Monday, March 7, 2016

LA’s Religious Ed Congress hosts transgender Catholics -

VOCAL helped  the gender terms of Patti, born male and Mateo, born female in this article.  Another note of interest, during this workshop there was apparently no one giving the Church's side of transgenderism.  Mr. FitzMaurice who is a homosexual, organized this workshop. 

Archbishop José Gomez smiles during the closing Mass of the 2013 Religious Education Congress. This month he marked his third anniversary as leader of Los Angeles’ Catholics. (photo credit: Victor Aleman)
Archbishop José Gomez during the closing Mass of the 2013 Religious Education Congress. (photo credit: Victor Aleman/Angelus)

The following comes from a March 7 Crux article by Michael O’Loughlin:
LOS ANGELES – Tens of thousands of Catholics descend on Los Angeles each winter to sharpen their ministry skills, partaking in dozens of workshops and seminars about liturgy, prayer, Bible, and parish life as part of the LA Religious Education Congress. With close to 40,000 participants, it’s the largest annual gathering of Catholics in North America, a celebration of all things Catholic.

But event organizers this year took a cue from popular culture and included a new session, one that attracted a standing room only crowd of 750 people, nearly all of whom jumped to their feet for a sustained round of applause after talks from two young, committed Catholics.

The name of the session? “Transgender in the Church: One Bread, One Body.”
Father Christopher Bazyouros, director of the office of religious education for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Father Christopher Bazyouros, director of the office of religious education for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

The Rev. Christopher Bazyouros, the director of the office of religious education for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said including the discussion in the program was an important first step for the Church in grappling with an issue that exploded onto the national consciousness last June when Caitlyn Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, announcing to the world that she is transgender.
“There aren’t many places for Catholics to discuss these things that are thoughtful, intentional, and that gathers people who have had this experience,” he said. “Many Catholics want information about this topic, they want things to help them understand this situation.”

To that end, conference organizers invited two transgender Catholics to speak, both of whom were surprised and gratified that they were included. And both used their presentations to urge acceptance by the wider universe of Catholics.

Anna Patti (born male), a 23-year-old Michigan resident, told the crowd she didn’t believe “God made a mistake” with her, as some have said of transgender people.

In an interview after her presentation, she said having the opportunity to speak freely about her struggles and her joys was “an unexpectedly affirming experience.”

“I hadn’t realized how silenced I felt within the Church,” she said. “At Mass I always sit in the back row in the back corner, making myself as visibly small as possible. Here was the opposite, where people wanted to learn about an issue that is so often immediately condemned.”
“It was beautiful,” she said of the crowd’s reaction.

Mateo Williamson (photo from Dignity USA's page)
Mateo Williamson (photo from Dignity USA‘s page)

Mateo Williamson (born female), a 24-year-old medical student at the Jesuit-run Loyola Medical School in Chicago, described with joy his deeply Catholic upbringing, part of a family that included several priests and nuns.

After his talk, he said many young people thanked him for sharing his story about living as a transgender man in the Church.

“Pope Francis’ charity, compassion, and call to mercy, it’s changed the tone in the Church,” he said. “He hasn’t been explicit about trans people, and there’s nothing in the Catechism, but there’s been a change among people in general to understand something they maybe haven’t encountered before.”
Pope Francis has spoken out repeatedly against so-called gender ideology, but Patti said she doesn’t interpret those comments as hostile to trans people.

In fact, she thinks the pope’s remarks about gender not being just a social construct actually support the transgender community by pointing out that gender identity is innate.

The LA Congress workshop sold out quickly, and some of the audience, which included several priests, seminarians, and nuns, said the fact it happened at all gave them hope about the future of the Church.

Arthur FitzMaurice, who speaks frequently about LGBT issues in the Church and who organized the workshop, said he believes it was the largest discussion devoted to transgender issues and Catholicism in the Church’s history. He said that organizers have already asked him to plan a similar workshop next year.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis Disbands Girl Scouts For Doing What CRS *Actually* Does - Could other Dioceses Follow?

*VOCAL is a member of Reform CCHD Now which is now part of the Lepanto Institute.                                                             
"For months, Catholic Relief Services have been playing the role of the wizard in The Wizard of Oz: nothing to see behind the curtain!  Pay no attention!

Then the Archdiocese of St. Louis did something so absolutely extraordinary...

I had to share it.

The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis finally gave the boot to the Girl Scouts of America because of  its intimate relationships with abortion and contraception providing organizations, such as Planned Parenthood. Specifically, the Archdiocese of St. Louis mentioned a favorite of Catholic Relief Services -- OxFam -- as a reason why Catholics could no longer trust them:
4. Organizations that GSUSA promotes and partners with are in conflict with Catholic values, such as Amnesty International, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, OxFam and more. This is especially troubling in regards to sex education and advocacy for “reproductive rights” (i.e. abortion and contraceptive access, even for minors)
What’s interesting about this is that according to a list of grants dispensed by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for fiscal year 2014, CRS gave nearly half-a-million dollars to Oxfam.  We are currently analyzing the latest list of CRS grants for fiscal year 2014, but on average, between 86% and 90% of CRS’s grants to domestic organizations go to agencies that are acting in direct conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching.
To date, Catholic Relief Services has responded with "internal investigations" -- intimating that Catholic organizations investigating their practices are involved in "slander" and are "maliciously" raising questions as to why CRS is giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to an organization that is now condemned by at least one Catholic bishop.

CRS is clearly and deliberately intimidating the Lepanto Institute and other Catholic laypersons, religious, priests and bishops in order to silence any analysis of their anti-Catholic and prejudicial giving processes.
To date, CRS has been very happy to attack and destroy anyone who even dares raise the question as to why Catholic donations are going to unCatholic organizations.  Now that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has marked OxFam as one of the bad guys, will CRS finally end the marketing campaign and threats of intimidation?  Or will they simply ramp it up?

We suspect CRS will simply double down on the attacks.  Which is why I am writing to you today: to please send us your maximum possible contribution so we can end once and for all the deceptive funding practices at Catholic Relief Services!

For some time, the Lepanto Institute has made it our mission to bring these facts to light, in service to our priests and bishops, in order to restore Catholic sanity and fulfill our Catholic mission -- to "restore all things in Christ" for the salvation of souls.

Millions of Catholics who faithfully work for and in service to Holy Mother Church are being deceived by a coterie of well-heeled bureaucrats willing to compromise what you and I believe as Catholics.  But when our donations and charity are used to fuel the fires of the culture of death, that is WRONG.

Without your gift of $35 or more, these facts might never come to light.  Our bishops and priests might very well be kept in the dark by these professional bureaucrats, and faithful Catholics every Sunday would give in charity to support things such as contraceptives, abortifacients, or worse when they believe they are feeding the poor, helping families, or building up the Catholic Faith.

It's time we -- as Catholics -- stood up with a clear voice and give our priests and bishops the support they need to investigate "institutionalized Catholicism" at places such as Catholic Relief Services -- organizations that serve themselves, but hedge on our Catholic faith.

That's the reason why the Lepanto Institute exists, to warn our priests and bishops and remain true to the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.

It has been said that the solution for what ails the Catholic Church isn't diversity or community or dissent... but one word: FIDELITY.

If you believe as I do that the universal call to holiness is not a mere abstraction, but something our Blessed Mother desires most ardently for the souls of mankind, then I need your help -- and I need to show your support so we can continue to take on the enemies of Mother Church and keep the attention up and focused.

For one, I am so glad to see that the Archidiocese of St. Louis took this step!  We need to continue to show support for our priests and bishops who take courageous stands such as these in the face of the intimidation tactics, threats, and lies that are so often used to promote evil.

Can I count on your support for $35 or more today?
Please pray for the Church and for Lepanto's mission as we continue to unearth the truth and "restore all things to Christ." (1 Col. 1:20)
Christus Vincit!"

Michael Hichborn
Lepanto Insititute

PS:  REMEMBER that nothing we do here at the Lepanto Institute is done without the prayers and support of faithful Catholics such as yourself.  Bringing this information to light is hard -- we know it's hard to see -- but unless it is done, more victims of this senseless and outrageous pattern of deception will emerge.  Such deception is dangerous to our faith, our priests, and to Holy Mother Church, and we here at the Lepanto Institute remain dedicated to prayerfully and faithfully raising the tough questions -- all in faithful service to our bishops and priests.  Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Seven quick thoughts on the most recent papal presser. by Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap.

 VOCAL.  This article explains difficult things of late.  Dr. Ed Peters is a brilliant Canon lawyer.  Here is a short bio. 
Dr. Peters has held the Edmund Cdl. Szoka Chair at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit since 2005. He earned a J. D. from the Univ. of Missouri at Columbia (1982) and a J. C. D. from the Catholic Univ. of America (1991). In 2010, he was appointed a Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura by Pope Benedict XVI. For more information on Dr. Peters, see CanonLaw.Info.

           "Frankly, I don’t know how he does it. When I fly to Europe I have to sleep all the way over.  Not Pope Francis. Anyway, may I offer some comments on some topics mentioned in the latest mid-air papal presser?

  1. Pope Paul VI, as I understand it, did approve of religious women threatened by rape using contraceptives. It is obvious, though, that such measures were taken in self-defense against criminal acts and, more importantly, would have occurred outside the context of conjugal relations. Avoiding pregnancy under outlaw circumstances is not only ‘not an absolute evil’, it’s not an evil act at all. I hope that mentioning this unusual episode in a press chat will not contribute unduly to the world’s misunderstanding of the limitations of Paul VI’s position in this case and of the episode’s non-applicability to firm Church teaching on contraception within marriage.

2. An individual becomes “Christian” by, and only by, (valid) baptism. Donald Trump was apparently baptized Presbyterian, which faith community has valid baptism. Donald Trump is, therefore, as a matter of canon law (c. 204), Christian. Trump might be a good Christian or a bad one—I cannot say, and neither can anyone else. Trump might do and say things consistent with Christian values or in contradiction to them, but his status as baptized, and therefore as Christian, is beyond dispute.

3. There is no legitimate “principle” by which a “lesser of two evils” may ever be licitly engaged in. It is fundamental moral theology that even a small evil action may never be licitly engaged in—no matter how much good might seem to result therefrom and no matter how much evil might seem to be avoided thereby. There are, to be sure, principles by which a good or neutral action that has two effects, one good and one evil, might be licitly engaged in under certain circumstances despite the evil effects; and there are principles by which “lesser evils” may be tolerated (not chosen). But parsing these matters accurately and responsibly requires more time than can be devoted to them in a press conference.

4. Abortion (assuming we are talking about doing an action intended to kill a human being prior to birth, and not just suffering ‘abortion’, i.e., miscarriage) is, Francis observed, always evil. Abortion is not, however, “evil” because it is a “crime”. Not all criminal acts are by nature evil and not all evil acts are crimes. Other factors must be considered lest moral principles and legal principles become confused.

5. The Vatican City State, a sovereign nation, has the right to build, and has chosen to surround itself with, a giant wall. Evidently, building or using a national wall is not a non-Christian act nor a stance contrary to Gospel values. The pope’s criticism of building walls on part of a national border is probably better understood as prudential in nature, not principled.

6. It is important (though some might say it is too late) to distinguish between a Catholic’s stance toward “same-sex unions” and that toward “same-sex marriage”. These are not equivalent terms. Legal recognition of “same-sex unions” might be a good idea, a tolerable idea, or a bad idea, but, per se, “same-sex unions” are things over which reasonable minds (including Catholic minds) may differ; in contrast, Catholics may never approve or support “same-sex marriage”, this, upon pain of contradicting infallible Church teaching, if not of committing heresy.

7. The pope said nothing suggesting confusion about “celibacy” and “continence” (c. 277), although the Crux reporter seems to regard the former as another word for the latter. Anyway, I do not know whether there is such a thing as a (priest) who does not have the “friendship of a woman”, but I would not think the “friendship of a woman” is necessary to make a man ‘complete’."

 Feb. 18, 2016

Sunday, February 28, 2016

“…cry out…”

“We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence.”
– St. Catherine of Siena 

             A Saint of the Passion