Archive for April 2009

in finem citius — Part One

April 30, 2009

“Things go faster toward the end”

Bishop Tobin of Providence  Speaks the Truth on the storm coming to a state near you.  In Dante’s Inferno, actions such as these are punishable because they tear apart the fabric of society.  If you think that much of the future of what the Bishop alludes to can’t happen — I’ll be starting a running series on how the tide has already turned.  “Sleepers, open your eyes”

“Rhode Island, Most Catholic State, Welcomes Gay Marriage”

That’s a headline we haven’t seen yet, dear readers, but probably will in the next couple of years. And, make no mistake about it – that’s exactly what the headline will say as the story makes its way around the state and across the nation.

The march toward gay marriage across our nation is relentless, and liberal New England is leading the way. The supporters of gay marriage in Rhode Island are well-organized and well-funded. They’re fiercely determined to impose their politically correct agenda on all the citizens of the state – human history, culture and moral principles not-withstanding. Anyone who opposes them is quickly labeled a bigot.

And what’s the typical response of Catholics in Rhode Island? “As long as it doesn’t affect me, I really don’t care what other people do,” you say. “We shouldn’t judge other people,” you demur. “The Church is losing its influence. I don’t think there’s anything we can do,” you rationalize.

Well, my friends, gay marriage will affect you and you should be concerned. And there’s a lot we can do. But first, let’s review the principal reasons why we’re opposed to gay marriage.

First is our firm belief – based on the natural law, the Bible and consistent religious tradition – that homosexual activity is unnatural and gravely immoral. It’s offensive to Almighty God. It can never be condoned, under any circumstances. Gay marriage, or civil unions, would mean that our state is in the business of ratifying, approving such immoral activity. And as I’ve written previously: “The state shouldn’t be placed in that position, and as a citizen of the state I don’t want that imposed on me and my conscience. Neither should you.”

Second is the fact that gay marriage seeks to radically redefine the most fundamental institution of the human race, the building block of every society and culture. From the beginning, marriage has been defined as the stable union of man and woman, designed by God to continue the human race through the procreation of children. Homosexual relationships are not marriage – never have been, never will be.

Here let me explain the “champagne principle.” Not every wine is champagne. Champagne has certain very specific, universally recognized characteristics. If someone were to take a bottle of Chianti, label and sell it as champagne, they’d be arrested for fraud. In the same way, those who seek to redefine marriage – with its specific characteristics – and to usurp the title “marriage” for their morally bankrupt relationships, are committing an act of fraud. It’s insulting to those who have entered the authentic, sacred and time-honored institution of marriage over the years.

The gay culture continues to seep into our popular culture, cleverly claiming credibility. Did you see that President Obama issued special invitations to gay families to participate in this year’s Easter Egg Hunt at the White House? Just another not-too-subtle attempt to ignore the objective immorality of the situation and present gay couples as normal and happy as every other couple.

The third way in which gay marriage will affect you is its impact on religious freedom, including that of the Catholic Church.

A recent headline in the Washington Post demonstrates the problem: “Faith groups losing gay rights fights.” It goes on to give some examples of how the gay agenda is imposing itself on religious beliefs: a Christian photographer in New Mexico was fined because she refused to photograph a gay couple’s commitment ceremony; Christian doctors in California were obliged to artificially inseminate a lesbian patient; A Christian student group was punished because it denied membership to anyone involved in sex outside of marriage.

We’re familiar with other examples of the gay agenda infringing on religious freedom. In Massachusetts, the Catholic Church was required to place children for adoption with gay couples; and in some countries, clergy preaching the Christian doctrine about homosexual practices have been accused of hate crimes.

Proponents of gay marriage say that the Church won’t be forced to witness such marriages. Don’t believe it. And other related problems will inevitably arise. Will the Church be required to admit gay couples as sponsors for baptisms; to rent its facilities for gay wedding receptions; to hire employees despite their immoral gay lifestyles; to grant family benefits to gay couples? For simply maintaining its teachings in these and many other possible scenarios, the Church will be accused of bigotry and unlawful discrimination. The threat to our religious freedom is real, and imminent.

The fact that Rhode Island has successfully avoided the gay marriage phenomenon is a credit to our Governor, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. They – along with a number of other legislative leaders – have been consistent and courageous in deflecting the onslaught of gay activists and in upholding the traditional definition of marriage. We hope and pray they’ll continue to do so.

“The Church is losing its influence,” you say, “and there’s nothing we can do.” “Bull feathers,” I reply. I don’t know if we have 600,000 Catholics in the state or 500,000 or 400,000. But if even ten percent of our Catholic population got actively involved in this issue – even five percent – we could have an enormous impact and help Rhode Island maintain its moral sanity.

Lots of things you can do about this issue. First, you can be aware of the legislation as it’s introduced in the General Assembly. You can contact your state senator and representative and insist that they oppose gay marriage and defend marriage and family values. You can exert your influence with letters to the editor and calls to talk shows. You can join and support organizations like NOM-RI that’s leading the charge on this issue. And you can pray fervently that God will help us in this critical struggle on behalf of morality and common sense.

The Church teaches us that it’s the responsibility of the laity to get involved in public life, to transform the secular order into the Kingdom of God. Therefore, if someday a headline reads, “Rhode Island, Most Catholic State, Welcomes Gay Marriage,” people across the nation will ask, “How did that happen?” And it’ll be our fault, fellow Catholics – not necessarily because we approved of gay marriage – but simply because our abysmal apathy allowed it to happen.

Getting schooled for Catholic Adulthood

April 30, 2009

This will come as no surprise to readers here, I’m sure.  But we are called to reevangelize our fellow Catholic men who have drifted away from the church.  And here is a great reason why:  Want your kids to be responsible Catholic adults? Take ‘em to church every Sunday and holy day. Do you think clergy, lay ministers, and schools are going to instill it without you? Archbishop Wuerl tells it from a bigger pulpit:

“The report highlights the importance of Mass attendance among children and teenagers,” the archbishop said. “Adolescence is a critical time in religious development and, as the poll shows, what happens in the teen years has a long-lasting affect. We have to help young people and their parents appreciate the importance of going to weekly Mass so teenagers know Jesus is there for them now and always.“

Hope reigns on the Quad of Notre Dame

April 30, 2009

With all the negative press the administration of Notre Dame has been receiving lately — it is good to see that there is still a strong witness to the faith on campus.  Maybe it already exists and I am just ignorant, but I wish we could see things like this in our own local Catholic Colleges.

This past Sunday was the 5th annual Eucharistic Procession at Notre Dame. Actually, Notre Dame has sponsored dozens of Eucharistic Processions over the years, but they hadn’t done it for a while until 2005 when a group of students decided to spearhead the effort. Since then, the powers that be at Notre Dame, Holy Cross Collegeand St. Mary’s have gotten behind the effort. The result is that this is truly a notable event in American Catholicism. That which happens at Notre Dame tends to influence on the rest of the Church in America. We see this all the time. That is precisely why the Obama controversy has grown to be so huge. It is also why this procession is so encouraging. Twenty years ago, when I was a student at Notre Dame, something like this could never have happened. Of course, at the time, I probably would not have been too interested anyway.
I estimate the number of participants to be about 600 – 650.  

Read the rest and see some more great photos at The Kloska Family Blog.

“We need to work on what women often do better than men – share,”

April 28, 2009

 

From the Peoria Journal-Star:

His traditional robes set him aside from the others. But Daniel Jenky’s blue baseball cap was a reminder he was just one in the crowd.

As hundreds of men marched Saturday morning from Liberty Square on the riverfront to St. Mary’s Cathedral, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria mingled with those toward the back of the pack rather than lead the way.

“If I invite the men of the diocese to do this, I should walk with them,” Jenky said. “If I didn’t, that’s like the commander saying, ‘Go over that hill. I’ll just stay back here.’ ”

The sixth annual Call to Catholic Men of Faith March drew men and boys of all ages from the diocese’s 26 counties to Downtown Peoria in celebration of unity and solidarity.

“We need to work on what women often do better than men – share,” Jenky said with a laugh.

The march began in 2004, following a homily a year earlier at the Erin Feis celebration in which Jenky called on all Catholics to stand up and live for their faith.

The Sons of St. Joseph were inspired. The group of Catholic men arranged the first walk, which attracted about 900.

Pat Rutledge of Galesburg said he’s been to five of the six marches.

“It’s fantastic,” Rutledge said. “It’s a sign of solidarity amongst Catholic men.

“As long as I can walk, I’ll be here.”

Art Hanley of Peoria brought his four sons – Mark, Matthew, Peter and Michael – as a way to show support for the Catholic church, he said.

“Hopefully they’ll take away a message about the importance of their faith,” the eldest Hanley said

 

Read the rest at the link

Courtesy of The Deacon’s Bench

Odd

April 27, 2009

Sunday mornings, once a month I have the privilege of bringing the Eucharist to people in the hospital.  It is always an experience that reveals the true presence to me in different ways.  The oddest way so far happened to me this past Sunday morning.

I was tasked with both the cancer ward, as well as the maternity ward.  Everyone who I came across in the cancer ward was very grateful to receive the body of Christ.  This was a stark contrast with the maternity ward.  I entered one room as a mother was breastfeeding her newborn baby girl.  I introduced myself as being a Eucharistic Minister from the catholic Community of N. W-B and would she like to receive communion this morning.  The mother replied, “For her?”

“No, for You,” I said.  She responded again, “No, not for me, but can she?” indicating her newborn.  this caught me completely off guard.  My first reaction was not one in reference to the age of reason (in my Byzantine background, First communion is often given with baptism) but rather of practicality.  “your newborn is just learning to breastfeed, and I only have the Body of Christ with me.”  “Oh, well… when can she receive?”

Another stumper.  Wasn’t this woman listed as a Catholic on the call sheet?  I told her it wouldn’t be until first communion, then, said God Bless and congratulations, and moved on.

But this young woman has been troubling me all day.  I can understand (sort of) if a parent has no faith, but wants their child brought up in a faith for developmental and intellectual reasons.  The idea being that a child will retain something of an intellectual faith or moral underpinning that the parent sees as valuable.  But in this case, even if the mother didn’t understand exactly what I was doing, she at least understood it as being of some sort of spiritual grace or benefit.  The infant could clearly not have any intellectual gain from whatever she thought I was doing.  This being the case, why oh why would the mother acknowledge the spiritual benefit and want her child to have it, but refuse it for herself?

Staying close to the Lord

April 26, 2009

Just want to point you to two articles worth some reflection.  The first is Maurice Blumberg’s article from this past Tuesday.  He is so right when he says “It’s the little things that we do during the day that keep us rooted in Jesus…”  Otherwise, we experience dissipation – a slow weakening of the fervency of our love for God and others.

 

The second article is Lizzie Scalia’s post today.  Not for the Obama references, but for the general content, especially the Carthusian quote.  In some ways, cooperating with grace can be a difficult concept to understand, and even more difficult to practice.  Perhaps most difficult for me is discerning when that grace is there to be cooperated with.  So anything that enables me to comprehend all this a little better is helpful.  As she says, “…it takes a daily fiat.  An hourly fiat.  Sometimes a minute-by-minute whispering of “yes.”  Assents in nanoseconds.”

Chris Smith continues to expose the culture of death

April 23, 2009

I wish I had time to write a longer post about U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R – NJ), but I don’t.  He really deserves it.  Instead, at least read this.  Thank you, Rep. Smith, for your courage to charge with truth into the face of such falsehood and evil!  Your gallantry for the cause of life is a model for all, but especially for men.