Of Handbooks and Contracts

It seems there might be a tad bit of confusion in both the mainstream and Catholic media about the flap over the teachers in the four archdiocesan high schools, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to clarify some things. First, there are two different documents that were in play. One has been signed, sealed and delivered, and the other is still a work in progress. The first was the teacher contract which was just signed last week. The vast majority of this document had to do with labor issues, not morality, but there was a preamble that dealt with the overarching topic of the schools’ Catholic identities and the teachers’ need to not screw that up. The second document is the teachers’ handbook, which is still being developed. That was the document that carried the mean old words from the catechism of “gravely evil” to which so many teachers balked. It’s really not that surprising that there is some confusion, though, because most dioceses don’t deal with teachers’ unions. For some reason, though, the Archdiocese of San Francisco years ago decided to put a union between itself and their teachers.

Please check out the last version of the handbook dated March 29, 2015 (http://www.donotlink.com/ggu3). “Gravely evil” and “ministers” were removed. “Gravely evil” was being heavily mischaracterized by those against Archbishop Cordileone. Time and again the students and the media were told that the Archbishop was calling PEOPLE gravely evil instead of the sins addressed. So, what really does this handbook say? Here we go:

1) Teachers cooperate in the mission of the Church for Catholic Schools.

2) Teachers teach by example.

3) The Church cannot err in Faith and Morals. In other words, if you are going against her, you are wrong.

4) You cannot receive Communion while in mortal sin. You cannot receive while consciously living or attached to that sin. (Situation ethics don’t apply here).

5) Catholic teachers (and the rest of us) are obliged to attend Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days. (That this has to be said shows how bad the situation is.)

6) Marriage is between a man and a woman, and children have a right to their biological mothers and fathers.

7) The male-only priesthood is a doctrine of the Church.

8) You need a well-formed conscience. In other words, you don’t understand the teachings of the Church on the “primacy on conscience.” It’s definitely not, “My conscience supersedes the doctrines of the Church.”

9) All human beings are precious, whether you can see them or not, or whether you consider them to be a human being. (That includes all “gender identities” and those of us who accept our genders as they are would say “Duh!”) They are human from conception to natural death. (So no abortion and no euthanasia.)

11) All of God’s children are called to chastity. Contrary to popular belief, that includes homosexuals, heterosexuals, married, single, or any other bizarre “gender identity” or status you can come up with.

12) The Church believes in the rights of workers, which is why, ironically, it’s quite silly that we even need a teachers’ union in the first place.

13) The Church cares for the poor.

14) We have freedom of religion.

15) All should have a personal relationship with God. We don’t create Him to be what we want Him to be, but we meet Him with humility through prayer and the Sacraments.

That about sums up the handbook. This was the document that had the meat of Catholic teaching in it, not the teachers’ contract. The contract just pointed to Church teaching. It would be soooo nice if a bishop could say “You must follow the teachings of the Church.” Sadly, we’ve been left to our own devices so long, people don’t know what those are. We’ve, basically become Catholic by nationality out here. A separate handbook is greatly needed, and this one is definitely a work in progress. Even after the work is done, it’s going to take education, education, and a lot more education, and I’m not just talking about the students.

Apparently the Rumor of Concerned Parents was Greatly Exaggerated!

I generally find that when one side is yelling, “It’s not Catholic enough!” and the other side is saying, “It’s way too Catholic!”, it’s juuuuuust right. This would seem to be the case in the teachers’ contract flap in San Francisco. It took almost a whole week for the “It’s way too Catholic!” side to get over their depression and make an attempt at a statement, while the “It’s not Catholic enough!” side seems to have theirs written before the contract was released.

I, for one, am celebrating! Is the litany of sins gone? Yep, but I’ve always thought this is way better, anyway. When you start getting into specifics, it gets harder to enforce it. You know – “I don’t use IVF, but I stand out on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood on my days off and escort my students in. That’s not specifically listed in the contract!” There are endless ways people can deviate from a teaching of the Church. In San Francisco, the list is probably bigger than in many places.

Another issue to consider when some try to say, “Hey! This diocese does x, y and z. Why doesn’t San Francisco???”, is that San Francisco is dealing with a teachers’ union. Why they are unionized is a whole other issue, but they are. It makes contract changes a whole lot more complicated and messy. Thank goodness many of our bishops and archbishops don’t have to contend with a union! They also don’t have to deal with the money thrown at the PR machine, as Archbishop Cordileone has had to do.

Let’s look at the “Whereas” sections from the final contract, shall we? (I haven’t actually found the whole thing yet, and I’m pretty good with Google. If anyone has it, please send it to me!) I suspect that the below is the part that deals with morality, while the rest deals with wages, benefits, etc. (Emphasis mine.)

(http://www.sfarchdiocese.org/docs/default-source/media-items-2015/final-draft-agreement.pdf?sfvrsn=4)

2015-18 Collective Bargaining Agreement – Preamble Clauses on Catholic Education 

WHEREAS, the Union and its members recognize the unique nature of the Archdiocesan high school system in that it is Roman Catholic, committed to provide education within the framework of Catholic principles; that Catholic teachings and precepts shall remain paramount throughout the term of this Agreement; and that nothing in the Agreement shall be construed as interfering in any way with the Superintendent’s functions and duties insofar as they are canonical; and

So instead of spelling out specific Catholic teachings, we’re going with ALL of them. Yes!                                               

WHEREAS, the Union and its members recognize that all lay teachers covered by this Agreement shall perform all their duties as set forth in this Agreement in accordance with the doctrines and precepts of the Roman Catholic Church, and shall conduct themselves at all times during the performance of those duties in a manner in keeping with the standards of the Church; and

I’m reasonably sure I do not need to throw out the doctrines and precepts of the Roman Catholic Church again, but if you need a refresher, read my previous articles (especially if they have “Canon Law” in the title).

WHEREAS, the Parties to this agreement acknowledge that the purpose of Catholic schools is to affirm Catholic values through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to help students learn and develop their critical and moral faculties; and

You signed the contract. You have now officially agreed to affirm Catholic values, not those values according to you. 

WHEREAS, teachers are expected to support the purpose of our Catholic schools in such a way that their personal conduct will not adversely impact their ability to teach in our Catholic High Schools; and

This one is a biggie. Again, keep your wacky private life private! Once it becomes public, it affects your ability to teach Catholicism. 

WHEREAS, the Parties acknowledge that disputes about teacher conduct on and off the job are subject to the grievance procedure to determine whether such conduct has adversely impacted the teacher’s ability to teach in our Catholic High Schools.

Abi Basch (https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/magic-queer-powers/) saw the writing on the wall in this final summation. She had no intention to keep her private life private. Instead, she had every intention to indoctrinate the kids in anti-Catholic rhetoric. She left. She was smart (well, smarter than the average person who would use the phrase “magic queer powers”) and almost had some integrity, in that she moved to a school that would support her mission to make everyone approve of her lifestyle.

You know how I know this contract is a good thing? The people against Archbishop Cordileone are dejected. After five days of trying to figure out how to spin it, they could only rehash a couple old news points which they have repeatedly said don’t appease them, they threw out the words “draconian morality clause”, then they added this (http://www.donotlink.com/gg09):

There are still concerns, apparent in the substantial no vote, that the new contract language, though an improvement over the original proposal, could still be used to bypass federal and state employment anti-discrimination laws that protect teachers from being discriminated against based on age, race, gender, disability, and/or sexual orientation. Some teachers fear the new language could have a chilling effect in the classroom and adversely impact teachers’ ability to engender trust and to participate in the open exchange of ideas with students as they explore and develop their own sexual identity, attitudes and beliefs in a safe environment. The Archbishop’s actions have already led some teachers and families to leave our communities while other families have reconsidered sending their children to our high schools. [Emphasis mine.]

Remember Abi? That was one teacher, not “some”. Buh-bye! If you had the smallest shred of intellectually honesty and agreed with the so-called “Concerned Parents,” you’d forget the high academic standards and great sports teams at these four schools and put your kids in a like-minded place. If you’re a teacher, you’d go teach somewhere else. The fact is, there isn’t going to be a mass exodus. They were told three weeks ago that nothing was going to change from here on out, and lo and behold, the promised mass exodus didn’t materialize.

The fact is, parents want the good academics and sports programs that these schools supply, and the liberal rally cry to support the alternative “immorality clause” is falling on deaf ears. The parents know their kids will still be accepted no matter their private sins. It’s only going to affect the teachers who want to sell their sins to their students. It’s simply not worth the inconvenience to most parents, or most teachers for that matter.

We must remain vigilant.  As we move forward, we will hold the Archbishop to his assurances that there will be no “witch hunt” and insist the contract be construed in the positive manner in which it was presented to the membership for a vote, including protection of teachers’ privacy and employment rights. A strong coalition parents, students, alumnae, administrators, Catholics, legislators, labor and the broader community has stood with our teachers. We have put the Archbishop on notice that we are committed to preserve inclusive, welcoming, loving schools dedicated to the pursuit of truth, the highest standards of excellence in teaching and the safety of our children.

That verbal vomit basically says “Waaa!!! We didn’t get what we want!”  You’ve really got to laugh at the mafia sounding “notice” and the “pursuit of truth” comment. They set truth aside a long time ago!

Get it through your thick, little heads. If there was such a strong coalition, the teachers would be on strike right now. Your cause simply isn’t worth the pain to the majority of those involved. As the year progresses and most teachers continue keeping their private lives private, there will be no mass firings of teachers nor students leaving the school, and you will further lose what little coalition you have left.

Magic Queer Powers!

Hoo boy! I just couldn’t let the week go by without commenting on a letter from the now former Sacred Heart Cathedral teacher, Abi Basch (https://donotlink.com/medium.com/synapse/why-students-need-lgbt-teachers-and-allies-9eec4e5f2462). While reading it, my first thought is, “Yeah, none of these teachers have an agenda and all just want to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church.” (I almost typed all that with a straight face!) Basch is the epitome of what’s wrong in the SF Archdiocesan Schools right now. I actually applaud her for being honest, for once, although she simply should have left because her ideologies clash with the teachings of the school she is supposed to represent. She clearly made no effort to teach her students about the Catholic Church, nor, as you can see from Hugh’s letter found at the link above, did she make an effort to correct his misconceptions of Church teachings.

From Basch’s letter:

Yes it’s true — I am leaving SHC and moving to Los Angeles to teach at the Buckley School.

(By the way, Basch is also the person who registered the infamous teachacceptance.org domain name. Hon, since you are leaving, can I have it now so I can put it out of its misery?)

Also true — I am doing it in large part because I do not want to work without state and federal workplace discrimination protections that most Californians enjoy. And another truth — I AM LGBT. Now that I do not work for Archbishop Cordileone, I can say to my students, their families, my colleagues — without fear of losing my job: I am not only your ally. I understand your magic queer powers and the dangers you face when others fear their might — because I have them too.

Look out for those magic queer powers, people! This kind of bizarre quote is one reason people like me are opposed to teachers like her. No, we don’t want the phrase “magic queer powers” used in the classroom by our social studies teachers. Does somebody really think there’s a problem with that objection? I mean, really, this is one of the voices of a supposed movement and we get, “They’re scared of our magic queer powers!” It’s just, well, sad.

 Hugh Mac Neill — you wrote me such a beautiful open letter for the #teachacceptance Phil Ting hearing yesterday — thank you for letting me post it here. (Everyone read it! You will cry, I promise.)

Oh, you’ll cry alright. Not a single word about the Faith except to misquote it. No mention of God. The only person ever on a cross to this young man is Miss Basch.

I am so proud of you for being who you are and standing up for justice. I am moved by all of my students and colleagues, the parents (!!!) and gay and civil rights activists that have rallied around the #teachacceptance cause. I have learned boundless amounts from you. You have taught me about integrity and strength, and made me a better, fiercer, more compassionate human.

Lady, you just used the term “magic queer powers”. If that’s fierce and compassionate, you’ve missed some part of history in your “social studies” education.

I am grateful to SHC for the many ways it has tried to protect its LGBT population, even in the face of pressures from the Arch. And I am very much looking forward to being at Buckley, where my sexual orientation and experience fighting for social justice have been not only welcomed but celebrated. My love and support will continue with all of you.

Give me a break! You’ve all been whipped into a frenzy, but you are the one who has created pressures. Clearly, you just wanted to bring your “cause” into the classroom of a school which was established by a Church innately opposed to your efforts because she cares about souls. Not quite sure if you believe in souls and an eternal afterlife, Miss Basch, but your employer does. So, please, toddle off to corrupt young souls elsewhere with your lack of knowledge or conviction of the Catholic Faith, just don’t do it in a Catholic school. That has been the point all along. If you have an agenda, go to a place that welcomes it. Don’t expect to rail against an employer and have that employer give you the thumbs up!

You had a perfect “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in place, Miss Basch, but that’s not what you wanted. You wanted to openly undermine the teachings of the employer for whom you worked. I suppose this isn’t totally your fault. You and your ilk got away with it for so long because nobody ever seemed to care quite enough about the eternal souls of the children in the diocese. Clearly, Archbishop Cordileone does because he’s willing to go through hell to ensure these students are going to receive the One True Faith instead of the watered down version they’ve clearly been receiving up until now. Thank you, Archbishop Cordileone, for leading our Church through these difficult times.

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

We’re on a Mission from God!

While Ireland burns, this past week has been a dream for the faithful Catholics in America, especially ones in the San Francisco Bay Area who felt like they were going it alone with their Archbishop Cordileone.  Maybe a little persecution has been healthy for us.  Maybe Ireland was a wake-up call.  Maybe the Church hierarchy realized the laity really does back them up.  Maybe they can’t stand the thought of losing another soul to secularism.  Maybe prayers have simply been answered.  Who knows?  Whatever it is, it seems like the hierarchy here in the United States are on a mission from God!  (OK, that’s kind of obvious just based on their calling but you’ve got to quote the Blues Brothers when you can!)

missionfromgod

In California, Bishops Barber and Vasa already won their morality clause wars. Archbishop Cordileone has the overwhelming support from the laity in his fight. He even has the support of many non-Catholics, because, well, it just makes sense that a Catholic school should BE Catholic.  Bishop Vasa, in conjunction with Archbishop Aldo de Cillo Pagotto of Brazil and Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, co-authored “Preferential Option for the Family — 100 Questions and Answers Relating to the Synod” to tackle misconceptions on their three different continents in preparation for the Synod.  They’re countering the silly Germans, Swiss, and French for us!  To top it off, there’s revolt in those countries against those trying to influence the Synod toward liberalism.  It seems that at least some Germans remember the little incident with Martin Luther.

Even more encouraging, the youth are stepping up and supporting these courageous clergy.  I’m seeing more and more youth blogging, tweeting, and making Facebook and Google Plus posts in support of the perennial teachings of the Church and her cardinals, archbishops, and bishops.  My own kids are chomping at the bit, too.  They’re also on a mission for God!  (Jake and Elwood would be proud!)  The media would have you believe that the youth all think like the “100 Prominent Catholics.”  Guess what?  The majority of those leading the charge against the Archbishop Cordileone are the gray-haired.  It’s the same usual suspects we’ve been seeing for years.  I just stumbled across a petition in support of Archbishop Cordileone from an under-30 Catholic for under-30 Catholics (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/we-stand-with-cordileone).  Help them by spreading the word.  They’re hoping to get 150 signatures, but I have no doubt they’ll get more.  Also, young Catholic Twitter users – why don’t you let @samsinger know just how you feel about Archbishop Cordileone.  I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.  In fact, you can sign the petition and then let him know at @samsinger with a link.  Oh, and let him know how old you are.  You can also throw in #meetthelaity.   That will really thrill him and the “100 Prominent Catholics” – or not.

In the past week, we’ve also had Cardinal Wuerl (Washington, D.C.) put out an awesome pastoral letter (you can find the link here: https://onemadmomblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/tang-or-fresh-squeezed/ and you can send that to @samsinger too) and Bishop Lennon of the Diocese of Cleveland has explained to his teachers that they are expected to exemplify the Church in word and deed (http://bit.ly/1LVVKaX).  Heck, even Seton Hall recently removed pro-same-sex-marriage priest, Fr. Warren Hall.  By the way, despite the media reports, he wasn’t fired because he was homosexual, he was fired because he chose to publicly rally against Proposition 8 (the traditional marriage proposition in California).

I know there are more of the American hierarchy that I haven’t mentioned who have made good moves in the past few months and years.  I’m just looking at the names from this week.  It’s almost seems like light bulbs have started going on in the United States , and our Church leaders here realize the youth are the ones they need to focus on to turn this ship around, and everything is getting a bit brighter. The youth need to be protected and taught true Catholicism by word and deed. Bravo, gentlemen!  Bravo!  Profound thanks to those who have already made moves to clean up the schools and seminaries in your dioceses.  Hopefully the light bulbs that are not quite screwed in all the way will soon be shining bright and we can have all of our cardinals, archbishops, and bishops say in unison, “We are the Catholic Church and we are here to protect, teach, and lead you!”

So, to those American cardinals, archbishops, and bishops out there who are thinking about or preparing to jump into this wave of protecting and educating our Catholic youth in this country (It’s all of you, right?), please remember there is a lot of help and safety in numbers.  Don’t let the wave pass you by!  Now is the time!  Every time one more of you stands up, it sends a clear message to the rest of your brothers: “I AM WITH YOU IN DEFENDING THE FAITH!”  Germany never seemed to learn from history and is doomed to repeat it over and over again.  Their history (Church and national) shows them cannibalizing each other again and again just as they are doing today.  We are America!  We pull together when times are tough, and this isn’t just in our country’s history.  It’s also found in our Faith.  Christianity can only take back America if YOU take back the Catholic Faith here first!  We are all on a mission from God!

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