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Obamacare causing shut down of Catholic hospitals in PA October 11, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in foolishness, General Catholic, scandals.
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Catholic Vote, via the American Spectator, is reporting that 3 Pennsylvania Catholic hospitals are closing due to Obamacare.  The crux of the matter is potential lack of funding and pressure to perform medical procedures that are at odds with Catholic moral doctrine.   The CEO of the hospitals is stating that Obamacare is definitely responsible for their shutdown.  There is evidence that our favorite female religious, Sr. Carol Keehan, has been pressuring him, and other officials at the hospitals, into changing their story and claiming that Obamacare is absolutely not responsible for their closure.   In a memo released denying that the sale of these hospitals has had anything to do with Obamacare, Sr. Keehan attacks claims that Obamacare had an influence as “politically motivated” and insinuates dark, sinister motives on that most convenient of punching bags, blogs (meaning, ordinary Catholics). It appears she was successfully in pressuring the CEO to change his tune – he is now issuing statements that read almost verbatim with Keehan’s.

Oh, one final thing – remember Bart Stupak?  The Michigan congressman who held up Obamacare for months over its lack of protection against abortion funding, and then abruptly caved.  We also know that a letter from “nuns” was sent to various “pro-life” democrat congressmen, and after receipt of that letter, many quickly switched their votes in support of Obamacare.  Stupak received such a letter.  It wasn’t signed by “nuns,” it was signed by a “nun,” as in singular (she’s actually not a nun, she’s a female religious).  The religious?  Sister Carol Keehan. 

Anyone think that, perhaps, Sr. Keehan has a great emotional and career investment in Obamacare and how it is perceived?  Anyone else find it odd that a Catholic religious would be a high powered, high pressure lobbyist?

UD Ministry Conference – some speakers reject Church doctrine October 11, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals.
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I posted some time back about the upcoming University of Dallas Ministry Conference being hosted at the Dallas Convention Center.   This is THE formation/training event in the Dallas Diocese for all teachers, catechists, parish and diocesan staff, etc.  You would expect it to be filled with really good speakers, and there are quite a few good ones.  There are also a few who leave me scratching my head, wondering why UD and the Diocese would want to invite these individuals to influence those who help form the Faith of all the laity of the Diocese.  While they may be wonderful people and adhere awesomely to the Faith in some areas, in others they appear to hold views that are contrary to the Doctrine of the Faith.  Given my last post, in which I discussed some of the reaction within the Diocese to the news that most Catholics fail to understand or accept very significant articles of Faith, and how departures from the Doctrine of the Faith by various individuals with leadership roles in the Church may be feeding this lack of understanding/acceptance, it is distressing to read that this very important training seminar will be hosting people who publically reject the Faith.  Some of the “problem” speakers:

  • Dr. Gordon Greer – a professor at the University of Massachussetts, Dartmouth, and one deeply involved in social justice movements, Dr. Gordon Greer holds some views regarding homosexuality in general and the priesthood in particular that are seemingly at odds with Catholic doctrine.  She maintains that homosexuality should be no bar to the priesthood, in spite of repeated clarifications of Catholic doctrine from the Vatican and other sources that demonstrate that Catholic doctrine holds that those with an un-natural sexual inclination should not be candidates for the priesthood.  She rejects the notion that homosexual acts are intrinsically sinful.  In addition, she argues that the Church should “redefine” celibacy to allow for sexually active hetero- and homo-sexual priests (in other words, she rejects celibacy for priests).   To her mind, celibacy means leading a life dedicated to serving God, whereas she views not having sex as mere abstinence.  Regarding religious, Dr. Greer stated: “I’m sorry, but the asexual nun just doesn’t do it in the world anymore.”  So, apparently, those who make a gift of their sexuality to God and live a chaste, celibate life dedicated to prayer for the world (including Dr. Gordon), just “don’t do it anymore.”   Throughout a long speech reprinted here, Dr. Gordon rejects out of hand the concept that sex is reserved solely for the marital embrace.  In fact, she repeatedly conflates sinful sex that occurs outside of marriage, including homosexual activities, with sex within the marital embrace.  She sees no difference between sex inside, or outside, of marriage.  She also maintains a vision of radical discontinuity between the pre-and post- Vatican II Church, and that the Church must continue to shuck off “old doctrine” in order to “get with the times.”  Most disturbingly, Dr. Gordon implies that her colleagues at Catholic Charities can perform psycho-analysis to get one over their hangups about things like the sinfulness of sex outside marriage and homosexuality.  I did not know that Catholic Charities offered psychologists to overcome Church doctrine.
  • Amy L. Florian: Ms. Florian will be hosting seminars on children’s liturgy and end of life issues.  She also has problems with Church doctrine on homosexuality, and feels that gays should be able to marry and lead non-celibate lives.  While there are many emotional reasons for her rejection of Church doctrine in her essay on the subject, none are theologically sound or in line with Catholic doctrine.  She also holds the Traditional Latin Mass as being divisive and undermining the unity of the Church, contrary to Pope Benedict XVIs statements.
  • Sr. Dorothy Jonaitis – Sr. Jonaitis has stated that she looks to Bishop Thomas Gumbleton for moral guidance on the issue of homosexuality and Church doctrine, who she claims has stated that the “primacy of the individual conscience” somehow allows one to disagree with the clear Doctrine of the Faith on the issue of homosexuality.  She also stated that she would rather listen to the voice of her conscience than the guidance of the Pope. 

So, that’s just what I found in a quick review of the speakers done in one evening.  There are dozens of speakers, and I don’t have the time and resources to go over every one in depth, but it appears that most are relatively unknown and have little, if any, in the way of documentation available for review.  I did happen upon an unfortunate server on the UD website, trying to look up some information on some of the speakers, that apparently served as some kind of porn gateway.  Probably somehow got spammed, but nevertheless, they may want to obliterate this page

The last aspect of the conference that, I think, may be problematic, at least philosophically, is the panel on liturgical design being chaired by retired Msgr. Don Fischer, along with Methodist pastor Ellen Schipert, Linda McCray, and UD Professor Lyle Novinski.  First, it seems odd that a symposium on Catholic liturgical design (that is, the design of our chuches) would need or desire the input of a Methodist – the theology of the two churches being extremely different, and knowing that our own Church has an unparalleled history of sacred art and architecture.  Only if one is seeking to break, in some ways, from that tradition, would this outside input seem desirable.  Perhaps this is a new ecumenical effort.  Nevertheless, knowing the “liturgical spaces” favored by Msgr. Fischer and Professor Novinski, we can expect the trumpeting of church design that is cold, barren, and frequently modernist.  I reject the whole notion of reducing the awesome majesty of the Catholic sanctuary down to a “worship space.”   If you’ve been in many of our local churches, you know that the designs preferred by this panel hold complete dominance in the area – cold, sterile, and with what art there is, generally being quite bad.   There is precious little that is warm or inviting, and the sense of the transcendent, of the incredible mystery that surrounds the Mass, is often completely lost.  Beautiful churches can, and are, being built.  Some are being restored.  I think to some extent there is a generational gap here, but I know few Catholics who like our current concrete and exposed stone, virtually iconoclastic, churches.  I pray we will see a sea change in the coming years towards churches that are less modernist, less revisionist, and more representative of what the Church prays, and believes. 

I’m sure I’ll be derided as hard hearted, uncharitable, and out of touch, but I massively prefer this:

To this:

There is more to Catholic orthodoxy than being pro-life October 11, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, sickness, Society.
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Over the last couple of weeks, some polls have come out which are deeply distressing to faithful Catholics, including many clergy and religious.   I have heard several reports of local priests trying to shake up their flocks through vigorous homilies, stressing Catholic teaching, since these polls have come out.  Even Bishop Farrell referred to the dire lack of formation during a homily on Saturday.  Unfortunately, Bishop Farrell did not outline any kind of plan to redress this lack of formation, and even seemed to accept it on some level – he stated that while a small number of Catholics are well formed and trying to live the Faith, they tend to isolate themselves (really?), whereas a great number aren’t being well formed and almost certainly won’t be.  That’s quite a damning statement, and one would think that the Bishop of this Diocese would be engaged fervently to correct this lack of understanding of the Faith.  In fact, no one bears more responsibility for insuring that Catholics in the Diocese of Dallas, TX know the Faith than Bishop Kevin Farrell.  Of course, he knows he bears this responsibility, as well, and so the question must be asked – where is the plan?  If Catholics, collectively, don’t know a bull from a bass fiddle when it comes to the Faith, should there not be strenuous efforts to correct this?   I know that Bishop Farrell has tried to encourage greater Faith Formation, but the magnitude of the present crisis would seem to call for drastic, and very public, action.

Be that as it may, there is another aspect that needs to be addressed.  It is a great thing that there were priests moved by these polls to give some really good homilies.  It is not easy saying things that may not be well received by those that listen, even as many may still not be paying any attention.  But even here, there is still something missing.  It is great when a priest says that Catholics have to believe in the Real Presence – that it is an article of Faith, denial of which separates one from the Body of Christ.  But if this same priest, in another context, says that he thinks gays should be able to marry, that separate denial of an article of Faith completely undermines his demand that Catholics adhere to doctrine on the Real Presence.  It undermines his moral authority, and puts in the mind of many Catholics that all of these doctrines are just so many opinions, which one can adhere to if they want, or reject if they want.  Couple this with the widespread misconception of the “primacy of the individual conscience,” that unfortunately worded phrase from Dignitatus Humanae, and we have the seed bed from which so much dissent from Church doctrine grows.  It is both the example given by various priests, religious, and even bishops, in seemingly rejecting various aspects of Church doctrine, even, nay, especially those that seem counter to the dominant culture, and this confused sense that, since Vatican II, Catholics are able to, guided by their conscience, arrive at conclusions on issues of doctrine opposed to that of the Church, that causes so few Catholics to understand or accept much of the Doctrine of the Faith.  I must remind readers that we have examples of recently invited speakers in this Diocese, who, I have been assured, were thoroughly vetted and reviewed by the Bishop himself, who depart from Church Doctrine on any number of subjects.  On top of those philosophical reasons, are of course bad catechesis which is distressingly widespread, such as people involved in adult faith formation stating that various protestant heretics had it right all along!  It is little wonder, then, that so few Catholics accept all the Doctrine of the Faith.

I don’t want to sound overly negative.  Priests that have been motivated by this recent unveiling of the lack of adherence, or understanding, of the Faith by Catholics to strive to correct these problems must be applauded.  It is great to see the Holy Spirit working in them in this manner.  But it is critical to note that, in trying to instill the Faith into others, this places a great onus on them to lead by example, that they cannot publically deny any article of Faith, especially those that are at present controversial, or even imply that perhaps the Church before such and such a time was somehow deficient, an unfortunately common trend among some, who convey, intentionally or not, that there is a marked dichotomy between the pre- and post-Vatican II Church.  Even speaking personally, stating that this is just “my personal opinion that women will be ordained as priests,” or that “priestly celibacy should end,” or whatever…..any of these statements undermine not only the Church’s teaching authority, but also that of the priest.  If a priest seems to reject Church doctrine on one issue, why should the Faithful listen to them on another issue for which the priest demands adherence to the Magisterium?

We are, collectively, in a pickle.  The Catholic Church in the North America and most of Europe is in really tough shape.  It didn’t get in this shape overnight (although, it was amazingly quick), and it will take a long time to correct.  It’s going to take the concerted efforts of everyone who loves the Church –  bishops, priests, religious, laity – to even begin to turn the status of the Church around.  Many in the Church today did not create these problems, but they have to deal with them.  It is only through complete adherence to the Truth revealed by Christ through His Church that we can please God and win those Graces from Him that will allow this desperately needed re-construction of the Church to occur.   It will not be easy, but we will in the end, win out.  God Wills It.