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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.

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.


1. Teresa - June 1, 2010

Great Post! Social justice is being perverted by the Left for all sorts of anti-catholic causes. The Church needs to clamp down on these activities. Forced “charity” is anti-Catholic and even anti-Chrstian.

2. Agnieszka - June 1, 2010

It’s time to organize a crusade.

3. Plano East Dad - June 2, 2010

Another possibility is to vote with one’s feet and leave the parish, if one feels called to do so.

I don’t recommend this. There are good people at Seton. There are few that follow the liberation theology types. Think about it…Sr. Joyce’s Technicolor Dreamcoat Parade managed 200 attendees from 5 parishes with a total membership approaching 100,000, and an ASA of probably about 20,000. There are an equal number of solid folks at Seton, but 90% of the people there are pretty much clueless. If the solid Catholics leave, who will bear witness for the 90%? Packing up and leaving is no longer a viable option. Besides, where would we go…

tantamergo - June 2, 2010

Plano East Dad –

I understand how you feel – I almost didn’t include that final bit of gotterdammerung. Yes, there are many good people at Seton, we have celebrated Mass there many times, and the Seton staff have been very generous in many regards. I don’t know how many attended Sr. Rupp’s New Age Cavalcade, but 200 sounds about right. It was listed as ‘sold out’ several weeks before the event, but the multi-use room at Seton isn’t very large. Frankly, and I’m going to update the post to say this, leaving is probably not the right option, right now. But, if events like this continue with the constant parade of NCR all-stars, then I think the people at Seton are going to have to consider whether they can in good conscious continue their support of that parish.

I agree on the 90% – it is likely more than that. Right now, it seems like most of the parishes in the north deanery are about 2-3% very involved and orthodox, a like number or slightly more are involved and heterodox, and the rest are largely just there. Without the support of the pastor, and with constant events tending towards heterodoxy, though, the ability of the orthodox to witness is limited.

Where would you go? That depends on what you’re looking for. There are some very good, very orthodox parishes where the Mass is celebrated very reverently and where traditional Catholic doctrine is not only upheld but celebrated. Might I recommend trying one of these parishes for Sunday Mass while maintaining your witness at Seton or whatever more local parish on weekdays?

James1:19 - June 3, 2010


You might like this


We also attend Seton and would like to share more details with you….

tantamergo - June 3, 2010

I love Fr. Longenecker. Another very strong Anglican convert, like Fr. Christopher Phillips.

I will link to Fr. Longenecker later in a post later.


4. therese - June 3, 2010

Do you all have a BISHOP in Dallas?? What is he doing while one of parishes is leading pewsitters off a cliff like this? If he is spineless, concerned Catholics are obligated (according to the CCC) to contact the Nuncio to the USA, Archbp Pietro Sambi. GOOGLE his name to get his Wash DC address.

THis isn’t just a matter of individual taste. THese people are teaching contrary to Church teaching & this is creating a scandal. The reason we’ve had so many scandals in the Church is that people & BIshops turned a blind eye to bad situations. We are all obligated to follow up at this point.

tantamergo - June 3, 2010

We not only have one bishop, we now have THREE! We got two new auxiliary bishops a couple of months ago. As to your second and third questions, these are questions for which I do not have answers. I tried my best to contact the bishop over the Rupp situation, but I was largely stonewalled. There is a cordon of silence around the bishop, his aides and the staff at the Chancery refuse to allow a mere lay person like me to speak with him. I do not know if that is at the Bishop’s direction, or if that is due to the intransigence of the staff to try to prevent any real change from happening in this diocese.

I threatened to go to the Nuncio during the Rupp situation, but I held off as I received what I thought were assurances that the bishop was looking closely at the situation. I now believe that to be false. I will not be so dissuaded again. Thank you for your comment.

James1:19 - June 3, 2010

Actually one of the new auxiliary bishops came from St Rita’s who happens to be a member of Dallas Area Interfaith…A subsidary of Industrial Areas Foundation. I’m not sure that we would get really far with him on any P&J concerns.

tantamergo - June 3, 2010

See my latest post. It’s alot worse than we thought.

Plano East Dad - June 4, 2010

Farrell is just as unapproachable as Grahmann was. He’s still surrounded by many of the same people. Some of us tried to get an apostolic blessing for an anti-abortion project, and never got anywhere. You’ll get nowhere with this bishop.

5. T - June 3, 2010

I am a parishioner of Seton. I discovered the “office of Peace and Social Justice” a few months ago. I have chosen to stay in the parish because I cannot effect change or alert those who don’t know what’s going on by leaving. I simply don’t tithe there anymore and it upsets me because I love the people of Seton. But I refuse to let my money go to progressive political organizing within my church (to the tune of at least 15K /year to Dallas Area Interfaith and Collin County Interfaith – both affilliate organizations of Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas foundation).
You may also want to contact Tony Fleo who is Father Petter’s Pastoral Associate 972-596-5505 x4222. He is the original person responsible for bringing in the IAF into the church. (About 8 or 9 years ago – you add up the yearly membership fee of 15K or more) and ill bet my limbs he’s responsible for this conference along with the pastor’s blessing. We need to stand up for our church and get government out of it. Separation of church and state is a must. The church’s goal is to save souls and bring people to Christ not lobbying the goverment for the purpose of redistributing money.
I am in the process of alerting fellow parishioners of this cancer. Please stand up for Seton. Your parish may be next…

tantamergo - June 3, 2010

My family are not members at Seton, but we do attend Mass there semi-regularly (although, that may have to change with recent events). I am through talking to staff at Seton, I have done so in the past and see no way to effect change there – they are not open to persuasion.

Thank you for your comments.

6. Support for “Social Justice” pervasive in the Diocese « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - June 3, 2010

[…] in Abortion, Dallas Diocese, North Deanery, scandals. trackback I’ve learned more about the social ministry training conference to be held June 11-12 at St. Elizabeth Seton in Plano, and it is not good.  In fact, it’s […]

7. Support for Industrial Areas Foundation pervasive in the Dallas Diocese : Dallas|Ft. Worth|Catholic|News|Mass Times|Business Directory|Diocese - June 4, 2010

[…] learned more about the social ministry training conference to be held June 11-12 at St. Elizabeth Seton in Plano, and it is not good.  In fact, it’s […]

8. Dave in Dallas (McKinney) - June 4, 2010

Although I am not surprised. The North Dallas ‘Burbs are a bastion of liberalism. It was because of EWTN and Guadalupe radio that I have come back to THE Church this year, not because of local folks.
While I was being protestant over the past 6-7 years I saw many a Christian church go down the tubes…
I see a new re-evangelization and re-education going on in the Catholic church, which excites me!
The protestant churchs have some grass-root movements trying to get back to a more orthodox position, however they have no tradition or magesterium to fall back on to bolster their positions.
The Catholic church on the other hand has B16 , the Fathers, and 2,000 yrs of teaching. `

9. Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services deeply involved in ‘social justice’ work « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - June 4, 2010

[…] Abortion, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals. trackback One aspect of the ‘social ministry’ training planned at St. Elizabeth Seton is the tie ins with Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief […]

10. Questions, questions, questions « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - June 7, 2010

[…] 2010 Posted by tantamergo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, North Deanery, scandals. trackback Since I put up several posts last week concerning the ‘social ministry’ training to be held at St. […]

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