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CCHD in a nutshell November 17, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, Society.
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This Xtranormal thing is going to be a very powerful tool.  All the problems with CCHD in a nutshell.  I cannot support CCHD. I cannot recommend anyone else to do so.  I recommend no donations be given to CCHD at present, and I believe more bishops should either refuse the collection or direct the money elsewhere.

One thing – I don’t agree with the statements “I will pray for the bishops.  I will pray for those on an evil path.”  I don’t think that is the case.  More, confusion and misrepresentation on the part of CCHD, organizational inertia, and the weird relationship between diocesan sees and the USCCB, where too many lines of authority have been muddied.

Regarding the USCCB and other national conferences, while I am glad the Archbishop Dolan was elected to head the USCCB as opposed to Bishop Kicanas, I would prefer the organization, and all national conferences, would not exist.  They cause too much confusion in terms of authority, with the USCCB at times seeming to declare that it has some kind of moral authority over Catholics (it has none).  Also, the USCCB is a bureaucracy, and two trends dominate all bureaucracies: the tendency to become more liberal over time, and the tendency to seek to perpetuate itself and its own interests as its primary concern.  I don’t believe the benefits of the national conferences outweigh the penalties, and too many bishops, on issues like kneeling for Communion, have chosen to claim to be beholden to “directives from the national conference” which have no authority, rather than make clear determinations in line with the Magisterial authority coming via Rome.  The Pope had some recent comments, as well:

A national conference of Catholic bishops exists so that pastors of the Church might “share the fatigue of their labors.” But, according to Pope Benedict XVI, those national conferences can never substitute for an individual bishop’s authority and duty to guide his people…..

Since the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965), some critics have argued that bishops’ conferences have assumed too much influence in the lives of local churches and in some cases have diminished the authority of local bishops.

In his address, Pope Benedict reminded the Brazilian Church leaders that “the counselors and structures of the episcopal conference exist to serve the bishops, not to replace them.”

The bishops’ organization is meant to allow for “the joint and harmonious exercise of certain pastoral functions, for the good of the faithful and of all the citizens of a particular territory,” the Pope added.

College campuses are the most authoritarian, lockstep doctrinaire places in North America November 17, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, asshatery, disaster, General Catholic, scandals, sickness, silliness, Society.
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An anti-abortion club is forced off a Canadian college campus for being “discriminatory.”  This is how the left lives and breathes, folks…….you must be completely, tolerant of every sacred shibolleth of the left.  Any views outside those shibolleths will not be tolerated, and you will be punished.

Please tell me how, exactly, this is different from totalitarian systems anywhere? 

If the end of democracy ever comes to this fair land, it will not come from a right wing nationalistic group.  It will come from our oh so tolerant and understanding friends on the left, and it will be for our own good, of course.

Sometimes I should just shut up, but some things have to be said November 17, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in disaster, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, sadness, scandals, silliness.
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So, I’ve mentioned that I like to hunt.  I am extremely fortunate, I don’t have to lease any land, my wife’s family owns quite a bit down in the midst of the densest white tail deer population in the world, Gillespie County, TX, USA.  Because we go down to this area alot, we go to church there alot, too.  The only Catholic Church in the sprawling megalopolis that is Harper, TX, is called St. Anthony’s.  St. Anthony’s is one of those little small town parishes that had a pastor like, forever, but he unfortunately passed away 20 odd years ago.  They then had a series of short term pastors, before eventually the Archdiocese of San Antonio ran out of men wanting to move out to truly, the very, very edge of the Diocese, and it became a mission parish.  Well, my father in law is a very devout Catholic, and has a close association with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, SOLT.  He managed to get SOLT and the Diocese together and have SOLT take over administration of St. Anthony.  Great!  Problem solved.

Only, it wasn’t entirely.  The first priest assigned to St. Anthony was an older guy essentially in retirement, and his leadership was not overly vigorous, I guess one could say.  There were a number of other problems, as well, and so after a few years of complaints, he was replaced by a much younger priest, a priest who had served overseas as a missionary, as SOLT priests are wont to do, a priest with a great deal of fire and love for his apostolate and the Church.  His name is Fr. Paul Grala.  Fr. Grala is a great priest.  In terms of love of the Lord, love of the Church, and apostolic zeal, he is hard to beat.  He knows Scripture cold, he understands how Scripture supports Catholic Doctrine, and he is a great teacher.  He also celebrates Mass and the other Sacraments very reverently, and seems to be really turning what to me was a fairly lackadaisical parish around.  He brought in more statues of angels and an antique banner of St. Anthony, he excelled at formation of children and was getting the altar BOYS operating at a higher standard, there is Latin in the Mass per Sacrosanctum Concilium, he is trying diligently to get the choir to Chant at least on some level, and he was only there for 2 years.  I say he WAS there, because come this January, he won’t be there any longer.  Due to complaints, both SOLT, and Fr. Grala, will be gone.

Look, folks, I complain about things going on in the Church more than anyone I know, and sometimes, I should probably take Cardinal George’s advice and learn to be more humble and obedient, and stop spiking the ball in the end zone when things go my way.  But I’ve never sent a letter to the bishop asking a priest to be fired.  Apparently, letters like this are a common occurrence, even for popular local priests you know and love.  I would rather engage with the priest and you, my dear sweet readers, to try to effect change, and not just run the guy out of town, even over very serious issues like speakers who profess dangerous beliefs or invalidly Consecrating the Sacred Blood.  And, I’m big enough to admit there are many times when I’m wrong, so I’d hate to have driven someone off because of my pride and lack of humility.  But, unfortunately, some folks down in Harper, including some folks I know very well, family type folks, determined that Fr. Grala was just so awful to work with that he had to go, and so he’s going, and now Harper will go back to being a mission parish.  Instead of having Mass and receiving the Eucharist, the Source and Summit of our Faith, 7 days a week, they might have Mass on Sunday and one other day a week, if they’re lucky.  Confession (3-4 days a week with Fr. Grala)?  Fire up the car and go to Fredericksburg or Kerrville.  Baptisms, First Communion, Confirmation?  Well, they might be able to arrange that once a year, maybe twice. 

I know the people involved in getting SOLT and Fr. Grala run out of the parish feel they have very good reasons for what they have done.  I’m sure he had numerous faults.  He kept odd hours, probably because he prayed and studied Scripture so much.  The Rectory also serves as the church office, and he wanted modesty and privacy, so he changed the locks on Rectory so folks would not walk in unannounced, and that made some folks mad.  He would ask people for help, say, building some small thing at the parish, and then he would change his mind about what was being built. I’m sure these things were very annoying.  I’m sure he was a bit scatterbrained and unable to focus on important administrative work, as many who seem to have a particular attachment to prayer and study do.  I’m sure he was hard to work with, and perhaps he was a bit overwhelmed.  But it also seemed as if the complaints against him started very quickly after his arrival, in a matter of weeks, so I’m not sure he got a completely fair shake.  I think some folks were also offended by his orthodoxy, his adherence to Catholic Doctrine.  And now, what I consider to be an excellent priest is out of a job, and a parish that was faultering without regular leadership before his arrival but was seemingly coming back, will now face a very uncertain future.  With the great shortage of priests, and with a burgeoning cowboy church appealing to the lifestyle of many in the local area, I fear for the future of this parish. 

There may be some personal cost associated with my writing this.  I know there are many people who think being active in the Church means volunteering and performing some kind of task.  I know they think that is how you can best support the Bride of Christ. I know many feel that a parish must first be a smoothly operating machine, a business that has schedules and metrics and GETS THINGS DONE.  My view is a bit different.  I feel the main role, almost the only truly vital role, for a parish is to bring people to the awesome Mystery that is Christ and to foster individual relationships with Him through the celebration of the Sacraments and good, solid formation in the Faith.  Any other considerations are, to me, quite secondary.  No one will deny that Fr. Grala excelled in these vital areas, even though some apparently found his orthodoxy off-putting.  I pray that the individuals motivated to have Fr. Grala and SOLT removed were not acting out of pride, out of perhaps an exaggerated view of the importance of their own roles at the parish.  And I pray that Fr. Grala have great success in his apostolate in the future.  The Church would be greatly blessed to have more priests like him.

One final note: there is an interesting generational divide in terms of support for, or opposition to, Fr. Grala.  While younger people with kids being formed by Fr. Grala were generally very supportive of him, older Catholics who had the time to work at the parish more were generally opposed to his continued presence there.

Rebutting @ihadanabortion November 17, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, sickness, Society.
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I made some comments last week about women who were twittering seemingly proud, defiant statements regarding abortions they had had.  I hope they know they’re not nearly as anonymous as they think they are, but I digress………A young woman who has had abortions but is now a mom of a certain number of children has a rebuttal for those kinds of comments, comments seemingly nonchalant and dead to the experience, or triumphalist and seeming to have chosen to make a political statement with the life of a child.  It’s not an easy read, the pain is palpable, and I know a bit how she feels – when you’ve done something so incredibly wrong (for me, it was years of addiction), all you can do is look back and feel regret, you don’t have any answers, you can try to move forward, but that’s about it.  But mine was just wasted years and the hurt and neglect of people around me…..those kinds of things aren’t impossible to overcome.  Being involved in the willful death of your child……I can’t imagine that kind of pain:

This week has been a complete hell.

Someone asked if I had heard about the doctor in Orlando who has been in a lot of trouble, and when I searched for news about it, I realized it was James Pendergraft, the doctor who did my abortions.  He has now had his medical license suspended for the FOURTH time, this time for performing late term abortions past the time when they are legal.

When I saw a picture of the clinic, I crumbled.  When I saw a picture of the doctor, I began weeping and I couldn’t stop.

Every sight, every sound, every feeling came back.  I can still remember the poster on the ceiling.  It was the last thing I saw before I fell asleep from the anesthesia, and the first thing I saw when I woke up.

The article was full of stories about women like me…ones who have suffered for months, even years, because of incomplete abortions.

There was a woman who was awake and saw her baby being pulled from her as his body fell apart in the doctor’s hands.  They had her frantic 911 call as she decided she wanted the baby to live after seeing that it actually IS a baby, but no one at the clinic would help.  By the time the ambulance arrived, the baby was dead.

It’s an uncomfortable subject…because if I call it a baby, if I admit that it was a boy or a girl who had 10 fingers and 10 toes and a life that was already mapped out by God, then I am calling myself a killer.  If I talk about it, blog about it, pray about it, then that makes it real.

But just when I think I’ve pushed the memories far enough behind that they won’t catch up with me, there they are again.

The self-hatred is paralyzing.  It lurks closely and tells me that I don’t deserve happiness.  The guilt is suffocating.  It has affected every relationship I have.  I can’t trust or attempt intimacy.

I would take a bullet for my out-of-the-womb children.  Why didn’t I protect the ones inside?

I have given up hope that the past could have been different.  I cannot change what I did.  Every bible study, counseling session, and prayer seems to just be a band-aid over a wound that will NEVER heal.

So, I will be a voice for my children who only know heaven.  I will be a voice for the millions of women who live in regret, guilt, self-hatred and fear of being “found out”.  I will be painfully honest about every feeling I have, and I will stand up for life even when it’s unpopular and politically incorrect.  So, please spare me your pro-life/pro-choice arguments.  I know what I saw.  I know how I feel.  I will NEVER be the same.  I will NEVER get over it.

And if I don’t take this pain and make it my purpose, I think it might kill me.

Make sure to read the comments. Often times, pro-aborts try to portray those opposed to abortion as wickedly judgemental, heartless bastards with massive superiority complexes.  I don’t see that in the comments.  When I’m at an abortion clinic, I never hear prayer warriors out there attacking the women having abortions (strong words for the doctors and the staff do, however, occur, with reason).  I hear love and regret, sorrow and sometimes pity, but not judging accusations.  Not only would such negative comments be counterproductive, they don’t express what almost all pro-life people feel.  We don’t want the mom to suffer this kind of regret!  We don’t want babies killed!  We pray that we can change hearts and minds.  We pray that people will change their lives so abortion will become unnecessary, but we pray that those who get themselves in a bad situation will seek other options!

A personal note: some time back, I asked for prayers for a family that had been struck by a terrible tragedy.  Well, pray more, because that family is in desperate straights.

Is it moral to ration health care? November 17, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, Society.
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One of the major explosive terms of debate that came out during the government health insurance takeover process in Congress was Sarah Palin’s notion of ‘death panels.’  This was sort of a code for groups of bureaucrats deciding that grandma just didn’t need that cardiac arterial stint, and could just get by with perhaps some pills and a likely early death.  Supporters of the government becoming even more involved in the health care industry repeatedly attacked Palin’s notion as completely bogus, even dangerous in its “scaremongering.”  But, it turns out, a number of major proponents of Obamacare, now that it has passed, are fully admitting that such panels should be empowered within Obamacare, in order to reduce the cost of health care to the government:

Paul Krugman, the Princeton University professor and New York Times columnist who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2008, said on November 14 that “death panels” may be needed to help curb the nation’s budget deficit.

“Some years down the pike, we’re going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes,” he said. “It’s going to be that we’re actually going to take Medicare under control, and we’re going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT. But it’s not going to happen now.”

Krugman added that if President Obama’s deficit reduction commission “were going to do reality therapy, they should have said, ‘OK, look, Medicare is going to have to decide what it’s going to pay for. And at least for starters, it’s going to have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all.

Now, if this plays out as it has in Canada, not only will the government not take money from some other people to pay for your brain surgery, they won’t even let you GET your brain surgery, even if you want to pay for it yourself, because certain non-approved procedures, and the special skills and equipment needed to perform them, will simply not exist anymore because they’re won’t be demand for them (or, there will be demand, but the government will block anyone from fulfilling that demand).  Your alternatives will be very limited.  It  may be possible to go to another country to get whatever treatment you need on your own dime, but, then again, it may not.  And how much innovation in medical technology and new drugs will there be if the government makes clear it won’t pay for those technologies when available?  This is something that was key in the Obamacare debates, but often overlooked – the US health care industry is at present a giant engine of development that other countries, with nationalized health insurance, take advantage of.  Industries in those countries don’t flourish as much as here, by and large, because of lack of willingness to pay for the treatments they produce.  But when new technologies like MRI get developed in the US and become widespread, the price drops enough for these other countries to start using them in dribs and drabs (Canada has about 10% as many MRI devices per citizen as the US, for an example).

Is this moral, from a Catholic perspective?  Is it moral to limit care, and even to stifle advances in medicine, so some additional people can have their health coverage paid for by others?  Or, perhaps the question is, which is more moral……the free market, where most have insurance and those that don’t still get cared for on the county dime, albeit it generally at a lower level of care, or a socialist system, where almost all have coverage of some sort but everyone’s care suffers significantly as a result?  Put more bluntly, with the free market, some people get awesome access to health care, many get pretty darned good, and a relative few get perhaps somewhat substandard care.  With socialism, almost everyone is covered, but everyone only has access to substandard care.  Is it moral to lower the standard of care for 70% of the population to improve the standard of care for 20%?  And then, is it moral to allow many people to die far younger than they would have under a free market system?