Wednesday, May 07, 2008


You know the drill. Drop a cheap rosary or metal or holy card into the envelope that contains the solicitation for contributions. Maybe even use a nickel or a dine to capture attention. Soooooooo many Catholic charitable organizations use this technique. My mother-in-law's mail has been coming to our house since she moved down here. She must get three or four of these solicitations per day. There is no way under heaven that she could ever have funded all of them. It just looks like charities wasting money on garbage when it arrives in the mailbox.

I received a mailing from Acton Institute yesterday. Don't ask me how I ever ended up on their mailing list. One of those charities sending me the cheap rosaries must have sold their list. The Institute doesn't know whether I'm married or single, since they've addressed me as "Ms."

This is a mailing of a different caliber. The envelope, white, 9-3/4" by 6-1/2". Bottom left front reads "Environmental Stewardship from a Biblical Perspective." Inside I found a postcard on which I can request "study materials", two 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of white paper which contain three articles. One article from The Sunday Telegraph is by Cardinal Pell, a voice I tend to trust. On the back of this sheet is an article from Catholic World News. The second sheet contains an article from the Daily Mail by Simon Caldwell. All three deal with climate change from the Catholic perspective.

Also in the envelope is a DVD and a book by Robert Sirico. Lastly there is a letter describing these materials which tells how we should view the environmental discussion:

Balance [in discussions about the environment] is what we need...

You probably know parishioners with questions about present-day environmental challenges and how they ought to respond as Catholics. For this reason, I thought it might be helpful for you to have the following materials....

...some people heavily involved in the global warming debate are driven more by political agenda than a genuine knowledge of what may be happening to the planet...

The letter also describes the book as a "monograph" which "contains essays by Protestant and Jewish thinkers, both of which I think you will find illuminating." Part 2 in the book is titled "A Comprehensive Torah-Based Approach to the Environment".

Why me? And immediately after: Why Torah?

This sort of mailing requires a paradigm shift in thinking to even read through it. It raises red flags on the subject of funding, and on the subject of syncretism. Who is this man working for? Of course I sort of know who he is working for since I've researched Acton. I know that he operates largely on his own without diocesan oversight apart from the "technicalities" which he could hold up as evidence of his regularity. I know about Randy Engel's investigation into his past. I also know that Libertarian Austrian Economics plays a part in his activities.

What I don't know is whether his Acton Institute is Catholic or not, and what I suspect is that it is not, but rather ecumenical, which can lead to all sorts of deceptions. Are Catholic and ecumenical compatible? I suppose they could be, but I know that they just as easily might not be.

Trust in the representatives of the Church is a fragile thing that once destroyed, as it has been for me by 40 years of the Spirit of Vatican II culminating in the sexual abuse scandal, is nearly impossible to restore.

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