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Posts Tagged ‘Cardinal Dolan’

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News comes today from the Religion News Service that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose oversight of Priests for Life’s finances was welcomed by Father Pavone several months ago, has turned sour, leading Cardinal Dolan to express the same exasperation as several of Father Pavone’s previous bishops. From RNS:

NEW YORK (RNS) In the latest clash between the Catholic hierarchy and one of the church’s leading anti-abortion crusaders, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan accused the Rev. Frank Pavone of continuing to stonewall on financial reforms, and Dolan said he is cutting ties with his group, Priests for Life.

In a Nov. 20 letter to other U.S. bishops, Dolan said he did not know if the Vatican would now step in to take action against the New York-based priest, who for years has angered various bishops by rejecting oversight of the organization by church authorities and for refusing to sort out his group’s troubled finances.

“My requests of Father Pavone were clear and simple: one, that Priests for Life undergo a forensic audit; two, that a new, independent board be established to provide oversight and accountability,” Dolan wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Catholic World News.

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“Although Father Pavone initially assured me of his support, he did not cooperate. Frequent requests that he do so went unheeded. I finally asked him to comply by October 1st. He did not,” Dolan wrote.

Dolan, who had been asked by the Vatican to help Pavone restructure Priests for Life, said in the letter that he has informed Rome that “I am unable to fulfill their mandate, and want nothing further to do with the organization.”

The cardinal said he had “no idea” what the Vatican intends to do now.

In a statement emailed to Religion News Service on Monday (Dec. 15), the Staten Island-based Priests for Life rebuffed Dolan’s criticisms, contending that the group has had “clean” audits for 15 years and saying the dispute is, in fact, “about control.”

That last statement from PFL is regrettable, and one that I fear may signal a return to the smear campaign deployed against Bishop Zurek by several of Father Pavone’s supporters a few years ago. Is it really all about control? So far the bishop’s complaints have never progressed beyond the issue of accounting and accountability, so the charge about control really comes off as a smokescreen tactic to many faithful Catholics who are every bit as pro-life as the staff at PFL.

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In the last go-round on this issue, several supporters of Father Pavone mercilessly smeared Bishop Zurek as wanting to ruin Father Pavone, to wreck his ministry, of being a pawn of Satan. As many are not Catholic, it was easy to chalk much of that invective up to ignorance of the very nature of a bishop and his sacred office, of the respect and obedience due him from every Catholic, but especially from priests who register sacred vows of respect and obedience at their ordinations. What was appalling was the silence from PFL in the face of this merciless pillorying of Bishop Zurek.

At the time, Bishop Zurek indicated the nature of the problem, as retold by RNS:

In 2011, Zurek denounced Pavone’s “incorrigible defiance of my legitimate authority as his bishop” and suspended his ministry. It then emerged that Priests for Life had been badly mismanaged, running an unsustainable $1.4 million deficit and failing to make key tax filings or allow proper financial oversight and safeguards.

Pavone moved back to New York, saying he had the Vatican’s support and that he would not be cowed by any bishop. Then earlier this year, he and Zurek said they reached a settlement in their standoff and the problems seemed on their way to a resolution.

But that apparently wasn’t the case, and Pavone’s fate now seems to rest with Rome.

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So what will it be now? Will the narrative be that Cardinal Dolan really isn’t all that pro-life? That gay-loving prelate who welcomed a gay contingent into the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York! On a few occasions when I have thought Cardinal Dolan erred badly, I wrote about it. But I didn’t smear him. I didn’t impugn his motives. I didn’t encourage a rebellion against him. I encouraged him to look to the examples of his predecessors in office. And all of that raises what is really at issue here.

What does it mean to be a faithful son of the Church?

At its core it means fidelity to the Magisterium and to one’s bishop. This fidelity is required of laity as well as clerics and finds its scriptural roots in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11-13

Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you,and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

In this chapter, PFL needs to strike a new tone. They need to put the “Priest” back in Priests for Life. How Catholic or priestly is it to set one’s supporters against a string of bishops? That new tone begins with respect and obedience towards one’s bishop. If the accounting is all in order, then we should get to that point. It would then become abundantly clear if “control” is at issue. That said, Bishop Zurek’s assertion three years ago bears mention again.

As Father Pavone’s Bishop, Patrick Zurek bears moral responsibility for the stewardship of PFL’s finances if there is mismanagement by one of his priests of the $10 Million annual budget, and Bishop Zurek will answer to God for whether or not he exercised his sacred office with prudence and diligence.

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What is certain from the published record is that there has been a fractious relationship between Father Pavone and several of his bishops through the years. Equally objective are the horrendous characterizations of these bishops by many of Father Pavone’s supporters. Also equally certain is the fact that no amount of anti-abortion crusading and success can justify these grotesque allegations against the bishops. Even if Bishop Zurek were a bishop who ranked pro-life ministry at the bottom of his list of priorities, this much is also certain:

Every priest serves at the pleasure of his bishop, and his bishop owes him no explanation for changing that priest’s assignment.

Who knows what other news might be in the wings? Regardless, this time around, PFL needs to change tack and get off the smear campaign. It’s a losing strategy with faithful Catholics who ask the simple question:

What would Padre Pio do?

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Last week the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee in New York City decided to allow an openly homosexual group to March under their own banner, and Cardinal Dolan (Next year’s Grand Marshall) embraced the decision openly, warmly, and uncritically. These events created an outcry among Catholic writers, myself included. Among the rather strongly worded opinions was that of Msgr. Charles Pope, whose blog post on the Archdiocese of Washington’s website lasted about as long as a pint of Guinness at the parade before it was taken down. Lifesite News has archived it here. The article is as potent as it is brief, and it merits a thoughtful reply.

In abstract, Msgr. Pope points out how events such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner have become shells of their former selves, “farcical,” to use his description.

Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it.

In New York City in particular, the “parade” is devolving into a farcical and hateful ridicule of the faith that St. Patrick preached.

On the Al Smith Dinner,

Decades ago the “Al Smith Dinner” was a time for Republicans and Democrats to bury the hatchet (even if only temporarily) and come together to raise money for the poor and to emphasize what unites us rather than what divides us. But in the old days the death of 50 million infants was not what divided us. We were divided about lesser things such as how much of the budget should go to defense and how much to social spending. Reasonable men might differ over that.

But now we are being asked to raise toasts and to enjoy a night of frivolity with those who think it is acceptable to abort children by the millions each year, with those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love and that LGBTQIA… (I=intersexual, A= Asexual) is actually a form of sanity to which we should tip our hat, and with those who stand four-square against us over religious liberty.

His recommendation,

It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.

But don’t go to the parade; stay away from the Al Smith Dinner and all that “old school” stuff that hangs on in a darkened world. And as for St Patrick’s Day, it’s time to stop wearin’ the green and instead take up the purple of Lent and mean it. Enough of the celebration of stupidity, frivolity, and drunkenness that St Paddy’s day has become. We need penance now, not foolishness. We don’t need parades and dinner with people who scoff at our teachings, insist we compromise, use us for publicity, and make money off of us. We’re being played for (and are?) fools.

End the St Patrick’s parade. End the Al Smith Dinner and all other such compromised events. Enough now, back to Church! Wear the purple of Lent and if there is going to be a procession, let it be Eucharistic and penitential for the sins of this age.

It’s hard to argue with a priest of Msgr. Pope’s caliber. In so many ways he’s right. What has gone out from the Church in large measure is holiness. But then, that’s nothing new. Look at Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). In medieval Europe, the day before Ash Wednesday was an occasion of binge eating of meats and cheeses, old flour before the severe fast for Lent. All manner of perversion crept into the occasion until we arrived at what exists today. Hardly an evening of examination of conscience. The same for what has happened to All Hallows Eve (Halloween).

There can be no doubt that the Church is besieged on all fronts, and we are witnessing the development of a siege mentality. Abroad we hear of Hindus killing Christians in India, Muslims slaughtering Christians across the Middle East and in Africa, and the threatening of the Pope’s life by these savages.

At home we are witnessing the decay of democracy and the rise of a totalitarian state. The bishops, Cardinal Dolan in particular, have been played for fools by President Obama, and the cardinal speaks of “being disappointed,” by the betrayal of Obama’s promises on contraceptive and abortion mandates. Religious liberties are being eroded by a president who doesn’t see the beheadings of Americans as a declaration of war by an enemy who has promised to fly their flag from the White House; but that same president claims that opponents of his HHS Mandate are waging a war on women. So the Little Sisters of the Poor are at war with us, but ISIS is not.

Gay marriage has taken deep root, while traditional marriage is being opted out of at frightful rates. And now out and proud gays being led along Fifth Avenue in parade by a cardinal who has expressed no opposition whatsoever. The same cardinal welcomed President Obama to the Al Smith Dinner (where his predecessors actually prevented some nasty politicians from attending) with equally warm and uncritical embrace as he has the gay contingent he’ll lead along Fifth Avenue past his own cathedral.

It’s easy to see where Msgr. Pope wants to pull out of the Al Smith Dinner and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Respectfully, I must disagree.

This is New York City, and as the world knows we’re fighters here. We don’t lie down and die, and we don’t take no for an answer. Retreat and surrender are not in our DNA. That’s why this is all so visible. But many in the church are in headlong retreat, abandoning the high ground to the adversary. Consider how many dioceses have closed their adoption agencies rather than comply with new laws mandating that they work with gays and lesbians to place children for adoption. Why?

Why close down? Are these children not worth fighting for? Why go down without a fight? Why die with a whimper, when being forcibly shut down by armed police would make a better demonstration of the thuggishness of Obama’s ilk, of the erosion of religious liberty?

Several bishops have spoken of having to shut down other vital operations rather than comply with the HHS Mandate. Again, why?

Retreat emboldens the enemy, and increases the bloodlust with which they pursue us. In the end, the very churches that Msgr. Pope recommends we retreat to will have their tax-exempt status taken away. Then what? What happens in the face of increasingly punitive and crippling taxes by an adversary dedicated to our demise in the public sphere?

No. The answer is no.

The Al Smith Dinner raises a great deal of money for Catholic Charities. We don’t need to invite the most rabidly pro-abortion politicians, but we can use the sharp satire of the evening to skewer them on the important issues. Who suffers if we retreat from this event, whose tone is set by New York’s archbishop? We all do, and the poor most especially.

Similarly, why retreat from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade? The parade was never on par with the sort of Eucharistic procession now advocated by Msgr. Pope. While it certainly honored Ireland’s patron saint it was at least as much a projection of political power by the minority Catholic population in New York and the other cities, a message to the protestant ruling class that here they were not protected by a monarch. Here the Irish had an equal voice, and their growing numbers demanded a different reality than what they suffered in the old country.

New York’s archbishops, from the building of the cathedral post-Civil War, have lived in a stately mansion on Madison Avenue. A faith-filled Irish populace led by our Irish bishops were a force to be reckoned with, and politicians came to that mansion with hat in hand. That is no longer the reality in New York.

Catholics’ faith and fervor have been watered down through a combination of poor catechesis, extinct evangelization, and socioeconomic upward mobility that leads to less reliance on God for survival and celebrates self-initiative. It doesn’t help when our bishops and clergy don’t fight back. Waving the white flag has become habitual and has set a tone for the laity. Would that the USCCB organize boycotts of all the parade sponsors who forced the inclusion of openly gay contingents. Would that our clergy and laity get on board. Would that we have a segment in every bulletin listing the corporate lepers who wage war on us.

Big Gay has seized control of the corporate world, threatening them with crippling PR campaigns if they don’t comply. That’s how Big Gay made an end run around a US Supreme Court ruling protecting the right of the Boy Scouts to determine membership criteria. It’s how they have leveraged the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee when Big Gay lost every court challenge against the parade organizers.

Big Gay (who are only 1.6% of the population) does not back down, while for over a decade we have been in headlong retreat. We are more than big enough to win a boycott battle against these same corporations, especially if we partner with like-minded protestants and other religious groups.

No, Msgr. Pope. We can do both. We can yet again become the holy people you call for us to be, AND stand our ground. That’s OUR dinner, not Obama’s. That’s OUR saint, OUR parade, not Big Gay’s. Those are OUR children in orphanages, whose care has been entrusted to US, not Big Gay.

A church that will not fight for orphans will not fight for itself. If it will not fight for itself, if it will not become holy once again, that parade will become our funeral procession.
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Tonight is Night Two of our Novena for Priests right here at Coming Home. We are praying this Novena for Cardinal Dolan’s intentions.

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The decision by the organizers of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade to allow a group of gays from NBC to march openly under their own banner, “OUT@NBCUniversal,” was nothing short of a betrayal of all that was best in the Ancient Order of Hibernians, who have resisted this for more than two decades. That New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan welcomed the move, saying the organizers have his, “confidence and support,” is a scandal of epic proportion.

Lest any read these words and interpret them as unwelcoming of LGBT persons in the Church, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter to the world’s bishops in 1986 instructing them on the pastoral care of homosexual persons. Read it here.

Those of us who are horrified at the specter of New York’s Archbishop leading the parade as Grand Marshal, leading a banner announcing a contingent of out and proud gays past our beloved Cathedral (named for St. Patrick), will undoubtedly be called haters. As with all evil, listen to the epithets hurled at the faithful and then you have the identity of those doing the hurling.

Haters.

Catholics who love God, love His Church, love His order of creation are called haters for not supporting those whose lifestyle spits in the face of all that is holy. Is it really hateful to proclaim that children need both a mother and a father living under the same roof, and that this is part of God’s wise design?

Is it hateful to observe that mothers and fathers bring very different gifts and skill sets to the table, and that children need both?

Is it really hateful to suggest that God created a complementarity between the sexes and that humans are completed in their formation within a milieu that nurtures this dynamic complementarity?

Is it really hateful to suggest that the needs of children are the starting point of all consideration and not the needs or predilections of the adults?

If one is a supporter of the gay agenda, then the answer to all of the above is a resounding YES!

But who are the real haters? What do we say of those who say that a mother is an optional accessory in the life of a child, that motherhood itself is entirely unnecessary?

What do we say of those who say that a father is an optional accessory in the life of a child, that fatherhood itself is entirely unnecessary?

What do we say of those who rent women’s bodies as nothing more than incubators (and this includes many heterosexuals), who reduce women to the level of livestock: broodmares and bitches, all because of their own sterility?

What do we say of those who patronize an industry where women are artificially inseminated like so many cattle?

Who is at war with whom here?

What do we say of those people?

Here is what we DON’T say: We don’t cast them out of the Church. We don’t suppose that our sinfulness is more pleasing and acceptable to God than theirs. We don’t arrogantly assume that we will be heading to Paradise and that they will not.

We say to those people: Welcome brother. Welcome sister.

We accept them as individuals, but not as a militant class with an agenda that flies in the face of the Magisterium. No out and proud banners and, in fact, this is how the Ancient Order of Hibernians has dealt with this for 22 years. All are welcome to march, but not under a gay pride banner. They have their own parade for that. And what a parade it is. Filled with naked men in nothing but thongs. Until the parade route was shortened, the Gay Pride parade marched past St. Patrick’s Cathedral where men mooned the cathedral, gave it the finger, and chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at it, and the faithful, by extension.

How the Cardinal can see this as an occasion of unity beggars the imagination. He has alienated his most faithful in exchange for… what?

If the openly gay group were the Courage ministry who struggle to lead chaste lives in accordance with God’s plan as articulated by the Magisterium, that’s a win-win. But that is not what happened here. He has alienated his most faithful by not standing against the AOH members of the committee and their change in direction to welcome the rebellion itself, to LEAD them along Fifth Avenue. Does he suppose that having paraded under their own banner they will abandon their lifestyle and flock to Courage, flock to confession?

This decision comes within the context of not waging an aggressive campaign against gay marriage in New York State, not speaking out against the move to admit openly gay scouts in Boy Scouting, welcoming the most anti-Catholic, anti-life president in history to the Al Smith Dinner, his enthusiastic comments about Michael Sam; not crossing swords with Governor Cuomo when he attempted to legalize abortion in New York for all 9 months, reduce penalties for botched abortions, etc.

Cardinal Dolan could take a page from Cardinal O’Connor. O’Connor didn’t budge an inch against the gates of hell that were turned loose on him by the gay community. He stood them down with the fortitude of a lion. At the same time he volunteered weekly at an AIDS hospice he created and insisted on being called, “Father John,” while dressed simply as a parish priest. He cleaned bedpans and wiped bottoms.

Humility and Fortitude in seamless union.

To be certain, the parade was losing the major corporate sponsorships that make the parade possible. Equally certain is that Cardinal Dolan could have led a boycott against those companies who dared to profane the parade in honor of his diocese’s patron saint. He could have rallied his brother bishops in this and sought the aid of wealthy Catholics to make up the shortfall until these businesses came around. He could have boldly proclaimed the instruction from the CDF linked above. He could have shown disgust and indignation at the allegation that any who are faithful to God’s wise design are haters. He could have stood for the dignity of women and condemned homosexual marriage and the use of women by gay men as broodmares. He could have stood for the dignity of lesbians and condemned artificial insemination as beneath their dignity.

But he didn’t.

There are some Catholic writers and commenters who criticize the actions of the bishops at every turn. That has seldom happened here. But there seems to be a blind spot when it comes to the gay agenda here in New York. It is dangerously seductive to think that one’s adversaries applauding us is somehow a triumph for unity.

It was never what Jesus envisioned for us when He reminded the Apostles that if they find the world hates them, to remember that it hated Him first.

It was never what Jesus envisioned for us when He said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.”

It was never what Jesus envisioned for us when He said not to worry about what we will say when put on trial, that the Holy Spirit will give us the words.

It was never what Jesus envisioned for us when He reminded us that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Jesus did all He could to instruct us that there would be great strife and divisions, all in His name. He never, EVER said that there would be unity, though He prayed that all would be one as He and the Father are one. But that oneness does not come at the expense of the truth, otherwise the Cardinal’s pulpit becomes as hollow as the parade that the AOH committee members just defiled.
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Beginning tomorrow night, September 6 at 8 PM , Coming Home will have the Novena for Priests for the intentions of Cardinal Dolan. He needs the prayers, and I need the practice. Let’s all join in.

Update: A draft copy was inadvertently published a few moments ago identifying the AOH as having made the recent decision to allow gays in the parade. This has been corrected to show that it is AOH members on the parade committee. The AOH stepped back from direct involvement a few years ago.

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In his recent interview with David Gregory on Meet the Press, Cardinal Timothy Dolan reiterated that the only problem he and the bishops had with Obamacare was the HHS mandate for contraceptive and abortion coverage in all insurance plans. He lamented that Obama was alienating a body of bishops that wanted to support this legislation, wanted to support Obama in his efforts at it. Most respectfully, the interview with Gregory was a missed opportunity on so very many fronts. Our bishops and several in the pro-life movement have had such a myopic focus on contraception and abortion issues in Obamacare that moral issues just as big and even bigger have entirely gone unaddressed by them. First, to the interview. David Gregory asked:

“What about Obamacare? You have voiced your displeasure with certain aspects of it in terms of mandates for hospitals and so forth. What about the overall goal? Do you think it will ultimately prevail? Would you like it, do you think it’s important for our country that universal health care insurance be available?”

Cardinal Dolan responded:

“Yep, and I’m glad you allow me to make that distinction,” Dolan replied. “We bishops are really in kind of a tough place because we’re for universal, comprehensive. life-affirming healthcare. We, the bishops of the United States–can you believe it, in 1919 came out for more affordable, more comprehensive, more universal health care. That’s how far back we go in this matter, okay. So we’re not Johnny-come-latelys.

“We’ve been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time. So we were kind of an early supporter in this. Where we started bristling and saying, ‘Uh-oh, first of all this isn’t comprehensive, because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and it’s excluding the unborn baby,’ so we began to bristle at that.

“And then secondly we said, ‘And wait a minute, we who are pretty good Catholics who are kind of among the pros when it comes to providing healthcare, do it because of our religious conviction,and because of the dictates of our conscience, and now we’re being asked to violate some of those.’

“So that’s when we began to worry and draw back and say, ‘Mr. President, please, you’re really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we’re not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders. And that, sadly, is what happened.”.

Sadly?

Really???

In a 2,000+ page document filled with countless yet-to-be-determined, open-ended policy that states, “The Secretary [of HHS] shall determine…”, how is it considered moral to cheerlead for something completely undefined, especially in this nation with what Pope John Paul II called an ascendant “Culture of Death,” and with the party of death as its authors and administrators?

How could the bishops cheerlead for a law that will be administered with hefty doses of what is euphemistically called “rationing,” when President Obama brought aboard Dr. Donald Berwick whose expertise is in rationing? From Wiki:

“Berwick has studied the management of health care systems, with emphasis on using scientific methods and evidence-based medicine and comparative effectiveness research to improve the tradeoff among quality, safety and costs.[2][3][4] Among IHI’s projects are online courses for health care professionals for reducing Clostridium difficile infections, lowering the number of heart failure readmissions or managing advanced disease and palliative care.”

How could the bishops cheerlead for a law when the “tradeoff” regarding cost is, “quality of life,” as determined by a bureaucratic algorithm that takes into account average life expectancy given a treatment, age of the patient, etc.? If the numbers fall the wrong way, the state will offer either physician assisted suicide or hospice care as they deny further treatment. This has been standard in Oregon for years. Also read here.

How could the bishops cheerlead for a law whose costs have soared before a workable website could even be put in place, with a government that is close to $20 Trillion in debt, and the certain knowledge that physician-assisted suicide is being pushed in almost every state in the Union?

How could the bishops cheerlead for a law they now know was founded on the lie that, “If you like your plan you can keep it,” knowing that over 7 million people have been dropped in the last two months?

How could the bishops cheerlead for a plan that the Congressional Budget Office projects will STILL leave more than 30 million people uninsured, especially when the principal reason offered for going down this road was to insure the 30-40 million uninsured?

How could the bishops cheerlead for a plan that increases funding for abortion and contraception through the HHS Mandate, just so long as the Church gets her exemption and doesn’t have to get her hands dirty?

This immoral and unjust legislation is not at all what the bishops of 100 years ago militated for. They would have raged against it all, because they were very different men. Those men were shepherds. Their flock was a large immigrant population in a strange land, with a strange tongue for many, with strange customs. The Church was the one great constant in their lives, and their bishops fought for them.

And politicians feared and respected them.

A far cry from a Cardinal lamenting forced participation in 10 percent of a one-hundred percent abomination of legislation and healthcare.

A far cry from a Cardinal who admitted on CBS This Morning, the week before he received the red hat, “We bishops aren’t fighters, we’re pastors.” (See video below)

Notably absent from Cardinal Dolan’s lament was that the small business owners in his flock, and outside of his flock, would be forced to violate their consciences.

Notably absent was any mention of rationing, euthanasia, the tissue of lies, the millions who have been dropped, the outrageous projected increases in premiums by as much as 179% in some states, the yet-to-be-defined policies a priori codified in the law.

These would have been real issues for the bishops of 1919. They most certainly would not have been tolerated 70 years before that with New York’s fourth Archbishop, “Dagger” John Hughes. From an excellent article about Hughes:

Hot on the heels of the school controversy came Hughes’ third battle, which showed him at his feisty best or worst, depending on one’s point of view. In May 1844 anti-Catholic Nativist rioters in Philadelphia burned down two Catholic churches in several days of violence that cost a dozen lives. The Nativist leaders then announced their intention of coming to New York City to stage a large public demonstration that almost certainly would have precipitated anti-Catholic riots. Bishop Hughes placed armed guards around his churches and warned the mayor that “if a single Catholic church were burned in New York, the city would become a second Moscow.” John Hughes’ tough talk paid off. Under pressure from him and other civic leaders, the Nativists canceled their rally.

This stands in stark contrast to Cardinal Dolan’s Feb. 2012 interview on CBS This Morning, when speaking of the HHS Mandate he said:

I would say… The religious exemption is very choking and very tight. There’s a restriction there that we can’t live with. Simply in the best American principles of freedom of religion, simply give a much more dramatically wide latitude to that religious exemption and protection of conscience and religious freedom, and you’re not gonna hear from us any more.

So, give the Church that exemption and she will go mute on all of the other horrors this law is visiting on Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

“You’re not gonna hear from us anymore.” (see the video below)

No, Cardinal Dolan. Most respectfully, we need you and the other bishops to fight for us, to show the moxie of Archbishop Hughes. Want to fill the pews? Defend your flock! The nation has awakened to the trap laid by Obama, the imprisonment, the economic destitution coming under this law, the massive carnival of death on the other end of the life spectrum, and not just abortion. The nation is aroused, and my bishops are losing the forest for the tree.

There is not a shred of moral decency in this law. It is a eugenicist’s dream. It preys on the very weakest on both ends of the life spectrum and impoverishes everyone in-between.

In your interview two years ago, you indicated that the president made all sorts of promises to you and the bishops and then broke them all. Where is your outrage and disgust? You cannot deal with such men. You can only defeat them.

This president and his signature piece of legislation are tearing this nation apart. This is the golden moment for our bishops to stand and fight, with a nation desperate for leadership in that fight. This is our defining moment in the Catholic Church.

This is bigger than contraception and abortion.

This is the forest, not just one tree.

[Photo Credit: http://alchemystudio.com%5D

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Fox News reports that Cardinal Dolan, in an interview with David Gregory of Meet the Press, claims that the Church was “outmarketed” on the issue of gay marriage. From the report:

Asked why the church is losing the argument on gay marriage, Dolan responded, “Well, I think maybe we’ve been outmarketed sometimes. We’ve been caricatured as being anti-gay.”

He said the church supports “traditional marriage and is not “anti-anybody,” adding, “When you have forces like Hollywood, when you have forces like politicians, when you have forces like some opinion-molders that are behind it, it’s a tough battle.”

Without knowing it, Cardinal Dolan has identified the core of the problem. Our leadership, with few exceptions, have adopted the superficiality of branding and marketing as a cheap substitute for the grittiness and tenacity of evangelization. Worse still, while we have abandoned evangelization and hewing to the hard line of the Gospel, it is the other side who have been engaged in the grit and tenacity of evangelization.

That’s right. The other side has been engaged in three decades of evangelization, while the majority of our priests and bishops have endeavored to be “non confrontational” and “nonjudgemental”.

The results speak for themselves.

While the Church has been entirely kicked out of the public schools, with students being disciplined for wearing shirts bearing the word, “Christmas”, the other side has succeeded in getting complete acceptance in schools with gay/straight alliances, comprehensive sex education, and now state laws permitting transexual and transgender students permission to use whatever bathrooms they please.

That’s not marketing. That’s evangelization.

Our leaders have stood by, largely mute, while we have been kicked out of the public square by a vocal minority who have moved in to occupy the ground formerly held by the Church. That all begs the question as to how such a coup could have happened.

In truth, more than 85% of married Catholics ignore the Magisterium when it comes to the right use of sex in marriage and the use of contraception.

58% 67% of Catholics approve of gay marriage.

To say that those numbers are the result of marketing is to suggest that the Gospel has roots shallower than grass. And on that matter, Pope Francis has spoken loud and clear.

Many priests reacted with scorn to the challenge by Francis that they and their bishops get out of the rectory and go out among the people in a bold new way. Francis sees clearly that the Church is dwindling in influence because the people don’t know who they are. They have lost sight of their great dignity while so very many of our clergy refuse to engage the culture for fear of alienating people or seeming judgmental. That timidity is often defended as the cardinal virtue of Prudence.

It isn’t.

It’s cowardice, pure and simple.

A great definition of Prudence from New Advent:

One of the four cardinal virtues… A fuller description and one more serviceable is this: an intellectual habit enabling us to see in any given juncture of human affairs what is virtuous and what is not, and how to come at the one and avoid the other. It is to be observed that prudence, whilst possessing in some sort an empire over all the moral virtues, itself aims to perfect not the will but the intellect in its practical decisions. Its function is to point out which course of action is to be taken in any round of concrete circumstances. It indicates which, here and now, is the golden mean wherein the essence of all virtue lies. It has nothing to do with directly willing the good it discerns. That is done by the particular moral virtue within whose province it falls. Prudence, therefore, has a directive capacity with regard to the other virtues. It lights the way and measures the arena for their exercise. The insight it confers makes one distinguish successfully between their mere semblance and their reality. It must preside over the eliciting of all acts proper to any one of them at least if they be taken in their formal sense. Thus, without prudence bravery becomes foolhardiness; mercy sinks into weakness, and temperance into fanaticism.

No mention in there of marketing. In fact, when gay marriage passed in New York State, Cardinal Dolan was quoted in the NY Daily News as saying:

Cardinal Dolan revealed for the first time that the Catholic Church was caught flat-footed on last year’s gay marriage vote in New York — insisting it was “burned” by Senate Republicans who claimed it didn’t have a prayer.

“We got burned last year when we were told the redefinition of marriage didn’t have much of a chance — and of course it did,” Dolan told the Daily News as he prepared for Monday’s annual Albany lobbying trip.

“Our Senate leaders, we highly appreciated them being with us all along,” he explained. “When they kind of assured us it didn’t have much of a chance — not that we let up, but we probably would have been much more vigorous and even more physically present if we knew there was a chance.”

Perhaps. But activism built on an unevangelized church is like building a house on a foundation of sand. The truth is that a solidly evangelized Church would be much more resistant to the evangelists from the culture of death. As Chesterton observed, the man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. And that’s what has happened. A people who have been abandoned by their shepherds are being torn apart by the wolves. Now a chief shepherd chalks that up to “marketing”.

It was earlier this year that Cardinal Dolan, as the head of the USCCB, failed to lead any opposition to the Boy Scouts of America opening the doors to gay members. The silence from the Church leadership was deafening. The closest we came to any clerical position was a priest who claimed to be a member of the national Catholic Committee on scouting who debated me on FaceBook.

The priest claimed that the Church could not oppose such a move, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church specifies that no youth be barred from youth ministry because of their sexual orientation. While that is true, BSA is not a church ministry, but a national institution. The Church also failed to take the long view of the situation.

In accepting openly gay youth who will become Eagle Scouts, how can the organization then reject the same Eagle Scout as an adult leader when he turns 18? Yet the Church, while rightly not barring gay youth from ministry, will reject that openly homosexual young man when he applies to the seminary, or for a teaching position in a Catholic school. So, the Boy Scouts were hung out to dry.

That wasn’t a “marketing” issue either.

The truth is that there are a fair number of gay clergy. There are an even greater number who do not stand with the Church on abortion, contraception, or the right use of sex in marriage. So, these issues never get preached or taught, or when they do, it is the Magisterium that gets pilloried.

It wasn’t a marketing issue that has led to the disintegration of Western Civilization.

In the wake of Vatican II our seminaries descended into chaos at every level, with some earning the moniker of “pink palace,” so notorious were they for their homosexual subcultures. Many of those seminarians were ordained. When Pope Benedict XVI was elected to the Papacy he undertook an Apostolic Visitation of our seminaries to address this problem, among others.

Today we see the fruits of that chaos from the 60’s and 70’s, even the 80’s. We see the fruits of nonevangelization on our part and the fruits of the other side’s evangelization.

They have a positive view of themselves, of their lifestyle, and of their contribution to society. They preach that vision in season and out of season with a singularity of focus that resembles the singularity and tenacity of St. Paul the Apostle. They push and push and push. Then they push some more. They go into the schools, and businesses, and the public square. They preach in churches and synagogues, and in civic associations. They boldly challenge any who stand in their way, and took singular aim at Cardinal O’Connor, even going so far as desecrating the Eucharist in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Perhaps we could learn a lesson in evangelization from the other side, clergy and laity alike.

We weren’t outmarketed.

We were outevangelized.

That’s our great failure and our great shame.

On this First Sunday of Advent we ought to take stock of these failures, do penance, and begin the long, gritty work of a new evangelization.

Commentary on the HHS part of the interview here.

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SO001396

When tsunamis make landfall they can be rebuffed by mighty cliffs of granite, or accommodated by soft sandy beaches which allow the mighty waves to strip them, leaving them disfigured and littered with the tsunami’s wasteful debris and shattered bodies when the floodwaters retreat back into the abyss from whence they came. So it seems that the Church in America, once a towering giant, has become increasingly accommodating to the Culture of Death as it washes over her with impunity.

The examples over the past year alone abound. Revelations in last week’s New York Times that the Archdiocese of New York has been paying for union employees’ contraception and abortion benefits, “under protest,” are just the latest in a string of surrenders.

In this latest disaster, the Archdiocese claims that there is a difference between fighting the HHS Mandate and the union contracts inherited when they got into the latest arrangement. Read the Archdiocese’s refutation here.

Indeed, there is a difference between an illegally imposed government mandate to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion, and willingly staying in the healthcare field where the powerful union drives such services being mandated in the insurance plans.

To what degree is the Archdiocese compelled in all of this? From their statement it is clear that they feel the greater need to remain in the healthcare field because there is a proportionally greater good to be done. The larger moral question is how much good done by the archdiocese washes the blood of a single aborted baby from the diocesen hands that paid for the abortion? How is this argument different from the woman who feels the pressure from family to abort? Or the woman who pervceives the great good that will not be accomplished in her life if the baby prevents her from getting a college education? Is the emotional plight of the abortion-minded woman under duress not more compelling? Yet she incurs automatic excommunication if she knows the penalty. What of those in diocesan offices who maintain the involvement with the unions and write the checks?

Undoubtedly great arguments can be made for all of the good that would not be done if we abandoned the field, but it’s still a proportionalist argument being deployed against moral absolutes. Unfortunately, our opponents have been handed a PR win on this one.

In other matters, the silence of the bishops in the run-up to the scheduled vote in February regarding admitting gay scouts in BSA was deafening. When BSA rescheduled the vote, we had a second chance to speak out against this disastrous move, but neither the bishops, nor the Catholic Commmittee on Scouting condemned it.

A year ago when New York State voted to adopt gay marriage Cardinal Dolan rued that he was caught flat-footed. What can be the excuse of the USCCB on the Boy Scouts? My observations on what is so wrong with that move here.

Through it all, we have witnessed Cardinal Dolan welcoming Vice President Biden to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, going out of his way to assure that he does not declare Governor Cuomo, who is seeking the liberalization of New York’s abortion laws, a Catholic in bad standing. Which means that he is regarded publicly as a Catholic in good standing; abortion and gay marriage notwithstanding.

Are we surrendering on all of these issues? We welcome the “Catholic” politicians with open arms who are at the same time accelerating the implementation of a diabolical agenda.

In this Year of Faith, as our churches continue to empty, an unsolicited thought for our leaders. If fundamental moral truths and goods are not worth fighting for, then don’t be surprised when many find that there isn’t much worth staying for.

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Word comes this week that Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan received a telephone call from President Obama stating that the Catholic Church would not receive an exemption from the requirement to purchase contraception for its employees. Cardinal Dolan is less than enthused:

“It’s not about contraception. It’s about the right of conscience.”

“The government doesn’t have the right to butt into the internal governance and teachings of the church. This is not a Catholic issue, it’s an American issue. We’re strong on this issue of conscience, and that’s what’s at stake here.”

“While I appreciate his courtesy Friday morning to give me a call with the somber news, I had to tell him I was terribly let down, disappointed and disturbed.”

Yes, Eminence, it is about conscience where Obama and the Federal Government are concerned, but it’s about much, much more within the Catholic Church.

It’s about the contending issues of fidelity and narcissism that have torn the Church to pieces over the past fifty years, reducing a once-powerful and respected constituency to a laughingstock in many political circles. Obama’s actions and posture toward the Church, even the election of such a man, would have been unthinkable twenty-five years ago. His declaration to Cardinal Dolan was less a declaration of war than the final, sickening realization that we have had the terms of our self-incarceration dictated to us by the man who embodies all that we have become as a people.

In my 51 years, I have witnessed Mass attendance drop to 1/3 of what it was when I was a child. Since my twelfth year of life, we have butchered more than 54 million unborn babies, millions of them in their Catholic mothers’ wombs. My generation advanced the sexual revolution and spread AIDS like wildfire. Yes many of us have repented of our earlier sins and have pursued virtue, but many of us have not properly formed our children out of misplaced guilt and mistaken notions of what constitutes hypocrisy.

I can’t remember EVER hearing a homily on contraception or John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. I can count on two hands the number of homilies I have heard on abortion, and none, NONE on what makes for a sacramental marriage.

For as bad as it has been, the sex abuse scandal has been the LEAST damaging issue for the Church. That was a very small fraction of our priests, less than 4%. Our marriages are in free-fall, our children torn apart by divorce.

At every step of the way, rejection of what the Church teaches has been behind the disintegration. At every step of the way, we have elected increasingly radical politicians. There is a causal relationship in that pattern.

There is no “Catholic Vote.”

Enter Obama and Dolan.

Their contention, and our current condition, could be viewed as presaged by Abraham Lincoln nearly two-hundred years ago:

The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions:
Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois
January 27, 1838

This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

We are dying by suicide. We are killing our babies by abortion, and now our elderly in increasing numbers through passive and active euthanasia. The preservation of resources and lifestyle are the leading reasons offered up.

Malignant Narcissism and Hedonism.

That there is reason to believe Obama could actually be re-elected indicates we passed the conscience issue long ago. Conscience was determined in our last presidential election. We elected Obama knowing full-well his declared intent.

This election will determine whether or not we’re content with our chains.

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