2020/02/19

Who Could Have Predicted

cardinal

... that importing Latin American congregants instead of catechizing and evangelizing at home would blow up in American bishops' faces?
Peter’s Pence, the annual collection advertised by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as raising money for the charitable works of the pope, is the subject of a class-action lawsuit after the Wall Street Journal reported that only 10% of money raised actually went to help the poor (the rest ending up in the hemorrhaging Vatican general fund).
Needless to say, people are sitting on their wallets when asked to give by the bishops. It’s the only avenue laity have to give them a vote of “no confidence.”
It seems the U.S. bishops are the only people in America who aren’t benefiting from the booming Trump economy. Gallup has released a series of poll findings this week which indicate people are feeling pretty good about the country and their own financial affairs. About 61% of people think they are better off than when President Trump was elected three years ago (a higher number than any third-year president in living memory). About 69% expect their financial situation to improve over the next year (a number only matched in the go-go late 1990s). Consumer confidence is reported at levels not seen in several decades.
People ought to feel good about their financial affairs. The total return on the stock market is up nearly 65% since Trump’s election, which is good news for the majority of families which have 401(k)s, IRAs, and 529s. Wages are finally growing smartly above inflation again, and faster for those at the bottom of the income ladder. Inflation is well within Federal Reserve safety limits. Housing prices are up almost everywhere. You can get a 30-year mortgage with just over a 3% interest rate, the same rate at which you can get a loan for a brand new family car.
Unemployment is at or near record lows by any measurement or for any subgroup of Americans. There are more jobs than there are people seeking work. Labor force participation is up, as millions of discouraged potential workers come off the sidelines and back onto the job force. Anyone who wants a job can easily get one and is in a strong bargaining position to demand a solid salary and benefits package.
Counter-point: About a third of the jobs Trump created went to immigrants, who now make up a little more than 17% of the US work force. Latin Americans account for the lion's share of immigration to the US. And as I've discussed before, The USCCB has had an active hand in facilitating that immigration.

More on that in a moment.
If people have it so good, and Catholics are presumably well represented in these boom times, why are the bishops not only seeing their donations fail to keep pace with the rising tide but actually going down?
The answer is two-fold. First, lay Catholics are fed up with bishops who aren’t listening to our demands to get to the bottom of the culture of sex abuse cover-up and financial corruption that the bishops themselves have spent decades creating. Second, the bishops are so isolated from the rest of us that we have no other way to make our voice heard other than to close our checkbooks.
Latin America is not the place is was in 1920. American adults are not stuck in 1950, and American youth are not frozen in 1970. Yet the USCCB's policies and outlook are predicated on these misperceptions.

That said, only about a quarter of American Catholics say they've reduced donations to the Church because of the clergy sex abuse crisis. That's clearly a factor, but backlash against the gay priest problem alone doesn't account for the 54% fundraising drop reported by the Examiner.

The American hierarchy's current financial woes are the rotten fruit of seeds planted decades ago. Because of these policies, a majority of US Catholics aged 39 and below are Hispanic. Instead of doing the legwork to sustain and increase their native-born flocks, American bishops chased after quick bucks from already Catholic Latin American immigrants.

What the USCCB didn't count on was the 40% apostasy rate, which affects immigrant populations just as surely as it affects the native stock. A couple freshly arrived from El Salvador might attend Mass every week, but their kids will fall away in college all the same.

The soil may not be magic, but the culture is definitely toxic to faith. When catechesis and outreach amount to nil, the Death Cult default fills the void.
If the bishops want to turn this around, they have to stop acting like nervous, embattled CEOs and start acting like shepherds. Pursue justice swiftly against those who have committed sexual abuse and financial crimes, or those who hid the truth about that behavior — no more excuses, no more delays, and no more bishops covering for other bishops.
I'll second that sentiment and add, stop taking money from the feds to aid and abet the third-world invasion of America.

To paraphrase St. John XXIII, a good American bishop must first be a good American. Selling your fellow countrymen's culture and future for thirty pieces of silver does not a good American make.
Firefly meets Dante's Inferno!

18 comments:

  1. But Brian, we are in a springtime! That’s what the video of every bishop keeps saying during Mass in place of the syrupy homily. Behold all the fruit[cakes] produced by Vatican II! Why so rigid?

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    1. I'll readily admit that I don't contribute money to my parish. I donate to various Catholic charity organizations that I've thoroughly vetted, but I won't drop one more dime in the collection basket until the US bishops stop funding my replacements.

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    2. With you there. I split my tithe between faithful religious orders and the Latin Mass special projects our parish does, like purchasing all the items needed for a Requiem Mass. I happily try my best to convince other faithful Catholics to give in some way outside of the Bishops grubby little hands.

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  2. My understanding is that people are more likely to return to their respective faith if/when they have kids. So, using immigration to fill the pews, instead of encouraging and enabling family formation, is a double whammy of bad.

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    1. You nailed it. High time preference on an international scale.

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  3. The Judas-like attitude that you MUST give money to help the poor, simply ignored their home-grown flock was steadily getting bled, sheared, and devoured. Fewer children because parents were paying too much out.
    Vocations were ignored for hip 'relevance'. Result: fewer to take vows of poverty and take on pastoral duties, under Holy Orders or as avowed laymen. Costs rise, shepherds leave. The solution is in better catechis and teaching to those 14-24, in more traditional methods and settings. Reinforcement of lessons and good examples help more than can be grasped.

    Funny, a 30-something starting a Bible study group for 20 year olds has a slow but steady growth, then enough of their larger group grasps the faith and reasons again. Group grows steadily, and young men get a better foundation. Still swayed by temptations, but they have support now.

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    1. This is why renewal must come from middle class laymen.

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  4. Assuming the El Salvadorian kids go to college is generous, based on the local school report of how many brown kids are capable of doing on grade level math. Few can read either.

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  6. It's funny because I know a Boomer who is very pro-refugee over everything.

    But recently they have become very annoyed at how we never say prayers or offer anything for those suffering in our backyard. They notice more people my age and younger killing themselves, and nothing is ever said or done about that. Just constant prayers for migrants.

    They've gotten just a little less tolerant over it. And I never thought this person ever would.

    I'm not sure how much longer this state is going to last, but all things must pass. It won't continue on much longer.

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    1. Our parish prays almost EVERY SINGLE MASS for immvaders, but only occasionally for locals. No idea if any Boomers care because the bilingual masses don't affect their (retirement) schedule. Your post gives me hope, JD.

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    2. Bringing back general intercessions is another strike against the Novus Ordo.

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    3. Most parishes just use purchased, pre-written, generic general intersessions...the big publishers all being leftists like the major liturgical music publishers OCP and GIA. That’s why you hear the same garbage and “talking points” in the prayers if your liturgist is too lazy (most are), ill educated/catechized (ditto) or is themselves a flaming liberal. If you can, find a way to become the person who writes the General intercessions and you can quickly clean up that mess. Or better yet, get the Latin Mass going and just stick to that rather than the Vat 2 Methodist liturgy.

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    4. Becoming the guy who writes the intercessions sounds promising.

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    5. The prayer for the outsider is meant to be a social pose of expansive love. More expansive, more love, more status. However:
      "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

      Durandel says it: saving the Church (or any church) will depend on devoted servants of Christ retaking positions of influence.

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