This email was sent to California Catholic Daily on September 24 from the San Jose diocese.
I was surprised to find out that a member of the “Interfaith Council” (not a diocesan Office, but a third-party secular organization, perhaps part of the Valley Interfaith Project) was authorized by Bishop McGrath to speak at SJ Diocese Catholic parishes this past weekend.
At Holy Cross, the pastor introduced the speaker, a woman who he emphasized was not Catholic, but in place of the homily/sermon, she would gave her remarks this particular Sunday.
She asserted (I took notes) that “it is our duty as church-attending people to support an increase to the minimum wage”; that the minimum wage for a family of four in “this area” came to $16000 per year (I am assuming this calculation does not include the myriad of social support services such as Sec. 8 housing, food stamps, and Medi-Cal assistance) and the Interfaith Council and the Diocese were pushing foran increase to $22,000 per year or more. She then progressed to the need for working people to be registered to vote and that the most under-represented groupof voters in our area were “people of color” (she didn’t explain where this statistic originated nor whom were this colored people), and that therefore it was incumbent on all of us to register to vote and (so that we didn’t misunderstand what we had to specifically do) “that this November we must vote for a just wage.”
She then explained that at the end of the Mass there would be paperwork which would be (and was) distributed to all the exiting congregation, in which everyone was asked to provide their phone number and/or e-mail address, and follow-up to register to vote for to get out thevote for November. I obtained a copy of the voter-contact form for my own records
As a former Teamsters Union member, I recognized the spiel right down the line:
Minimum wage increase, which bumps up union salaries and union dues and collections;
Register people to vote and get contact lists, and no questions about legal eligibility of the people contacted to vote; and the aggressive get-out-the-vote follow-up.
Needless to say, there was no discussion how raising the minimum wage is a job-killer for small businesses and for all businesses in general and that it denies entry-level applicants who lack skills the opportunity to transition into higher-paying industry jobs. But it is a great payoff for union organizations since all their wages are tiered to any minimum wage increase.
So, in the Diocese of San Jose, there is no scriptural evangelization, no mention of Christ, no moral exhortation at the homily any more, but you do get some excellent Chicago-style union rally rhetoric.
Thought you might want to check it out. —- Steve S/San Jose (please don’t use my real name)
On the same day, Sept. 24, the following was received from a parishioner in Benicia in the Sacramento diocese.
Recently our parish sponsored an evening discussing citizenship responsibilities for Catholics in the November election. The visiting deacon [Deacon John McFadden – see below] shared his thoughts that voting for a pro-choice candidate is justified if the other issues the candidate supports are more appealing.
In light of his thoughts, I feel compelled to respond with my feelings as a faithful Catholic. May I remind Catholics that our Blessed Mother choose to accept her role as an unwed mother, risking her very life against the custom of stoning unwed mothers to death. We treasure life. Like our Catholic Church, the Constitution also protects life. We all know the preamble – that we are endowed by God with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Life is necessary for our citizenship, because without life there is no need for exercising liberty or pursuing happiness. Abortion marks an unborn child for death as a 0 person with no thought for his individual talent or what he can contribute to this world. Have we become a pagan nation sacrificing our children to the gods of pride and convenient happiness?
Another email, this from Divine Savior parish (Orangevale CA) in the Sacramento diocese describing Deacon McFadden’s presentation there, came in on September 25.
1. It is OK to vote for an abortion candidate “if you are not voting for him BECAUSE he supports abortion.” (I remember that reason being considered if BOTH candidates were for abortion!) [Either way, supporting abortion remains an intrinsic evil.] When John asked him about voting for someone who supported slavery, he answered that he “wouldn’t vote for him.”
2. He felt single-issue voters were wrong. (His answer about slavery above sure showed his hypocrisy on single-issue voting if it is in his value system.) [I cannot believe people don’t realize that, when using life as a “single issue,” what is included in that judgment is showing the candidate’s character and whether he supports our country’s values. Those are not one single issue; they reflect on every decision a legislator/president makes.
3. He stated, when discussing the 5 non-negotiables: “The Five Non-Negotiables are too neatly packaged.” He added several more issues that he felt were just as important, i.e. war, embargoes on Iraq that prevented medicine to be given to the people (several “hundreds of thousands of people died”); “Do you think an abortion is more important that hundreds of thousands of people dying?” With that comment the audience corrected him: “55 million Babies have died!; 4,000 a day!”, etc. He was also concerned that some Bishops have demonized Obama by comparing him to Hitler and Stalin! Duh!
An email on Sept 19 from San Diego prolife Catholic contained the following.
We contracted to have Tim Staples [from Catholic Answers] talk about the 5 Non Negotiables at Cathedral High School on October 2. Signed contract, etc.
We received word that Kent Peters [head of the diocese Office for Social Ministry] felt the talk was too “political” ? So, he cancelled via Monsignor Callahan and the principal at the school.
Meanwhile, this past weekend, most of the poor and Hispanic parishes were given cards that talked about the Dream Act. And how Obama helped them. And to vote….
And there was a pulpit announcement at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart to encourage pew sitters to go to Cherokee Point School tomorrow from 4-7 to learn about the issues and talk to the candidates. I doubt there will be any Tea Party candidates at this “Peace Fair” (this is how it is billed on the school website).