Thursday, September 23, 2010

So Curious...

Isn't it interesting that after eight years of pillorying the Catholic Church for its handling of the sex abuse crisis the legal community of Wisconsin doesn't have a clue when it comes to cleaning its own house? I see that after getting a "proper complaint" from a citizen of Calumet County our governor and attorney general are finally going after Calumet District Attorney Ken Kratz.

After clobbering the Church for keeping these records confidential we find that according to Wisconsin Law complaints against attornies must be kept confidential. After demanding that priests be immediately suspended without any proof of wrong-doing Mr. Kratz is still in office except when he's taking "medical leave" when he's not otherwise busy being the DA.

This guy lies, get's caught in his lies, and is more worried about his reputation and declaring his actions a "non-story" than he is in justice. The state legal authorities are so concerned about "due process" NOW, when it's one of their own. GIVE ME A BREAK!

Have we learned so little over these eight years that we still can't see that a public official who abuses his power over the weak for sexual-egoistic satisfaction must be suspended immediately for the safety of society and his victims? Or maybe all of their self-righteous anger over the abuse of the weak by priests was a sham, a thinly veiled excuse for attacking the Church.

Don't get me wrong! Priests, and all others, who abuse their position must be brought to account for their actions. This is especially true when the abuse is of one who is in an inferior and weaker position. What am I missing?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rural Life Day

Today is celebrated as Rural Life Day in the Diocese of La Crosse. It is being celebrated Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday as the "Ember Days" in my parishes of Holy Family (Arcadia) and St. Boniface (Waumandee). The Ember Days were traditionally celebrated the Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at the beginning of four agricultural seasons with prayer and fasting. In the case of the fall harvest, the Ember Days traditionally fall after the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14) and celebrate, in thanksgiving, the bountiful harvest as a gift from God. Unfortunately, the Wed, Fri, Sat following that feast included some pretty great memorials. And so, since the diocese was celebrating Rural Life Day today, I used my pastoral prerogative to move the celebration of the Ember Days to this week.

I think that it has become even more important to celebrate the Ember Days in our contemporary society. The celebration of the Ember Days reminds us that even after all of the work we may have done to help things along, in the end we are stewards of what God has given us. Thus, we recognize that all good things are indeed a gift from God.

We also recognize that these good things are given to us by God, not for our own selfish use, but for the building up of His kingdom. This is not the case of a despot deity using us to support His own liberality towards man. Well, maybe our work does support His liberality but it also reveals to us what true love is, that is, "that one would lay down his life for a friend".
We have been given much. And from those who have been given much, much is expected. (cf. Luke 12:48). And in using well the gifts we have been given we become the stewards God envisioned when He first set Adam in the garden. (cf. Genesis 2:15 ff) That is the response of gratitude from those who understand that what they have received is ultimately from God.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Andrew Kim Taegon & Paul Chong Hasang, Martyrs

Today is the memorial of St. Andrew Kim Taegon, priest & martyr, and St. Paul Chong Hasang, martyr. The story of these men and of the birth of the Church in Korea is utterly inspiring. I've linked the stories of these two glorious martyrs so that you may read their individual stories. What I want to reflect on is how far we have fallen in relation to the faith that inspired these martyrs to give all for Christ.

Andrew Kim Taegon was the son of nobility. He was also the son of a convert martyr - his own father. But the faith had been so strongly planted in him that he was led to become a priest and was ordained the first native born Korean priest.

Paul Chong Hasang was a sort of Justin Martyr of Korea. He wrote a treatise explaining to the Korean royal court that Christianity was NOT a threat to their rule. He also worked heroically to bring priests to Korea after the priesthood had been wiped out by a persecution of the Church. I'll let you read the rest and be inspired!

My question is (not to be too delicate about it): What kind of cowards have we become??? Can we really say that we are the heirs to the faith of these great men and the hundreds who were martyred with them in the mid-18th century in Korea?

Here are men who, being the sons of martyrs, continued to give all they had to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to Korea. They gave everything even after seeing what a committment to Jesus Christ could mean. When the weakness of fallen man tells those faced with torture and death to hide, obfuscate, or otherwise minimize their belief in Jesus Christ these men proclaimed it with conviction with their very life blood!

In our country, which proclaims itself to be Christian, we can't even agree that our faith is not a merely private matter. We, who have not been threatened in the least with anything other than being called names by the forces of social, sexual, moral liberalism (darkness, EVIL), can't even muster up the courage to agree among ourselves on what is right or wrong or even worth fighting for. :((

Our bishops teach, rightly, that one cannot be pro-choice and Catholic and we continue to vote for those who fight day and night for the "freedom to choose (evil)". We even flock to the banner of those who proclaim to be proudly and devotedly Catholic and yet have a 75% or better rating from Planned Parenthood (aka planned barrenhood). Heck! Some of our bishops can't even seem to get it through their skulls that such Catholic politicians have no business receiving the precious Body and Blood of our Lord!

Our bishops, following the constant teaching of the universal Church, teach that our immigration laws are unjust and they are accused, even by Catholic commentators and political operatives, of trying to fill pews and coffers at the expense of national security.

Is this the kind of witness Sts. Andrew, Paul, and their companions died for? I think not. Unfortunately, the few people who read this will probably be part of the "choir". I hope and pray daily that the rank & file as well as the leaders of our Church will take up the banner so nobly carried by Saints Andrew, Paul and their companions.

May we, at last, wake up and recognize the cross our actions have built for us and finally shoulder it. We will be better men for it and our nation and the world will be better for it as well. How do I know? Check out Acts 2:42, John 15:14 and then John 10:10. It doesn't get any more clear than that.