28 September 2018

et alia

28 SEPTEMBER 2018. Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Wenceslaus - the tenth century Duke of Bohemia and martyr for the faith, known far and wide for his humility and pious works on behalf of the poor and needy. Named posthumously as a king, Saint Wenceslaus is yet another reminder that all of us are called to be saints. That is, each of us is called to holiness in our lives, given our state in life, where we seek fully to join ourselves and conform ourselves to the Holy and Divine Will, through our submission to Christ.

Running on at the keyboard:

Much has been made in the U.S. this week of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering his nomination to the Supreme Court. A number of accusations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault have been made against him, and he gave an emotional and pointed rebuke to those accusations and the nomination process yesterday. However, I was disappointed in Judge Kavanaugh. Judicial temperament requires one to maintain a detached view of facts and circumstances to evaluate the application of the law. No judge should be outwardly partisan or emotional, and we saw both from Judge Kavanaugh yesterday in his testimony. To the contrary, a good judge addresses his or her task with humility, emotional neutrality, and somber intellectual inquiry, knowing that decisions can have life-changing consequences for the people impacted. Certainly the Supreme Court's role in our system of government should be able to count on sound judicial temperament from all nine of its justices.

As to sexual assault and all manner of sexual aggression. There is no excuse for these actions. I had a roommate in college who once told me that once he reached a certain point of arousal, there was no way he could stop himself. In his words, he was "animalistic." Not true. We are not animals, and no person should be objectified and victimized for another's sexual gratification or self-satisfaction. As a community of faithful, and as a nation, we should stand in solidarity with those affected by these crimes and ensure that victims are provided for in a manner befitting their dignity.

Dignity of the marriage sacrament, too, must be upheld in our country and throughout humanity. As we have continued to see marriage redefined as any relationship that two individuals want to commit to, not matter what its circumstances and no matter what the sex of the individuals involved are, it is no wonder that our society feels itself in crisis. The basic building block of society, the family--the domestic church--is being defined out of existence. For this reason, we should head carefully and follow Pope Francis' call for a permanent catechumenate for marriage. The marriage vocation should be formed and nurtured from early childhood, through adolescence, into the marital relationship, and throughout life. Our world cannot afford to get this wrong.

Dignity of human life is under constant attack in our world, because we are told that self-gratification is the point of life. "Do what you want. Live for you. Be happy. You do you." These are the messages of Western culture, and they are wrong.

We have an obligation to return our whole selves to God in love, because He loved us. We are called to be something more than animals, because we share in the divine--by virtue of our immortal soul--and have been given the gift of being the adopted brothers and sisters of Christ, our God and savior. Each of us, from the moment of conception until natural death, has a unique and inalienable dignity as the beloved creatures of our God. Our lives are not for us to live for ourselves, they are gifts to live for God, who is our eternal home!

This is why, too, the universal call to abolish the death penalty is important. All life is sacred, no matter the circumstances. No matter the situation. From the earliest point of development, to the end stages of disease and infirmity; no matter the culpability of a person for harm done to others. Life is still precious and shares in the divine and, therefore, must be protected and upheld.

This is truth. It is counter cultural because our culture tells us lies. Live for truth dear brothers and sisters. That is our call.

Dear readers, please pray for me and I will pray for you.


It also occurs to me that there has been little mention of the influence of alcohol on all that is involved in the Brett Kavanaugh allegations. No high school teen should ever be drinking, under any circumstances. Teenage drinking is the great contributor to an untold number of teenage deaths and life altering, harmful events. Parents, keep your children from this influence and model responsible behavior of your own. 


29 August 2018

A Litany of Reparation

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

I am sorry for my sins,
Father forgive me.
I am sorry for having contributed to the sins of others,
Father forgive me.
I am sorry for having spread sin,
Father forgive me.
I am sorry for my pride, leading me away from You,
Father forgive me.

When I have seen sin and ignored it for the sake of convenience,
Jesus have mercy on me.
When I have failed to examine my own sin,
Jesus have mercy on me.
When I have failed to love another by constructive correction,
Jesus have mercy on me.
When I have relied on prideful self,
Jesus have mercy on me.

In my need for love,
Holy Spirit provide me Your grace.
In my need for satisfaction,
Holy Spirit provide me Your grace.
In my need to be fulfilled,
Holy Spirit provide me Your grace.
In my every longing,
Holy Spirit provide me Your grace.

Hail Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, recipient of Mercy,
pray for us.

I reparation for my sin and the sins of all the world, I beg You, Holy Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to accept my offering and provide for me a clean, humble, contrite, and open heart to love and serve you more, now and always. Amen.


29 AUGUST 2018. The specter of horrible truth has been upon the U.S. and worldwide Church for some days now: the horrible truth that some senior and well-regarded pastors used their ministries as a selfish means to fulfill their own sexual desires; the horrible truth that the Pennsylvania Church, over the last seventy some-odd years, regularly reassigned priests who were know abusers, regardless of the potential for fresh abuse and continued victimization of innocents; and the horrible truth that there has been or is a sexually disordered subculture in some seminaries and rectories that undermines the heart of Christ’s teaching of self-giving love that the Church has proclaimed since our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross. God bless the people in Chile, Ireland, and the multitude of other countries affected by their own abuse scandals.

Our bishops have failed us. They have not lived up to the life of holiness that each of us is called to live - that each of us is invited to strive for to live life-eternal with God, our Creator. They have failed us in their humanity. And, it is no surprise.

We are all human, and all of us are in need of conversion of heart. Why else did Christ enter the world to save us, but from the ravages of sin and death? Without conversion, we are doomed – literally and figuratively. Doomed to a life without hope in Christ, without Christ’s peace (conformity to the Divine Will), and doomed to a life without happiness and satisfaction, as St. Augustine says: “Our heart is restless, until it rests in You [O Lord].”

So, what should the response to this failure be? And, are we right to assign this failure to all bishops, including the Holy Father?

Our response should be one of action – prayer-centered action. Prayers of reparation have poured out of some, and more are needed. But, each of us faithful, including those ordained, should pray for wisdom and guidance in doing our own part, given our state of life, our abilities, and our capacity to effect positive change, in conformity with the Divine Will, to do what is needed or appropriate to bring about healing and build up the Kingdom of God on earth. A people centered on this cannot fail. The Holy Spirit will not permit the forces of evil to prevail against us. (Psalm 21:11)

If the laity seeks holiness, the Church will be transformed. If the laity exercises its priestly calling to be Christ to one another, the Church and the world cannot remain the same. If the laity acts, our shepherds will bring us further as the body of Christ.

This action, too, must have a practical sense about how to seek solidarity with the victims of abuse and prevent abuse from ever occurring again. Solidarity is the first practical objective, we must walk with the victims of abuse in their journeys, so that healing can begin.

Bishops – I beg you – throw open the dark recesses of these problems to the light of truth. Allow us all to grieve with abuse victims and seek reconciliation with them. And, truth will provide no quarter to abusers. 

Bishops, be vulnerable to your flocks in all failings and do not consider yourselves above any other. All are equally answerable to our Lord, all must be held to account for their actions, especially those actions that rob innocents of faith and trust in God and the Church.

No evil can stand the light of truth. We must truly seek it in every way.

So, are all bishops guilty of failure? Yes. Each of us is complicit in looking away when we see sinful failings, and we all sin. All sin affects the community. A bishop’s failure affects his flock, and the flock’s failure is the “stink” that the shepherd has to contend with in loving, as Christ taught. Let none think he is without blame.

However, this does not mean that our bishops should be condemned. On the contrary, they need the support of the faithful in fulfilling their ministry – to proclaim the Gospel and lead souls to Christ.

Any bishop who cannot, after an examination of conscience, rest comfortably that his first mission is to lead in holiness, so as to bring about the Kingdom of God, should resign. All other worldly, societal, humanistic, social, and cultural concerns should be swept aside, if truth is to reign in the heart of the Church.

I pray for our priests, bishops, religious, consecrated, and all souls who earnestly yearn for God.

Pray with me, and build up the Kingdom, set upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, the truth, the way, and the life. (John 14:6)

17 February 2018

The Dignity of Each One - Too Precious to Lose

17 FEBRUARY 2018. In the wake of another school shooting, our hearts yearn to hear comforting words. We want to believe this will be the last. We want to believe that there is a way to prevent these terrible events. We want healing. We want answers to what went wrong. We want justice. We want to believe that everything will be okay.

The truth is that comforting words will soothe, but not reach to the heart of what is the matter with our culture and our nation. Comforting words are balm, but we need to take a harder look at why innocent children and teachers are targeted, and how a single individual can become so hardened and callus to carry out such a horrific act.

It is a waste of effort, misplaced from searching for the truth of these matters, to spend all of our energy on the means by which individuals injure another. Gun control legislation will not protect the innocent, in and of itself. We need a deeper look at the culture here.

How many parents allow their children to play first-person shooter video games? How many parents were raised playing such games? How many parents get married, divorced, remarried, and divorced again, in the plain view of children? How many of us yell and cuss at others in traffic, in the isolation of our vehicles, but in sight of our children? How many of us support so-called pro-choice or pro-women's positions which devalue human life as a decision that can be made to discard it? How may parents prioritize respect for others in their children's daily lessons? How many of us live in a selfless manner, seeking the good of others and the common good?

Difficult questions need an honest appraisal and answers that seek to turn each of us, individually, toward a way of life that recognizes the dignity of each other. Our lives should radiate that.

If children grow up in broken homes, witnessing disposable relationships, and spending their entertainment time killing virtual enemies on video games, we are not supporting a culture that upholds the dignity of the other. We are supporting the events that unfold in school shootings, and everyday violence where respect for the lives of others is incinerated in the fire of evil.

There will be those that call for gun control as a solution. Though it could be helpful in denying disturbed individuals the means to carry out violence on a broader scale, it is not a solution.

The solution is to respect and love one another. This is not the love on display in a Hallmark Card:  squishy, emotional, gushing, and trivialized. Love is a choice. That choice is to recognize the value of the other and act in a manner that respects it.

Parents should teach their children this love and model it in their daily lives. First, parents model love for their children in how they interact with each other. Second, parents have the responsibility to teach this love each day, and admonish children so that the lessons are learned well.

Fundamentally, this love is Christian because it comes from the very heart of who we are as individuals; creatures of a loving God, made in His image, with a share in the divine through our immortal souls. Our Lord and Savior gave us the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Luke 10:27), but how many of us who profess to be Christians really live this out?

If you go to church on Sunday, but let your children spend hours each day playing Call of Duty--killing others in a virtual reality--are you living out Christ's call?

It does not matter whether an individual professes a Christian faith, or not, it is written on our hearts and on our being that it is unnatural and wrong--at a basic level of humanity--to harm the innocent. So, how can we not live in a society and culture that upholds the dignity of each individual?

We are all responsible.

But there is hope. All of us can change because each of us with the faculties of reason and judgment can modify our behavior. Each of can live as one that is respectful of the dignity of others. This is our call, and it is not beyond our reach or hope. We have only to try.