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Is the Church hemorraging youth? July 14, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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Uhhh…….sadly, yes, and in droves.

Catholic parishes that have a sense that they are losing the young are probably correct. Not knowing what else to do, they are still instituting “LifeTeen” programs that provide an opportunity for young bands to play popular music at Mass, some of it easily mistaken for a teenage jam session. They are also working to further make their educational programs more “relevant” to the lives of teens. ‘

What they do not realize is that it is precisely this sort of pandering that could be the source of the problem. In any case, it is obvious enough that this is not working.

Cause and effect is impossible to prove in social science, but it just can’t be purely coincidental that the meltdown of Catholic youth participation began its total meltdown around the same time that parishes started this trend toward treating them as a special segment within the Church that needed anything but clear teaching, solid doctrinal instruction, and solemn liturgy.

The post at Chant Cafe then goes on to a very long list of data that shows how Catholic youth have a demonstrably weaker faith than their protestant, mormon, or muslim peers.  In fact, Catholic youth are often less knowledgeable about their faith than those of other sects, or atheists!

Chant Cafe continues:

The survey also reports that only 19 % of U.S. Catholic teenagers attend mass on a weekly basis and that 40% never attend. [I have presented similar statistics to various authorities in the Church on certain issues.  The response is typically that it is the fault of the parents, the culture, TV, rock music, PopTarts, etc. – anything except any possible failing on the part any parish or diocesan structure.  Until this mentality changes, the Church will continue to bleed young people.  Don’t they know the children are our future!  I said that in my Helen Lovejoy voice!] Truly, these are catastrophic findings. It means the loss of an entire generation, all accomplished in the name of winning them back. Those in charge don’t often see the connection because those who leave are gone and they go without explanation. Those who stay are the ones who don’t mind the pandering, the cheesy music, the fluffy teaching. Intelligent kids who can recognize that they aren’t be treated as emerging adults take off never return.

The researchers summarize: “It appears…that too many U.S. Catholics have through inertia continued to rest assured that old organizational structures were taking care of their children when in fact they increasingly have not been. And so many or most Catholics teenagers now pass through a Church system that has not fully come to terms with its own institutional deficit and structural vacuum with regard to providing substantial and distinctive Catholic socialization, education, and pastoral ministry for its teenagers.”

Of course most of the policies that are driving kids away are being put in place by people in the 40s, 50s, and 60s who can’t remember what it was like to be young and have older people attempt to spoon feed you and attempt to re-create a shoddy version of the secular culture that already envelopes the young. If the Church has nothing different, nothing challenging, nothing intelligent, and nothing fundamentally radical to offer, why bother? The youth see this even if their parents do not.

Is there hope? Absolutely. No group is so hungry for good liturgy as that which has been utterly starved for access to solemnity. Many people who have looked at the Simple English Propers carefully have concluded that the group most likely to feel drawn toward its solemnity and sacredness are the emerging adults. The Lifeteen groups are precisely the ones that will be drawn to the sense of liturgical accomplishment that singing these chants will elicit in their hearts and minds

I think many religious ed directors and youth ministers would be surprised at how young people would respond to more solid catechesis, more traditional liturgy, and glorious Church music, instead of bad Christian-pop.  It won’t keep some youth from leaving, but I think it would help. 

I know a family member who was way into Lifeteen in high school, and who is now very involved in the Faith at a major state university (c’mon, this should be EASY!).  She described to me recently that she’s very into her Faith primarily because of the excellent program at St. Mary’s (ooops….gave it away), and mostly in spite of LifeTeen, which, she says, was pretty bad.  That’s just one tiny bit of evidence, but it’s interesting to see her really throwing herself into the Faith now that she’s in an orthodox environment, and finding the former Lifeteen rather deficient.  That’s just one example, but the very sad part is, most young people don’t happen to fall into a very orthodox environment after leaving home, and are thus lost.

I have written nothing but books today!

Strangled and silenced by ‘choice’ July 14, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, asshatery, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, sadness, sickness, Society.
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Yes, the pro-aborts are increasingly being backed into a corner of their own making, both rhetorically and otherwise.  But since the left achieves victory by changing the meaning of language, the very words we use, the ‘choice’ they have fought so stridently for is now being used for something they (and we) hate – sex selective abortion.  But they are rhetorically defenseless to oppose it:

When it emerged, the concept of “choice” seemed a triumph of marketing, the way to appeal to the libertarian streak in the people, to neutralize the unpleasant fact of the issue with something that could be sold as a good.

“Choice” was what you exercised when you voted, when you picked a career, or your human associates. “Choice” was essential to freedom and self-definition. “Choice” was a value, more so than abortion: Abortion wasn’t the issue; “choice” was the issue, and abortion was one of a large set of issues over which choices were made.

The language deployed reflected the terms of the framing: Abortion opponents were “anti-choice,” not pro-life, or anti-abortion. Many people were happy and proud to be labeled anti-abortion. Anti-choice, though, was a whole other story. No one would want to be that. [I, for one, am proud to be ‘anti-choice’ on many issues.  I’m opposed to people ‘choosing’ to kill babies, act like perversion is normality, or bashing the heads of puppies.  There are many choices that are immoral and evil.]

But the embrace of “choice” presented a quandary, which was not all that clear at the time. “Choice” as a value meant that all choices were equal in terms of morality: not only the choice to give life or take it, but all the reasons for which the choice of abortion were made. [That’s the story we’ve been told by abortion proponents.  How does that work in the real world?]

Reasons of hardship or health or convenience were accepted as equal, and all were defended. [In point of fact, many of these innocent sounding ‘choices’ are coerced.  Many more are made for the most banal of reasons, reasons the vast majority of reasonable people would reject, were they not carefully papered over by pro-aborts] All women’s choices were regarded as wise, since women had made them. [This is a powerful trend in our society, the view that women are always rational and even saintly actors.  It is false] Objecting to this was out of the question, as it gave an opening to all of those evil and retrograde social conservatives. It was also, of course, “insulting to women” — than which no more damaging charge can be made.

Then came the news that women were using this wisdom in order to end female lives. Scientists believe that, world-over, around 160 million women are “missing,” dispatched (that is, aborted) by their parents, who prefer male children and don’t want superfluous females to clutter their lives. [D’oh!  So ‘choice’ does have real world consequences!  Some choices are evil!]

In the course of events, every second abortion produces a dead female fetus (which the sisters accept as collateral damage) but this new statistic means something different: the culling of females, because they are female, for no other discernible cause. [The pro-aborts hoisted on their own petard – women (often under coercion, but sometimes not, deciding to kill off only female children!  What to do!?  ]

Liberals belong to the party of “hate crime” and think people count less than the groups they belong to. Murder is one thing, but an attack on a group is beyond human decency. Is this a crime against which they will rally? Well, no. [Well, they might, but they’ll be hypocrites in so doing]

Why not? It’s a “choice” — and choices, of course, must never be questioned, no matter to what ends they lead. Late-term abortion? Terrific. Infant dismemberment? Hardly a problem. Sequential abortion? No problem there. [Pro-aborts are very nervous about data showing that a very large number of abortions are had by repeat customers – indicating abortion used as birth control]

Abortion as a tool to dispose of unwanted girl children? Now, this is a problem, but liberals have surrendered the right and the standing to make moral judgments. They have found now a choice they despise, and they can’t rail against it. Who would listen to them holding forth on this issue? What in the world would they say?  [Let’s turn this on its head – what if it were male children that were being wiped out?  Would pro-aborts still be appalled?  Or would that just be ‘one valid choice of many.’ ]

Ready to fight over a word, wink or whistle, they have no words at all for all those dead females. They are strangled and silenced by “choice.”

Rhetorically and otherwise, pro-aborts are on the run.  The real world, horrific consequences of the “family planning” strategies they advocate are increasingly apparent to any thinking person who is not a pro-abort ideologue.  Sex selective abortion, which has resulted in millions of dead females, is just one terrible aspect of abortion, but so is abortion due to Down Syndrome, or autism, or other “defects.”  The pro-aborts started this slide towards viewing humans as a commodity – now that the wrong kinds of humans are being targeted for elimination, they have no room to complain. 

A brilliant commentary on the ‘debt-ceiling’ debate July 14, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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Anyone even a bit plugged into current events knows that there is a huge debate political brawl ongoing between the Republican-controlled House and the demonrat controlled Senate and White House over the federal budget.  The core problem is that the US government is spending far more than it takes in – in fact, it is spending about $2+ for every one dollar it takes in.  This huge debt is a crushing burden on the economy, which cannot come back to life so long as government is sucking up so much capital for………all the foolish and largely counterproductive programs our federal government engages in.  Obama had a gambit all along – massively increase spending in order to force later tax increases, thus insuring the massive spending would be ‘institutionalized’ and form a new baseline for government operations in this country.  He’s taken the federal budget as a percent of GDP from around the historic 18-20% figure and blown it up towards (and likely above, in out years) 30%.  The economy cannot sustain this level of fiscal profligacy. But, morally, we are told that if we cut federal spending, it will devastate “the poor.”  And we are also told that it is only moral to highly tax “the rich,” who must pay their fair share.  Thomas Peters is having none of this false morality:

What concerns me as a Catholic is the false dichotomy that frequently comes up during this debate. It goes like this:

“America is spending more than it takes in. If America is to balance its balance sheet, it shouldn’t do so on the backs of the poor. Instead, the wealthy should pitch in their fair share.” [This is the starting point of the massive lie.  The bottom 48% of wage earners in this country pay NO, ZERO, NADA, federal income tax .  The top 10% pay about 80% of all federal income taxes.  Many of those in the top brackets are small business owners who may have income of $700k, 800k, even over a million a year, but they have expenses of $600k or $800k, which makes their net…….not so stinking rich.  When taxes are raised on these folks, they either have to lay people off or shut down their business.  Or, they look for creative ways to avoid taxes.  Repeated economic studies have shown that, no matter what the federal income tax rate is set at, the federal government will only net about 19-22% of GDP in taxes, at most.  Higher taxes lead to less economic development and more effort spent hiding income in offshore and other investments.  This ‘income hiding’ was a very large industry the last time we had ridiculously high federal income taxes – back in the late 70s.]

This argument is misguided on many levels.

First of all, neither rich people nor poor people got American into debt. The government got us into debt. It is the government that has spent more money than it has, time and time again. [Well, “we” have voted for the government that has gotten us into debt, and far too many Americans want to live way beyond their means, on both a personal and a ‘federal’ level. We are about to enjoy the pain of paying for the profligacy of earlier times.]

Second, saying that the government must take more money from the wealthy (both businesses and individuals) [Many of the ‘wealthy’ targeted by Obama and the democrats are small business owners who are not what one would normally consider ‘rich.’] to take care of the poor presumes that government is the most efficient way to take care of the poor. I disagree. In fact, in my view, the government is about the most inefficient (not to mention most expensive) way to take care of the needy. [YES!  Finally, a Catholic says this. So many in the Church, including, sadly, most of our bishops and many priests, are wedded to the idea that government is the best and almost only way to “help the poor (which, relatively speaking, often are not poor. The number of truly poor people in this country is quite small).”  This idea is wrong headed and, frankly, imbued deeply with socialism.  The government, especially the federal government, is exceedingly inefficient.  We’ve all heard the stories of ‘bridges to nowhwere’ and ‘$10000 toilet seats.’  These small items are indicative of the overall problem – government is wasteful and inefficient.  There are far better, and more efficient means, of ‘aiding the poor,’ when undertaken by private and locally based efforts.  Even more sadly, Catholic Charities and similar groups get over 90% of their funding from the government.  Many bishops are loathe to see that governmental income drop.]

On a deeper level, I have a profound problem with the way the debate plays out in the mind of Democrats right now who suggest Americans must prove why they shouldn’t owe more in taxes. Right now Americans have to say either they a) don’t have money to spare for taxes or b) will use their extra money to invest in creating more jobs and giving back to the country in other ways. This is just the reverse of what it should be: the government owes us an explanation for why it should be taking more of our money. [Democrats operate from the assumption, the profoundly socialist assumption, that all money earned by all people and businesses belongs, by right to the “the people,” that is, the government.  So, they often speak as though the government is doing us a favor by letting us “keep” 60% or 70% of our income.]

This is how I would like to see the debt ceiling debate conducted: before politicians and the President agree to allow the government to borrow more money, government should come back and demonstrate how it intends to solve our crippling rising debt. The fact that entitlements (constituting the bulk of America’s future debt crisis) remains a sacred cow to democrats makes it difficult for me to see how they can be trusted to right the ship of state. [They are also a sacred cow to many Repubnikans, who will likely force a cave-in and Obama’s so much desired tax increase.  We’re watching the Cloward-Piven strategy in play, folks.  This president is a committed socialist.]

In fact, even if Democrats successfully implemented the most draconian tax increases they could formulate the added “revenue” would not solve the entitlement crisis. If Republicans, however, were able to introduce the government spending cuts and entitlement reforms they want to see it is actually conceivable that America’s debt situation could be markedly improved. [Yep, but few Americans are aware of this, as they get their news-fo-tainment from the statist media, who fully support all democrat efforts to create a socialist empire and make any conservative ideals, ideals on which this country was founded and ran for it’s first 190 or so years, seem strange, draconian, and alien.  They’ve been remarkably successful, in spite of being fully discredited as ‘unbiased’ media].


How are we to understand this debate in Catholic terms? Currently the Catholic Left is fond of saying that we have a moral obligation to provide for the poor, and from that they argue we cannot morally make any cuts or reforms to entitlement programs designed to aid the poor.


I counter: there’s nothing moral about wasting money and endangering the common good of all Americans by following policies which are demonstrably failing to provide aid for the poor in a sustainable way. [This is what the ‘Catholic left,’ which policies many bishops seem to endorse, fundamentally fails to understand – the US economy is in dread shape.  We are teetering at the edge of an abyss from which we may not, will not be able to return.  We are about to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.  The US economy is fundamentally unhealthy due to unsustainably high levels of government spending – especially federal spending.  We cannot sustain the current levels.  This economy will implode.  We cannot continue the wealth transfer schemes instituted decades ago.  The reasons for this are many (including the fact that folks have contracepted and sterilized themselves to the point there aren’t enough new workers to support these schemes!), but are immaterial at this point.  Everybody is going to have to endure some pain.  Alot of pain, in fact.  I fully expect to pay into “Social Security” for my entire working career and get nothing out.  I fully expect to have no essentially no health insurance if I retire.  I expect to work until I die, because the social welfare net as presently constituted cannot be maintained.   Oh well, work is out lot in this life, we work now so as to enjoy the eternal pleasure of beholding God in His Glory later.  I could go on and on, but this post is already too long – fundamentally, the Church’s unfortunate alliance with government will have to cease (one way or another, it will cease, or very largely so), and the Church will have to return to doing what it did for 1950 years or so – aiding the poor as best it can through distribution of alms, etc, not being an engine of ‘social revolution’ and an arm of the government.  The sooner Church leaders accept this near future reality, the better they can begin preparing for it.


On the radio tonight! July 14, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic.
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I will be on the radio again tonight (Thursday, July 14) on 660 AM KSKY from 8p-9p on the ‘Life and Liberty’ radio show.  We are going to have a VERY SPECIAL GUEST! tonight, you’re really going to want to listen!   Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV will be joining us on the air for most of the hour.  Listen to two crazy faithful Catholics rant and rage for a whole hour!  You can’t beat that kind of entertainment! 

It’s Bastille day!  Let’s storm heaven instead of the French monarchy!

You can also listen on the web on www.ksky.com