27 August 2010

NotAgain: JustFaith StillPromoted InReview

Following up last week's four-page, highly positive spread on the JustFaith group, the St. Louis Review has published another short article this week promoting this organization, whose founder has ties to the dissenter group Call to Action:

JustFaith listing

The Catholic Charities website now has a listing of the 10 groups offering JustFaith, JustSkills, JustMatters, Engaging Spirituality. See ccstl.org. Parishioners are welcome to attend at a neighboring parish if their parish is not offering one of these programs. JustFaith is an adult formation program for reading, praying, discussing, experiencing and being formed by Catholic social teachings, Scripture and Catholic faith tradition.

Though this short article does provide decent evidence that JustFaith does not produce any program called JustGrammar, I think the description in the last sentence is highly inaccurate. I covered some of the concerns about JustFaith and its founder, Jack Jezreel, in this recent post.

If Catholic Charities is continuing to promote this group, whose reading list includes works by authors inspired by the radical tactics of Saul Alinsky, and further whose founder frequently speaks at a group dedicated to promoting disobedience to Church teachings on priestly ordination and the sanctity of marriage, that is a sure sign that Catholic Charities is off the rails.

But why in the world is the official Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese continuing to assist Catholic Charities in promoting such a group? Why is it promoting it to Catholics without giving any hint of the group's founder's questionable fidelity to the faith--a lack of fidelity that calls for great scrutiny of the content of the program itself? Why is there no discussion that the groups with which this man associates publicly dissent from the Church?

Either there has been no effort to investigate the group before promoting it in the paper, or else this is an intentional decision. Which is it?

This article, appearing in the same issue with a nice article by Jennifer Brinker on Catholic devotions, seems to show a schizophrenic understanding of Faith and Charity. They cannot be divorced.

I just don't get it. Why are Catholic parishioners in the Archdiocese being urged to participate in this group's programs as though they spring from the bosom of the Church? What's next? Will the Women's Ordination Conference get a spread, and will Catholics be encouraged to fill the pew(s) of Elsie and Rose's PlayChurch?

Of course not, I would have said.

Perhaps next week the Review might publish a third piece on JustFaith. I'll suggest a headline and article:


If you have been approached by the so-called JustFaith group, or if it is currently active in your parish, please contact the chancery immediately. The Archdiocese cannot endorse this group due to its ties with known dissenter groups.

"The Archdiocese certainly encourages Catholics to fulfill their duty of stewardship, charity and social justice through the many wonderful Catholic agencies and institutions, as well as through their own initiative," said Archdiocesan spokesman _______. However, we cannot encourage participation in JustFaith until we can thoroughly ensure that its programs do not misrepresent the Church's timeless teachings. After all, souls are at stake, and we don't want well-meaning Catholics to be misled."



Anonymous said...

"If Catholic Charities is continuing to promote this group, whose reading list includes works by authors inspired by the radical tactics of Saul Alinsky, and further whose founder frequently speaks at a group dedicated to promoting disobedience to Church teachings on priestly ordination and the sanctity of marriage, that is a sure sign that Catholic Charities is off the rails."

I believe you missed a coma there Skippy.

thetimman said...

Coma? Nope, got that covered.

Comma? Well, in that, you may, or, may not, be, sure.

Jane Chantal said...

That this group is being promoted -- and vigorously -- in this way is extremely puzzling. It is also very disturbing.

This isn't happening spontaneously. Someone is behind it, and whoever it is, is counting on the people in the pews not knowing enough to do anything about it, and on the better-catechized not caring enough. And so, there will be that well-intentioned handful who, thinking that they surely wouldn't be steered wrong by a piece in an archdiocesan publication, will walk right into the dissidents' parlor.

Mac said...

If you think things are bad in St. Louis, in Boston the secretary of health and social services, Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, is also a founder of Call to Action. There are several new blogs in Boston devoted to exposing issues in the archdiocese. An article here explains the checkered past of Fr. Hehir. http://bryanhehirexposed.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/fr-bryan-hehir-should-be-fired/

Anonymous said...

There are two "reading lists" on Amazon that appear to be associated with JustFaith.

Conspicuously absent are all the fundamental magisterial documents.

That's all I need to know about this group.

StGuyFawkes said...


I tend to take an optimistic attitude. I think many if not most Catholics will sense something out of tune when they hear progressives say "God can ONLY be encountered in the poor."

There is a huge difference between saying "without the love of the poor there is no Church, and saying love of the poor IS the Church."

Too many people have found God while comforting their rich relatives on their deathbeds, not to know that God is, shall we say, too "inclusive" and "non-discriminatory" to confine Himself only to the poor.

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

What are the odds of a Letter to the Editor raising concerns about this group being printed?..Ok. I know...

An idea that occurred to me would be to institute some group to study then embark upon a plan based on the Compendium of Social Teaching of the Church, which I recall was published within the last few years. The faithful need to be catechized so they know what's wrong w/JustFaith and the like....? This progressive approach to social justice is very hard to stamp out. Maybe Glenn Beck should come and evangelize in the archdiocese! ;^D

Kansas Catholic said...

Not saying you did, but I'd rather miss a comMa than a tenet(s) of faith, as theses posts have pointed out.

The name of the group is a double entendre (pardon my French and sorry for the lack of accent mark). They are playing on the words Justice, combining it with Faith to indicate that their faith is one that seeks justice, something "just." Fine with that, except to the extent that it presumes that the ends justify the means.

But the play on words suggests that they believe that one needs only some subjective form of faith and "just" that much will do fine.

JustWrong (I add, with sophomoric humor).

Long-Skirts said...

Timman said:

"I just don't get it. Why are Catholic parishioners in the Archdiocese being urged to participate in this group's programs as though they spring from the bosom of the Church? What's next?"

REALLY??!! You don't get it?!! YOU have yours and they have theirs...that's why I assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass confected by the SSPX because THEY know it's NOT just about the Mass but the WHOLE Roman Catholic Faith!! My children are in their schools, teaching in their schools and in their Seminaries where the WHOLE Faith is preserved, taught and lived. Archbishop Carlson??? "In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is King."

Unknown said...

I'm very glad to see you exposing this "organization" for what it is. I was involved in a JustFaith program in Springfield, MO a few years ago. I was beyond appalled. I argued for several weeks and then quit.

and...it's just one more reason why I became intereseted in the Tradional Church and Mass.
Thank you for what you do. I love your blog. I wish you had "print friendly" capability.
Hannah Wisdom

Anonymous said...

Fr. Brian Hehir was in residence at our parish in NoVa while he was head of Catholic Charities USA. He's a very intelligent man, but yes, his homilies came out with a less than clear commitment to Roman Catholic doctrine. Funny, he actually sounded clearer as a lecturer than a homilist.

Anonymous said...

I don't get you people, sometimes. Sometimes the "St. Louis Review" is right on cue for your taste, and other times you despise it to no end.

Who is in charge of the St. Louis Review? My guess is that it is the Archbishop of St. Louis--whomever that may be at any given time. So, it seems to me, anything that is written/printed in the "Review" would be done so under the Archbishop's consent/discretion.

Maybe you don't have a problem with the "Review" as much as you have a problem with the Archbishop, or, as many of you are wont to say around thse parts, His Grace. Is he your "problem"? Maybe you just don't like people doing truly good wor; is that it? What's the beef?

All of you---grow up and move on with your own lives. Cool it, and, instead of crabbing and complaining, get a life.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous writes "All of you---grow up and move on with your own lives. Cool it, and, instead of crabbing and complaining, get a life."

As much as we may disagree with the owner of this blog and its participants, we must remember that this is a blog, a place designed for people to express their concerns and share their beliefs. I read it because I want to know what the other side is thinking.

This blog is valuable if for no other reason than to remind all of us that within the Church is a collection of God's people who may not always agree or interpret Church dogma and actions in the same way.

The contributors to this blog are passionate about their beliefs and attachments to certain ways of living their religion. Their "get[ting] a life" may differ from yours, but their voices should not be cooled or denied.

Better to have them write their ideas and reactions than to remain silent.

Anonymous said...

This is why we need this blog! The Review is full of 'reformed' Catholics. Without this entry, the faithful would again think this sorta thing is OK because they saw it in the Review.

They don't give a royal crap about searching these stories out before they print. It's a joke! It's candy religion!

Why oh why can't they just print the truth of Holy Mother Church?

Please Teak, please Jennifer...please..come on...guys the Church needs you more than ever...defend her, protect her, don't confuse the people any more than they are.

Oh yes: thetimman, don't grow up! We see what grown ups give us. We need the TRUTH of the gospel, and we need it through the innocent mouths/minds of children.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear All,

Anon of 8/29/10 16:15 has a point worth addressing. He, or she wrote,

"Who is in charge of the St. Louis Review? My guess is that it is the Archbishop of St. Louis--whomever that may be at any given time. So, it seems to me, anything that is written/printed in the "Review" would be done so under the Archbishop's consent/discretion."

It is naive to think that His Excellancy is unaware of CAN or JustFaith or "Voice of the Faithful". So it is logical to assume that either this article got written with our Archbishop's tacit consent, or we may assume that he is detached from the operations of the newspaper and thus allows different factions, or interests to run The Review, and run amok.

I like Peggy's idea that the real answer is to re-affirm actual Catholic Social teaching. Not to sound trite but we must address the negative with a positive.

St. Guy

thetimman said...

Thanks all for the comments.

--St. Guy and the anonymous to whom he responded on this issue:

I think it is a little premature to lay this at the feet of the Archbishop. The formation of the archdiocese is his charge but we know it takes a while sometimes for the ordinary to become aware of and check out what happens in the various bureaus. This is one reason I am trying to call attention to this. I have no reason to suppose His Grace reads this blog, for starters.

And, Anon, to refer to the fathers, where the bishop is, there is the church. I don't "have a problem" with my Archbishop, nor could I or any Catholic. The faithful have a right and duty to present issues to their pastors when necessary, with charity and respect.

StGuyFawkes said...


His Grace has been on the job now for about a year. He reads The Review and he knows who CAN is. Although, I'll admit, maybe he's more focussed on other things. It's more likely that The Review probably has its factions and the Archbishop doesn't want to control them.

Why? Here's my guess.

If you go back to Fr. Kleba's version of his confrontation with Archbishop Burke you'll notice the solicitude with which Fr. Kleba was treated for running a "social justice" parish. My impression is that the Chancery office deperately wants a social justice face and for the present all they have is a band of doctrinal cross dressers whom they are not quiet up to the task of undressing and redressing in the Truth. I mean do any of us have the stomach to go down and catechize Boyle Avenue?

You'll remember that Monseigneur Gardin told Fr. Kleba to urge sacramental confession on his homosexual charges. Fr. Klebas answer was to change the topic.
You see, no one wants to take on the social justice crowd. Why? It's because the rite of exorcism hasn't been used in so many years and the last time it was used it broke Fr. BOwdern's health.

So the Archdiocese puts up with the underlying heresy to keep up with the appearance of having a social justice dimension. And they may be putting up with it because they lack the resolve. As I do. Anybody want to join me in taking on the next "women's liturgy" face to face?

I didn't think I'd have any takers.

St. Guy

Latinmassgirl said...

My "aunt" and my son's seventy year old Godmother came over for tea on Sunday and my son was so excited to finally meet her, at age eight, that he ran upstairs and put his suit and tie on for her! She and my mother came over dressed in old shorts and tee shirts.

She then proceeded to raise her eyebrows and frown at our enthusiastic discussion of the Latin mass at SFdS. "Your mama and I grew up with THAT mass." unsaid: (so we know that it is horrible and boring)

The always casual attire of people nowadays is a reflection of their attitudes towards their faith, and everything in life. Who cares if a questionable group is trying to infiltrate Catholics? Who cares if the N.O. mass has obnoxious non-hymns? Why wear dress clothes to anything? Just sit around and hang out. . . man.

It is great and sad that and eight year old gets it.

StGuyFawkes said...

"Liberation theology" when it becomes heretical shows itself in the delusion of bringing "The Kingdom of God" to earth in some material form. The Social Justice Catholic frequently fails to heed the words of their patron saint, ARchbishop Oscar Romero, who warned against this tendency in a homily. He said,

"It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church’s mission."

Even for the much discussed Archbishop Romero, it was the Church first, secular politics second.

It's worth noting that we find in Catholic Social Justice theory liberation theologians and well ..... liberation theologians.

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

You keep talking about Catholic publications on social justice that we should read and follow instead of those offered by the Just Faith program. Please list some titles for us who are not as informed as you are.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 31 August, 2010 09:57, here's the basic list:

Rerum Novarum (1891)
Quadragesimo Anno (1931)
Mater et Magistra (1961)
Pacem in Terris (1963)
Dignitatis Humanae (1965)
Populorum Progressio (1967)
Humanae Vitae (1968)
Octogesima Adveniens (1971)
Laborem Exercens (1981)
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987)
Centesimus Annus (1991)
Evangelium Vitae (1995)
Deus Caritas Est (2005)
Caritas in Veritate (2009)

[Deep breath]

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004)

Anonymous said...

A few points/thoughts:
1) Catholicism is a "big tent", no? It better be, otherwise we're all in trouble.

2) How one chooses to live out his/her faith is very, very personal. But when we start ascribing political philosophies (Communist, Marxist, Socialist, Liberal, Conservative, etc.) to people who just might think a bit differently than ourselves, we tear down bridges. That person--whom you are so quick to judge--is living out his/her faith just as much as you are. So, why be sooooo quick to judge?

Bottom line is this....What Would Jesus Do?...no one really knows, so it's all up to us...and it's all very arbitrary.

Anonymous from 29 August, 2010 16:15

Meg said...

Really, Long Skirts?

Somehow, respect and support for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church does not seem to fit into the "whole Roman Catholic Faith" plan you talk about. Perhaps I misunderstood your one-eyed comment? (not coma)

If the Bride of Christ Herself, the Holy Catholic Church is found to be infallible in her teachings and led by Christ Himself through the hierarchy... and if said hierarchy to falls, into human error in ways, habits, doctrine, or practice, do we abandon ship and "play ball" the way we wish, or do we play our part in the Church's greatness by supporting, praying and encourage our priest/bishops to do right?

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Anonymous from 29 August, 2010 16:15 and 31 August, 2010 15:35

You wrote, "Catholicism is a "big tent." It's not! It's the architectonic of systematic Truth. Tents, big or little all leak. And canvas shreds (even if St. Paul was a tent maker). But the Stone Basilica of St. Peter's weathers all.

Anon! If you really think The Chruch is a big tent ask Marek Bozek how big our tent can be if he has had to learn to sleep in progressively smaller tents ever since he was kicked out the door of our Church.

Anon, you also asserted that the "Bottom line is this....What Would Jesus Do?...no one really knows, so it's all up to us...and it's all very arbitrary."

Actually someone does know: The Church and Her Magisterium.


St. Guy

Anonymous said...

Listen, "Saint" Guy...
a rather "conservative" "priest" told me that it (Catholicism) was a "big tent"....so, if a conservative priest told me so, then it must be true (according to your rather conservative standards), right?
It seems to me that I'm not the one you should be "arguing" with...argue with the priest who told me. See how far you get then.

-Anon from 29, 31 Aug

p.s. and if you need the priest's name, i'd be happy to send it your way.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Dear Anonymous from 29, 31 Aug.

On the Big Tent Theory:

As a description of he state of the Church, your friend the priest is no doubt right. The Church currently IS entertaining a number of diverse views on any number of subjects.

However, the history of the Church is consistent in this respect. Although she will allow and even accept theological diversity, once doctrinal lines are crossed, or erased, She re-draws them by means of Encyclicals, Councils and Creeds.

So the tent may be big but periodically it shakes in the wind and expells some members to sleep under the stars and contemplate their errors in the knifing rain.

This is a form of compassion. Believe me.

So, in your journey as a Catholic please do not fail to observe that although the tent may grow larger due to increasing members, nonetheless, the real largeness comes from all of our members being in Communion with Rome with respect to certain Articles of Faith which have been defined in various councils and made clear by the Popes throughout the centuries.

So, you are indeed free to imagine "What Would Jesus Do" and make it your watchword. However, you are not free to imagine Jesus without long and careful, and prayerful attention to the real image of Christ offered by a Church whose unbroken apostolic succession has no other purpose but to clean our eyeglasses and make us see Jesus as he really is.

The nice thing is that in the history of the Church each heresy, once defined and rejected, makes our eyeglasses a little cleaner and brings closer to us that image of Christ which we will only see now "in a glass darkly" but which at the end of time we are promised to see "Face to Face."