Quick reminder for locals: Bishops Annual Appeal upcoming February 2, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, North Deanery, persecution, secularism, Society.
Locals will already be aware, but you will be asked to make a pledge for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal AND separate “capital campaign” next weekend (Sunday Feb 8). This annual appeal comes immediately after a 5 year fundraising effort that was as heavily promoted as any this area has seen. When capital campaign was announced as “being the first of its kind in the 125 year history of the Diocese” I wondered if the Diocese could get along for so long without one, why does it need one now?
But the main point of the post is this: when you are asked to donate to such causes, never forget that they are inextricably bound up with all the incredibly problematic things we see in the Church from the most local to the highest level. Not all money stays local. The Diocese has to kick up to the USCCB, Catholic Relief Services to Caritas Internationale, and all that. It may not be much, but some of your money will wind up the social justice office at the USCCB. Or locally. Some of it might even wind up in the hands of Dallas Area Interfaith and other Alinskyite groups. It is for that reason I have refused to support any of these appeals, or any USCCB organization, for several years.
And there is more than a bit of gamesmanship involved. Bishop Grahmann infamously allowed the cathedral to deteriorate badly in order to try to lower the judgment that would be made in the Rudy Kos case.
Every soul has to make their own determination how they will approach moral quandaries like those the appeal cause. Certainly some or even much good work results from these fund-raising efforts, but some or even much evil, as well. For one thing, lavish funding is needed to keep the lay-dominated post-conciliar model of the Church running (a model with which I have profound problems). I bash Catholic Charities and other organizations quite hard for being so dependent on government funding, but with the destruction of religious life their costs have skyrocketed, as well, which only furthers their love for ever-increasing, every reliable government $$$. And as we know how evil and corrupt the US government has become, and how stringently it insists those organizations it supports adhere to its immoralities, Catholic Relief Services and other organizations so reliant on government funding have been corrupted beyond all measure. When one sits back and observes, it is amazing how diabolically thorough is the progressive program for the deconstruction of the Church.
But I can understand that souls can feel torn as to whether to donate or not. While the matter is crystal clear to me, it may not be to everyone. And then there is the matter that parishes are basically demanded (extorted?) to cough up a certain amount every year. When a parish comes in way under-budget, the bishop tends to look askance at the pastor. That can afflict your local TLM parish as much as any. The diocese will get their money, by hook or crook. The only real question is whether they get yours willingly, or not.
As for me, I have decided the answer is not. And I am always looking for ways so that they don’t get any at all, as harsh as that may sound.
On a related topic, if you like local Catholic scuttlebutt, at least among the hoity-toity set, you might check this link out. That’s where I found this gem:
They do say a picture is worth a thousand words, don’t they? That is Dallas Diocese Director of Communications Annette Gonzalez-Taylor with Martin Short, who apparently ain’t. I should add, I’ve spoken with Gonzalez-Taylor once or twice and she was never anything but gracious.
It’s my five year blogoversary! December 10, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, blogfoolery, Dallas Diocese, fun, General Catholic, North Deanery, silliness.
This wonderful, magical, transformative, leadership-oriented, heretic-stompin’, butt-kicking, Saint- making blog is now five years old, today. I know there are some long time readers but I can’t think of many who have been around more than about 4 years. Anybody remember the early early days? I recall how for a long time I thought getting 100 views (let alone individual readers) in a day was a a big deal. Not so much anymore. Thanks to you all, I now get more like 2,000 individual readers a day. That’s tiny compared to blogs like Rorate and Fr. Z, but not too bad for a blog with such a strong and, I’ll say it, extreme point of view.
Today is crazy, I had a meeting to go to for our farm in Kansas (the meeting was not in McKinney as I was told, it was near Guenther (pronounced “Gunner”) – for those of you not from Dallas, that’s waaaaaay out there) and I’ve got a real long design review most of the afternoon. I had some good stuff for today but may not get to much of it.
I wanted to make this post not so much to toot my own horn but to thank all of you who have found some value in my inane prattlings. I never really thought this blog would attract so many readers. I set an all time record some time back with almost 11,000 in a day. It’s a bit different crowd – I’ve certainly changed a great deal over the past five years – but I hope and pray all those changes have been for the better and reveal a greater understanding and practice of the Faith on my part. As for all my many mistakes, I thank you for being patient with me and putting up with them. I thank you also for putting up with my very dry and wry sense of humor, which some mistake as being mean or cynical.
The focus of the blog has also changed a great deal. In the beginning, it was about 50% on local muckraking matters, but a year or two of that quickly revealed I could point out problems till I was blue in the face and it would make no difference. Even more, I came to realize the crisis in the Faith was much less about one bad diocese, but the entire Church as an institution going wildly astray. So now I write much more about universal concerns, but do still try to cover some local items, especially on the pro-life front.
I would probably write even if I was still down there with 20 or 30 readers a day, like it was in the beginning, but knowing that others find some merit in what I write is gratifying. Thank you all for the past five years.
El Paso, Redux: City of Plano passes pro-sodomy, anti-Christian ordinance over loud protests December 9, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, asshatery, Dallas Diocese, disaster, error, Father Rodriguez, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, North Deanery, paganism, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, sickness, Society.
Late last night, in a quickly scheduled session that attempted to minimize public notice, my hometown of Plano, TX decided to enact a Houston-like ordinance highly favorable to the false “rights” of those fallen into the gravest of perversions and highly detrimental to the rights of Christians. The Houston ordinance is already under a recall vote and several lawsuits contesting its standing under the Texas and US Constitutions, and given the outpouring of opposition last night it seems the City of Plano must have a few extra millions to spend fighting their own soon to come lawsuit. It also seems Plano elected its first at least culturally leftist Mayor last May, since he was the driving force behind this ordinance.
And we see yet again firm confirmation that the radical sodomite left will not stop in its persecution of Christians. Ever. No matter how far the Church is pushed from the public square, no matter how much they persecute individual Christians, they will not stop:
Late last night, the Plano City Council held its first and only public hearing and voted, 5-3 (view results), to pass a new controversial non-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance is similar to the ordinance the City of Houston passed earlier this year, over enormous opposition by the people, that is now the subject of an expensive lawsuit and referendum effort. The Plano ordinance will expand the City’s non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity (a term that does not appear in state law) and potentially will allow transgender persons to demand access to the bathroom of their choice. [I know this is the most explosive aspect of these ordinances, but it’s really not the most important. What is most important now is that every business owner in Plano, or anyone who does business with the City of Plano (a city of 275,000), will be forced to express at least lip service to the sodomite agenda, and many will have to make the very painful choice to close down their business or violate their conscience. Incredible.] The law applies to all business owners in Plano and any business that contracts with the City for services or use of City facilities. Legal experts agree that this ordinance is as a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Texas Constitution, and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“This reckless effort to fast-track a law that undermines state law and attacks religious freedom and free speech will do great damage to Plano and especially its small businesses. The City will now find itself dealing with a similar mess that Houston has created for itself. The City of Houston is now spending thousands, if not millions, of tax dollars fighting in court on a similar ordinance that was extremely divisive and that was also widely rejected by the people. This special rights ordinance will be used as a weapon against people of sincere faith and the business community and will permanently damage the reputation of the City of Plano,” said Jonathan Saenz, president and attorney for Texas Values.
Within a few hours of Plano residents becoming aware of the proposed ordinance, over 1,600 emails were sent to the Plano City Council opposing the ordinance. Despite the diverse opposition to the ordinance at the meeting, including racial minorities, small business owners, and legal experts, the Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere still invoked the history of race and women as a reason for passing the new law. Mayor LaRosiliere seemed convinced that LGBT sexual lifestyle choices are more important and historically relevant than religious freedom, as the new law allows LGBT choices to trump religious rights. [I don’t follow local politics anymore. I have no idea how this guy got elected. You could say he stands in extreme contrast to all of his predecessors in heretofore extremely conservative Plano] The packed council room of opposition included only a few people who supported the ordinance; an ACLU representative and a few LGBT activists.
According to legal group Liberty Institute, “[t]he Proposed Ordinance is vaguely worded and compels private businesses and employees to violate their sincerely-held religious beliefs, in contravention of federal and state laws protecting persons of faith. In effect, the Proposed Ordinance makes it a crime to do business in the City of Plano while maintaining Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or other traditional religious views of marriage, sexuality, and gender identity.”
They never, ever stop. Lord have mercy on us. We surely must have sinned to deserve what is happening around us. My goodness. I cannot believe this happened in Plano of all places.
So I have to wonder: will there be a brave priest, another Father Michael Rodriguez, in the Diocese of Dallas in general or the City of Plano in particular who will publicly excoriate this immoral nightmare? I pray there is, but experience tells me I probably should not hold my breath.
Local effort opposes obscene billboards December 9, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, horror, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, secularism, sexual depravity, Society.
Irving is about as Catholic a town as there is in the Metroplex. It may not have the highest percentage of Catholics, but it does have a disproportionate number of active, involved Catholics. There are many sources of this: Mater Dei, the University of Dallas, the Cistercian monastery, the Holy Family of Nazareth convent and school (Grand Prairie, but close), Faustina Academy, St. Luke’s (I guess), etc. For whatever reason, there are a lot of devoted Catholics. And they are networked, too. There is a very active Irving Catholic group called ICON. There are a number of local activities and the ICON e-mail list helps in a number of ways.
One recent posting to the ICON mail list dealt with the obscene billboards that are very common along Dallas (city of) freeways. As some local priests have said, it is a near occasion of sin for many people simply to drive to Mass, since many people drive down I-35 to get to Mater Dei and I-35 has some of the worst billboards around. Apparently there is an effort afoot to have the City of Dallas start to rein in these obscene billboards. The text of the e-mail stated the following, in part:
Thank you all who wrote to district councilwoman Monica Alonzo about the many seedy billboards representing all of us along I35. There are some new ones up that go further. One says OMG sex toys. Really. Another says 50 shades of grey and then the name of their store. As you may know this is a book which promotes many harmful, sinful practices and abuse of women. Please step up your emails and direct them to Mayor Mike Rawlings, copying Monica Alonzo. Before becoming mayor, Mike Rawlings owned the largest advertising company in the Southwest, so he is very aware of the power of advertising. The emails are: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Talking points can again be safety of women and children (Dallas being one of the top ten cities identified by the State Dept for human sex trafficking) and abuse of children increasing……..decrease in family traffic to businesses in these areas, crime, driver distraction, trashy look of billboards. Some of these areas are very close to UD. Let us be a light and reawaken in these people a sense of protecting children, our husbands from the harmful effects of pornography.
Yes, unfortunately, the main hub of strip joints in Dallas is along Northwest Highway at its junction with I-35, and about a mile on either side. It was the prevalence of these dens of immorality and Dallas’ infamy as being a hot spot for such places that prompted me to want to start up a group of men to pray and possibly, eventually, protest outside these facilities. Right as I was trying to get that group going I got very sick and I have not followed up on that project, but I hope to now.
Our FSSP priests have stressed that having these places – so bold as to advertise before thousands of people, even little children, every day! – is really a huge blight on the community not just physically, but also spiritually. Strip clubs, porn parlors (now almost extinct due to the internet), whorehouses (Korean “massage parlors”), etc, are enormous sources of evil and a demon or demons is attached to every one of them. I know among my readers there are many pro-life warriors but we also need to be fighting this other evil, especially us Catholic men. So I hope to get that group I wanted to start (I was thinking of calling it the Society of Saint Lawrence Justinian) going after the New Year. I hope to have a group of men join me in praying outside The “Men’s” Club in Dallas on a Wednesday or Thursday in early January. I will post more notices as we get closer to the date.
For now, I strongly encourage any local readers (especially Dallas residents) to contact Mayor Rawlings and Councilwoman Alonzo regarding the many obscene billboards along Dallas streets and highways. We all lament the collapse of the culture, but it’s easy to just sit and complain. Why not take a small act to try to do something about the general collapse in morals in our culture? You know, the residents near Bachmann Lake got all the strip joints that used to crowd near that neighborhood closed or moved. They raised a ruckus and the city passed an ordinance demanding that any such facility be at least a certain distance from any school or single family housing. There is no reason why that ordinance could not be expanded, or new ones added.
God bless you and thank you.
So, Dallas readers, what have you to say regarding religious education in our fair Diocese? November 12, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, secularism.
I saw this post on Bishop Farrell’s blog last week and wanted to comment on it then, but, eh, it was late and I had other things to do. Apparently last week was National Parish Religious Education Week, and Bishop Farrell posted some of his thoughts on the topic of religious education, which I quote in full and without comment below:
At the heart of evangelization is the parish. It is there that we celebrate our Catholic faith. It is there that we deepen our faith. It is there that we enrich our faith and it is there that we pass on our faith.
As we observe National Parish Religious Education Week, we recognize the important role that our parish Religious Education Program plays in Evangelization. Religious educators are deeply involved in all four of these elements of evangelization through the parish’s role as the hub of lifelong faith formation programs.
Gone are the days when religious education was something only for children. We realize now that our faith life is one of continual conversion and deepening understanding and spiritual development that not only enriches our faith but our participation in liturgical celebrations.
Of course, faith formation must begin in the home, but religious education programs for our children, particularly when they involve the family, insure that their spiritual growth parallels their physical and mental growth. Lifelong faith formation means we no longer try to develop an adult faith with only a First Communion or maybe Confirmation spirituality.
During this week, I particularly want to honor our religious educators, volunteer and professional, who dedicate themselves to the important work of teaching our faith and keeping it dynamic, lest it become stagnant and lacking vitality. Please join me by thanking the religious educators in your parish. May God bless them as they do the Lord’s work!
My thought with regard to this post is to ask you, my good readers, just how do you think the Diocese of Dallas is doing in this regard? How would you rate institutional/official religious education in this Diocese?
I certainly have many tales to tell and have shared at least some of them on this blog. They are not terribly positive. But rather than retread what is likely old ground, I’d like to hear what you have to say, either with respect to religious education that you yourself have received, or possibly your children or other family members. Those in other dioceses are certainly free to chime in with their own experiences but I ask that you at least name the Diocese in question, for the better edification of all.
I know that at varying times this blog has been – you might say – observed by denizens of the chancery with some fair degree of interest. So its possible your assessments may be heard, so please try to be reasonable and keep the comments focused on specific incidents.
The suffering people experience in trying to find an orthodox presentation of the Faith is immense…….. October 30, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, sadness, Tradition, Virtue.
……..especially in this Diocese, which is, strangely enough, somewhat on the liberal side of the spectrum as such things go. Which fact is very odd, considering the overwhelming political (if not cultural, which is so much more critical) conservativism of this area.
A commenter and fellow blogger of this Diocese of Dallas has a post up that describes experiences I think many faithful souls suffer through. Trying to find a parish home that provides the spiritual sustenance many so desperately need can be a very daunting prospect. The vast majority of spiritual “product” out there is unnourishing pablum, as offensive to the aesthetic sense as it is to the sensus fidei, the sense of faith.
This blogger relates her own experience as a protestant convert to the Faith who left protestantism behind due to its internal contradictions and flight from reason in its theology. This blogger noted how barren and devoid of sign and symbol the protestant experience is, at least in most of the US. Expecting to find a much more enriching experience in the Church, she instead found almost exactly the same thing: casual, barren liturgies, ugly buildings, insipid music, and an appalling lack of an appropriate sense of reverence as beings in the Presence of God Incarnate. While her experience has varied, she has f0und only one parish in the Richardson/Plano/Allen/McKinney area acceptable, and with rest being inhibited by the same litany of deficiencies so many of the rest of us have lamented and, ultimately, fled:
So I’ve tried three parishes close to my home, and here is a partial list, in random order, of horrible things I have experienced:
- Protestant style “worship music” with a full band, lead singer, and backup singers. Even the liturgical music is in this style, so that I am listening to a guitar and drums and a woman wailing like Christina Aguilera while the priest prepares the altar and I approach to receive Communion. This has been the case at 2 of the 3 churches I’ve attended, and at one of those the band included – I am not making this up – bongo drums. In one of them, the band blocked 1/4 of the congregation from being able to view the altar. In another, the woman – in a tight, low-cut tank top – canted the psalm Christina Aguilera-style, replete with making “I’m hitting a high note right now” faces. [Heh. Pretty apt description. Choirs were put in a loft at the back for a reason. It’s not a performance, it’s an act of service and, yes, worship.]
- People wearing t-shirts, yoga pants, shorts, flip-flops, and baseball caps to Mass. [Well I’ve literally seen women in a tank top over a bikini during the summer]
- In one church, there was a bathroom right off the sanctuary, and people constantly came and went – yes, throughout the liturgy of the Eucharist and even during the blessing of the Body and Blood. I glanced up from prayer at one point during this and saw someone standing there right outside a bathroom door pumping hand sanitizer onto his hands and thought Where am I?
- A priest looking at a cell phone in the confessional. [Just horrible. Abomination of desolation, indeed.]
- A priest, after giving announcements before Mass, asking all the visitors to stand up and be welcomed. (I did not stand up.) When a few stood, everyone clapped. I do not go to Mass to be singled out and clapped for, or clap for other people – not even Christina Aguilera. I am here to receive Christ. That is the kind of crap I hated about the Baptist churches of my youth, and I was totally bummed that it happened at a Catholic church. [And this blogger noted that it was the lack of reverence and way over developed focus on me, ME, ME! that drove her from the protestants. Expecting to find much better, she has been disappointed. Unfortunately, I know far more than a handful of Catholics who have fled the other direction for the exact same reasons. They may find some relatively reverent small protestant community and it gives them at least some saccharine, if not the D5W they need in their state of spiritual emergency. When you’re spiritually starved, you’ll take anything. And that is the condition far too many souls find themselves in. The NO Mass in most parishes is a thin spiritual gruel that neither nourishes nor appeals to the taste, when it should be the smorgasbord of the TLM with the finest in fare and 5 star execution. How’s that for beating a metaphor to death!]
- People letting their children act like they are in a doctor’s office waiting room: taking off their shoes, digging around in Mom’s purse for gum, etc. [how about video games complete with sound!]
- A marked lack of reverence: hardly anyone genuflects; hardly anyone receives on the tongue; hardly anyone even seems to care that they are in the presence of Christ. They don’t sing (although young people seem to love singing along loudly to the horrific “worship music,” probably because they know it from the radio.) I’ve seen only two other women in veils throughout all these visits, and we get stared at like museum curiosities.[A woman walked up to my wife after Mass in Bandera, TX at a pretty little parish run by Polish priests that was actually pretty orthodox – at least for San Antonio diocese. Anyway, she walks up to my wife and says “Are you Byzantines?” And I turn around with a great big s—eating grin and say “NO, WE’RE TRADDIES!” She had no idea what I meant.]
- Spaces that are at best modern and Protestant-looking, even if beautiful (St. Joseph is a good example) and at worst resemble converted gyms or community centers.
This is the same lament I made about 50 times on this blog in the period 2009-2010. Then I found the TLM, and I was even more outraged. How could the Church have ever traded this glorious Mass for what we have now?!? What were they thinking?!
At the same time, I recognize that even for me it took some time to “build” to the point of assisting at the TLM. That seems absurd now, but Catholics have been conditioned by hostile priests, laity, media, etc. for decades to view the TLM and the traditional practice of the Faith in general as something strange and alien, reserved only for kooks. I recognize not everyone is ready to step from your average spare to fair NO Mass to the glorious TLM. So, in the interests of helping souls find better sustenance short of the only TLM parish in the Diocese (ever? It’s been threatened!), here are a few alternatives in descending order of orthodoxy and reverence, at least so far as I know. Note, this list is biased towards the northern suburbs because that’s where the commenter lives:
1. St. William the Confessor, Greenville: Far and away the best non-Mater Dei alternative. Fr. Paul Weinberger has been pastor here since 2003. A very good priest and even better man, Fr. Weinberger makes his NO Latin Mass as traditional and reverent as he is allowed to make it. He would offer the TLM if he were permitted. NO Latin Mass on Sundays. Chant in Sunday morning Masses. Communion received kneeling and on the tongue at the altar rail. Benedictine arrangement of the altar (again, would offer Ad Orientem, but not allowed to do so). Takes Confession very seriously and it is available almost every day, and for hours on Sunday. Fr. Weinberger has endured many sufferings and unjust persecutions. Please pray for him.
2. Saint Sophia Ukrainian Catholic Church, The Colony: Reverent liturgy. Consecration behind iconostasis, per Byzantine custom. Old Slavonic liturgy, at least on Sundays. Beautiful eastern liturgy. Very small but gorgeous church. Confession not nearly so frequent as St. William.
The video below gives you some idea of what the parish looks like. I cannot vouch for the content of the video, just watch the first bit to see how the iconostasis looks!
3. Our Lady of Lebanon, Lewisville: Parish somewhat famous for being Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s “home” parish. Maronite Rite. Some or all of the liturgy in Aramaic, the language of Christ. Another pretty church. I really can’t comment too much as I’ve never been but I know those who have and they would probably put Our Lady of Lebanon somewhere between St. William and Saint Thomas Aquinas for overall reverence, beauty, symbolism, and orthodoxy.
From here things drop pretty fast. Really, the more time I spend at a TLM parish exclusively, the more the rest of the Novus Ordo parishes seem pretty much the same. I’ll list a few more, in no particular order, that are either pretty, tend toward the orthodox side, and/or are known for not being very abusive:
St. Mark the Evangelist, Plano: Horridly ugly church, built as a descending pit/amphitheater with the altar BELOW most of the people, at least there is a large true stained glass window, but full of modernist imagery. However, the liturgy on Sunday especially at 9 and 10:30 is pretty orthodox as are the priests. Incense generally used at 10:30. Choir is improving and I think mixing in some chant. Don’t go to the yute Mass at 6:30, many others in Spanish. Also avoid those, they are less reverent and orthodox.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Dallas: Nice old church, somewhat wreckovated, I understand the liturgy swerves all over the map. I know my dear departed friend Vicki Middleton, God rest her soul, got very fed up with abuses here. Still, it is generally known – or used to be known? – for being somewhat on the orthodox side. YMMV.
St. Edward Dallas: One of the most beautiful parishes remaining in the Diocese, it has not been wreckovated to death but the altar rails were ripped out. I cannot vouch for the liturgy, it may be bad as the parish is almost entirely Spanish speaking now, but on the other hand the parish is still very traditional looking, so maybe it’s not so bad. Only English Mass is at noon, Sunday.
Christ the King, Dallas: Located near Highland Park and attracts the richy-rich crowd. Gorgeous parish, still has altar rails and high altar, Msgr. Zimmer is on the liberal side but the liturgy was OK 15 years ago. Tabernacle in the right place. Lots of photos online, the parish is very popular for weddings, etc, for its traditional Catholic appearance and beauty. But if you’re looking for real liturgical and catechetical meat, this is probably not the place. Best for aesthetes who aren’t much interested in liturgy.
St. Anthony, Wylie: Ugly church, can’t say the pastor is Mr. Orthodoxy, laity are actually quite faithful and well informed, by and large. As for Mass…….meh.
I’m way out of time. There are a few other pretty churches that haven’t been ruined like the new St. Cecilia (the namesake of my dear departed mother in law), but as for liturgy and homoletical catechesis, that list above is probably most of the tops north of say downtown Dallas, roughly. You could pick a fight over some left out or included. This was just a real quick, super large brush-stroke presentation.
Oh, no: priest uses smart phone in confessional October 13, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, priests, Sacraments, sadness, scandals.
I had the following related to me by a new commenter recently. This is simply their allegation, I have no other evidence. The allegation is that a priest at a parish in McKinney was using their smart phone while hearing Confessions. That is not to say that they were talking on the phone, but there are many other avenues of communication with a smart phone – text, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, the whole panoply of social media. I have reviewed the matter with several knowledgeable lay people and two trusted priests. First, the allegation:
A priest was hearing my confession the other day – one of the gravest confessions of my life – and I could see his iPhone glowing behind the screen, and his thumb moving across it. (I haven’t shared this on social media – in fact this is the first time I’ve said it “out loud.”)
There was much more in the comment left, but that was the only bit about the confessional. I was quite scandalized when I first read the comment, and replied with one of my own that was probably a bit too strong. I see no reason why the commenter would be making this matter up. I am taking the allegation at face value, but do bear in mind that it is only one side of the story.
But, having discussed the matter with the aforementioned faithful souls and reflected on it for some time, and assuming the comment was genuine and related the facts correctly, I can say the following (the conditions were, auricular Confession with the penitent separated from the priest by a screen that could be somewhat seen through. I have no idea if at this parish the priests can ID the penitents, but the penitents can apparently see something of what the priest is doing):
- This is an egregious abuse of charity. Even if the priest was only looking up some matter related to the case of the penitent (dubious), it gives the appearance of being disinterested at a most critical and sensitive time. It is terrible pastoral practice. If the priest does feel it necessary or helpful to research some matter while in the confessional, he should make what he is doing plain to the penitent, to assuage them of scandal.
- The risk of scandalizing the penitent is enormous. For all the penitent knows, the priest could have been texting someone saying “get a load of what this person just said!” I pray that is not the case, I think it unlikely, but to operate a communications device of any kind while in the confessional casts serious doubt on the sanctity of the Sacrament and the validity of the seal. Again, disastrous pastoral practice. It could probably never be proved that the priest was communicating with someone – or that he was not – but to even give the impression that such could be occurring could be devastating to many souls.
- This matter has apparently come up in the Diocese of Rome and the diocese issued a dictum of some kind banning priests from using cell phones in the confessional. That should be clear, I think, in every diocese.
- One can only imagine the hurt and violation a penitent would feel in this situation. There they are, pouring their soul out, and the priest gives the impression he is at the least giving them something less than his full attention. That could cause wavering souls, souls who have perhaps been away from the Church and the Sacrament for a very long time, to never return. What an incalculable loss that would be.
- A letter should be sent to the Diocese of Dallas reporting the incident. If the commenter reads this post, be charitable and focus on the scandal and hurt this cell phone use caused you. You could send a copy of the letter to the priest/parish in question – the Diocese will almost certainly forward your report to the pastor of the parish in question, regardless.
- This is not a matter that will result in laicization or any kind of heavy disciplinary action against the priest – unless there was clear evidence the seal had been violated – but it is very important and certainly should be conveyed, charitably, to local authorities. One would hope that a letter or other communique by Bishop Farrell would be made to the priest in question and that he be advised to stop with the smart phone in the Confessional.
Confession is such a crucial, helpful, but at the same time personal and sensitive Sacrament, its sanctity must be guarded with great vigilance. Over the past several decades, Confession has been downplayed and ignored in so many dioceses and parishes. I know this is something Bishop Farrell has made a point of trying to rectify in our own Diocese of Dallas. So I am certain Bishop Farrell would take this matter very seriously and respond appropriately.
Confession is the great, forgotten Sacrament of our post-conciliar age. So many Catholics erroneously believe that Confession is either no longer necessary or doesn’t apply to them – apparently, they are sinless, like our Blessed Mother. Even among the few Catholics who always satisfy their Sunday obligation, Confession is quite rare. Few receive Confession even yearly, let alone every week or two as many Saints prescribe. To scandalize those few who do avail themselves of this beautiful and utterly vital Sacrament is simply unconscionable.
I made this post more public because I think it a matter that is deserving of wider attention and consideration. Let us not see smart phones in the confessional (I know some priests already object if they observe penitents using smart phones or other such devices). I think this is a matter of common sense and decency.
First Friday at the Carmelites TONIGHT (10/03/14) October 3, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, North Deanery, religious, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Join the good nuns of the Carmel of the Infant Jesus of Prague and Saint Joseph as they storm Heaven with their prayers during ALL NIGHT ADORATION tonight, 10/03. There will be Mass (TLM) at 8p and 3a. The vigil ends with NO Mass at 7a. Confession before and sometimes after both TLMs.
All details in the flyer below. Please come!
MJD, who is always so kind to send me these reminders, wanted me to share the below:
St Peter the Apostle – Dallas
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament begins at 5:30 PM
Father Edward will recite the Rosary in Latin during adoration at 6:45 PM
Benediction before Mass starting at 7 PM
Obama targeting conservatives by sending Ebola to Dallas? October 2, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, North Deanery, rank stupidity, secularism, sickness, Society.
Just thought I’d start a conspiracy theory. But seriously, why on earth hasn’t travel from these West African locales, always so poverty stricken and problematic under the best of conditions, been stopped, yet? And it seems Obama has no intention of stopping such travel?
It seems there might be another infected person in Honolulu. But here in Dallas, over the course of about 60 hours, the number of people exposed to this deadly disease has exploded from 1, to 5, to 18, and now to over 120, including an ambulance and crew who may have come into contact with Lord knows how many others.
It actually would make a good conspiracy theory, but I fear this is simply another conspiracy of incompetence from the least prepared, least experienced, but most arrogant and self-satisfied President in US history, and the bureaucracy he has helped transform into a self-interested politicized cabal of nincompoops.
Don’t say I never give you any reasons to pray!
On the plus side, it’s raining cats and dogs, which is desperately needed but generally disapproved of by the cats and dogs themselves. At our house, this is the first significant rain we’ve gotten in over 2 months. May it be the first of many. Yesterday, Oct 1 it was 95, more than a bit above normal even for Dallas.
Catholic Bioethics discussion tonight! August 19, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, catachesis, contraception, Dallas Diocese, fun, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, secularism, sexual depravity, sickness, Society.
There will be a presentation by a Catholic bio-ethicist at Prince of Peace parish in Plano tonight, Aug 19, from 7p-8:30p. The talk will be in the Saint James Hall. The talk is being sponsored by the Prince of Peace Young Adult Ministry which is administered by my friend Josh Schwartz. See below for all details. A bit about the speaker:
Our presenter, Brandon P. Brown, studied political philosophy as an undergraduate at the University of Dallas. He completed his MD and MA through a joint degree program in philosophy and medicine at Indiana University. He is a past fellow of the Indiana University Center for Bioethics, and performed research on brain death at the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy. He is actively involved in undergraduate and graduate medical education in Indiana, serves as faculty in the School of Medicine, and has spoken on topics including beginning of life ethics, personhood, embryo adoption, and medical education.
Dr. Brown practices pediatric radiology at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN where he specializes in prenatal imaging. At IU, he is Assistant Professor of Radiology, Medical Humanities, and Philosophy.
I know nothing of the presenter other than the above, but I do know Josh is very solid and has been doing some very good work in local parishes. It was Josh and Father Rangel who organized the Good Friday Procession from downtown Dallas to north Plano this year, passing and praying outside some local mills and strip joints along the way. I really hope to participate next year! And I love Father Rangel!
Anyway, if you’re interested in bio-ethics or have questions about in vitro and all the Frankensteinian behavior of the medical community today, it might not be a bad presentation to attend.