Friday, April 29, 2011

Catholicity of the Royal Wedding

What struck me most about the Wedding of Prince William and his Princess was how thoroughly Catholic the entire ceremony was.

Everything from the kneelers to the vows (emphasizing fidelity, permanence and mutual self-gift) to the Our Father (omitting the typical Protestant addendum: "for thine is the kingdom..."), and even the sermon: quoting only Catholic authors: Saint Catherine of Siena and Chaucer. There was a prominent icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child, and the Church of Westminster Abbey itself is the Church of Saint Peter!

The ceremony began with the clergy explaining the purpose of marriage: procreation, a check for concupiscence, and mutual spousal assistance.

The central theme of the sermon echoed the thought of Pope Benedict in Deus Caritas Est where he says that marital love must mature and reach a selfless nature in order to be real and truly satisfying.

It is, for this reason, very fitting that the Catholic Church declares that for baptized non-Catholics marriage is truly a sacrament.

It is a bit ironic however, that the Anglican communion and it's clergy should not blush at such a ceremony while officially upholding moral positions which directly contradict the sanctity of this august sacrament: e.g. contraception, divorce and "re-marriage", same-sex "unions". Is it any wonder that that community of believers is experiencing a mass exodus to the true Church of St. Peter: that of Rome?

Universal Call to Conversion

"Jesus did not turn anyone away, nor do we."

So reads a large banner, flanking the doorway with a homosexualist rainbow flag, on the front of a Montclair, New Jersey Protestant "Church"; just blocks south of Immaculate Conception, the prominent Catholic Church in town, and as an unmistakable implied attack against the Catholic Church's clarity on this matter of fundamental human morality: the absolute immorality of homosexual activity, as taught by God Himself and repeatedly recalled in Sacred Scripture and in the constant Christian Tradition.

As often as I see the bold and bigoted Protestant banners I think the neighboring Catholic Church should perhaps hang a banner of its own modestly proclaiming:

"Jesus taught THE TRUTH FOR EVERYONE....And so do we!"...

Catholics distinguish between tendency and act!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Immigration Crisis: No Standards for the Movement of Laborers

Here is the recent concise and provocative lecture given by the Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez, Opus Dei Archbishop of Los Angeles. It is an authoritative and responsible response to the immigration humanitarian crisis of our country which affects us all.

This is a must read for anyone who wants to get some Catholic clarity regarding this complex issue! I'll follow up later with an outline of the main points.

The Immigration Debate and U.S.- Mexico Relations:A Catholic Perspective
Most Rev. José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Committee on Migration
Catholic University of America
March 21, 2011

I want to say thank you to Archbishop Romo, Ambassador Sarukhan, and Assistant Secretary Schwartz for your participation in tonight’s program.

We are at an important moment in the relationship between Mexico and the United States. I want to talk about that relationship tonight as it relates to migration between our two countries, and especially the debate over immigration here in the United States.

I have three basic goals tonight: First, I want to outline what I believe to be the root issues with U.S.-Mexican migration. Second, I want to explain the Catholic Church’s approach to these issues. Third and finally, I want to make some suggestions and observations about the current debate in light of Catholic principles.

To start, I need to say two things. First, this issue is personal for me. I am an immigrant myself. My people come from both Mexico and America. I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. My ancestors have been in what’s now Texas since 1805, when it was still under Spanish rule. I still have family on both sides of the border.

I am also a proud citizen of the United States. I love this country and I love the values that it was founded to defend and promote.

I also need to point out something obvious. I am not a politician or a diplomat or an expert in the global economy. I am a Catholic archbishop. That means I am a priest and a pastor of souls. In everything, my concern is to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to defend and promote the dignity of the human person who is made in the image of God.

I don’t have technical solutions or statistical analysis to offer. But I do think the Catholic Church has a unique and important perspective to offer on these issues.But before I talk about that I want to outline briefly what I think are the root issues underlying the immigration crisis facing our two countries.

For me, the issue is rooted in the processes of economic globalization.

Globalization has expanded opportunities for businesses and for workers. But it has also created new problems in the relationships between our nations. The biggest problem is that while we have developed laws and policies to govern the flow of capital and money, we have no standards for the movement of laborers.

For instance, the North American Free Trade Agreement eliminated tariffs and many restrictions on trade and business in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. But it didn’t include a treaty concerning the mobility of persons.

Money, capital, and other resources now flow more freely between our nations. But human beings — the men and women who do the work — cannot. In the new global economy, there are many safeguards for businesses and financial institutions but very few for workers.

Globalization has exposed — and in some cases made worse — the economic inequalities that exist within and between our nations. To put it very simply: As long as workers can earn more in one hour in the U.S. than they can earn in a day or a week in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, they will continue to seek, by any means necessary, to migrate to this country.

That’s my first point. The primary issues effecting migration between our two countries are economic. People are not so much fleeing tyranny or persecution as they are seeking work and a better future for their families.

My second point is this: The Catholic Church’s approach to immigration is not about politics or economics. It is rooted in the vision of human society that was taught to us by Jesus Christ.

The Catholic Church, from the time of the first Pentecost, has been a family of nations. By definition, the Catholic Church is "universal," one family of God drawn from all nations, peoples, and languages.

In fact, the Catholic Church in the United States is a kind of microcosm of what Jesus intended his Church to be. We are in this country a Church of nearly 60 different ethnic groups — from Asia, Africa, the Near East and Latin America. More than one-third of the Catholics in our country today are Hispanic.

The point is that in the Catholic Church and in the eyes of God, no one is a stranger or an alien. Practically speaking also, U.S.-Mexican immigration for us is a religious and family issue. Because the vast majority of the immigrants we are talking about are Catholics, they are our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

The Church’s approach to these issues starts from Christ’s command to preach the good news of God’s love for all peoples. It starts from Christ’s call that we transform the city of man into the family of God.

What many people don’t realize is that Jesus Christ himself was an immigrant and a refugee.

This is how the Church understands the account in the Gospel of how Jesus, Mary and Joseph were forced into exile in Egypt when Herod sought to kill Jesus.

Pope Benedict XVI has said this:

"In this misfortune experienced by the family of Nazareth, obliged to take refuge in Egypt, we can catch a glimpse of the painful condition in which all migrants live. … The hardships and humiliations, the deprivation and fragility of millions and millions of migrants. …. The family of Nazareth reflects the image of God safeguarded in the heart of every human family, even if disfigured and weakened by emigration."i

Those are beautiful words of concern. And they reflect a long tradition in the Church that goes back to the Gospels.

Christians have always practiced hospitality. The Church has always worked to defend the stranger and care for the immigrant. Even the Roman emperors, who hated the Christians, were amazed by their "benevolence to strangers."ii

Catholics care for immigrants because Jesus commanded it. Because he told us that we must seek God and serve God in the least of our brothers and sisters. Jesus said that when we serve those who are hungry and homeless, in prison and sick, we are serving him.

He even made a point of talking about immigrants and refugees. He said: "I was a stranger and you welcomed me . . . As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Matt. 25:35, 40).

In the course of 2,000 years, the Church has developed a body of social teachings that are based on the principles of reason and the values of the Gospel. I wish more people knew the Church’s social teaching — including more Catholics. Because this teaching is a real contribution to human civilization. It offers us a powerful vision for how human society can function for the common good and the dignity of all people.

On immigration, the Church has formed three basic principles.The first principle is this: The human family is one, although we have different ethnic origins and we are spread across different continents, regions, and national boundaries. God has made us to be one family.

And God did not create the good things of this earth — its natural resources and opportunities — only for the privileged few. Or only for people in certain countries. God intends the good things of his creation to be shared by all, no matter where we are born or where we find ourselves living.

The second principle is the sanctity of the human person and the family. Our right to life comes from God. That right does not depend on the whims of politicians or powerful people. That right does not depend on economic or political forces. Our rights come from God. And no man, no institution, and no set of circumstances can justify denying those rights.

On this point of the inalienable rights of the person, we should notice that the Church’s teachings are consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 and also with the charter of liberties in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

For us, the universal human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness imply the right to emigrate — to leave our country if we must, to seek a better life for our families and ourselves. In a world divided by war, famine, persecution, and economic dislocations, immigration becomes a crucial guarantee of our right to life.

The Church’s third principle is that governments have the right to control migration into their countries and to defend their borders. This is important. It means that nations must look at their security and their economic interests in making decisions about who and how many people they allow into their countries. It means that immigrants must respect the laws of the countries they emigrate to.

But the Church also teaches that national sovereignty should never be used as an excuse to deny the rights of needy and decent people who are seeking their livelihood. No country can deny this basic human right to migrate out of exaggerated fears for national security or selfish concerns about threats to domestic jobs or standards of living.

Those are the Church’s principles. Based on these principles, the American bishops have supported a comprehensive reform of our immigration policies that would secure our borders and give undocumented immigrants the chance to earn permanent residency and eventual citizenship.

Also based on these principles the bishops have started our "Justice for Immigrants" campaign. And back in 2003, the U.S. and Mexican bishops wrote an important joint pastoral letter called "Strangers No Longer." All of these initiatives are intended as a thoughtful response to the crisis facing our two countries. I recommend them to you. I believe you will find in them many concrete proposals that could be embraced by all people of good will.

As my final point tonight, let me offer some observations on the current impasse we have reached in the debate over immigration in this country.

I understand the political frustration over this issue. There has been a failure of leadership — and this failure of leadership cuts across party lines. The reasons for the stalemate on this issue are understandable — from a political standpoint. But from a moral standpoint, the results are intolerable and inexcusable.

Again, I am not a politician, but a pastor of souls. As a pastor, I am deeply concerned about the costs of this impasse in the lives of millions of men, women, and children.

Not just the souls of the 12 million without papers who are living at the margins of our society. I am worried about their physical, moral, and spiritual health. When you are a stranger in a strange land — and unwanted — you are easy prey for exploitation. But more than that. When you are a stranger who is despised, it gets harder every day to hold onto your cultural identity, your moral compass, your religion, your dignity. You start to believe what people say about you — that you are no good.

But I’m also worried about our social fabric and civic debate. Right now in this country, there are a lot of people — a lot of good people — who are saying things they know they should never be saying about immigrants. Their anger and frustration is understandable. But their rhetoric and many of their political responses are not worthy of America’s proud history as a beacon of hope for the world’s poor and persecuted.

Our current policies of enforcement — detentions, and deportations — are a humanitarian tragedy. We are destroying families in the name of enforcing our laws.

It is true that many immigrants are in our country illegally. That bothers me. I don’t like it when our rule of law is flouted. And I support just and appropriate punishments. But right now, we are imposing penalties that leave wives without husbands, children without parents. We are deporting fathers and leaving single mothers to raise children on little to no income.

We are a better people than that. We have always been a nation of justice and law. But we have also been a nation of mercy and forgiveness. We can find a better way. I think it begins with the Catholic perspective. It begins in seeing immigrants as human beings. As mothers and fathers. As children of God.

Practically speaking, I would like to see a moratorium on new state and local immigration legislation. And, as the U.S. bishops have called for, I would like to see an end to the severe deportation policies.We need to push for protections of the most vulnerable migrants — children and women, who often fall prey to unscrupulous traffickers and others. We also need reforms in how we issue visas, especially for immigrants and people here illegally who have families.

I also would like to see our two governments begin to talk about some of the underlying issues. We need to find ways to encourage economic reforms and developments throughout Latin America, especially in the poorest countries in the region. We need to find ways to target economic development so that far fewer Mexicans will feel compelled to leave their homes to seek jobs and money in other countries. It is especially important that we work to promote small business and agriculture.

All of these measures would make a real difference in the lives of millions of people. But they are only temporary. We need to muster the political will to fix our broken immigration system. We need to find a way to make the strangers in our midst our fellow citizens.

I believe that today’s immigrants — like generations of immigrants before them — are the hope for tomorrow’s America.

I appreciate your attention tonight, my brothers and sisters. And I am grateful for all that you are doing — and will continue to do — to promote the cause of human dignity and the common good in every aspect of the relationships between our two countries. I look forward to continuing our conversation.

i Message for 93rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2007).
ii See the comments of Julian the Apostate in Macmullen and Lane, Paganism and Christianity, 100–425 C.E.: A Sourcebook, 271–272.

Baptizing the Historical-Critical Method

The Holy Father clearly states the purpose of his new work, Jesus of Nazareth in the foreword to the second volume of that work. He intends to help the scientific approach to Sacred Scripture progress beyond it's limited materialistic framework which has brought it to a dead end.

"One thing is clear to me: in two hundred years of exegetical work, historical-critical exegesis has already yeilded its essential fruit. If scholarly exegesis is not to exhaust itself in constantly new hypotheses, becoming theologically irrelevant, it must take a methodological step forward and see itself once again as a theological discipline, without abandoning its historical character. It must learn that the positivistic hermeneutic on which it has been based does not constitute the only valid and definitively evolved rational approach; rather, it constitutes a specific and historically conditioned form of rationality that is both open to correction and completion and in need of it. It must recognize that a properly developed faith-hermeneutic is appropriate to the text and can be combined with a historical hermeneutic, aware of its limits, so as to form a methodological whole.

"Naturally, this combination of two quite different types of hermeneutic is an art that needs to be constantly remastered. But it can be achieved, and as a result the great insights of patristic exegesis will be able to yeild their fruit once more in a new context, as Reiser's book (Murius Reiser Bibelkritik und Auslegung der Heiligen Schrift [2007]) demonstrates. I would not presume to claim that this combination of the two hermeneutics is already fully accomplished in my book. But I hope toa have taken a significant step in that direction. Fundamentally this is a matter of finally putting into practice the methodological principles formulated for exegesis by the Second Vatican Council (in Dei Verbum 12), a task that unfortunately has scarcely been attempted thus far." p. xv

The point about the need of the method to correct itself based on its own principles was made by Cardinal Ratzinger at his historic 1988 Erasmus Lecture in New York City. Click on the link in the text above for a full treatment on that topic.


Someone needs to inform the directors of WQXR that it is Easter! We are presently in the Octave of Easter en route to the Ascension and Pentecost, and the classical station of the metropolitan area is apparently unaware. As far as I can tell there was no scheduled programming for music on the radio to commemorate the Sacred Triduum for which some of the greatest music has been created over the centuries by the greatest composers and with countless historic performances.

It is unconscionable that classical public radio for the metropolitan area, which is composed largely of Christian believers, should neglect to air these all time musical treasures during the feasts for which they were created! Besides, there are many non-Christians who appreciate the great artistic quality of those works and love to hear them, even during these most sacred days!

It seems that the Anti-Christian conspiracy noted in today's Gospel reading (Mathew 28:8-15) continues with our public radio station.

At WQXR 105.9 FM Good Friday 2011 was replaced by "earth day"! whatever that is. Holy Saturday was replaced by the celebration of "Shakespeare's birthday", the date of which is uncertain. And Easter Sunday was simply apparently ignored. No "Happy Easter" from anyone on staff at classical radio. And the greatest records of all time are simply collecting dust in their studios under the present bigoted leadership (or, at the very least, negligently and culpably ignorant).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Francesco and the Pope

Check out the trailer for a new film which was just released in Germany and Switzerland featuring His Holiness Pope Benedict XXI. It is an inside look into the life of an 11 year old member of the Vatican Boys Choir who sings solo for the Pope. Superb!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jewish Vicarious Expiation is "Astonishing"

In his remarks on the end of the Temple, Pope Benedict XVI says that the idea that the blood of bulls offered in the Temple touches God and thereby presents and purifies humanity is "an astonishing idea both in its grandeur and its incompleteness, an idea that could not remain the last word in the history of religions or the last word in the faith history of Israel." Jesus of Nazareth, Part Two p. 39

The idea that sacrificing animals and their blood can somehow make things right between a sinner and God is sheer superstition except in its fulfillment in the Suffering Servant, foretold by the prophets: the death and life giving Redemption of the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the true Lamb, Who takes away our sins.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sluggish Disciples

The Holy Father gave an extraordinary spontaneous reflection, in today's General Audience, on the lack of vigilance of the apostles in Gethsemane, saying that throughout history Christ's disciples often are asleep with their complacent insensitivity to the great horrors of evil, which lethargy comes from personal insensitivity to God: ignoring God.

Bravo Benedetto! as you usher in your seventh year as the Vicar of Christ (yesterday being your sixth anniversary) and your 85th year (having turned 84 last Saturday). Ad multos annos pluros!

Vanitas Mundanorum

Today, Spy Wednesday, is the day of Judas' treason. Judas' pusillanimous sycophancy reminded me of a footnote in the Douay Rheims Bible on the weakness and futility of worldly pursuits:

Psalm 89:9b "Our years shall be considered as a spider..."

"As a spider. As frail and weak as a spider's web; and miserable withal, whilst like a spider we spend our bowels in weaving webs to catch flies."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Simple Non-Sexual Indiscretion Must be Distinguished From Acts of Sexual Abuse

The recent Philadelphia skewed report coupling 21 innocent priests with 2 priests accused of sexual misconduct highlights the need to distinguish accusations regarding non-sexual indiscreet conduct and accusations of sexual actions, and that the procedures for assessing and handling these claims should likewise be quite different given the difference in gravity in the two types of cases.

Father Robert Connor of Opus Dei has posted an article detailing the gross mishandling of that case and the general injustice and lack of support by diocesan officials nationwide for their accused priests, generally treating the accused with the same absolutely intolerant rigor instead of carefully applying the proper procedure for each case for the sake of justice for all parties involved, even the clergy.

In the present reactionary and quite anti-clerical environment it is ironic that the Ordinary/Diocesan Bishop has become the priests' greatest enemy!!!

This general lack of understanding and personal and confidential assistance for accused priests (including priests who might approach their bishops with personal problems in the area of boundaries) should only serve to isolate, reject and destroy many completely innocent and loyal priests.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homosexualism = Theophobia

Pope Benedict states, in the below citation from a 2005 Address, that the homosexual agenda promoting the confusion and immorality of homosexualism is ultimately an attack on the reality of God, being a contradiction of reality itself. It is an attempt to destroy God the Author and Guarantor of reality.

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, [the] profound bond between God and man, between the love of God and human love, is...confirmed by some negative tendencies and developments, whose weight we all experience. The degradation of human love, the suppression of the authentic capacity to love appears in our time as the most effective weapon for man to crush God, to remove God from man's sight and heart. However, the desire to 'liberate' God's nature makes one lose sight of the very reality of nature, including man's nature, reducing it to an enable of functions, which can be disposed of according to one's pleasure to build a so-called better world and a happier humanity. But on the contrary, the plan of the Creator is destroyed as is the truth of our nature."

In the first part of that same Address he clearly condemns the anarchy which is being promoted in the name of freedom:

"The different forms of the dissolution of marriage, as well as free unions and 'trial marriage,' including the pseudo-marriage between persons of the same sex, are on the contrary expressions of an anarchic freedom that appears erroneously as man's authentic liberation. A pseudo-freedom like this is based on a banalization of the body, which inevitably includes the banalization of man."

Homosex is a Sin


Tertullian (2nd century): All other frenzies of lusts which exceed the laws of nature and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes we banish…from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities.” (De pudicitia, IV).

The Council of Elvira (305-306) excluded from communion, even in articulo mortis, the
corrupters of boys…

The Council of Ancyra (314) established penances of at least 15 years for sodomy

St. John Chrysostom (4th century): “… There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad
or damaging than this perversity.” (Homilia in Epistula Pauli ad Romanos)

The Third Lateran Oecumenical Council (1179) decreed: “Anyone caught in the
practice of the sin against nature, on account of which the wrath of God was unleashed upon the children of disobedience (Eph. 5:6), if he is a cleric, let him be demoted from his state and kept in reclusion in a monastery to do penance; if he is a layman, let him be excommunicated and kept rigorously distant from the communion of the faithful.

Saint Albert the Great (12th to 13th c) gives four reasons for condeming homosexuality: they are born from an ardent frenzy; they are disgustingly foul; those who become addicted to them are seldom freed from that vice; they are as contagious as disease, passing quickly from one person to another. (In Evangelium Lucae XVII, 29).

St. Thomas Aquinas (13th c): Just as the ordering of right reason proceeds from man, so the order of nature is from God Himself: wherefore in sins contrary to nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an injury is done to God, the Author of nature. Hence Augustine says (Conf. iii, 8): Those foul offenses that are against nature should be everywhere and at all times detested and punished, such as were those of the people of Sodom, which should all nations commit, they should all stand guilty of the same crime, by the law of God, which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another…(ST II, II, Q. 154, a. 12, Reply Obj. 1)

Saint Catherine of Siena (14th c) recorded a mystical locution from Our Lord in which
He said: “For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that, for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the judgment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them…”

Pope Saint Pius V on April 1, 1566, during his attempt to counter Renaissance
homosexuality, ordered those guilty to be abandoned to the secular arm.

The 1917 Code of Canon Law punished guilty priests, saying: “Let them be declared infamous and suspended from every post, benefit, dignity, deprived of their eventual stipend and, in the gravest cases, let them be deposed” (Canon 2359, par.2).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...