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December 1997 Roman Catholic Faithful, P.O. Box 109, Petersburg, IL. 62675   
 (217-632-5920)    (Fax 217-632-7054)

[Truth, Justice and Pastoral Rule NCCB / USCC — Do they have a clue?]
[Dealing With Disgrace] [Help Wanted in Clinton Iowa]
[Curando el Cáncer <Spanish>]
[The Evil of Liturgical Abuse]
[Holding the Campaign for Human Development Accountable]
[The State of the Church]
[The Los Angeles Archdiocese]
[Teaching Chastity]  [Call to Action or Call to Apostasy?]

Truth, Justice and Pastoral Rule
NCCB / USCC — Do they have a clue?

by Stephen Brady

With all that is going on within the American Catholic Church today, one has to wonder if the American hierarchy has its head buried in the sand or are they the problem. There is much talk of justice and truth; but of whose truth and whose justice do they speak?

Bishop Anthony Pilla, president of the NCCB, made the following statement concerning RCF’s protest outside the NCCB conference in Washington, D.C November 10, 1997: "We take very seriously our responsibility to transmit Catholic teaching in an authentic way, and everything we do is always subject to review by the Holy See... The Holy See has never indicated any bishops are allowing heresy to be taught. They wouldn't allow it." (San Antonio Express-News, Religion writer J. Michael Parker, Nov. 13, 1997)

Where has Pilla been? Does he actually believe what he is saying?

The RCF conference, held on the same weekend as the NCCB’s, raised some interesting questions about that seriousness with which the NCCB takes its responsibilities.

According to legal documents obtained from the Fr. Kos court case in Dallas Texas, the NCCB/USCC made the following claims: "The most basic fact about this case is that the Conferences are not in any chain of command. The Conferences are off to one side; they have no operational responsibilities; and their statements on various issue(s)-except when provided by Church law-are not binding on anyone.(Affidavit of Rev. Msgr. Robert N. Lynch, Ex. R 4, 5) .....The Conferences have no responsibility for ministering to individual members of the Church. ....Thus, the Conferences have no legal or ecclesiastical relationship with individual members of the Church."

So much for the NCCB taking responsibility.

According to a CNS report, (The New World, Nov. 14) The 1998 budget for the bishops’ conferences is $44.38 million. Who is paying that bill? Could it be the laity-those people to whom the NCCB/USCC has no relationship?

"Bishop Pilla opened the (Nov. 10, NCCB) meeting with his presidential address, centering on reconciliation." Pilla went on to speak of those "who claim to be Catholics and at the same time act like bullies." (CNS) This reminds me of Rodney King’s "Can’t we all just get along" speech. One wonders whom Pilla is seeking to reconcile. The implications of this speech are disturbing. Who are those "bullies" Pilla speaks of? Could it be Call To Action, who demands the Church change God’s law, or could it be those bishops who force their own view of Catholicism on their flock?

St. Gregory the Great is often quoted in the daily prayers that are required reading for all priests. and I quote from his letter on Pastoral Rule.

"... Hence also it is written through the prophet, A snare for the downfall of my people are evil priests (Hos. v. 1; ix. 8). Hence again the Lord through the prophet says of the priests, They are made to be for a stumbling-block of iniquity to the house of Israel. For certainly no one does more harm in the Church than one who has the name and rank of sanctity, while he acts perversely. For him, when he transgresses, no one presumes to take to task; and the offence spreads forcibly for example, when out of reverence to his rank the sinner is honored. But all who are unworthy would fly from the burden of so great guilt, if with the attentive ear of the heart they weighed the sentence of the Truth, Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Matth. xviii. 6)........ Whosoever, then, having come to bear the outward show of sanctity, either by word or example destroys others, it had indeed been better for him that earthly deeds in open guise should press him down to death than that sacred offices should point him out to others as imitable in his wrong-doing; because, surely, if he fell alone, the pains of hell would torment him in more tolerable degree."

Let's take a look at what a few bishops are up to.

"Bishop Matthew Clark of the diocese of Rochester, N.Y. is quickly making a name for himself as a leading spokesman for the homosexual agenda in the United States, and in a recent mailing to priests, he let it become known that he is working on ‘guidelines’ for celebrating same-sex marriages." (Challenge Magazine, November, 1997)

The Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau Missouri.

"I want to acknowledge your recent note and hope you could personally observe an orthodox meditation to the Four Winds and Sophia" said Most Rev. John J. Leibrecht in a letter to a Catholic concerned about an article which appeared in the March 14, 1997 issue of the Mirror titled: Reconnect with creation, find its wonder, speaker tells religious women. The article stated in part: The theme of earth spirituality was also reflected in the day’s opening meditation, ‘Prayer to the Four Winds.’ Turning in four directions, the group celebrated the gifts of air, fire, water, and earth using wind chimes, incense, a carafe of water, and a pot of soil. At each direction the group sang, ‘Sophia, come flow through us’...

The following is a card that was sold at the 1996 CTA conference as reported by HLI.

In the beginning was SOPHIA
Sophia was in God’s presence
Sophia was God
She was present with God in the beginning
Through Sophia all things were made
Apart from her nothing can be
That which came to be in her was life
Sophia became human and lived among us
And we saw her glory
the glory that is hers as God incarnate
Full of grace and truth

That statement speaks for itself.

Springfield, Illinois

In October, 1995 a nun teaching on behalf of the Springfield diocese’s office of education denied that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was established by Christ. I attended these classes where this teaching defined by the Council of Trent was denied. Several months later the office for education in the Springfield diocese offered for sale a shirt which stated:

Council of Trent
been there
done that
moved on.

The Albany, New York Diocese

Bishop Howard Hubbard, in a letter dated November 7, 1997, (through his staff) answered nineteen complaints presented to Geoffrey Burke Chancellor, of the diocese. The complaints were made by Catholics belonging to St. Mary’s Parish in Oneonta, New York.

No. 19 in the list of complaints concerned a "Liturgical Dance" which took place at a "college Mass" held at St. Mary’s in Oneonta November 24, 1996. Bishop Hubbard was the "Presider." Hubbard’s staff excused the dance by quoting from #59 of Environment and Art in Catholic Worship, a book that has never been approved and does not have the force of Particular Law. I wonder what Bishop Pilla would think of this, since the NCCB has forbidden dance of any kind during the "Liturgy". I was present at this "Mass". Six women and one man danced in front of the Altar during Mass. Bishop Hubbard, in his letter to those who complained, took the Pilla approach- "everything is fine!"

In the November 2, 1997 issue of the Times Union (Albany New York) there was an article about Sister Maureen Joyce: "An Energetic Nun’s Heart and Soul are a Driving Force Behind Catholic Charities". The following quote came from the article: "She talked about possible political fallout from a new health maintenance organization being formed by a statewide bishops consortium. That HMO will be offered under the umbrella of Catholic Charities. Because of Catholic dogma, the HMO will not perform abortions or related services, but will make referrals to programs that do."

Dear Lord, are these the compromise and compromising "reconciliations" alluded to by Bishop Pilla, that because of Catholic dogma the Catholic Charities HMO will not kill the babies but can refer the mothers to someone who will!

Saginaw Diocese in Michigan
Bishop Kenneth E. Untener

In early 1997 I had an opportunity to speak at Delta College in the Saginaw area. I also had a chance to attend Mass in the diocese. Based on what I saw, it is one of the dioceses that is near death. Here are a few signs of a dying diocese.

As I am writing this, I am listening to a taped radio broadcast by Bishop Untener. "As a theologian, I do not see why women cannot be ordained."(9/11/97, Art Lewis Talk Show) Of course, after that statement he made it clear that it was not his decision to make. He then said he thought it should be discussed. Once again, we have a "Catholic" bishop, in a cowardly way, undermining the teaching authority of the Church. Bishop Untener, by his comments, has taught his flock that they do not have to form their conscience based on Church teaching. Is it any wonder most Catholics use contraceptives and justify it by conscience.

"When you die you go to God. There is nowhere else to go." So says bishop Untener on the Art Lewis radio Talk Show program on 9/11/97.

Holy Family Church

October 12, 1997 Church Bulletin

"I have noticed an increasing number of people kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer. It is the will of our bishop that all stand during this prayer... Standing is the appropriate posture here."

St. Joseph Church
Bay City, Michigan

June 8, 1997 church bulletin

"His (Jesus) worried family came to him. The gospel notes that Mary, his mother was there, and his brothers and sisters."

St. Mary of the Assumption
Bay City, MI

August 2/3, 1997 From Fr. Jim:

"...Today some serious seekers of holiness are examining Eastern and Near Eastern prayer forms for hidden insights. The doors to this new interest were opened by the second Vatican Council to promote and reverence all that is good and worthwhile in non-Christian practices."

The Catholic Weekly
(Diocese of Saginaw)
Friday June 7, 1996

the way, truth and life

..."Here are my observations as an American Catholic.

Half of the animosity Americans have against this idea would dissipate if the homosexual community would only look for a word other than marriage to describe it (Same sex marriage)."

...Let them (Homosexuals) come up with another term for what they want, and the majority of Americans might be less hostile."

Bishop Kenneth J. Povish, DeWitt, MI

St. Andrew Catholic Church

As members of the Saginaw Valley branch of Call To Action gathered Sunday in St. Andrew Catholic Church to protest Catholic "injustices,’ a dozen picketers demonstrated outside." (The Saginaw News, Sept. 22, 1997)

Those picketers were from RCF and CUF. They objected to the idea of a Catholic Church hosting a CTA meeting. CTA, by its demands, is calling for the destruction of the Catholic Church and Bishop Untener like many other Bishops allows this group to use Church property to promote its agenda while at the same time denying orthodox Catholics what they have a right to.

There can be no doubt there are those bishops who believe they know better than the Holy See, which is guided by the Holy Spirit. They have their religion but it is just that, their own, not that of Christ.

What about those bishops who appear to be weak? Again from Pope St. Gregory’s letter of Pastoral Rule: "For from love of himself the ruler's mind is inclined to softness, because, when he observes those that are under him sinning, he does not presume to reprove them, lest their affection for himself should grow dull; nay sometimes he smooths down with flatteries the offence of his subordinates which he ought to have rebuked. Hence it is well said through the prophet, Woe unto them that sew cushions under every elbow, and make pillows under the head of every stature to catch sows (Ezek. xiii. 18); inasmuch as to put cushions under every elbow is to cherish with bland flatteries souls that are falling from their uprightness and reclining themselves in this world's enjoyment. For it is as though the elbow of a recumbent person rested on a cushion and his head on pillows, when the hardness of reproof is withdrawn from one who sins, and when the softness of favour is offered to him, that he may lie softly in error, while no roughness of contradiction troubles him. But so rulers who love themselves undoubtedly shew themselves to those by whom they fear they may be injured in their pursuit of temporal glory. Such indeed as they see to have no power against them they ever keep down with roughness of rigid censure, never admonish them gently, but, forgetful of pastoral kindness, terrify them with the rights of domination. Such the divine voice rightly upbraids through the prophet, saying, But with austerity and power did ye rule them (Ezek. xxiv. 4). For, loving themselves more than their Maker, they lift up themselves haughtily towards those that are under them, considering not what they ought to do, but what they can do; they have no fear of future judgment; they glory insolently in temporal power; it pleases them to be free to do even unlawful things, and that no one among their subordinates should contradict them. He, then, who sets his mind on doing wrong things, and yet wishes all other men to hold their peace about them, is himself a witness to himself that he desires to be loved himself more than the truth, which he is unwilling should be defended against him. There is indeed no one who so lives as not to some extent to fail in duty.

Closing Thoughts

There are those bishops who seem to be reluctant to control and or correct renegade liberal priests while at the same time being very effective in controlling and intimidating orthodox priests. Why?

The questionable, if not heretical, teaching of many American Bishops has been well documented yet Bishop Pilla claims nothing is wrong because the Holy See has not indicated so.

It is time to publicly identify those bishops who, by their actions or lack of action, are promoting an agenda contrary to Christ’s.

If you will stand with RCF, with your prayers and financial support, we will do just that.

Please photo-copy the article on page 8, "Dealing With Disgrace, and fax or mail it to every priest in your diocese. S. B.



For the past decade faithful Catholics in Clinton, Iowa, have been fighting the Established Church in the Diocese of Davenport in a continuous effort to preserve not just the True Faith but their beautiful, historic Churches from over a century ago.

There are two notable structures in the North End of Clinton, those of St. Irenaeus and St. Boniface, which are eligible for the National Register for Historic Places. Both are gothic in design and traditional yet in their interiors. St. Irenaeus is the premier church in Clinton County, founded in 1847 by the French pioneer priest, Father Frederic Dyrille Jean, who built, during the Civil War, the present limestone structure. This church is notable in its stone work, being hand-carved and built by the parishioners themselves. St. Boniface Church is a beautiful neo-gothic brick building, the last monument erected by the famous Iowa architect, Martin Heer, who had already erected the famous Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, west of Dubuque, Iowa.

Both churches are slated for demolition by the pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, in agreement with the Bishop of Davenport—who apparently disdain such gothic structures. Instead, they want to erect a mega-church in order to "help" out the priest shortage in the Diocese of Davenport. While the Bishop in his official communications denies responsibility for these demolition plans saying it is the pastor’s decision and that he as Bishop is merely carrying out the will of the pastor and the parish council. However, because of the solid foundations of the churches of St. Irenaeus and St. Boniface and the thickness of their walls (in which there are no cracks), these buildings are to be brought down soon with explosives.

A retired priest of the Diocese, Father Charles Sheplar, who is a native son of St. Irenaeus, has been leading the fight to save our churches since he organized the Catholic Heritage Association of Clinton. We also have a local group of parishioners gathered in Concerned Catholics of Clinton, plus historical groups in the region giving support.

But we need your help, you the faithful across this country, who are reading this report on the "politics of destruction" in this age of novus ordo abominations. Too many Catholics in Clinton, in bitterness and disillusionment at such tactics employed by the local pastor and his lackeys, have walked out of the Church, and are now staying at home on Sundays, going to another Diocese for Mass, or joining Protestant churches. In short, we have a mess of questionable dogma, and a financial mess in the Church of Clinton—because we are being impoverished in our Faith by such questionable policies in dealing with too few priests and too many churches.

If you wish to join us in our fight to save St. Irenaeus and St. Boniface Churches from the dynamite such religious leaders intend to use, please write to Bishop William Franklin, St. Vincent’s Center, 2706 N. Gaines Street, Davenport, Iowa, 52804. Please tell him how you feel, and ask him to save these churches. Urge him to listen to Father Shepler’s plan for the proper and less costly methods of reorganizing the Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton.

In final, this is a matter of Stewardship, of preserving not just the historical integrity of our religion and its structures, but of saving what’s left of the Catholic Faith in this post Vatican II era.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely yours

Mary Ellen Eckelberg

Mary Ellen Eckelberg
2430 North 2nd St.
Clinton, Iowa 52732

You can contact Fr. Shepler at:

Catholic Heritage Association of Clinton
3004 Garfield St.
Clinton, Iowa 52732

(Editor’s note:)

I was in Clinton, Iowa August 18 of this year. I was invited by a group of concerned Catholics from the Clinton area. After the RCF meeting there I received word that a local priest was blamed for my being there. This was not the case. As it all too often happens, those who wish to change the Church do not always base their actions on truth.

S. B.

A. M. D. G.



Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather, expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible…" [Eph. 5:11-13]

There is no denying it: the six posters that Roman Catholic Faithful protesters carried in front of the hotel where the bishops held their annual conference in Washington DC were ugly things. Under a full color photograph of Bishop Daniel Ryan, Ordinary of the Springfield Illinois Diocese, were the words:

A Disgrace to the Church!
Bishop Daniel L. Ryan of Springfield, Illinois
Soliciting sex from priests!
Sexually harassing priests!
Mistreating holy and orthodox priests!

Bishop Ryan, Obey your superiors and resign as bishop!

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for our shepherd’s immortal soul!

No one was happy about holding such signs or about viewing them. They would have been a presumptuous affront to the bishop and a sin against charity in a functional system, where a hierarchy of authority was in place. In a functional system, a public demonstration of the laity against their bishop would amount to vigilante activity - protected by free speech, but deplorable. In a functional system, the massive amount of corroborated testimony by both laity and religious against Bishop Ryan, describing his unspeakably depraved acts against them, would be presented to Bishop Ryan’s superiors, who would render a judgment and take action. There would be no need for anyone else to become involved.

The issue is not simply a matter of justice. As in the American court system, even juries and appellate courts cannot assure justice in each individual case. Occasionally a sinner goes free; occasionally the innocent are wrongly punished. However, in a functional system, civil or ecclesiastic, wrongs are addressed, if not always redressed. This issue is not about justice but about the mechanisms that the faithful must employ to protect themselves.

In a time of social collapse, the protective capacities of institutions cease to operate. Children are raped by pathological pastors, and their superiors blame the parents. Seminarians are sexually propositioned by their fellows and then driven from their vocations for being orthodox. Holy priests who refuse to cooperate with un-Catholic practices are sent by their bishop for "psychological evaluation." Outrageously offensive sex education programs are used in Catholic schools and parents are belittled for their expression of concern. Such occurrences have been well-documented and have become commonplace within the United States Church.

In the situation of Bishop Ryan, the scandal has been carried to another level. Bishop Ryan has been asked to resign his position as Ordinary of the Diocese of Springfield. In these unhappy times, however, Bishop Ryan has flaunted the authority of the Vatican and continues to hold his position in defiance of everyone. How can a man whose flagrant, unrepentant sins are fodder for the public trough possibly act as a spiritual leader?

The time has come when the offender has been privately admonished and remains arrogant, when the hierarchy is impotent to enforce its will, and when the physical and moral danger to the innocent is so serious that the faithful must reject the sinner from their midst - at least until he has expressed contrition and accepted correction.

No one has suggested or desired that violence be done to Bishop Ryan’s person - although he has done violence against others. No one has suggested or desired that Bishop Ryan be in any way harmed or harassed. He is simply asked to be obedient to his rightful superiors.

The signs are painful. No one is comfortable with a photograph of a Prince of the Church posed above declamatory allegations. However, when all channels have been traveled and are closed, and the person who behaves and teaches open contradiction to the Church remains in a position of power and influence, then the faithful laity must warn the innocent. This is charity. May someone do as much for us when we err.


Curando el Cáncer
Escrito por Juan Cruz

Nosotros, que venimos de varios países Latinoamericanos, reconocemos que nuestra sociedad en este "mundo nuevo", esta sufriendo de un "cáncer". El Pastor de Nuestra Iglesia Católica, Su Santidad Papa Juan Pablo II, ha dicho que nuestra cultura es una "cultura de la muerte". El Papa, el Vicario de Cristo y sumo Pastor de la Iglesia, habla con una seriedad que todos pueden entender. La "cultura de la muerte", como lo ha llamado el Papa en su encíclica "Evangelium Vitae", se ha desarollado hasta un punto que ya muchos hoy no puenden distinguir entre el bueno y el malo. Muchas personas tienen una filosofia que el malo, o el Diáblo, no existe. Sin embargo, las personas Hispanas ven el "fruto" de esta filosofia en la familia, los hijos, y el matrimonio: aumento de el divorcio, conflictos en la familia y la separacion de los esposos, aborto, violencia, desobediencia, conflictos en el mundo, drogas, homosexualidad. En real muchos de los Hispanos que huyeron la tiranía de varios dictaduras y sistemas económicas, ahora tienen otro tipo de tiranía: la "cultura de la muerte".

Demos gracias que tenemos la Santa Iglesia que existe para servir como una madre. Sabemos que Nuestro Señor Jesús nos dijo: "Y ahora, yo te digo: Tú eres Pedro, o sea Piedra, y sobre esta piedra edificaré mi Iglesia y las fuerzas del Infierno no la podrán vencer" (Mateo 16:18). Tenemos los Sacramentos, el Cuerpo y la Sangre de Cristo en la Santa Comunión, mas muchos vehículos donde podemos recibir la Gracia de Dios, un Don de Dios, para alimentarnos en la vida. ¿Pero qúe sucede cuando nos enteramos que en Dallas, Téxas existe un sacerdote Católico, Pd. Rudulfo Kos, que ha violado varios muchachos durante varios años? Sabemos que la Iglesia Católica enseña: "Apoyándose en la Sagrada Escritua que los presenta como depravaciones graves, la Tradición ha declarado siempre que los actos homosexuales son intrínsecamente desordenados." (Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, ¶ 2357). ¿Pero qúe podemos decirle a los padres de esos niños que han sufrido en las manos de un sacerdote Católico? Uno de los niños ha cometido suicidio.

Seria fácil decir que ese sacerdote en Dallas es una excepcion. Pero sabemos tambien que hay personas en la Iglesia que creen que los actos homosexuales no son desordenados. Y algunas de estas personas son sacerdotes y obispos. Tenemos el ejemplo de dos (2) obispos que creen que la homosexualidad es un don que se debe celebrar. Los obispos Rev. Brian Gumbleton en Detroit, Michigan, y Rev. Matthew Clark en Rochester, Nueva York celebran liturgias con grupos de homosexuales en plena vista de todos. Los homosexuales que asisten en esas "liturgias" van abrazados, se besan en la boca, mientras los 2 obispos aplauden. Existen otros abusos dentro de la Iglesia donde hay sacerdotes y obispos que no creen que la Santa Comunión es el Cuerpo y Sangre de Cristo, si no simplemente un símbolo. En las arquidiócesis de Chicago y Los Angeles existen varios grupos de Católicos, y entre ellos sacerdotes, que la Santa Hostia es solamente un pedazo de pan.

Recordamos que en nuestros paíes en Latinoamericana, existen hoy sacerdotes y obispos que apoyan a los comunistas y marxistas, aunque la Iglesia Católica ha condenado esos movimientos políticos. Aquí es donde tenemos que reconocer que la "cultura de la muerte" sí existe. Tenemos en una mano la Fé Católica que esta protegida por el Espiritu Santo y por la obedencia de el Papa Juan Pablo II. Pero tenemos en la otra mano sacerdotes que son desobedientes y causan mucha confusión y dolor, especialmente a los hijos de los creyentes. Hay que estar preparados. La "cultura de la muerte" existe en la sociedad porque hay personas que contribuyen a esa atmósfera. Existen personas que quieren influir nuestras familias con ideas que son raras y conflictan con nuestras tradiciones y con las enseñanzas de la Iglesia. Ya hemos sufrido bastante en nuestros países de origen, gracias a lideres que apoyaron a ideologías que estan en contra de la Fé. ¿Tenemos qúe permitir lo mismo aqui en los Estados Unidos, en nuestro "mundo nuevo"? "Sean sobrios y estén despiertos, porque su enemigo, el diablos, ronda como léon rugiente, buscando a quien devorar. Resístanle firmes en la fe." (1 Pedro 5:8-9)"

Escrito por Juan Cruz


by Msgr. Foy

"The liturgy has its laws which must be respected."
Pope John Paul II, March 8, 1997.

A liturgical crisis has been brewing for a long time. Back in 1973, Archbishop Robert Dwyer of Portland, Oregon, wrote: "Sincere Christian men and women in their thousands and millions are reacting against the impoverishment and degradation of the liturgy, as they are reacting against so many displays of enfeebled or uncertain leadership." (Catholic Priests' Association Bulletin [England]. Vol. I and II, 1973, p.42). Since then, the crisis has deepened. Abuses are pandemic.

The Instruction "Inaestimabile Donum" (Inestimable Gift") of April 3, 1980, lists some of the liturgical aberrations reported from different parts of the Catholic world. Among them are "the confusion of roles, especially regarding the priestly ministry and the role of the laity (indiscriminate shared recitation of the Eucharistic Prayers, homilies given by lay people, lay people distributing Holy Communion while the priests refrain from doing so); an increasing loss of the sense of the sacred (abandonment of liturgical vestments, the Eucharist celebrated outside Church without real need, lack of reverence and respect for the Blessed Sacrament, etc.); misunderstanding of the ecclesial nature of the liturgy (the use of private texts, the proliferation of unapproved Eucharistic Prayers, the manipulation of the liturgical texts for social and political ends)."

The list of other abuses is long: there is a refusal to give Holy Communion on the tongue, or to those who are kneeling; bowing instead of genuflecting after the elevation; holding hands during the Our Father; unwarranted so-called liturgical dancing; leaving the sanctuary to give the kiss of peace; changing, adding or omitting words even during the Canon of the Mass. One should not dismiss such aberrations as minor. "The relative seriousness of a given rubric should not be our primary concern; our primary concern should be that any deviation from the rule of prayer diminishes the legacy of unity which Christ on the eve of His death asked his Father to bestow on His Church." (Msgr. Clarence J. Hettinger, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Feb. 1997, p 57).

Among other liturgical horrors are clown masses, rock masses, and the profanation of the church as a sacred place by the pagan "Missa Gaia." There is the annual "Call to Action" mass attended by bishops, priests, religious and laity, at which all say the words of consecration. Last fall, at the "Call to Action" convention in Detroit, Dianne Neu spoke of "Creating Feminist Liturgies." She said: "Feminist liturgy brings to public expression the faith life of the community, free from hierarchy, patriarchy, curiarchy...I think it is important for us to have the edge that we are moving away from the kind of a Church that can excommunicate us." (cf. Human Life International Report, No. 151, July, 1997).

A recent atrocity is the "Tyme Mass" in London, England, during which the young danced in a night-club atmosphere, a young woman gave the homily and sesame-seed loaves were consecrated in ceramic bowls. This experiment had the approval of Cardinal Hume as "a means of attracting young people back to the Church." (cf. Christian Order, May, 1997, pp. 262-269).

A current common practice destructive of faith and morals is the reception by all, or nearly all, of the Holy Communion. This is at a time when sexual sins are rampant and our confessionals are deserted. Many have been led to erroneously believe that the Mass forgives mortal sins. The teaching of the Church is that the Mass "is an antidote by which we are freed from daily faults and are preserved from mortal sins" (Council of Trent, Session 13, C. 2). St. Paul says: "whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord." (1 Cor., 11:27). We have a witness to ancient Tradition in the document "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles." It reads: "The statement of the Lord applies here also: 'Do not give to dogs what is holy'...On the Lord's day, when you have been gathered, break bread and celebrate the Eucharist. But first confess your sins so that your offering may be pure." (Second reading of the 14th week in Ordinary Time, the Roman Breviary.) See also the Code of Canon Law, C. 916.

Perhaps there never was a time when our sanctuaries were so dishonoured by breaches of liturgical law. In his recent autobiography, Cardinal Ratzinger attributes the present Church crisis to liturgical collapse.

The importance of the liturgy, the public worship of the Church, can hardly be exaggerated. The work of the liturgy is our sanctification and salvation. Through it we go from sin to grace, from earth to Heaven. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II tells us: "it is the liturgy through which, especially in the divine Sacrifice of the Eucharist, the work of our redemption is accomplished." (Introduction, n. 2). No private action is comparable to liturgical worship: "Every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the Priest and of His Body, which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others." (ibid. n. 7).

Among all the forms of prayer, liturgical prayer is pre-eminent. "There is nothing better here below than prayer, and the best prayer is evidently that of the Church, since it is the ineffable prayer of Christ, continued and always active." (Pierre Charles, S.J., "Prayer for All Times," London, Sands, and Co., 1929, Vol. II, p. 48).

Not only does the liturgy offer grace and salvation, it is also a vehicle of divine revelation, a preserver and teacher of doctrine, the ultimate Catechist, instructing and teaching on matters of faith. "Lex orandi, lex credendi," the law of prayer or worship is also the law or carrier of our belief. Pope Pius XII referred to the liturgy as "the principal organ of the Magisterium of the Church" (quoted from 'Spiritual Theology,' Jordan Aumann, O.P., Sheed and Ward, London, 1986, p. 29).

The measure of charity in the world can be largely gauged by the measure of liturgical worship. "Let there be no illusion. There is no charity possible as an institution, as a thing that is a world-power, outside the sacrament of Christ's Mystical Body." (Dom Anscar Vonier, "A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist," Newman Press, 1975, p. 257). Pope John Paul II has affirmed the essential link between the Eucharist and the Church's spiritual and apostolic vitality. (Dominicae Cenae, Feb. 24, 1980, no. 4).

The Liturgy and Law

Because the liturgy is so important, the Church guards it and protects it with liturgical law. She does this with divinely delegated authority. "Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, the bishop." (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, n. 22). Bishops and bishops' conferences have only that authority over the liturgy which is explicitly granted. "No other person, not even a priest, may add, renew or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." (ibid.). The reason for this is that "liturgical services pertain to the whole Body of the Church... they manifest it and have effects upon it." (ibid. n. 26).

Liturgical law is found in numerous instruments. The Code of Canon Law is not a primary source. It says "For the most part, the Code does not determine the rites to be observed in the celebration of liturgical actions." (C. 2). It does contain some liturgical law and legislates what is of central importance to this article: "The liturgical works, approved by the competent authority, are to be faithfully followed in the celebration of the Sacraments. Accordingly, no one may on a personal initiative add to or omit or alter anything in those books." (C. 846.1).

The main corpus of liturgical law is scattered over literally dozens of Instructions, Declarations, Apostolic Letters, Notes and other documents. There is the Constitution of Vatican II on the Sacred Liturgy and three Instructions on the Correct Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. There is the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Liturgical books like the Lectionary, the breviary and the Rites of the Sacraments, all contain their specific laws. The Church regulates Indulgences through her Enchiridion. She approves blessings and constitutes sacramentals by which she dispenses spiritual benefits from her inexhaustible treasury of grace.

All liturgical law is ordained not to unduly restrict freedom of worship, but to enhance it, to ensure both the truth and beauty of public prayer. There is a marvelously concise overview of liturgical doctrine and law in "The Catechism of the Catholic Church," paragraphs 1066-1209. It answers the questions: Why the Liturgy? Who Celebrates the Liturgy? How is the Liturgy Celebrated? When is the Liturgy Celebrated? Where is the Liturgy Celebrated?

The Intrinsic Evil of Liturgical Abuse

Liturgical aberrations are nothing less than a falsification of worship. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: "One who offers worship to God on the Church's behalf in a way contrary to that which is laid down by the Church with God-given authority...is guilty of falsification." (Summa Theologica, 2-2, q. 93, a. 1). The falsification consists in pretending to act in the name of Christ and His Church when one is acting on one's own. It is a violation of the first commandment. The priest becomes impostor.

Liturgical abuses are a form of Pelagian pride. The abuser acts as though the action of Christ and the Church are not enough. He must supplement it, subtract from it or modify it to enhance its redemptive work. He sets up his own priesthood in opposition to Christ's.

Abuses are also a form of liturgical nihilism. Humility of worship is replaced by pride, service by disobedience. Scandal replaces edification and the custodian becomes destroyer. What should be a source of grace becomes an occasion of sin; what should be an act of divine love becomes a profound breach of charity. In liturgical nihilism, the abuse is emptied of Christ. In the words of Pope Paul VI, "Anything that departs from this pattern (of loyalty to the will of the Church as expressed in its precepts, norms and structures), even if it has a specious attractiveness, is in fact spiritually upsetting to the faithful, and makes the ministry of priests lifeless and sterile." (Directory on Masses for Special Groups.)

The Effects of Liturgical Abuses

No good results can come from liturgical abuses. The Instruction, "Inaestimabile Donum" points out four principal effects:

1. The unity of faith and worship is impaired.

The Church has always taken care to see that worship and prayer are in harmony with true doctrine. Credal truths are the golden threads holding together the whole liturgical fabric. The axiom 'the law of prayer is the law of belief' is found in a fifth-century document and is doubtless witness to apostolic tradition.

Liturgical abuses often inculcate doctrinal errors along with their deviation from the rubrics. The practice in some churches of saying "all are invited to the table" teaches either that the Mass forgives moral sins or that the state of grace is not necessary for the reception of Holy Communion. The heresy is sometimes taught that without the assembly there is no Eucharist.

Iconoclasm in our churches has diminished devotion to our Blessed Mother and the saints. The Church teaches that "Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. Through the icon of Christ and His work of salvation, it is He Whom we adore. Through sacred images of the Holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1193). In some churches, sacred statues have been destroyed, replaced by images of non-saints or worse. The Buffalo church of St. Ambrose has windows depicting the goddess Shiva and Teilhard de Chardin. (cf. "Church Renovations Embody Cluster of Heretical Notions," by Paul Likoudis, the Wanderer, July 24, 1997, p. 1).

2. Abuses bring with them doctrinal uncertainty.

When through abuses Christ is ignored in the Eucharist, surely this tends to bring His presence into doubt. This is done in myriad ways. Sometimes the tabernacle is so hidden that the words of Mary Magdalene could apply: "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." (John 20, 13). Christ is ignored through the failure to genuflect when the rubrics demand it, by standing during the Consecration, by failure to make a sign of adoration in receiving Holy Communion. Christ is ignored by loud or idle talk or socializing in church. To ignore a person is to treat him or her as nothing. To ignore Christ on the altar or in the tabernacle is to treat Him as non-existent. So, the ground is laid for doctrinal errors like transignification and transfinalization in place of the truth of transubstantiation. One sees how Luther and Calvin were able to destroy the Mass by presenting it as a celebration instead of Sacrifice, as The Lord's Supper instead of the act of our salvation through the mystical death of Christ on our altars.

When reverence, decorum, recollection and rightful awe disappear from our churches, more worthy of respect than the Holy of Holies of the Old Testament, the church becomes a place of diminished faith. In the introductory rite for the Dedication of a Church, we read: "This is a place of awe; this is God's house, the gate of Heaven, and it shall be called the royal court of God." We ought to conduct ourselves accordingly.

3. Liturgical abuses cause scandal and bewilderment among the People of God.

Priests and people are often deeply offended when they see liturgical violations. I know an older priest who has spent his priestly life on the missions. When he returns on his annual visit to his Mother House, he is scandalized to see his confreres celebrating the community Mass without alb or chasuble. An associate pastor who trained altar boys to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament heard the pastor forbid the boys to do so because it was "pre-Vatican II." Pastors are scandalized by associates who violate the liturgy and vice-versa, causing trouble or tension in the rectory. One couple I met at the "Call to Holiness" convention in Detroit last year told me they drive over 50 miles to Mass every Sunday. At their own church, the priest invited all to say the words of the Consecration because, he told them, "You are Church."

Examples of such offences could be listed in the tens of thousands. They are a grave injustice and merit grave concern. They are, and should be, shocking. Anne Roche Muggeridge once invited a non-Catholic friend to Mass in Ireland where she thought the liturgy would be safe from the despoilers. She reported that she was embarrassed: "It was like taking someone home to meet your mother and having her get drunk and dance on the table."

4. Liturgical abuses bring "a near inevitability of violent reaction."

Some are bewildered and grieve in silence. In many, the reaction is bitter criticism, anger, resentment or a deep feeling of betrayal. Some stop going to Mass. Some so criticize the Church that their children lose respect for the religion of their parents and are alienated from the faith. Every liturgical aberration sets up its own chain of negative reactions by a kind of tragic Newtonian law.

The Remedies

Obviously, liturgical abuses are eliminated through the observance of liturgical law. This remedy is the vindication of a right. Canon 214 of the Code of Canon Law says that "Christ's faithful have the right to worship God according to the provisions of their own rite approved by the lawful Pastors of the Church."

The law states clearly where the responsibility lies. In his own diocese, the correction of liturgical abuses is the obligation of the bishop (cf. C.392.2). Under the bishop's authority, the parish priest must direct the liturgy in his own parish, and he is bound to "be on guard against abuses." (C. 528.2).

To obtain the correction of an abuse, it should be sufficient to draw the attention of the parish priest to an aberration. If this is insufficient, it should be enough to bring the matter to the attention of the bishop. In short, if Church law and legal redress were observed, there would not be a liturgical abuse in the world.

In the present liturgical crisis, when rubrical anarchy is rampant, it is obvious that law and recourse are often ignored or rebuffed. "There will be no witch-hunting in this diocese," said one bishop when it was reported to him that many parishes permitted altar girls before they were allowed.

What then is the remedy? When shepherds will not shepherd, the remedy, an inadequate one, must be found in one's personal reaction. Some bear with abuses as a cross and penance. Others legitimately go to another parish or to a church of another rite or a Tridentine Mass. The options licitly available are expertly discussed by Fr. John Hardon, S.J., in a tape entitled "How to Cope with Abuses in the Eucharistic Liturgy" (Eternal Life, P.O. Box 787, Bardstown, KY, 40004, U.S.A.)

The tragedy is that some, in anguish and rebellion, stop going to church and join the literally millions worldwide who have lost their faith in this generation. Not all the responsibility is theirs.

All Catholics have some obligation to right the liturgical wrong. All can pray for their bishops and priests. Some can join or support societies or movements which advocate right liturgy. Seeing no evil when it is there is the way to further liturgical decay.

Liturgical Abuses and Empty Churches

Liturgical abuses are a form of Liberal Catholicism, the great enemy of the Church today. It is a reincarnation of Modernism. St. Pius X spoke of "the perfidious plot of liberal Catholics." Of liberal Catholics today, Mother Angelica said recently: "Everything God doesn't want is on their agenda." In the moral order, liberal Catholics call for freedom from sexual restraint, the right to premarital sex, contraception, divorce, homosexual practice, even abortion. In the liturgical order, it takes the form of freedom from rubrical law.

Liturgical abuses, like all liberal Catholicism, are a rejection of divinely constituted authority. As Cardinal Newman said, authority is the very essence of our revealed religion, coming through Christ to St. Peter and his successors to us. Liturgy is so bound up with authority and the apostolic hierarchy established by Christ that without it "there would be no public worship as Catholicism understands the liturgy." (Fr. John Hardon, S.J., "The Catholic Catechism," Doubleday and Co., p. 450). When the sanctuary becomes a site of rebellion against the Church's authority, the action of Christ as High Priest is diminished or disappears. Empty churches are certain to follow. There echoes in our ears the chant of Psalm 74 concerning the Temple of Jerusalem: "The enemy has laid waste the whole of the sanctuary ... they have razed and profaned the place where You dwell."

May we pray often and fervently for the preservation and restoration of the Church's liturgy, "the Sacrament of our Salvation."


Holding the Campaign for Human Development Accountable
by Stephanie Block / Washington DC November 9, 1997

This week, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting in Washington DC for its annual discussions on the state of the American Catholic Church. We - as individual Roman Catholic lay people - have gathered across the street from the bishops’ meeting to direct a respectful challenge toward our pastors.

The speakers at this Roman Catholic Faithful lay gathering have a broad spectrum of issues about which we are all concerned. We are concerned about the abysmal sex education programs being foisted on Catholic school children. We are concerned about some of the "official" pronouncements coming out of various Church offices: The NCCB’s Always Our Children, for example, or Roger Cardinal Mahony’s pastoral on the liturgy. We are concerned about a whole host of local abuses, which seem to be pandemic, involving disrespectful Masses, factious religious teachings, and the fostering of groups rebellious to Church doctrine and discipline, such as Call to Action or New Ways Ministry.

One further concern - the one which I’ll be addressing - is a funding mechanism, namely the Campaign for Human Development, through which the Catholic Church is helping to finance many organizations whose goals and philosophies are at fundamental odds with Church teaching. This funding mechanism is designed as an annual charitable collection that raises and distributes millions of Catholic dollars each year. It is reasonable, therefore, that the Catholic laity examine the manner in which this money is distributed and ask an accounting from their bishops for the way their money has been - and continues to be - spent.

A Quarter Century of Criticism: Over a quarter of a century ago, the United States Catholic bishops developed the Campaign for Human Development - the CHD - on the rationale that they wanted an anti-poverty program based on self-help, economic development. The basic idea, as it was sold to American Catholics, might be illustrated in the adage: "if you give a man a fish, you have fed him for a day; but if you teach a man how to fish, you will have fed him for his lifetime." Very few American Catholics would have a problem with that principle, or with contributing to organizations that have, as their basic mission, some form of economic assistance for the poor. Job-training, loan programs, business counseling services, capital investments would probably strike most Catholics as a worthwhile charitable activities. Some of us might want to see an evangelical component added to the economic assistance, but the basic idea of giving someone a helping hand - as opposed to what is called "direct service" charity (such as a hot meal, a pair of shoes, or a bed for the night) - is commensurate with our sense of charity and "social justice."

An analysis of the 1996 CHD annual report yields a startling discovery, however. Of its 263 allocations, only 59 projects - 23% of CHD grants - are identified as "economic development." While certainly a few of the other CHD recipient projects have some component that might be of charitable benefit to the poor (for example, support to a health care facility) a relatively small percentage of CHD-funded projects are directly involved with assisting people in economic development or with some form of charitable assistance.

The majority of CHD allocations are made to community organizations of one type or another. In particular, the Campaign has been a major funder of Alinsky-style, church-based community organizations. Between 1992-1996, at least 33% of all CHD allocations went into Alinsky-style, church-based community organizing. "Alinsky-style" means that these organizations are patterned after, and historically developed from, the organizational efforts of Saul Alinsky. Alinsky was a social worker who wrote about his organizational principles in a book called Rules for Radicals. Rules for Radicals teaches the organizer that "the ends justify the means," that the world is engaged in a class struggle, and the organizer’s job is to "play God" and to help restructure the world.

"Church-based" refers to the fact that these community organizations draw most of their membership from religious institutions, often recruiting by congregation rather than by individual. The five Alinsky-style, church-based organizations that are the recipients of 33% of recent CHD allocations through their local affiliates are:

*the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF),

*the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN),

*the Pacific Institute for Community Organization (PICO),

*the Gamaliel Foundation, and

*the Direct Action and Research Training Center (DART).

Through these five, national organizations - each of which has numerous local affiliates around the United States - the CHD promotes a progressive political and social agenda of restructuring. The Coercive Utopians, a book which describes how money is channeled to left-wing causes through various religious institutions, states that "The Catholic Church has…been a major contributor to the utopians through its Campaign for Human Development…"(1)

Father Marvin Mottet, who was the CHD director between 1978-1985, stated that "… the Campaign is ‘organized for institutional change.’"(2) One major point of contention between CHD critics and CHD supporters over the years has been whether the Catholic Church ought to be engaged in "institutional change" when what is intended by that change appears to be an ideological attack on the structure of both the United States government and Catholic Church. Further, there is little about the "institutional changes" sought by the "big five" CHD grant recipients which seems to help the poor. It is primarily the ideological agenda of the organizations which are served.

In a 1988 analytic report on the CHD, authors William Poole and Thomas Pauken examined over 15 years of CHD contributions. They concluded that: "Elements of the left supported by the Campaign for Human Development are part of a larger movement which rejects the system of free enterprise capitalism…The programs and rhetoric of this movement reflect both the belief that our economic and political system is flawed in its very essence and a dismissal of the shared values that underlie that system."(3)

Even the progressives agree that the Campaign for Human Development has been instrumental in helping many of its organizations to stay afloat. Jackie Kendall, Executive Director of the Midwest Academy, a Chicago-based training school for many CHD-funded community activists has said, "The Campaign for Human Development is very important. It is probably the biggest contributor to grass-roots development in the country." (4)

Another progressive, Peter Dreier, covering the 1996 Planners Network Conference, writes: "For the past several decades, progressive activists have made significant headway in urban politics. They have generally used three, overlapping strategies: community organizing, labor organizing, and electoral politics….National networks like ACORN, the IAF, Citizen Action [also CHD-funded], and others have helped improve the capacity of these local groups to develop leaders, mobilize campaigns, and win local victories."

In addition to institutionalizing left-wing politics and progressive economic policies, the CHD-funded Alinsky-style, church-based community organizations foster radical moral and theological positions. For instance, the effects of this CHD-funded, Alinsky-style church-based community organizing on the Catholic Church can be witnessed in the dissident Call to Action activism which has been operating seditiously within the Church for almost as long as the CHD has been around. Call to Action is that group attempting to force the Catholic Church to change its moral convictions on birth control, homosexuality, and other sexually-related issues. It also seeks:

*the "democratic" selection of bishops and priests,

*female ordination,

*a lifting of the discipline of clerical celibacy,

*the so-called "right" of Church theologians to "freedom of speech" in theological matters, and

a greater Church emphasis on social justice and environmental issues, as the Call to Action defines "social justice."

Alinsky disciple, Msgr. Jack Egan, was an organizer of the first Call To Action Conference in 1976. CHD-involved clerics, along with the CHD-funded Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS), an Alinsky-founded community organization, were involved in drafting one of the original nine Call to Action position papers.(5) Not surprisingly, given COPS’ participation, was one Call to Action demand that every Catholic parish ought to financially support a "competent" neighborhood or community action group. One can argue that the CHD is assisting in that goal by its funding of the dozens of community organizations that build on congregational (or parish) membership. And at least one CHD-funded community organization, Valley Interfaith of southern Texas, today claims the support of 500 small Call to Action base communities.

Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the training ground for dozens of local community organizations, was one of the motivating factors behind the creation of the Campaign for Human Development. David Fink, in his biography of Alinsky, writes: "Each time [Saul Alinsky and Msgr. John O’Grady, the head of the National Conference of Catholic Charities] got together, they ended up talking about how they could get the Catholic Church to back Alinsky’s organizing campaign."(6)

In the summer of 1969, the Alinsky-trained Msgr. Jack Egan and a team of fellow clergymen mapped out the national strategy for financing community organizations and that autumn persuaded the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to appoint a committee to develop a "crusade against poverty." A year later, the Campaign for Human Development held its first collection, and a Resolution Statement by the NCCB from those years made it clear that the effort was not simply to provide economic self-help to the poor. The Resolution states: "[T]he magnitude and complexity of these problems in the U.S. in a time of rapid social change…calls for the creation of a new source of financial capital that can be allocated for specific social projects aimed at eliminating the very causes of poverty..."

What those "causes of poverty" are has been a matter of considerable debate during the 20th century. The "progressivist" mind tends to identify the "causes of poverty" as systemic, that is, as flaws in the very essence and fabric of society - in particular, in its economic system. Therefore, it has not been surprising to see that the programs supported by CHD-funded groups like ACORN and the IAF are directed at bringing about those "systemic changes," or in the words of Fr. Mottet, in bringing about "institutional change."

For example, writing about the economically depressed border region of Texas, Tom Pauken writes: "With all the problems facing people in the Valley, it didn’t take long for a local affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), an Alinsky-created umbrella organization, to get into the act. A group calling itself Valley Interfaith announced that it intended to act as the representative of the people in the Valley in establishing and overseeing a massive public works program which would be funded by the federal government. Demands were being made on the Reagan administration for an immediate response to Interfaith’s public works proposal….A number of local politicians were outraged over what they perceived to be a group of outsiders trying to come on and take over the Valley for their own purposes…Valley Interfaith did not have the community support it claimed."(7)

A local newspaper, The Progress TIMES, produced a 13-part series which reported that Valley Interfaith "opponents challenge the group’s motives. Foremost among the opponents are members of the Catholic Church, primarily traditionalists, who see this group and Industrial Areas Foundation as anything but religious...Some view it as a stepping stone for liberation theology and its Marxist philosophy."(8)

Opposition, however, was not confined to "traditionalist" Catholics. It also came from people who had been a part of the Interfaith but had grown disillusioned. One former leader complained: "Organizers would tell [Interfaith] members what to say. They prepared everything for you…you couldn’t talk or give opinions."(9) And opposition came from those who worked among the poor, in the colonias of Texas, one of whom charged that Valley Interfaith "wanted to take credit for all the new sidewalks and blocking the treatment plant - and they didn’t do anything."

The organizing efforts of ACORN, which have been funded by the CHD, year after year since the early 1980s, are another clear example of a "systemic" restructuring agenda. ACORN, over the past five years, has received approximately 4-5% of the national CHD annual budget for allocations.

ACORN’s agenda is openly articulated by its People’s Platform. The goals of the People’s Platform are national in scope. They require a strong federal control by government over health care, housing, employment and wages, education, and an array of social services. Among other things, the ACORN People’s Platform demands:

*a national health-care system providing free, universal care. Medical education for doctors would be financed by the government,

*the annual creation of a million new, federally subsidized housing units,

*a governmentally-guaranteed full employment system,

*guaranteed minimum annual family income, and

*the development of schools to serve a variety of community needs, such as job training and placement, and which could provide all support and services that a child cannot receive at home.

To accomplish the goals outlined in its People’s Platform, ACORN actively lobbies Congress. It supports its own political candidates. It owns two radio stations and a TV station and is endeavoring to build what it describes as "a progressive radio and television network." ACORN has also - not surprisingly - developed a political party with the Democratic Socialists of America. This political party, called the New Party, promoted "living wage" campaigns around the country in 1996, capitalizing on its alliances not only with CHD-funded ACORN locals, but also with the CHD-funded Industrial Areas Foundation locals.

ACORN’s political activities have clearly extended beyond mere "Get Out the Vote" drives. According to ACORN informational material, "ACORN national conventions and actions in 1978, 1979, and 1980 led to an entry into national politics through participation in the 1980 Presidential campaign. ACORN used the campaign to apply pressure to presidential candidates during the nomination campaign when they were most in need of grassroots support - a specialty of ACORN’s. They also created the opportunity for the members and leaders to develop their ideas on a national agenda for the organization." (10)

ACORN, as well as the other CHD-funded, Alinsky-style community organizations, also promotes its agenda through the public school system. Jennifer Anderson from the CHD-funded NY-ACORN described ACORN’s educational activism at the 1995, 25th CHD Anniversary Conference in Chicago. Among other things, Anderson revealed that each ACORN school has one full-time, paid ACORN organizer associated with it, whose duties include organizing parents, class by class. Anderson described ACORN’s efforts to see that "progressively-minded" teachers and principals were hired in the ACORN schools.

The ACORN schools develop and train their students to become new community organizers. Informational material informs the reader that at ACORN’s New York, Local 1199 School for Social Change "…students analyze public health issues, the organization of community groups, the development of public policy and the international labor movement. Students are involved in hands-on activities in order to relate classroom learning to community service. These activities range from participation in labor and community organization movements to service as interns at local health care facilities."

NY-ACORN received $170,000 in CHD grants between 1992-1995. As there is no specific project specified in the reporting of these CHD grants to ACORN, it would seem fair to assume that CHD money has been used by NY-ACORN in ways that would provide at least indirect support to its educational reform agenda.

Pro-abortion and pro-contraceptive: This leftist "movement" which the CHD funds also includes a pro-abortion and pro-contraceptive component. This is not to say that the CHD directly funds projects that provide abortions or contraceptives. While this may occasionally occur, there is no reason to suppose that this is anything but inadvertent. However, regardless of the CHD’s moral convictions, many of CHD’s grant recipients are supportive of legalized abortion and contraceptive availability. Their political activism is almost exclusively aimed toward placing in office candidates who are pro-abortion, and toward supporting pro-abortion groups. For instance, a number of CHD recipients endorsed the Feminist Expo ‘96 for Woman’s Empowerment. The Feminist Expo ’96 gathered together various women’s groups to advocate for a broad range of "progressive" issues, including "women’s rights," among them the "right" to procure an abortion. Its purpose, according to promotional materials, was to develop a response to "the conservative use of ballot initiatives to attack women’s rights and to galvanize a right-wing vote….The attack on women’s rights and sex discrimination law has galvanized our coming together….Never before has the woman’s movement been under so much attack…" (11)

The Expo network sought to "…develop a feminist national budget for the United States; and …[to] envision a feminist future." (12)

ACORN’s national president, Maud Hurd, was a speaker at The Feminist Expo. The Expo was also supported by the CHD-funded McAuley Institute, the CHD-funded 9-to-5 Working Women and the CHD-funded National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. (13) The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy was given a special salute at the Expo for all of its work "to fund feminism," work which has included attacks on the pro-life movement and the direction of money to abortion groups such as the NARAL Foundation, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Planned Parenthood-World Population, and the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights Education Fund.

Drawing conclusions: What is the Catholic in the pew to make of all this information? The CHD asserts that it "has become the largest funder of self-help groups for the poor in the nation. More than $250 million in grants has been awarded by the CHD to help at least 3000 self-help projects that work to create new opportunities for the poor in housing, education, health care, jobs, and civil rights….To be eligible to receive CHD funds, a program must be run by the poor, benefit the poor, and change social structures that harm the poor." (14)

Are we to assume that ACORN, and its People’s Platform, are representative of the CHD’s basic self-help mission? If this is true, than the CHD’s basic self-help mission is to implement a socialist structure in the United States.

Welfare Reform: Further evidence of this basic thrust to place inordinate economic control into the hands of the state can be observed in the CHD’s 1997 grant allocations. The first round of 1997 CHD grants, totaling half a million dollars, was awarded to 13 community organizations which promote what a CHD press release calls "innovative welfare reform initiatives."

One grant has gone to the Arizona Interfaith Network, which is a coalition of three IAF locals that already individually receive CHD funds.(15) The money is earmarked for a research project to assess the impact of welfare reform on church members. A CHD press release says: "This information will be collected and combined with the research of other Arizona social policy advocates such as the Children’s Action Alliance, the Arizona Justice Institute and the Arizona Catholic Conference in order to impact the welfare reform legislative agenda at the statewide level."(16)

These "innovative welfare reform initiatives" of the Arizona Interfaith Network have already been attempted and include the distribution of welfare benefits through the IAF locals. The Arizona Interfaith Network, operating through religious institutions, would become a welfare provider. It would receive the federal and state welfare money and would become responsible for administering this money to the poor.

One can think of a number of troubling problems with this arrangement, but one source of opposition comes from a surprising corner: A coalition of over 30 community-based human services organizations,(17) which includes food banks and health care facilities, has been fighting the IAF over control of public welfare funds. This Human Services coalition argues that the IAF is attempting to overrun "existing organizations with demonstrated track records and accountability for working with the poor..." so that the IAF will have control of that money for its own organizational efforts. The Human Services coalition claims that "Any diversion of funds to create another layer of providers would detract from the present effort and be disastrous."

One further observes that the Arizona Interfaith Network is using its influence within religious institutions to generate support for its welfare restructuring agenda. The significant effect of the current half- million dollar CHD welfare reform effort is the development of "educational" mechanisms designed to persuade people that any changes in the welfare system which cut or curtail services is bad. One CHD press release states that the 1997 CHD grant to Catholic Charities of California (CCC), for example, is for organizing "…grassroots advocates to 1) educate and influence state and federal policy makers 2) document and publicize representative stories of persons to be negatively impacted by the new welfare laws, 3) build awareness and linkages within the Catholic community about the implications of specific welfare measures."(18) This sort of activity goes well beyond the moral education of the Catholic people and well beyond Catholic social justice principles. It supports the specific, political conviction that the needs of the poor can best be served by massive federal welfare expenditures.

As with the case of the Arizona Interfaith Network, other CHD welfare reform measures attempt to pass federal funds into the hands of "mediating institutions." Welfare benefits - under CHD welfare reform plans - are distributed by, and through, these CHD-funded "mediating institutions." Another group of IAF locals, the Texas IAF Valley Interfaith and Triangle Interfaith, which were among the 1997 first round CHD grant recipients. These IAF locals are being funded to initiate a "welfare reform" strategy to mobilize "its congregation members statewide to push for a $52 million reallocation of resources for long-term job training." (19)

The job training program being promoted by the CHD-funded Texas IAF Network is Project QUEST. CHD-funded IAF local, Valley Interfaith, has already been the conduit for substantial federal Empowerment Zone money for Project QUEST operations in its region.

The QUEST program operates primarily through the IAF. COPS and Metro, two Texas IAF locals, have membership on the QUEST board of directors. One commentator writes: "COPS and Metro also controlled the recruitment of trainees to QUEST. They advertised training opportunities through their churches (at services and in bulletins). One hundred and forty volunteers held interviews at churches two to three times per week. The IAF leaders interviewed 3000 applicants resulting in 650 trainees….By controlling recruitment, COPS could help build its organization, reinforce the social networks of the community, and vouch for the character of trainees to future employees." (20)

Project QUEST is under consideration as a model for national replication. The IAF, operating through the churches, is the "mediating institution," the conduit, for federal money in the local community, and becomes a primary distributor of federal benefits. The practical advantages of cooperating with the IAF arrangement are obvious. Obviously, it is not in the self-interest of applicants to be anything less than enthusiastic about the IAF. MIT’s Paul Osterman’s 1996 study of QUEST shows that 41% of the QUEST participants definitely plan to become involved with the IAF or think there is a "good chance" for future involvement.

The IAF activity in Texas demonstrates the nature of the CHD’s welfare reform agenda. It involving the federal government in comprehensive services provided through the church-based "mediating institution" of the IAF. The government, aided by the CHD-supported community organization, takes on a dimension which is hardly consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. It is highly consistent with the principles of socialism, however.

Conclusion: This past year, the Wanderer Forum Foundation commissioned a study of the CHD which will be presented to each United States bishop within a few weeks. Thickly documented, this commentary confronts the bishops with a challenge: either to radically reform the Campaign for Human Development along the principles of Catholic social justice or to admit openly that those principles have been abandoned.

As concerned laity, we call on the bishops for a renewed commitment to the poor. We are frustrated that Catholic money - intended for self-help economic development projects for the needy - is consistently filtered into left-wing organizations determined to foster their own ideological and political agendas. We challenge the bishops to look closely at CHD’s funding patterns and to courageously admit: "This is not what Catholicism teaches us to do. This is not how the poor are helped. We have been remiss. We have not sufficiently monitored the Campaign for Human Development, and we intend to rectify this omission."

We do not concur with Saul Alinsky’s despairing cry, and what appears to have become the unofficial motto of the CHD: "To hell with charity. The only thing you’ll get is what you’re strong enough to get." When all the world’s treasures have passed, and when nothing more is left of this life, charity is all that remains.


  1. Isaac, Rael Jean and Isaac, Erich, The Coercive Utopians: Social Deception by America’s Power Players, Discipleship Books, an Imprint of Regnery Gateway, Inc., Chicago, 1985, p. 210.

  2. Ibid.

  3. William T. Poole and Thomas W. Pauken, The Campaign for Human Development: Christian Charity or Political Activism?, Studies in Organization Trends #4, Capital Research Center, 1988, p. 42.

  4. Charlotte Hays, "And the Greatest of These Is Social Justice," National Review, December 31, 1987. The Midwest Academy was founded by Heather Booth, an activist in the radical-left SDS (Students for a Democratic Society).

  5. Twyman, James E., Betrayal of the Citadel, 1978.

  6. Miceli, Vincent, "Detroit, A Call to Revolution in the Church," Homiletic and Pastoral Review, March 1977.

  7. The April 1975 meeting on "Nationhood" in San Antonio, Texas included Fr. Virgil Elizondo ( leading spokesman for liberation theology in the U.S.), 2 former members of the CHD national committee, Bishop Andrew McDonald and Bishop Edward McCarthy, and Archbishop Francis J. Furey of San Antonio, then chair of the CHD.

  8. David P. Fink, The Radical Vision of Saul Alinsky, Paulist Press, 1984, p 60.

  9. Thomas W. Pauken, The Thirty Years War: The Politics of the Sixties Generation, Jameson Books, Inc. Ottawa, Illinois, 1995, p 178; p 182.

  10. June Brann, (publisher, editor) The Progress TIMES, "A Growing Political Power in Texas: A comprehensive Examination of Valley Interfaith, Industrial Area Foundation, and the IAF Founder, Saul Alinsky," July 6, 1983 - December 28, 1983; quotation taken from the Introduction to the series.

  11. Diane Smith, "Valley Interfaith: 10 Years as ‘Agent of Change," The Monitor, November 8, 1994.

  12. Paul Likoudis, The Legacy of CHD, Wanderer Press, 1994, p 11. Quoting Sheila Parkhill, pro bono lawyer.

  13. ACORN’s 25-Year History, author not provided, undated, http://www.igc.apc.org/community/ACORN_25_history.html.

  14. "First Ever National Feminist Exposition to be Held in Washington, DC" Press Release put out by the Feminist Majority Foundation, January 17, 1996. Quoting Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, the convening group of Expo ’96.

  15. To that end, the primary coordinator of the Expo, the Feminist Majority Foundation, has been an advocate in the campaign to legalize the abortifacient RU 486 in the United States.

  16. The figure provided by the 1992 CHD annual report is $40,000. However, the North Carolina Catholic, February 27, 1994, confirms Capital Research Center reports that the CHD gave $100,000 to NCRP between 1992-1993.

  17. Jim Castelli, "How the Church Passes the Buck to the Poor," U.S. Catholic, October, 1996. According to the US Catholic, portions of the Castelli article originally appeared in CHD’s 1994-1995 Annual Report.

  18. The three Arizona IAF locals are:

    Pima County Interfaith Council, Tucson which received $178,000 from national CHD grants between 1992-1995.

    The Valley Interfaith Project, Phoenix which received $149,000 from national CHD grants between 1992-1995.

    The East Valley Sponsoring Committee, Tempe

  19. Campaign for Human Development 1997 Welfare Reform Initiative, First Round Grant Recipients, Department of Communications, NCCB/USCC.

  20. The Arizona Human Services Rural Network

  21. Campaign for Human Development 1997 Welfare Reform Initiative, First Round Grant Recipients.

  22. Ibid. Individual Texas IAF locals have received additional national CHD grants.

  23. Mark R. Warren, "Hispanic Community Empowerment in Texas: A Case Study of San Antonio’s Job Training Initiative – Project QUEST," March 9, 1995.

Stephanie Block - Holding the Campaign for Human Development Accountable


by Thomas A. Droleskey

Author's Note: This article is the first of a three-part series dealing with the state of the Church in the United States. While we know the Church will last until the end of time, our Lord did not promise that she would last everywhere until the end of time--or that she would be equally healthy in all parts of the world. There is a crisis of faith within the Church in this country. And while there are hopeful signs among young seminarians and home-schooling families, it is important to recognize the reality of our situation in order for us, as members of the true Church, to prayerfully demand of our bishops what is our baptismal right: the fullness of Christ's unchanging truths.

Part 1 of this series deals with the state of the hierarchy. Part 2, which will run next month, deals with the liturgy. Part 3, which will run in the November issue, will discuss all levels of Catholic education.

We are privileged to have been incorporated into the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, when we were baptized. The theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity were infused into our souls at that very moment. Original sin was washed out of our souls, replaced by the glory of baptismal innocence. It was in the baptismal font that we died and rose with Christ; and our Godparents were given a candle, lit from the Easter candle, signifying the light which then shone so perfectly within our sins. The baptismal candle also signified our duty to be the light of Christ in the world by living lives unspotted by the world.

It is the fundamental duty of all parents to nurture the graces given their children in baptism, to be the principal educators of their children, both in spiritual and in temporal matters. It is the duty of parents to foster an atmosphere within their own domestic cell of the Church, the family, which will lead them to view all of the events of their lives (and of the world) through the eyes of faith. Children come to learn over the course of time in their own family situations that they have been incorporated into a hierarchical Church, one founded by the God-Man Himself, and that the truths this church teaches have been revealed by God Himself, that those truths do not depend upon human acceptance for their binding force, for their validity.

The family is the fountain, therefore, of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated religious life. It is the bedrock of educating young men and women to be holy and to resist sin--but to have immediate recourse to the Sacrament of Penance if they should fall into sin. It is the place where children learn their prayers, becoming devoted to the perfect prayer, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and to the practices of Eucharistic piety and profound devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the Mother of us all. As the domestic cell of the Church, the family is the place where future fathers and mothers learn how to love in imitation of Christ, and how to forgive as He forgave while hanging on the wood of the Holy Cross.

Families will not function properly as domestic cells of the Church if bishops and priests do not preach the truth, if they do not celebrate the Sacred Mysteries with solemnity and reverence, if they do not respect the right of parents to be the principal educators of their children, if, indeed, they make war upon those parents who do home-school children. And children will not grow up to be counter-cultural signs of contradiction if bishops and priests do not carefully monitor and supervise Catholic religious educational programs, making sure that no one who is at odds with the teaching of Christ is permitted to function as a teacher (at any level of instruction).

As is well known, we face a serious crisis within the Church today. Catholic families have been rent asunder by the theological disinformation which has justified the use of contraception. They have been rent asunder by a popular culture which has not been confronted by bishops and priests with apostolic courage. They have been rent asunder by the Americanist notion that one idea is as good as another, that one religion is as good as another, that everyone is getting to Heaven, no matter what they do or believe while here on Earth. And families have been rent asunder by bishops and priests who have placed their own ideological and idiosyncratic stamp on the liturgy, reducing the Mass to nothing more than a communitarian exercise of self-congratulation and self-affirmation.

The stability of any nation depends upon the stability and sanctity of family life. But it is difficult for there to be a culture which produces such family life if there is dysfunction and disorder within the true Church herself. That is why it is vitally important to review the state of the Catholic Church in the United States, understanding that it will only be the establishment of an authentically Catholic culture which will attenuate the problems caused by the exaltation, promotion, and glorification of sin in our law, politics, education, and entertainment.

The State of the Hierarchy

The Church is composed of weak vessels of clay, human beings. She is divine. She will last until the end of time. As she is composed of human beings, however, she is subject to the vagaries of fallen human nature. Each one of our freely chosen sins contributes to the weakening of Christ's Mystical Body on Earth, the Church. Each one of us is responsible, to a greater or lesser extent, for the problems that exist within the Church in the United States of America at present. It would be foolhardy and very irresponsible to say that we have not played our part in the plan of the Adversary to weaken Holy Mother Church, to render her less capable of being now what she was during the era of Christendom: the guiding force of popular culture.

Ultimately, though, order within the Church, which is the fundamental prerequisite for authentic order and justice in society, depends upon how well the Successors of the Apostles, the bishops, fulfill their apostolic mandates. For if bishops are not of one mind and of one heart with Jesus Christ as He has revealed Himself through His true Church, then the sheep will be catechized and evangelized by all of the false voices within the Church, to say nothing of the popular culture itself. And, furthermore, if bishops are unwilling to govern their dioceses, that is, if they are unwilling to correct those who engage in theological dissent or in liturgical irreverence, then chaos will reign supreme in their midst.

Note well: there are a handful of Catholic bishops in the United States who are authentically Catholic, men who are willing to run the risk of public ridicule in their articulation and defense of the unchanging truths of the faith. Men who are willing to endure the brickbats and ostracism of their brother bishops. Men who are willing to do what bishops should do, namely, ruling their dioceses with a charity born of a concern for the salvation of souls, not of a desire to please the ecclesiastical bureaucrats who populate chancery offices (which are being termed "pastoral centers" in many parts of the country now; "chancery office" is much too preconciliar, don't you think?).

These men, however, are few and far between. Most of our bishops are careerists, men who view their service in the episcopate as little more than a job which requires them to keep "peace" among competing factors. One bishop told me years ago of how many of his confreres talk about little else other than career matters when they gather together semi-annually (who is going to get what diocese, who will be promoted to another diocese). This careerist mentality is so strong that some bishops spend a lot of their time on the golf course, relegating the actually administration of diocesan affairs to others. And one recently retired bishop spent a great deal of his time shuttling back and forth between his diocese and Wall Street, where he played the stock market for his own personal gain.

Careerist bishops are concerned about peace and good press above all else. Complaints from Catholics concerning abuses of their children by pedophile priests have (until recently) met with either outright denials or clever obfuscations. Complaints about the state of liturgical reverence (or lack thereof) and the prevalence of heterodoxy in Catholic religious education programs, including the use of pornographic materials in so-called sex-education programs, are dismissed with bureaucratic efficiency and indifference. In fact, diffidence is the word which best characterizes how a careerist bishop deals with legitimate problems within his diocese; the suffering of ordinary Catholics, who simply want to save their souls and raise their children as believing members of the Church, is ignored, if not ridiculed altogether.

A shepherd is supposed to care for his sheep. The bishop of a diocese (referred to as the Ordinary of the diocese) has the total responsibility for the welfare of souls within his territorial jurisdiction, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. He has the personal responsibility to see to it that the Gospel is preached, that people have access to the Sacraments, that the Sacraments are administered according to Church directives, that the integrity of Catholic teaching is maintained, and that the truth of Christ be imbued in the local culture of the territory.

Being a bishop carries with it a heavy responsibility. A bishop will be judged by God according to the manner in which he shepherded the flock entrusted to his care. Did he shepherd the flock entrusted to his care with diligence? Did he take the time to confirm souls? Did he take the time to foster vocations? Did he care enough to root out doctrinal error? Or was he careless in the performance of his duties? Did he prefer his own convenience to the hard tasks of calling others to be obedient to God? Did he take the time to meet with his sheep when they brought problems to him regarding the integrity of faith and worship.

The personal care and attention that our Lord meant for his shepherds to exhibit is largely a thing of the past today. Chancery offices have become huge, impersonal bureaucracies. We have been eyewitnesses to a proliferation in the number of such bureaucracies in the last thirty years, eerily paralleling the growth in the governmental bureaucracy which began to accelerate in the 1930s under the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Bureaucracies generally have but one goal: to perpetuate themselves in power by maximizing their share of budgetary allocations. And bureaucracies, whether ecclesiastical or governmental, are generally populated by those who are leftists and relativists, those who exhibit definite fascistic tendencies when it comes to dealing with those who dare to dissent to their efforts to impose policies which are at odds with Christ Himself. They, the social and theological and liturgical engineers, are the enlightened ones. Anyone who gets in their way must be dismissed summarily as a reactionary, a person who wants to get in the way of genuine "renewal" and "growth."

American bishops have by and large surrendered their own duties to govern their dioceses to their ecclesiastical bureaucrats. Such an abdication of episcopal responsibility results in the empowerment and emboldenment of the bureaucrats, who come to view a bishop as nuisance, an interloper whose signature they need to continue old policies and to institute new ones. This abdication of responsibility also permits a bishop to have what is known as "plausible deniability," the ability to feign ignorance about problems in his diocese when confronted about them by concerned members of the lay faithful. The proliferation of this bloated ecclesiastical bureaucracy also gives a bishop the opportunity to shift responsibility for "investigating" complaints, a move which more often in little more than pro forma efforts to satisfy those Catholics intelligent and courageous enough to register complaints.

Obviously, some kind of bureaucratic structure is necessary in a diocese. Division of labor is simply a fact of life. That having been noted, however, it is up to a bishop to personally supervise the hiring of those who staff his bureaucratic offices--and to let those so hired understand that he, a Successor of the Apostles appointed to be the ordinary of a diocese, is the governor of the Church in that area, not them. This is what Lincoln, Nebraska, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz has done, for example. (What a commentary it is that this courageous man receives plaudits for merely doing what a bishop is required by our Lord to do.)

The reduction of a bishop to a mere functionary, a figurehead, who is supposed to approve whatever his bureaucracy wants is bad enough when one considers the situation of individual dioceses. It is far worse, however, when one considers the state of the sinfully bloated bureaucracy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and United States Catholic Conference (USCC).

Those twin, inter-related bureaucracies are populated mainly by social engineers who believe in salvation through the collectivist, statist, redistributionist policies of the left wing of the Democratic Party. It is the bureaucrats who staff those offices which produce policy statements for the bishops to approve at their semi-annual meetings, most of which have little to do with an authentic understanding of Catholic social teaching. And it is the bureaucrats who staff the offices of NCCB/USCC which have allied themselves with such left-wing organizations as the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), which have funded one program after another which is inimical to the Cross of Christ.

A Bit of History

The NCCB traces its roots back to World War I. It was shortly after Woodrow Wilson prevailed upon Congress to declare war on the Central Powers in April, 1917, that the American bishops formed what they called the National Catholic War Council (NCWC). Led by the Archbishop of Baltimore, James Cardinal Gibbons, the American hierarchy wanted to prove its "patriotism" during the war, especially given the fact that the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from which a lot of Catholic immigrants to this country had emigrated. Thus, they accepted Wilson's challenge to "prove" their patriotism by organizing the NCWC.

Wilson, who hated the Church--and who addressed Cardinal Gibbons as "Mister" Gibbons, desired the elimination of the influence of the Church in Eastern and Central Europe. It was his goal to create secular, pluralistic republics in the place of the Second German Reich and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Although the European men dying the trenches in France and Belgium were fighting the last traditional "balance of power" war of the 19th Century in the early 20th Century, Wilson convinced the American public that World War I was being fought to make the world "safe for democracy," a slogan which caught the popular imagination here. After all, who could be opposed to Democracy? Would the Catholic bishops in the United States be so opposed?

The NCWC was at its very origins an attempt to please a Democratic President who hated the Church. While the Vatican, which took a policy of official neutrality during World War I (it grieved Pope Benedict XV's heart no end to see the nations of formerly Catholic Europe fighting each other so fiercely--and so senselessly), was nervous about the formation of the NCWC, it gave its permission for the bishops to so organize on one condition: that they change the nation from the National Catholic War Council to the National Catholic Welfare Conference. The NCWC underwent another name change in 1966: it became the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, with the United States Catholic Conference being created as a "separate" entity to serve as the public policy arm of the bishops.

From its outset, therefore, the NCWC was beholden to a Democratic, statist President, Woodrow Wilson. That alliance would harden even more under Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal policies were a total repudiation of the principle of subsidiarity that Pope Pius XI had enunciated in Quadregismo Anno in 1931. Indeed, the insightful Father Charles Coughlin, at first a supporter of Roosevelt's, was silenced by the American bishops when he broadcast radio denunciations of Roosevelt's collectivism and redistributionism. The bishops would not tolerate criticism of a Democratic President; after all, the Democratic Party had been the instrument of political socialization, of upward economic mobility, for Catholic immigrants. Being a Catholic in the United States was synonymous with being a Democrat.

The unholy alliance between the bishops' bureaucracy and the social engineers in the governmental bureaucracy accelerated over the course of time, resulting in a deemphasis on the Church's mission to perform the corporal works of mercy as one means of evangelization and catechesis of souls. No, the Campaign for Human Development had to be inaugurated in 1970 as a means to promote purely secular programs to meet purely temporal needs, something that resulted in an interlocking of ecclesiastical and governmental bureaucracies at the national and state and local levels (each state has its own state conference of bishops with its own bureaucracy, populated with its own set of social engineers and careerists and assorted degrees of theological and liturgical revolutionaries).

The overemphasis on the purely temporal came at a time when the bishops permitted theological dissent and liturgical irreverence, to be elaborated upon shortly, to run amok in chancery offices, schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, convents, parishes, and retreat centers. Sin, original or actual? The Catholic Church as the true Church? Personal holiness? Modesty of dress? The need for regular confession? Oh, perish those thoughts; after all, the world had to be saved through one failed social program after another, expressions of Pelagianism's modern equivalents: political ideologies fashioned after the liberal belief that man is self-redemptive. We do not need sanctifying and actual grace to so reform ourselves on a daily basis as to reform and reshape the world in the image of Christ Himself.

The collective power of the ecclesiastical bureaucrats, who promote both secular and theological ideologies (feminism, environmentalism, individualism, relativism, statism), is vast. So vast that they know how to govern the men who are supposed to be governing them, the bishops. Reams and reams of papers with all manner of complicated amendments are sent to the bishops for their review and approval prior to national bishops' meetings. Any effort on the part of the good bishops to oppose the insidious plans of the bureaucrats is meant to be stopped dead in its tracks by these reams of paper, which no single person could possibly read, digest and respond to in the short amount of time the bishops have to do so. And the power structure of the NCCB is such that all manner of parliamentary maneuvers are taken to those bishops who have been able to trod their way through the mountains of ideology they are supposed to approve in a pro forma manner. And an international bureaucracy of ideologues, the International Commission for English in the Liturgy, has more power than the bureaucrats at the NCCB/USCC, although there is careful collaboration between ICEL and national episcopal conferences in the English speaking world.

A case can be made that the NCCB is really a paper tiger. For apart from the workshops and other "re-education" and "update" programs that are held by the revolutionaries to program chancery officials and teachers and priests and catechists, few people are aware off--let alone pay any attention to--the NCCB's pastoral letters and statements. But it is telling that the general sessions of the NCCB and USCC (which is how the bishops constitute themselves during one afternoon session of their annual November meetings) are managed and controlled by the bureaucrats, many of whom are not of one mind and one heart with the Vicar of Christ on matters of faith and morals, especially as it relates to women's ordination.

An Unholy Political Alliance

The bureaucracy of the NCCB/USCC is so beholden to the left-wing of the Democratic Party that annual reminders are sent to bishops by the General Counsel's office of the USCC not to endanger the Church's tax-exempt status by discussing candidates for public office. Bishops and dioceses can, according to the General Counsel, issue a review of the policies they endorse. But they cannot engage in the criticism or support of particular candidates.

The practical application of these guidelines, however, has been to let pro-abortion Catholic politicians off-the-hook for their support of the very thing that caused our Lord to suffer in His Sacred Humanity, sin. Moreover, there is a body of evidence emerging that Catholic Charities has actually been complicit in the support of those pro-abortion politicians, especially as regards the allegations of voter fraud now being investigated in the defeat last year of [now] former Representative Robert K. Dornan. How are the sheep going to help create a culture of life when the shepherds and their functionaries let President Bill Clinton and his ilk get away with his statist, anti-life crimes without hardly a word of protest?

Were the Apostles concerned about losing material benefits when they preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ against the wishes of the Roman Empire? Is it not the case that salvation history is replete with examples of religious leaders chastising those in governmental power, reminding them of their obligations to pursue justice based on God's law, not to pursue the lusts of their own career ambitions? Were Nathan or Isaiah or Jeremiah or Hosea or Ezekiel or Amoz or Hosea or John the Baptist or the Apostles or Thomas a Becket or Thomas More or John Fisher concerned about losing creature comforts? Or were they concerned about fidelity to the Cross of Christ?

What we have witnessed, especially in recent years, is the demonization by the bishops and their functionaries of conservative Republicans (they were unrelenting in their criticism of President Ronald Reagan's administration; and as noted above, their silence about Clinton has been deafening). No one in the secular press raises a word of protest about the "separation of Church and State" when the bishops criticize a Republican. But there is a tremendous hue and cry when any bishop, no matter how timidly and how qualifiedly, discusses how Catholics must use the life issue as the basis for how they vote. Such a bishop is a threat to the survival of the republic, although he is actually only doing what is his duty as a servant of truth and justice before God and man.

As I note all the time, there is no salvation in any political party. There is no salvation in any political ideology. But the state of the Church in this country is such that a political party which has become an agent of sin and degradation, the Democratic Party, gets a free pass, if not the active support, of most of the American bishops and their bureaucrats. So much for the social reign of Christ the King.

The Practical Reality of the Church's Own Monster State

Just as we have been visited with the "monster state" governmentally, so are we faced with the reality of a fascistic "monster state" ecclesiastical bureaucracy. Here are just a few of the manifestations of the way in which this bureaucracy uses raw power to intimidate and oppress those who are believing Catholics.

1) Vocations. It is now the case in many dioceses that women serve in a capacity to help a priest "discern" candidates who should be accepted for seminary study. Candidates who do not accept the clear teaching of Christ about the inadmissability of women to His sacerdotal priesthood are frequently rejected. And the use of psychological profiles, sometimes conducted by psychologists who are not even Christian, no less Catholic (as is still the case in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York), is designed to weed out and stigmatize candidates deemed to suffer from "rigidity:" adherence to magisterial teaching that is said to be unhealthy and "unpastoral." Many bishops do not involve themselves at all in the vocations process, relying solely upon their functionaries. This has produced a manufactured crisis to justify calls for a married clergy and women's ordination; there is no shortage of qualified, well-adjusted men who desire to be priests.

The screening out of orthodox Catholics to study for the priesthood has been accompanied by the screening in of those who are at least effeminate, if not overt, practicing homosexuals. The priest-pedophile scandals that have been receiving much public notice in the past fifteen years are the logical consequence of diocesan policies to admit men into the seminary who are sympathetic to the homosexual agenda, if not homosexuals themselves. As a priest-friend of mine noted in 1986, "The Saracens could not have done a better job of destroying the faith than we have done to ourselves."

The screening out process of orthodox men to the priesthood does not stop at the application level. Seminary officials in a lot of seminaries are notorious for expelling (and blackballing) men who have made it past the admissions process, but who have had the "misfortune" of spending too much time before the Blessed Sacrament, for example, or who are too "judgmental" about moral issues, such as homosexuality. There are innumerable examples of this.

2) Priest Personnel. It is the case in a growing number of dioceses that those priests who do get ordained find themselves subject to near-Stalinist persecutions as their orthodoxy becomes more pronounced. Such men may never get a pastorate. The more unfortunate among them are actually sent off to psychiatric reprogramming centers, after which they are forever stigmatized as men unable to cope with the reality of the post-conciliar Church.

Another manifestation of the persecution of orthodox men comes in the form of the "early retirement" forced upon priests in their sixties and seventies who just know too much of the "wrong," "out-dated" theology. This trend was noted in "Retiring Types," a commentary in the May issue of Christ or Chaos. This waste of good priests is another effort to push for "priestless Sundays" and women's ordination, as well as a means to punish those men who will not submit to the new order of things in a diocese.

3) Centralized Re-Education Programs. Workshops, many of which are organized by chancery officials, have become one of the principal means by which the appartchiks who populate chancery offices are able to foment division within parishes. Permit me to explain.

Many of those who have sought to impose a vision of the faith inimical to that which our Lord Himself revealed have great human virtues. They have a surface likability, which makes them appealing to uninformed Catholics. And some of them may actually believe that they are doing the work of God, which is what makes them much more dangerous than those who know what is right and are attempting deliberately to portray error as truth. These people use their human virtues to convince others of their credibility on matters of the faith, thereby convincing people in an era and ethos of sentimentality into confusing emotion with reason and truth. Anyone who criticizes such "nice" people, especially by the verbatim citation of Vatican documents, are divisive, intolerant, old-fashioned, and bigoted. This methodology (the use of emotion and charm to "re-educate" those in need of such re-education) has worked effectively to undermine the integrity of the faith in one workshop after another in this country.

Workshops usually feature a variety of speakers, almost all of whom are clever dissidents, people who use what appears to be the language of faith as a window dressing to their actual misrepresentation of the truth. They are held to discuss the liturgy, social action, social justice, practical politics, the formation of "base communities," sex-education, catechesis, sexual morality, the sacraments, ecclesiology, feminism, New Age spirituality (not excluding witchcraft and other expressions of the occult), and almost anything else in vogue at a given point in time.

These workshops help to keep those who have been malformed in Catholic high schools and colleges and universities in a state of malformation. These workshops help to provide "documentary evidence" as to how "prevailing theologians" view a particular issue, with such evidence being given to parishioners in workshops or "discussion sections" held in various parishes. This evidence becomes the authoritative voice for parishioners unfamiliar with authentic Church teaching; the revolutionaries want themselves to be viewed as the surrogate authority figures, replacing the Magisterium. Stalin himself could not have devised a better system for collective re-education and re-programming.

4) Control of Education. Although the subject of education will be discussed in next month's issue, suffice to note here that it is vital for the ecclesiastical apparatchiks to control religious education. Textbooks and other instructional materials used in schools and religious education programs must receive their imprimatur. Even the hiring of parish directors of religious education can be subject to the centralizing tendencies of chancery offices. Only those "certified" by the diocese, those who have undergone the reprogramming discussed above (or the equivalent thereof in some other diocese or school), are qualified to serve as DREs and/or catechists. And as I noted in The Wanderer several months ago, there is a concerted effort to subject home-schooled parents to what can be termed sacramental blackmail: their children will not be permitted to receive the sacraments unless they use the same defective catechetical materials that are responsible for the religious illiteracy so rampant among young Catholics today.

Many bishops "defer" to their experts when conflicts arise between parents and chancery officials over the issue of education. As is the case with non-elected bureaucrats at the Federal and state levels, parents are actually dismissed (in a most condescending manner) as virtually irrelevant to the education of their children. Or if their natural law rights are mentioned, those rights are essentially eviscerated by the oppressive policies adopted by one diocese after another, functionally given the bureaucrats total control over Catholic education and sacramental preparation.

There are other areas, of course, some of which have been referred to earlier. But the plain fact of the matter is that the faith has been denied American Catholics by fascistic bureaucrats, those omniscient folks who either undermine a bishop's authority--or act with his full consent to do as they see fit in their positions of power over simple souls who just want to get themselves and their children to Heaven.

Human Respect and Actual Subterfuge

As noted earlier, a lot of our bishops have surrendered their own governing authority to their bureaucracies. Others are afraid to run the risk of unpopularity with their priests. Yet others are afraid to run afoul of the secular media, trying to please everyone all the time, those who do not understand it is impossible to please everyone and God.

Each of us is a weak vessel of clay. Granted. But God provides his bishops with all of the graces they need to be courageous defenders of the truth. To be afraid of the reaction of the world is not the courage exhibited the Apostles--or by the only bishop in England to remain faithful to Rome when King Henry VIII declared himself to be supreme head of the Church in England, St. John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester.

But there is another, much more ugly, reality facing us today: bishops who are actual enemies of Christ and His Church. Some of these are overt, such as the Bishop of Rochester, New York, Matthew Clark (no John Fisher, he), speaking out in defense of the liciety of homosexual "unions." Some are more subtle, such as Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland and Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Cardinal Mahony, attacking our living liturgical tradition in the name of "spiritual enrichment." And a lot of the truly heterodox bishops, who maintain a juridical tie to the Holy See which is negated by their actual words and deeds, let others (liturgists, theologians, columnists, chancellors, vicar generals, chancery officials) do their dirty work for them. Rockville Centre, New York, Bishop John R. McGann comes to mind here.

Yes, the Vatican has its own bureaucracy. It is populated by its own assortment of careerists and criminals, those who vie with the truly orthodox for the attention of curial cardinals and the Pope himself. And that bureaucracy is very much dependent upon the money generated to support it that comes from the wealthier nations, especially the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. Bishops and their bureaucrats here use their monetary clout to get what they want from the Holy See, including retaining power in the midst of their undermining of the faith. The Vatican bureaucracy, including the Pope himself, becomes the prisoner of national episcopates and their bureaucracies.

There are a handful of bishops who are faithful. Our Lord can and will use this remnant of faithful bishops to give witness to Himself in the midst of a Church racked by confusion and dissent. He does not want us to lose heart. However, our Lord wants us to know the situation that we face; it is not to be a negativist to understand reality. We must understand the fact that enemies are within the structure of the Church in this country.

It is our right as Catholics to have access to the fullness of the splendor of Truth Incarnate, not the speculation of theologians and liturgists and leftist political activists. While we must always be focused on the salvation of our soul, we also must realize that the laity has always proven to be the salvation of the Church in times such as these. It is our duty to demand that our shepherds govern us with the mind of Christ, not with the mind of the world, the flesh, and the Devil.


The Los Angeles Archdiocese

RCF will be holding an informational /organizational meeting Saturday, February 28, 1998, in Anaheim, CA.

12:00 noon until 10:00 pm.

We will disclose the location at a later date.

The list of speakers will include: Stephanie Block, Dr. William Marra, Dr. Thomas Droleskey, James Bendell, William J. Del Castillo Reyes, and Stephen Brady.

Since RCF’s first California meeting in Goleta earlier this year, we have gathered much information and are putting together a game plan. We hope to have this information in both English and Spanish. We will be sending out flyers to all of RCF’s CA members with the hope that you will get the word out.

If you can help pay for advertising in area papers, or help cover the $900.00 cost of the conference room in Anaheim, please contact RCF. We will also be publishing a special edition newsletter devoted to the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Your help is needed.

Send Donations to:

Roman Catholic Faithful
P.O. Box 109
Petersburg, IL 62675

ph: (217) 632-5920 fax: (217) 632-7054



Teaching Chastity

(In Chicago)
by Eleanor Sobolewski

(Warning: contains graphic language. Expletives deleted by editor).

There exist two primary models for teaching the principles of chastity. The first is the "grab and slap" approach. The second is to train the soul to virtue.

"Grab and slap," in the good old days, might have been demonstrated by a gruff parent collaring a hapless son or daughter in order to warn him that any "messing around" would result in "all hell breaking loose." If the child proved dense, the honorable parent obligingly elaborated. "Messing around" meant smooching in the back seat of a car, going anywhere that lacked responsible, adult supervision, or permitting emotional attachments to develop too physical a component. Why? Because if a person did these things, it would probably end up by "going too far."

"Going too far" was the same as "all hell breaking loose." It meant that serious sin was involved, that parents would be disappointed, that life itself would be altered and filled with shame. It possibly meant an out of wedlock baby.

Clearly, the "grab and slap" approach to "sex ed" of the past had some shortcomings. To the literal, young mind, all too eager to rationalize interesting exploration, it contained deliciously vague concepts. Did smooching in the alley (as opposed to the back seat of a car), for instance, in the vicinity of a very well-supervised party, constitute "going too far?" If pregnancy were avoided, did that mean all the other physical stuff was "OK?"

To respond to these criticisms, the "grab and slap" proponents of sex education in the present day have expanded the technique. Nothing is left to the imagination. An extraordinary example, bound to leave a young person psychologically black and blue for years, was provided by the Chicago Archdiocese during the 1980s. John Horan, a former priest who has served as director of Chicago’s Catholic Youth Organization and Mrs. Maureen Shields, director of Courage, a Chicago pregnancy center, delivered their "grab and slap" Lecture on Sexuality to Chicago high school students for over 10 years.

For 10 years these two have been speaking the language of the streets to youngsters. "Listen to the super sperms in the school talk about sex," Shields told an auditorium of kids at St. Edmund’s Parish in 1986. "Guys into laying everybody - ‘She’s a nice piece of a__,’ like a butcher shop…Humping like you’re Lawrence of Arabia of the desert, jumping bones like you’re on a grave in the cemetery, popping, screwing, getting their rocks off like they have boulders for testicles. Any lovemaking?"

If the kids didn’t get the point, Horan - wearing a clerical collar at the time - added, "Let me say it real straight. When it comes to f___ing, there’s no f___ers and f___ees - only people that get f___ed. When it comes to screwing, there’s no screwers and screwees - only people that get screwed."

"Lovemaking," the two educators explain reasonably, "is different than screwing." They later ask, "What do teenagers have to offer each other in the act of intercourse?"

One young lady, resisting the lesson, responds wistfully, "Love."

"What is love?" Shields prompts her.

"It’s how I feel about someone…it sounds like you’re saying that all teenagers are bad, and that all teenagers are getting laid."

"Now you’re getting defensive."

"Not really."

"Well, that’s how I’m reading it."

"I…don’t think it’s wrong."

"Well, that’s your opinion, but don’t tell me about love. You feel you’re making love. I feel you’re screwing somebody and he’s screwing you," Shields challenges the girl. "Love is commitment, responsibility. It is being able to back up an act of intercourse with some real on-going caring. What if there is a baby? What do you have to offer …a child?"

"The bottom line," according to Horan, "is this: there is no 100% safe means of birth control, and we have the data to back it up….If you can’t live with the possible consequences of your actions then maybe you shouldn’t be doing the action."

The consequences go beyond unwanted pregnancy.

"Grab and slappers," in whatever variety, and in whatever generation, have basically the same objective. That objective is to leave their victims in such shock that they are too emotionally paralyzed to get into trouble.

Hell fire and brimstone was always an imperfect deterrent. For one thing, in psychologically healthy people it tends to provoke rebellion. The main drawback to such an approach, though, is that it frequently sacrifices the full truth in exchange for its sensationalistic grip. In teaching sexuality by such a method, the beauty and wonder of a chastely exercised love is abandoned in order to "beat up" the prospective sinner, conveying the misery he will experience when he uses his gifts disobediently. Further, teaching sexuality by such a method violates any delicacy of feeling there may be in a young person, and by doing so produces the coarse, vulgar acceptance of raw, amoral sexuality that it sought to expunge.

There is another educational approach to teaching chastity, however. It is provided in the context of "moral training." Moral training works through engagement of the intellect rather than assault of the emotions. Graphic provision of every minute, sexually-relevant detail is unnecessary because the principles of chastity are clear and life-experience will give endless examples of how these principles operate.

This educational approach has been tested for generations, and within the limitations that free will affords each soul, has proved fairly effective. The Church recently affirmed its use, in the 1995 Pontifical Council for the Family document The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family.

While the document clearly stresses the parent as the appropriate and preferred educator in matters of chastity, it recognizes that there may be serious physical or moral impediments to the parents’ fulfillment of this role. Therefore, the Church recognizes that other educators may be asked to assist the parents in this task.

However, any information, the document stresses, must be within the boundaries of four principles. They are that:

*Each child must receive individualized formation.

*The intimate aspects of sexuality, both physical and emotional, must be communicated in a personalized dialogue.

*Ideally, the parent or instructor should be of the same gender as the instructed.

*The moral dimension must always be part of the explanation.

Significantly, the document stresses that this information should be provided with great delicacy. "Giving too many details to children is counterproductive." (#75)

The document particularly emphasizes, in enlarged, bold print: (#126) "No material of an erotic nature should be presented to children or young people of any age, individually or in a group."

The beauty of the "moral training" approach to sex education is that the soul is focused on the truly valuable: the disciplined, virtuous spiritual state, the dignity of each person, the honor of the marriage bed, and the esteem due to sexuality. There is no embarrassment to the innocent and no uncomfortable stimulation of the sophisticated. And most importantly, the full and useful store of necessary information has been communicated.

Young people don’t require emotional "slapping around" to recognize the virtue of chastity. While good training and respect cannot guarantee that children will choose virtue, they certainly make chastity a far more attractive option.

Eleanor Sobolewski - Teaching Chastity


Books1.wmf (3718 bytes)Call To Action or
Call To Apostasy?

by Dr. Brian Clowes

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As you know, reverent orthodox Catholics have always hesitated to challenge a priest or bishop. However, these sentiments must give way to our obligation to fight for the whole truth of the Catholic faith. It is time to bring together all Catholics in an effort to defend our Faith. This book can help us all do just that.

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