Blame Lazy Catholicism for School Closings

Blame Lazy Catholicism for School Closings

By Chris Freind

The message from headquarters was sent to field agents worldwide:
“This is your mission, if you choose to accept it. Take one of the most
powerful institutions in the history of mankind and change it so
radically—in all the wrong ways—that in the span of 50 years, it will be
a shell of its former self, relegated to a backwater shaped only by the
sad ghosts of the past.”

Was this a Mission Impossible communiqué sent at the height
of the Cold War to implode the Soviet Union? Or a message pertaining to
another mammoth entity: the Roman Catholic Church? There is one
critical difference. The Soviets fell due to outside forces. The
Church, while admittedly having its fair share of outside “attackers,”
is falling from within, and most of its decline is entirely of its own

The above message could well have come from St. Peter’s Basilica in
1965. The “field agents?” Cardinals, bishops and priests. The objective:
Implement Vatican II.

The result? Disaster.

In the tumultuous 1960s, the world was on fire as secularism and
moral relativism were in vogue. Rather than standing its ground and
fighting those undesirable concepts, the Church went in the opposite
direction. In effect, Vatican II allowed Catholics to be “Catholic” in
pretty much any way they wanted, playing right into the hands of the
Woodstock culture. That carte-blanche decree served as a launching point
for the now-dominant “do whatever you want to do and whatever makes you
feel good without remorse” mentality.

In an instant, the things that made Roman Catholicism the world’s
dominant force vanished. To many, the “rock” upon which St. Peter built
the Church no longer seemed solid, but more “flexible.”

Some Church officials, to be sure, disagreed with the new direction,
but they were powerless to stop it. Not only were they forced to follow
orders, but in a much more practical sense, they were no longer able to
hold their flock accountable when the Church abandoned many of the
tenets that made it so attractive in the first place.

When a political party strives to become a very large “tent,” trying
to be all things to all people rather than affirming its platform—what it stands for—it
eventually becomes impotent. It’s one thing for a position to evolve as
circumstances change, so long as the basic belief structure isn’t
irreparably compromised as to make the original tenets unrecognizable.
When that occurs—and both U.S. political parties are guilty of it—no one is pleased, and people abandon the organization.

Has a football team ever won a championship when the coach told his
players to practice in “whatever way made them feel good”? Has a team
ever been successful after making mandatory team meetings optional? And
how long will a team remain a cohesive unit if players simply ignore the
coach’s play-calling and do their own thing?

Morale and pride mean everything in building a successful team or
institution, but they can only exist when sacrifice and dedication is demanded of the individuals who make up that entity. The only part of JFK’s inaugural address that people remember was when he demanded greatness of Americans by asking “what you can do for your country.”

The Church lost those things when it stopped demanding greatness from
its rank and file, instead letting folks off the hook by making things
“easier.” Holy Day of Obligation falls on a Saturday or Monday? You
don’t have to go to church that day; we’ll just make Sunday mass count
for both. Want to wear cut-off shorts, sports jerseys and flip-flops to church?
No problem. Fasting from meat on Fridays get in the way of ordering
sausage on your pizza? The hell with it. Just do it. We’ll eliminate
that rule, too.

The list goes on and on, and the more the Church gave in, the more
people stopped going to mass, and yes, the more parents stopped sending
their children to Catholic schools. Since the Church took away the
essence of Catholic identity—the very point of being a proud Roman
Catholic—what was the point of doing either?

And now, several generations later, the carnage is everywhere.

Mosques are full, as are many evangelical churches, and the Catholic churches are empty.

And in those evangelical churches, a significant percentage of the
congregation is former Catholics who left the Church not because it was
too “hard,” but because it stopped demanding.

Vocations are nonexistent; elderly out-of-touch priests have no
replacements; schools are being shuttered at a staggering rate that goes
way beyond this latest round of closings; and scandal and corruption
are rampant with no end in sight; more billion-dollar settlements loom.

And worst of all, the cover-ups continue, serving for many as the
final nail in the coffin. Why go to church to listen to a long-winded
uninsprational sermon about “morality” when your Church leaders actively stonewall investigations and protect society’s absolute worst—child predators?

So what does the Church do?

Despite all that baggage, the Church has fast-tracked Pope John Paul II to sainthood—faster
than anyone else in history. This was a man who either was asleep at
the switch during the height of the sex-abuse sandal, or chose to look
the other way. He could have aggressively rooted out the perpetrators
with a take-no-prisoners attitude, sending an unmistakable message that
the Church won’t tolerate pedophiles filling its ranks, regardless of
the dearth of priests. But he didn’t.

And recently, the Church rolled out language changes in the liturgy
that are ridiculous and inexplicable. Was it just another example of
how out-of-touch the Church has become, or a deliberate distraction, as
some theorize?

Either way, it doesn’t matter.

Until the Church implements real reforms that will start the road to recovery, the numbers will continue to dwindle.

What are they?

For starters, demand more of its followers. Don’t
cower behind the “if I demand that people dress better for Church, they
won’t come at all” mentality. Make them look presentable and act
appropriately when entering the House of God—or tell them they aren’t

Motivate the flock by relating to them, not talking in platitudes with rhetoric that puts the congregation to sleep.

Make it tougher to be a Catholic. Be the religious
equivalent of the Marines. Sure, a kid taking the forbidden cookie
wants it, but deep down, he is really looking for discipline. And sure,
we complain when we have to sacrifice, but we feel good about it.

Market the wonderful aspects of the Church (including the fact that it’s the largest provider of social services in the entire world).

Stop being a paper tiger politically. What’s the
point of having so much muscle if you’re too scared to use it? A
different approach could have prevented school closings. (See my post
for more on this tomorrow.)

Most important, eliminate the correct perception that the Church is close-minded and sexist.
Allow priests to marry. And yes, allow women to become priests. Not
only would these common-sense changes enable all priest to better relate
to their flocks, but they would also attract non-pedophile priests to
fill the ranks.

Neither change would violate Church dogma, since priests married for
at least four centuries and quite possibly much longer. The practice was
stopped not for religious reasons, but because of disputes over
property rights.

In 1911, there were 68,000 Catholic school students in the
Archdiocese of Philadelphia. That number peaked in the 1960s at 250,000.
Vatican II took hold, and the number plummeted— back to 68,000 in 2011,
despite a U.S. population explosion.

Now, 49 more schools just went on the chopping block.
The biggest irony is that the closings are not a solution, but the
symptom of a much greater illness. To save the remaining schools—and
that’s by no means a sure thing—the Church needs to solve the problem.
Check back tomorrow for my post addressing how to save Catholic
education in America.


Blame Lazy Catholicism for School Closings

Cardinal Foley R.I.P.

Cardinal Foley R.I.P.  — Cardinal John Patrick Foley died 3:15 yesterday morning at St. Joseph in Darby, a residence for retired Archdiocesan priests.

He was 76.

Cardinal , who  headed the Pontifical Commission (now Pontifical Council) for Social Communications at the Vatican from 1984 until 2007 when he was made a Cardinal grew up in Sharon Hill, Pa.

As head of the Commission, he was responsible for all the Vatican’s print
and electronic communications and ministries and was responsible for the historic NBC Today Show
week-long broadcast from the Vatican. He also served as a special
commentator for the NBC broadcasts of Christmas Midnight Mass from the
Vatican for a quarter of a century.

He was co-producer and co-host of the Philadelphia Catholic Hour on
WFIL Radio in the 1960s. He co-produced 20 television episodes of “The Making of a
Priest,” for Group W.

He was this year’s Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia “Person of the Year”, and was honored at the organization’s Hall of Fame Banquet on Nov. 18.

Frances Cabrini Female Dynamo Honored

Frances Cabrini Female Dynamo Honored — This comment is not an attempt to glorify a saint of the Catholic Church. It is an attempt to  a recognize a single immigrant  woman’s courage and achievement. This courage , despite  poor health, in a not to long ago period ,when women had little or no “voice” is remarkable!(Remember the 19th Amendment ,giving  women the right to vote, only passed less than 100 years ago  in 1920).

Frances Cabrini was an unbelievable dynamo working tirelessly to help poor Italian immigrants
in the USA.The religious order she founded ,ultimately established orphanages,hospitals, and schools all around the world.”Mother Cabrini” is how she is affectionally referred to;others recognize the name in “Cabrini College” or “Cabrini Hospital”.

Her reach ws wide:
On my annual trip to fly fish in Granby, Colorado several years ago,I accidentally took a wrong turn .Helpless lost, I stopped to ask for directions(yes, some men do ask for directions) in Golden,CO.

After looking at my map on the car hood,I glanced up to find a shrine honoring Mother Cabrini!Apparently, she went to Golden,Colorado to help minister physically ,as well as spiritually,to a group of Italian immigrants and their families working in the mines there.

Take a few minutes to  read for yourselves the story of the first naturalized US citizen to be canonized a saint .What an inspiration!!!

Tom C

Broadcast Pioneers Honor Cardinal Foley

Broadcast Pioneers Honor Cardinal Foley — Cardinal John Patrick Foley, who  headed the Pontifical Commission (now Pontifical Council) for Social Communications at the Vatican, has been named Person of the Year by the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, and will be honored at the organization’s Hall of Fame Banquet on Nov. 18.

Foley led the Commission from 1984 until 2007 when he was made a Cardinal. He was responsible for all the Vatican’s print
and electronic communications and ministries and was responsible for the historic NBC Today Show week-long broadcast from the Vatican. He also served as a special commentator for the NBC broadcasts of Christmas Midnight Mass from the Vatican for a quarter of a century.

Foley, who is 75, retired from his ecclesiastical duties for health reasons in 2009 and left the Vatican. He now lives at Villa Saint Joseph in Darby.

Foley grew up in Sharon Hill and began his broadcasting career as a teenager as a WJMJ Radio announcer. He was co-producer and co-host of the Philadelphia Catholic Hour on WFIL Radio in the 1960s. He co-produced 20 television episodes of “The Making of a Priest,” for Group W.

Foley, who has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s School of Journalism, was editor of the Catholic Standard and Times from  1970 to 1984.

The dinner is open to the public and tickets can be acquired here.

Broadcast Pioneers Honor Cardinal Foley

Jesus Was Libertarian

Posted at the requested of Katie who was pondering whether Jesus was a liberal or conservative.

I think Jesus was libertarian. He gives us total freedom to choose with the consequences coming only after we make our choices. Rich people have to give to the poor but He doesn’t make them. People must pray and honor God but He doesn’t make them.

He didn’t kick down the door of the rich guy’s house, take his money and give it to Lazarus at the gate which is what the left pretends to do. And of course He didn’t refrain from saying what the ultimate fate of the rich guy was, which would be a message Ayn Rand conservatives would not want to hear.

He didn’t use force to stop the stoning of the adulteress, He just shamed those who wanted to do it into considering what it was they wanted to do.

And of course, He didn’t enforce the law commanding that the adulteress be stoned.

So I think Jesus was a libertarian.

Judas, OTOH, was the classic lefty.

Jesus Was A Libertarian

 Jesus Was Libertarian

Christos Voskrese

Christos voskrese, which means Christ has Risen, is the Easter greeting in Church Slavonic which brings the response Voistinu voskrese or Indeed, He has risen.

Easter, of course, celebrates the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the salvation of Man.

The date for Easter is the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox, which is always reckoned, regardless of astronomical observations, to be March 21 as per the Western churches that use the Gregorian calendar, so Easter always falls between March 22 and April 25 so the holiday is a late one this year.

The dating for Easter correlates with the means the Jews use to set the date for Passover, which correlates with Scripture since Scripture indicates that the Crucifixion of the Lord occurred as the lambs were being slaughtered for the celebration of that holiday.

In fact, in most Western languages the the name for the day is a cognate of the Pesach which is the Hebrew name for Passover. In Latin it would be Pascha so Paschal lamb would be Passover lamb.

In English and German, the word comes from Eostre month, which was basically April, and which the pagans who spoke Germanic languages had named for the goddess Eostre.

In Slavic, the holiday is called “Great Night” (Velikonoce in Slovak) or “Great Day” (Velikden in Ukrainian).

There are some caveats regarding the date. The Eastern churches that use the Julian calendar set the equinox is set at April 3, and, of course, the spring equinox is based on that of the Northern Hemisphere.

So, Christos Voskrese.

Christos Voskrese

Christos Voskrese

Defense Of The Philadelphia Church

Defense Of The Philadelphia Church — Three Catholic priests and a teacher charged with molesting boys in the late 1990s have inspired a new round of Catholic bashing and dumped new chum in the water for the circling lawyers who feed on such things.

Also facing charges is a church administrator who stands accused of not taking the steps required to protect children.

All well and appropriate but a statement in the grand jury report implying that the Philadelphia Archdiocese remains indifferent, and even tolerant, of these predators  spawned opportunities throughout the nation for strident headlines and faux outrage by those always looking to put the Church in a bad light.

One has yet to see addressed the point that if the reforms by the Archdiocese were ineffective why aren’t there any cases newer than 11 years old?

In the 1970s, cynical predators knowing full well that the sheep are always defenseless against the sheepdog sneaked into respected institutions ranging from the Boy Scouts, to the Catholic Church, to Protestant churches, to universities, to government offices, to  the ACLU, fully protected by a media that proclaimed only the traditional can be perverse.

Scandal and tragedy have caused the BSA and the churches to get their houses in order, often with the old media putting haranguing obstacles in their path.

The others, well, Bill Clinton, Barney Frank and the late Ted Kennedy remain lionized political figures. The ACLU case happened only a few short years ago in 2007.

And what goes on in our universities is pointedly ignored by the old media.

The Catholic Church is a very good thing. The city, state and nation would be far worse off if it should disappear.

But fear not, because it’s not despite the strongest wishes of some. The scandal and the attacks are only going to make it stronger.


Defense Of The Philadelphia Church

Half Of Catholic Sex Abuse Claims May Be False

Half Of Catholic Sex Abuse Claims May Be False — An attorney who has represented Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse filed, Dec. 15, a declaration in Los Angeles County Superior Court that his investigations have revealed vast fraud among the accusers and that many accusations — possibly up to half — are completely false or exaggerated to the extent that they “would not have supported a prosecutable claim for childhood sexual abuse”.

The document was submitted under penalty of perjury.

He noted that plaintiffs have refused to take polygraph tests unlike the accused; often filed claims after learning of others receiving financial settlements; and changed facts such as times and locations over the course of the case.

He singled out the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) which he said features a website where information could be shared and a “blueprint” for an allegation be made.

The church has doled out $1 billion in settlements to the accusers — and their lawyers — since 2005.


Half Of Catholic Sex Abuse Claims May Be False


Half Of Catholic Sex Abuse Claims May Be False -- An attorney who has represented Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse filed, Dec. 15, a

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard AIDS Explanation

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard AIDS Explanation was submitted by Tom Conigliaro. Thanks Tom.

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard was appointed in January by Pope Benedict XVI to lead the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium. He has written a book in which he says AIDS is a “sort of inherent justice” resulting from the “mistreatment of the profound nature of human love.”

The usual suspects were unsurprisingly outraged.

So the Archbishop clarified his remarks. Here is a translation from the French from the Belgian Church’s website:

Someone once asked John Paul II if AIDS was a punishment from God,. He then wisely answered that it is very difficult to know God’s intentions. I myself don’t reason in those terms at all. So I do not see this epidemic as a punishment, but at the most as a sort of immanent justice, sort of like how, in ecology, we are faced with the consequences of what we are doing to the environment. Maybe human love also responds when she is treated badly, without the need of a transcendent source. Maybe it is a sort of immanent justice, but as far as the concrete causes are concerned, doctors should some day be able to say how this disease came to be, how it was initially transmitted and then spread further. But considered more generally, I stick to something in the order of a sort of immanent justice. Badly handling physical nature causes it to treat us badly in turn and badly dealing with the deeper nature of human love will ultimately always lead to catastrophes on all levels.

Only a sick world would find this controversial or offensive.

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard AIDS Explanation

AP Anti-Pope Distortions

AP Anti-Pope Distortions — First The New York Times , now Associated Press.

Once respected conveyors of information have now become archetypes of bigots.

The New York Times on March 25 accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, of intervening to prevent a priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, from facing penalties for cases of sexual abuse of minors. It was quickly shown to be false.

On April 9, AP put on the wires that the future Pope Benedict “resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children” in 1985.

Well, lo and behold, it seems those pleas were made by the pervert priest himself , Father Stephen Kiesle, who was seeking dispensation from his vow of celibacy.  It seems Cardinal Ratzinger was not inclined to let him off the hook. You think AP might have  thought that worthwhile to mention that tidbit?

Further, abuse cases at the time were the responsibility of the local diocese, in this case Oakland.

This means, IOW, that Cardinal Ratzinger had no authority to remove Kiesle from the ministry. That, however, doesn’t matter in this case because the Diocese of Oakland had already done so after he was after he was arrested in 1978 on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct and received three years’ probation in a plea bargain. Kiesle, however, went on to do volunteer work which Oakland Bishop John Cummins kiboshed upon learning that he was doing so.

Kiesle was laicized two years after the controversial letter, on the eve of his 40th birthday which was in keeping with the then policy  of not granting dispensations to priests under the age of 40.

Kiesle was convicted in 2004  of molesting a girl in 1995–note: this was eight years after his defrocking. He was sentenced to six years in prison. He lives today in  California as a registered sex offender.

And has anyone ever wondered at why the same crowd that expresses so much outrage at Pope Benedict is equally outraged at the Boy Scouts policy of not allowing homosexual scout leaders?

AP Anti-Pope Distortions

AP Anti-Pope Distortions