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!


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):

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).”


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:

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. (

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:

“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:


Meet the Laity!

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

Struggling SF Archbishop Cordileone desperate for support, cash: campaign begs for $, help:

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

My response to him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wins and Losses

Well, I thought I’d have the day off.  Not a whole lot to comment on, but then this annoying little mosquito showed up and won’t stop buzzing, so back to work I go!

Yes, there was picnic on Saturday and it was GREAT!  We love and support Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and he loves everyone.  Yes, there were counter protesters – a whopping 6 from what I saw.  They talked about not being included in the picnic, even after the Archbishop’s supporters actually invited them to join in breaking a little bread with them but they declined.  Most, if not all, of the protesters were not Catholic, so tell me again – why do they care about the Catholic schools? Honestly, they’re like your annoying sibling who wants to be the center of attention, but we do love them and consider them God’s children. We also hope for their salvation and for their understanding that the Archbishop really has little choice but to follow the teachings and law of the Catholic Church. Most of all, we hope for their understanding that he loves them enough to tackle a hard topic. Like I said, not much of a story other than we hope it lifted the Archbishop’s spirits, because he so deserves that.

Who is the buzzing mosquito you ask?  In a quite silly related story, a local former-sports-reporter-turned-authority-on-Catholic-morality, C.W. Nevius, wrote that supporters of Archbishop Cordileone should “give it a rest.”  My response at this point?  Who are you and why are you flapping your gums?  How about YOU give it a rest and spend a little time writing your own article instead of rehashing the articles that have already been written by your co-workers?  Hmmm?  It would seem you’re a little late to the party.  Slow news day?  Writer’s block, so you’re going to take your co-workers material from months ago and hope we don’t notice?

Nevius is literally reporting on weeks- and months-old news as if it’s something new and exciting (seems to be quite a popular thing to do in his circle).  How is the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate letting him get away with this?  To say he was scooped is the understatement of the century.  At this point, you’ve got to throw out “Thou doth protest too much.”  Does he think he’s making headway and that Pope Francis will remove the Archbishop, or that the Archbishop is going to simply go away and abandon the teachings of the Church?  I’m reasonably sure that’s not why Nevius spontaneously combusted, ranting on old news and telling supporters that they’re either irrelevant or meanies.  Really – we’re now suddenly taking a cheap shot when we point out the fact that many of the “100 Prominent Catholics” have homosexual children?!  It’s OK that they shout it from the rooftops, but those mean old Catholics just can’t mention it?!  I think he might have hit all the liberal check marks: say they are irrelevant, then say they are mean, and repeat, repeat, repeat.  He can at least be proud that he’s met liberal standards, even though he’s fallen short of good journalism standards.

C.W. tried to write about this topic last month and it was an epic fail.  I think the title, “S.F. Archbishop Cordileone wanted a fight, and now he has lost”, was a tad bit inaccurate (and a syntax nightmare to boot). ( – Note the alternate title embedded in the link.  Might it be time for Nevius to face up to reality, instead?  I think so.

Let’s look at how badly the Archbishop has lost. There was a nice poll in Nevius’ employer’s publication showing overwhelming support for the Archibishop (88%-12% to be exact – or a rout, to be even more exact).  The “I Support Archbishop Cordileone” Facebook page (if you’re not a member, join it here: has eclipsed the opposition’s page and will likely reach triple the opposition’s amount after this post (I have faith in you, followers!).  And the two priests who Nevius thinks are so hated? Their support page is just about tied with the opposition and will likely surpass them by a mile in the end. (Especially after you like “I Support Fathers Illo and Driscoll” here: Over 500 people showed up at a Mass Mob at the Star of the Sea, over 500 people showed up the following week at Star of the Sea’s speakers forum (can I just say the collection baskets were overflowing at each?), and over 500 people showed up for a picnic on Saturday to support Archbishop Cordileone (sparking the Nevius rants).  Archbishop Cordileone has lost? I think not. Oh, and can I just say your public figure Facebook page has 35 likes, Mr. Nevius?  I’m thinking something about glass houses right now.  Sports is calling you back, but you seem to have a problem comprehending wins and losses.

Sorry, C.W., we’re here to stay. Feel free to throw out the “intolerant” and “un-accepting” monikers. I’m sure you’re hoping to make that your follow-up article because, yeah, nobody’s said that yet either.  We proudly claim to be intolerant and un-accepting of dissent. “Color me intolerant,” I always say. Many of us have children (and lots of them). We’re hardly going to cave to the demands of an insolent writer.

Buddy Jesus is Not Your Buddy

“Christ was tolerant and accepting, so you should be, too!”  What a load of hooey! This little idea makes me want to hurl every time I hear it.  It ticks me off that nobody can hear me yelling at my computer (where I read everything these days). Honestly, it’s one of the most idiotic statements I hear made by today’s liberal Catholics and liberals in general.  Can they really be this clueless and/or delusional?

By the way, if you don’t like my blog and you’re fuming right now, you are completely and utterly intolerant and un-accepting of my point of view.  Just saying.

Let’s get real.  What exactly are we supposed to tolerate and accept in the minds of these catchphrase Catholics?  Well, in the ongoing debate in San Francisco, we can see just some of the things that we are supposed to accept and tolerate:

  • Sodomy
  • Abortion
  • Artificial birth control
  • Pornography
  • Fornication
  • Adultery
  • Masturbation

Hey, “100 Prominent Catholics” in San Francisco – show me one place in the life of Christ where he is accepting and tolerant of immorality, hypocrisy, and sin. Right about now, some are probably screaming at their computer, “When he prevented the woman from being stoned!”  Or at least that’s the usual response. Anybody remember what Christ said to her after that?  Anyone?  Bueller?  See, it’s a problem when people don’t read the book and just watch the liberal-spun movie. He said, “Go, and do not sin again henceforward.”  What the what?!  He told her not to sin again?  How intolerant and un-accepting!

In fact, Christ’s intolerance of sin is found in many places.  He talks of sin, vipers, millstones, shaking the dust from your sandals (a big dis in those days), etc.  We also see him whipping money changers and rage-flipping tables.  Accepting and tolerant of sin, people?  I think not.  Let’s just move a little more towards reality, shall we?

The short and sweet (and yes, trite) “Love the sinner but hate the sin” is the reality of Christ that we are supposed to follow. The “It’s OK. Do whatever you want and you’re still my buddy!” is the fictitious image of Christ we are supposed flee. In fact, if you see this guy…

Buddy Jesus

…run, far, far away.  He might be tolerant and accepting, but he ain’t loving and he ain’t the real Christ.

This brings me to the crux of what’s so wrong with the people leading the campaign against Archbishop Cordileone. They completely misunderstand the difference between tolerance, and acceptance and love. While love might be tolerant and accepting of a person, it is not accepting or tolerant of a person’s sin. That is the opposite of love.

G.K. Chesterton said (Look – she quotes from the Catechism, Canon Law, AND Chesterton! Who would ever know she’s totally uneducated? – Go away if you just said “Me!”),

Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.

No truer words could be spoken! Tolerance of sin is not a Christian virtue. As a matter of fact, it’s opposed to Christian virtue. It is the ideology of those with no convictions other than “people can’t have convictions or they are intolerant and unaccepting”. See that endless Catch-22 insanity?

Now, the “100 Prominent Catholics” (anyone ever wonder how a CPA got on that list?) like to say that Archbishop Cordileone is “fostering and environment of division or intolerance”.  Uh, I’m reasonably sure that was Christ, not the Archbishop.  Again, it would be nice if people read the actual book instead of those poorly written Cliff Notes that got you a D+ in English Lit.

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!” (Luke 12:51)

How do the “100 Prominent Catholics” repeat the “Christ was tolerant!” mantra with a straight face? I mean, really, can anyone be that totally ignorant of the Bible? I guess it’s possible. It’s either that or they’re just showing the serious lack of conviction of which Chesterton speaks.

Just for fun, I just turned around and asked my 10-year-old if Christ would tolerate or accept sin.  Even the 10-year-old knew the answer was “No!”, almost with a “Duh, Mom!” tone.  I’m sure there are those who are just ignorant of the Bible and confuse tolerance and acceptance with the love Christ showed.  However, those self-professed “100 Prominent Catholics” and all the others who claim to know more about the Catholic Church than Archbishop Cordileone look plain stupid when they do it.  I mean, they are the ones who are supposed to know so much about the Catholic Faith that they know Archbishop Cordileone is going against it. It hasn’t even dawned on them that they haven’t a clue. The ego is staggering!

Yes, people, there is a huge difference between showing love for a person and showing tolerance and acceptance of a person’s sin. I love all my kids. Don’t love or accept or tolerate their sins. If you don’t like my blog because you are a champion against all things Archbishop Cordileone, I tolerate and accept you, but I don’t tolerate or accept your dissent against the teachings of the Church.  That doesn’t mean I hate you and it doesn’t mean we can’t have a civil discussion.  Can one sometimes love by being tolerant of quirks, annoyances, etc.?  Uh, yeah! My husband does it all the time on a VERY regular basis.  That said, he’s not going to tolerate any of his wife’s or children’s sins, because he loves us and wants to see us happy in heaven someday.  This is the same with the Archbishop.

Can we just go back again to those “100 Prominent Catholics” again?  This has been irking me for a while.  Listen, I’m a big believer of the fact that one of my kids could screw up at any moment.  That said, I’m not telling the Pope that Archbishop Cordileone doesn’t know how to manage Catholic schools in his archdiocese, so I’m just going to shoot this one out there.  Mr. Tom Brady, Sr., your son just might have benefitted from the type of Catholicism (aka authentic Catholicism) that the Archbishop is trying to bring to your son’s former alma mater.  If Junior (you know, first child out-of-wedlock and the king of “Deflategate”?) had been taught the Faith at Serra the way that the Archbishop would love to have it taught and exemplified in his schools, maybe Tom Terrific (that’s actually his nickname for you non-football folks) wouldn’t have made such a mess of his life, his kids lives, the NFL, etc.

In short, people might want to really think about the kids in these schools and how their lives might turn out from being taught a watered down and poorly exemplified version of the Catholic Faith.  Tom Jr. doesn’t seem to have benefitted much from it. (Before you get mad that I went there, be happy I didn’t mention fellow Serra grad Barry Bonds.) Is this what we want for the future alumni of our schools?

Millstones and Vous

I was wandering around the net the other day and found this site.  I’m a big fan of seeing what “the other side” (Who’s crying to have to say this about fellow Catholics?) of a debate thinks, since it makes it much easier to talk to someone instead of talking at them.  I find that most that come to this little blog really don’t have a clue what I think.  Rather than read up and then actually have a discussion on what’s written, I get a lot of ranting against things that have never been said. It’s weird. I kind of want to point to myself and say “Uh, are you talking to me?” So, anyway, here’s a little bit about them from their site.  I’m going to interject in between with what I think is a little reality in the surreal, elitist world they’ve created.  I’ll put them in bold (I’d imagine they’d like that) and me in regular font.


We oppose Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s proposed changes to the teachers’ contract and faculty handbook.  His proposal would reclassify all teachers as “ministers,” which would diminish their legal workplace protections.

Here we go again.  First of all, I’m reasonably sure the diocese said the “ministers” thing was too misunderstood so they were going to forgo that one.  In fact, at least one of the major news outlets around these parts have reported ( So why is this still being still being reported as happening?  For goodness’ sake, they are also Catholics (well at least you’d assume some are), so why are we still playing the “If we say it enough it will be true” game?

The proposal would also contain language in the faculty handbook that includes morality clauses and governs private behavior.

Nope!  Nope!  Nope!  The language in the handbook does include a morality clause (and always has, as they even admit) and it does explain what SHOULD govern private behavior (I think it’s called a well-formed conscience), BUT it doesn’t govern private behavior.  What it does say is that if you are engaging in behavior that’s contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church you work for, and it becomes known (no longer in the private realm), it becomes a bad example for the students involved in the school and we cannot give it the thumbs up and let you continue on scandalizing (yes, it is a scandal) the students.

Let’s look at scandal in the eyes of that little thing called the Catechsim of the Catholic Church (kind of a novel thought when it comes to a CATHOLIC school in a CATHOLIC diocese).  I’m even going to put the link here in case anyone from one of these said schools might actually want to look at what the CATHOLIC Church teaches (
(emphasis all mine)

Respect for the Dignity of Persons

1. Respect for the souls of others: scandal

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil.  The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter.  He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death.  Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized.  It prompted our Lord to utter this curse:  “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”85  Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others.  Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.86

Holy cow!  That crazy Archbishop Cordileone is following the teachings of the Catholic Church again!  What is he thinking???  Did you notice the millstone and drowning thing?  Where’s that “tolerant” Christ here? (Sounds like another blog post!)

We cannot in good conscience support language that sows fear, and creates division and discrimination.  We cannot in good conscience accept language which is harmful to our children and their teachers, and threatens our school community.

Good conscience?  What is this good conscience?  How did it get good?  Who decides what is good and what is not?  Don’t you ever wonder how simple all of this would be if the opponents of the Archbishop actually knew the teachings of the Church they’re fighting against (and, in many cases, to which they belong)?  That would require a little bit of intellectual honesty.  Believe it or not, the Church actually explains the whole shebang.  The Catechism – another good read!  I won’t super-quote it here but I’ll put the re-cap.  Please, please, I beg you to read it if you haven’t heard it before! (


1795 “Conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary.  There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths” (GS 16).

1796 Conscience is a judgment of reason by which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act.

1797 For the man who has committed evil, the verdict of his conscience remains a pledge of conversion and of hope.

1798 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.  Everyone must avail himself of the means to form his conscience.

1799 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.

1800 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.

1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments.  Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.

1802 The Word of God is a light for our path.  We must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice.  This is how moral conscience is formed.

Here’s the final few blurbs from their “About” page:

We cannot in good conscience accept language that:

• Labels members of our community as “gravely evil.”

Where did that happen?  Please post one quote that says that.  Anyone?  Didn’t think so.  Judging an act and judging a soul are very different and I haven’t seen  ANYONE labeled “gravely evil.”  That term is not used in the Church for a person but it is used for an act.

  • Implies that members of our community are ill-conceived.

I’m not even sure what that means?  Physically conceived?  Have ill-conceived notions?  It’s a wee bit vague.  Sounds really evil, though, which I think is likely the idea.  If we are talking IVF,  does the Church ever hold a child conceived, say, in an extra marital affair or rape any less than precious? Same thing here.   That’s what the pro-abortion crowd does, not the Catholic Church. What the Catholic Church does is to try and stop the wave of victims which result from abandoning natural law.  It’s also totally and utterly against willfully separating children from their biological parents.   Again, please see ( and (  A little to real for you?  Sometimes it’s not about you and the Church, in all her wisdom, knows that whether you are willing to acknowledge it or not.

  • Undermines the free exchange of ideas.

Uh, it definitely undermines saying that gravely evil acts are not gravely evil act. That’s rather the point of the Catholic Church and a Catholic school (see Canon Law in earlier posts).  A “free exchange of ideas” should always be done in the light of Truth not the dark of situation ethics (a.k.a – the land where truth changes on a whim and ceases to be truth).  Exchanging ideas doesn’t mean inventing truth (and, yes, I did use a small “T” for a reason).

  • Intrudes into the private lives of teachers and strips them of their legal rights.

And, wham-o! – we’re back to the “If we say it enough people will believe it!” game. I’d love to know if people really believe what they are saying. It seems a bit disingenuous to me. People need to stop interchanging “personal” with “private”. They are not the same. If you keep your life private life private, there’s nothing to talk about unless it’s in a confessional.  Once you make your private life public, it’s no longer private.  Even my 10-year-old understands this, but maybe he wouldn’t if he had attended the diocesan schools of the past 40ish years.

And finally, in a shocking turn of events (OK, it’s not, but I’ll just throw a little snark in here), the diocese addresses all of these points here but doesn’t link to it anywhere on their site.  Can you believe it?!  I’m sure it’s just a well planned oversight to keep Truth from seeing the light of day.  Sorry guys.