Our mission is to Educate, Motivate and Activate the Catholic faithful of the Oakland, California diocese. Called to be supportive instruments of social communication as defined in Canon law 823, Para 1, we will review articles on social and moral trends reported in the official diocesan publication, "The Catholic Voice." Our goal is to provide local Catholics with a fuller perspective on issues affecting their temporal and spiritual lives, empowering them to act in defense of their faith.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

by Diane Lily

A Catholic in the Diocese of Oakland would have good cause to wonder who’s minding the store these days. One wonders if Bishop Alan Vigneron holds any position of authority or respect from his priests?
It would seem that priests, in this diocese anyway, have the ability to say “NO” to the Bishop when asked to take on a new assignment. Rumor has it that the bishop recently had to beg seven priests to assume the pastorship of a parish long without a priest in Brentwood before a sense of obedience descended upon candidate number eight. One gets the feeling that if there is such a thing as a priests union with the bishop as an antagonist who

Fr. Brian Joyce

must negotiate then what of the priest’s vow of obedience to God’s laws? Is all that a negotiable contract, too?

The latest edition of the Catholic Voice (12-11-06) might give us a clue as to what authority at least some of our priests are adhering.

Father Brian Joyce, Pastor of Christ The King Parish in Pleasant Hill is listed as teaming up with cosmologist Brian Swimme, in January, to “hold a conversation” on the subject of creation spirituality and an emerging religious globalism at San Damiano in Danville. San Damiano now the home of religious liberal, Fr. Tom Bonacci, has been the center of new age religious activism and promotion for some time now.

Fr. Joyce, briefly the focus of a minor personal sexual scandal accusation a while back was able to clear his reputation with a gift of oratory that would make Daniel Webster (and the devil) proud.

Joyce who considers himself a point man for the avant garde in religion, is joining up with an associate of Matthew Fox of Creation Spirituality fame.
The talk to be presented on January 12, 2007, is billed as presenting a “hope filled conversation.” An examination of Swimme’s writings will show that it is not a God filled hope but a cleverly disguised pitch for a one world universe in which hope will be achieved through government control of humanity.
Does the bishop know or care that one of his priests is infecting the church community with a new age religion virus? Who needs to fear the third world terrorists when we have suave, sophisticated priests to do the work of the new age change agents? Global warming and the highly touted but dubious claims of a world threatened by pollution and calling for a new evaluation of man’s obligations to nature is becoming a powerful weapon in the God-less battle to conquer humanity.

Swimme has been appearing around the country. He spoke recently at the Academy of the Holy Cross in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. His topic there was “Eco-Spirituality and the Story of the Universe.”
The following is a brief excerpt from the home page of Brian Swimme’s Center for the Story of the Universe.
Brian Swimme http://www.brianswimme.org
“In 1543 Copernicus announced to a startled Europe that the Earth was not stationary, but was sailing rapidly through space as it spun around the Sun. This was difficult news to take in all at once, but over time the Europeans reinvented their entire civilization in light of this strange new fact about the Universe. The fundamental institutions of the medieval world, including the monarchies, the church, the feudal economic system, and the medieval sense of self, melted away as a radically different civilization was constructed.”

Brian Swimme received his Ph.D. (1978) from the University of Oregon in gravitational dynamics. His research focuses on the evolutionary dynamics of the universe, the relationship between scientific cosmology and more traditional religious visions, the cultural implications of the new evolutionary epic, and the role of humanity in the unfolding story of Earth and cosmos. In 1998 he founded the international Epic of Evolution Society, a forum for artists, scientists, ecofeminists, ecologists, religious thinkers and educators interested in the new story. He is the author of The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos (Orbis, 1996), Manifesto for a Global Civilization (with Matthew Fox) (Bear and Company, 1983), The Universe is a Green Dragon (Bear and Company, 1984) and The Universe Story (Harper, 1992) which is a culmination of a ten-year collaboration with cultural historian Thomas Berry.
Brian's media work includes the video series, Canticle to the Cosmos and The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos.
Read the following article by him to see how “out there” he is: http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC12/Swimme.htm

Here we present another example of a parish priest dancing to a different drummer. The December 11th Voice edition, page 14, carried a report of Union City’s Our Lady of the Rosary Pastor, Fr. Jose Leon, receiving an award and recognition for being a co-founder of a very secular special interest organization, Congregations Organizing for Renewal - COR. COR is an affiliate of the Pacific Institute for Community Organizing - PICO. (social activism is a world of alphabet soup).

Father Leon, along with the Rev. Drew Nettinga of neighboring San Lorenzo, have spent the last 10 years organizing their parishes to be lobbyists for governmental services and funding. The article puts it this way:

“During the past decade COR’s hundreds of grassroots volunteers have been improving health access for low-income people, increasing neighborhood safety, strengthening public schools and bringing affordable housing to communities across southern Alameda County.”

The article continues: “In Hayward and San Lorenzo, for example, parents urged public school district officials to implement a parent-teacher home visitation program to build stronger relationships between parents and teachers with the goal of helping children.” I would ask: helping them do what?

Their lobbying has also resulted in in an increased presence of community health clinics and low-cost health insurance programs.

The article concludes by saying that Fr. Leon has been pastor of OR for 21 years. I would ask the bishop: why hasn’t he been moved in all these years?

Someone reading this news report might thing that what this pastor and his volunteer lobbyists have done is a good thing. However, one needs to further ask if Fathers Leon and Nettinga and all the other priests in this diocese working with PICO have brought God into this picture or if they are really acting as government agents bringing the faithful into a condition of bondage to the government?
Home visitation programs are, in reality, invasive anti family efforts to interject governmental supervision into families supplanting family authority. Parent/teacher compacts (AB 50, Nell soto, (D), Parent/Teacher Involvement Program). This bill, with variations, submitted to the state legislature every year by Soto, seeks to expand the agents authorized to make home visits. This bill has failed passage every year. However, when local activists like Fr.Leon, arrange for contracts between local schools and parents it circumvents the failed state legislation achieving the desired results anyway.

Expanding community based clinics and low-cost health insurance means, in actuality, that the priests have greased the skids for Planned Parenthood and their ideological partners within the state Health Department to bring abortion and contraceptives to the wives, daughters and single women of the diocese. We, the Catholic taxpayers are shouldering the cost of aborting our sisters in Christ and killing their babies.

Catholic priests ini the diocese of Oakland are doing the work of the devil and receiving kudos for in the Catholic press. All this is swirling around the bishop who seems remain oblivious while he writes euphorically about the “great good news that Christ our God has saved us.” Well, according to fathers Leon, Nettinga, Bonacci, Floors and others, it is the government bureaucracy that is saving us.

There is much more about which to comment in this December 12 edition of the Catholic Voice, but it will have to wait while I get on my knees and beg God to forgive us for our trespasses because we know not what we do.