South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 26, No. 36, Ed. 1 Friday, October 18, 1991 Page: 3 of 20
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AROUND THE STATE
Weak giving among concerns of Texas bishops
By Carol Luker
Catholic News Service
DALLAS (CNS) — The shortage of priests and the
weak giving practices of Catholics are the primary con-
cerns of the Texas Catholic bishops, said the executive
director of the Texas Catholic Conference.
“We’re struggling in Texas with both those realities,”
said Holy Cross Brother Richard Daly. Given the limited
number of clerical personnel covering vast geographic
areas, he said, “I think the church in certain parts of the
state is overwhelmed by the numbers of people.”
Brother Daly, who heads the Austin-based conference,
which is lobbying arm of the bishops, made the comments
in Dallas Ocl 6 in a talk on “What Makes the Catholic
Church in Texas Unique” as part of a lecture series.
Baptized Catholics who live in Texas number almost 5
million, he estimated, out of a total population of about
17.2 million. Of the Catholics, some 60 to 70 percent are
Hispanic. Scrambling for personnel and funding to serve a
church that remains missionary in character poses a formi-
dable challenge, he said.
“We need more priests, obviously. We need more people.
How do we do that?” he asked. “Do we do it with
volunteers? Anyone who is involved with diocesan, parish
or school finances knows that there is a constant (struggle
for funding). We’ve got to do something in the Catholic
Church and the United Stales about stewardship."
Brother Daly said that perhaps the free services pro-
vided in the past by men and women religious in educa-
tion, health care and social services has contributed to lax
attitudes about giving in the church. Demographic data
identifies Catholics as first or second in affluence among
members of U.S. religious denominations, but near the
bottom of the list in terms of giving, he said.
Coupled with deteriorating economic conditions in Texas
in recent years, meager stewardship has had a critical
impact on ministry.
As for the priest shortage, Catholics shouldn’t look to
optional celibacy “to solve all the church’s problems,”
Brother Daly said. But he added the church will “do what
identifies Catholics as
first or second in
members of U.S.
but near the bottom
of the list in terms
it has to do to be a cucharistic community, to make sure the
Eucharist is available to the people of God.”
Only recently has the Catholic Church in Texas culti-
vated Hispanic vocations, he said, meaning “the largest
talent pool went untapped for a long time.”
According to a study by the conference’s vocation
office, Hispanics constitute 43 percent of all Texas dioce-
san seminarians. Currently there are 212 diocesan semi-
narians in Texas, more than two-thirds of whom are at the
postgraduate level of studies, the study found. The study,
which did not attempt to gather data on religious-order
seminarians, was completed in September.
The surge in Hispanic vocations is a “very hopeful
sign,” Brother Daly said.
Lack of money and personnel makes the church suscep-
tible to proselylism by other denominations, particularly
among Hispanics, he said. Well-financed efforts bv manv
denominations and sects have been successful in recruit-
ment of Catholics.
“I don’t think there is any issue over the past four or five
years that the bishops as a groups have been as concerned
about as this issue," he said.
The Texas Catholic bishops have countered it by vigor-
ously promoting evangelization through the establishment
of an Office of Evangelization within the conference,
convoking a three-day meeting of clergy on the subject,
and issuing a pastoral letter on evangelization titled “Mission:
Characteristics unique to the Catholic Church in Texas,
Brother Daly said, are its number of missionary dioceses;
its total size of 14 dioceses, more than any other state; and
its age, 300 years old.
And, he added, the church in Texas not only has an
overriding Hispanic influence that dates to the church's
beginnings in the state, but also has long-established
ethnic communities, including Czech, German, Polish and
Catholics urged to weigh benefits, dangers of lottery
By Catholic News Service
SAN ANGELO, Texas (CNS) — A Texas bishop has
asked Catholics in his diocese to weigh the benefits of
“providing funds for good causes” against “the danger of
personal moral and social damage” when voting on a
proposed state lottery Nov. 5.
In a statement published Oct. 4 in The West Texas
Angelus, San Angelo diocesan newspaper, Bishop Mi-
chael D. Pfeifer of San Angelo took no stand on the
scheduled referendum but assessed various moral aspects
of the issue.
Although “Catholic teaching does not define gambling
as immoral in itself,” Bishop Pfeifer said, “In the case of
For over 50 Years
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enjoyment of luxuries — and gambling is certainly a
luxury — our legitimate freedom must be balanced with
the legitimate needs of others who have less than we.”
He said voters faced the “ambiguity which arises from
relative values and relative social dangers” when consid-
ering the lottery issue.
“The question of how to vote on the state
lottery is not an easy one. / encourage
each voter to carefully study and
consider the many dimensions of this
question and to prayerfully reflect upon
the Christian values involved as you form
your opinion and determine
your vote on this issue.”
-Bishop Michael Pfeifer
Bishop Pfeifer noted that the Texas Conference of
Churches, an ecumenical group which includes Catholics,
opposes the lottery “as an activity inappropriate for the
state; a form of regressive taxation which victimizes the
citizens, especially the poor; and a source of income which
will not solve the stale’s need for a more stable form of
income but only postpone inevitable revenue system re-
Among the arguments in favor of the lottery, he said, are
that it is a form of “legitimate entertainment” and that it
“would provide a source of badly needed income for our
state in this time of financial crisis.”
Bishop Pfeifer said drawbacks cited by opponents of the
lottery include: the effects of compulsive gambling on
society and families; the risk of “attracting organized
criminal elements” to the state; and the fact that those with
lower incomes often participate more in lotteries, resulting
in “a hidden taxation of the poor.”
“The question of how to vote on the state lottery is not
an easy one,” the bishop said. “I encourage each voter to
carefully study and consider the many dimensions of this
question and to prayerfully reflect upon the Christian
values involved as you form your opinion and determine
your vote on this issue."
The state comptroller in Texas has estimated that a
lottery could generate about $1 billion profit for the state
every two years when in full operation, and a projected
$462 million for the current two-year budget cycle if
games begin by July 1992.
According to the North American Association of State
and Provincial Lotteries, 32 states and the District of
Columbia currently have lotteries, with sales at more than
$20 billion a year.
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P.O. BOX 2366 • LAREDO, TX 78044
Authorized by the Corpus Christi Diocese
For Pre-Consultation for Family Plots or
Mausoleum Crypts, Call or Write
3600 McPherson Laredo, Texas 78041
Care of Rudy Velasquez, Manager
Sunday, Oct. 20,1991
Serving 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Donations $5.00 per plate, includes drink & dessert
AUCTION • COUNTRY STORE • LIVE MUSIC
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St. Anthony Parish Hall
Hwy 44 • Violet, Texas
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Freeman, Robert E. South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 26, No. 36, Ed. 1 Friday, October 18, 1991, newspaper, October 18, 1991; Corpus Christi, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth840282/m1/3/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .