As we prepare to welcome Pope Francis to New York at the end of the month, I would like to ask everyone to view this video about something he was personally involved with that is astounding: the Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires. (I wrote about this in a previous post which you can view here.) This story gives tremendous strength to anyone whose faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is doubtful. It is eight minutes long and very inspiring.
By the way, I will be one of the priests on CBS News in New York alongside Mary Calvi covering the Pope’s visit this month.
I recently came across the following quote from George Washington’s farewell address of 1796. It is a powerful repudiation of the Supreme Court and the modern liberal ideology of separation of church and state and of not referencing religious principles in government decisions. Everyone in Washington should read and reflect upon these words from our greatest founding father:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Over the years I have argued with countless individuals who have defended Planned Parenthood as an organization not out to encourage or profit from abortions but simply to help women in crisis pregnancies. They asserted emphatically that my accusations of Planned Parenthood being in the abortion for profit business were unfounded. Well, what I have always known to be true has now been made known publicly: Planned Parenthood does indeed perform the illegal “Partial-birth” abortion and sells fetal body parts. An undercover video has exposed their secret. Please view the video at this link. It should change your mind about Planned Parenthood and help you see what they are really about.
I’m sure many of you who are my devoted followers on this blog are eager to hear me discuss my reaction to yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court. I wasn’t surprised at the outcome; in fact, I was kind of expecting it. After the Defense of Marriage Act was shot down the writing was on the wall for this decision. My opposition to allowing same-sex marriage or altering the definition of marriage hasn’t changed since the blog I wrote on Pandora’s box nearly two years ago. For details of that, please see that blog. Just click the link here:The Supreme Court and Pandora’s Box
But what has changed this time?
First of all, I find the language that was used to defend allowing same-sex marriage and overriding the laws of the states to be interesting. They kept referring to the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman only as “discriminatory”, “hate filled”, “bigoted”, and a host of other negative descriptions. But where did this definition come from? It came from God. Therefore, if we are referring to the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman as hate filled and discriminatory and bigoted then we’re calling God hate filled, discriminatory and bigoted. In effect, yesterday the Supreme Court sat in judgment of God and declared God “discriminatory”, “hate filled”, and “bigoted”. I remember another Supreme Court that sat in judgment over God. That was the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Caiaphas and Annas and the Sadducees and all of their supporters sat in judgment of Jesus and accused him of blasphemy and they sent God to his death. The United States Supreme Court has done the same thing: they have sat in judgment of God and called him hate filled.
What is the good news? The good news for us is this: God has already won the victory! Every member of the Supreme Court and every politician and everyone who has been fighting to overturn God’s definition of marriage will have to stand before Christ in judgment when they die and they will hear Christ say to them, “I declared marriage to be between one man and one woman. Who were you to decide that my definition was hate filled?” I’d love to be able to be there that day to see what will happen.
The big question is, “Where do we go from here?” The final remaining question is whether or not the courts will try to force religions to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs. If they do, they will be in clear violation of the First Amendment which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” We will then have every right to be in civil disobedience and open rebellion against the Court should that ever happen because it clearly will have violated the United States Constitution.
As for ourselves, however, while we may not be able to do much to change yesterday’s ruling or what happens in states throughout the nation, what we can change is how we respond to it. Many people have lamented to me about the world we’re leaving to their children and grandchildren. The best way we can protect them from not being affected by this is to teach them clearly from now to follow God and not the social mores of our time. The days of cultural Catholicism are over. We can no longer go with the flow and feel content just to say we went to church on Sunday and did our Easter duty. The time has come for us to be countercultural. It is no longer possible for us to go along with society and remain faithful to God. We must choose one or the other; either we will follow God or we will follow society. In many ways it can be a glorious time for us to be Catholics today, because we are following in similar circumstances that the ancient Christians faced. They had the awesome responsibility of converting the Roman Empire to the faith, and even though the Roman Empire used all of its might to try to fight the new faith, ultimately it embraced as its official religion the very faith that tried to destroy. We today, if we wish to win back our country need to do so by remaining firm ourselves in the faith by being truly dedicated to God not merely on Sunday but every day of the week, that we literally fall in love with Jesus, that we let our life revolve around him and his call to holiness and his truth and unashamedly and unhesitatingly reject anything that contradicts God’s call to holiness. When civil law disagrees with God’s law, God’s law trumps it, and we have an obligation to obey God and not man.
So my dear friends do not panic! Christ has won the victory and we are on the side of that victory. We may feel right now like our opponents have hit a grand slam and are now beating us ten to nothing, but hang in there! At the end of the game we are the victors! Do not jump ship and try to decide that we must change the teachings of the Church to be more popular and fit in with the rest of the world so as to win more people back, as so many people would like us to do. Jesus never called us to be popular; he called us to be faithful. Our job is to teach the truth whether convenient or inconvenient, whether in season or out of season, whether popular or unpopular. If people listen to us, wonderful! We will then have saved their souls. And if they don’t at least we have done our job, and when we stand in judgment before the Lord we will not hear the condemnation that Jesus certainly gave to Caiaphas and Annas and will give to anyone else who has sat in judgment of his law and called it hateful and discriminatory, but we will hear Jesus say to us “Well done brave and faithful servant! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world! As you bore witness to me in the world, so I bear witness to you before my father! Come share in my joy!” May Jesus Christ be praised!
Today Pope Francis made a big announcement that he’s soon to release an encyclical on climate change. Right away there were some people who gave the usual complaints, “there goes the church again sticking its nose in the middle of science that it knows nothing about!” Actually though, scientists are very enthusiastic about the Pope’s encyclical, because they feel he can reach a much larger audience than they’ve been able to do. His expertise in this field is being acknowledged, and they feel he has a strong ability to be able to get people to look at the real issue rather than automatically choosing sides. One of the telling signs about Pope Francis has been that he defies automatically pigeonholing into predictable categories. He has often seemed to make statements that defy categorization as “liberal” or “conservative.”
I personally think one of the biggest blows to honest discussion about global warming came about when Al Gore made it part of his presidential campaign, because all of a sudden if you were liberal you believed that global warming was a real threat that needed immediate attention, and if you will conservative you were holding back in denying the realities of it, even trying to claim that global warming is not happening. Every normal climatological variance was being used by liberals as proof of global warming. If we had a cold winter, a hot summer, too much rain, not enough rain, the call was the same: “It’s all due to global warming!” On the other hand, conservatives became convinced that global warming was nothing but a scare tactic used by liberals to get people to accept their entire liberal agenda, and as a result ended up in total denial of any climate change whatsoever that was outside the normal climatological fluctuations.
Whenever things get entrenched into camps it’s very hard to have an honest discussion about an issue. Hopefully Pope Francis’s encyclical will help people leave partisan issues behind and look at the true issue that is being discussed.
My college degree was in meteorology, and if I did not enter the priesthood I was seriously considering pursuing a Master’s degree in climatology. Even though it’s been 30 years since I studied meteorology, I still have maintained enough of my knowledge of the subject to know that every fluctuation in temperature or rainfall is not catastrophic. Climates do vary from time to time just due to natural processes that we have nothing to do with, so to automatically jump at every little thing that’s happening and see it as proof of global warming is irresponsible and ignorant. In addition, there are things such as El Niño which have tremendous effects on our climate and our weather patterns and we’re still not completely sure what causes El Niños to take place at all. On the other hand, it is certainly possible that many of the changes in climate are due to human involvement and that we are probably affecting the planet in negative ways. So what is important for us to do is to put political alliances aside and look at the facts as they are, and not try to see it as a matter of “liberal” versus “conservative” and see science as it really is. The involvement of the Pope in this issue should be a tremendous help in this area.
I am one of the people that needs to hear his message. Having always been on the more conservative side of things, I have been very hesitant to embrace any evidence about the real effects of global warming. Pope Francis, however, is changing my mind on this issue. It seems there is more and more evidence that global warming is indeed taking place and perhaps we are having an effect upon it. The important thing to do is not to jump to extremes, either thinking that everything is automatically going to make global warming more serious, as if we’re all going to die from it in the next 20 years unless we don’t do something, or to be completely blind and oblivious to any real problems that are there and deny the need to take action where it will be necessary. Pope Francis’ endeavors in this area are groundbreaking, and I personally hope it will help a lot of people realize that the Pope knows a lot more than people really think he does. Let us pray for the success of his new encyclical, and that people will listen to his voice and whatever he has to say about global warming and take his opinion seriously, and even be willing to go against traditional conservative versus liberal opinions on the matter and look at global warming as it truly is so that we can address it in an appropriate manner and do what must be done in order to preserve our planet.
In this blog I wish to comment on a common situation I find in marriages these days: couples who don’t find time for each other.
In years past when the norm was for the father to be the breadwinner off at work while the mother stayed home and kept house, parents didn’t have much worry about the children having time with their parents. Usually, at least the mother was home when the children got out of school, so they at least had one parent home with their children and felt comfortable that their children had sufficient parental attention. Now, however, with both parents often out at work during the day, I hear frequently from parents that they feel a greater burden to make sure they spend time with their children. They must make a conscious decision to make plans that involve their children so as to spend time with them. Sadly, many parents fail to do this, and their children often grow up without their parents’ regular presence and involvement in their lives. It is certainly commendable when parents realize the real need to spend time with their children, and that they cannot use the excuse that they’re busy making money in order to provide for their needs to justify their absence. But I see another need that is frequently ignored, and that is for the couple to spend time alone with just the two of them.
Your marriage is the glue that keeps your family together. Families don’t fall apart when siblings fight or a mom & her daughter don’t get along; families fall apart when the husband and wife can no longer live together peacefully. Too often, the need for parents to be alone just the two of them, is ignored, and parents often feel guilty leaving their children with a babysitter while they go out on a date. I even see couples who take their children with them when they go out to celebrate their anniversary! This is not good. When I was first ordained a married man gave me advice that I have never forgotten. He told me, “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.” How right he was! And of course, the reverse is equally true, that a mother’s greatest gift is to love their father. I therefore find it of utmost importance for husbands and wives to take time for themselves just to be together and strengthen their marriage bond. You are not slighting your children if you go out for dinner and leave them with a babysitter; on the contrary, you are doing something very important for them. My mother and father used to go out every Friday or Saturday together, and they told us it was “Mommy and Daddy’s date night.” Maybe that’s part of why they are celebrating 56 years of a happy marriage this month! There were plenty of family events in our household, including dinner every evening together, so we never felt abandoned when our folks went on a date. By all means, make time to spend with your children so that you are a part of their life, but don’t forget to take appropriate time just for the two of you. Your family will be stronger if you do.