Texas, US Bishops See Threat to Tax Exempt Status in Wake of Texas Right to Life Gaffe

Texas, US Bishops See Threat to Tax Exempt Status in Wake of Texas Right to Life Gaffe

Posted by Tantumblogo on March 8, 2018

There are several players in the articles below from Church Militant, all increasingly isolated and bereft of public support from their colleagues and peers.  There’s Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, the man who decided against all good reason to attack the state’s largest and most effective pro-life group (Texas Right to Life – TRL), demanding even that a statement from him to all the Catholics of his diocese refusing them “permission” – on a matter of prudential judgment, as if it were even within his purview – to support TRL and desiring souls from each parish report to him as to whether or not his unnecessary and inflammatory statement was read.  As a matter of record, so far as I know – and I know regarding at least 7 other dioceses in this state – Fort Worth is the only diocese where such a statement, issued on Texas Catholic Conference (TCC – the bishop’s conference for the state) letterhead, was created and forcibly read. In fact, other bishops have run for cover, either trying to ignore the firestorm entirely, or outright repudiating the move against TRL.

Then there’s Jennifer Carr-Allmon –  former PR staffer for TCC and now its executive director – who has had a habit of lining TCC up on the wrong side of many sanctity-of-life related issues.  In 2014 TCC waged war against TRL and many individual pro-lifers over a disastrous bill on end-of-life care that would have substantially worsened the already bad laws in effect.  TCC  played a major role in supporting that bill and the RINO stealth liberals in the legislature that were pushing it.  Only heroic efforts by TRL, attorney Kassi Marks, individual committed pro-lifers, and a few good priests, bishops, and especially Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida finally managed to raise enough fuss to have the proposed bill changed and improved to the point that it did, in fact, wind up making a positive difference on end of life issues facing Texans.

In all of this, like the USCCB, the bishops are most often led by their lay staff bureaucrats within the respective conferences.  That is to say, the bishops are in many cases relying on the lay staff to “stay informed” and give them guidance on many of the various issues, being too busy with golf, exotic travel, and other activities to do so themselves.  Thus what often happens is that the Catholic bishops are advocating for the viewpoint of lay staffers of  unknown provenance, and certainly without any grace of office, to set Catholic public policy at the state, national, and even local level.

So just bear all that in mind as you read through the highlights of the two reports below, the first reporting that Bishop Olson and TCC may have violated the Johnson Amendment provisions of their tax exempt status in this fight with TRL.  Now, I don’t believe there is even a slight genuine threat to their status, but the fact that a complaint has been publicized is a bit unusual.  Now, if someone actually files a lawsuit against TCC and Olson with the IRS, then that would be serious. But mere complaints tend to go in the dustbin.  This article also ties the support of Olson and TCC to the RINOs to their love – and positive need – for continued unconstrained mass, illegal Hispanic immigration.

The second article adds a bit more detail to the coverage.  I’ll start with the tax exemption article via the good Bishop Gracida:

Here in Texas, the RINO Establishment has held power for a long time, and this establishment has been largely backed by the Catholic bishops of the state, casting their votes in ways generally approved of by the bishops and their agenda, particularly in regards to illegal immigration issues. Texas is of course greatly impacted by the question of illegals since it shares the longest border of any state with Mexico where most illegals come from………

……….Last week, in what many are viewing as an attempt to directly influence the outcome of tomorrow’s midterm elections, the bishops issued an unheard-of, unprecedented rebuke of Texas Right to Life, essentially claiming teaching authority over the group in matters political. The statement consisted of three major points, but the most troublesome point is the third point where they publicly decry the Texas Right To Life Voter Guide, which supports the young and upcoming anti-Establishment Republican candidates primed to upset the old-time GOP Establishment politicians favored by the bishops. [Not all of these anti-establishment candidates were so young. And in the case of Senate District 8, I think pro-lifers can be practically equally satisfied with either Ray Huffines or Angela Paxton.  Paxton won the primary, and it was a nasty, expensive race, but which candidate was actually the more pro-life actually figured quite substantially into that race.  At any rate, many voters in Collin County were turned off by Huffines extremely negative campaign and perceived carpetbagger relo to Richardson just to run for this seat]

And here is where the bishops may have actually have run afoul of IRS regulations forbidding Church involvement in politics, a rule known as the Johnson Rule, which actually originated under the administration of Texan President Lyndon B. Johnson back in the 1960s. To have injected themselves into statewide political races just a week before the elections and essentially condemned a political activist group by name, a group that publicly backs certain candidates over others, crosses the line and puts the bishops’ conference in a position where it could thereby lose its tax-exempt status.

Church Militant has learned exclusively that plans are being drawn up and formulated to file a petition with the IRS to have the tax-exempt status of the Church in Texas completely stripped. It that were to happen, the dollar cost to the dioceses of Texas would run into the hundreds of millions of dollars and bankrupt many dioceses. Additionally, experts observe that since the head of the Texas Catholic Conference, Galveston-Houston Cdl. Daniel DiNardo, is also president of the U.S. bishops’ national conference, this could actually extend beyond Texas and impact the tax-exempt status of the entire Church across the country.

If that scenario were to play out which observers tell Church Militant is certainly a possibility, the Church across America would become financially insolvent as the 194 dioceses across the country would have to scramble to sell tens of billions of dollars of assets to pay the exorbitant tax bill that would surely come their way in the absence of their tax-exempt status — billions and billions of dollars presently and moving forward that the federal government would dearly love to get its hands on. [As I said, it is extremely unlikely that any serious threat to the Church’s tax exempt status will come from this. But what may well happen is that Olson will get some hard questions behind the scenes at the next USCCB meeting of bishops.  Or maybe not.  They may all be in perfect agreement. Hard to say with this crew raised in the post-conciliar Church]

How did this happen? How is it that the bishops of Texas would collectively sign on to an agreement that could potentially bankrupt the Church in the United States? The answer, insiders say, lies with one woman, Jennifer Carr Allmon, the executive director of the Texas Bishops’ Conference, the first woman to ever hold that position.

A little background is in order here. The most vocal bishop in support of the attacks against Texas Right to Life has been Fort Worth Bp. Michael Olson who launched a blistering accusatory social media campaign on his Twitter feed, actually telling parishioners to let him know if his orders to his diocesan priests to read the statement of condemnation out loud at Masses from the pulpit were being followed. Olson is the same bishop who ordered Catholic pro-life groups in his diocese not to protest in front of abortion chambers with banners of Our Lady of Guadalupe because the image of Our Lady was offensive to Protestants who might also be protesting.

The behind the scenes of this is that very wealthy supporters of the Church in Fort Worth, who also support the status-quo RINOs, became very concerned that the young Republicans backed by Texas Right to Life were close to capturing the state legislature, according to internal polls. So they reached out to Olson and Jennifer Carr Allmon and said something needed to be done and done quickly before the elections.

One such establishment figure in the Texas legislature the rich want to protect because he is seen as “their man” is Charlie Geren, who barely hung on to his seat in the last election, almost losing to a Texas Right to Life challenger Bo French. That same race is again coming down to the wire and a loss in that race for the GOP-RINO establishment would signal a massive defeat for the status quo, including the bishops who are wedded to that same status quo.

The bishops are interested in maintaining the current political environment because the up and comer Republicans backed by Texas Right to Life are not friendly to the cause of illegal immigration which is the cause fueling the engine of the bishops’ political agenda in Texas. If the state of Texas suddenly turns anti-illegal immigration, the Texas bishops stand to lose a great deal, so they are willing to settle for weak pro-life support from RINOs in order to hold on to large sums of money going to what they see as the most important issue — illegal immigration……. [Well I would say Texas already is majority anti-illegal immigration, as many Texans see quite rightly that if mass illegal immigration is allowed to continue much longer, Texas will go purple if not blue, and this entire nation will be finished, if it isn’t already.  But there is not much Texas can do to secure the border, unless the governor wants to activate the Guard and start patrolling the border en masse, which may not be a bad idea but would instantly result in a flood of lawsuits and probable instant court injunctions by activist leftist judges to desist.]

………Reports are that some of the Texas bishops are now backpedaling from the statement, some even privately denying any advance knowledge of it. Some of this backpedaling appeared to be the case in a Friday afternoon interview on EWTN where San Angelo Bp. Michael Sis downplayed the statement and offered that everyone just needs to find common ground and work together — a radical departure from the aggressive tone of the earlier condemnation.

That the entire tax-exempt status of the Church, certainly in Texas and possibly in the entire country, owing to the connection between both Cdl. Daniel DiNardo, could come down to a hastily compiled statement by one woman, Carr Allmon, in charge of the Texas Bishops’ Conference and backed by one hot-tempered bishopwanting to do the bidding of some rich donors with political interests, it’s simply mind-boggling. But given the current temperature of the culture with regard to Catholic matters, a financial tsunami could certainly be in the cards for the nation’s bishops. [He does seem to be hot-tempered. It’s also funny how times change. When Farrell was here, Olson was definitely the more orthodox of the two DFW bishops.  Now with Bishop Burns, the situation seems to have reversed.  Bishop Burns is generally keeping a low profile and doing the hard work of trying to reconstitute both the badly depleted priesthood (which Bishop Farrell did revive from practical total death of vocations) and the aging and far too progressive lay administration of the Diocese.  He doesn’t seek after publicity as Farrell very obviously did.  But those cardinal hats don’t fall from trees!  You gotta get out there and make a name for yourself!]

This post is getting really long but here’s a bit more on Olson:

Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth is currently steeped in controversy over his attack on Texas Right to Life, a pro-life group focused on electing authentic pro-life leaders in the Texas legislature. Yet in August 2016, Bp. Olson allowed a pro-abortion Democrat to speak on parish property. This is despite recent tweets to the Catholic faithful about his “apostolic duty” to “guard authentic doctrine in the parishes.”

In August 2016, Congressman Marc Veasey (D-Texas) was allowed to speak on the property of All Saints Catholic Church in Fort Worth. Veasey voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act when it came in front of the House for a vote. He supports abortion through all nine months, and has attended Planned Parenthood rallies. [I sadly live in Veasey’s district, one so gerrymandered that there is virtually no chance he will ever face a serious challenge, let alone lose his seat.  You should see how ridiculously the boundary lines are drawn in Irving, literally looping around apartment complexes and avoiding single-family homes.  Good job legislature!  Veasey is a true extremist who supports all the most extreme fashions of the Left – transgenderism for youth, taxpayer funded abortion on demand and any time, restrictions on homeschooling, etc]

Church Militant reached out to the diocese of Fort Worth for comment. A spokesman claimed the reason Veasey was allowed to speak on diocesan property was that the event in question was a town hall and not a stump speech.

When Church Militant asked whether the town hall included a speech from Veasey, the official angrily interrupted, reasserting that the event at the town hall wasn’t a speech. He said he was present at the event and that attendees did ask Veasey about his position on abortion, which Veasey answered by restating his support for abortion.

The diocese claimed that Veasey listened carefully to the pro-lifers in attendance at the event. An article in the North Texas Catholic quoted Bp. Olson on the subject: “My point is, we’ve gotten to the point of our civil discourse — to our understanding of our responsibility as citizens — that the only way we are able to participate in our society politically and to contribute to the common good is in a partisan way.”

In the wake of the Texas bishops’ parish advisory on Texas Right to Life, which Congressman Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) has called “factually inaccurate,” Bp. Olson tweeted out an order for Catholics attending Mass to spy on priests and report to his office if the Texas bishops’ advisory was not read from the pulpit.

Bishop Olson went so far as to imply that those who don’t read the advisory at Mass are not “true Catholics” and that the advisory is an act of his “authentic teaching office.”

I am told that most parishes did read the statement.  Whether it is really an act of his authentic teaching office is another question, there is no question Texas Right to Life supports the entirety of the Church’s Doctrine on the sanctity of life -in fact, it seems to support it better than the bishops often do. Whether one can be commanded to not support an organization that commits no sin and endorses no error – and is in fact totally wedded to the truth – seems dubious, at best.  I would argue in fact that it is TRL that is upholding Catholic Doctrine in its truest, fullest sense, and that, prudentially, the more accommodationist position of the TCC and Olson may be accepted for particular matters but is morally inferior to the more hardline stand.

Once again, as we see so often in the post-conciliar institutional edifice, the bishops make dogma of prudential matters and treat dogmatic ones as matters of judgment.

I would add in closing that TRL is the only pro-life group in the state, and one of the few in the country, that correctly ties together the issue of contraception with that of abortion.  Texas Alliance for Life, the group Olson and TCC apparently prefer, and which is widely seen as being much, much less reliable on these weighty matters, won’t touch contraception with a 10 ft pole.

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