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Rules and Tools for Radical Pastor’s #7 – Flags and Imbalance

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1. Two Separate Items – One Common Theme: There is little that appears in the St. Peter’s Sunday bulletin that is there without a purpose. Some items, of course, are the standard Parish notices that have always been there. There is, however, a new kind of item, let us call them “flags.” “Flags” let us know what is going on in the Pastor’s mind. For example, last week we had a “flag” about the St. Augustine study group. (See For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-06-14 – Context.) Father takes a quote from some obscure, unidentified reference and drops it in our laps. It is his way of saying that he is laying the groundwork for a new social justicism “campaign” or other project.

a. Item One – Homelessness: If you had the time to read Bulletin_2015-06-21, you might have had some questions about the following item that appeared on page 2:


Homeless people are lazy and don’t want to work. About 44 percent of homeless people around the country did some paid work during the previous month, according to a comprehensive 1996 Urban Institute survey. A 2013 US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study found 17 percent of homeless adults in families, who share different characteristics than homeless individuals, had paying jobs, and 55 percent had worked during the previous year.

There was neither attribution nor explanation for the item. It was just thrown out to us so that we could ruminate on it for a while. Did Father write it? Did it come from the Bishop or the USCCB? Was this some information notice from Catholic Charities? –

No, this item has been bouncing around on the Internet since before January 15 of this year. (See 11 myths about homelessness in America.) The author is none other than the highly acclaimed and extremely experienced German Lopez, who graduated from the University of Cincinnati many, many years ago in 2012 and proudly says of himself “I write a lot — usually about the criminal justice system, drug policy, and LGBT issues.

b. Item Two – The Village Programs Brought to Us by the Community Organizers: This week’s Rappahannock News tells us that an initiative, largely supported and possibly devised by our Pastor, is rapidly coming to fruition as a new community organizing social justicism program:

Grants fund two Rapp projects

Meanwhile, the Fauquier Health Foundation has given its largest grant of the spring cycle to Rappahannock at Home, a $39,800 planning grant to study the feasibility of a continuing “village” program, which coordinates business and volunteer services that allow senior citizens to remain in place — at home — as they age.

We need only to go back to For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-04-12 to find a huge “flag” that was telling us that we could expect this. That is when we asked you to pay some attention to an item in the Pastor’s Piece entitled Rappahannock at Home Neighbors Helping Seniors Age at Home. Actually, there were numerous “flags” about this campaign, starting soon after Father arrived here last year. Think back to October of last year when Father held up a paper provided by People Inc., which presented  Some Facts about Rappahannock County… That was an enormous, waving “flag” with many small pennants attached. That is when we heard that the seniors in Rappahannock County were in need. That’s when we heard that this was an “old” county.

So, St. Peter’s master community organizer found the other community organizers in the county and they formed the Rappahannock Clergy Association. From there, the rest is history. The “flags” were waving all around us and now we will have the “village” that follows from that waving “flag.”

2. It All Comes Together: The practical application of the Rules for Radicals and the Rules for Radical Pastors have been demonstrated for you by our Pastor. He has done nothing wrong, nor has he done anything un-Christian. In Item Two, we see that his “flags” presented to us in the bulletin showed that he new where he was going, even if we did not. In Item One, he is telling us that “homelessness” is one of his priorities. You can expect that moves have already been made to organize the appropriate groups to meet the perceived needs of the homeless here in Rappahannock County.

In all honesty, our Pastor is doing some good in the secular world. Again, in all honesty, he is fulfilling the call of the Church to perform the Works of Mercy, especially the Corporal Works of Mercy. But …. But, where is Christ in all of this? How are souls being saved? Isn’t that the primary call of the Church in performing the Works of Mercy?

ImbalanceThere is an imbalance here! The spiritual component of these organizing efforts is either entirely lacking or highly diluted.

We will discuss this in more detail as new “flags” appear concerning “homelessness” or whatever the need of the day might be. Until then, and in the same unbiased spirit of that literary giant, German Lopez, Father, we ask you to show us the surveys about the droves of Catholics that are leaving the Church. — I dare you!

Father, show us the studies that tell us how many Catholics no longer believe that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. — I double dog dare you!

Show us your plan for using your organizing skills to bring those lost souls back to Christ. And while you’re at it, Father, show us your plan for bringing back the Sheep in Exile to a parish where they can partake in abundant spiritual nourishment. — I triple dog dare you!




1 Comment

  1. Evelyn Kerr says:

    Speaking of flags, what happened to the ones that once stood in full view from the altar?

    Sent from my iPhone



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