Category Archives: Fratres Blog News

Reason #1,356,902 Why People Hate The MSM

Media interrupting prayer & healing service at St John’s service, Newtown CT
Media interrupting prayer & healing service at St John’s service, Newtown CT

Should anything tragic ever happen to my family – heaven forbid – and the media and photographers descend on me like a flock of crows, may God grant me the grace to resist the impulse to shove their cameras so far up their asses that they can take pictures of the cavity where their hearts used to be.

via Reason #1,356,902 Why People Hate The MSM.

via Reason #1,356,902 Why People Hate The MSM.

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…And more desecration of all things sacred by bad spirits: Rare white buffalo and mother slain in Texas

Reward for killer of rare white buffalo

From Crime Time:

The reward has increased ninefold to $45,000 in last week’s deaths of a rare white buffalo, considered sacred by its Lakota Sioux owner, and its mother on a ranch near Greenville.

Lightning Medicine Cloud and his mother, Buffalo Woman, were killed just shy of the white buffalo’s first birthday.

Arby Little Soldier, great-great-great grandson of Sitting Bull and owner/operator of the Lakota Ranch, said Monday that he found the calf slaughtered and skinned April 30 after returning to the North Texas town from an out-of-town trip to Oklahoma City.

“Someone who probably knew we were out of town killed him and stripped the meat,” Little Soldier said. “I could tell it was him because of the white hair that was left on the head and tail.”

He said the mother appeared ill Monday, but eventually fed, and he concentrated on taking care of her calf’s remains. He found her dead the next morning, “about a 20-foot radius from where she gave birth to Lightning.”

He wasn’t sure how Buffalo Woman died, but speculated that she had been shot with a poisonous arrow because of a small mark. No arrow was found.

“I think it was a professional hit on the mom,” Little Soldier said. “It was a slow death.”

The Hunt County Sheriff’s Department, the Texas Rangers, the Bureau of Indians Affairs and other agencies are investigating the deaths.

Lightning Medicine Cloud was born on the ranch on May 12, 2011. Little Soldier said the birth of a white buffalo was a one-in-several-million occurrence.

A special naming ceremony was held, which drew thousands of peopl. A scholarship pow-wow scheduled for May 11-12 to celebrate the calf’s birthday will now be a memorial.

Among some American Indian tribes, it is believed that the message of a white buffalo is that humankind should live with the understanding that all living beings are linked and interdependent. The birth of a white buffalo is an opportunity for all people to collectively focus their energy on the peaceful, healthy and harmonious world, Little Soldier said.

Little Soldier initially offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved, but said the reward has grown as others have called to add additional monies. He said the reward had reached $45,000 Monday night and continued to grow.

He said condolences have reached his family from across the globe.

In a statement on their website, the Little Soldiers have this message:

“As we mourn the death of Lightning Medicine Cloud and his mother, it is so important to us that his legacy will forever live on through the message he brought as ‘the hope of all nations.’ Lightning was brought in as a spiritual blessing from God and taken out by the hands of evil people. We will gird ourselves with new strength, as we know this terrible crime will not go unsolved, and there will be closure for us all, and consequences for those who did it.”

On Monday, Little Soldier described Buffalo Woman as “kind-hearted and protective of Lightning” and Lightning Medicine Cloud as “a sweet, spiritual animal that was curious about his spirituality and the message that he brought — the hope of all nations.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department at 903-453-6800 and ask for either Sheriff Randy Meeks or Lt. Tommy Grandfield.

Greenville is about 75 miles east of Fort Worth.

— Marty Sabota

Read more here: http://blogs.star-telegram.com/crime_time/2012/05/reward-for-killer-of-rare-white-buffalo-upped-to-45000.html#storylink=cpy

[FULL TEXTS] Cardinal George Pell hammers unorthodox priest down under

“We cannot be sure whether Eric’s theological position is typical of a liberal or a radical Protestantism. But as an exercise in loyal dissent it moves beyond the limits of orthodox Catholicism…”

NOSEDIVE: The Spirit of Vatican II comes crashing down to earth.

To pell is to pelt; to knock about, is what mell is to beat with a mallet; to hammer… And yesterday Cardinal Pell hammered retired Australian priest Eric Hodgens and his unorthodox ethos of Vatican II, a spirit responsible for much of the difficulties and challenges the Catholic Church faces in the world today.

The brouhaha down under began with Hodgens bitter critique of the Church [Time to speak – and act] followed with Pell’s sharp rebuttal [Some Gaudium and No Spes] The Swag… Both exchanges follow in full:

Eric Hodgens is a Melbourne priest ordained in 1960. He has had parish appointments for all of his ministerial years except for two years of full-time study at Melbourne University. He was Director of Pastoral Formation for Priests in Melbourne for seven years while setting up a new parish. Eric has the most extensive set of statistics on secular priests in Australia and writes occasionally on Catholic and other matters. Further articles can be viewed on his blog www.catholicview.typepad.com

Time to speak – and act

A large section of Catholic priests are at odds with the public stance of the Church. The issues which disturb them include:

  • the displacement of the main game of spreading a message of life, hope, compassion and forgiveness by overstressing, moral issues;
  • foreclosing on moral issues which need revisiting – eg contraception, IVF, divorce, homosexuality;
  • World Youth Days which feed the personality cult of the pope to the detriment of the local church and which have not reversed the flow of youth from the Church;
  • the autocratic, non-consultative management style of many bishops – themselves unsuitable and unwanted and appointed without consultation;
  • the promotion of reactionary, authoritarian and fundamentalist movements such as Opus Dei, Legionaries of Christ, Heralds of the Gospel, Communione e Liberatione as real, effective responses to the challenge of faith in a secular world;
  • the non-consultative and politically motivated superimposition of a new, defective translation of the liturgy. This one has the potential of sparking a people-power revolt as a growing parade of liturgical experts list the bad policy and the abuses still being perpetrated under its banner;
  • The discomfort these priests feel ranges from embarrassment to outright disagreement.

Yet, we priests do not speak up much. Why?

We were trained not to speak up. In our earlier years we were afraid to speak up because the bishop was too awesome a figure. The rank gradient was steep. Remember “My Lord”. Remember genuflecting and kissing the ring. And bishops learned the trick of controlling the pack by showing anger or displeasure at the first sign of disagreement.

We were also trained to put the Church institution first. Rocking the boat in public was disloyalty and self-aggrandisement.

More recently priests worked out that it was useless to talk up anyway. Bishops generally were impervious to criticism, especially on issues of Roman policy.
The Diocesan Council of Priests became a waste of time in most dioceses. So, why waste your psychological energy? Just go back to your parish and do your own thing.

Finally, there was always the promise of obedience which imitated the antique oath of fealty to the liege lord. “Do you promise obedience and respect to me and my successors?” Priests took this literally and seriously.

This policy will no longer do. It is time to speak up and to act. The matter is urgent. Why?

The church in Australia and the west is in serious trouble. Church-loving laity know it, priests know it. The symptoms are clear: a drought of priests, dropping Mass attendance, the loss of the younger generation and a walking away from membership by the worn down hard core.

So, what is the cause and what response is needed?

In Europe and its offspring, membership of the Church was overwhelmingly a matter of inheritance. The baby was christened and all presumed that it would stay a Church member for life. Most European states had an established religion. They were confessional states. Even after the arrival of the secular states the denominational sub-groups remained relatively large and strong. Christian identity remained confessional – ie I belong to this church, believe what it believes and practice religion the way it does. Membership qualifications were clear and the group’s boundaries were clearly defined.

Two rules of membership provided continued existence. Firstly, you christened your children and inculturated them into the group. Secondly, there was strong group pressure not to defect.

Since World War II the social cohesion of religious groups has weakened leaving christened members freer to think and act for themselves. A lot of this is due to a massive expansion of knowledge — scientific, psychological, sociological, historical, critical. Combined with a massive expansion of education, the result is much more freedom of thought. In this new environment long assumed facts have been turned upside down. So many accepted beliefs and practices are seen as dated and irrelevant. Bemoaning the scene is no help. We must revisit the core message of the Church and re-work the way we present it in the light of the new knowledge in this new social context. One term used to describe this process is recontextualization.

Rome lays the blame on secularism and relativism and calls for a new evangelization. John Paul II started this call. Benedict has followed it up by establishing the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. The problem with this is that there is no intention to review the articulation of faith and moral teaching, nor an intention to try out new approaches to liturgy, nor to experiment in inculturation. Look at the favoured new movements, the new translation of the missal, the catechesis offered at World Youth Days – all reasserting the old model which is not working.

The foreclosed answer is reconfessionalisation, not the recontextualization needed Recontextualization entails accepting, even welcoming, secular and pluralistic culture. We rearticulate our core faith so that it makes sense in that context.

We rearticulate our concept and imagery of God so that God is the unseen, transcendent core of being rather than the string puller and button pusher of a puppet world. Jesus becomes the face and voice of the unseen God and the channel of God’s faithfulness and love. Salvation is the hope that we can justifiably hold on to in the face of death – a hope reassured by our faith in Jesus risen.

The recontextualized articulation of the central message of Christian salvation is well under way. Scripture scholars like Ray Brown, Joe Fitzmyer, John Meier and Eugene La Verdiere have shown us how faith develops and its articulation grows. As Jesus became larger than life in the belief of the early Christian communities they told larger than life stories. Under their guidance the scriptures make sense.

Karen Armstrong has lucidly shown the distinction between logical and mythological discourse. If you want to have meaningful faith conversation in the modern world you must understand the power and meaning of myth.

Theologians like Roger Lenaers and Roger Haight rearticulate the core of Christian theology in a way which is credible in the modern world. Michael Morwood and Philip Kennedy have done a fine job of popularizing this recontextualized theology. But their efforts are not appreciated by Rome. Haight has been silenced. Tissa Balasurya and Jaques Dupuis were both pursued by the CDF for recontextualizing Christian faith in the face of religious pluralism.

The Catholic Church had a great chance to meet this challenge at the start of the 20’h century. The response was Pius X’s campaign against modernism with mind-numbing results. We were not alone. At about the same time the US protestants answered the challenge with their fundamentalist tracts. We got another chance with Vatican II and Gaudium et Spes. The non-converted curial remnant got busy and won the post-conciliar battle especially under John Paul II. Gaudium et Spes was dismantled. The result is our unpreparedness for the current collapse. It is now the 11th hour. The matter is urgent.

It is precisely because so many priests have taken steps along this econtextualizing path that they are in disagreement with Roman policy as it recycles the old confessional model. Many priests have already very thoughtfully modified their pastoral practice. They are already recontextualizing their own faith journey. They have replaced the simplistic faith of their youth with a more fluid faith borne out of experience, more mature and reflective appreciation of the scriptures and a more vital, dynamic theology.

Our promise of loyalty was made to the Church in the person of the bishop. If the bishop is wrong, a loyal priest speaks up. In the light of relentless alienating Roman policy, made acutely specific in the current imposition of the defective translation of the liturgy, we have the responsibility not only to speak up but to act.

Cardinal Pell responds:

Some Gaudium and No Spes

By George Cardinal Pell

Father Eric Hodgens’ piece on the Gaudium et Spes priests gives us plenty of food for thought. It is well written and provocative, as you would expect of a priest who described his own cohort as possessing “the biggest proportion of intelligent, educated and competent leaders”. But it is unbalanced, misguided, selective and sometimes inaccurate.

Recently I have been concerned by the theological extremism of some Swag contributions, and am grateful for the opportunity to state the case for the orthodox mainstream. I am not ordering anyone to “withdraw to the fortress and sing the old song”, but my best lines are still from the New Testament with its ancient truths and melodies.

Eric sees himself now as “a presbyter called and ordained by the Church – the People of God” rather than as “a priest called and consecrated by God”. It is difficult to know exactly what this means, but it might point us to a number of fundamental issues.

More cards have been laid on the table than in Father Hodgens’ earlier writings. While it would be interesting to know whether he still has any jokers up his sleeve, it is more important to recognize that many of the cards cannot be identified accurately. We do not know, for example, his answers to the nine questions he lists. We do not know the limits to his hostility to some ancient devotions such as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and veneration of Our Lady. We do not know whether his opposition to the papacy and episcopate touches these institutions themselves or simply the style of recent incumbents. So too with priesthood and traditional Christian teaching on marriage, divorce and sexuality.

We cannot be sure whether Eric’s theological position is typical of a liberal or a radical Protestantism. But as an exercise in loyal dissent it moves beyond the limits of orthodox Catholicism.

Let me attempt to state the issue in the most basic terms.

We find no evidence in Eric’s article that the Catholic Church is the recipient of divine revelation, “God’s message not some human thinking” (1 Thess 2.13); nor that the Catholic Church was founded by the Son of God “the Word who was with God . . . the Word who was God” (Jn 1.1), Jesus the Christ, the son of Mary with a divine as well as a human nature. If Christ is divine, New Testament teachings have a unique authority.

Eric writes with the genuine anguish of most of us older Catholics who grew up at an unusually high tide of faith and practice and lived through the radical decline which followed the social revolution of the 1960s in the First World. But some of the damage was self-inflicted.

One major point of difference is that in my view Eric’s prescriptions are a significant cause of our problems. His solutions were put into practice after the Council, to some degree in Australia, but especially in Belgium, Holland and French-speaking Canada. They emptied the Churches there.

Pope Paul VI appointed no bishops who were opposed to the ethos of Vatican II, and for various reasons the good bishops appointed in Holland were overwhelmed, tossed aside by the liberal gales. This brings me to another contemporary fact, which I never anticipated as a young seminarian in Rome during the Council or as a young priest. The now aged liberal wing of the Church, which dominated discussion after the Council and often the bishops and the emerging Church bureaucracies, has no following among young practising Catholics, priests or religious. This is not only true in Australia, but everywhere in the Western world. In these different countries dominated by a secular media and intelligentsia, liberalism has no young Catholic progeny.

On reflection we should not find this surprising, as growth is tied to Gospel fidelity, to faith, love and sacrifice. After Vatican II many of us overestimated our cultural strengths and underestimated the virulence of anti-Christian forces. You need strong Christian foundations to participate productively in “open dialogue”. Without these roots the end of the road is agnosticism.

I should conclude with a few words in defence of the four popes who were mauled, especially Paul, John Paul II and Benedict. Incidentally it is a matter of historical record that at the 1971 Synod of Bishops, Pope Paul offered to the bishops the option of ordaining married men to the priesthood and the bishops declined to accept this.

All three popes were prolific writers, while John Paul II and Benedict were professional academics with a record of scholarly and popular publications rarely if ever equalled by any Australian priest. I believe Pope Benedict is now our most distinguished living theologian.

The charges against the Holy Father do not amount to too much e.g. instituting a special year to honour priests (which was well received by priests and people), continuing with a new translation of the Roman Missal, and encouraging the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated. He did not receive back the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, but only lifted their excommunication. They are still in schism.

Pope John Paul provokes a special hostility, allegedly an abuser of power, out of touch in scripture, limited in theology, a bad listener. It is a surprise that anyone came to his funeral. In particular he is denounced for emasculating the leadership of the Church, who are clerical and compliant, “low on creativity, leadership, education and even intelligence”.

In an astonishing example of provincial arrogance, Hodgens claims that “the more intelligent and better educated” bishops (only “some” to be sure) are corrupt and have sold their soul for advancement. Me thinks he protests too much.

Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict were not hostile to intelligence, education or competence, but they have striven regularly to appoint bishops who will defend the apostolic tradition and strive to implement policies which will strengthen the Catholic position, not white-ant it.

Hodgens’ misunderstanding of the magisterium is typical of his position. The magisterium refers primarily to the teaching authority of the pope together with the bishops (Vatican II’s collegiality). The baptised faithful share in this and so do the theologians with priests and religious.

Certainly the teaching authority of the bishops was recognized early by St. Ignatius of Antioch (+107 A.D.) and St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (+200 A.D.) with his apostolic succession lists of bishops to defend the apostolic tradition. The ancient teaching chair of the bishop exemplifies this, predating by many centuries any groups of professional theologians in the medieval universities. In Pope John Paul’s 27 years of pontificate 24 individuals were disciplined for their theological views, including eight who were silenced or removed, in the worldwide Catholic community of more than one billion believers. Father Hodgens himself escaped any reign of terror and so did many hundreds of dissidents.

Eric is a bit too generous to his generation, to which I belong. Many were formidable, but we coincided with a period of decline probably unparalleled since the Reformation.

“Reflections on an ordination golden anniversary” is thought provoking. I am glad Father Hodgens has enjoyed his years of priesthood. Unfortunately much of the analysis is mistaken since his solutions, to the extent we can identify them, are less than Catholic and would make a difficult situation worse.

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(Full Text) Archbishop Dolan blogs response to scandal chaser’s allegation

“I owe it to all of you — both the Catholic and wider community — to be very clear about the ridiculous and groundless gossip spread about me by a tort lawyer named Jeff Anderson…”

I owe it to all of you — both the Catholic and wider community — to be very clear about the ridiculous and groundless gossip spread about me by a tort lawyer named Jeff Anderson.

You may have heard this man claim that, when I was Archbishop of Milwaukee, I “hid’ $130 million of archdiocesan funds so victims of clergy sexual abuse could not sue for it.

Malarkey! The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has an excellent record of fiscal integrity and transparency. I worked hard at that, and my successor, Archbishop Listecki, continues to do so. (By the way, you might also be interested to know that during my years as Archbishop of Milwaukee, and with the generous service of many dedicated people, we established a mediation process that reached settlements with almost 200 victim survivors; that mediation process has been praised by the victim survivors who have participated in the process.)

In my seven years there, the meager resources of the archdiocese were under the vigilance of a sound and respected finance council, composed of prominent and respected business leaders from the financial community; annually we were audited; and each year there was complete, published financial disclosure. You can find the audited financial statements here. To claim that, given this rigorous supervision, an archbishop could have “hidden” $130 million, is beyond ridiculous.

I do want you to know that, when I arrived as archbishop, the financials showed that parishes had $70 million of their peoples’ money on deposit with the archdiocese. This was not archdiocesan money at all, but belonged to parishes. That’s why the finance council, and our outside professional auditors, advised me that it was inappropriate for the archdiocese to hold money for parishes, and that it should be returned to the parishes to which it belonged anyway. This was done, and publicly reported in the annual audit.

So much for “hidden funds.” Far from inappropriate, this decision was virtuous, open, and in accord with the clear directives of the professionals on our finance council and outside auditors.

The archdiocese of Milwaukee has issued an enlightening statement speculating that this lawyer’s reckless charges also included “hiding” the “cemetery fund,” which, of course, by state law, is scrupulously protected, and cannot be touched or transferred by anybody.

So, these silly charges are baloney. Unfortunately, this man got the attention he wanted and has come to expect from the news, tarnishing the good name of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and of me. Some of our priests reported that people at Sunday Mass asked them “Why did Archbishop Dolan hide those funds?”

Lord knows I’ve made mistakes, but “hiding” $130 million is hardly one of them!

P.S. The Catholic League issued a statement on this matter today. You can read it here.

Help Save Matt and Janet’s Farm: URGENT – A call to action for the WUWT community (via Watts Up With That?)

Here’s your chance to actively practice the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love within the lives of an honest farm family from Western Australia unjustly treated by government, while simultaneously inserting authentic faith and reason on the subject of caring for the environment.

I for one, have had it with stories such as these below, along with overzealous environmental activists (with their various agendas) placing needless fear–based on shoddy science–within the hearts of my children concerning their futures.

Enough is enough. The planet is not threatened by imminent destruction at the hands of unscrupulous men, but instead, as this case clearly shows, our working families are…

Please join me in this work of justice either financially or by re-posting, e-mailing, or calling any helpful contacts over the needs of this family.

Thank you,
James Mary Evans — The Orate Fratres

URGENT  - A call to action for the WUWT community I need your help, they need your help. Please read this whole story and consider if you can help. WUWT readers may recall this story: Death of a Feedlot Operator In which the anal-retentive government of West Australia has “licensed” a family farm out of operation due to some shonky science and arbitrary application of the “sniff test”. Yes that’s right, cattle farms smell, so do pig farms, as does any farm. But now it’s reason to shut one out du … Read More

via Watts Up With That?

Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: Reform group and synod not “in union” with either Archbishop or Archdiocese…

…in any way, shape, or form…”  

So stated Dennis B. McGrath, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, privately to organizers behind today’s scheduled “Synod of the Baptized” taking place in the Twin Cities.  

Organizers of the illegitimate synod from the dissident church reform group, Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR), quickly reacted to the attention by posting McGrath’s comments concerning their group on The Progressive Catholic Voice (PCV) blog.  

CCCR is a local coalition of long-frustrated individuals belonging to various national dissident organizations now banded together. Their ultimate goal is to create greater schism within the church as they organize for the upcoming American Catholic Council to be held in Detroit, Michigan, June 10-12, 2011.  

The Progressive Catholic Voice, a mouthpiece for the group and other church reform activists, describes itself as “dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, who in hearing and responding to God’s call to “repair my Church,” emulated the justice-making and compassion of our brother Jesus.”  

Michael Bayly

Perhaps so, but long time homosexual rights activist Michael Bayly (right) is both editor for PCV and sits on the Board of Directors of CCCR, lead sponsors of the unorthodox event.  

McGrath’s comments came in reply to the dissident group’s press release promoting  the synod on Thursday last. Specifically mentioned was the 4th paragraph. In which, McGrath took exception with the wayward group’s attempt at obscuring their efforts at undermining magisterial teachings and the Catholic Church herself under guise of unity with the local church. A promotional ruse used previously by the group in seeking followers and supporters from unsuspecting laity within the Archdiocese.  

The full CCCR press release can be found here.  

Dennis McGrath’s response on behalf of Archbishop Nienstedt (immediately below), is followed by the official, (and some would say canonical warning), statement from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis:  

The fourth paragraph in your press release about tomorrow’s synod is absolutely untrue and was craftily phrased to give the impression that CCCR and this synod are “in union with Archbishop John Nienstedt.” That is, as you well know, patently untrue. CCCR is not “in union” with either the Archbishop nor the Archdiocese in any way, shape or form. That fact has been posted on our Archdiocesan web site since this past August and has been printed in the Catholic Spirit.    

From the claim that some of CCCR’s “members” are also members of individual parishes does not justify the giant leap to conclude that CCCR is “in union” with this Archdiocese or its parishes in any way.    

The decent thing for you to do would be to issue a correction of this claim, but since I presume that’s unlikely, we would ask you, on behalf of Archbishop Nienstedt, to refrain from making this kind of false claim again.    

Dennis B. McGrath
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis    

Updated as of: Friday, September 17, 2010  

 Official Announcement: Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR)  

It has come to the attention of the Archdiocese that a group calling itself the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) is planning a 2010 ‘synod’ in the Archdiocese entitled, ‘Claiming Our Place at the Table’.    

While the agenda for the proposed synod purports to be an exploration of the role of baptized Catholics within the institutional Church of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, it is not being conducted under the auspices of the Archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the Archdiocese or the universal Roman Catholic Church.    

The Archdiocese wishes it to be known that the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, the 2010 synod, and individuals endorsing the same, are not agents or entities of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis or the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, the Archdiocese wishes to lovingly caution those members of the faithful participating in the ‘work/study groups’ and intending to attend the synod of the potential that the issues on which CCCR will seek reform are magisterial teachings of the Church, and are therefore to be believed by divine and catholic faith. The Archdiocese also wishes to remind the faithful of its need to shun any contrary doctrines, and instead to embrace and retain, to safeguard reverently and expound faithfully, the doctrine of faith and morals proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church.    

END OF POST/CONTINUED PRAYERS FOR AUTHENTIC UNITY

New Blog: Teacher Not Teaching

From time to time I spotlight blogs I like or find helpful. Teacher Not Teaching is a new blog that I already know I’ll like, but am sure also that it will be a helpful place to visit for any teacher suffering from current budget cuts, especially in California. Here’s the first post from:

Teacher Not Teaching (Thoughts on teaching in tough economic times and who we are in the classroom and out.)

Thirty-nine months. That’s how long I have until my district, the one I’ve devoted myself to for the past eight years, formally ends my layoff package and wishes me a sad farewell. That’s a long time, but it’s perhaps not long enough to recapture the students lost to the competing charter school (read: we’ll give your kids a laptop and not require that they read anything, so come on down!), not long enough to generate jobs in a local economy of fast food, retail, and…what the heck do people do for a living here? People certainly don’t open new businesses in the 65% of retail space currently unoccupied in our small town.

Therefore, those thirty-nine months may not be enough time for my superintendent to call me one fateful morning with those words I long to hear, “I have good news. We’d like to invite you back.” However, thirty-nine months is plenty long enough to watch Bank of America politely take back my house, and to see my family migrate like modern-day Joads in the opposite direction, in search of work and a new home. Ah, California schools. Livin’ the dream.

It’s probably obvious this is my first blog, but I have time on my hands, so I thought I’d give it a try. If you are an unemployed teacher, join in! Commiserate! If you are still holding onto your job, this blog will make you appreciate your sick leave and prep period, and envy the fact that I’m blogging and not grading poorly written essays about the symbolic significance of card games in Of Mice and Men. Yes, high school English teacher; you got me. You may be surprised to find that this California teacher has just as much frustration for my union as for my administration. The “Public School Question”, like “The Woman Question” in 19th Century England is complicated, and the answers won’t be simple. But, if you’re reading this, you already knew that.

I’m currently subbing in my own district, so after fourteen years of teaching, an M.A. in Education and endless hours of meaningful curriculum development and assessment, I am reduced to taking roll, pushing “Play” on the DVD, and passing out worksheets. You know we can’t be trusted. I understand. I was once you, but now I’m just a…

Teacher Not Teaching.

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