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Call Me Jerry

August 11, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

A local pastor gave a surprisingly good sermon the other day. A short one, too (that’s why I remember it).
“Don’t confuse the Church with the bishops, or even the Pope,” he said. “The Church is spotless, her teachings true, beautiful, and good. But bishops — even the Bishop of Rome — are sinful men like the rest of us.
“At the same time, we must bear in mind that priests and bishops do possess real authority by the virtue of their Ordination and consecration. They defend the Church’s magisterial teachings on faith and morals in the face of a hostile world, and they teach them to us. That’s their divinely ordained role. But there’s a lot of confusion on just what those teachings are these days,” he said, “so here’s a helpful suggestion:
“As a priest, I teach Catholic principles — the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the principles that flow from them. When we talk about them, call me ‘Father.’ But when I use my office to wax eloquent on the economy, or global warming, or the horror of the carbon imprint of volcanoes, you can call me ‘Jerry’.”
Fr. Jerry is right. Catholic priests and bishops — including the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis — are ordained to teach and to defend basic truths: the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the Ten Commandments, the sacraments, the right to life, the dignity of every person, and other “magisterial” teachings — those that the Church has always taught. Those are the truths that every Catholic must believe.
But many clerics spend a lot of their time pushing various political agendas — these days it’s amnesty for illegal aliens, but they’re also big fans of the welfare state, higher taxes, bigger government, and global warming.
Take Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez. He’s a solid theologian, a faithful defender of the faith, and trying hard to clean up the moral mess in his archdiocese he inherited from his disgraced predecessor, Roger Cardinal Mahony.
Bravo, Your Excellency!
But the archbishop is also the USCCB’s leading proponent of amnesty for illegal aliens, hundreds of thousands of whom live in and near LA. He is the vice president of the USCCB. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, he loves his Mexican brothers and sisters. He holds them in high esteem and has high hopes for their future — in the United States. He tells audiences that “the Next America” will be Hispanic, and America will be better off for it. “Our immigrant brothers and sisters are the key to American renewal,” he says. “The vast majority of them believe in Jesus Christ and love our Catholic Church, they share traditional American values of faith, family, and community.”
And why does America need this radical renovation? Well, today’s Americans are selfish, nativist, post-Christian relics of an Anglo-Saxon culture of patriotism, individual liberty, self-reliance, and limited government — and they abort a million babies a year. But the superior Hispanic culture to come will have the blessing of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Hey, José — can we talk? Don’t American values include obeying the law? OK, you don’t like our laws. How about the Ten Commandments? Like “Thou shalt not steal”? Have you ever preached publicly about the evil of stealing Social Security numbers? How about “Thou shalt not bear false witness”? Do you ever tell illegals not to forge documents? Ever?
José, give me a break. Your happy talk about Hispanics might make the U.S. bishops feel more comfortable taking hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars a year to take care of illegals. But why do the bishops never mention that money?
José? José? Why do you never answer your mail?
Let me introduce another prelate, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso. Bishop Seitz supports many pro-life marches and efforts in his diocese. Bravo, Your Excellency!
But he also lambastes pro-life attorneys general from nine states for challenging Obama’s unconstitutional DACA decree — you know, the “Dreamers” charade.
In fact, Bishop Seitz took his tirade nationwide, calling these officials (three of them Catholic) “hypocrites” and “Pharisees” — invoking the authority of Jesus, no less — in the national edition of USA Today.
All because they support the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Bishop Seitz’s U.S. congressman, Beto O’Rourke, is a Catholic whom Planned Parenthood scores as 100 percent “pro-choice.” While O’Rourke often appears at DACA rallies with Bishop Seitz, he tells me that the bishop has never publicly criticized his pro-abortion voting record.
Hey Mark — come off it. Aren’t you being a little hypocritical?
Even the folks in your diocese know you’re blowing smoke — El Paso is overrun with illegals and Coyotes. Just ask the faithful in the pews of Hispanic heritage who are legal — they’re your strongest critics. They know that O’Rourke is a pseudo-Catholic and they’d like to know why you’re making him out to be a hero. Do you really support this pro-abortion con-man’s campaign for the U.S. Senate?
Mark? Mark?
But wait, there’s more! Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. He welcomes the “uptick . . . in social activism” on the part of the bishops that has flourished since the election of Donald Trump.
Some priests in the Venice Diocese have accused their bishop of “intimidation, the use of fear, shaming, bullying and other non-Christian behaviors” (see ncronline.org, June 16, 2014); well, he is certainly acting out with his criticism of Trump.
In fact, since the 2016 election, the bishops have issued more than 200 official statements and letters to Congress. Under Dewane’s lead, they have opposed Trump’s domestic agenda and demanded a return to Obama’s welfare-state policies. They have opposed worker’s rights, the death penalty, and Trump’s refugee policies, while they defend sanctuary cities, Obamacare, and increased welfare spending.
Hey Frank — calm down! Tell the truth — deception violates the Eighth Commandment too, and not one of your countless orations carries the truth-in-advertising notice that good Catholics can, and do, disagree with your political agenda.
President Trump has saved millions of Catholics and other Christians from the illegal and onerous HHS mandate. He’s cut the U.S. government’s international abortion funding to zero. On Planned Parenthood, transgenders, Title X, and religious rights, he’s been outstanding.
Do our bishops stand up and cheer? No, Frank. Why so suddenly shy? Is it because you’re afraid that he’ll cut the massive taxpayer funding you get for your NGOs? Just how much is that funding anyway?
Frank, donations from the faithful have plummeted since the sex abuse and coverup scandals of 2002, we know that. And they will again after the bishops’ feckless cover-ups of the “Uncle Ted” ex-Cardinal McCarrick scandal. You say you want a “moral” budget — right, Frank? Well, is it really moral to tell Catholics that you’re going to have the IRS collect our donations by force because we won’t donate voluntarily?
Come on, Frank. Enough of the palaver. We hear enough about politics already. Go back to your diocese and clean it up.

Shutting Down Dianne

Now that Fr. Jerry’s Law is on the books, let’s be creative, like any good armchair lawyer. We’ve seen how useful it can be with politicized prelates. Where else can Fr. Jerry liberate us from pompous palaver?
Why not politics?
Last fall, Professor Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic and Trump’s nominee for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, appeared before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for her confirmation hearing. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the committee, tried to argue that Mrs. Barrett’s Catholic faith disqualified her from further consideration for confirmation.
Fr. Jerry’s Law to the rescue! Let’s rewrite the dialogue accordingly.
Sen. Feinstein: “The dogma lives loudly within you.”
Professor Barrett: “Where are you from, Dianne?”
Sen. Feinstein: “Well, San Francisco, of course.”
Professor Barrett: “Well Dianne, isn’t it curious that San Francisco is named after a wonderful saint, Francis of Assisi? Come on, Dianne, the dogma lives pretty loudly in California too — in San José, Santa Monica, San Diego, Santa Clara, Santa Anita, San Carlos….”
Sen. Feinstein: “Well, I am most interested in. . . .”
Professor Barrett: “Wait, Dianne, I have forty more — and there are counties too, and don’t forget Los Angeles. And what about Sacramento! Isn’t that your state capital?”
Sen. Feinstein: “What I mean…er…well, what I’m referring to, is your….”
Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (gavel strikes the podium): “The gentlelady’s time has expired.”
You can say that again.

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