By Irene F. Starkehaus -
The January edition of Chicago Magazine explores the question, "Why is Chicago losing its Catholics?" This article by Elizabeth Fenner is the exactly formulaic reaction that one might expect from progressivist publication that has enjoyed watching a conservative Pope resign from office to be replaced with a progressivist Holy See and a conservative Cardinal of Chicago resign to be replaced with a progressivist Archbishop.
With all due candor, Catholic Leftists (which is an oxymoron if I ever did hear one…Marx was a jealous god that didn't believe in sharing power) have their pied pipers in place, and it is time for members of an obedient media to write the script for the new collectivist mandates.
Why are Chicago Catholics leaving the Church? Well, it's clear from Chicago Magazine and from other sources in the mainstream media that Chicagoans and Americans as a whole are just too darned cosmopolitan for the small thinking of traditional Catholicism, which holds humanity back from its real potential by setting standards of proper conduct when it should be busying itself with social and environmental justice. Where does the Church get off anyway? It's filled with sinners and hypocrites. The world is changing and the Church must change with it. So it is written in Chicago Magazine's opinion poll, so it must be done.
According to Chicago Magazine's polling data, the majority of American Catholics believe that priests should be allowed to marry. The majority of American Catholics are in favor of euthanasia, abortion in most cases, same sex marriage and employer mandates for contraception. The majority of Catholics want women to be ordained. The majority of Catholics want divorced Catholics to be allowed to remarry and still receive the sacraments. (Again that's divorced and not annulled. The distinction is essential in this debate because unless you are annulled then you are still married in the eyes of the Church even if the State has dissolved the marriage. Remarriage in this circumstance in an act of bigamy and therefore adultery.)
The same polling data reveals that for every ten practicing Catholics in Cook and Lake Counties, there are now four non-practicing Catholics. The Catholic population in Chicago has dropped from 43% back in 1980 to 35% in 2014. Readers are led to the conclusion that because the majority of Catholics hold beliefs in opposition to Catholic teaching that they are falling away from the faith. The article clearly demonstrates that the drop began in 1982 during Cardinal Joseph Bernardin's tenure and goes on to explain that Bernardin was appointed by now-St. John Paul who she notes was a conservative.
The dramatic decline in numbers of practicing Catholics directly correlates with a systematic effort that has been nearly a hundred years in the making and finally climaxes in the 1970s as a lost generation of Catholics is sent reeling from the lack of moral courage in the face of fallacious standards that supposedly came out of the Second Vatican Council.
It is interesting that Ms. Fenner points to the 1980s as the beginning of membership decline. Again, this tiny acquiescence to truth comes with the great caveat that Cardinal Bernardin was appointed by a Catholic conservative. Saint John Paul certainly was conservative in his beliefs, but he was non-confrontational with apostates within the Church and Bernardin wasn't just a liberal. He was a titan of progressivism.
What the Chicago Magazine article fails to discuss is Cardinal Bernardin's relationship with Saul Alinsky (famous Rules For Radicals author who dedicated his book to the first radical known to man "who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.")
Cardinal Bernardin was an Alinsky disciple who was brought to the NCCC (the forerunner to the USCCB) by former Cardinal Dearden of Detroit, Michigan in the late 1960s. From there, they and likeminded revolutionaries cultivated a network of radicalized priests and nuns who worked directly as disciples of Saul Alinsky to fundamentally confuse and undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church. They did this by coopting the Catholic language of social justice and making it equivalent to Marxist theory in an organized effort to fund radical, Left-Wing political activism rather than traditional charities that unify and espouse Catholic teachings.
William Simon who was the former Secretary of the Treasury under Richard Nixon and a devout, exceedingly involved Catholic sardonically referred to the NCCC and its Campaign for Human Development as the Catholic Campaign for Helping Democrats. He pointed to the efforts of the NCCC and its Campaign for Human Development as a "funding mechanism for radical left-wing political activism in the United States."
Cardinal Bernardin was a powerful leader within the Campaign for Human Development and instrumental in implementing the "Seamless Garment" theory as dogmatic Catholic teaching. This marks the moment in Catholic history when we see the shift in Catholic education toward the belief that the lesser evils of poverty and war are morally equivalent to the intrinsic evils of abortion and euthanasia.
Through this confusion, the radicals within the American Catholic Church hierarchy have been able to funnel millions upon millions of dollars that were given by faithful parishioners through the mandate of tithing to organizations that support outright Marxism, environmental justice, confounded versions of social justice, population control, so-called gay marriage, alternative family structures and labor organizations like the SEIU. With that money, those organizations continue to expand their agendas and propagate the message that Catholic teachings are out of step with American values.
So disturbed by the successes of groups including the NCCC in marrying organized labor and Marxist theory to the Catholic Church under the tutelage of an atheist and Marxist who was openly smitten with Satan (although, I'm not certain how you can find Satan's rebellion inspiring while at the same time denying the existence of God) then-Cardinal Ratzinger on behalf of the Pope John Paul II published The Ratzinger Report in 1985 clarifying the true objective of Vatican II and instructing lay Catholics that organizations promoting the Seamless Garment and other non-Canonical values have no authority over official Catholic teachings.
Nevertheless, since the 1930s, Catholic disciples of Saul Alinsky have made their way through the Catholic hierarchy and successfully confused lay Catholics regarding the true mission of the Catholic Church which has everything to do with delivering souls to Heaven to exist in communion with God and nothing to do with creating Heaven on Earth which is the utopia that Marxists sell to their unsuspecting victims as they line their own pockets with gold.
Naturally, we can count on progressive Catholics to remind us that Pope Francis and Archbishop Cupich have rejected living in the mansions of their predecessors. They point to the symbolism over substance as proof positive that the leaders are righting the ship and echoing Jesus's teaching that wealthy people go to Hell. If I have to explain that Jesus had no problem with wealth, then there is little that I can do to change your mind other than to suggest that you start with Summa Theologica and expand outward from there.
For the record, the Alinsky goal that has been adopted by too many Catholic leaders is a) impossible b) a bigger fairy tale than Marxists would lead you to believe God is and c) further from actualization than it was before Marxists began corrupting teachings on Natural Law and Jesus's true purpose on Earth. It matters not since the goal isn't to obtain utopia but to obtain power and make themselves gods of the secular humanists. On the other hand, the Marxists have learned quite well that anytime they need money for their radical agenda, they can just draw from the Catholic Church's contributing members like we are their personal ATM.
In the meantime, for those of you Illinois Catholics who have long represented ground zero for the self-destruct sequence of the American Catholic Church as it complies with Saul Alinsky's community organizing blueprint, perhaps you have noticed that the timbre of weekly sermons is shifting to conform with directives for inclusion from the great moralist who is now our pope.
During this most holy Advent and Christmas season, perhaps you experienced dissertations from official Church sources who have stated firmly that there are plenty of alternative families that are morally equivalent and even superior to those who have committed to monogamous, authentic marriages to produce their offspring in accordance with Catholic teachings. We are entering a brave, new world of theology and for those of you who sincerely thought you were headed in the right direction by trying to earnestly follow Catholic law and tradition, guess again.
Maybe you were informed that it's better to divorce and keep the peace than it is to let your children see you argue. Perchance you discovered that spouses who travel for work are no better than people who divorce and leave their children behind to make new families…that was my personal favorite. Possibly you were surprised to hear that alternative families are equivalent to the Holy Family because Joseph married a woman who was pregnant with the Child of God who was incarnate by the power of Holy Spirit.
I'm sure that the new messaging coming from the pulpit made a lot of people feel better about themselves and their choices, and it has a lot of people smugly certain that truth is what they say it is. No doubt it put a lot of compliant Catholics on notice that they are immoral hypocrites who aren't cutting it with God if they won't accept married, lesbian priests as their spiritual leaders or abortifacients handed out as communion wafers.
Never you mind, it is the logical progression now that we have made comparable the Catholic Church's new open door policy on sacraments for apostates to Jesus dining with tax collectors and prostitutes who were then instructed to sin no more and get with the program.
But now we come full circle to the question "Why is Chicago losing its Catholics?" And the answer is not yet self-evident to the smarter than thou progressives who can't correlate a watered down religion that's eager to transform doctrine into a bottom feeding opinion poll, but it lingers on the surface waiting to be discovered by archeologists who will one day wonder at a society that we are creating for them as homage to Saul Alinsky's personal hero…you know, if they will even be capable of conjuring the concept of God once the Alinsky disciples have succeeded in their mission to ban God from the American lexicon . Simply put, Catholics are not leaving Catholicism. Catholicism is leaving Catholics.
I'm sorry. I can't finish without pointing this out. He rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom?
Kingdom. He means Hell? Hmmm. What a putz.