I've written before about my opinion of Our Parish Times, the periodical published by the Catholic Business Network. When it first appeared, it was a welcome alternative to the Catholic Standard. Whereas the Standard's tilt was definitely to the left (after Tom Rowan retired), OPT took on issues and viewpoints that the Standard was reluctant to touch. However, something happened to OPT. In my perspective as a reader, it seems that the Archdiocese of Washington somehow neutered OPT. Is that why their excellent columnist Bob McCarthy has disappeared from the OPT pages?
But they still retain Chuck Short, a former ADW official who is now working for Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggitt. Two weeks ago I wrote how he has given donations to Chris Van Hollen as the latter runs for the US Senate seat being vacation by "katholyc" pro-abortion Barbara Mikulski. In so doing, Short is subverting the campaign of the GOP pro-life candidate Kathy Szeliga; he's choosing abortion over life in this election. Yet OPT sees fit to retain Short as he blathers about his left-wing perverted view of "social justice". Do they keep him simply because of his connection with Leggitt?
His latest blather is entitled "Street Mercy". Among other things he discusses the explosion in the numbers of those who panhandle at street corners and meridian strips. Many, like myself, are concerned that the money they collect will be used to procure drugs and/or alcohol. Short poo-poos such concerns, whipping out the "who am I to judge" canard, misquoting Jesus Christ in the process. To be fair, Short is merely following the example of Pope Francis. Make no mistake about it; while tippy-toeing around the matter, Short is suggesting that we engage in sentimentality as opposed to rationality, not consider to what we may be materially contributing, and blindly fork it over.
In that portion of his paragraph, Short demonstrates his lack of credibility in opining about Catholic social teaching. Was St Katherine Drexel "judging" when she counseled against giving cash directly to beggers? For many panhandlers, what they do is a racket (I've seen evidence of that at Shady Grove and Frederick).
I'll relate another incident that occurred at my parish several years ago, with the pastor immediately prior to our current one. A "family of indigents" appeared in front of the churh doors, begging for money. It was still going on when the pastor, from the pulpit, gave us the full story. After they first appeared, the St. Vincent De Paul Society and other parish ministries approached them to see how they could assist. The "family" declined their assistance, preferring instead to receive only cash. The pastor suggested that we not give money to them. Was Father being judgmental? Our Lord did caution us to be discerning, something that Short fails (or refuses) to consider. To his credit, Short does suggest a number of parish outreaches where we can volunteer.
What is the mission of the OPTanyway? Is it simply to be a forum in which members of the CBN can advertise? I don't see a mission statement in their publication. If I missed it, please advise where it is located. At any rate, their readership is being ill-served by columnists such as Chuck Short.