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Social justice conference at St. Elizabeth Seton Plano to feature Obama appointee June 1, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals.
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Well, you know me, I’ll just have to be there.  With bells on. 

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Plano, which hosted Joyce Rupp in February, is now hosting a conference on ‘Parish Social Ministry Training,’ on June 11-12 at the parish.  The conference will host several speakers, the headliner being Dr. Arturo Chavez of the Mexican American Catholic College.  Dr. Chavez is also a member of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a PAC funded by socialist billionaire George Soros and an organization that frequently contradicts the clear doctrine of the Faith and the established authorities of the Church.  Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has repeatedly expressed a willingness to “exchange” expanded welfare funding for continuing or expanded access to abortion.  Dr. Chavez was also named to a Faith Advisory Council by the Obama Administration.

Another speaker is Dr. Mary Carter Waren, a professor of theology at St. Thomas University in Miami and who has written some statements oriented towards religious indifferentism.   

Tom Ulrich from Catholic Relief Services is a big proponent of instituting government policy to radically change the economic system of many nations in order to combat anthropogenic global warming cooling climate change. 

Finally, we have Fr. Peter Ruggere, who is another frequent speaker on the social justice circuit and who is, interestingly, also a director of the highly anti-Israel Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, which lobbies on behalf of Arab Christians in the Holy Land and vociferously criticizes the state of Israel and virtually any action by that state. 

I should also add that all of the above speakers are closely tied to Pax Christi and/or Call to Action, both of which groups freqently encourage dissent from orthodox Catholic doctrine.  Pax Christi USA was founded by (now retired) Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who is radically anti-American and who blames virtually every possible problem in the world on the United States.  

This conference is also being run in conjunction with an organization called JustFaith.  JustFaith’s founder, Jack Jezreel, is a frequent speaker at Call to Action conferences and is involved in “expanding commitment within parishes to progressive social solutions and political networking.”  JustFaith involves an intensive 30 week “immersion” program.  Why the intense instruction?  A former member of JustFaith explains:

The reason for a 30 week, multi-hour classes and “immersion” weekends is to re-educate Catholics in a different Christian ethic in order to fit the “humanistic” ideals of the JustFaith program. This is not a problem for Protestant groups as they have such a varied theology that this is just another view added to their personal interpretations anyway. Official Catholic Magisterial teaching is oriented to sin and to our nature based on original sin with salvation through Grace. This JustFaith program is in no way faithful to that.

JustFaith, along with Call to Action and Pax Christi, draws strongly from marxist liberation theology which was condemned by Pope John Paul II (who actually fought this heretical ideology personally in trips to Central America in the 1980s). 

The term ‘social justice’ is probably the most misused term in the Church today.  As Christians, we are called to help others as generously as possible.  This is so important that God will give us additional graces due to our freely given generosity.  But, there are some in the Church who, for many reasons, feel this either doesn’t go far enough or who don’t trust the idea of people giving willingly to help others.  They favor not individual private giving, but forced “charity” through confiscatory taxation and massive wealth transfers from “the rich” to certain groups viewed as being less fortunate.   This is the view of social justice most often associated with the groups listed above, and, unfortunately, with many of the bureaucrats selfless servants at the USCCB.  The entire, endless imbroglio over CCHD is due to their being numerous staff, and probably not a few bishops, who subscribe to the view that charity is best achieved under the implied threat of force that comes from government.  That may not be their conscious intent, many of these individuals are genuinely trying to help but have come to accept a great deal of socialist thought and view the Faith through the lens of “what’s good for socialism is good for Catholicism,” but the effect is the same.  To someone who is dedicated to personal liberty, I find this view completely wrongheaded and anti-Catholic.  It is anti-Catholic in this way: when the government takes 60% of someone’s income to provide to “others,” that person may no longer be left any money to give to charity.  That person is then being denied the graces he could have received from his charitable giving, graces that are necessary for his salvation.  It is not charity when the government forces one to fork over a percentage for their income for any purpose – all the graces are lost.  It is also a violation of that ostensibly incredibly sacrosanct concept of ‘the inviolability of individual conscience’ that has been used to justify so much deviance from Church doctrine in the past.  The irony is thick enough to need a chain saw to cut it. 

Why are the speakers planned for the ‘Social Justice’ conference at St. Elizabeth Seton almost uniform in their support for socialistic policies, or at least have strong ties to organizations that promote a view of social justice via government mandate?  Why not mix in some speakers that are specialists on private giving and tax deductions?  Is this conference something that a large proportion of Seton parishioners have been clamoring for?  To answer my own question, I understand that there are a number of Seton parishioners displeased at this conference.  All I can recommend that they or anyone else upset that a conference like this is being held at Seton do is to contact both the pastor and the diocese to let them know your opinion.  The contact information is below:


Mary Edlund   Chancellor, Dallas Diocese   chancellor@cathdal.org 214-379-2819
Elsa Espinoza, Secretary, Bishop Kevin Farrell: eespinoz@cathdal.org 214-379-2816

St. Elizabeth Seton:

Monsignor Henry Petter – hpetter@eseton.org

Another possibility is to vote with one’s feet and leave the parish, if one feels called to do so.  If you don’t attend Seton, or even if you’re from far outside the Dallas Diocese, it would probably be a good idea to query whether one’s parish has a social justice ministry and where the money for such an organization goes.  Some have found that their normal contributions wind up going to support groups like CCHD without their knowledge.  You should be able to call your parish to find this out.

UPDATE: A commenter questioned whether leaving the parish was  a good idea.  I almost did not include that in the post, and thinking about it a little more, perhaps it’s not needed right now.  It’s definitely up to the individual/family – it depends on how strongly you feel about belonging to a parish that has this novel interpretation of social justice and is also open to other novel practices, such as bringing in speakers that have strong ties to New Age, etc.  It might be better to simply try to witness from within and change hearts and minds to make events like this unsuccessful and, thus, unrepeated.  Having said that, the continued presence and financial support of people who adhere very strongly to traditional views of the Faith could be misconstrued as support, or at least grudging acceptance, of these kinds of programs by the leadership at Seton or any parish.  For me, I could not do this – bringing in a Sr. Rupp would have been a bridge too far for me, I cannot materially contribute to the presentation of the Faith in such a way that could actually lead people away from the core doctrine necessary for their salvation.  In the case of this conference, I could not maintain my support in light of the associations and expressed outlook of the groups and individuals that will be brought in to “train” the laity and staff at Seton – an outlook that is oriented strongly towards socialist views and which makes use of the completely discredited “seamless garment” argument to trade away one core doctrine of the Faith – no one should do anything to harm any child, ever, from conception on – for some other doctrine.  Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has argued exactly that – that people should not withold a vote for this or that politician because they support abortion on demand, butstate that people should  look at all of their positions and then decide. 

Having said that, I think it’s up to an individual’s moral choice.  Some may feel they are called to remain and work from within, others may come to the conclusion that they cannot abide by some of the things going on.

A bad day at the abortion mill – and we need priest’s help June 1, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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My family and I regularly go to pray outside abortion mills.  Most frequently, we go to a place called, euphemistically as they always are, Routh St. Women’s Clinic.  The last time we had gone to Routh St., about a month ago, we had a pretty good day.  A fellow sidewalk counselor named John B. got a save with a family who was taking their daughter to get an abortion.  My daughter’s played a role in that, when the soon to be grandmother saw the children, and realized she had no grandkids, it had an effect on her.  They left.  In addition, there weren’t many women coming in that day to get abortions.  That is a good day.

This past Saturday, May 29, was a bad day.  The parking lot was packed, with numerous people arriving.  Aside from my family, there was only one other person outside praying/counseling.  We tried to engage many women and men in conversation, but there  was no interest.  The “security guard” who is always in the parking lot was being very hostile.  And then it got demonstrably worse.  A young woman drove into the clinic in a pickup with a rosary hanging from the rear view mirror.  She was hispanic.  She went into the clinic.  Then a woman was driven in by her boyfriend in a car that also had a rosary hanging from the rearview.  Finally, another car arrived, again with the boyfriend driving, in a late model Jaguar XJ.  The boyfriend was maybe 20, looked a bit gangbanger, but he actually got out and talked with my wife and I. 

I asked him why they wanted to abort their baby, and he said there were family issues.  The girl was “16 or 17” – which could have made this statuatory rape, but I didn’t press the point, because he seemed to be wavering.  He also said he didn’t have money, and that he had a 7 month old at home.  I told him all about White Rose and all the services that were available, and that they could help out A LOT with expenses.  I asked if it wouldn’t be better to just wait, go next door, see what White Rose could do, and then decide if they wanted to keep the baby.  The conversation then took a couple turns, and he seemed to be seriously wavering, when at some point he stated that he was a Catholic who went to St. Cecilia in Dallas.  He then got back into the car and seemed to be talking with his girlfriend, and then he drove up a bit, she got out, went into the clinic, and he drove off.  Chivalry in action!  Her child could not be reached for comment.

This is a serious problem.  I have periodically observed what appear to be Catholics going into abortion clinics, but I had not seen such a concentration as on this past Saturday.  I saw what looked like 4 Catholic women going to have abortions.  Judging by some of the responses we got to our entreaties, these women don’t know what the Church position is on abortion.  The young man certainly didn’t seem to know that abortion was against his Catholic faith.  How can this be?  Well, unfortunately, abortion is not addressed terribly often from the pulpit, and is frequently ignored in CCD and other Catholic formation programs.  I don’t know if the knowledge of the Church being against abortion would have affected their decisions, perhaps not, but it is very disheartening to even hear a nominal Catholic make such a claim.  It appears that formation, even on such a basic issue, is sadly lacking.

Another area of concern that came to mind after these events is the dearth of clergy praying outside abortion clinics.  My wife and I were commenting that if there had been a priest present, this young man who seemed to hold his faith in some esteem could have been moved to change his mind.  That got me to thinking about how we virtually never see a diocesan priest out praying at an abortion mill.   There is one diocesan priest who does so virtually weekly, and a non-diocesan priest we see semi-regularly, but outside of that, in the many dozens of times we’ve prayed we’ve never seen a priest.  I know priests are very busy, but so am I.  I take time on my days off to pray outside these ‘clinics’ because it is that important to me.  And, yes, there is the annual March for Life that does feature the bishop and other priests praying outside the Fairmount mill, but this is as much a public relations exercise as it is a serious effort to stop abortion.  And, it could be that we just happen to miss the efforts of priests to pray outside these abortion abattoirs, but I don’t think that is the case. 

 I think it could make a huge difference to the pro-life cause if priests could find time to pray outside these facilities more often.  I don’t mean to impune the efforts of our priests, just to encourage some thinking – could there be time to pray for an hour once every week or two outside  an abortion clinic?  In some locations where this has happened, the results have been spectacular – clinics have closed, and even militant clinics that have no intention of ever closing have seen their business cut by more than half.  I pray that if any priest (or religious) reads this, they’ll think about trying to pray outside abortion mills more frequently.  Doing so may have a cost, but it will also have extremely powerful benefits for all involved. 

And continue to pray for an end to abortion.  For a while, it seemed like demand was falling off at many of the local clinics, but in recent weeks it has picked back up.  Pray for the babies, women, and men involved, and pray for conversion of hearts, an end to fornication and cohabitation, and the use of contraception, all of which lead to abortion.  And please pray for our priests that they may grow into still better leaders and exemplars of Catholic identity and moral doctrine.