Bishop Zurek Should’ve Understood

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

“You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?”

Jn 3:10

Chapter 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

THE EXCERCISE OF POLITICAL LOVE

186. There is a kind of love that is “elicited”: its acts proceed directly from the virtue of charity and are directed to individuals and peoples. There is also a “commanded” love, expressed in those acts of charity that spur people to create more sound institutions, more just regulations, more supportive structures.[181] It follows that “it is an equally indispensable act of love to strive to organize and structure society so that one’s neighbour will not find himself in poverty”.[182] It is an act of charity to assist someone suffering, but it is also an act of charity, even if we do not know that person, to work to change the social conditions that caused his or her suffering. If someone helps an elderly person cross a river, that is a fine act of charity. The politician, on the other hand, builds a bridge, and that too is an act of charity. While one person can help another by providing something to eat, the politician creates a job for that other person, and thus practices a lofty form of charity that ennobles his or her political activity.

They (the priests) are here to satiate your hunger and to quench your thirst.

Bishop Patrick J. Zurek

Bishop Zurek should’ve understood how to handle the crisis at his own Cathedral…

He should’ve understood that writing a letter that states priests are the ones that, “satiate your hunger”, is giving into “the idea of ordained ministry as belonging to ‘ecclesiastical power,'” and leads to,  “Whatever Father asks you to do, you have to do it.” 

He should understand that to remove his letter to St. Mary’s Cathedral from the diocesan website would be, “a kind of love that is “elicited”: its acts proceed directly from the virtue of charity and are directed to individuals and peoples.

But he doesn’t understand!

Thanks be to God I belong to a Church that understands that , “There is also a ‘commanded’ love, expressed in those acts of charity that spur people to create more sound institutions, more just regulations, more supportive structures.”, and calls for a conference that has the goals of, “improving the way laypeople and priests work together and ensuring that service, not power, motivates the request for ordination”.

Where Did “the few” Go?

Monday of the Second Week of Easter

“…you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;

so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Jn 3:8

Chapter 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CHARITY

Effective love

185. Charity needs the light of the truth that we constantly seek. “That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith”,[180] and does not admit any form of relativism. Yet it also respects the development of the sciences and their essential contribution to finding the surest and most practical means of achieving the desired results. For when the good of others is at stake, good intentions are not enough. Concrete efforts must be made to bring about whatever they and their nations need for the sake of their development.

They became priests to serve you and help you to grow spiritually.

Bishop Patrick J. Zurek

When Bishop Zurek wrote his letter to St. Mary’s Cathedral, was he using charity with the light of the truth that we constantly seek and with which our priests are helping us to grow?

Was his condemnation of “the few” based on objective shepherding, or was it based on his own personal perspective of protecting  his priests at all costs because he knew where “the few” were coming from? 

Why instead, did he not listen to, “the sound” ,”the few” were making about a developing crisis at the Cathedral, and accept their essential contribution to finding the surest and most practical means of achieving the desired results? 

So now, where did “the few” go?  Is Bishop Zurek ensuring that his priests are serving them and helping them “to grow spiritually”? For when the good of others is at stake, good intentions are not enough. Concrete efforts, like removing A Reflection of Christian Life from the diocesan website, must be made to bring about whatever “the few” and our diocese needs for the sake of our development.  Failing to do so is living “a one-way faith, a faith that receives but does not give, a faith that accepts the gift but does not give it in return.”

Praying For, But Not Practicing Divine Mercy

Second Sunday of Easter
Sunday of Divine Mercy

“…and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Jn 20:23

CHAPTER 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

Social and Political Charity

Effective love

184. Charity is at the heart of every healthy and open society, yet today “it is easily dismissed as irrelevant for interpreting and giving direction to moral responsibility”.[175] Charity, when accompanied by a commitment to the truth, is much more than personal feeling, and consequently need not “fall prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions”.[176] Indeed its close relation to truth fosters its universality and preserves it from being “confined to a narrow field devoid of relationships”.[177] Otherwise, it would be “excluded from the plans and processes of promoting human development of universal range, in dialogue between knowledge and praxis”.[178] Without truth, emotion lacks relational and social content. Charity’s openness to truth thus protects it from “a fideism that deprives it of its human and universal breadth”.[179]

Thank you for supporting Msgr. Colwell and Fr Roy. They and all my brother priests have given their lives for the service of the Gospel and the mission of Christ as manifested through their ministry in the Church. They are not seeking wealth or fame and certainly not power or control.

Bishop Patrick J. Zurek, A Reflection on Christian Life

His “brother priests” may not be seeking “power or control”, but is Bishop Zurek doing so in keeping his letter denouncing “the few” to the parishioners of St. Mary’s Cathedral posted on the diocesan website?

That decision seems to be derived more from personal feeling rather than charity accompanied by commitment to the truth, and consequently has “fallen prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions” and shows little concern for, “…building for the future…’”.

Therefore, today’s Divine Mercy Sunday activities at St. Mary’s Cathedral have been,  “confined to a narrow field devoid of relationships”, in which we demonstrate that we have a lot of  knowledge about Divine Mercy, but lack relational and social content  that, “deprives Divine Mercy of its human and universal breadth”.

It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called “Divine Mercy Sunday.” In the various readings, the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings. Christ has taught us that man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called to practise mercy towards others:

From a sermon given by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska on 30 April 2000.

“The Faithful and Loyal Disciples of St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish”

Saturday in the Octave of Easter

…rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart it…

Mk 16:14

CHAPTER 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

Social and Political Charity

Effective love

183. “Social love”[172] makes it possible to advance towards a civilization of love, to which all of us can feel called. Charity, with its impulse to universality, is capable of building a new world.[173] No mere sentiment, it is the best means of discovering effective paths of development for everyone. Social love is a “force capable of inspiring new ways of approaching the problems of today’s world, of profoundly renewing structures, social organizations and legal systems from within”.[174]

Now that I have finished part of my experience with this “the few” I need to address you who are not part of them. I now speak to all the rest of you, the parishioners of St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish. You are the faithful and loyal disciples that the Lord Jesus desires. I am so sorry that you have to experience this awful bashing against other members of the Body of Christ manifested here. I cannot thank you enough! I am proud of you; your Rector, your Associate Rector, all my brother priests are very proud of you.

Bishop Patrick J. Zurek, A Reflection on Christian Life

It was not “the few” that Jesus is rebuking in today’s Gospel; it is the Eleven, the ones that Bishop Zurek places among, “the faithful and loyal disciples that the Lord Jesus desires.”

What kind of love does Jesus desire?

I think that , “I love you for sentimental reasons”, sounds great when Nat King Cole is singing, but paragraph 183 of Fratelli Tutti tells us that “Effective love”, is a ‘force capable of inspiring new ways of approaching the problems of today’s world, of profoundly renewing structures, social organizations and legal systems from within'”.

“Effective love” is what what Prince Phillip lived: “In his powerful advocacy for conservation, his was a prophetic voice for over half a century, as he brought people from around the world to a new concern and commitment to action for the future of our planet,”.

“Effective love”, “involves reaching out in solidarity to build trust and also to challenge those who seek to control and imprison us and our young people in the past.”

“Effective love” is opposed to situations where, “people are excluded”, as Bishop Zurek has done at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Political Love #3 and the “Original (Catholic) Fish Fry”

Friday in the Octave of Easter

…they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it…

Jn 21:9

CHAPTER 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

Social and Political Charity

Political love

182. This political charity is born of a social awareness that transcends every individualistic mindset: “‘Social charity makes us love the common good’, it makes us effectively seek the good of all people, considered not only as individuals or private persons, but also in the social dimension that unites them”.[171] Each of us is fully a person when we are part of a people; at the same time, there are no peoples without respect for the individuality of each person. “People” and “person” are correlative terms. Nonetheless, there are attempts nowadays to reduce persons to isolated individuals easily manipulated by powers pursuing spurious interests. Good politics will seek ways of building communities at every level of social life, in order to recalibrate and reorient globalization and thus avoid its disruptive effects.

One of my disappointments in life is that Catholics give up Fish Fries for Easter. Actually, as is pointed out in today’s Gospel and noted in a Holy Week Homily by Bishop Zurek, the third  resurrection appearance of Jesus was the, “original fish fry,”! This fish story also serves as lesson on how “‘People’ and ‘person’ are correlative terms“, as is stated in paragraph 182 of Fratelli Tutti.

Before he took up denouncing “Cancel Culture”, Bishop Zurek was trying to cancel the culture of “exaggerated frontier individualism”.

I have mentioned in many homilies in recent years that our country is in
dire straits. What Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. wrote several years ago in an article seems to have penetrated our country completely. The southwest seems to have evolved a new philosophy which he termed, “exaggerated frontier individualism”. This has dulled our society and permitted a philosophy of “non-distinction; all is equal!” to emerge.

Bishop Patrick J. Zurek, A Reflection on Christian Life, A Letter to St. Mary’s Cathedral

I have searched for Cardinal Dulles and “exaggerated frontier individualism”, but the only document that I can find that puts those two together is Bishop Zurek’s letter. Until our bishop cites his source, I have to think that he is doing what paragraph 182 speaks against; “attempts nowadays to reduce persons to isolated individuals easily manipulated by powers pursuing spurious interests.”

Meanwhile, back at the “Original Fish Fry”, we have Peter who, “tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
…and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.”

Now if that is not, “exaggerated frontier individualism”, then I don’t know what is!

Even so, he was only able to act, “fully a person” because he was, “part of a people”.

My prayer for today is that in the Diocese of Amarillo we come to realize that,

there are no peoples without respect for the individuality of each person“, and that I can find some good take-out fried fish for tonight’s supper!

Political Love #2

Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?…”

LK 24:38

CHAPTER 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

Social and Political Charity

Political love

181. Every commitment inspired by the Church’s social doctrine is “derived from charity, which according to the teaching of Jesus is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36-40)”.[168] This means acknowledging that “love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world”.[169] For this reason, charity finds expression not only in close and intimate relationships but also in “macro-relationships: social, economic and political”.[170]

On World Health Day, April 7, a new group of 31 U.S. Catholic organizations encouraged people to get the COVID-19 vaccine as an act of charity and solidarity with others.

Catholic News Service

Both Pope Francis and Bishop Zurek in Easter remarks have call it an act of charity. I didn’t think of it as quite that noble of a gesture. I was so ready to move on beyond the year-long Lent of pandemic restrictions that I was thinking more of love of myself than my neighbor when I rose up my sleeve for the needle.

However, it seems that many of my fellow white, over fifty, males (who believe that Roe V. Wade calls us to be more Evangelical than Catholic)have WOKE and discovered that it is an act of charity to not be vaccinated. I believe their anti-vaccine reasoning is just as selfish as my pro-vaccine one!

The only reason that has any basis for a Catholic to not be vaccinated is that the vaccine was developed unethically by way of aborted fetal tissue cells. That is why last summer, when Operation Warp Speed began, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops called on the Trump Administration to only fund vaccines that were ethically produced.

When I brought this up to my liberal friends they told me that we should not hold up progress for the common good based solely on the single issue of ethically producing vaccines.

When I brought this up to my conservative friends they told me that we should not hold up progress for the common good based solely on the single issue of ethically producing vaccines.

Now my WOKE, over fifty, males (who believe that Roe V. Wade calls us to be more Evangelical than Catholic) tell me that we should hold up progress for the common good based solely on the issue of ethically produced vaccines.

What WOKE them? I believe it was a

social doctrine “derived from MAGA, which according to the teaching of Donald Trump is the synthesis of the entire Law

Political Love #1

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,

CHAPTER 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

Social and Political Charity

Political love

180. Recognizing that all people are our brothers and sisters, and seeking forms of social friendship that include everyone, is not merely utopian. It demands a decisive commitment to devising effective means to this end. Any effort along these lines becomes a noble exercise of charity. For whereas individuals can help others in need, when they join together in initiating social processes of fraternity and justice for all, they enter the “field of charity at its most vast, namely political charity”.[165] This entails working for a social and political order whose soul is social charity.[166] Once more, I appeal for a renewed appreciation of politics as “a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good”.[167]

How do we recognize, “Political Love”?

Who was practicing “Political Love” based on Bishop Zurek’s letter to St. Mary’s Cathedral, “A Reflection on Christian Life“?

Bishop Zurek?

Me as one of “the few”?

Both?

Neither?

Mysteriously, (Which is the case with things of God.) the answer to one of those options is yes, and will only be answered at the Final Judgment.

So how do I “recognize” “”Political Love”now? The answer is in today’s Gospel.

“Political Love” is not determined by the issues I support or “who” I vote for, but rather “in the breaking of the Bread”!

A Tree Too Close

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

“What are we to do,…?”

Acts 2:37 from Today’s First Reading

CHAPTER 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

Social and Political Charity

The politics we need

179. Global society is suffering from grave structural deficiencies that cannot be resolved by piecemeal solutions or quick fixes. Much needs to change, through fundamental reform and major renewal. Only a healthy politics, involving the most diverse sectors and skills, is capable of overseeing this process. An economy that is an integral part of a political, social, cultural and popular programme directed to the common good could pave the way for “different possibilities which do not involve stifling human creativity and its ideals of progress, but rather directing that energy along new channels”.[164]

A foundation repair specialist is inspecting our home as I write this blog. We have have already been told that a tree planted over 50 years ago by my dad needed to be removed in order to prevent “grave structural deficiencies” in the future. Even though there are fifty some-odd trees, just as old and planted by Dad on the home place, that tree suddenly became very precious to me, and I felt anger towards the specialist when the advice was given.

My reaction helped me to understand why Bishop Zurek is into throwing down his mask with the hope that, “piecemeal solutions or quick fixes” such as getting vaccinated, denouncing “Cancel Culture” or WOKE, and paying off our UCA assessments will return us to a “before” that preserves the long standing tree of clericalism in our diocese. However, according to Fratelli Tutti, “Much needs to change, through fundamental reform and major renewal. Only a healthy politics, (without the tree of clericalism) involving the most diverse sectors and skills, (laity) is capable of overseeing this process. An economy (UCA) that is an integral part of a political, social, cultural and popular program directed to the common good could pave the way for ‘different possibilities which do not involve stifling human creativity (like what was done with the letter to St. Mary’s Cathedral, “A Reflection on Christian Life”) and its ideals of progress, but rather directing that energy (anger) along new channels’.”

The Pettiness of the Diocese of Amarillo

Monday in the Octave of Easter

“It is always possible to begin anew, because there is a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures,”

Pope Francis, Easter Vigil

CHAPTER 5

A BETTER KIND OF POLITICS

Social and Political Charity

The politics we need

178. In the face of many petty forms of politics focused on immediate interests, I would repeat that “true statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. Political powers do not find it easy to assume this duty in the work of nation-building”,[162] much less in forging a common project for the human family, now and in the future. Thinking of those who will come after us does not serve electoral purposes, yet it is what authentic justice demands. As the Bishops of Portugal have taught, the earth “is lent to each generation, to be handed on to the generation that follows”.[163]

When will we as a diocese look in the mirror at “the face of many petty forms of” clericalism “focused on immediate interests”?

For years children in our Catholic schools have been featured generously in our UCA brochures, yet when the disbursement of those monies occurs they only receive petty amounts. Under the current politics of clericalism in our diocese, the burden of Catholic school education is laid on the backs of the 4 parishes that operate schools, the teachers who teach in those schools and the parents who pay tuition. There are other ways of practicing stewardship besides the UCA that provides for and unites the entire diocesan family, “now and in the future.”

Thinking of those who come after us does not maintain the power of the religious hierarchy in the Diocese of Amarillo, yet it is what authentic justice demands, according to Fratelli Tutti.