Monday, December 31, 2007

Farewell Uncle Angelo

Today we buried my uncle at the age of 87 in New Jersey. He was the husband of my aunt – my father’s sister.

During World War 2 he was a gunner on B-17’s flying over Europe. At the wake, there was a photo of him holding a .50 cal. Machine gun. The photo was taken in Utah during his basic training. A great photo of him.

After his discharge, he married my aunt and had two children – one is a lawyer and the other an accountant. He was a member of the local Knights of Columbus council – 4th Degree.

The funeral home did a very professional job. The priest and the deacon did a wonderful job. At the cemetery, the Air Force provided a Burial Detail/Honor Guard – a Senior Airman and an Airman Basic – to fold and present the colors to my aunt.

For me, that is when it became the saddest – when the Senior Airman presented the colors to my aunt “On behalf of the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and a grateful nation as a token of appreciation for the honorable and faithful service rendered by your loved one.”

As we were walking back to the cars, my father (a World War 2 veteran himself) asked about the Burial Detail. I informed him that all veterans are eligible for this ceremony, including him when the time comes (and I hope that is not for many years).

It is my understanding that over 1500 World War 2 veterans die each day in the US.

As we close the year, let us take a moment to thank God for those who have served and to ask Him to watch over those who currently serve.

Armed Services Prayer

O God, almighty and most gracious, we acknowledge your dominion on earth and in the heavens, and the infinite love manifest in your relationship with all people. As the Creator you have made the world and invited us to share in its development; as the Redeemer, you saved the world and invited us to participate in its salvation.

Give to the men and women of the Armed Services the wisdom and courage to so live and sacrifice that, with justice maintained and true liberty safeguarded, all people everywhere may be possessed of that peace which you alone can give. As they are called to engage in dangerous missions, be with them, their constant support and their ultimate goal. May they know your continuous care and protection as they give of themselves that others may know security and peace. Amen.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I proclaim to you good news of great joy...

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there,the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son.She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them,“Do not be afraid;for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highestand on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:1-14

Editors Note: I am going to take a couple of days off. You will see me back just before the New Year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The President visits the Jeanne Jugan Residence (Little Sisters of the Poor)

Although this story has not received any press other than the Catholic Standard, it is important to recognize when the President of the US (and the First Lady) visit a Catholic institution. In this case, it was the Jeanne Jugan Residence for the poor and elderly run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Among his messages was the one of helping others – sometimes it is just looking out for the person next door, other times is volunteering. If you can, do both. Find an organization in which you can not only put your skills to work but that you enjoy working with. And make certain that it fits in with our faith.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Stamps

Each year, in early December, I head over to the US Post Office (USPS) to pick up Christmas stamps. Mind you, I do not pick up the regular Christmas stamps, I pick up the religous ones -- the Madonna and Child. Now, I don't just pick up 50 or 60, just enough for the Christmas cards, I pick up about 300 or so.

Yes, I did say 300 or so.

I do so for two reasons. First, the USPS is a business (okay, maybe most of us do not think of it in that manner). The more of a particular type of product they sell, it may help to guarantee it will continue to be produced.

Second, it sends two messages. The first message is that Christ is the reason for the season. The second is that Christ is the reason all year round. When you put a Christmas stamp on a letter in May or June, it is just another reminder of that second message.

So, the next time you go to the Post Office, pick up a couple of extra Christmas (Madonna and Child ones) stamps.

Now, for a little Christmas stamp humor (again, one of those emails that I have received about 4 times already):

A blonde went into the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards.

She asked the clerk, "May I have 50 Christmas stamps?"

The clerk said, "What denomination?"

The blonde says, "God help us. Has it come to this? Give me six Catholic, twelve Presbyterian, ten Lutheran and twenty-two Baptist!"

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Little Humor - Part II

A while back, I had posted some humorous stuff floating on the web entitled: Secret Catholic Stuff. I posted half of it and then lost the original email. So, having gotten the email again, here is the rest.

Remember, a good laugh is healthy.



INCENSE: Holy Smoke!

JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to find colleges with good basketball teams.

JONAH: The original "Jaws" story.

JUSTICE: When kids have kids of their own.

KYRIE ELE ISON: The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize besides gyros and baklava. (For you non-Catholics it means "Lord have mercy".)

MAGI: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.

MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn't covered by an HMO. (The Bible's way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.)

PEW: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.

PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.

RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.

RELICS: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know hen to sit, kneel, and stand.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MCC Legislative Activity for Non-Public Schools - Part IV

In the last three parts, I outlined what the Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) intends to do and my view of our State Senator and Delegates.

So, I guess some of you are saying: What do you think we should do? So, here are my thoughts...

1. If you really think that lobbying them will make a difference, feel free to do so but you are wasting your time. However, I do think that meeting with those who have supported us in the past is a very good thing. It shows them that we remember who are friends are.

2. The MCC needs to make the it clear to every parent, every brother/sister (of voting age) and every grandparent of a child enrolled in Catholic school (elementary and high school): Madaleno, Sol Guiterrez and Waldreicher are not friends of Catholic schools. Voting for them means you are voting against any sort of tax relief for you or funding of any aspect of education in Catholic schools.

3. The MCC must remind all parishioners of all parishes, and especially those with a Catholic school, that many Catholic schools are not self-supporting. Tuition cannot cover all of the expenses. They cannot make it on their own without support from the local parish. Therefore, if you decide to vote to any of these politicians, you are voting against any relief of your Catholic school.

4. The MCC must remind these representatives that if they want our support on any issues, they need to start showing some support for our Catholic schools. And that does not mean throwing us some crumbs - a $500 tax credit here or there. That means supporting our agenda -- at least 75% of what we want. Without it, we will do everything we can to remind Catholics, in every single parish, that you are no friends of the Catholic faith and that they should think twice about voting for you.

5. Catholics need to start to vote against these guys and not just blindly flip the switch. To be quite honest, the Democratic Party of today is not the party of my father. It is a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual and an anti-Catholic party. (Actually, anti-conservative Christian.)

If that does not work, then I think that the MCC should begin to organize groups to protest them (legally -- no illegal activities) at ribbon cutting ceremonies, town hall meetings, etc.

I think it would be wonderful to have photos plastered in the Washington Post, NBC, etc. showing a couple of hundred uniformed Catholic school children with signs saying that politician X is no friend of children, that they don't care about us, etc.

I think it is time to start to take the gloves off as they say.

What do you think?

Monday, December 17, 2007

MCC Legislative Activity for Non-Public Schools - Part III

As in the last two postings, I have been discussing my take on the MCC Legislative Activity for Non-Public Schools. So, let me continue my take on our Delegates.

Rep. Ana Sol Gutierrez has never attended one of the Non-Public School Meetings. To me, she seems to care more about illegal aliens (not "undocumented immigrants" which is the PC version used by the Maryland Catholic Conference) than about citizens. She is looking for that illegal alien vote in Mont. County and that is not too difficult to get with the ways the election laws are structured and their enforcement. If I am correct, has never supported any of these pieces of legislation. (However, if I am wrong, please let me know and I will set the record straight.) Do you really think she is going to start now?

Rep. Jeff Waldreicher is new to the delegation. During the primaries, I received a piece of campaign literature from him at the local metro stop. (For those who don't know, Metro is like the NYC Subway, only on a much smaller but more expensive scale.) It stated that he intended to keep abortion safe for all women and called all of those on the Pro-Life side, "radical extremists". In addition, he is the Chair of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland. Do you really think he is going to give tax breaks to Catholic schools in Maryland?

More in Part IV

Saturday, December 15, 2007

MCC Legislative Activity for Non-Public Schools Announcement - Part II

As mentioned in my last posting, the Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) issued a statement on lobbying our legislators for a number of items in the upcoming session.

My take on it is that this is nice but really ineffective. Let's look at the "cast of characters" as they say.

Sen. Madaleno is living in a homosexual relationship. He may not advertise it like Ellen DeGeneris or Elton John, but he does not hide it. He is a member of the LGBT group in the Maryland Assembly. So, do you really think he is going to support funding for Catholic schools.

More importantly, about two or three years ago, I attended one of these town hall style meetings in which the MCC invites legislators to meet with parents of non-public school children. (Note that anyone can attend, this is not restricted.) The sessions usually leads off with a PowerPoint slide presentation reviewing how much money private schools save the state and what other states are doing to support private schools. At this particular session, Madaleno attended. At the time, he was a delegate.

That night, he was asked about using tobacco money (the settlement money from lawsuits against the cigarette manufactures) for non-public schools. He stated that the did not like to use money that would be spent on reducing tobacco deaths and health care for this issue. When pressed further, he was asked if tobacco money was not involved, would he still feel the same way. Realizing that he had been caught, he admitted that he was against the entire idea of giving back money to private school parents. Since we have the option to send our children to public schools, and we did not, then that is our decision and the public schools should not suffer because of that.

In addition, he was asked if he knew that parents who home schooled their children received a textbook credit, so why couldn't Catholic schools get the same? Since he did not know this, he wanted to check more into it. I wrote to him on three separate occasions about this. No reply.

More in Part III

Thursday, December 13, 2007

MCC Legislative Activity for Non-Public Schools Announcement - Part I

Recently, I received a notice from the Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC). It is abbreviated below:

Maryland Legislative Activity for
Non-Public Schools - November 2007

The Maryland general assembly will meet for the 2008 legislative session in January. With current state budget problems, funding programs for Catholic schools will be as difficult as ever to secure. We need your support to keep the following issues, identified by the Maryland Catholic Conference, in the forefront for our legislators to consider:

Textbook/Technology funding: currently funded at $4 million (approx. $22/student for St. John’s school) for fiscal year 2007-08. Ask legislators to restore a previous allocation of $6 million (approx. $30/student) or, at least, to maintain the current allocation for the 2008-09 school year.

Quality Teacher Incentive Tax Credit: This is a $1,500 state income tax credit currently available to public school teachers to offset cost of coursework needed to maintain or advance certification. Ask legislators to extend this benefit to non-public school teachers as a straightforward matter of equity.

BOAST Maryland Tax Credit (Building Opportunities for All Students and Teachers in Maryland): This program would provide state income tax credit to businesses that donate to programs that benefit all of Maryland’s students and teachers – public and private. A similar program in Pennsylvania has been very successful in providing funds for Catholic schools.

Senator: Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.

Delegates: Ana Sol Gutierrez and Jeff Waldreicher. One delegate position is open due to the death of Jane Lawton.

Now, it is great that they want to lobby these folks, but let's be real about these legislators: They are no friends of Catholic schools.

More about this in Part II

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Rot from Within (continues...)

A few days ago, I posted about the reasons why I believe that the Catholic Church in the Washington DC area has not fought or even mentioned the Transgender Bill in the People's Republic of Montgomery County.

Part of my call on the Archbishop to get rid of the rot within the Church is due to the story that has made the news over the last two weeks. This is from The Navy Times:

An HIV-positive Catholic Navy chaplain was sentenced Thursday to no more than two years in the brig for sexual misconduct with several men including an enlisted Marine, an Air Force officer and two Naval Academy midshipmen.

In the end, Lee pleaded guilty to two counts of sodomy, one count of aggravated assault, three counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, two counts of failure to obey a lawful order, and three lesser charges.

I really do not want to get into all of the disgusting details, but this not something that just happened when he entered the military as a chaplain. This guy is a repeat offender! He has been involved in this type of activity for many years.

I hate to say this, and am ashamed to, but he was without a doubt involved in this sort of activity in the seminary. Where were the Seminary Rector and Spiritual Director on this? You mean no one had heard anything about this type of behavior? Or maybe they heard about it and looked the other way? Maybe worse.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services and the Archdiocese of Washington may get away with saying that the first they heard about this only a few weeks ago, when he (Fr. Lee) informed them that he was under investigation for sexual misconduct. They may get away legally with saying that they had received no prior allegations about this behavior, but I doubt very highly that they knew nothing about his behavior. As I said earlier, this is not something that just happened overnight. There were probably rumors and talk going on for years, but no one said a word or did anything.

As terrible and horrible those who have abused children, this one - actively homosexual priests - is rotting the Church from within.

It is time for our prelates to clean house and to get rid of the rot within. If they can't, then they know what the honorable thing to do is.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Rot Within.

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about the Montgomery County Transgender Bill. For a couple of days I kept asking, "Where was the Church? Why haven't they opposed this?"

Nothing was publicized by the Maryland Catholic Conference.

There was nothing in the Catholic Standard (the "official" newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington).

There was no statement by the Archbishop.

There was no statement in my parish bulletin.

Nothing, Nada, Zip.

When I asked a good friend of mine about this, he said, "The reason they are saying nothing is because they are hiding them." I thought about this, but said nothing.

A few days later, I was talking to another friend, someone who would know about such things. When I asked him about this he said: "They (the bishops, the Catholic press, etc.) have not said anything because they are scared that if they come out against this, there will be priests who are outed because they either do it or have relations with those who do."

When will Archbishop Wuerl come clean on this matter? When will Bishop Laverde (Arlington) come clean? When will Cardinals Egan (NY) and Mahoney (LA) come clean? When will they all come clean?

This, my friends, is the rot from within. There are a number of priests who are active homosexuals.

When will they get rid of the rot within?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Remember Pearl Harbor

On this day in 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked and marked entry of the US into World War 2. (Yes, I know the formal declaration would come later.)

In 1994, I had the opportunity to visit the Battleship Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. What I remember so vividly is that oil still rises from the tomb of all those who died when it capsized. A reminder to all those who visit that we should never forget.

On this day, let's once again take a moment to remember those who died on that day and all those who have died since protecting our freedoms.

PS: Remember, December 8th is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is a Holy Day of Obligation and since it falls on a Saturday, no excuses.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Philly Boy Scouts Update...

Did you know that the Boy Scouts of Philly built the building they are currently in and gave it to the City of Philly? Did you know that they have an agreement with the city that they only pay $1 per year in perpetuity?

I just found this information out. Isn't that interesting.

Maybe the Boy Scouts should ask for the building back.

Maybe a good old fashioned lawsuit is in order here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Stand Firm Philly Boy Scouts, Stand Firm!

The Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America have decided to ignore the City of Philadelphia call to renounce their policy on homosexuals. Because of that, they will be required to pay the City of Philly $200,000 per year in rent on the property they are using as their offices. This will take effect on June 1, 2008.

As you know, the Boy Scouts, as a private organization, may exclude those who do not abide by their rules/beliefs, such as gays, atheists and agnostics from employment or volunteer positions. This decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2000.

Since that time, many local (esp. liberal) governments have done whatever they can to remove the Boy Scouts from their property or exclude them -- including use of various facilities. For example, right here in our own People's Republic of Montgomery County, the MoCo school administration banned fliers from being distributed to student about Scouting. This was fought by the National Capital Area Council - BSA and they won! Now, the MoCo Public Schools must distribute Scouting fliers along with ever other group.

How did they do it? It was because the Republicans in the Congress helped to pass the Support Our Scouts Act to protect Scouting groups from being denied access to public facilities in response to their stance on homosexuality. After some letters (and maybe the threat of a lawsuit?), the MoCo Public Schools sent out a note to all principals about this. It took a while to get this word out but the word is out.

Now, let me get back to the Philly situation for a moment. I wonder if the Philly government has thought about all of the money that the Boy Scouts save them by providing service projects, such as litter pick-up, building bird boxes, etc. I bet it is much more than the $200,000 they wish to charge. Maybe the Scouts in Philly should direct their service projects to organizations that support their beliefs and ideals and not the local government. Let's see who really benefits in the end.

Now for those of you who say, who cares, recently, the some members (two adults and four boys) of the Cub Scout Pack sponsored by my parish participated in a litter clean up. Each spent apx. 2 hours at this task. Even if it is calculated at 6 hours of labor, how much money did they save our local government? If you figure $20 per hour (wages and benefits), that equals $120. Multiply that hundreds of times over the year and it is a "pretty penny."

The Boy Scouts are one of the last groups to stand firm on these issues. I congratulate them and am proud to be among those who can call themselves a Boy Scout.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

As we move more and more closer to the primaries for US president, the issue of the denial of communion by a priest has once again come into question.

In the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal McCarrick 9the former archbishop) was adamant regarding the administering of the Eurcharist to politicians who support abortion. My understanding that is it is up to the communicant to be in a state of grace for him or her to decide to receive communion. It is not up to the priest.

Unfortunately, Archbishop Wuerl has decided to keep this policy in place. This I disagree with him wholeheartedly.

Now, why do I bring up this subject? because I came across a reference (and I am not certain where) to the following article published in the PERIODICA DE RE CANONICA vol. 96 (2007) pag. 3-58 entitled: The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin by R. L. BURKE.

Who is R.L Burke? Why he is the Archbishop of St. Louis who stated that he would not give communion to John Kerry in the 2004 election.

(Now there are many more people out there who are more knowledgable about this subject than I am, so if you feel that I am in error, please feel free to write to me and we can discuss the issue.)

After reading though the article, I think that the conclusions presented speak the most to the average catholic.

What conclusions can be drawn from the study of the history of the canonical discipline of denying Holy Communion to those who obstinately persist in public grave sin?

First of all, the consistent canonical discipline permits the administering of the Sacrament of Holy Communion only to those who are properly disposed externally, and forbids it to those who are not so disposed, prescinding from the question of their internal disposition, which cannot be known with certainty."

Secondly, the discipline is required by the invisible bond of communion which unites us to God and to one another. The person who obstinately remains in public and grievous sin is appropriately presumed by the Church to lack the interior bond of communion, the state of grace, required to approach worthily the reception of the Holy Eucharist.

Thirdly, the discipline is not penal but has to do with the safeguarding of the objective and supreme sanctity of the Holy Eucharist and with caring for the faithful who would sin gravely against the Body and Blood of Christ, and for the faithful who would be led into error by such sinful reception of Holy Communion.

Fourthly, the discipline applies to any public conduct which is gravely sinful, that is, which violates the law of God in a serious matter. Certainly, the public support of policies and laws which, in the teaching of the Magisterium, are in grave violation of the natural moral law falls under the discipline.

Fifthly, the discipline requires the minister of Holy Communion to forbid the Sacrament to those who are publicly unworthy. Such action must not be precipitous. The person who sins gravely and publicly must, first, be cautioned not to approach to receive Holy Communion. The memorandum, "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion", of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in its fifth principle, gives the perennial pastoral instruction in the matter. This, in fact, is done effectively in a pastoral conversation with the person, so that the person knows that he is not to approach to receive Holy Communion and, therefore, the distribution of Holy Communion does not become an occasion of conflict. It must also be recalled that "no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it."

Finally, the discipline must be applied in order to avoid serious scandal, for example, the erroneous acceptance of procured abortion against the constant teaching of the moral law. No matter how often a Bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow. To remain silent is to permit serious confusion regarding a fundamental truth of the moral law. Confusion, of course, is one of the most insidious fruits of scandalous behavior.

But what I think is just as important...

Catholics in public office bear an especially heavy burden of responsibility to uphold the moral law in the exercise of their office which is exercised for the common good, especially the good of the innocent and defenseless. When they fail, they lead others, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to be deceived regarding the evils of procured abortion and other attacks on innocent and defenseless human life, on the integrity of human procreation, and on the family.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rep. Henry Hyde, Pro-Life Champion - May he rest in Eternal Peace!

Yesterday, Rep. Henry Hyde passed away.

Best known for the "Hyde Amendment" which he offered as a Freshmen Member of Congress in 1976. The amendment has successfully kept our federal government out of the abortion business, protecting unborn children and pro-life taxpayers alike.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed rest in peace.

My perpetual light shine upon him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is it inappropriate to recommend a politician for office?

According to a recent survey*, 70% of those polled said that it was inappropriate for their local religious leader to "suggest" who you should vote for.

What does this mean?

I don't know the correct answer (I assume it is bullet #1) but I believe that it should be followed up by a more important question: Do documents such as the one issued by the USCCB make a difference in how you vote?

Now, I am not saying that the USCCB should not issue such documents. I believe they have a responsibility to do so. However, I just wonder how much influence do they really have on the person who sits in the pew every Sunday?

What do you think? Let me know.

*Fox 5-The Washington Times-Rasmussen Reports Survey taken from Nov. 14-15 of 1000 adults nationwide. Margin of error is 3% points.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Can Catholic Education Survive in the Archdiocese (continued)...

A couple of days ago, I posted on the City Center Consortium -- the amount of money spent, the merging of some schools, closing of others and the conversion of some into "values based" Charter schools. I would like to take this opportunity to follow-up on this.

First, I think that Archbishop Wuerl did the right thing and needs to be given credit for facing this issue head on. I do not believe that this is something he wanted to do and it was a difficult choice but I do believe that he did the right thing.

I think one of the most important issues discussed was the fact that he realizes that Catholic education, especially at the elementary school level, is hurting across the entire archdiocese. Costs have gone up and enrollment is down. This is due to a number of factors, not just any one particular one.

Second, the use of the school facilities for charter schools will bring some much needed revenue into parishes that may have seen their donations drop over the years. The drop in donations is usually due to a change in demographics. Since charter schools pay rent, it will be a boon to these parishes. Many inner city parishes (and that even includes the one that I grew up in) are facing the same problems -- delayed maintenance, increased costs and a decrease in donations.

Finally, I do think that we should be pushing more for "vouchers" or some sort of tax relief for parents who send their children to Catholic school. To that end, a future posting will be on my proposal for "vouchers."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Congratulations Maryland Catholic Conference for helping to give us over $1,000,000,000 in new taxes!

Well, it looks like the Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) under Richard Dowling, Julie Varner et al. has succeeded in giving all of us higher taxes. Now, they cannot raise taxes but they have been one of the groups that have helped to push for new taxes in front of the Maryland legislature.

Let's just take a look at what they have helped to accomplish:
  • 120% increase in motor vehicle title registration fee
  • 100% increase in cigarette tax
  • 20% increase in sales tax (5 cents to 6 cents)
  • Expansion of sales tax to computer services (estimated to raise $200 million per year)
  • 20% increase in car titling tax (limited relief granted by trade-in allowance)
  • 20% tax on net proceeds for electronic bingo and tip jar amusements (an entirely new tax)
  • 18% increase in corporate income tax rate
  • Increases in personal income tax rates for wage earners under graduated tax brackets (highest wage earners face 16% increase)
  • New transfer tax on real estate transfers of “controlling interests”

What does this mean to me? It will mean:

(1) I will do more of my shopping in Delaware -- which has no taxes -- and will help to generate less money into Maryland's coffers; and,

(2) it will make me think long and hard about an increase in my giving to the parish and the Archdiocese this year. You see, each year I try to increase my giving in relation to inflation. I believe that if I give one dollar a week this year, that I should increase it next year by X amount.

What does this mean to you? You get to keep less of your money. Not only do you have to pay more in taxes, businesses will simply pass along the cost of these increases to you. As my dad says: "You pay, no matter which way you turn."

Think of it as an early Christmas gift from the MCC and Gov. O'Malley.

Nice job Mr. Dowling, nice job.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks to the Maryknights of the Fr. Rosensteel Council (K of C #2169)

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser for the St. Joseph House sponsored by the Maryknights of the Fr. Rosensteel Council (Knights of Columbus). Not only was a good time had by all but it raised some much needed funds for their work.

The St. Joseph House is a non-profit daycare and respite home serving children with multiple disabilities. It is run by Cubby and
Dan LaHood and their family (and they have really wonderful kids). In addition, Cubby and Dan are Lay Missionaries of Charity. They receive no financial assistance from any government entity or from the Catholic Church. So, the funds to run the House come from fundraisers such as the one at the Knights and donations from average people like you and me.

As we give thanks for the many blessings God has given us (and He has given us oh so many), I would like to give thanks to the Maryknights and all of the Knights of the Fr. Rosensteel Council (Knights of Columbus #2169) for hosting this wonderful event and giving the St. Joseph House not only a much needed financial boost but a chance to make their mission a bit better known.

NB: I will be taking some time off to spend with the family at Thanksgiving and will post again in a few days.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Good Samaritan

This past Saturday night, I attended a fundraiser at the Fr. Rosensteel Council of the Knights of Columbus (more about that tomorrow).

During the event, one of the elderly participants was crossing the street outside of the Council building and fell face down into the street. I am not certain if he lost his balance, tripped, etc.

Someone saw what happened and immediately rushed inside to get help. The first person to respond was Michael Collins. Mike, who works at Holy Cross Hospital in the Physical Therapy section (I think I got that right), immediately began to administer first aid to the elderly man to not only stop the bleeding but also to prevent shock.

During the entire time, Mike not only remained calm while administering first aid, but also kept the person calm until the EMTs arrived.

In addition, Laura Collins (Mike's wife) attempted to keep the elderly gentleman's wife calm by letting her know that her husband would be fine and asking her questions about the medications he might be on.

I know that they probably would be upset and a little embarrassed my writing this but they deserve to be recognized.

Kudos go out to Mike and Laura!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

And now, a little humor...

A couple of weeks ago, I received the same email from a couple of friends entitled: Catholic Trivia. It is one of those humorous ones that you get for a few days from various people, as it "flies" around the world. I will share of part of now and some later.

Remember, it is important to laugh, especially at ourselves sometimes.



This information is for Catholics only. It must not be divulged to non-Catholics. The less they know about our rituals and code words, the better off they are.

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending Mass.

CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.

HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.

HYMN : A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation's range.

RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Time to Fight the Montgomery County Transgender Bill

The American Family Association, in conjunction with other groups, is attempting to fight the Montgomery Council Transgender Bill by placing it on the ballot.

According to the email I received:

A referendum which will give the people of the County the chance to vote on the issue next November. We would have to collect over 20,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot. Please forward the on-line petition link and tell your friends about this issue. If everyone on our current email subscription list signs the petitions and get 20 friends to also sign, we have enough. Make sure you tell folks to check “make email address available to author” so that we can contact them with the official referendum signature information.

Please take a moment and share this with your family and friends. It can be stopped but only if you do not remain silent.

Again, the Catholic Standard makes no mention of the Transgender Bill by the Montgomery County Council in the Nov. 15, 2007 issue. Since they go to press early in the week, they would not have had time to publish an article on the passing of the bill but for crying out loud, they could have put something in the paper.

All I can say is "SHAME" on the Catholic Standard and on the editor, Mark Zimmerman.

I wonder how much longer they will remain silent on the issue.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Can Catholic Education Survive in the Archdiocese?

Over the last two to three weeks, the Catholic Standard (the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington DC) has run a number of articles on the City Center Consortium and the closing of a number of Catholic Schools.

Let’s take a moment to recap.

Approximately ten years ago, the Archdiocese (under his Eminence Cardinal Hickey) set up the City Center Consortium to provide the needed resources to ensure that Catholic schools remain a viable alternative to the public school system in Washington, DC. The Consortium stared with eight schools and later added another six. During that time, over $60 million were pumped into the Consortium.

This was a great idea – to continue to provide the needed resources to Catholic schools in the inner city, which were trying to stay afloat. Part of the thinking at the time (and I remember this) was to show that Catholic schools could produce a quality-learning environment to those who had the least choices. In addition, if these schools became a model, then others who may have hesitated sending their children, would do so. A sort of “build it and they will come.”

Unfortunately, a number of things changed over those ten years (according to the Catholic Standard) to put us in the situation we are today:

- 10% decline in the population of the District of Columbia;
- 11% decline in school-aged children;
- 19% decline in enrollment; and,
- An increase in the number of tuition-free public charter schools.

Because of all of these things, the Archdiocese via the Consortium was simply hemorrhaging money. This year alone, they will be in the red apx. $7million and over $56 million over the next 5 years (at the current rate).

To be continued…

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Transgender Bill Passes, Catholic Church Silent

The Montgomery County (MD) Council passed a Transgender non-discrimination bill (Bill 23-07) today. One of the most frightening aspects is that there is no exemption for religious organizations.

So, we have a bill that could force Catholic schools to hire a transgender or transsexual teacher or even a principal. Wouldn’t that be an interesting sight in a second or third grade class.

However, what I find very interesting is that over the last few weeks, I saw no notice in the parish bulletin asking us to write to the Council, no word from the pastor (and I consider him to be a good priest), no mention of it neither in the Catholic Standard nor from the Maryland Catholic Conference. (I did receive emails from the American Family Association (AFA) asking me to contact the Council requesting them to vote against it. I did.)

I wonder how many of my fellow parishioners voted for these council members in the last election? I wonder how many will vote again for them again because they are “open-minded” and for “social justice?” I wonder when our Catholic leaders will stand up to these politicians or is it simply too late?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Pope to Celebrate his 81st Birthday in Washington DC!

The Catholic News Service has reported that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will visit Washington DC and New York in April 2008.

According to the article, the Pope will arrive on April 15th and receive an official welcome at the White House on the 16th. (He will celebrate his 81st birthday on that day. Imagine everyone singing "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to him.) The next day, he will celebrate Mass at the new National's ballpark.

On April 18th, he will arrive in NYC to speak at the UN. The next day, he will celebrate Mass at St. Patrick's and on the 20th, visit Ground Zero and say Mass at Yankee Stadium.

I remember when Pope John Paul II came to NYC on his first trip to the US as Pope. It was an exciting time -- Mass at Yankee Stadium, the drive down Broadway in the "Popemobile", and prayers at St. Patrick's in the morning. Everyone, with the exception of the separation of church-state movement and the athiests, were so excited.

But, I wonder how many pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-family politicians will attempt to show how "Catholic" they are, such as Sen. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Mikulski. I wonder how many will attempt to receive Holy Communion and how many priests will refuse them. (You know the answer to that one.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My father, who served with the Army Air Force during WW2, wears his Honorable Service Label Pin on his jacket. (Commonly called the "Ruptured Duck.")

On this Veteran's Day, please take a few minutes to pray for:

  • him and the millions who have served this nation honorably
  • all those who serve in our Armed Forces, especially those in Afghanistan and Iraq. May God, through his Son, keep them safe till they return to their families and loved ones.
  • the families of those who serve, especially in combat areas. May God, thru His Son, give them the strength to make it through each day, until their loved one returns.
  • the Catholic Chaplains who serve in the military. May God, through His Son, give them the wisdom and strength to help those who protect us all.

Our parish prays for all men and women in the Armed Forces each week. Does yours? If not, ask the pastor to it each and every week during the Prayers of the Faithful.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Soak the Rich but let's not worry about the MoCo Transgender Bill

The Catholic Standard (Nov. 8, 2007 Page 31) ran an article entitled: Taxes, health care and slots top MCC's concerns to state lawmakers. According to the article, Richard Dowling (MCC Exec. Director) said that the tax system should be guided by three principles: raising "adequate revenues to pay for the public needs of society, especially the basic needs of the poor, structured according to the principle of progressivity, so that those with relatively greater financial resources pay a higher rate of taxation," and families below the poverty line should not have to pay income taxes."

What is the "public needs of society?" Is it public safety? Is it a free elementary education? Is it a chicken in every pot? The problem with Mr. Dowling and the MCC is that they offer no definition of "basic needs." Is it is one of those open ended statements that can mean almost anything to anyone. To some it means an apartment with hot/cold running water, a fridge and a stove. To others, it means a one family house on an tract of land with two cars. Still to others, a vacation to Disney at least once in every child's lifetime.

There is also this "soak the rich" and the "government knows what to do best with your money" Marxist mentality at the MCC. As I said in my last posting, the more you hit people up with higher taxes, the less they are going to give to charity. When you reduce taxes, you actually increase revenue and when people keep more of their money, they usually donate more of it.

Now, while the MCC was looking to "soak the rich" they seemed to miss the entire effort by the Montgomery County Council to pass Bill 23-07 which was sponsored by Councilmembers Tractenbery, Ervin and Elrich. This bill would allow "Any place of public accommodation...must not...make any distinction based on gender identity." Gender identity is defined as "an individual's actual or perceived gender..." To quote a council member when asked by the mother of a 10 year old girl about this, the reply was: "I cannot absolutely put to rest your concern that girls might find themselves in a locker room or dressing room in the presence of a person who expresses or asserts herself as a woman but who still has male genitals..."

Where the heck was the MCC on this? Nowhere to be found.

I think that Archbishop Wuerl needs to hand out a couple of pink slips at the MCC starting with Mr. Dowling.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Maryland Catholic Conference -- Do they really represent Catholics?

As you may or may not know, the Governor of Maryland recently called Special Session of the Maryland General Assembly. The purpose was to raise taxes without cutting spending.

The Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) issued a statement on taxation. If you like, you may read it here (as published in The Catholic Standard -- the newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington DC):

After reading it, to put it mildly, I am disappointed with their stance and philosophy on a number of points:

  • A progressive tax system is actually the most regressive and punitive form of taxation that can be imposed. It says to individuals and families that if you work hard, use your talents and skills to the fullest, you will be punished for it. The government,not the individual who earned it, will decide what is not "your" best interest to do with all of the money you have earned over a certain amount. In addition, it hurts charities because individuals will have less money in their pockets and therefore, less money to donate to worthwhile causes.
  • Paying taxes is incorrectly viewed as the way citizens give back to society. Citizens give back to society by donating their time, talent and money on a voluntary basis. Taxes are not voluntary, they are mandatory. If the MCC philosophy on taxes is valid,then the Church should "tax" all parishioners in order to be full members, because it would their way to giveback to the Church.
  • Tax cuts are the best way to increase revenue for all levels of government. Since JFK was president,all major tax cuts made have shown an increase in the amount of tax revenue collected by the US Federal government. Why? When people have more money in their pockets, the usual inclination is to spend it,which leads to the increased collection of taxes. The problem with tax cuts, is that politicians rarely decrease spending, only increase it.
  • Finally, the philosophy of "distributive justice"or "distribution of wealth" is simply Marxism by another name. Marxism, Socialism and Communism are all"failed -isms." These "-isms" which may be attractive to many because of their "lofty goals" are the most destructive to any economy, state and peoples. One only needs to look at the history of the former Soviet Union and other Marxist-Leninist states. Even China and Vietnam -- both Communist states -- have slowly begun to turn away from this economic philosophy.

I believe it is time really look at the people who are staffing the MCC.

Maybe it is time for some serious house cleaning.

Agree with it? Maybe it is time to let the Archbishop know!

Welcome One and All!

This is my first posting.

The purpose of this blog is to share the thoughts of one Roman Catholic in the Archdiocese of Washington DC with not only the leadership of the Archdiocese but with other Roman Catholics.

As boring and as dull as this may seem, it is my hope that the leaders of this Archdiocese will stand up and take note that there are a great many Roman Catholics who are disappointed with their lack of leadership in standing up for matters of faith and morals and are more interested in moving towards accommodation with many of the liberal politicians in this area.

I look forward to hearing from you. Who knows, maybe the Archbishop will even post here?