I stand with Archbishop Cordileone

Huzzah to San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone!  For those of you who don’t live in the California Bay Area, the Archbishop has come under attack for clarifying specific teachings of the Catholic faith that high school faculty in the archdiocese must not publicly confuse or contradict.  You can read the full text of what will be included in the teachers’ handbook.  However, you might as well recite the Apostle’s Creed and the Ten Commandments because that’s basically what the archbishop is asking teachers to uphold in Catholic high schools.

This additional wording to the faculty handbook has caused quite a stir.  Archbishop Cordileone was already under attack from various groups because of his vocal stance on traditional marriage in the very liberal Bay Area.  Now many are upset because of his request that high school teachers not confuse or dilute the teachings of the Catholic Church in Catholic schools.  He’s not asking teachers to be saints or even practicing Catholics, but merely keep in mind who their employer is and what is expected of them in the workplace.  But in today’s world, asking Catholic schools to espouse Catholic teachings is considered controversial.

Crackers!

Let’s back up and look at other work environments.  Suppose I worked at a factory that made crackers.  I would have to follow the guidelines outlined by my employer and not do things that harm my company or consumers.  I couldn’t modify the cracker recipe to my liking.  I couldn’t tamper with the machinery.  I couldn’t sabotage or undermine the company because I personally don’t like the crackers being made or I prefer a different company’s crackers.   I would be fired for such things.  Most of us would be fired if our employers caught us saying anything nasty about them on social networks.

Now look at Catholic schools.  What is their product?  I would say it’s a Catholic education.  So employees (the teachers) have a duty to produce the best possible product for their employer.  Teaching personal opinions that are contrary to the Church’s teachings or watering them down sabotages that product and undermines the employer.  In other professions, such behavior would land you a pink slip.

I can sympathize on how difficult it must feel to work for an employer you may personally disagree with.  Or it may be tough to accept rules that have always been in place but never really clarified or enforced.  But no lay person has ever been forced to work at a Catholic school.  Working at a Catholic school truly is a vocation because teachers generally make less money and benefits than their public school counterparts.  And some people, who may be great teachers, just won’t flourish and be happy working under a Catholic employer.  Like with any form of employment, you have to ask yourself if it’s truly an environment you want to work in or if there is something else that would be a better fit.

My Story

I completely understand what Archbishop Cordileone wants to avoid.  I went to a Catholic high school with a very confusing Catholic identity.  It was a great school and didn’t do anything in open defiance to Catholic teaching.  But the focus on a truly Catholic education was missing. We had a one priest and one nun so there wasn’t an overt Catholic presence on campus. Furthermore, many masses on holy days of obligation were optional and held in the morning before classes started. Good luck getting a teenager to school on time, let alone an hour early. The masses that were held with the full student body were more like mandatory choir concerts as no one would be actively participating except those singing. High school students are just at that age where expressing faith isn’t very cool and doing so makes you about as popular as the student who sits in the front row of the class, raises his hand for all the questions, and gets A’s on all the tests.

I really wish there was a strong statement like the one delivered by the archbishop when I was in high school. I think a lot of students would have benefited from going to a Catholic school rather than a secular school (in practice) that had mandatory religion classes. Since espousing the Catholic faith wasn’t a priority at my high school I learned that it wasn’t something I should make as a priority in my life.  I basically bought into the idea that faith was something practiced in a church on Sundays and shouldn’t be made public out of the fear of offending someone. It took me a long time to realize the joy and freedom that comes with actively participating and celebrating the faith because of my experience attending a high school with a muddled Catholic identity.

I was in high school before the internet took off and no one had ever said the words social network.  Now we live in a world where there is a constant drumbeat of ideas that run counter to the Catholic Church’s.  I applaud Archbishop Cordileone for not allowing the Church’s core teachings to be drowned out by popular culture.  If the world is screaming and attacking the Church, the Church has every right, even duty, to shout back.

Do you stand with Archbishop Cordileone?  Take 30 seconds to sign this petition.

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Random Thoughts on Pro-Life Week

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision which made abortion legal at the federal level.  Because of that tragic decision, the pro-life community makes the week of January 22nd Pro-life week.  This week features prayer novenas, talks and lectures, special programs, and of course, marches throughout the United States.  Pro-life week is bitter sweet for me.  On one hand it is great to see the enthusiasm and faith of the pro-life movement as people come out and march in the tens of thousands both on our nation’s capitol and on the West Coast.  But it’s unfortunate that we need to assemble at all to remind our government and society of the value of human life.  Below are just some random thoughts about the pro-life movement, government, and abortions.  I hope this gets you thinking, but more importantly, I hope it gets you praying and acting.

English: Personhood Now! banner in front of th...

Pro-life week reminds me a little of Mothers’ Day.  People always say how it’s unfortunate that we dedicate one day to mothers since every day should be a mother’s day.  Similarly, it’s unfortunate that we dedicate one week or one day to acting on our pro-life convictions.  Every day should be a pro-life day!  However, there is one startling difference between the two events.  When you forget to call your mom or send her a card on Mothers’ Day, you have one upset person.  But she’ll live.  When you don’t stand up for the value of life, you have 330,000+ aborted human beings per year in the United States alone.  So remember your mom, but also remember your commitment as a Catholic (and as a member of the human race) to promote the value of all human life all year long.

To put into perspective the scale of the modern-day holocaust which is abortion, consider this.  Twenty six people were murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting.  That tragedy sparked a massive response from politicians in comforting speeches and calls for new gun laws.  Now take Planned Parenthood‘s abortion number of 330,000 a year or roughly 37 abortions every hour.  That means the same number of lives as the Sandy Hook shooting are murdered by abortions every 42 minutes, 24/7!  And yet, the response from the political class is silent.  No speeches, no national dialogue, no executive orders, and no one saying, “Not one more child!”  Politicians were saying that they would do whatever it takes to reduce the likelihood of another Sandy Hook.  Where’s the “doing whatever it takes” to protect an unborn life from being murdered every 90 seconds?

When Planned Parenthood boasts its yearly 330,000 abortions performed (which you, the taxpayer, help fund), that doesn’t take into account the 330,000 additional lives that are also shattered — those of the mother’s.  For every life that is murdered by abortion, there is someone who has to live with the consequences of that decision.  And you also have to throw in the fathers as well since many of them also have to deal with the reality of the abortion.  If you are taking into account other people negatively affected by abortions, you might as well consider the doctors and nurses that do the procedures.  Sure, the mother, father, and doctors’ lives may not suffer any consequences immediately.  But there is plenty of data and testimonies that show the long-term damage abortions have on parents both mentally and physically.  And then there is the long-term damage abortion has on society as we devalue human life in our laws and public consciousness.

Anti abortion rally in Washington, D.C. Decemb...

We live in a society where government is playing a larger role in our lives.  I’m not going to get into why I think that’s a bad idea in this post.  But think about all the money government spends.  We are in year five of trillion dollar deficits.  The government spends money on food stamps, cell phones, health care, backing mortgages, investing in “green” technology, bailing out industries, foreign aid, and thousands of other ways that will supposedly move the United States to stability and prosperity.  And yet, not a dime from those trillions is spent to provide solutions to handling unexpected pregnancies except for abortions.  Imagine the support we could provide those surprised expecting mothers if we took the funds to Planned Parenthood and wasteful government programs and spent that on pre-natal care, mental and spiritual support, housing, and whatever else is needed to foster the new life, not kill it.  And while I loath government getting involved in so many aspects of our lives, at least we wouldn’t be funding intrinsically evil acts.  If the government is going to take my money and spend it, it might as well be to support life, not destroy it.

In light of all these realities, your rosaries should be on fire from all the prayers that are needed.  Pray the rosary daily and remember your commitment to be pro-life.  And that doesn’t mean to be pro-life one week out of the year, but every day.  That also doesn’t mean starting a fight with your pro-choice co-workers or arguing with a pro-choice relative.  But it does mean that you defend and promote the value of life when you can.  We are all called in different ways to show God’s glory and the beauty of His creation.  For some it might be side walk counselling or praying in front of abortion clinics.  For others, it means giving to pro-life charities.  It might mean participating in the Walk for Life (West Coasters, see you Saturday in San Francisco).  Don’t know what your part is in this war?  That’s where praying the rosary daily will help.  Ask God for guidance and He’ll show you the way.

 

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