Vol 3 No. 6- Dedicated to St. Joseph By & For Santa Clara Valley Catholics - Nov / Dec, 1996

Publisher - Marc Crotty

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VIEW FROM THE PEW is publshed by an association of Catholic laity in the Diocese of San Jose, California.

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The View From The Pew
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(c) 1996 View From the Pew - Articles may be copied, provided due credit is given to VFTP.


Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago recently announced a plan to get conservative and liberal Catholics talking. He calls it the Catholic Common Ground Project; its method is to get Catholics out of their "camps" and into "dialoguing."

Twenty-four religious and lay folks have been named to a Common Ground committee. On the committee are liberals like Bernardin himself and Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, Wis. There are a few conservatives like Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. And there are some oddballs like John J. Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO.

The committee is supposed to counter "polarization and mean-spiritedness" in the Church and address "openly and honestly" the following issues among others: changing roles of women; the Eucharistic liturgy as most Catholics experience it; the meaning of human sexuality and the gap between Church teaching and the views of many Catholics on some moral issues; and the way decisions are made in the Church. This "unity initiative" has received the full backing of the Diocese of San Jose, as the September 17 issue of The Valley Catholic made clear.

So why do we object to "dialoguing" and an end to "polarization and mean spiritedness?"

This is why: It was "dialoguing" that got us into this mess in the first place.

"Dialoguing" is what little kids do on the field when they don't agree with a strike call. "Dialoguing" is what husbands and wives do when they can't agree on whether to spend an extra $500 on landscaping or new rugs. "Dialoguing" is what department heads do when they're making a case for new employees. "Dialoguing" is not what you do with God.

Suppose the Common Ground Committee sits down with its Andrew Greeley sociology charts and discovers that most American Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. Do we talk ourselves out of a dogma of the faith? We know that American Catholics are using contraceptives, having abortions and getting divorces. Is the Church expected to change its mind and call these behaviors correct? We also know that many Catholics believe priests should be allowed to marry, women should be ordained and gays be allowed to "marry." Must the Church accept these ideas, too?

The answer is, of course, "No." God is the one who makes the rules. We answer to Him. We cannot dialogue away the Ten Commandments or the Precepts of the Church or the Holy Scriptures or the dogmas of the Church. To suggest we can come to some sort of amicable agreement about whether or not Church dogmas are worth following is to kid ourselves about God, the Church and Truth.

Bernardin himself is in a curious position to organize this "Catholic project." Recently he threw a press conference to suggest a coadjutor in the Chicago diocese, someone who would succeed him when he dies (the cardinal has terminal cancer).

Some people were aghast.

According to Richard Freeman of the Catholic Action League, "Fewer than one in six Catholics go to church (in Chicago), and that figure is steadily dropping. Vocations to the priesthood are practically non-existent; Catholic schools are in a terrible decline; Catholic evangelization is a joke; everywhere you look there are closed churches and schools; we have had some of the worst scandals ever to hit the Catholic Church in its entire 2,000-year history here in the past few years; many ethnic and traditional Catholics, loyal to the Pope, feel they have been brutally persecuted by the current leadership; and the whole diocese is in a state of near ruin both spiritually and physically.

"Clearly, if present trends continue, Catholicism will all but die out here in Chicago in the next 10 to 15 years, and that would be a tragedy for the city and for the nation. The last thing the city of Chicago needs is a continuation of the kind of Catholic leadership that has brought persecution and immense suffering to so many over the past thirteen years."

Let's not spread the impoverishment by trying to talk ourselves out of the truths of the faith.


"We get the government we deserve."

Perhaps the gay scene -- and the government's near-blessing -- is what we deserve, too. It all started when we forgot the real issue here is CHASTITY.

Where were the chaste singles, the chaste couples, the chaste homosexuals when gays began organizing one of the best-funded, best-lawyered, most-feared lobbies in Washington? Where were we when the first assaults on morality started?

WE were in the closet.

People have never been perfect. Societies and religions have tried to make people better through shame, guilt, laws and mothers-in-law. But, basically, we all agreed the Ten Commandments were good rules to live by.

Then three things happened: Freud, the "Pill" and television.

Freud said that guilt was bad. He added that sin was basically guilt. So, hey, let it all hang out and free up your ego -- or id or whatever!

The birth-control pill allowed Freud to get away with his theory.

Finally, television was invented to whet our sexual appetites. TV started out OK. There were Buffalo Bob, Uncle Miltie and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the three superstars of early-day programming. Even the talk shows were pretty good. Phil Donahue had senators and preachers and writers addressing stately issues. But sex is what really sells. So the issues and the shows got raunchier. Today, the whole scene is a sludge pot.

But WE are still watching.

People over 50 can remember the first skirmish in the coming morals wars. It was a movie called "The Moon is Blue" with David Niven. It was VERY risqué for 1953. It was about a young woman who flaunts her virginity; now there's an unlikely heroine! But the topic was a bombshell in the pristine '50s. People didn't talk about private parts in public. Period. Now what would have happened if we had stood our ground then? Government-funded art would not have included crosses dipped in urine; "normal" parents could have objected to sex education in the classroom; most of MTV would have been kept off the air; abortion would have caused a Supreme Court lynching; gay marriages would have been called science fiction.

But WE were in the closet: When divorce laws changed, allowing men and women to abandon their children. When women were encouraged to enter the work-force and leave their young children in day care.

When it became acceptable to live with someone not your marriage partner.

When it became trendy for single teen-agers to have babies.

When first the law and then casual behavior endorsed aborting babies.

When serial marriages and bed-swapping created "blended families."

When surrogate mothering, turkey-baster babies and petrie-dish conception were condoned.

When parents failed to revolt over condom education.

When consumers supported products that paid for porny soap operas, smutty music videos, raunchy rap songs and government-funded porno art.

Where were we? "We were right here thinking bad things about this stuff," you say, "but what could we do?"

Now that's an interesting question because people in the '40s and '50s knew what to do. Fathers and mothers of the "Leave It to Beaver" school believed that God Himself had entrusted them with the care of their children. They were not afraid to visit God's wrath upon them when the time was right, and the time was right when kids broke God's commandments.

In matters of chastity, girls were whisked off to their maiden aunts if they broke the Sixth. "Nice girls" didn't do it. "Nice boys" didn't press them to do it. Girls waited for their wedding nights, and boys wanted girls who waited. Young men and women got married to have families, not to pool their money for a better living-room set. When children came along, they became the No. 1 priority. Laws and business practices reflected this priority. The argument for gay-partner medical benefits, for example, would have been perceived as ridiculous, since gays don't have -- or shouldn't have -- children.

If this "Leave It to Beaver" world sounds uptight to you, then you are part of the problem. If there are no limits on "ordinary" heterosexual folks, there can be no limits on anybody, not in a democracy. If we don't expect chastity of ourselves, we can't expect chastity of homosexuals. If we do, it's unfair -- as gays so militantly point out. If we don't live according to the Ten Commandments, then no one will. And the sky's the limit for "alternate lifestyles" -- as we're only just beginning to find out.

The referendum to prevent Santa Clara County from recognizing gay marriage is another Waterloo. If we lose here, we step ever lower into the Slough of Despond. Maybe the war isn't winnable; people have gotten used to depravity. We're like the parents who are against abortion but don't want to see it outlawed -- just in case their daughter gets caught!

But we can't have it both ways. Either we get out of the closet and insist on a moral society for everyone -- or we stop wishing that gays alone comply. The buck -- and the gay scene -- stop here.


The October 6, 10:15 Mass at Resurrection Church in Aptos celebrated by Fr. Kenneth J. Laverone, introduced a new rite of baptism.

The baptism of two infants took place, and Fr. Laverone held up one of the infants so all could see. The baby was naked! The child's parents had apparently removed his clothing as part of the baptismal ceremony.

The View correspondent bolted out of the church after this "presentation" and witnessed no more.

The white baptismal gown traditionally worn in infant baptism is a symbol of purity, as the child is born-again through the sacramental waters. Fr. Laverone's actions make us think instead of the presentation of Simba to the animals in "The Lion King."

Pray the Rosary for this parish.


"The most spiritual man'" in the San Jose Diocese, Fr. Michael J. Mitchell, has endorsed Cupertino's Barbara Koppel for County Supervisor. Koppel is "pro-choice" and her campaign office has said she would support using taxpayer funds to pay for abortion.

Mitchell is Vicar General of the diocese, and Bishop Pierre DuMaine labeled him his "most spiritual man."

In an interview with View from the Pew, Fr. Mitchell was asked about Koppel's pro-abortion position. Mitchell said he was not aware of it and also that he would not withdraw his support.

"There are a whole range of issues to consider," he said.

What issues? the View asked.

Mitchell said Koppel will support the pending development of the diocese's property in Cupertino.

Readers may recall the View's previous report on the diocese paying $5,000 a day in interest on the debt incurred from "remodeling" St. Joseph's Cathedral. The development of the Cupertino property is expected to retire the debt, but the property has been caught up in citizen protest over environmental concerns. Koppel, apparently, would weigh in on the side of the diocese.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference has taken the official position that any Catholic who is "pro-choice" when the choice is abortion cannot be considered a Catholic in good standing. Where does this leave Mitchell, the bishop's "most spiritual" man?"

Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae writes that the pro-life imperative demands that we give priority to this struggle when we vote. He says we cannot treat abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and other matters of life and death as on a par with other political issues Even pressing political issues like developing the diocese's property.

If you disagree with Fr. Mitchell's stand, you may contact Bishop DuMaine or you may contact the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States, the Most Rev. Agostino Cacciavillan, 3339 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington D.C. 20008.


In the October issue of The Valley Catholic, San Jose Bishop Pierre DuMaine issues a special call to "dialogue" in response to the Common Ground Project and the beginning of the RENEW program in parishes.

The RENEW program involves small-faith communities, usually meeting outside the church campus, for prayer, study and whatever. The Common Ground Project is Chicago Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin's brainchild and involves a panel of unlike-minded Catholics verbally tusseling over church problems.

Both programs involve this inane word "dialoguing" which means discussion or debate.

So what's to discuss? We have the Scriptures. We have Tradition. We have the Pope and the Magisterium.

Ralph McInerny, co-founder of Crisis magazine but better known for his Fr. Dowling mysteries, puts it best in the October issue:

"The last thing that is needed is a discussion of the teachings of the faith as if they were propositions that had to be ratified by what has come to be called dialogue. Dialogue is a word that is used for waffling and for the culpable failure on the part of bishops and priests to do their ordained tasks. . . Faith is a free, responsible acceptance of what God has revealed in Jesus Christ and through the Church. But the acceptance must be of what is offered, not of some substitute reached as the result of a discussion that treats heterodox positions, the effective rejection of the faith, as if they must be accommodated. Faith comes from hearing, not from dialogue. For the love of God, let the dialogue cease, and the teaching begin."

(Crisis magazine is a monthly publication. Contact P.O. Box 10559, Riverton, N.J. 08076-0559 or call 1-800-852-9962. Web site is http://www.catholic.net/)


It's time for the annual Campaign for Human Development appeal. This means the bishop's office will be sending "quotas" to pastors, that is, the total each parish is expected to raise for "human development."

The View from the Pew urges you not to pledge. A considerable amount of the money taken in goes for administrative expenses.

For example, the CHD-funded Eastside Downtown Project in San Jose was budgeted for $93,000 in 1992, but $53,500 of that amount went to organizers, trainers and a secretary. Of the remainder, $7,500 was used for additional expenses. Add those figures up, and the poor folks only got $32,500. (These figures were compiled by "The Legacy of CHD, a Critical Report and Analysis of the U.S. Bishop's Campaign for Human Development" by Paul Likoudis, The Wanderer Press).

Some CHD contributions have gone to establish dubious Catholic organizations like the Claretian Medical Center in Illinois, which lists its services as abortion counseling, birth control information and distribution of contraceptives. Its service "providers" include Planned Parenthood and Illinois Reproductive, an abortion provider.

In addition, parishioners who have worked with the CHD campaign have said the needy aren't the prime beneficiaries of the drive. One Detroit layman who was involved in the project to fund Metro Detroit Welfare Association said, "generally, all the people who got this archdiocesan money were all connected to each other and all the other (radical) groups. Many of these groups were phony, just fronts so activists could get money. None of this money ever got to the black people, or to black Catholics, and it never went to any group that promoted the Catholic faith or Christianity; it went to the radical student groups, the left-wingers, who were trying to start a revolution." CHD has its staunch defenders. Social justice always sounds good. And some good is done. But CHD supports the shift in Catholic thinking from the idea that personal conversion, prayer, bearing witness and solidarity are the foundations of Catholic action to the idea that politics is the foundation of Catholic action.

If you want to love your neighbor, contribute to the needy directly. Ask yourself how much you would pledge, then donate that amount to your favorite charity.


A local lay apostolate, "Adopt A Priest" (AAP) has been formed to encourage and help strengthen priests through prayer and affirmation.

Inspired by Mission H.O.P.E. founded by Ann Ross Fitch, AAP recommends that only one priest be chosen for six or twelve months "so that you can concentrate more time and prayer towards his needs."

The AAP-provided pamphlet contains a list of suggested prayers for your selected priest including meditations on the Rosary, a litany, and other prayers.

To join AAP, pray-ers fill out a registration card containing the priest's name and parish and prayer time; period of sponsorship (an offering of $5 is requested for six months and $6 for 12 months); a "spiritual sponsorship" card sent to the priest to notify him of his registration in the apostalate.

Please contact Adopt A Priest at: P.O. Box 4338 Santa Clara, CA 95056-4338

The View staff has adopted five priests.


Are you tired of watching chase scenes? Scantily dressed women? Silly sitcoms?

Do you have a desire to grow in your spiritual life and improve your knowledge of the Roman Catholic Church? Do you want to discuss theology, philosophy, and the latest happenings in the Church with your family? Then Mother Angelica's 24-hour Catholic television network, EWTN, is the way to go!

For the price of an 18-inch satellite dish, you can tune into shows like Father Benedict Groeschel on the Sacraments of the Church, Scott Hahn for apologetics, daily Mass, a "talk show'' with Mother Angelica herself and many others.

Theresa Johnson is marketing the equipment required to bring EWTN to your home. The cost is $500 with one full year of free programming if you buy now.

Mother Angelica's network began with publications of booklets on all aspects of the Catholic Church. One day she decided it would be nice to have a television network. So she prayed and started one. It has been a shoestring operation: She has been down to her last reel of tape many times but somehow the Lord has always provided. Today EWTN is viewed worldwide, and along with Mother Angelica's ham-radio operation, millions hear her programming every day. There's something for everyone on EWTN: spirituality, prayer, catechetics, theology, history; everything priest or lay person might need for a full life in the Church. And purchase of the dish gives viewers the capability of picking up a myriad of other stations and options: sports, movies, news, nature, specialties.

For more details about purchasing the dish, call Johnson at (408) 270-3620.


The Valley Catholic advertised a "chaplaincy volunteer training program" in its October issue classified ads. The ad asked for "Catholics, Protestants and non-Christians."


Diocese of San Jose (Dioecesis Sancti Josephi in California)
Established January 27, 1981
Most Reverend Pierre DuMaine, D.D., Ph.D.
First Bishop of San Jose; ordained June 5, 1957; appointed Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco and Titular Bishop of Sarda April 28, 1978; Episcopal Ordination June 29, 1978; appointed Bishop of San Jose January 27, 1981. Office: Diocese of San Jose, 900 Lafayette St. Suite 301 Santa Clara, CA 95050-4966

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth St., NE
Washington D.C. 20017


Vol 3 No. 5 - Sept / Oct 1996

Vol 3 No. 4 - July/August 1996

Vol. 3 No. 3- May/June 1996

Vol. 3 No. 2 - March/April 1996


| Una Voce Rochester New York | 1962 Missal Romanum | New Advent Web Site |

| The Holy See | Guide to Early Church Documents | EWTN | Catechism of St. Pius X |

| St. Benedict Center | DOMUS (Diocese of Monterey Under Siege) |

| Catholic Tradition, Action & Counter-Revolution Web Page | The Neumann Press |



Speech given by Archbishop John Quinn at Oxford - June, 1996


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