Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Exposing the Reality of the Bishop's Lenten Appeal

Title of the Arlington Diocese Lenten Appeal for 2019
As years go by I get angrier and angrier over this because I look at the published distribution of the funds and I rarely see a single thing I would choose to gladly write a check for.

We have contributed thousands in the past, but in the last couple of years our commitment to it has shrunk significantly.  This year it will be less than $50.  I think it is important for the actual number of people to remain high and the dollar amount to shrink, so the bishop knows clearly we the faithful are still fulfilling our "duty" but will no longer fund a diocese that no longer fulfills the needs of the Catholics in the pews.

I say Catholics in the pews specifically because I struggle with the thought that perhaps a large percent of all this money is actually going to pay salaries and "training" and "materials" and for "stuff" handed out to non Catholics, non Christians with no effort put with it to evangelize their souls. 
Screen Shot of the Allocation of Bishop's Appeal
Just more redistribution of wealth and no spreading the Gospel.  WHY would I feel obligated to fund that?  When our own parish is a million dollars in debt to the diocese for a building program we had no say in, and our own grandchildren are barely able to attend Catholic schools because of outrageous tuition costs.  Paul VI high school's annual tuition is $15,000!!!  It is actually cheaper to attend Virginia Tech University.  And the priority of our bishop is "program ministries" and "Catholic Charities" and "youth and young adult ministries"?    The last is a complete JOKE.  11% of the budget to this?  Seriously? Have you EVER in your life been in a parish where either of these groups is thriving?  Over TWO MILLION DOLLARS for "youth and adult ministries"?  

8% to "support chancery offices assisting the bishop."  Translate that to superfluous secretarial bureaucrats and their computers and office supplies, medical benefits, and paid vacations.

The carrot they dangle is 18% to "seminary education."  But WHICH seminary?  And for what kind of priest in the end?  Three seminarians from St. Veronica have gone to the American college in Rome.  (Must be nice.)  You can't tell me our young men are best off right now in the hotbed of sodomy and corruption, Rome, and that they are being taught the traditions of the faith.  What kind of parish priest will they be after jetting back and forth to Europe annually and living on a Mediterranean diet and sipping Chianti? 

They might likely come back as well prepared bureaucrats who are licking their chops for a position behind a desk in a chancery somewhere or getting their expenses paid for another advanced degree in nonsense that doesn't do a darn thing toward saving a single soul or keeping the existing flock fortified.  And then another and another degree in canon law. 

I am sick of it.  Furthermore, I am sick of my own jaded attitude for a Church I should love with my whole heart and serve with gladness.  I am sick of feeling like the girlfriend who knows she's been betrayed and lied to, but has no where else to go.  I am sick of knowing our bishops are as aware of the problem as we are yet NONE OF THEM is willing to say ENOUGH

NONE is willing to say subsidiarity starts in your own parish and the money collected will be put to use IN THE PARISHES in our diocese whose needs come first and in which the poor in our midst can be loved by the people near them.  Where tuition for school can be brought into affordability for average families and CCD can be FREE.  Where organs can be bought and talented trained musicians can be hired.  Where kitchens can be built for parish community activities and sanctuaries and adoration chapels can be odorned properly.  Where inspirational speakers and Adult catechism programs can be introduced and supported.    

And NEVERMIND money going to "Peace and Justice Commission."  WHO and WHAT is that anyway?  Has the smell of communism, in my opinion. 

The Arlington diocese budget is set with anticipation of $18.85 million.  That's A LOT OF MONEY.  Each little segment of the pie contains multiple "recipients."  I believe this is trickery.  Say for instance I felt good about the 8% that goes to "Catholic Schools, Office of Sacred Liturgy and Religious Education Programs." 

8% of $18.85 million is $1,508,000.  How much exactly goes to schools?  How much to "office of sacred liturgy"?  Who even knows whom or what that is.  And "religious education programs"?  Such as???  Who the heck knows?  But it all sounds so nice, so "worthwhile," when it may be a complete waste of funds. 

These things are long established at this point.  People's livelihood/incomes, their families, depend on the funding.  We are led to believe we owe it to them to keep the gravy train rolling.  It is a bureaucracy "too big to fail."  I probably wouldn't want to be the bishop to turn the lights out on this either, but someone at some point has to say ENOUGH! This isn't the way to run a Church.  We are not an employment agency.  

That someone is us.  Just stop giving them your money and do something Catholic with it instead.    


Roe Antinore said...

I feel EXACTLY the same way, Mary Ann. Recently I sent a letter to my current Bishop here in Rockville Center, NY, Bishop John Barres and to my pastor, Fr. Robert Hewes, St. Matthew RC Church right here in Melville Long Island and also to the Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio who had the nerve to send me a request for the Annual Catholic Appeal even though I am no longer in his diocese. I explained to each and every one of them how I feel about and totally mistrust the current state of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and it was far from positive. For instance, their lack of excommunicating the so-called Catholics in politics who support abortion up to birth and now the murder of born-alive babies, their total lack of chastising pro homosexual priests, nuns, bishops, archbishops, etc., the lack of getting to the heart of the abuse scandals in the Church,their lack of calling out this current Pope Francis for his wishy washy statements (amoris laetitia) and contradictory teaching and attacks on the really good shepherds of our Church. I explained to my pastor who I do trust, that I will gladly contribute St. Matthew as long as he uses the funds only for our parish outreach programs and for the upkeep of our church itself. I trust him to do that, he has promised that he will.

Other than that I do NOT contribute to any "second" collection unless it is directly for my local church, and I do not contribute one cent to any annual Catholic Appeal or anything that does not have a specific intention that I support and that about calls for a big fat zero. I do put a note in the envelope briefly explaining why and I got those words from you Mary Ann. They say "I'll contribute when the USCCB joins together to urge a change in canon law to call formally call for the excommunication of politicians and other public leaders who scandalize the flock by promoting abortion" and when they invoke canon 915 against all the pro-abortion Catholic legislators."

Thank you for those words and for constantly being a leader and speaking out against all this nonsense going on in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.

Roe Antinore

Steve Cherry said...

I have already sent back my response to the letter from the Bishop that came in the mail a couple weeks ago. I marked "other" and wrote "ZERO. Not one single penny. We will still donate to charitable works, but works that WE choose, not YOU." We will mark the commitment paper coming this Sunday at church. And, I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about it.

Mary Fran

Susan Matthiesen said...

The Diocese of Orlando needs 50 million for its annual bishop's appeal. FIFTY MILLION!!!! Nowhere does it say that's the amount but our pastor said it was in the second of his three mandated homily appeals.

For three Sundays in a row we hear no preaching on the Gospel. All priests must be money collectors for the bishop asking their parishioners for money to meet the parish's appointed goal. Normally I give nothing. This year I'm thinking of enclosing Chriss's article with a few pennies.

Susan Matthiesen said...

Surely it couldn't be 50 million, could it? Maybe I misunderstood and it's 15 million. I'll have to find out.

Michael Dowd said...

Agree completely. I'm down to 5% of original contribution. I give to worthy individuals, traditional Catholics blogs and selected Catholic writers like Ann Barnhardt and Hilary White. I have now started giving to Fr. Treco who was kicked out of his parish because he gave an Orthodox Catholic sermon. See article on him from One Peter 5:

If anyone would like to contribution please let me know and I will give you his e-mail. My e-mail is:

Katie said...

Hello all,

Father Jerry Pokorsky writes for the Catholic Culture web page. This is an article by Father about how to we can send money to worthy causes and restrict how the money is used: . It is an interesting article.

Peace to you all,

To McFadden (Sr.) said...

The Diocese of Arlington's Office of Sacred Liturgy was mentioned in the blog. It employs a guy with a Ph. D. in Liturgy. Why we need such an office I don't know. However, the Bishop has him going around the Diocese giving lectures on Practical Apologetics. His specialty is "Faith and Science." I attended one of his lectures in Winchester. He is an absolute menace to faith despite being likable and sincere. During the Q & A I asked him enough questions that it was obvious (to me at least) that he not only knew little of his subject but also distorted and misrepresented the teaching of the Church. He presented the theory of evolution as if it was a fact and completely in line with Church teaching. His explanation of the theory of evolution consisted of a slide with brown and white bears. That was it. One slide with just brown and white bears. It was embarrassing. Yet, he asserted (contrary to truth) that Pope Pius XII had clarified that "no opposition exists between evolution and the doctrine of faith about man." He also asserted falsely that speeches that two Popes gave to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences are part of the Magisterium, meaning that they were authoritative teaching for the belief of the universal church. I tried asking more questions, but I was cut off for monopolizing the questions. (Nobody else who was there appeared to have a clue regarding the stuff that was presented).
I realize it was not an appropriate forum for meaningful discussion, but it was painful to see such stuff go unchallenged. Essentially, (and sincerely) he promotes the two fundamental dogmas of the non-theistic religion of secular humanism, namely, cosmic and biological evolution as mainstream Catholicism. He also selectively quotes just one Father of the Church (Augustine) to support his thesis. But, in fairness to him, the "science" part of his presentation accurately reflects the non-scientific, non-biblical, non-logical opinions of his supervisor, the Diocesan Vicar of Faith Formation, that were presented at a lecture sponsored by the Institute for Catholic Culture, as summarized by an attendee and published on the internet. The handouts to attendees are supportive of the presentation. They will probably do more harm than the verbal presentation.

The ordinary Catholic probably would not realize that for all of the books and other resources recommended in the handouts, there are just as many refuting and challenging them. For example, the opinions of a group of four Dominicans called "Thomistic Evolution" is a prominent handout and presented almost as if it was the Magisterium itself. Yet three years ago another Dominican wrote Aquinas and Evolution which was a point by point refutation of them. That book was endorsed by orthodox scholars from Franciscan University (Steubenville) and the seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. I don't see how the Diocesan Faith and Science spokesman couldn't know there was a large body of published scientific, philosophical, and theological opposition to his thesis. So, for a representative of a Bishop to present just one side of a scientific controversy as a matter for one's belief is not acceptable.

Unknown said...

I would emphasize that to give the planned 8% ($1.5 million) to the Virginia Catholic Conference in the light of their repeated failures to properly expose and condemn the virulent anti-life agendas of Democratic candidates for statewide offices here in Virginia is inexcusable. The relative silence has in fact enabled the evil to continue. Maybe if the Catholics in the pews were better informed, they might have voted differently. We'll never know because the leadership of the Conference NEVER REALLY TRIED.