Bulletin (February 24, 2008)

We had a lovely event last Wednesday. Suzie Burke and her daughter, Kirby, came to our school assembly for the blessing of two pictures that will adorn the BASS room. One is St. Rose of Lima and the other is J.R. and Florence Burke at the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary. Fred Cavazos took the photo below of Suzie and Kirby, together with Principal Glen Lutz, BASS director Rosa Webber, me and a representative group of Holy Family students.

Burke Room Feb 20, 2008

The ceremony was part of our Capital Campaign that completes three years this March. I will be making a special presentation next weekend regarding the Campaign and offering an opportunity to those who have not yet participated.

There are many important things happening this Lent, but I would like to dedicate the rest of my column to an issue which touches many of our families: pornography. It might seem like odd reading for Lent, but I just finished the book Pornified (How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families) by Pamela Paul. This is a hard topic to address, not just for the obvious reasons of revulsion (and attraction), but because - like many other things in our culture - pornography has become politicized. On one side are those who feel pornography is “no big deal” and that it is a “right” that must be protected against those who would encroach on individual freedoms. On the other side, are those convinced that pornography does real harm and that the overall good of society requires some legitimate limitations.

Pornified is a book that can break through the current polarization. Coming from the liberal side of our social divide, Pamela Paul, at the same time, addresses what pornography has become and what its real effects are. Her book draws on more than a hundred interviews with users of pornography and their wives. In addition she commissioned an exclusive national poll which brings mountains of previous research into perspective. Pornified presents a compelling case for the harm pornography does to men who use it, to their relationships with women and their families. Most alarming is the effect pornography has on children in the pre-teen and early teen years:

“In a nationwide study of children ages ten to seventeen, conducted in 1999-2000 by David Finkelhor, only half (48 percent) of kids told their parents they had viewed pornography online; in 44 percent of the incidents, kids didn’t report unwanted pornography to anyone. A recent large-scale study by the London School of Economics found that while 57 percent of British kids between the ages of nine and nineteen had come into contact with pornography, only 16 percent of parents were aware their children had seen it. One-third of the kids said they had received unwanted sexual or nasty comments from people online, but only one in twenty parents were aware of this. Perhaps more alarming, 46 percent of kids said they had given out personal information online; again, only 5 percent of parents knew they did so. In the United States, a study by the Justice Department found that one in five children between the ages of ten and seventeen had received unwanted sexual solicitations online.”

Pornified will help parents understand the dangers pornography presents to their children. It will also help wives and husbands who are struggling with the damage that pornography is doing to their relationship. And Pamela Paul gives hope to those who feel helpless against the flood of pornography made available through cable TV and the Internet. In the final chapter, she outlines how - without imposing a government program of censorship - we can as a society take positive steps to combat the destruction that pornography is causing to our families, marriages and children.

From a Christian point of view, Pornified provides dramatic evidence for the doctrines of original sin and of evil as a personal force. In the interviews, which Ms. Paul conducts, the consumers of pornography begin by mouthing truisms about sex being “good” and the human body being “natural” and “beautiful.” They make a sharp distinction between the women they view in pornography and their wives, daughters, co-workers, etc. One world is escape and fantasy; the other is the real world. They need the fantasy world as an “outlet” to avoid doing something harmful in real life. In the real world they would never treat a woman disrespectfully or make her into an object – or so they convince themselves. Gradually, they cross thresholds – all the while feeling superior to the guys who are into the “really sick stuff.” Images that once disgusted them begin to fascinate, and they find themselves involved in things they once never imagined. Pamela Paul pulls no punches in describing the degradation that becomes more and more consuming. Her book provides an object lesson for all of us. Evil has an attraction and a power that none of us can resist – on our own.

Este domingo tenemos el bello evangelio de la mujer samaritana. Jesus encuentra una mujer que era bien infeliz. Habia probado cinco hombres diferentes y ninguno la hizo contenta. Eso no es una sorpresa. La sorpresa verdadera es que no se habia vuelto completamente cinica. Cuando Jesus le habla de agua viva que satisfaceria su sed, ella no se burla de Jesus. No, ella dice, "Senor, dame esa agua." Jesus le da lo que nadia le habia dado. No promesas vacias. Jesus le da "agua viva." Le da si mismo. "Soy yo, el que habla contigo."

El proximo domingo tendremos una presentacion especial sobre la Campaña Capital. Parece mentira, pero en marzo cumplimos tres años de la Campaña. Daré una oportunidad final para que todos participen en este esfuerzo tan importante. En relacion a la Campaña tengo una noticia muy buena: EL GRUPO DE EVENTOS SOCIALES YA HA CUMPLIDO SU COMPROMISO. Dio un TOTAL DE $43,103. Felicidades y gracias a todos que han apoyado a ellos en la venta de comida, rifas y otras actividades para recaudar fondos. En la lista de contribuyentes a la Campaña el Grupo de Eventos Sociales tiene el segundo lugar. (Solamente los esposos, Lou y Diane Tice, dieron una cantidad mayor.) Quisiera agradecer en una forma especial a Rogelio Rodriguez por su constancia y liderazgo. Al reconocer el Grupo de Eventos Sociales, quisiera reiterar que toda contribución, grande o pequeña, es importante. Estoy orgulloso de todos ustedes.

En la parte en inglés escribí sobre algo que toca nuestra familias: la pornografia. Les invito leer esta reflexión sobre el libro “Pornified” (como la pornografia está tranformando nuestras vidas, nuestras relaciones y familias). Es un asunto importante, especialmente en cuanto a nuestros niños. La television cable y la internet ya difunden la pornografia por todo lado. Hace daño a la relacion entre esposos y pone un peligro terrible para niños. El libro ayuda a entender el problema y a saber como vigilar para proteger a nuestros hijos.

“Stewardship always starts with the personal experience of the Risen Christ in our midst and in our hearts. It is a vocation to discipleship and the following of Christ as a disciple entails a personal response. Discipleship requires the surrender of ourselves through grace and choice to Jesus Christ: mature disciples make a conscious, firm decision, carried out in action, to be followers of Jesus Christ no matter the cost to themselves.”

~U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, Stewardship: A Disciples Response

First Collection Stewardship for Wk. 34 of Fiscal Year
(July 1, 2007 – Feb. 17, 2008)

Amount Needed Each Sunday:		$  12,289.00
Feb. 17 Check/Cash Envelope:	$    7,212.00
Feb. 17 Ash Wed.Envelope:		$         20.00
Feb. 17 EFT (Automatic Deduction):	$       720.39	
Feb. 17 Loose Cash:			$    2,946.67
Feb. 17 Total Offering:			$  10,899.06   

Weekly Income Difference:		      (-)  $    1,389.94

Budgeted Year to Date:			$417,826.00
Collected Year to Date:			$403,598.66  
Income Difference Year to Date:	       (-) $  14,227.34

Some of the Gifts from the Other Half of our Stewardship
2-bit Collection (Priests for Life):		$    2,321.86    		$       

Capital Campaign
Total Households Pledging:			682
Total Pledged:					$1,193.774.74
Total Paid:					$   992,138.88
Balance:					$   201,635.86

Delinquency Amount to Date:		$   157,735.71


First Reconciliation, February 16, 2008