#CatholicMeToo: Adopt a Parish

724px-Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt, 1633

In addition to encouraging victims to tell their stories of minor sexual-abuse or adult sexual-harassment by Catholic clerics (Email stories to Church Militant), the #CatholicMeToo movement calls for the disruption of funds to Catholic bishops across the United States. Of course first on the list is funding for the USCCB. Never give a dime to them for anything. Furthermore, even the good bishops, along with the bad, must have their direct funding choked off. Now we know they can still get some funding from their parish tax (cathedraticum), but as they’re forced to rely on this more and more, they’ll understand just how upset we are with the management of the U.S. Catholic Church as a whole. Also, this will serve as a reminder to the good bishops that we expect them to act. But this is important, because there is another component here.

Only parishes that are more successful will be able to supply the kind of cathedraticum the bishops need, so it’s up to us to show those bishops what kind of parishes the laity need more of. We do this by carefully giving our money to parishes only — specific parishes. This helps the lay faithful directly, as well as good local priests, and good bishops willing to listen.

We’re looking for good Catholic parishes here, that are really teaching the faith and practicing it, feeding the people, and helping their souls get to heaven. If you live near one, count your blessings. Go attend there and put your money in the collection plate directly while designating it “for parish use only” in the memo line of the check. If you don’t live near one, then find the closest one to you and adopt it as your own. Write a short letter to the priest there, stating that you have adopted his parish as your own, even though you live too far away to attend. Ask to be placed on the parish newsletter and mailing list, then include a check to let him know you’re serious. After that, you can contact your bank and have them mail a check to that parish on the date you get your regular paycheck. That way it’s automatic and you don’t have to think about it anymore. Most banks will do this, free of charge, up to a certain number of checks per month. Most banks will also allow you to print a message on the memo line of your check “for parish use only,” or whatever other message you deem appropriate.

These are the types of parishes we should be looking for. If one is not available under one option, look to the next. These are the options…

  1. Any local parish that displays these qualities. It does not matter if the parish uses Latin or vernacular liturgy (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, etc.). If one exists near you, and you’re not supporting it, now is the time to start…
    1. Communion on the tongue while kneeling,
    2. Ad Orientem worship where the priest faces the same direction as the people,
    3. Fearless orthodox preaching from behind the pulpit, where the priest is unafraid to preach against abortion, contraception and same-sex “marriage.”
  2. Any relatively nearby parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (POCSP). These parishes offer mass in English, using a more traditional form. They are fearlessly orthodox and traditional. They also meet the liturgical and pastoral standards described in option 1. You can find one nearest to you on this MAP.
  3. Any relatively nearby parish of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). These parishes offer mass exclusively in Latin and using the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. They meet the liturgical and pastoral standards described in option 1. You can find the one nearest to you on this MAP.
  4. Any relatively nearby parish of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP). These parishes offer mass exclusively in Latin and using the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. They meet the liturgical and pastoral standards described in option 1. You can find the one nearest to you on their WEBSITE.
  5. Any relatively nearby parish of one of the Eastern Catholic Rites in full communion with Rome. These parishes offer mass in English, as well as other languages. They usually meet the liturgical and pastoral standards described in option 1. You can find the one nearest to you on this WEBSITE.

So why all this focus on money? Well, for starters, money is what enables sexual predators to continue their predation on the faithful, and it gives them the legal cover they need to protect themselves when they get caught. So, naturally, when the Catholic faithful learn what’s really going on in the Church, there is a tendency (in holy and righteous anger) to want to do something about it. The #CatholicMeToo movement is directed toward that end, but at the same time, it does so in a way that doesn’t violate the fifth precept of the Church. The five precepts of the Church are what the Catechism states as the bare minimum requirements for what it means to be a good Catholic in good standing with the Church. They are as follows…

  1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation.
  2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
  3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least once during the Easter season.
  4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
  5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

It’s the fifth precept, highlighted above, the #CatholicMeToo movement addresses. Notice that while it does say we must “provide for the needs of the Church,” it doesn’t specifically tell us HOW to provide. That is left up to us. We simply must choke off the money supply to the episcopal hierarchy. We have to, otherwise we are aiding and abetting in their crimes. Yet at the same time, we must follow the fifth precept of the Church to remain Catholics in good standing. In other words, we cannot allow their sin to cause us to sin. Two wrongs don’t make a right. This is why we are redirecting the money flow, giving it to parishes instead of bishops, and specific kinds of parishes at that. When we give, we can earmark those donations “for parish use only” or “building fund” or “priest retirement fund” or whatever we want. Once those donations are earmarked, the bishop cannot lawfully touch them. We will have done our moral and ethical duty to cut off funding to the hierarchy, but at the same time, fulfilled our obligation to uphold the fifth precept of the Church.

The picture above shows Christ and the Apostles in the tempest of the storm. The Church has weathered many storms in her history. This is just one more. I included this painting as a message of hope. We all know the end of the story. There were two storms at sea in the gospels. In one, Christ is asleep in the stern of the boat. He is awakened and calms the sea with his command. In the other, the apostles are crossing the sea themselves and Christ approaches them walking on water. As long as Saint Peter keeps his eye on Christ, he too is able to walk on water. But when he takes his eye off Christ, he begins to sink and Christ has to rescue him. (There is a lesson in this for Pope Francis during this current storm.) When Christ and Peter arrive in the boat together, the storm ceases and they arrive at their destination. This is our future as well. Have patience. Support those parishes truly doing the work of Christ, and wait for him to calm the storm.

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