought they were even doing), I’ve seen the social media pictures of the kids dressed like prostitutes and gang bangers while holding brewskies. Personally, I can’t decide if it was better to suspend 14 students – considering 80-100 were involved – or if it might be better to assign a 15-page term paper or possibly have them scrub out all of those lovely trash cans on campus. I’m sure there are also some toilets that could use some cleaning. In short, if these were my kids, they’d wish they were suspended.

Let me reiterate the fact that the kids probably didn’t think it racist in the least. I think they thought themselves making fun of the “thug culture,” not a whole race. In fact, some of the articles I’ve seen note that there were black students in attendance. When I was in college, Berkeley, the land of the diverse and yet offended, had little parties called “Mafia Weddings” or “Italian Weddings” where everyone looked like they could be the cast of Jersey Shore.

So, now that all of the seriousness is out of the way…

Dear St. Ignatius Faculty,

Where is the “safe space” for these kids who wanted to experiment with their race? I mean, they are just racially-neutral teens. We need to allow these teens to explore their blackness a la Rachel Dolezal. We cannot crush their racially fluid selves with facts. Calling them offensive or racist is going to stunt their exploration of what it means to be a minority.

Sincerely,

Ridiculous Whiny Liberal

Honestly, I really can’t see how you can blame the teens. The little tongue-in-cheek note above is not really that far off from the example given with all of the other liberal speak passed along at this Jesuit school. I mean, I’m sure “Celebrate Diversity” is probably part of the daily chant there. When these teens take this mantra seriously, what do you expect when you don’t really focus on the core of what it means to be Catholic? Nobody seems to be able to figure out that Asian Student Coalition, the Black Student Union, the Association of Latin American Students, and (my favorite) the Safe Space Christian Life Community only serve to further segregate these kids. Or how about the See the World club? The description? “This club is for students of diverse cultural backgrounds to explore their own identities as well as the identities of the peers through food, film and fun.” Ummmmm…anyone see the irony here?

Can you imagine if the students were taught to focus on the Body of Christ? Wouldn’t that make all of these other silly clubs unnecessary? I mean, kids always need to be reminded, “Don’t be a jerk!” (Heck, I just yelled this at a couple of my kids the other day!) That’s their natural inclination, but focusing more on the Faith, being Christ-like, or (here’s a novel thought) the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, would seem to be far better remedies for this typical teen silliness than focusing on “diversity” and, in reality, the stupid sensitivity training.

 

P.S.  I hear some of you got an early preview of this.  Sorry, there was a weird WordPress glitch or user error.  It’s now open for comments!

Who is Promoting the Rape Culture?

What a weekend! I’m still trying to recover from all the fabulous pro-life events in Northern California. I tried to hit as many of them as possible, because, quite frankly, it makes me very happy to be in a sea of kind people from all over the country standing up for life. They’re joyful, happy, and best of all, most of them young. I’m a tad bit jealous of that last one, but I’ll get over it. It was such an awesome contrast to the opposition!

I had three days straight of mixing it up with the Stop Patriarchy club. How can anyone look at that crew and say, “Yeah! I proudly stand with that side of the debate!”? Really, people. Take a long hard look at the people who think like you. I mean, they’re just plain vile. You’ve got families walking down the street praying and singing the rosary, and then you’ve got the demonic, profanity-laced chanting and screaming coming from those on the other side of the police line. I probably should have said naked, demonic, profanity-laced chanting and screaming coming from those on the other side of the police line. It is ironic that those people ranting that “forced motherhood” promotes the “rape culture” are walking topless down the street. Get just a little clue, ladies! You created that culture, sweeties! Could it possibly be the lack of respect you show yourselves that contributes to the rape culture? I mean, why would men have respect for you when you have such a twisted view of self-respect. Then there are the men of Stop Patriarchy. I’m pretty sure it’s not “forced motherhood” that concerns them. Might it be fatherhood and being held responsible for their actions? They want to do the crime without doing the time. They don’t want abortion going away, but it has nothing to do with a concern for the “enslavement of women.” It has everything to do with them getting to fulfill their selfish desires with no consequences.  Again, try and compare those idiots with the dads and members of the clergy walking down the street with their wives, daughters, and congregations. Yeah, no comparison.

And for even more of a contrast, how about twelve Sisters of Life whipping off their capes to cover some really sad, young women who thought it would be a grand idea to storm the Walk for Life  stage topless. Way to go, sisters, in protecting all the kids in the crowd from seeing that, not to mention protecting these young women from their very disturbed selves! I have to think you gave those girls some motherly love that they have never had in their lives.

Now, on the Stop Patriarchy website (http://www.stoppatriarchy.org/), they say, very briefly, they are against pornography,  that women should not be treated as objects and that women should not be used for the sexual pleasure of men.  On these points, I think we’d totally agree if they actually believed that. Reading the accounts above, does anyone actually come to the conclusion that is their mission?  I’m thinking that public nudity might not be the best way to go about ending porn or advancing sexual respect for women.  They might want to take a hard look at the Sisters of Life who were trying to accomplish those things Stop Patriarchy says they want.  I’m pretty those goals are lip service by Stop Patriarchy to try and make themselves look mainstream.  Sorry, guys, not so much.  Your actions hardly advance respect for women.

Sometimes, at the smaller events surrounding the walk, you had a chance to try and talk to some of these sad people who are pretty much protesting your existence. I stress “try.” They really don’t want to have a chat, they just want to scream hysterically. Having a heart to heart isn’t something they’ve given much thought to. Sometimes they’ll shoot a question at you, but when you offer to calmly answer them, they are out of there like a shot. Seriously, if you really want to clear the space around you of pro-abortion peeps, just say, “Great! Let’s talk about that!” It’s rather sad for a girl like me who likes a good debate. Even when some decide to take the challenge, they usually end up calling you a fascist (because they were apparently taught history in a California public school) or they mumble something about you being a hypocrite because you eat eggs. Huh? They must have also gotten their science in a California public school. Oh! Then there’s my favorite. “It’s a fetus, not a baby!” Yes, language classes are also poor here. Try asking them what fetus means and watch their heads spin and the screaming volume go up.

Fortunately, the opposition has really dwindled over the years. California has always had way more protestors than other places around the country. We grow them super obnoxious ‘round these parts. For whatever reasons, however, the numbers of counter-protestors at pro-life events have diminished tremendously in the past few decades. I think that they call that the “Roe Effect.” While we’ve been happily building our families and being generous with our lives, they have been selfishly birth-controlling and aborting themselves out of the debate. That’s probably the most ironic thing. We mourn for the loss of their children, who could have very likely ended up just like them.

Do I Hear Cardinal Cordileone?

For those of you who don’t know, the American bishops got together last week in St. Louis for their Bishops’ Spring General Assembly.  Not too many news stories came out of it, but they provided a nice little hashtag where you can see what some of them have to say on Twitter: #usccb15.  As I read through some of the stuff that’s come out of it, I have to think that most of them, not all, are trying to put the cart before the horse.

In the meeting, they discussed things like racism a la Ferguson.  They discussed immigration reform.  They discussed protecting victims of clergy abuse.  They discussed making the poor their top priority.  They discussed the Pope’s environmental encyclical (although I can’t for the life of me figure out why Catholics can’t just wait for it to come out before there’s a discussion).  All the while the voice screaming in the back of my head is saying, “YOU JUST DON’T GET IT!!!“

How do you guys think you’re going to make headway in any of these areas when you can’t even get a good portion of your flocks to understand that Catholicism is not a nationality?  Your flocks like the nostalgia, but they simply don’t believe in it anymore!  The pews are empty!  You can’t even get them for an hour on Sunday to fulfill their Sunday obligation much less to follow other teachings of the Church.  When they do occasionally attend, you’re not even teaching them what a sacrilege it is to receive Our Lord without confession.  There’s no belief in the Real Presence.  Their whole focus in life is what makes them happy here and now, and they don’t give a thought to eternity. Take a look around!  This is where you need to start, gentlemen!  Of course, nobody is going to care about the poor, respect life, or respect their fellow human beings when they don’t even attend your churches except on Christmas and Easter.  As an organization, this is kind of your fault!

Rather than focusing on the goal of saving the world, you, first and foremost, need to start by saving the souls in the churches of your dioceses.  That’s really the only way you’re going to save the rest of the world.  If you think the 250 of you can achieve anything without way more of your flock than you have now, good luck. You need to stop talking about all these noble causes (and they are noble) because the reality is, they don’t care beyond their narcissistic selves.  They need to first understand that there is a God and an afterlife and it’s going to last a long time, along with about a thousand other things.  This is the only way we’re going to revive the army to really make a difference in the world.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.  There are some parishes, dioceses, cardinals, bishops, priests, etc. that are Catholic bastions – not nearly enough but it’s looking brighter every day.  Some of the members of the USCCB are positively wonderful, and we’re starting to see more and more every week who are stepping up to explain what the heck Catholicism is.  They are explaining to their priests, their seminarians, and their flocks that eternal salvation depends on them actually being Catholic with a capital “C”.  They are no longer letting cafeteria Catholicism fly.

The latest joining in the chorus was Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, OK.  His decision to disassociate from the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice for sponsoring a “gay pride” parade was right on the money, but what he said about it was so simple and yet oh so important!  What did he say that was so poignant?  He said, “I’m the bishop, and I have to be the bishop.”  I’m not entirely sure how that got missed for 30 years by, conservatively, at least half of our bishops, but I’m thrilled that this foreign logic seems to be catching on amongst our spiritual leaders – cardinals on down to priests.  It’s about time!  Maybe they missed it because they’ve spent so much time trying to accomplish what seems to be the loftier goals.  We need the basics now.  We need our bishops to be bishops, not superheroes.

This brings me around to my favorite – Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. While there seems to be a lot of platitudes and lofty goals coming out of the USCCB, Archbishop Cordileone is addressing a very real situation.  Who knows what the Supreme Court will do regarding marriage?  Regardless of their decision, we must make the Catholic decision, despite the fact that it’s going to come at some cost. The USCCB really needs to bring us around to authentic Catholicism and make us understand that there will be a price to pay for it.  We’ve been promised no less, right?  The Archbishop is a living example of what we have to look forward to when we choose Christ.  We’re going to be the targets of lies.  We’re going to be threatened.  We’re going to suffer verbal abuse.  It’s far less epic than hiding in the catacombs, but very painful nonetheless, especially because, in many cases, it’s going to come from some modern-day Judases who claim to be our Catholic brethren, and even our some of our bishops.

While some are petitioning the Holy Father for the removal of Archbishop Cordileone, I’d like to use this humble forum to ask that the Holy Father make Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone the first Cardinal of San Francisco!  Make no mistake, I do not wish Archbishop Cordileone to be whisked off to some lofty job in the Holy See.  The United States needs him right where he is to bolster his fellow cardinals and bishops for the long road ahead.  We’re being persecuted big-time here, dear Holy Father, and we need a man of courage to be elevated for his leadership and convictions, and all need to understand he is espousing the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.  The Archbishop has done nothing more than to echo you.  Despite the spin, he has done it in a most humble and loving way.  While I might be inclined to say, “Off with their heads,” he has repeatedly gone back to his wayward flock and lovingly taught, taught, and taught some more.  Whenever I mention my wish for a Cardinal Cordileone, I am often told, “That will never happen.”  Well, Holy Father, you have made your pontificate about doing things out of the norm and a Cardinal Cordileone would be in keeping with your bold pontificate.  Please consider my humble request (yes I do realize I just asked the Holy Father to do something but you can’t get if you don’t ask) which I believe could save the Church in the United States from the wasteland of “Catholics in name only” that we’ve become I know I’m not even close to being alone in this request.  The faithful want, no, we NEED, that extra validation of someone so visibly willing to be crucified for Christ’s Church.  The rest of the laity could use that too.

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.

Doing the Pastoral Thing!

Somebody sent me a beautiful talk given by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone at a conference at St. Patrick’s Seminary early last year entitled, “Doing the ‘Pastoral Thing’ Will Always Be Harder, but Right.”  It seems to have been a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Normally, I would put the link to the entire talk, but it looks to have been delivered in response to some unknown controversy at the seminary (I’m sure those there know about it, but we don’t need to!), so I’m just going to quote some parts of it that were amazing.  These are the parts that seminarians everywhere should hear, as should those who are opposed to his efforts to help the SF Archdiocese.  I’d love to think they’d like to know what makes the Archbishop tick, but I’m reasonably sure they’d just like to throw that alarm clock out the window.

Of course, there is a valuable lesson of life here, especially for your future ministry as priests, God willing. Sometimes doing the right thing will be emotionally difficult. The temptation will be not to take decisive action in order not to create conflict and to keep relationships harmonious. Yes, often things can be worked out in less disruptive ways, and that is the course of action to take whenever possible. But other times you just have to bite the bullet, man up, and do the right thing regardless of how you feel about it.

Anyone else standing on a chair clapping right now???  I’ve run into a few good priests who have literally said to me, “I don’t want conflict,” and not acted on things they know they should have done.  It’s really frustrating for us laity to essentially watch your siblings throwing a temper tantrum and getting away with it.  I can tell you, as a parent, your children are not always receptive to what you are telling them, and sometimes all the explanation and conversation in the world doesn’t reach the rebellious child, so you just have to put the proverbial foot down. These priests are our spiritual fathers.  They don’t (or rather shouldn’t) just get to check out when life gets uncomfortable.  They do need to “bite the bullet,” as the Archbishop says.

None of what he says means love goes out the window when you have to be the adult in the room.  If you can really get to know “your child,” you can figure out the best way to reach him/her, but in the end, what needs to be done needs to be done.  More from the Archbishop on that later.

There is another valuable lesson of life here.  Some of you may not like the decision that was made, or the way that it was done.  You might feel that your loyalties are elsewhere.  When you don’t have all of the information, it is easy to second-guess and foster a hermeneutic of suspicion.  But I’ve learned that when you assume greater roles of responsibility over an organization, you become privy to information that not everyone has, and you begin to see things in a different light.  Quite often when you make a decision some people will get mad at you.

You always see this when a new president takes office.  In the election he says he’s going to do x, y, and z, but when the CBO comes back with numbers or he gets the daily intelligence briefings he wasn’t privy to before, he gets a far better picture of the problem and what needs to be done.  I’m sure this is similar for a Bishop/Archbishop, or even a Pope.  In the dioceses in the Bay Area, I don’t think anyone can quite comprehend the level of disaster the last thirty years have created until you’re trying to repair all the damage.  I remember getting frustrated about some bishop not dealing with some situation and I finally said something to him.  He politely asked me, “Do you know how many other fires I’m trying to put out right now?”  Again, I’m not privy to the daily briefings.  While the archbishop’s last comment was aimed at the seminarians who were living with the “issue”, I really think it can apply to all of us.

On the day you are ordained – God-willing that it happens – you will make a promise of obedience to your bishop.  That promise is not conditioned on any extenuating circumstance.  You do not promise to obey your bishop so long as you like him, and obey his decision so long as you agree with it.  That’s not obedience, that’s just being self-indulgent. Obedience only counts when you submit yourself to the will of the authority even when it’s unpleasant for you – that includes the authority of conscience, as I mentioned above when doing the right thing is emotionally difficult for you, but it also includes the legitimate ecclesiastical authority.

Archbishop Cordileone really nails what has been missing around here for a long time!  We had bishops/archbishops who ran the dioceses here more like a club than an organization with a hierarchy.  Maybe it’s because many of the bishops and priests were in school together and they never made the leap to being the bishop of people who were once their brother priests.  It could also be for the same reason the Archbishop is talking about – sometimes you just have to accept that not every decision you make is going to be understood (because some are missing the parts) or embraced.  They just didn’t want to be unpopular.

This is all the more important when it comes to obedience to your bishop, and other legitimate authorities, such as here at the seminary.  Otherwise, you begin to connive against the authority, and work to get your own way, which tears down any sense of solidarity or common purpose.  It all eventually leads to chaos.  And yet, it’s been my experience that those who are most conniving and challenging to authority, complaining about lack of consultation, are precisely the ones who are most dictatorial once they are in charge.  That is why it is so important that you learn the proper spirit of priestly solidarity, common purpose and serene obedience here and now, during your years of priestly formation, precisely so that you will be a just, generous and wise leader once you are entrusted with pastoral responsibility.  To expand upon what Bishop Daly told you in a rector’s conference a few months ago, I would also say that a conniving, insubordinate, narcissistic seminarian will be a conniving, insubordinate, narcissistic priest.

I hope you weren’t drinking as you were reading this because I’m reasonably sure your computer would be soaking right now!  AWESOME!  Translation: When the patients are left to run the asylum, you get more craziness!  It’s like he just spelled out the plot of Lord of the Flies!  Children cannot raise themselves without proper knowledge of authority or it will be every man for himself with the bullies in charge.  This was the history of St. Patrick’s Seminary.

The ideologue simply imposes his own ideas on everyone else, regardless of how it will be received and without trying to understand the people who have been entrusted to his pastoral care.  The lazy priest, on the other hand, simply lets people do and believe what they want; he avoids conflict at all cost, and builds everything around his personal life, his ministry included.

Whaaaaaat? I’ve NEVER seen that happen in the Bay Area, or anywhere else for that matter.  (Dramatic eye roll goes here.)  Archbishop Cordileone has been showing us for months just what he meant when he said this at the seminary!  Here’s a little more:

This is being pastoral: encountering the other, establishing a relationship with them, being lovingly present to them. A priest cannot possibly hope to help his people grow in holiness if he is not present to them. His loving, pastoral presence to them at those most critical moments of life – the loss of a loved one, the birth of a child, marriage, times of crisis – all of this prepares the ground for him to, when necessary, challenge them for their own ongoing conversion. So make no mistake: truly doing the “pastoral thing” will always be harder, it will always place demands on you, sometimes inconvenient and uncomfortable demands; it will require you to work hard.

Again, he’s been a living witness of this since he took over the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  He wasn’t just telling these young seminarians to do something he’d never do.  He’s ever going back to the opposition with love and compassion, trying and trying again to explain to them why he is doing what he’s doing.  He’s had meetings with the teachers and parents.  He’s had meetings with the press.  He’s still doing what needs to be done, but he’s doing it with painstaking patience.  (It’s been painful for me because I have the natural protective mom inclination to say, “Stop messing with my Archbishop you jerks!”)

Archbishop Cordileone went on to link the quotes above to how we have to treat the liturgy, probably because of the battles the faithful often get into over the music, the décor, etc., etc., etc.

 To have credibility, we have to model that first and foremost at the liturgy: we are the servants of the liturgy, not its creators. This takes a great deal of discipline, restraint and humility on the part of the liturgical ministers, and most especially the celebrant.

Can I just say that credibility has been missing around here for a long, long time? We’ve had four wonderful bishops come to our area in the last twelve years (one has sadly left).  They made great improvements, but we have a way to go!  A lot of those who think they are creators of the liturgy have retired or will soon.  Now these great new bishops have a lot of untangling to do.  In fact, I’m sure Mary, Undoer of Knots, is probably their favorite novena these days!

Now, some people might say that this is all fine and dandy, but it’s irrelevant because it’s not what’s happening in our parishes. Well, if you see a discrepancy between what is in the pages of the Church’s documents and what is going on in our parishes’ liturgies, it’s not because the documents are wrong!

This is where the three approaches can be so easily illustrated. The ideologue will simply start mandating changes without talking to people, seeking to understand them, and, most importantly, teaching them. He’s in charge, so he does what he wants, and even if what he wants is what the Church says we should be doing, he alienates people. The lazy priest simply lets things drift off on their own, and get further and further away from what the Church teaches about how we are to worship. This, too, will inevitably begin to affect how and what his people believe, and so weaken their faith. But the pastoral priest will educate his people about what the Church teaches, what the Council really had in mind for authentic liturgical reform; he will begin to introduce changes gradually, probably targeting one principal Sunday Mass to build it up as the one with special solemnity. He also will not take anything away from his people; he will keep the contemporary music at the other Masses, and teach the musicians how to do it well. In this way, he will facilitate liturgical renewal organically. And it can be done. I’ve seen it done. I know pastors who inherited a parish in shambles (in one of them, the kids’ swing set was in the pastor’s back yard!), and, by approaching it precisely this way, they have completely transformed their parishes: the Masses are full, there are long lines for confessions, the full spectrum of ministries abound – even including the teaching of Natural Family Planning – and people are on fire for their faith.

This won’t happen with the ideologue or the slouch. When the ideologue discovers that the high school kid is having a great time banging away at the drums at Mass, he’ll tell him to take a hike. Never mind that this was his one connection to the Church, and maybe even hope for keeping out of trouble. Of course, the slouch will just let it continue, maybe even encourage it, and pretend as if it’s enjoyable. The true pastor will befriend the young man, guide him as to how he can use his instrument in a way that supports the singing rather than drown it out, and begin to sensitize the musicians to their proper role. When the young man graduates and leaves for college, there is an opportunity to make a subtle change of direction.

The documents of the Church aren’t wrong?  Say it isn’t so!  They’re archaic, at least, right?  Really, this cannot be said enough!  The documents of the Church are not wrong!  We just got it wrong for so many years!  Archbishop Cordileone is very clear: something has to be done about our liturgy.  He’s training these men up in the way they should go and hoping they don’t depart from it so they can do the same for us and our children.

Archbishop Cordileone goes on to mention a few specific things in the liturgies around the Bay Area that are actually theologically incorrect and some that even encourage narcissism.  Narcissism is so big around here; it’s pretty much a hobby for some!  I’m hoping that all of his effort can stem that because, if you are familiar at all with Greek Mythology, you will remember that Narcissus drowned due to his love of himself.  What happens when you can no longer tread water?  You end up like the “100 Prominent Catholics,” sinking further into the abyss!

We cannot thank you enough, Archbishop Cordileone!   We know you’ve taken the harder road so many before you have failed to do.  Despite the media spin and the efforts of the “100 Prominent Catholics,” your love for the people in your care shines through!  You are the true shepherd that we need for our local area as well as for the whole country. May your efforts be blessed!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE CORDILEONE SUPPORT FUND

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

New Tactic for Old Hypocrites

In case you missed it, there’s been a change in tactics in the past week by those who oppose Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.  I’ve seen the idea floated here and there, but it has suddenly become a lot more common.  They finally faced the facts that the old tactics weren’t working, so they’re desperately trying to find a new face on which they can slap a “victim” t-shirt. Guess what?  The new tactics aren’t going to work either.   They’ve got the wrong victim of the crime or, at least, they’ve got the wrong reason.  Let me explain the new focus in their own words:

Teacher Nell Jeffrey of Sacred Heart Cathedral took the microphone and told about a student who had been conceived through in vitro fertilization.

“Is she the product of evil?” Jeffrey asked the crowd gathered at archdiocese headquarters near St. Mary’s Cathedral, which roared its disapproval. “The answer is absolutely not!” Jeffrey said to applause. “She is a product of God!” (http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Hundreds-protest-S-F-archbishop-s-push-on-6227635.php)

Apparently, the new tactic is to parade all the kids they can find who were conceived by in vitro fertilization and tell how the Archbishop says they are a “product of evil” as if they are the spawn of the devil.  Of course, it’s not even remotely true!  Let me again explain to those of you who oppose the teachings of the Church what those teachings actually are, since you seem so woefully ignorant of them.

First, “product of God” is so wrong.  When does the Church refer to any of us that way, regardless of how we were conceived?  It doesn’t.  I think Christ was the only “product of God” and we are definitely not him.  Why is this important?  This phrase was used by a teacher at Sacred Heart Prep, a teacher who either doesn’t have a clue about the teachings of the Church or is willing to distort them to advance her agenda.  Here’s the kicker.  Wait for it!  She’s a religious studies instructor!!! (http://www.shcp.edu/staff/ms-nell-jeffrey/)

Next, let’s remember, this little club opposed to the Archbishop is also against saying abortion is evil.  They push for access to abortion for victims of rape, because that is somehow the fault of the child conceived.  Can you say “hypocrites?”  Which organization has time and time again said that it doesn’t matter how a child is conceived, they are all precious in God’s eyes?  Oh, yeah, that would be the Catholic Church.

The Church never never never ever (Is that enough emphasis for you?) says that the sinful act of how a child was conceived – whether rape, in vitro, or out-of-wedlock – actually makes the child any less precious or in any way culpable for the actions of his/her parents.  Children are always precious in the eyes of God and nobody else is suggesting otherwise – well, nobody except those wanting to overthrow the Archbishop.  It’s really, really despicable to use children in this manner.

So, how are we to answer this latest charge?  Talking about Natural Law and embryos, though all Truth, isn’t going to do a darn thing.  Why?  Because for many, if you can’t see it, it’s not there. They couldn’t care less about teachings of the Church such as Natural Law.  We must show them the victims they can see and can’t deny.

We cannot ignore those children whose parents and the medical profession have so callously disregarded, either by having them frozen or destroyed, or by employing fetal reduction (killing some babies implanted so that the pregnancy will “have a better chance”) – all situations purposely created where a child had to die in some manner.  These children need someone to stand up for them, since their parents haven’t.  Sadly, the Archbishop, and the Church for that matter, care more for these children than their own parents.  Even more sadly, these parents will someday have to face these children and the consequences of their actions.  The Archbishop also knows this and is trying to keep more parents and children from this fate.  These parents also don’t understand God and Natural Law at all, and the teachers at our Catholic schools don’t help (see above).  Therefore, we need to point to the more visible victims of IVF, because society is too blind to see these little ones.

Remember when society used to feel bad for the orphaned?  Remember all the movies made about orphans or lost children and their struggles to find their families, or at least a home?  Does Shirley Temple ring a bell?  That feeling, of course, went out the window with IVF.  Now we get movies like “Delivery Man”.  And before anyone says anything about demonizing adoption, the Church doesn’t do that, either.  It’s best that children are raised by their biological parents, but adoptive moms and dads are the next best thing, and we applaud them!

We all have an inherent desire to know our biological parents, siblings, and from where our history lies.  Most often, IVF children are deprived of this in part or in total.  For them, there is an internal longing that can’t be satisfied.  This longing was created by some people who never gave an ounce of thought to anything more than their selfish desire for a baby any way they could get one.  Biological moms or dads are instead named donor # such and such.  Children born of IVF often have full or half siblings they don’t even know about.  One incredibly horrific thing to think about is many are in the same geographic area of the fertility clinic, and when they get older, they never really know who they are dating.  Think about it!  Do you realize that DNA tests may be needed before marriage just to make sure these children aren’t marrying a sibling, and that a lot more heartache might come of this?  Maybe that’s why the predicted push for approval of incest is on the rise.  It had to happen, because this is what you get when you ignore Natural Law.

If you deny that children have a longing for their biological parents or that it’s detrimental, you are in denial!  Get your clueless head out of the sand and stop saying, “Life’s great because couple so-and-so got a baby!”  That baby is no less precious in God’s eyes, but you need to acknowledge the death, destruction,  longing to fill voids, and even potential incest that follows in the IVF wake.  We’ve all seen news reports of the children of donor X getting together for picnics to get to know their siblings. We’ve also heard the reports of these kids trying to find their parents.  It’s sad that people did this to them.  Those who support the Archbishop need to get a grasp on this topic.  I highly suggest watching this video and supporting this organization: http://www.anonymousfathersday.com/

Another visible victim?  If you want to talk about a “War on Women”, this is it: egg donors!  Thousands and thousands of young women are being preyed upon for their eggs.  Don’t believe me?  Look on Craigslist (and by the way, drop Craig a note on this one!).  How about trying to get them to rent out their womb for surrogacy?  It’s sickening!  They are also targeting college campuses for these girls. I have a friend whose daughter was seduced (the perfect word!) by the fast cash of egg donation, and was physically and mentally harmed by it.  They are being told “no big deal”, “easy money”, etc.  Well, ladies, it is a big deal and has a huge rate of irreparable harm to women’s bodies and fertility through the egg harvesting process.  There are also the women out there who only realize later that they have children out there who they don’t have any legal right to know.  Please make sure that you and your girls watch this movie by the same organization, The Center for Bioethics and Culture: http://www.eggsploitation.com/

So, yeah, the Church and Archbishop Cordileone in all their wisdom know the evil outcome of ignoring Natural Law, even if the opposition doesn’t.  The Archbishop’s priority is to keep this harm as far from his people as he can. I dare you watch the above videos and tell me it’s wrong for Archbishop Cordileone and the Catholic Church to oppose IVF.  If you can, well then, quite frankly, you’re a selfish idiot!

If you’ve engaged in IVF or any part of it, please seek counsel in confession.  It’s likely nobody ever bothered to tell you the reality of it.  The Church can help you and your children deal with it!  Like I’ve said before, we all sin.  The worst idea ever is to say, “Nah, it’s not a sin because I don’t think it is”, and then try to go on with your life.  Whatever you do, please don’t burden your children with your sins if you haven’t already.  Don’t let your obstinate desire to avoid guilt be their cross.  For heaven’s sake, who has to sit down and have a conversation with their children about how they were conceived?  Most of us talk to our children about the facts of life, but the saner parents don’t say “Hey honey!  Let’s talk about your conception.”  The sense of private seems to go out the window with some.

To the faithful blog followers – I’m sorry the sarcasm is low in this one. It’s hard to use the normal dose of humor when children’s lives are involved.  Please study and learn how to answer this topic, because those opposed to the teachings of the Church are trying to make this the condemnation de jour.  We have to stop being reduced to silence when someone points to a child of IVF.  They’re the ones who are wrong for using them to promote their agenda in the first place!

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