Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
A little over a week ago we gathered with family and friends to give thanks for many things on our national day of Thanksgiving. As we read about conflict and civil unrest, natural disasters and persecution in so many parts of the world we are reminded of how very fortunate we are to be Americans. We have a constitution that guarantees certain freedoms, particularly the right to free expression, assembly, and religion. We have a culture that allows nearly anyone to achieve nearly anything. We also have, when compared to so many places in the world, a generally safe environment in which to realize our dreams.
These things CAN be swept away very quickly, how-ever, if we are not vigilant. We have seen of late unmistakable attempts to unreasonably limit our freedoms. We have even experienced the complete reversal of some founding principles. These I have written and preached on frequently and so I will not rehash this here except to remind all that the first of these founding prin-ciples is the right to life.
It is proper, of course, that we focus on this founding principle in a particular way since without life none of our other rights have any meaning. And yet, the highest court in our land peered in between the lines of the Constitution and found a right to kill the unborn. This is why the Church in the modern era has seemed to some to be so sin-gularly focused on the defense of life. This is not, as some have supposed, to the exclusion of defending other rights. It is however, in the words of both our Holy Father and our bishop, our necessary focus so that all other rights may be seen in their proper context.
Our Declaration of Independence states that governments rule legitimately when they protect these rights and if they fail we have the right to alter or abolish that government. Two weeks ago we had one chance to alter our government when we were given the opportunity to vote. Next weekend, as we begin the season of Advent and begin again to prepare for the coming of our King, we will be given a chance to altar our government - presenting it in all its brokenness to God in prayer.
Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and Bishop Callahan have called on us to enter into a special time of prayer for the protection of nascent life, that is – the unborn. We are asked to imitate Mary in saying “yes” to new life and to commit ourselves to the defense of that life.
I would ask all who can to join the Holy Father, our bishop, and myself as we begin this season of grace by saying “yes” with Mary to God’s invitation to welcome His Son into our hearts and lives, along with all nascent life into our lives and into the world. Long live Christ the King!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
The good Cardinal then took us on a journey through the magisterium of Blessed Pope John Paul II. In this he outlined Bl. JPII’s program for recovering what had been lost which he had addressed almost from the beginning of his pontificate to the very end.
In the interest of time he skipped over the magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI, though he promised to somehow make his transcript available so that we could read this section. (I’ll try to post it as soon as I can get hold of it). Of course, readers of this blog will have been quite attentive to B16’s pronouncements and are undoubtedly already quite aware with regards to his thoughts on the importance of a strong devotional life, especially within the family.
Parts of the Cardinal’s talk were most touching, nearly moving me to tears on a few occasions (though, those who know me know that I can be a bit of a sap – not on the scale of Speaker Boehner however). This was especially true as he related stories from his own experience of priestly ministry giving witness to the power of a strong devotional life – especially to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. He gave very beautiful and powerful witness to this devotion bringing families back together and even contributing to a very happy and peaceful death. That is not to say that I didn’t pay rapt attention to the entirety of his beautiful talk! But…some parts are very informational and thus somewhat dry, while others are very inspirational precisely because they give witness to the great power of that about which the Cardinal was speaking.
This is why I have always encouraged a strong devotional life in my parishes. In, now, my third pastorate the novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help continues to be a fixture of parish life (Wednesday nights at 8:00pm at St. Mary’s Ridge). I also provide opportunities for adoration, an annual 40 hours devotion, Stations of the Cross, the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary is encouraged before Mass as well as other seasonal devotions attached to those seasons of the year or saints who have particular message that is relevant for the people of my parishes.
Sadly, it’s been years since I have been asked to consecrate a family home to the Sacred Heart, and it seems like pulling teeth to get people to attend 40 hours devotion and other opportunities for adoration. Stations of the Cross are very poorly attended to the extent that even when it is a part of the CCD program parents almost always seem to be out in their cars impatiently waiting for their children to be released from church.
What do we do? I ask this not in exasperation but out of real concern and the knowledge that the devotional life is very strong in some places. What are they (or you) doing that is working? As always in this blog, I seek your input.
Cardinal Burke has echoed Bl.JPII’s and B16’s call for a new evangelization. He has pointed out very clearly how this new evangelization must begin with a renewal of family life. He has also demonstrated very persuasively that this renewal cannot take place without a return to a strong devotional life within the family and within our Church. How will we answer that call?
Monday, May 30, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
This is one of those resources which really makes for some good prayer over Good Friday and even into Holy Saturday Morning. Enjoy!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Yet, all of this pales in comparison to that for which our society fights tooth and nail and even tries to characterize as a constitutional right – abortion. PLEASE, don’t stop reading. I know many don’t want to hear it, but this is too important.
Since 1973 there have been about 50 million “safe, legal” abortions in the United States where our Declaration of Independence tells us that we “are endowed by our creator with certain inalianable rights, among these being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. In 1973 we were told that it was nothing more than a “blob of tissue”. In 2011, in the face of ultrasound images, we are simply told that it is a “choice”. This breaks down to 1.2 million abortions per year (a little more than the total number of war dead since 1775); There were about 137 abortions performed in the time it took you to attend Mass; there have been about 7 abortions in the time it has taken you to read this article thus far.
For over 30 years we have been told that it is important to make abortion “legal, safe, and rare”. Two weeks ago it was reported that 40% of all pregnancies in New York City end in abortion. So much for “rare”. Last week we read about an abortion provider (can’t bring myself to call him a doctor) arrested for the deaths of a woman and 7 newborns. So much for “safe”. The only thing we can say about abortion is that it is legal. That doesn’t make it morally right in the eyes of God.
There is so much more that could and needs to be said. However, I will leave you with this for now. Archbishops Dolan and Listecki, and our own Bishop Callahan have made it clear that this is THE moral, social justice issue of our time. If we don’t get this right, there is nothing that can truly be made right. Please, join me in prayer, fasting, and charity that we may put an end to this modern day holocaust.