Texas Association of Business president Bill Hammond raises his ugly head. More on that later
When the former bishop of the Austin Diocese, Greg Aymond, was installed as Archbishop of New Orleans, the now vacant Austin position that could take up to 18 months to fill by Pope Benedict the 16th created a power vacuum. In the meantime, the former vicar general of the Austin diocese, Monsignor Michael Mulvey, was elected as Administrator until the appointment.
Mulvey’s recent public statement about the impact of Austin Energy’s Resource and Climate Protection Plan on the poor has lead to State Rep Eddie Rodriguez’s response that choosing between green energy and protecting the poor is a false dilemma.
The reasons for Mulvey’s statement could range from ensuring the Pledge of St. Francis and the church’s commitment to the poor to the more earthy concerns about the cost of utility bills for the diocese’s churches and schools. What should be included in the debate is whether solar conversion subsidies or rebates can be structured for the schools classified as educational entities rather than denominational ones. That might be asking for too much.
Setting aside the fact that a worsening environment has more impact on the poor, the formula to calculate future pricing on energy is in constant flux with parameters tied to improving technology, political leadership and will, emerging world economies, transmission capabilities, inflation, and a number of other factors.
For Mulvey to say that utility bills will rise as much as 50% in the next five years was either alarmist, naïve, or engineered behind the scenes.
While it is difficult to ascertain the current remarks coming out of the diocese, it seems a bias toward maintaining a coal, natural gas, and nuclear strategy at the expense of cleaner forms. So why the public pushback by the diocese on clean energy?
Maybe you don’t have to look any farther than Hammond and his organization.
You might remember them during the Tom Delay reign. Having Hammond included in a joint statement with the diocese along with talking points on the dioceses’ website raises a number of red flags. Plus, a well-known strategy for conservatives is to interject their concern for the poor while trying to get favorable outcome for corporations, the wealthy, and their own self-interest.
The diocese needs to be more transparent on their relationship with Hammond, and the rest of us need to start connecting the dots.
This discussion is not a referendum on the church and the faithful, but a need to understand why the diocesan leaders came out with this statement, and to find out if there has been infiltration of people and organizations that wish to use the diocese as a political football, and would like nothing more than to cause a rift.
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