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Is closing of Planned Barrenhood McKinney office really a pro-life victory, or just more business as usual? – UPDATED May 26, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Abortion, contraception, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, North Deanery, paganism, pr stunts, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, Victory.
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UPDATE: So, I got a call from the woman who apparently leads the McKinney 40 Days for Life campaign and led the prayer vigils outside the former McKinney Planned Barrenhood for several years.  I think it fair to say she was none too pleased with my post.  She thinks a lot of progress is being made, and that this is a big victory.  She also claims I made a factual error, which is that there were actually 3 Planned Parenthood’s in Collin County at one point, and now there is only one.  And, this is true, I had misremembered or misunderstood when one of Planned Parenthood’s Plano locations opened and closed.  The McKinney office opened in June 2008, a Plano office closed in 2011, so for about 3 years there were 3 Banned Parenthoods in Collin County.  So, however significant that is to you, duly noted. The rest of the post stands, this small detail doesn’t change anything else I wrote below

There has been some excitement in certain local pro-life circles of late regarding the recent closure of the Planned Barrenhood McKinney office.  This is being presented as a great triumph for the pro-life cause, since a rather large town (pop. ~ 150,000 and a county seat, to boot!) will now not have a Planned Barrenhood facility, even if it was a facility that never performed surgical abortions (but certainly did provide referrals).

But those of us with longer memories are not so sure.  To some of us, it looks like Planned Barrenhood simply executing a small administrative change which will have only the most minimal effect on the availability of abortion and contraception in North Texas.

Why do I always have to be such a party-pooper?  Let me elucidate:

In 2011, the State of Texas under Rick Perry made the decision to stop using Planned Barrenhood as an outlet for the falsely named “Women’s Health Program,” which was really just a program to provide highly subsidized contraception to low-income women.  But since Banned Parenthood is so prominent in support of abortion and all manner of hideous moral evils, Governor Perry and others determined that de-listing PP from the program would be both a good PR move and also help wound the pro-abort giant. This was big news back then, as this article at LifeNews indicates.  The state wound up losing federal funding to the tune of about $40 million per year due to blocking Planned Parenthood from the program, but Perry and others, to their credit, stuck to their guns, and as a result, numerous Planned Barrenhood facilities around the state closed.  A partial list of those closures below:

Planned Parenthood Arlington North Clinic (August 31st)
1305 East Abram Street
Arlington, TX 76010
Planned Parenthood Gainesville Health Services (August 29th)
316 South Chestnut Street
Gainesville, TX 76240
Planned Parenthood Mesquite Health Services (September)
3220 Gus Thomason Road, #231
Mesquite, TX 75150
 
Planned Parenthood Plano Health Services (August 31st)
1400 Summit Avenue, #CA
Plano, TX  75074
Planned Parenthood Sherman Clinic (August)
2114 Texoma Parkway. Suite 700
Sherman, TX 75090
Planned Parenthood Terrell Health Services (September)
804 East Moore Avenue, Ste A
Terrell, TX 75160
Planned Parenthood Waxahachie Clinic (Closed in July)
507 North Highway 77, #508
Waxahachie, TX 75165

Note that the McKinney office, which was not included in the 2011 closures, continued to operate, having started up around 2007 or 08.

Now the big news coming out of pro-life groups is that this McKinney office is now closing.  But, as my old radio pal Vicki Middleton (God rest her soul) used to say, “hey, guess what?!”……..Planned Barrenhood had already re-opened their Plano office sometime between 2011 and 2015, and plans to expand it with the closure in McKinney and relocation to a new office in Plano right off Central Expressway……..where Planned Barrenhood had operated a no-surgical-abortion facility for years.

So……from late 2011 to today, the number of Planned Barrenhood offices in Collin County (population: 1.1 million) remains at one.  They closed Plano, but kept McKinney open, re-opened Plano, then closed McKinney while expanding Plano.  This is a nice little thing for folks in McKinney, I suppose, but I can’t help but viewing this as at best a marginal “win” for the pro-life movement overall.  I also don’t think it means Planned Barrenhood is still reeling from the 2011 effort to defund some of their activities – if anything, they seem to be adjusting to the new conditions and rolling along quite well.

Which brings me to my broader point: there is frankly a lot of gamesmanship and politicking in the pro-life movement that I am not entirely comfortable with.  Both my wife and I (my wife in particular) are about as committed to the pro-life movement as they come (while still recognizing others even more so), but both of us fear that it has become institutionalized, and in so doing has developed its own interests and appetites and, to some degree, we both fear there are elements in the movement that, maybe even on a subconscious level, don’t really want to see abortion go away anytime soon.  There is a huge amount of money tied up in the pro-life movement (and things presented as “wins” like this are almost always used for fundraising), money means interests, and those with interests often times don’t want to see them threatened.  They become reliant on the industry for their livelihood.  I’m not saying there are a lot of people in the pro-life movement who consciously are just in it for the money, but I do think there are elements within it that may see it more as a career or a source of income than a real, life and death moral struggle, and one critically tied to the salvation of souls.

Which gets back to the primary evils that underlie abortion and create the demand for it: the twins of fornication and contraception.  Sandra Day O’Connor in the Casey vs. Planned Parenthood decision was diabolically right when she wrote – in favor of keeping abortion legal – that abortion forms the indispensable backstop for the entire post-modern American existence, which revolves around “sexual freedom” (really slavery) and the means to “not be punished with a baby,” as our President so demonically put it, while still “enjoying” unlimited sexual license.  That is to say, until we convert souls back to a moral life, meaning a Christian moral existence, and until contraception use is not just made illegal but viewed by the vast majority as the horrendous assault against nature and God that it is, we’ll never be rid of abortion.  Even today, as we congratulate ourselves on the reduction in the rate of surgical abortion, the movement tends to be very quiet about the explosion in chemical abortion through RU-486, “morning after pills,” and the like.

And if you want to hear crickets, outside a few stalwart groups and individuals, bring up the subject of contraception.  The infusion of more and more protestants into the pro-life movement over the past 2 or 3 decades has been both a blessing and a curse, as many of these protestants are ambivalent at best regarding the abortion-contraception connection, and some simply refuse to see it.  Even among outwardly Catholic pro-life groups, there are many who are not comfortable condemning contraception.

So, enjoy your marginal victory, but don’t get too excited about it.  It’s very likely PB will decide to re-open a McKinney facility within a few years if the market dynamics change again.

What are you willing to do? March 25, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, persecution, scandals, secularism, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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My dear departed friend Vicki Middleton, God rest her soul, was quite a hoot.  She was a woman of conviction, and much more.  She was willing to put herself on the line on things that she felt important.  When her husband Jim was still President of ARCO Oil and Gas Vicki started protesting outside the office in Plano regarding ARCO’s investments in Myanmar/Burma.  Since Burma had a very repressive government and was jailing dissidents, Vicki thought ARCO should not be doing business there, so she protested outside.  If I remember right, her actions eventually led the board of directors to divest of their operations there.

Years later, Vicki converted to Catholicism.  She was the same rabble-rouser she always was.  Longtime readers may remember the radio show Vicki invited me on a number of times.  Vicki and Jim spent a pretty penny buying air time on 660 AM KSKY to bring an authentic Catholic voice to the area. You may ask, “what about the local EWTN radio station, isn’t that authentically Catholic?”  Well, Vicki was on the local EWTN station for a while but was removed for being too critical of the leadership of the Church both locally and globally, although she only asked things like “when are our priests going to really stand up and oppose abortion, or porn, etc”.

But Vicki did more than that.  She and Jim were well off, and had been very generous with the Diocese.  But when they found out about many scandalous activities ongoing, such as support for Alinskyite organizations at many parishes and lack of preaching the Faith whole and entire, she went so far as to demand her donations be returned and protested outside the cathedral, sandwich-board and all, calling out the ongoing scandals.

The point is, Vicki was willing to do anything, say almost anything, to do what she felt was the best for souls – both her own, and those of others.  She loved people tremendously and wanted what was best for them.  She was willing to risk being attacked and vilified to make her stand – and she was, often quite vociferously.

I bring this up, because in light of recent posts regarding division among orthodox (or faithful or traditional or conservative – all of which simply serve to distinguish from the great Mass of self-styled Catholics who reject core aspects of the Faith or hold heretical views), some commenters have brought up a point that has been on my mind for quite some time, as well: what are we willing to do to respond to the crisis and effect change in the Church?

I can think of a number of responses, and have suggested some on this blog.  One is to really carefully consider the degree to which we support the entire parish-diocese-national conference monetarily, if at all.  And, there are examples from Catholics in other areas. Catholics in El Paso conducted prayer vigils outside the chancery for months in the wake of the dismissal of the former priest of San Juan Bautista parish, and with regard to the long interregnum between Bishop Ochoa’s departure and Bishop Seitz’ consecration.

I’ve spoken with Catholics near and abroad about this matter many times.  There always seems to be a consensus that something should be done, but no one seems to be ready and willing to take the lead on some concrete action.  For the most part, efforts seem to fall apart over disagreement on which issue is paramount to address, what action should be taken, and, even more, who should lead it.

But, just to throw out some ideas, I could see a series of efforts calling attention to the “ghettoization” of the TLM in Dallas.  Or, regarding the lack of preaching on the evil of contraception.  Or on the abysmal standard of catechesis in parish formation programs.  Or on the continuing support of left-wing “social justice” groups.  Take your pick.  There are dozens if not hundreds of such issues to choose from.

As for me, I am going to commit to finally kicking off an effort I proposed some months back – to start praying outside some of the  many falsely named gentleman’s clubs in this area.  So here is the plan: I will pray across the street from The Men’s Club, 2340 W. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, on April 8, Easter Wednesday, at 8 pm.  There is a post office directly across the street.  I will park there and stand near the road and just pray.  No confrontation or picketing with signs at this point, just prayer.  I’ll stay for about an hour.  Any local Catholic men are welcome to join me.  

No, that won’t do much for the crisis in the Faith, and I don’t expect any miraculous reaction on the strip joint front, either, but it’s a start.  We’ll see how the first attempt goes and proceed from there.

Look, I’m just one guy, and I don’t know that I’m a natural born leader.  The broader point of this post is, what are we willing to do as faithful Catholics to really start opposing the crisis in the Church and the general decline and advancing perversion in the culture?  Are we just going to continue to complain on blogs (which have their place, obviously!), or do we start to take concrete action?  If so, what action could you take, either here in Dallas, or wherever you live?  What are you willing to do?

I think it would be fantastic if readers could make their own suggestions and efforts.  The militant left in this country makes up a tiny percentage of the population, but because they are motivated and willing to spend much of their time in support of their diabolical cause, they have managed to radically re-shape all of the former Christendom over the past 150 years or so.  They have bullied people into accepting all kinds of evil because their commitment and tirelessness gradually wore down opposition – including us. Goodness, they have even managed to get a rough majority of people to accept a definition of marriage both completely unnatural and utterly hostile to its many-thousand year history!

Are we just going to let them continue to steamroll us?  Yes, prayer is the foundation of everything, but if now is not the time to make a stand (it may already be far too late), then no time will ever be.  I pray my good readers consider how they can respond, individually and collectively. I pray we start to see a lot more Vicki Middleton’s out there obeying the Pope’s command to mix things up and make a mess.  The modernists count on us doing nothing.  In fact, it is precisely the fact that good men have done nothing that has allowed the modernist/progressive revolution in the Church to advance as far as it has.

I ask again……what are you willing to do?

Blasphemous play coming to Dallas March 11, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Christendom, Dallas Diocese, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, North Deanery, persecution, pr stunts, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
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You may sadly be familiar with the blasphemous theatrical production called “the testament of Mary.”  This came out a few years ago, was written by a leftist (go figure), who attacked the sanctity of the Blessed Mother by portraying her as a worldly woman opposed to her son’s delusional messianic call and who ends feeling just betrayed and empty after his death.

So, this play, after attracting scandal and attention around the world (surely, the very point, but the playwright would never be so transgressive about islam or Mohammad), is coming to Dallas.  Oh, lucky us.  It will be playing at the Untermain Theater starting March 21 and the production is getting heavy advertisement on the local classical station WRR (owned, coincidentally, by the City of Dallas).

TFP has a good report on the myriad problems with this play.  It is not just offensive to Catholics, but really to any Bible-believing Christians.  It so dishonors not just the Blessed Mother but also the Person and Sacrifice of God.  I hesitate to include the descriptions of the sacrilegious filth on my blog, but for the sake of providing context for why this event is so heinous, I will do so:

A narrow-minded, vulgar, egoistic and even idolatrous woman — this is how Irish author Colm Tóibín presents the Blessed Virgin Mary in his novel (now making its debut on the stage) titledThe Testament of Mary.…..

Although a former Catholic seminarian, the Irish writer gives free rein to his imagination when expressing his contempt for the Gospels, Christian tradition, and Mary Most Holy…….. [Given what we know of modern seminaries, especially in Ireland, I am not surprised at all the play was written by a former seminarian.  In fact, I expected it, as I expected his hatred to have been driven by his avowed attachment to sodomy]

Contrary to what Christian tradition affirms, Tóibín suggests that Mary was not taken care of in a filial manner by Saint John the Evangelist in Ephesus, but instead was “kept” there by two extortionists who pressured her to provide false testimony they could use to compose the Gospels. Among other things, they urged her to affirm the divinity of Jesus Christ, but she refused, since “She does not agree that her son is the Son of God.”[4]

Mary is portrayed as a skeptic who did not follow her own Son: “I am not one of his followers.”[5] And, she deemed His disciples, “a group of misfits.” Not one of them “was normal.”[6] [Ah……but a sodomite is!]

For Tóibín, the Mother of God was secretly a pagan worshiper of the hunting goddess Artemis (the Greek equivalent of the Roman goddess Diana)…….

There is actually much more, and worse, but hopefully you get the point.  Obviously the author has some very, very serious “issues.”  The fact that so many (by far, the most) atheists don’t disbelieve in God, they hate Him as they loathe themselves, would seem rather pertinent in this case.  Physician, heal thyself.

Nevertheless, since most Trads try to listen to uplifting music, quite a few listen to WRR. It’s the only classical station in the 6.5 million soul Metroplex.  So quite a few folks are upset by this.  The station has been contacted regarding running ads (AFAIK, they are only running on WRR and the local NPR stations), and their reply was a typical and sneering dismissal of the concerns raised.  However…….highly voluble criticism of a niche market station can sometimes evoke some radical changes of heart.  If you are local and/or concerned over this blasphemous production, you can contact both the theater (good luck there, this Untermeinkampf Theater prides itself on its (culturally safe) leftist transgressiveness – as such things go in Dallas) and the station:

Here is WRR’s email and phone #.

info@wrr101.com

Tel: 214-670-8888

Undermain Theatre

tel:214-747-5515

http://www.undermain.org/

If it were me, I would focus on WRR, especially if you are a local Catholic who listens to them, which quite a few do.

A sample submittal:

WRR 101.1 FM Dallas is currently running advertisements for the blasphemous, sacrilegious production of the Undermain Theater, “The Testament of Mary.”  WRR has many Catholic listeners and supporters and this play is gravely offensive not just to them, but to all convicted Christians.  This advertisement represents such an enormous lapse of judgment and is so incredibly offensive that I can no longer listen to or support your station in any way should it not be pulled and an apology issued forthwith.  Does WRR run advertisements for productions that gravely offend against Islam or other religions?  Not in my extensive listening experience.  Why, then, does it feel comfortable in mocking and belittling the sacred beliefs of Christians?

Please desist from your support for this obscenity immediately.  I do believe an apology is called for in this matter.

Very sincerely….

——–End Sample——–

I do suggest some effort be made to protest outside WRR by Mater Dei’ers if they refuse to pull the ad.  We have a week and a half until the play starts.  I’d really like to ask readers outside the Dallas area to spend a minute or two sending a quick e-mail.  Use the one above or use your own text.  But I think a few hundred comments might result in a positive response, and I certainly have more than enough readers to generate that kind of response.  A few thousand would be even better, that would represent a sizable chunk of WRR’s regular listening audience (they don’t have to know you don’t live in the area).

The main reason why there have been so many blasphemies against Christianity like this is because it has been cheap and easy for enemies of the Church to do so.  They haven’t had to bear any real cost for their offenses.  Islam, by contrast, makes clear there may be a huge cost.  And that has had not just a chilling effect on any criticism or offenses against that forlorn, false religion, but it has even led to islam becoming the de facto religion of the West.  I’m afraid – and I know this is a bit radical to say – if we want to re-assert Christianity’s cultural prerogatives our Faith once enjoyed, we’re going to have to instill a cost on this kind of behavior.  I think sending an e-mail a very, very small step in that direction.  We may have to do more, but 2000 e-mails (again, quite possible with this blog’s regular readership) would be a good start, and we can see what develops from there.

Try to leave a comment if you send an e-mail!  Don’t assume the other readers will send, YOU do it!

Thank you.  Deo Gratias!

Is it just me, or WOW – how the Catholic Foundation Capital Campaign works March 9, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, Latin Mass, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, self-serving.
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So if you live in the Diocese of Dallas you are almost certainly aware of the ongoing heavy push to fund the Catholic Foundation Capital Campaign.  But you may not know how it works.  After perusing a number of parish websites, I can let them tell you for me.  From the website of St. Philip in Dallas:

The proceeds of the capital campaign will be placed in the Our Faith… Our Future Diocese of Dallas Capital Campaign Fund of The Catholic Foundation.* Bishop Farrell’s role as Advisor to the Fund allows him to make recommendations to The Catholic Foundation as to the expenditures of the Fund toward its philanthropic purposes.

Bishop Farrell intends, with the consent of his Advisory Committee, unless otherwise restricted by a donor, to request that 30% of parish solicited funds raised by each parish up to the amount of its parish goal, and 70% of those funds over its goal, be distributed back to that parish for its own approved philanthropic purposes.  Our church’s target goal is $405,000.00, and we plan to request funds from the Fund to address the following needs:

Replace existing HVAC in Church Sanctuary, newer school wing and Activity Building.
Total Need                                                                                                                    $121,500.00

For those who are math-challenged, $121,500 works out to exactly 30% of $405,000.

Now, a cynic might look at this and say, how interesting! Almost sounds like a shakedown. You have a critical need for some capital outlay at your parish, and in order to provide the needed expense, you have to lay out over three times its actual cost!  What a great deal!

You might say, Tantum, that’s just one parish.  Surely that doesn’t apply throughout the Diocese, does it?  Well, from St. Jude in Allen:

St. Jude is pleased to have been chosen as a pilot parish for the Diocese of Dallas Capital Campaign Fund of the Catholic Foundation.  Our target goal was to raise $2,375,000, of which we will receive 30% (or a minimum of $712,000) that will go towards our parish needs.  Additionally, once we have reached our goal, the share will reverse and the parish will receive 70% of all funds raised over our parish target.

We surpassed our pledge goal in June and as of July 31st, the pledge balance is $2,700,402.

Our specific needs and anticipated costs:   

Remodeling of the Religious Education Building – $450,000……

….Construction of the Bell Tower – $350,000

Total Need    $800,000

In the above case, St. Jude has raised above it’s “need” and will receive roughly $940k from the 2.7 million raised, or about 35%.

Once again, being cynical – and thank goodness I’m not – you might say greatly desired and needed parish improvement/expansion/repair projects are being held hostage to this campaign, which takes an enormous cut- 70%!!! – off the top. That’s quite a haircut.  And yet, the campaign website makes the “return” parishes receive from the campaign sound like its some great example of largesse!  But is it really?  Would not these projects go forward in most cases (I have a particular one in mind, and I’m sure locals know what I mean) without this campaign, especially given that replacing the AC or re-roofing the school would be far, far cheaper for the laity if the campaign did not exist?

Now some may say – hey, this is just how these things are done.  And to some extent it is, although there have also certainly been many parish projects conducted outside these ongoing diocesan fund-raising campaigns (because, yes, this current one in Dallas follows others, including one that concluded just last year.  In fact, Bishop Farrell’s tenure has been one long fundraising extravaganza) and who did not have to pay the “penalty” or “overhead” or whatever you want to call it.  But if you are at a parish that has some really badly needed capital expenditures to make, isn’t this campaign more than just a bit coercive? The choice is either kick in 3X the cost or swelter in the heat for poor St.Philip in far east Dallas? Because it is plain that what this campaign means is that there will be no capital expenditures approved outside of it. Is it significant to you that the $1 million dollar parish remodel you’ve been dreaming of actually costs only $350k, but you get to kick the rest of the money upstairs, as it were?  But you’re so generous, I’m sure it’s no bother.

I’m sorry folks.  I let you down. I stopped reading local parish bulletins and doing much local muckraking about a year ago, about the time this thing got started in a number of parishes. And perhaps I’m alone in finding this campaign more than a bit coercive.  Did the chancery ever consider the point of view of those who have grave moral reservations at how funds are spent at the diocesan level?  I’m sure they’d say I’m deluded, that a Catholic Diocese could never fund any activities that are morally objectionable, but I think the scandals with CRS, Catholic Charities, CCHD, and many more at the local level (search: Seton Plano) put the lie to that defense.  As an example, as a “return” for the laity’s generosity in this matter, could we maybe get some assurances of doctrinal orthodoxy in return, like requiring Catholic school teachers to sign a statement affirming they accept the Doctrine of the Faith?  Could we have RCIA and CCD instructors do the same.  The problems with all three – schools, RCIA, CCD – are enormous in this Diocese.

Maybe everyone is aware of this and I’m just “catching up,” but I know I’ve spoken to a number of local Catholics who were not aware of how this campaign operated, nor in how it tied into their own parish’s improvement/repair projects and the tidy sums they were being asked to produce.

Well, now maybe you do.

Quick reminder for locals: Bishops Annual Appeal upcoming February 2, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, North Deanery, persecution, secularism, Society.
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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:

IMG_2096-Martin-Short-and-Annette-Gonzales-Taylor (1)

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, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, blogfoolery, Dallas Diocese, fun, General Catholic, North Deanery, silliness.
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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, 2014

Posted 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.
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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.”

———-End Quote———–

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, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, horror, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, secularism, sexual depravity, Society.
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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:  mike.rawlings@dallascityhall.com and monica.alonzo@dallascityhall.com.  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, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, secularism.
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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, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, sadness, Tradition, Virtue.
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……..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.

 

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