Why Catholics Should Vote for Trump

November 7, 2016

Sunday Masses across the country found most parishioners not getting any pastoral advice on how to vote with a properly formed conscience. In the Archdiocese of Boston, parishioners heard or saw a letter from the Vicar General on why we should vote “No” on the question of whether to legalize marijuana in the commonwealth, but not a peep about how to even think about the choices for major elective office, including pro-abortion politicians who could damage society for generations by appointing pro-abortion judges to the Supreme Court!  Is that cowardice on the part of bishops like Cardinal O’Malley, or willful negligence?  Either explanation is BAD.

For those who have friends or family members still on the fence about whether they will vote at all, or not sure who to vote for, we are pleased to share this excellent video homily, which we think you should share with every Catholic you know.  It’s called, “Catholics Forbidden to Vote Hillary” but it also answers the important question, “Could or should Catholics Vote for Donald Trump.”  The answer is a resounding, YES!

The video runs about 13 minutes.  In case you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, here are a few excerpts:

In the last debate, this is the first time in any presidential election that there is a major candidate who aggressively insisted they would advocate abortion in most extreme circumstances.  Hillary Clinton advocates and will aggressively pursue abortion of children up to and including the time of birth–as a child is about to be born into this world, that its life can be snuffed out in the birth canal. What a monstrous position!  It is nothing short of diabolical. It is a demonic position.  And for the first time in history, we have someone who would be president arguing and insisting on this practice.

On the other hand in that same debate, in the first time in history of presidential elections in the U.S., we had a candidate who openly and aggressively insisted that he would do what he could to roll back the Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion (Roe v Wade) and he would appoint solidly pro-life candidates to the Supreme Court.

What a contrast on this single most important political issue that we face at this time!

So, can someone in good conscience, can a Catholic in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton?  Absolutely not!  There is not enough money in this world to buy my vote for her, and not enough tortures on the face of the earth to force me to vote for anyone who advocates the positions that Hillary Clinton holds fast to.

Can a Catholic in good conscience vote for Trump, or should a Catholic vote for Trump?

Mr. Alan Keyes, former ambassador and presidential candidate, took the position in a recent local debate that as a Catholic, we should all will the reign of Christ the King on earth.  I agree. In first lesson of this Mass, St. Paul tells us that our citizenship is in heaven, and we await the fullness of His kingdom. We should will — even now in Christ’s absence on earth — that the reign of Christ be found here and now on earth.  Christ’s Church should advance as the one true religion on earth.

That means that ideally our elected and appointed officials should not just tolerate the Catholic Church but do whatever in their power to support the Catholic religion. Of course, under present circumstances and even circumstances of decades past, that ideal hasn’t been possible.  Is it feasible, practical , and possible we can elect candidates who will do precisely that?  The fact is that while we have had a few candidates over the decades, we’re never had that as a President. Even the “Catholic” JFK made clear from the get-go that no one from the Catholic Church would guide his presidential decisions.

Fact is, while we want the will of Christ to the maximum, practically speaking, the reality is is we don’t have candidates who share that vision.

So, may we vote for someone who may not fully share that vision? The answer is YES, certainly!

Does Trump fall within those individuals on the ballot for whom a good Catholic in good conscience could or should cast their vote?  The answer is YES.  Answer is yes.  Can a good Catholic vote for Trump?  Yes.  Should a good Catholic vote for Trump?  Yes.

Given his stated position on protection of unborn and right to life and given the position of his main opponent, Hillary Clinton, who advocates murder of children even as they are being born, YES, Trump is a moral choice.

It is not a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. Catholic simply may not choose someone who is evil.  In this case, we have the principle of double-effect.  Trump may not be many of your 1st choice candidates, or 2nd or 3rd or 5th or 50th. But we have what we have, and there are only 2 candidates who can feasibly  win this election—Trump and Clinton.

Donald Trump is a moral choice—for what he stands for on the life of the unborn.  On other matters on which people could disagree—personal choices, personal behavior—those are covered in the double effect. We would seek to elect him, cast our vote for him, not because we support or endorse his personal flaws and failing, or even some lesser issues we might not agree with.  In casting a vote for him, the primary effect we seek is a good one: it is for the good he has promised, namely scaling back the murder of children by abortion, and it is to preclude a woman who holds a demonic position regarding unborn children from getting to the  highest office in the U.S.

Mr. Ferrara in that same discussion even went so far as to say it might be a moral imperative to vote for Donald Trump, given the alternative. He cites the comparison going back decades into the last century, when Pope Pius XII insisted, in order to slow the spread of Communism,  that Catholics given the opportunity to vote were morally obliged to vote for candidates who would oppose the spread of Godless communism, even acknowledging those candidates might be flawed and imperfect, but morally acceptable.

“The exercise of the right to vote is an act of grave responsibility…” Pope Pius XII 1946 AAS 38, 187. When there was a threat to the Church in Italy through the Communist party in 1948, Pope Pius XII said, “That in the present circumstances it is strictly obligatory for whoever has the right, man or woman, to take part in the elections. He who abstains, particularly through indolence or from cowardice, thereby commits a grave sin, a mortal offense.” AAS 40, 119

So can and should a Roman Catholic vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming election? The answer is YES.  Absolutely!  And I intend to cast my vote for him.

*       *      *      *

Two more thoughts from BCI here.  St. John Paul II said, “The promotion of the culture of life should be the highest priority in our societies…If the right to life is not defended decisively as a condition for all other rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and illusory.” Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila recently said, “..the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ. There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching.”  Then there is the clear threat to religious freedom for all of us with a Clinton presidency.

Pope Pius XI in an encyclical to Mexico in 1937 said: “Thus a Catholic will take care not to pass over his right to vote when the good of the Church or of the country requires it.” Firmissimam constantiam, March 28, 1937, AAS 29, 189.

If you’re a faithful Catholic, you can’t sit this one out. You must vote for the one viable candidate, Trump, who has promised to scale back the evil of abortion and prevent the diabolical destruction promised by Clinton if she gets into office. Feel free to share this anywhere you wish.

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Priest: “You might not have a church to go to if you don’t vote the right way in November”

October 27, 2016

Yes, we’re been on break for a while, and just felt like it was time to come off hiatus to weigh in on the upcoming election.  Friends and family members talking about not voting at all–or in some cases actually voting for Hillary–represent a most disturbing situation.  Here’s some food for thought from LifesiteNews

NAPLES, Florida, September 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)—We are at a “precarious moment in our history” when churches must speak truth to power or risk the loss of a lot more than their tax statuses, former Ave Maria Law School chaplain Father Michael Orsi said in a blistering speech at a National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children event on September 10.

Orsi said, “For too long, pastors and churches have been bullied into believing that they can say nothing political from the pulpit,” said Orsi. The regulation that is used to silence them “was a piece of spite work” against non-profits that had opposed President Lyndon Johnson, he said.

“Let me remind you: the Bible is a political document,” the priest said. “The prophets, including John the Baptist, and Jesus, lost their lives because they spoke the truth to power.”

“The Constitution is quickly being destroyed,” warned Orsi, and “unless the right choice is made in November, we may not have a court that is fair and balanced in its interpretation of the Constitution.”

“Too many of the pastors—too many, practically all—in Germany refused to speak against national socialism,” continued Orsi. “And look [at] the result: millions of Jews, pastors, priests, homosexuals, gypsies all lost their lives because everyone was afraid. What are you afraid of, a couple of bucks? Your tax-exempt status? What’s that going to do to you? Your churches may be closed anyway, because if a certain party gets elected, this certain party said, if the churches do not agree with our interpretation of women’s reproductive rights, they’ll just have to change their doctrine.”

“If a certain party gets elected, I can assure you what kind of judges are going to be on those appeals courts,” he said. And those judges will be charged with deciding whether the government may force churches and religious institutions to pay for abortion, contraception, and abortifacient drugs, he noted.

Furthermore, “I’m not going to vote for a candidate who decides that we can redefine the meaning of marriage,” proclaimed Orsi. “Our opponents believe once they destroy the family, once they destroy the churches, they can re-create society in their own image and their own likeness. That, my friends, is not just political. That is diabolical. Get it straight, for crying out loud! The devil is in this!”

“We are in a battle for the soul of America,” he said.

“Somehow, [Christians] have come to buy the story that you cannot be political in church,” said Orsi. “Let me tell you right now, oh yes, you can, and oh, yes, you better be. Because you might not have a church to go to if you don’t vote the right way in November.”

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Pope Francis Feels He Can Second-Guess Jesus with Exhortation?

April 9, 2016

The long awaited apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia  hit Friday and as many have begun to observe, it would be better called the “Joy of Sex” than the “Joy of Love.”  Many people have plowed through the tome in its entirety and it is as bad as expected. The headlines that proclaim the likes of, “Pope Francis Softens Communion Ban for Divorcees” convey the scandal the exhortation is creating.

Mortal sins, such as adultery, appear to be condoned in the exhortation. In places, the document deceptively cuts and pastes excerpts from other magisterial documents in such a way that the original context is grossly distorted–for example, Amoris Laeritia selectively omits the passage from St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio that explains how and why divorced, remarried Catholics cannot receive the Eucharist.

However, the church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon sacred scripture, of not admitting to eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the church which is signified and effected by the eucharist. Besides this there is another special pastoral reason: If these people were admitted to the eucharist the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Pope Francis instead suggests he knows better what Jesus would do with respect to people committing mortal sin, rather than acknowledging and defending what Jesus actually said and did.  He says, “I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion. But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a Church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness, a Mother who, while clearly expressing her objective teaching, ‘always does what good she can, even if in the process, her shoes get soiled by the mud of the street.”  In other words, Pope Francis thinks Jesus would not care about the salvation of souls that comes from turning away from sin and for which Our Lord died on the cross. Instead, somehow Jesus would tell sinners to just keep on committing mortal sin as long as you feel good?  The proposal coming from the Chair of Peter is scandalous and must be resisted and opposed. That any priests or bishops, including Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Chaput and others would tell Catholics they should read this piece of garbage just furthers the scandal.

Here are a few links to articles you should read, along with excerpts.

The Shameful Document (Creative Minority Report)

In those key paragraphs (298-302) he posits that it is impossible to know anyone’s culpability for the obvious sin in which they participate, so any kind of rule is casuistry. His calls for pastoral discernment are a clear call for the internal forum solution, even though he never quite comes out and says it.  But people are already getting the message.

In another shameful section, the Pope attempts to side-step the clear teaching that by an unworthy reception of the Eucharist, one eats and drinks judgment upon one’s self.

This redefinition of “discernment of the body” is a scandalous inversion of the true meaning of the admonition. No, the Pope does come right out and deny Church teaching in this area, he skirts it and tries to distort it. It is shameful.

In my view as a whole, this document will make nobody’s life any better. It will lead nobody out of sin. At its worst and in its particulars, it will serve only to confirm people in their sin and lead priests, prelates, and others into sacrilege. Nobody will be saved by this Jesuitical word-puke, unworthy of a successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, and many souls may be lost because of it. This document is a shameful act and a grave evil.

A pastor leads his flock out of danger, this leads them to the wolves den. If you love as Jesus commanded us, you will hate this document.

Pope Francis opens door to Communion for ‘remarried’ Catholics in landmark exhortation (Lifesite News)

Pope Francis Departs from Church Teaching in New Exhortation (1 Peter 5)

…one finds the law of gradualism with regard to sinful relationships, the claim that there are “seeds” of goodness in such relationships that are objectively contrary to God’s laws, and a general tone of not speaking of sin at all with regard to those ways of living that put the soul of the persistent sinner gravely at risk of not attaining to eternal salvation.

The pope is sending a deeply troubling message: those who are living in the objective state of adultery (since they are still sacramentally and validly married to their real spouse, not the person they are living with) and have children from this second “marriage” are essentially bound to stay in this relationship, living as husband and wife (which they are not) and continuing to engage in acts proper only to spouses, and thus, adulterous in nature. Otherwise, the pope reasons, their new relationship – and the welfare of the children involved – could be put at risk! In this, Pope Francis undermines Catholic moral teaching at its core, and puts supposed practical concerns over the higher concern of the salvation of souls.

This question of access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried is taken up again in paragraph 305:

Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.

At the end of that sentence, footnote 351 clarifies: “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments,” and then refers to both Confession and the Eucharist. He writes: “I would also point out that the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’”

 These statements call to mind the substance of the so-called Kasper proposal. The language of the Eucharist as “not a prize” is something both Kasper and Francis have used in public statements on this topic since the Synod process began in 2014. There is no specific prescription on whether the divorced and “remarried” can have access to the sacraments in this, but one sees the opening of a door.

The second grave scandal comes in paragraph 301. In the context of the question of “discernment” for those “irregular” relationships, Pope Francis does away with the claim that those who do not live according to God’s law are living in the state of mortal sin! He says:

Hence it is [sic] can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” [to include homosexual relationships?]  situations are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.More is involved here than mere ignorance of the rule. A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values” [?], or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin.

Among other mitigating factors in this regard, the pope mentions “affective immaturity” and “force of acquired habit” and “conditions of anxiety,” as well as other “psychological or social factors” that would alleviate a person’s culpability.

This statement of the pope seems to do away with any moral foundation on the question of marriage and divorce. It breaks apart the very basis of moral law, and opens the door to a lax and relativistic approach to the sanctity of marriage.

Taken together, we see that the pope is claiming that “remarried” couples who have children should continue to live as “husband” and “wife” and should not live “as brother and sister” and that all “irregular” relationships which are not in accordance with God’s laws do not, in his estimation, necessarily mean that persons in such situations are living in a state of sin. Thereby, the pope also indirectly opens the door to the admittance of all these persons to the sacraments, and, at the same time, undermines not just one, butthree sacraments: the Sacrament of Marriage, the Sacrament of Penance, and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Catholics cannot accept elements of Pope’s exhortation that threaten faith and family (Lifesite News)

Admission of the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion

Amoris Laetitia, over the course of Chapter VIII (paragraphs 291-312), proposes a number of approaches that prepare the way for “divorced and remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion without true repentance and amendment of life. These paragraphs include:

  1. confused expositions of Catholic teaching on the nature and effects of mortal sin, on the imputability of sin, and on the nature of conscience;
  2. the use of ideological language in place of the Church’s traditional terminology;
  3. and the use of selective and misleading quotations from previous Church documents.

A particularly troubling example of misquotation of previous teaching is found in paragraph 298 which quotes the statement of Pope John Paul II, made in Familiaris Consortio, that there exist situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate.” However in Amoris Laetitia the second half of Pope John Paul II’s sentence, which states that such couples “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (Familiaris Consortio, No. 84),  is omitted.

Furthermore, in the footnote to this misleading quotation, we read:

In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’ (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 51).

The document makes reference to this erroneous view but does not explain why it is a false approach, which is namely that:

  1. All sexual acts outside of a valid marriage are intrinsically evil and it is never justifiable to commit an intrinsically evil act, even in order to achieve a good end.
  2. “Faithfulness is endangered” by acts of sexual intimacy outside of marriage but faithfulness is lived when two individuals in an invalid union refrain from sexual intimacy in fidelity to their original union, which remains valid.
  3. The quotation implies that children will suffer because their parents, with the help of divine grace, live chastely. On the contrary, such parents are giving their children an example of fidelity, chastity and trust in the power of God’s grace.

The document cites Gaudium et Spes but the passage is quoted out of context and does not support the argument made. The context makes clear that Gaudium et Spes is speaking of married Catholics, in the context of procreation, not those cohabiting in an invalid union. The full sentence is as follows:

But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperilled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered (Gaudium et Spes, No. 51).

It is therefore difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Apostolic Exhortation is at least raising the possibility that adulterous sexual acts might in some cases be justifiable and has misquoted Gaudium et Spes as if to provide grounds for this.

The Apostolic Exhortation and the Abolishment of the Sin of Presumption

There is no other way to say this: Despite its protestations to the contrary Amoris Laetitia represents an attempt to achieve a revolution in Catholicism at the expense of the prior teaching of the Church on the indissolubility of marriage and reception of the Eucharist.
In order to achieve its aim of deconstructing the sacraments of Matrimony and the Eucharist, the tome paints the picture of sacramental marital love as a torture chamber of abuse, domination, sexism, exploitation and endless financial and emotional travails.

The sacrament of Matrimony, it is claimed, subjects its participants to the need to mutually beg constant forgiveness and afford each other mercy on an on-going basis.

Drawing upon such diverse and meaningful sources as “Eastern masters,” Erich Fromm, Martin Luther King, Babette’s Feast, and numerous and plethora of Pope Francis’s own prior statements, and, on occasion even selective quotes from the Bible, the author demands that the Church accept and not comment negatively about divorce and adultery.  This, he asserts, will minimize the frequency of those phenomena.

Moreover, despite the horrific nature of sacramental marriage which he depicts, the author nonetheless purports to make a case for encouraging those in irregular unions to become sacramentally married.  The question as to why someone “living in sin” would seek to enter into such an horrific institution is not readily answered, especially since, it would seem, the institution is no longer to be considered de facto indissoluble, even if it is, currently, theoretically de jure indissoluble. Indeed, at one point marriage is actually called a contract in the document.

Further, the so-called concept of gradualness facilitates adulterers (who are in grave sin) receiving Communion.  This is to be accomplished, depending on the facts of the situation.  But one thing is asserted strongly:  No one is to be kept away from Communion forever.

Although only the rapprochement of those in “irregular relationships” is considered, there would appear to be no rational basis for refusing to extend the logic involved to all of those in grave sin.  The reception of Communion by all grave sinners, of whatever kind, is left to the conscience of the sinner and their pastor.  This is one undoubted time bomb of a slippery slope contained in Amoris Laetitia; another is the justification for a married priesthood; and, who knows, perhaps even a gay and married priesthood.  The floodgates have opened, and who are we to judge?

Finally, no one in the congregation has a right to be scandalized by this, it would seem. Scandal and banning from Communion are perhaps only to apply to those who engage in social injustice, something for which Pope Francis unsurprisingly expresses deep disdain.

In summary, the exhortation is BAD.  Really BAD. it must be resisted and opposed. We will share some ideas on how you can do that in a subsequent post.

 

 


MA Primary: Who to Vote For?

March 1, 2016

Friends and family members have all been discussing the conundrum of who to vote for today if you are a faithful Catholic, political conservative, or both.  Here are quick thoughts from BCI.

First, we assume none of our readers would vote for anyone on the Democratic ticket, so we focus on the Republican candidates.  BCI is voting for Ted Cruz.  Here is why:

Donald Trump strikes BCI as nothing but a con-man.  His Trump University was nothing but a scam, as described here, that swindled people out of thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. And in the same way he scammed people with Trump University, he is fooling people into believing he is a conservative. This excellent article from The Federalist, “I’ll take Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump” explains why Trump would be a disaster for conservatives if he is the nominee or elected president.

“If we must have an enemy at the head of government,” Hamilton said in exasperation, “let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible.”

In other words: Better to lose to a true enemy whose policies you can fight and repudiate, rather than to a false friend whose schemes will drag you down with him. This is a painful choice, but it also embraces realism while protecting the possibility of recovery in the future. The need to live to fight another day is why conservatives should adopt a Hamilton Rule if, God forbid, the choice comes down to Hillary and Trump.

Hillary Clinton Is Despicable, But Trump Is Worse

My hands almost could not type those words, because I think Hillary Clinton is one of the worst human beings in American politics. She has few principles that I can discern, other than her firm conviction that she deserves the Oval Office for enabling and then defending her sexually neurotic husband. She lies as easily as the rest of us breathe. She has compromised national security through sheer laziness at best, and corrupt intent at worst. If elected, she will enrich Wall Street and raid the public coffers while preaching hateful doctrines of identity politics to distract America’s poor and working classes.

Morally unmoored, emotionally unstable, a crony capitalist of the worst kind, Trump will be every bit as liberal as Hillary.

But Trump will be worse. Morally unmoored, emotionally unstable, a crony capitalist of the worst kind, Trump will be every bit as liberal as Hillary—perhaps more so, given his statements over the years. He is by reflex and instinct a New York Democrat whose formal party affiliation is negotiable, as is everything about him. He has little commitment to anything but himself and his “deals,” none of which will work in favor of conservatives or their priorities.

His judicial appointments will likely be liberal friends from New York. His Great Wall of Mexico will never be built, and employers will go right on hiring cheap labor and outsourcing jobs, just as Trump does with his made-in-Mexico suits. His China Smoot-Hawley Tariff will never be implemented. His administration, led by a vulgar, aging man-child who is firmly pro-abortion, who jokes about having sex with his daughter, and brags about his wealth, will hurt the poorest and most vulnerable among us—including the unborn.

Trump Will Tar Conservatives Forever

Trump, of course, will dissemble and whine about all these eventual failures. His fans will excuse him, as they do now, but they have short attention spans and will vanish in later midterm elections and future presidential contests. His white nationalist supporters, clinging to him like lice in the fur of an angry chimp, will shake their fists along with him for a time, until they too eventually slink away. By 2020, his core constituency will be a tiny sliver of what’s left of the white working class, pathetically standing at the gates of empty factories they thought Trump would re-open.

Conservatives can recover from four, or even eight, years of Hillary Clinton. We might even flourish.

More to the point, after four years of thrashing around in the Oval Office like the ignorant boor he is, voters will no longer be able distinguish between the words “Trump,” “Republican,” “conservative,” and “buffoon.” He will obliterate Republicans further down the ticket in 2016 and 2020, smear conservatism as nothing more than his own brand of narcissism, and destroy decades of hard work, including Ronald Reagan’s legacy.

Conservatives can recover from four, or even eight, years of Hillary Clinton. We might even flourish: remember, President Obama’s cult of personality—to which Trump’s mindless fan base bears more than a little resemblance—sacrificed more than 900 Democratic seats and a passel of governorships on its altar over the past seven years. President Obama won two elections and the Democratic Party lost hundreds. If Trump’s victory means this kind of “winning,” conservatives should want no part of it.

Our Long-Awaited Goal Was Right There for Us

In the end, a Trump administration will not only avert the first chance at unified Republican government in years, but will finish off the conservative movement itself. Indeed, it is a bitter irony that some of Trump’s blind followers are willing to declare defeat at the moment of impending victory, when a complete GOP takeover of all elected branches could finally overcome the obstruction of divided government. Trump’s voters are willing to “shake up the status quo”—whatever that means—by putting an ignoramus at the head of a party and a movement he’s actually trying to destroy.

So, once Trump is clearly removed from the list, we are left with Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz. By many indications, Marco Rubio has betrayed conservatives. This memo by conservative icon, Phyllis Schlafly describes how, “Rubio traded shamelessly on the affection and trust conservatives had placed in him. His deceptions about his immigration bill rivaled and exceeded Obama’s claims about disastrous Obamacare.”

We are voting our conscience and going with Ted Cruz.  That is what BCI thinks.  What do you think?


Boston Archdiocese Income Declined $20M in Fiscal 2015; Lost $5M

February 24, 2016

With little fanfare, the Boston Archdiocese published its Fiscal 2015 financial report recently, where they reported a $20 million decline in revenue vs Fiscal 2014, and a $5 million operating loss for the year.  In addition, it should be noted that the Boston Archdiocese is unable to repay about $36 million in debt owed to St. Johns Seminary, and managed to get the seminary board to defer repayment from 2017 to 2027 with no interest charges. The annual Catholic Appeal raised $400K less in fiscal 2015 vs 2014, and spent $400K more than the previous year to do so.One third of parishes are operating in the red. Here are a few of the key points from the report.

Operating Loss (p. 12)
Operating income decreased $20.5 million from an operating income of $15.6 million in fiscal 2014 to an operating loss of $4.9 million in fiscal 2015. Revenues declined by $10.4 million, while expenses increased $10.1 million. This was explained as follows (p.8):

“Fiscal 2015 was a challenging year from a financial standpoint, with a significant decline in operating income for parishes, a deficit in central operations, and a loss in our self-insurance program. External events were a major contributor to these results. Low capital market returns impacted by concerns about a global economic slowdown, a return to a more customary level of parish bequests, and an extremely harsh winter that resulted in a number of catastrophic property insurance losses and increased utility and maintenance costs at parishes negatively impacted financial results.”

In addition, Central Operations lost $7.3 million in fiscal 2015 as compared to a $2.3 million loss in 2014.

Unable to Pay $36M in Debt
On many occasions, BCI has questioned how the Archdiocese will be able to repay the $36 million in debt to St. Johns Seminary for the property sold in 2007 in order to pay off sexual abuse settlement loans.  That debt was due to be paid in 2017. The 2015 Archdiocesan Annual Report and the 2014 Annual Report both describe how the debt payback has magically been deferred for 10 more years.  “On September 22, 2014, the St. John’s Seminary Board of Trustees voted to extend the due date of the $36.4 million note to August 23, 2027 (which was previously due on August 23, 2017).”  Such a vote presents a massive conflict of interest, as the Board of Trustees includes: Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Vicar General Bishop Peter Uglietto, and Chancellor John Straub–all of whom have an interest in not seeing the Boston Archdiocese default on the debt. But since the RCAB took the property from the Seminary and sold it out from under them, it’s an inherent conflict of interest for them to vote to defer repayment of this huge loan and charge no interest on a loan for 20 years–from 2007 until 2027.  Even in 2027, how will it be repaid?

Deception Around Paying for Clergy Sexual Abuse Settlements with Parish Funds
The lie continues here in the 2015 report. On page 20 they write, “Consistent with past practices, parish funds, money raised from the Promise for Tomorrow Campaign, the Annual Catholic Appeal and proceeds from the parish reconfiguration process are not being used to fund settlements.”  Page 21 of the report reveals the deception, which we debunked that deception two years ago in our post, “Archdiocese of Boston uses parish funds to repay sexual abuse settlement costs:

To repay the $4.8 million note, in 2013 the Boston Archdiocese transferred property from the closed Our Lady of Presentation and St. Gabriel’s parishes to the Seminary.  Here are the references in the 2013 Annual Report (p. 21):

Corporation Sole agreed to canonically transfer all of its rights, title and interest in Our Lady of Presentation Church, Rectory and parking lots and the St. Gabriel rectory and school to the Seminary. The properties have a collective appraised value of approximately $6,070,000 and a book value of $566,000.

During the year ended June 30, 2013, Corporation Sole transferred the Our Lady of Presentation property with an appraised value of $2,850000 to the Seminary to discharge a portion of the note. In accordance with the MOU, the Seminary agreed to forgive the remaining note balance of $1,038,000 which is included in gain on settlement of note payable in the statement of activities.

Debt
Long-term debt is about $100 million, but something funny appears to be happening with the debt for the Clergy Fund and clergy retirement costs.  They write, “Net unfunded clergy pension and post retirement obligations of $62.9 million and $36.4 million in debt owed to St. John’s Seminary represent the significant long-term liabilities…Accrued pension and other retirement costs decreased by $21.1 million. An increase in the discount rate, the impact of the Regina Cleri asset transfer and updated retirement age assumptions, somewhat offset by the adoption of new mortality tables, led to the decrease in the net unfunded liability.”  With more clergy reaching retirement age, presumably their medical and retirement costs and unfunded liability should be increasing, yet it is somehow miraculously decreasing.

Ongoing Sexual Abuse Costs
For the year, the total cost of sexual abuse settlements  was $1.73 million, plus there were costs incurred related to abuse prevention, outreach and other costs  of $3.07 million, for a total expenditure of $4.8 million during fiscal year 2015. When will this end?

1/3 of Parishes are In the Red
The 2016 Central Ministries Budget Plan informs us that 1/3 of all parishes are running an annual deficit. “Currently, about one-third of parishes are not self-sustaining with some requiring financial subsidy, either directly of indirectly, by the Archdiocese.”

Other than the above issues, the fiscal health of the Boston Archdiocese is just great! . The Boston Archdiocese is contemplating the idea of launching a major capital campaign to raise hundreds of millions of dollars (rumors have it targeted at anywhere from $100M to more than $300M), and it would surely take that amount of money to repay debt and unfunded liabilities, let alone provide for other long-term needs. Meanwhile, we hear many stories about struggles with the Disciples in Mission initiative (DIM), but that is a topic for another post…


Boston Offers Clergy Wellness Seminar by Woman Minister

February 23, 2016

The Archdiocese of Boston Clergy Health and Retirement Trust is offering wellness seminars for priests. Several of them strike us as odd, and risk working against the spiritual wellness of Catholic priests. Then there is the matter of the struggling Clergy Fund.

Centering Prayer Workshop
One of them is in June 2016 in Duxbury offered by Rev Meninger OCSO on the New Age practice of Centering Prayer. Of course, one of the big problems is that Centering Prayer actually is not a “prayer” and it is not even Christian. It originated with Abbot Thomas Keating at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, but its origins are a pagan practice and it’s more like a form of self-hypnosis.

Authentic Christian prayer and meditation stem from contact with God. Proponents of centering prayer claim prayer centers in one’s being, as opposed to what prayer should be–namely, a conversation with God from the center of our souls. Read this excellent piece, The Danger of Centering Prayer which clearly articulates how Centering Prayers exercises are “at the level of human faculties and as such are an operation of man, not of God. The deception and dangers can be grave.”

As reported by Catholic Culture, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of’ the Faith under then-Cardinal Ratzinger warned about the dangers of blending Christian prayer and Eastern methods of meditation (e.g., Zen, Transcendental Meditation and yoga). Although Some Aspects of Christian Meditation does not single out any persons or schools of thought by name, many of its warnings apply to the centering- prayer literature, including the writings of Abbot Keating and his spiritual disciple Father Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. Both have backgrounds in Eastern meditation methods and cite those experiences favorably as instructive for today’s Christians.

 

Cardinal Ratzinger warned about methods which “try as far as possible to put aside everything that is worldly, sense perceptible, or conceptually limited.” An approach of this sort to prayer may actually be “an attempt to ascend to or immerse oneself in the sphere of the divine, which as such is neither terrestrial, sense perceptible nor capable of conceptualization.” Besides the temptation to reject the material world in this approach there is another problem-indicated by Cardinal Ratzinger’s use of the word “oneself” in the last quote-the temptation to ascend to God by one’s own power or strength. In fact it is God’s choice, not ours, whether we enter the sphere of the divine. “God is free to ’empty’ us of all that holds us back …. to draw us completely into the Trinitarian life of his eternal love,” but this gift is granted “not through our own efforts.

Time Management, facilitated by a Protestant Minister
In April there is a session at our Lady Help of Christians in Newton offered by a Rev. Nancy Foran–she is a minister in the United Church of Christ and pastor at Raymond Village Community Church in Maine, and specializes in Myers-Briggs. Can we not find any Catholics in Boston who are good at managing time to lead such a session? The brochure can be found below:

Clergy Wellness Brochure Side 1

Clergy Wellness Brochure Side 2

Who picks these sessions?!

Clergy Fund

As BCI has mentioned previously, the Clergy Fund is adding nothing to the rapidly depleting reserves–what is collected at Christmas, Easter, Assessments, September Collection and Annual Priest Appreciation Dinner goes directly to pay annual expenses. With more clergy retiring, that means increasing retirement and medical expenses, and that means reserves get tapped to pay those expenses.

Other that that, Boston is doing a good job taking care of clergy.

 


Take Action: Oppose Transgender Bathroom Bill in MA

February 22, 2016

Mass Resistance informs us that the heinous Transgender Bathroom Bill is up for a vote, likely in the next two days.  It is urgent for all citizens to be up at arms asking legislators to reject this terrible bill, that will allow men to enter women’s rooms.  The horror stories are already around us:

A man in Seattle went into a women’s locker room and undressed in front of women and girls. He said the state’s gender identity “bathroom bill” law gave him the right to do it.

Police weren’t called. He wasn’t charged with any crime. [Photo from local TV report.]

MA Family Institute reports on how a woman using a Planet Fitness lockerroom had her membership cancelled for complaining about a transgender man/woman using the woman’s lockerroom.Particularly shameful is Planet Fitness. .

For more stories, click here.

The do-nothing Mass Catholic Conference and MA Bishops have been regrettably silent on this.  You need to call  your legislators TODAY to oppose this. Here’s a link to get their phone number and a sample call script.

In short, with this terrible measure, there will be no way to protect the safety and privacy of young women and girls in public accommodations, safety and privacy that should be their right in public places. It will also negatively impact homeless shelters and other places providing of services to vulnerable women.

Call today, and please pass this on to other like-minded MA citizens.  To also send an email, click here, but be sure to call today.


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