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Texas Catholic Conference Conducts Ugly, Unprecedented Attack on Texas Right to Life February 23, 2018

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, asshatery, Basics, contraception, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Society, the struggle for the Church.

I’ve written on this subject before, though it’s been some time – basically, there has long existed a marked division among the Texas pro-life movement, the uncompromising, total ban on abortion and other forms of murder position represented by Texas Right to Life, and the much more accommodating stand taken by Texas Alliance for Life.  There are many reasons to view Texas Alliance as weak on key issues, and indeed, most of the most dedicated, most successful pro-life advocates tend to support Texas Right to Life.  During the 2014 legislative session, some acrimonious division developed between Texas Right to Life and the Texas Catholic Conference (TCC), which is the bureaucratic arm of the state’s bishops (like a mini-USCCB).  Dominated by its lay staff and their preferences, including their relations with several prominent Texas lawmakers, TCC at various points supported end-of-life legislation that a number of pro-life advocates believed – I should say proved –  actually worsened the status quo in Texas, and put elderly, the sick, and their families even more at the mercy of doctors and hospitals in making end of life decisions.

So why has Texas Catholic Conference taken the very  unusual step of disavowing, or telling all Catholics in the state to disavow, this most effective pro-life group now?  In a word, politics.  Texas Right to Life, along with a number of other hardcore grass-roots conservatives groups like the Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America, Texas homeschoolers, and others, have managed to fund a number of “insurgent” campaigns by true, hardcore conservatives against establishment candidates like Angela Paxton.  Early voting is underway for the party primaries, so feeling their establishment buddies under threat, major Texas politicians like Joe Straus – the Speaker of the House, who has done more than anyone to block effective pro-life legislation in this state and who saw Texas’ pro-life ranking drop from #4 to #12 in his 10 year tenure as speaker – are pulling out the stops to try to break the backs of the conservative groups supporting the insurgent candidacies.

We’ve seen this before in this state, where the establishment always favors its own, but not to this degree, and not with a public disavowal of a group whose only “sin”, even by Texas Catholic Conference’s own admission, is to be “too pro-life.”  In point of fact, the very minor pro-life “gains” we have seen in Texas are out of all proportion to the citizenry’s general abhorrence of abortion.  In one of the most conservative states of the union, Texas’ pro-life legislation falls further and further behind, because of the super slow boil establishment approach.

Many Texas Catholics are incensed by what they see as a betrayal of THE most effective, most dedicated pro-life group in the state (which also happens to have the support of the best bishop this state has seen in 50+ years, Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi, who now offers the TLM more or less exclusively).

If you want more on the inside baseball of Texas politics and how this very sad abandonment of a great pro-life group9 came to pass, read the below from Church Militant, which……..yeah, I know, but just roll with it:

The bishops’ denouncement of Texas Right to Life comes in the wake of a split looming inside the Texas Republican Party — a winnowing of the conservative wheat from the Establishment chaff. Internal polling indicates Lone Star State RINOs are facing extinction in the upcoming elections, and political insiders believe the bishops’ “advisory” is a ploy to save their political hides. By demonizing Texas Right to Life, they suggest, the bishops hope to preserve their political allies in office.

According to their “advisory,” the bishops are spurning Texas Right to Life for three reasons:

  1. Conflicts on pro-life reform. The bishops complained the group “often opposes the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and has implied that the bishops do not faithfully represent Church teaching.” Texas Right to Life rejects the bishops’ “incrementalism” as a halting, soft approach.
  2. Conflicts on end-of-life reform. The bishops slammed Texas Right to Life’s messaging on end-of-life care and advance directives as “misstatements.”
  3. Texas Right to Life’s voter guide. The group publishes an annual voter guide scoring Texas lawmakers according to their pro-life record. The bishops have denounced the guide as built on unfair analysis, and they maintain “a number of legislators who have consistently voted for pro-life and end of life legislation have been opposed by Texas Right to Life.”

This isn’t the first time Texas Right to Life has run afoul of the Church Establishment. In 2013, Jeffrey Patterson, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference, wrote to state Representative Dan Huberty on behalf of the bishops, blasting Texas Right to Life’s voter guide as “unconventional,” “subjective” and producing “perplexing results.” He complained that the voter guide assigned low scores to “pro-life lawmakers who have worked long and hard to protect and preserve life.”

But Republican lawmakers like Byron Cook and Joseph Straus, key leaders of the Texas GOP Establishment, have been criticized by Texas Right to Life for obstructing pro-life laws.

As Church Militant reported in October 2017, “Cook, as the chairman of the Texas House State Affairs Committee, has worked overtime to block pro-life legislation from being passed in the Texas legislature despite claiming to be pro-life.” For example, he killed HB1113, the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform, which would prohibit insurance companies from paying for elective abortions.

The pro-life bills Cook did support were considered “weak” and “fake” by Texas Right to Life — “ineffective or non-priority” measures that were actually “detrimental to the pro-life movement.”

Straus, meanwhile, as Speaker of the House, “put a sudden end to a special legislative session” that Gov. Greg Abbott had called in order to address important bills Establishment Republicans ignored during the 2016–17 regular session.

Just because, fearing losing a primary election, Straus and Cook are no longer seeking another term, does not mean that the establishment is broken or disorganized. As we see, they are still plenty powerful.

I do wonder the degree to which the 13 bishops who ostensibly make up TCC are involved in this, and the degree to which it comes from the lay bureaucrats who run TCC on a day to day basis?

If you want to read the TCC declaration, here it is—>>>02-2018_TRTL_parish_advisory

Some folks are planning to walk out if the announcement is read in their parish during Mass this Sunday. I don’t think I’m going to have to worry about that.

I am saddened and shocked at this turn of events.  There was no need for such an absolutist position from TCC against TRL – the two have worked together at many points in the past.  Why now, of all times, this matter had to be brought to the fore is incomprehensible for reasons of doctrine or importance to souls.  It very much appears to be doing what their political allies in Austin want the TCC to do, which is to try to remove a troublesome thorn from the establishcrats side.  To Bishop Olson – dude, I’ve defended you in the past, but you got to get a hold of your temper.   There are fights that are optional, and fights that are mandatory, and fights that one should never get in, and this is one of those.



1. Joseph D'Hippolito - February 23, 2018

Why should the Texas Catholic Conference (I assume that means the bishops) be any different than the USCCB? They’re nothing but political whores who value political influence and their contemporaries’ opinions more than identifying with Christ. They will get theirs, I assure you — far more quickly than anybody imagines.

BTW, is Joe Strauss related to Robert Strauss?

Tim - February 23, 2018

“They will get theirs, I assure you — far more quickly than anybody imagines.”

As will we all. Pray for these bumbling fools who have lost their faith.

Tom Gorman - March 1, 2018

Here’s the truth TXRTL doesn’t want you to know. Greg Abbott thinks they are liars. Dan Patrick can’t stand them either. The Grahams endorsed Philip Huffines because of the $$$. They vindictively tried to tell their donors not to trust Jodie Laubenberg because she won’t bend over for them. They are trashing Tan Parker for the same reason. Both pro-life warriors. They endorsed Dewhurst over Cruz and Dewhurst over Dan Patrick too because they were trying to get a $100,000 gift from Dewhurst. They like to endorse young and inexperienced candidates like Thomas McNutt in Corsicana because they want someone who they can manipulate and will oppose someone with a perfect voting record like Brandon Creighton in favor of someone who does their bidding. They will create dishonest narratives against anyone who calls them out for their lies like Senator Bob Deuell did in 2013 and go to far to punish the man even though he’s a strong advocate of the unborn. They are doing it again with Cindy Burkett. Every other pro-life leader in the state knows of their nastiness: Carol Everett, Kylene Wright, Joe Pojman, Abby Johnson though most of them bite their tongues so as not to cause scandal. In the 1990’s TRL had 25 board members but when Jim took over in 1995, he began to make the board smaller. When he hired his wife in 2002 without the knowledge of the board, half the board quit in protest. Jim shrunk it further so that by 2005, the only remaining board members were himself, his wife and his elderly dad. When his dad died four years ago, they did not replace him. The Grahams run their organization without oversight. As of the 2015 tax return their annual salary is $250,000 and they also live in a hotel suite by the capitol year round paid for by the organization at a cost of $40,000 per year. Those who work for them also report that the organization pays another $50,000 annually for their restaurant bills.

2. MFG - February 24, 2018

Great post – thanks!

MFG - February 24, 2018

Seems Texas Right to Life was the first recipient in an escalating salvo that Hilary White is speaking of in her latest post:


3. tg - February 24, 2018

Thanks for letting us know. I support Texas Right to Life over any bishops’ conference. I will make a donation to TRL to show my support. They are the only prolife group I donate to besides Human Life International. The voter guide from TRL and Texas Values was similar except Texas Values is supporting Weston Martinez instead of Christi Craddock. Texas Values is also a good organization. They are very much against the freak agenda. I know they are fighting hard for a bathroom bill.

This reminds me of a doctor telling me about going to the capital and speaking against a bill that the Texas Catholic bishops were for. He thought it opened the way for euthanisia. I can’t remember all the details except he as a Protestant was more pro-life than our bishop.

4. tg - February 24, 2018

I would encourage readers to send an email to the bishops conference. I just did. I am donating more now to Texas Right to Life and when the appeal envelope comes in November, I will let them know why.

5. Kassi - February 24, 2018

I posted a comment earlier but I think it’s hung up because of the links I put in it. I’ve changed those links so hopefully this is not stuck awaiting mediation. I’m reposting here because I think that people should know what’s going on and be able to react timely.


Thanks for taking this up. It needs to be and I appreciate you so much for doing this. This is a low point for the TCC. How this has been handled by the the Bishops says far more about them than the parties they attack.

I have THREE times today publicly offered to meet with Bishop Olson one-on-one to discuss specifics of this matter, particularly the Texas Advanced Directives Act portion of this. (I have no involvement in the voter guide, but understand it.) He ignores me, the substance of the issue, and talks about the “negativity” of the tweets. His words indicate he thinks that everyone is being duped by Texas Right to Life and that they cannot think for themselves. It’s condescending and wrong. He avoids substance and that substance is what makes the TCC so wrong on that issue. People’s lives are at stake here. Every day. I addressed this in some detail in my tweets and replies. It is also all over my blog which has been dedicated to this matter. I have explained in detail what is wrong with the current law and how it is directly contrary to both Catholic teaching and the Constitution.

As you know, because you have been kind enough to bring attention to these matters in the past, I have addressed these life issues as a grassroots activist, have testified before the Texas legislature about them, attended hospital ethics committee hearings where doctors and hospitals wanted to hasten a patient’s death against their will, blogged about it, and have now become involved in the appellate process (along with two other fantastic attorneys who have taken the lead; I am merely helping) concerning this law.

I can explain to him in great detail the nature of the issues, the law, its practical effect, and how those advising the Bishops are doing a disservice to them, but even more so the good people of Texas. I think they should hear another side. They have refused so far. It is political on their part more than substantive and that is a shame.

I have been involved in this matter longer than Bishop Olson has been in Texas (but of course not as long as Texas Right to Life). He will not meet with Texas Right to Life, but I am not part of Texas Right to Life (not that there’s anything wrong with that) even as I ally myself firmly with them because they are right on these issues are are doing more to protect life in this state – at all stages and in all manners – than any other organization. They have worked tirelessly to remedy this situation and save as many lives as possible at every end of the pro-life spectrum.

To engage in this calumny is outrageous and beneath the dignity that is due the office of bishop. But I’d be lying if I said I was surprised or even shocked.

Tweets and replies here so you can follow (also see Bishop Olson’s tweets): @Kassi_Marks

My blog here which talks about TADA, the “in-fighting” among the state pro-life groups, how TADA has been used against patients, and the TCC’s involvement in all of this: kassiblog . blogspot . com

6. Tim - February 24, 2018
7. virtuouscitizenship - February 24, 2018

Tantum B: Dallas News refused this comment:

Beyond decades, for generations the Catholic bishops of Texas, saying they are obeying the law, and hiding behind the convenient cover of saying they are fearful of losing their tax exempt status, have said they must remain silent about those running for office.

Of course in many areas, this silence was a loud, pointed, and implicit endorsement of democrats, candidates of the Party Of Death. From pulpits around Texas, the faithful heard from their alleged shepherds “We are not single issue voters,” that unsaid single issue being the murders daily, weekly yearly in Texas of hundreds of thousands of Texas babies, the murders being the overt policy of the democrats of the Party Of Death. The pastoral message being “Ignore the abortion murders, vote democrat.”

In many places on any given day, all the murdered babies, ten, twenty, thirty, were and still are Hispanic-American babies. For years, the Texas Conference of bishops have been silent about this brown genocide. Since Roe, 60,000,000 murdered babies in the US, and astoundingly, half, 30,000,000, were the children of minority mamas. Half. The democrat Party of Death RETA policy was demonically successful in getting rid of Sanger’s brown and black “human weeds.” (RETA: racial eugenic targeted abortion).

Still the Catholic bishops of Texas have remained silent. Hand-in-glove with the democrats in their Texas alliance for death, they have not said from pulpits to vote for a prolife candidate instead of a party-of-death candidate, because the prolife candidate was – horror of horrors – a republican candidate. Never mind that the democrat candidate supported the murder of babies, and the RETA policy.

But this week, mirabile dictu, wonder of wonders, the bishops speak! What could have spurred them to finally speak out – since they have never had the moral courage to say, as Peter did to the leaders of the time, “We can obey you, or we can obey God” ? Why speak out now when Hispanic-Americans are beginning to see the light and are beginning to vote for prolilfe folks to help save babies in Texas? The bishops have become painfully aware that their Texas alliance for death with the democrats is in danger. They saw what happened in 2016 in the Texas Rio Grande Valley when the Hispanic-American Catholics were shown how the Democrat RETA policy had decimated their numbers right here in Texas. And then the final horror – these enlightened voters, who love their children and live and die for family, they voted for Republicans. You could hear the weeping and the gnashing of prelates’ teeth from Brownsville to McAllen to Austin to Fort Worth to Houston – and even in El Paso.

So the previously silent bishops, fearing that their Texas alliance for death partnership with the democrats would fail to deliver the once- rock-solid monolith of the Hispanic-American vote, in their desperation, loudly again proclaiming they must keep silent, have come out and condemned the quintessential Texas prolife organization, Texas Right To Life, because of its efforts – wildly successful efforts – to speak the truth about the brown genocide of Texas babies promoted by the Party Of Death democrats and Texas Right To Life’s support of non-democrat non-RETA-policy candidates; and Yes, most of them, hated non-RINO republicans.

Lastly gasping, the bishops come out now days before the upcoming elections. Coincidence? No way, Jose. If Texas Right To Life and others like minded are to be stopped, if brown genocide in Texas is to be ignored for the sake of political power, if the Texas alliance for death is to succeed as it has in the past to elect democrats and RINO prodeath GOP candidates, the bishops had to speak out now – and it will be no surprise when they forsake these little ones in Fall 2018 again silently proclaiming we cannot endorse anyone. They will never say the truth: It is a mortal sin now to vote for any democrat.

Didn’t Jesus say something about “woe” to those who hurt His children? Millstones, necks and drowning? And about hirelings, masquerading as shepherds, who run away, leaving the innocent sheep to the wolves?

Guy McClung, Texas

Tim - February 24, 2018

Well written. Thank you. It doesn’t sirprise me that it got rejected….not part of the narrative.
Truth seldom is.

virtuouscitizenship - February 25, 2018

Forget to mention Party Of Death democrats under Jackson Admn perpetrated the demonic heinous genocide of Native Americans; and the Party Of Death democrats of the KKK lynched “only” several thousands. And Party Of Death democrats stalled the Civil Rights Act of ’64 – til LBJ got enough Republicans to vote with him. And the Party Of Death democrats promoted slavery; And . . . seems endless doesn’t it? But . . . as the infomercials say . . wait . . there is more! And Party Of Death democrats now say the court-created “right to abortion” is in its full-blown recently-revealed full Constitutional scope, the right to kill – i.e. a mother who has exercised her “right” to “terminate her pregnancy” after she is no longer pregnant, has the “right” to kill her child if her child – now a US citizen – has survived the “termination” and is alive outside of her. And . . .this right to kill includes the right to kill babies who [probably] have Downs Syndrome; and the right to kill babies solely because they are girls; and the right to kill babies solely becasue they are black, and the right to kill babies because_______fill in the blank [think like a Nazi]. And the Party Of Death democrats promote one’s right to one’s own death in so-called “assisted suicide.” How soon, as happened in Europe, will family members in Texas be holding down a loved one who is fighting their own “mercy killing,” as lethal drugs are injected? You can be sure the Party Of Death democrats will be in the vanguard of the demons saying this “right” is hidden in the penumbras of the 5th amendment. And the Party Of Death democrats will not provide any DNC money to any candidate who says “I am prolife.” Other than that, the Texas bishops are on high moral ground and theologically justified in supporting the Party Of Death. Guy McClung, Texas

strong message to follow

Camper - February 25, 2018

Mr. McClung, newspapers have to keep their letters to the editor very short, which does hurt the quality of the thought of letters to the editor. As somebody with familiarity with the letters to the editor section of a large metro newspaper, I can tell you that yours may well have been rejected because it was long by their standards.

virtuouscitizenship - February 25, 2018

Camper-They told me what I wrote was rejected because it was written with “malformed language.” I think that meant either it was not in agreement with their ideologies or it was the truth, or both. Guy McClung, Texas

Tim - February 25, 2018

As I feared. Keep fighting the good fight.

Tim - February 25, 2018

I don’t know Camper, I’ve read some pretty long left wing diatribes in newspapers. The editors don’t seem to have length issues if you promote leftism. At least this paper gave Mr. McClung an somewhat honest(malformed is an obvious weasel word, but its meaning is quite clear) answer about their bias…..no surprises here.

Camper - February 25, 2018

Probably correct. I got something published in a major metro paper once and had to do a lot of editing to make it short enough. Most people don’t write letters to the editor these days, and many of them are undisciplined.

8. CATHOLIC HEADLINES 2.25.18 – The Stumbling Block - February 25, 2018


9. william neu - February 26, 2018

Consider Daniel 10:21/12:9 – ‘sealed’ Book of Truth
Seal of the Living God: message – 2/20/12
Benedict: message – 2/19/13

10. Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops Launches Political Attack Against Texas Right-to-Life – A Sign of Hope - February 26, 2018

[…] the Bishops’ statement, I was even more stunned. They listed three reasons, every one of them political rather than related to faith and morals. They did cite some matters of faith and morals to try to bolster the credibility of the political […]

11. Dean_M - February 27, 2018

Ezekiel 34:2-4: “Son of man, prophesy concerning the shepherds of Israel: prophesy and say unto the shepherds: Thus saith the Lord God: Woe to the shepherds of Israel that fed themselves! Should not the flocks be fed by the shepherds? You ate the milk and you clothed yourselves with the wool and you killed that which was fat: but my flock you did not feed. The weak you have not strengthened and that which was sick you have not healed: that which was broken you have not bound up and that which was driven away you have not brought again: neither have you sought that which was lost: but you ruled over them with rigor and with a high hand.” (Douay-Rheims) Are not these modern shepherds–bishops–setting themselves up for the same kind of judgment mentioned in Ezekiel 34? Are they not feeding themselves politically and not attending to the flock? Does making such a judgment against fellow pro-lifers come from the Lord? Are they not misleading their flock and causing them to err? I do not see them listening to the Holy Spirit but rather the opposite. They are thus bringing divine retribution upon themselves. “Cursed shalt thou be coming in: and cursed going out.” (See Deuteronomy 28) May the Chair of Peter rebuke them and/or may they repent and have better minds. Otherwise, as we are told in Ecclesia Sanctorum, without repentance Hell awaits them. (Actions like this help me to understand why such a place as Purgatory exists.)

12. long-ttime DFW pro-lifer - February 28, 2018

Witness Against Pro-Lifers Part of Revolutionary Communist Party


VC article – “Some folks are planning to walk out if the [TRL] announcement is read in their parish during Mass this Sunday.”

Nope. Didn’t hear that one but did get an infomercial about calling Congress in favor of DACA. No, I didn’t walk out and I don’t think anyone else did. Sometimes I’d like to but I don’t want to disrespect Mass. Also if I had another Mass I could realistically get to after the one I attend I might actually consider walking out.

Tantumblogo - February 28, 2018

I should make clear, TCC has no authority. Bishop Olson in Fort Worth chose to make his prudential judgment known to his flock. So far as I know Fort Worth is the only diocese in the state to make this injunction against supporting Texas Right to Life. I am of two minds on whether one is required to obey Olson in this regard – normally one should obey this kind of directive from a bishop, so long as it is not contrary to the faith and morals, but this is an entirely prudential matter. Even in its justification Olson makes clear that the disagreement is not over whether the sanctity of life is valid or anything about doctrine – it entirely about what is the best way to go about achieving pro-life ends. I am uncertain whether souls can be compelled to accept a prudential decision like this – I tend to think no, even though the bishop is in his right to make his opinion known.

13. Tom Gorman - March 1, 2018

The Bishops are right. And the vote, by the way, was unanimous against TXRtL. This about plain lying and deceit. People in the pro-life movement around the state who have known the Grahams since they took over Texas Right to Life 16 years ago know that they routinely lie about both other pro-life organizations and about very good legislators who are only guilty of not kowtowing to their threats. The Grahams try to make it about them versus the moderates but that is nonsense. The Grahams are allied with a bunch of anti-Catholic donors and a clique of 17 folks who cannot get almost anything done in the legislature while many great conservatives in the legislature will tell anyone that the Grahams are out only or their own power and comfort.

14. Tom Gorman - March 1, 2018

Those who want to think this is a bunch of liberal bishops need to take a closer look. Mark Seitz in Fort Worth has long been a pro-life warrior. Mike Sis in San Angelo was the superstar chaplain and wonderful orthodox priest at Texas A&M. Daniel Flores in Brownsville was a great orthodox seminary professor in Houston and Brendan Cahill in Victoria might have been the best and most faithful priest in Houston before he became bishop three years ago, Strickland in Tyler is a serious pro-life warrior who has chastised people who vote for pro-abortion politicians in a letter to all his flock. Olson in Fort Worth is a great theologian whose chancery is one of the most conservative places in any Catholic diocese in America. And Cardinal DiNardo in Houston is a warrior against the nonsense in Rome including being Cardinal Burke’s biggest supporter. THE VOTE WAS 17-0 for this chastising. Jim and Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life have played this victimhood game for years but the truth is they are on a major gravy train where they hoodwink a few rich anti-Catholic billionaires to give them millions of dollars per year while they fail to pass anything and waste tons of money on losing primary challenges. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor and 3/4 of the Republicans in the legislature refuse to work with them because of the way they make up attacks on people who won’t do exactly what they want.

Kassi - March 1, 2018

Sir, with all due respect, it is clear you do not know much about this issue. I suggest you do a bit of reading from someone who knows a great deal about it. https://kassiblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/on-record-in-their-own-words-texas.html

Tom Gorman - March 1, 2018

Kassi, i’m sorry, but those of us who went to school with Jim at UST and at Saint Thomas High School know him all too well. You are the one who assumes too much

Kassi - March 1, 2018

If you’ll read, you’ll see that I assume nothing (and did not accuse you of assuming anything, BTW) and provide abundant facts, evidence, and in-depth legal analysis. I provide information – what people do with it (or don’t do with it) is their business. But people deserve substance and facts over inter-organizational politics and personal animosity, neither of which they have received from the TCCB or comments such as yours.

Provide evidence of everything you have alleged – from the money to the “anti-Catholic millionaires” to the statistics for Republicans you claim refuse to work with them to the vote by the bishops. Back it all up with demonstrable facts. The clammy and defamation must stop, as I have urged Bishop Olson.

I talk to these politicians. I go to events. What I see personally in terms of interaction, legislative success, and electoral success does not fit with what you claim.

TxRTL gets a lot of legislation passed which would not be the case if your numbers were even remotely accurate. In addition, they help thwart faux pro-life legislation that would cost lives. I follow all of these matters very closely and get personally involved as much as I can.

And high school…I’m working in the present, sir. And for lives. I think Texans deserve that.

Good luck to you.

Tom Gorman - March 1, 2018

I received this note earlier today from John Seitz who is a Catholic leader that is close friends with the last three governors. This was a cc of a note to Rene Gracida:

“I have been a disciple of you, Bishop Rene, since 1987 when I first learned of your uncompromising and unrelenting defense of the unborn child. I prayed with you and Rex Moses and I cried when they made you retire. I have also watched your continued writing on behalf of the unborn in Texas and in the last few years I noticed more than once your friendly support for Jimmy Graham and his wife. This concerned me a little as I had become aware of the way they were trying to consolidate power by making up stories about their rivals in Austin. Initially they seemed to be piling on flawed people like Joe Straus or Tom Craddick or Pete Sessions or lately, Byron Cook. But there were many other folks who I knew to be deeply honorable who they were trashing in private and sometimes in public. In 2010 and 2012 it seemed harmless as they were really not that well funded but in 2014 it began to go haywire. I mentioned it to Rick Perry and separately to the Attorney general, Greg Abbott in 2014 and both admitted that they knew many stories of the Grahams attacking good Republican pro-lifers only because those people complained about the vicious threats of Elizabeth. I was also aware that the Grahams had endorsed David Dewhurst against Ted Cruz and then Dewhurst again in 2014 against Dan Patrick. i learned that David Dewhurst’s brother had given them money and they were begging him for the largest gift they’d ever received. In a conversation with a legislator in 2013, I learned that Jim had partnered with a lesbian Democrat to kill a bill in committee that the rest of the pro-family movement had wanted passed and in the same conversation with that Democrat, she revealed to me that Jim and Elizabeth were living very high on the hog: 1. She revealed that each of the Grahams eats out in Austin with legislators and activists and it is always paid for by the organization. She estimated it was five nights per week year round and that these meals always included wine and were always at the finest Austin establishments with bills averaging $200 per meal. 2. The legislator showed me a tax return that revealed a combined salary of $175,000 annually, and 3. This leftist revealed that Elizabeth Graham is known for only shopping at Saks, Hermes and Neiman Marcus and that she never wears dresses with a price tag below $1,000. I started to look and it was clearly true. Her shoes alone were invariably expensive designer stuff. In 2016 and 2017, I noticed that the Grahams suddenly were not hanging around Catholic folks anymore either but that they had suddenly won over the richest billionaire protestants in the state including three deeply bigoted haters of Catholics. Though Rick Perry is no longer a source of information, I have talked to Greg and Cecilia Abbott after Mass at the Austin Cathedral and also the Catholic legislators who come to the prayer breakfast Every one of them confirms that the Grahams are simply two faced and that easily half their stories about legislators are just made up. The stories get repeated by their friends at Eagle Forum and the Home School Coalition and Empower Texans and Texas Values so that the stories seem to be confirmed when they are really just the original lie or exaggeration repeated. My worry is that they have manipulated the good Bishop over the years with their tales of heroism when the truth was otherwise.”

Kassi - March 1, 2018

Hearsay, assumptions, speculation, and gossip without factual support that compounds the other allegations you made that you do not back up with facts. Verifiable facts are what you need. Not notes that contain hearsay within hearsay, obvious personal animosity, and perhaps a bit of jealousy. Otherwise, this is gossip, defamation, and calumny. I suggest you stop. For Heaven’s sake. You should be embarrassed.

Focus on the issues. What are the issues here? The Parish Advisory issued by the TCCB with allegations that were not supported by a single example, link, or fact. It then endorsed two organizations that do not consistently support Catholic teaching (as I have demonstrated) and the TCCB itself is compromised by supporting the Texas Advance Directives Act which allows for involuntary passive euthanasia, which is wholly unsupported by authentic teaching from the Magisterium AND the Constitution. This is supported by facts, court documents, recourse to statements made by the TCCB, recourse to Church documents, and the law. The Parish Advisory is calumnious and defamatory and a disservice to Catholics, pro-lifers, and the vulnerable Texans who can be victims of the anti-life laws here that the TCCB opposes reforming. Those are the facts. Verifiable facts.

You have none. As I have urged Bishop Olson when he went on attack against a faithful lay Catholic, please stop. This is scandal upon scandal.

Tom Gorman - March 1, 2018

Do you need phone numbers for Greg Abbott and the other Catholics in Austin? Do you need help finding the IRS website to check out tax returns? Really, I know you want more evidence but it is easy to find.

15. Tom Gorman - March 1, 2018

Kassi, your arguments about legislation are fine and good. Many of us who’ve worked for life going back to the 1970’s and 1980’s long for bold legislative action and the kind of solid aggressive pressure like we see from President Trump. That is not the point here. It is that the means TX RTL is using are not good. Ends matter but so do means. You may like what you see on the surface, but I assure you there is much under the surface that is different. You as a well meaning activist don’t see this but it is easy to see if you try. Many many folks besides Bishop Olson see these things.

Your statement about legislation is just wrong. Again and again Right to Life plays games with the governor and with other pro-life leaders. The only bills that pass which they support pass because someone else powerful wants the bill. it might be the Governor or it might be a committee chairman or it might be the Bishops. Almost anything written by Texas Right to Life alone is DOA and has been since 2010. The wonderful HB2 only passed in 2013 because the Lieutenant Governor (over the angry objections of TXRTL) merged their bill with three others belonging to Dan patrick, Kylene Wright and Joe Pojman then announced that this was the only bill that would be voted on. Mrs. Graham was furious but couldn’t do anything about it. So we got the wonderful 20 week ban on abortion into law. Other than Jonathan Stickland and Matt Rinaldi and their Dr. No Caucus, Texas Right to Life has almost no friends in the legislature. This is widely known among legislators though they don’t talk much in public due to the vicious retribution that defines TXRTL.

As a lawyer (young though you be) maybe you’d agree that good corporate governance is important in non-profit organizations. Go study the tax returns of Right to Life going back to 1985. These are public records easy to download for anyone. Notice that there was a time in the 1980’s when Carol Everett and Joe Pojman were both on that board as were representatives of right to life affiliates statewide. There were no employees related to board members either. But then notice that a change occurred between 1996 and 2002 when Jim and Elizabeth were hired by Jim’s dad. Ever since then, the board is irregular and without fail has no more than four members, three of whom have the last name Graham. This continued to the dad’s death. today the board has only three members.

And regarding the Billionaires. Their giving is easy enough to find. The Wilkes brothers live near Abilene and are well known for their unusual religious views including disdain for Catholicism. Most everyone is Austin is aware of Tim Dunn being an old fashioned Protestant too with similar views. These men now control Empower Texans and Texas Right to Life through their massive million dollar annual gifts.

Kassi - March 1, 2018

I am close to 20 years of practicing law and more than that in the pro-life movement, so don’t talk to me like I just fell off the turnip truck. Your methods, in every way, tell people everything they need to know. Interestingly, your sources of gossip are fairly obvious to those in the know and they aren’t terribly credible. That said, I’m not going to do to them what you are doing to others. Hopefully, people will stop feeding you this garbage and you’ll stop spewing it.

Importantly, I see that you have no substantive response to the analysis, facts, and evidence I provided when I redirected things back to the real issues here.

I’m not merely an activist either, but despite my position and interactions, I don’t feel the need to namedrop or betray confidences. (I don’t need you to send me Gov. Abbott’s number either, but thanks; those little quips telegraph a great deal about you.)

Finally, you have failed to provide solid objective evidence for each of your allegations (which is your duty to do, not mine; you say it, back it up at the time), assumptions about people’s opinions about other faiths, how much who paid for what dress, the sexuality of certain legislators (?!), none of which is relevant to anything. Good grief. It is still all hearsay, gossip, and a shocking amount at that.

I’ll say again: just stop. For your own sake.

Good night, sir.

16. virtuouscitizenship - March 1, 2018

Tom Gorman, Please let us know the basis for your hatred of the Grahams and TRTL. Is it based purely on what you perceive to be facts? or do you have personal reasons? The basis for much of what you allege, if true, does not appear to be in the public domain, some fairly intimate details. You do not publish your sources. Are you simply a seeker after truth and justice, or something more? Guy McClung, Texas

Tom Braniff - March 1, 2018

Guy, most of what I’m saying is in fact public info that can be found quite easily or it is widely known by those who are actually working alongside the TRL team. Any State Rep or Senator who has watched this closely over the last decade knows much of this. Greg Abbott knows it better than some because he lived in Houston at the start of his career. It’s also fairly easy to speak to former members of the four TRL boards.

Houstonians know that TRL was founded by the Linbeck family and Hotze family in 1973 but the Hotzes got kicked out early and the Linbecks controlled the organization until Elizabeth Graham got hired 17 years ago. But there were 20 other board members including Carol Everett and Cathy McConn and even Joseph Pojman. The others were from across the state. Many of the 1980’s people have died but plenty of the 1990’s people are still around. And even since the boards were shrunk down, there are quite a few folks who served for a year or two like David Dewhurst’s brother and Brock Akers and Andrew Linbeck and Peter Doyle.

Also the prolife movement in Houston is full of leaders who have soured in TRL. The Life House and Houston Coalition and the 5th Ward PHC and the Foundation for Life and the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants and The Source and SeeBelieve.com are just a few. When you talk to any of the folks who run these groups a common story comes out of “we used to work with them but we had trouble.”

Do your own due diligence and you’ll find that a lot of folks who are not enemies of life feel as I do.

My point is that these are all folks that are very prominent in Houston Catholic circles. If you don’t have suspicions, you don’t ask questions, but once you do have those suspicions, these people are everywhere.

Tom Braniff - March 1, 2018

I know how hard it is to hear this stuff for the first time when you given large donations or worked with someone for many years. You resist. You start with the conviction that this is just sour grapes from an enemy or anything else to disbelieve. But at some point you start asking people and you find endless evidence of problems. Serious problems. Problems that are too big to ignore. Out of love for the babies you just bite your tongue and try not to give scandal. There are many many of us biting our tongues.

Tantumblogo - March 1, 2018

I think comments on this post are generating more heat than light, I am going to end comments here. I think all the points that could be made have been. I’ll just say I know Kassi and have tremendous respect for her; her stalwart commitment to a consistent application of Church Doctrine may or may not win many friends but I respect her all the more for that. She’s not in it for personal accolades. She truly fights for what she believes in, and I tend to accept her assessments without reservation. Few people have the time or resources to dig super-deep into numerous different pro-life organizations to get their opinions on other organizations or players in the field. Goodness most are fortunate to have the time to pray outside a mill a few times a year. So much comes down to trust and reputation, and some organizations have a reputation for being stalwart and uncompromising, while others are less so. TRL is definitely in the former camp, even if they may have rubbed some of the powers that be the wrong way.

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