“Just Faith” = Junk Faith


“Just Faith = Junk Faith

By Janet Baker

In my post this past Thursday regarding the “environmental events” in the Archdiocese of Washington, you noticed that Just Faith has a hand in all this nonsense.  In conjunction with this post regarding Just Faith, I’d suggest you review the posts about “progressives” – particularly the Real Catholic videos regarding the same.  The characteristics of progressives can all be found in the Just Faith program.  Indeed, the website of Just Faith unabashedly proclaims its progressive proclivities.  I also recommend the reading of an excellent article on the Just Faith debacle entitled “Just Faith Is a Big Part of the Problem“, written by my friend and colleague, Stephanie Block, who regularly writes for Spero News.

Two or three years ago, the Just Faith program was introduced into the Archdiocese of Washington; that was before I operated this blog.  However, I was quite aware that a Trojan Horse was being introduced into the archdiocese and tried to sound an alert.  My warnings were rebuffed by people whom I thought would be keen to the dangers.  One told me that her parish implemented Just Faith without the ill effects, and that my warnings were destructive.  While I’ve no problem believing that her particular parish may have been successful in separating the wheat from the chaff, it is my contention that there is inherently much more chaff than wheat in the Just Faith program.  The writings and afilliations of the founder, Jack Jezreel, corroborate my conclusions.

Go to its website http://www.justfaith.org/.  We will now take a little tour.  Let’s look at its “news” page, that is, its newletter archives.  The first newsletter contains an article by two Network officials, touting their efforts to promote the Obama Hell Bill.  You might recall last month that Network was rebuked by the USCCB for its support of the Hell Bill, that further unleashes abortion upon our society.

I learn much about an organization by its board members and their other affiliations. Think back to the Real Catholic videos and the unsavory alliances of USCCB staff and other anti-Church organizations.  Click “about”, then “board of directors”.  Tom Chabolla caught my eye only because he lives in my area.  I googled him and discovered that he is an assistant to the president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU); prior to that, he was associate programs director for Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  He’s also on the Advisory Council of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.  He’s also on the board of Center for Community Change; in past months, much has been learned about that bunch.  Mr. Chabolla certainly is a busy man!

Marie Dennis is another “neighbor” of mine.  In 2007, she was elected president of Pax Christi International, a dissident organization.  She too is involved with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.  She is director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.  By the way – look down that list, and notice Judy Coode.  She works for the Archdiocese of Washington while being affiliated with Pax Christi?

Gary and Mary Becker are an interesting couple.  Judging from where they live (near Jezreel), I’d bet they’re good friends of his.  They did the Just Faith course and are big promoters of it.  What’s really interesting, if you read that link, is that they’ve ostensibly “trained as spiritual directors”.  Don’t you just wonder what competent authority “trained” them?  I’m betting it’s none that’s recognized by the Magiserium.  If I’m wrong, I’m open to correction via the comments.  Anyway, they’ve opened their own spiritual-direction enterprise called Stillpoint: The Center for Christian Spirituality.  That name seems to be a bit of a misnomer, for if you click “programs”, you see that you can get “direction” in all sorts of religions: Buddhist, Jewish, Unitarian, etc.  Anyway, not only can you receive direction (such as it may be), but you can train to become a director yourself!  Doesn’t that just sound great??  Boys and girls, can we say “new age racket”?

Rev Daniel Groody, CSC, teaches at Notre Dame University – the same that soiled itself by its bestowal of an honorary degree upon the Messiah Most Miserable.  Fr. Groody is considered to be “an expert on immigration”.  He also is involved in (bet you can’t guess!) Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.  I’m beginning to sense a pattern here!

Steve Kute is a neighbor of Jezreel’s, too.  There is a Steve Kute of Kentucky who donated $1,000 to Moveon.org.  I hope they’re not the same, but they probably are!  Meg Bowerman made known her sympathies for Voice of the Faithful after she took umbrage at her local bishop for not advertising one of their conferences in the diocesan newspaper.

Such are some of the Just Faith board members – but what of Jezreel himself? 

The answer to that burning question can be found in his own touting of Just Faith.  It’s called “How to turn a lukewarm parish into a hotbed of social justice“.  Now think for a minute about the phrase “hotbed of social justice”.  I find the use of the word “hotbed” rather interesting.  I’ve only seen it used to describe intrinsic evil, such as “hotbed of civil unrest” or “hotbed of sexual perversion”.  Why, oh why, does Jezreel use “hotbed” to describe the outcome of his program?  Could he be inadvertently admitting something that he wouldn’t admit knowingly?  At any rate, let’s look at the article.

In the second paragraph, he says he “was convinced of the primacy of justice work in the life of faith“.  Right there you see a big indication of one root problem.  What assumes “primacy” in the Catholic life of faith is Jesus Christ and heaven.  It is summed up nicely in the old Baltimore Catechism question, “Why did God make me?  God made me to know, love and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him in the next.”  Social justice certainly is a component in this life-mission of the Catholic, but not a primary component by any stretch of the imagination.  Eternal salvation has a much higher priority, as earthly societies will pass away while the immortal soul will not.

Take note of the “conversion” stories.  We read of Gary and Mary Becker, mentioned earlier in this post.  In the article, though, there’s no mention of the Stillpoint schtick.  Moving on down, read of Rosemary Smith et al (the “R” is a blue drop-down cap).  They started a “women’s homily series”.  Boys and girls, women are not permitted to give homilies, no “ifs, ands or buts”.  They’re gunning for women’s ordination.  In the next paragraph we see David Chervenak advocating for gay rights.  Boys and girls, can we say “dissidents”?

Isn’t it interesting how Jezreel makes only the briefest mention of them – almost like a subliminal suggestion embedded in other harmless(?)-sounding stuff, like the poison pill in the mashed potatoes.  It is swallowed unwittingly, then starts debilitating one’s thnking and their very spiritual life.  That’s how much of this progressive crap is insinuated in parochial and diocesan life.

To my friends who take exception to my opposition to Just Faith  I truly am glad that your parish escaped the harmful effects of Just Faith – at least for now.  You may well be the exception to a very deadly rule.  However, by your participation, you have done harm by: 1) opening yourselves and your successors to addtional influences from Jezreel et al, that may well compromise their faith and 2) lending credibility to Just Faith.  The apple rarely falls far from the tree – and this Just Faith tree is indeed very rotten.



10 thoughts on ““Just Faith” = Junk Faith”

  1. How sad. That you would dismiss Jesus’ message so easily. The answer is present in your quote from the Baltimore Catechism: “…love and serve Him [God] in this world…” Jesus gives us very clear directions in Matthew 25: 31-46 on how to serve God in this world. The Catholic Bishops gave us the seven themes in Catholic social teaching. Matthew and the themes are the guide posts of JustFaith. Ignore them at your own risk.

    I am concerned also with the construction of your essay. It is loaded with illogical constructions, carefully chosen words to inflame the readers against JustFaith and people who are associated with the program, a clear ignorance of the program, and a pervasive tone of intolerance. Of all activities in my life nothing more than JustFaith has brought me closer to God and in touch with the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Label me as you will. I will pray for you.

    Peace and belssings,


    Hi Bill–

    Assuming that you’re the same Bill Zaccagnino involved with V.O.I.C.E. and the Industrial Areas Foundation, I offer this:

    “If those who are admitted as members are not commanded to abjure by any form of words the Catholic doctrines, this omission, so far from being adverse to the designs of the Freemasons, is more useful for their purposes. First, in this way they easily deceive the simple-minded and the heedless, and can induce a far greater number to become members. Again, as all who offer themselves are received whatever may be their form of religion, they thereby teach the great error of this age-that a regard for religion should be held as an indifferent matter, and that all religions are alike. This manner of reasoning is calculated to bring about the ruin of all forms of religion, and especially of the Catholic religion, which, as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be regarded as merely equal to other religions.”

    On Freemasonry (W/ Socialists and Communists)
    Pope Leo XIII

    Now with this in mind, watch the following…

    Catholic Priest:

    “V.O.I.C.E. look around you! We have organized people and we have organized money. Now this is power!!!”

    Welcome Bill, to ecclesiastical masonry– Organizing people and money to attain power.


    Catholic social justice?
    The message of Christ?

    I find nowhere within Matthew 25: 31-46 (on how to serve God in the world) the directive or even necessity for Catholics to join an organization [I.A.F] whose creator [Saul Alinsky] was inspired by the first Rebel (Satan).

    I agree with Jesus, the Bishops, and Janet (above):

    “Social justice certainly is a component in this life-mission of the Catholic, but not a primary component by any stretch of the imagination. Eternal salvation has a much higher priority, as earthly societies will pass away while the immortal soul will not….”

    It was, after all, the first words recorded of Our Lord at the beginning of His salvific mission in the world:

    “Repent, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, all who believe and are baptized will be saved…”

    And again, with the woman at the well, (after journeying from town to town seeking first the salvation of souls) He said, “salvation comes through the Jews…”

    Nowhere do we find Jesus, Our High Priest saying:

    “All you who hear my “V.O.I.C.E. look around you! We have organized people and we have organized money. This is power!!!”

    No Bill, there’s a problem with JustFaith and IAF type groups placed within the church–their based on half-truths concerning our religion leading to foreign political agendas that care little for the salvation of souls…

    I offer you this run-down below on what the true purpose and agenda of the I.A.F. is, with these 2 questions put to you first:

    1. Do the various religious traditions present in the video above need Christ Jesus and the Catholic Church for their eternal salvation, and if so, how many converts has this ecumenical effort acheived through yours and the priests evangelization efforts?

    2. What is holding you back Bill from you yourself creating an authentic Catholic Guild or organization dedicated to the works of God; one free from the bonds of politically driven syncretic/secular socialists groups?

    Something to consider…

    Yes, pray for me, and I you…

    Here’s the link:


  3. To the Editor–

    Yes, I am the Bill Zaccagnino associated with V.O.I.C.E. I can’t help but notice that the description of IAF’s organizing in Albuquerque that is disparaged in the article you linked to is remarkably like that of Jesus’ public life: selected leaders; reaching out to the communities for participants (disciples); working to change the world through the teachings by these leaders and participants who represent only a small portion of the community (acceptance of the coming of the Messiah by Jews).

    I feel very secure in my Catholicism and don’t feel that taking action with members of other faiths and Christian denominations–particularly those with common goals that are very much in line with the path Jesus has laid out for us–should concern me. If V.O.I.C.E. chose to pursue an issue that was contrary to my faith, I would not be involved. Curiously, that has not arisen as a problem within V.O.I.C.E. But it appears that you think that anything having to do with social justice would fit the category of unfit for Catholic participation, but, you would be wrong.

    Salvation does not come from inaction and seeking only our own salvation, but from serving the poor, the path that Jesus has shown as the way. If I may paraphrase Matthew, “Serving the poor is serving Jesus.”

    As to the questions you pose at the end of your comments:

    1. It remains to be seen; perhaps you would also want to extend that to the social justice work of all the Catholics involved in V.O.I.C.E. performed outside that organization. I pose the same question to you relative to your commentary.

    2. I am involved in many activities, within and outside formal organizations, in service of all God’s people. I claim no political affiliation because all formal political groups lack the will to support issues that support God’s plan for us. But I see every reason to work to promote issues within that arena that are within God’s plan…I see nothing wrong with trying to convert the people within these organizations to fulfill God’s plan. Again, I ask you how you would answer your own question.

    I do wish you peace and blessings. I will pray for you also.


  4. Bill, I am the blogger of Restore-DC-Catholicism. The article about which you comment is mine. Therefore, I will address your objections and reiterate my own points, within reasonable time and space constraints.. You write that “Jesus gives us very clear directions in Matthew 25: 31-46 on how to serve God in this world.” That Scripture passage is a small part of the entire Bible, and of course there also remains Sacred Tradition. I certainly hope that you don’t consider the passage from Matthew to be the only direction that Jesus gave to serve Him in this world. For instance, if you go further into Matthew 26:6-13, Jesus does place social service beneath the worship due to Him alone. As I pointed out, Jezreel seemed to be “convinced of the primacy of social justice in the life of faith.” He’s dead wrong. To place anything, be that “thing” ever so inherently good, above worship of Our Lord constitutes idolotry.

    But let’s take another look at Matthew 25. Is the physical realm the only realm of which Our Lord speaks? Might some of the hunger and thirst and nakedness and imprisonment occupy a spiritual dimension as well? There is a hungering and thirsting for knowledge of Catholic truth. There is the sickness and imprisonment to sin, such as sexual perversion and promiscuity. These ills, more so than the physical ills, require far more attention, as these ills can lead to eternal damnation. By the way – did you read Jezreel’s “Hotbed” article, where he praises his graduates who are now agitating for gay rights and women’s ordinations? In so doing, he lauds those who would lead others to spiritual imprisonment and damnation, by virtue of dissent from Catholic teaching. Such is the very antithesis of real benefit to mankind, misguided motives notwithstanding. If that seems to you to be “intolerant” (I saw that buzz-word in your objection), I remind you that we are not called to tolerate evil.

    In your second reply to James, you say ” But it appears that you think that anything having to do with social justice would fit the category of unfit for Catholic participation, but, you would be wrong.” That is a blanket statement that is inaccurate, and I’ll elaborate with what I know is the overwhelming social justice issue of all time. I speak, of course, of the mass murder of unborn children, to the tune of 3500 DAILY – in this country alone. I have searched all over the Just Faith website and could find no mention of the word “abortion” therein; if I overlooked it, please advise. I certainly did not find one mention of it in the “hotbed” article. Nowhere did Jezreel enthuse over any of his graduates becoming active in pro-life work. That is really quite telling. It is quite indicative of a slavish adherence to progressive group-think regarding “social justice”. It certainly doesn’t speak of adherence to those seven principles of Catholic social teaching found at http://usccb.org/sdwp/catholicteachingprinciples.shtml#1 . “Option for the poor and vulnerable”? Who is more vulnerable than the babe who cannot even cry out? “Rights and responsibilities”? All these are denied to the individual who is denied his or her right to draw the breath of life! I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

    Just Faith is one of many programs that dilute the true understanding of social justice as a component of true Catholic life. Many good people, while sincere, are misguided by erroneous emphasis.

  5. Our parish addressed social justice this year under the “Consistent Ethic of Life” umbrella starting with abortion as the first social justice issue and working through other issues such as the death penalty and economic injustice. With such vitriol from a Catholic blogger, I can see why those who feel strongly devoted to life issues and those who feel just as strongly about social justice issues do not mix. Is abortion a social justice issue? Yes. But you also need to realize that for social justice advocates – many other issues are life issues. Mental health, homelessness, poverty, war, death penalty. All are life issues. Not more important than abortion but important for Christian Catholics to be working on. The reason that Catholics can work with secular humanists or those from other faiths on these issues is because there is some common ground. Right now the rhetoric within the pro-life/pro-choice movements doesn’t recognize any common ground so that issue is often not addressed. I would agree that this is not right but until those who feel strongly about abortion try to come to some common ground with those who see choice as a right, it will be difficult to work on this issue as a social justice one. Calling people names or questioning their motives and even their authentic Catholicism is not only counter productive but in my opinion un-Christian. When Jesus was here on earth, the people that he criticized the most were those who held to an orthodox rule bound faith and missed the forest for the trees. Sometimes those in the Catholic church on both the extreme right and extreme left do the same thing. No, we can not know what is right or do what is right apart from our relationship with God through Christ. But Jesus makes it perfectly clear that our love for Him/God is reflected by our commitment to love one another. And James makes it even more clear that “faith without works is dead”. Peace to you!

  6. To all peace-loving Catholics.

    Peace & Justice leaders and followers have a motto: “If you want Peace, work for Justice.”—-Pope Paul VI. His Holiness said this BEFORE Roe v. Wade!

    Pro-Life leaders and activists can adopt this motto: “The greatest destroyer of Peace is Abortion.”—-Blessed Mother Teresa. 1994. National Prayer Breakfast speech (available as a booklet under the title “Whatsoever You Do” at Priests for Life).

    Since the election of Obama by pro-abortion Catholics, it has become clearer to me that there exist two distinct Catholic leadership groups in the U.S.: traditionals who follow the Pope; and AMChurch (American Church) believers who follow the left wing of the U.S. Bishops Conference.

    AMchurch are those who voted for Obama, putting their faith in his campaign for “abortion reduction” policies. Get the facts. “Unholy Messaging: Obama’s Faith Based Try vs. His Positions” explains this very well — http://article.nationalreview.com/373423/unholy-messaging/douglas-johnson

    AMChurch believers are indifferent about contraception and abortion. “The greatest evil is indifference.”—-St. Maximilian Kolbe Fr. Kolbe witnessed the Holocaust as a prisoner at Auschwitz. It looks like AmChurch believers want us to be like them and ignore the holocaust of abortion in our neighborhoods.

    AMchurch believers think it’s important that the Church create programs to “empower” the poor to get out of poverty. This is a radical change from the past and comes from Saul Alinsky. We have a duty as Christians to help the poor.

    But we also have a duty to expose evil, the evil of contraception and abortion, for they are intertwined. “When you sow contraception, you reap abortion.”—-Fr. Paul Marx, founder Human Life International.

    “The right to life trumps all other rights.”—-Judie Brown, the American Life League The ‘consistent ethic of life’ theory is well-known but rarely understood.

    “Twenty years plus has proved that the actual political effect of the ‘consistent ethic of life’ has been to permit pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic the mantle they need to claim that they are right on most questions, such as welfare and war, and therefore should be considered faithful! And if that doesn’t confuse the public’s idea of what it means to be Catholic nothing will. For the record, the Vatican has not defined the ‘seamless garment’ (consistent ethic of life) approach as magisterial teaching nor has it vindicated the philosophy that supports it. One cannot favor the killing of innocent human beings and claim to be in unison with God because he also advocates feeding the hungry! The act of abortion is a direct attack on the dignity of the human person, a direct attack on God that results in death each and every time it is perpetrated. The act of feeding the hungry, on the other had, is each and every person’s responsibility insofar as he is able to act.”—-Judie Brown, “Saving Those Damned Catholics” http://www.all.org store.

    “If you want Justice, work for Morality.”—-New Oxford Review.

  7. I am a graduate of the JustFaith program and I agree with many of the criticisms of it here. There is no question that the program leans strongly toward and reflects the agenda of the so-called Catholic Left. I do not think the program is specifically Marxist but it leans strongly toward a socialist or governmental solution for most problems. Its target is “structures of injustice” or “oppression” but the term remains conveniently undefined. What would a “just” structure look like? You get no real help from JustFaith. I repeatedly gained the impression that what JustFaith envisions is very close to the political agenda of the secular left. It has no real social vision of its own. Again, the criticism that JF scants personal holiness is justified. Many of the figures held up for emulation are not Catholic or are dissident Catholics. I think this program reflects the shortcomings of Liberation Theology (although I don’t reject that movement tout court): it tends to reduce the Gospel to this world alone. But, in view of what we know of history, how likely is it that any period will ever emerge in which the structures are mainly “just”? The real problem in the world is sin, and not mainly in its social manifestation. From my experience of it, I adjudge JF as basically a dead end.

  8. I am amazed at the number of venomous statements here and the total lack of christian charity or objectivety [posted here. Good people can differ about means but not about ends. I hope that reader will discuss the issues of faith and social justice in an open way and be charitable in their discussions. The issue is what the gospels callus to do beyond charity and good works. Read and mediate on Matthew 25 before you form a judgment.

  9. Hi,
    After reading an article on Jack Jezreel and his organization, JustFaith in The September 23, 2010 issue of The Dialog, I was left with an uneasy feeling about this man and his organization.
    After searching his website I found JustFaith had infected several Catholic churches in the Wilmington, Delaware area. People do not expect to be assaulted with Socialist ideology when worshiping in their churches but Jezreel is doing just that to churches across the country as his website shows. We must be aware and investigate thoroughly any organization such as JustFaith that professes Liberation Theology and Collective Salvation. It’s insidious and evil and its intention is to weaken and destroy Catholicism. Saul Alinsky dedicated his book “Rules for Radicals” to Satan. Jezreel definitely read the book.

  10. I live in San Diego and Just Faith started at our parish 18 mos. ago. I was extremely leery and have been researching the Catholic Left, Liberation Theology, the Social Gospel Movement, Just Faith, Call to Action, etc.

    The straw that broke this camels back? On October 30th, 2011, on page six of our parish bulletin was a small anouncement of the start of a “Parish Book Club” by “Just Faith” graduates. The first book to be discussed? “Nickled and Dimed – On (Not) Getting by in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich, who is an atheist co founder of Democratic Socialist of America. In describing the book, the announcement said (it) “has the Catholic Social Justice theme of fair wages for the working poor” “. I have called the Diocese of San Diego twice and am patiently listened to . . . and blown off. I wrote my pastor (who is a very sweet, naive, leftist) and explained why we would not be participating in the “Capital Campaign” to raise millions of dollars to renovate our church and parish school.

    I explained to him that those who truly love God, love their neighbors and help their neighbors …. and Just Faith was nothing more than secular politics hiding under a “Christian mantle”.

    If you want a real eye-opener, go to the “Graduate’ section on the right hand side of the Home Page – the click “Resources” where you will see:

    *Forming Community
    *Getting Connected
    *Taking Action

    Mighty Aphrodite

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s