Sunday, April 14, 2019

Personal

I'm personally against global warming, but if someone else wants to make excessive amounts of CO2, that's their prerogative. I'm personally in favor of personal property, but if someone wants to embezzle millions, who am I to judge? I'm personally against slavery, but if someone wants to own another person it is their choice. I'm personally against rape, but if someone feels the need I can't impose my morality on them. I'm personally against murder, but if another person thinks it's ok, we need to realize we are not a nation of Christians only.

All of those statements are absurd, right? I hope you agree with that. The reason is that, regardless of our "personal" views, we see that there are victims. The victim may be future generations (in the case of global warming) or the poor, or lower castes, or women, or anybody, but there is a victim. The law isn't about imposing your opinion on someone but on protecting a vulnerable victim.

Yet too often we hear "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but..." with one of those excuses used above. Making abortion illegal isn't about imposing an opinion or a culture or even a Judaeo-Christian morality upon another person, it's about protecting a vulnerable person.

Many people will accept that it's not OK to have an abortion in the third trimester, because either they see the baby as "human" by that point or because the baby is "viable" at that point. Let's look at that more closely...

Viability

 Some people think that before the baby is "viable" it's OK to have an abortion because before that point it is the mother's responsibility to keep the baby alive, and a mother should not be required to do that. Reread that last part again. Would you accept the mother of a newborn, or a one year old letting her baby die because she didn't want to take care of it? The only way to justify a viability test for abortion is if we don't consider the unborn child a human being. For, as John Calvin wrote:
For the fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man's house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.
 If the fetus is not a human being then of course the argument is null and void. And so we come to reason number two...

Humanity

It is easy to look as a blastocyst and say "that's not a human being" because a blastocyst isn't shaped like a human being. Even the name doesn't sound like a human being.  However, we shouldn't judge by appearance. What do science and logic tell us?

Science tells us that the blastocyst is a separate independent organism, not part of the mother's body. It tells us it is alive. It tells us it is human, with its own unique human DNA. Sounds like a human being to me.

Logic tells us that humans beget humans, not non-humans. It tells us that, if a human being has rights, those right depend on it being a human being, not on it's abilities or dependencies. If it is OK to kill a human being because it is not currently conscious, it is also OK to kill a human being who is asleep. If it is OK to kill a healthy human being because it allegedly doesn't feel pain it is OK to kill a healthy human being to whom we administer anesthetic.

In short, although you may like to pretend that humanity depends on having such and such a level of development, there is no logical or scientific justification for it.

Meditation

Jesus says "whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me... whatever you did not do for the least of these you did not do to me." (Matthew 25). He calls us to give food and drink to those in need, to clothe the naked, welcome the stranger and visit the sick and imprisoned.

Who is the least among us more than the unborn? Is not abortion the refusal to give food and drink? Isn't abortion a refusal to welcome the stranger, to clothe the naked, to visit the one "imprisoned" in the womb?

As Christians, our mission should be to make abortion illegal, not because we like to impose our point of view on others, but because it is our duty to protect the vulnerable among us.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Shame on you!

I love memes. Funny memes. So when the latest barrage of Joe Biden memes came out I was all in. But then came last Sunday. My wife and I both overslept, and so we missed the mass we like to go to. The alternatives were to wait and go in the evening, or go to a different parish. Although we like the masses as our usual parish, I hate going to mass at dinner time. It means that dinner will be late and rushed, and the whole day feels off because we haven't gone to mass yet. So we decided to go to mass at a different parish in the area where we had never gone to Sunday mass before, to the 12:30 mass.

The priest was one I really like, who usually gives good homilies that explain the readings. That Sunday was no exception. The Gospel reading was about the woman caught in adultery. He focused on the difference between shame and guilt. The Pharisees were not interested in the woman. To them she was someone to put to shame, in order to be used against Jesus. But Jesus wasn't interested in their political games, he was interested in the woman herself. He wanted to take away her guilt and bring her back into a right relationship with God.

It made me think about my memes, and specifically the ones about Joe Biden. What was my motivation? Did I want to shame him for touching women inappropriately, or was my object to effect change to bring him into a right relationship with God and with women? Would I rather see him damned or forgiven? And regardless of my motives, were my actions consistent with that, or was I a hypocrite?

I'm still processing this. On the one hand, I have no way to even contact Joe Biden, so nothing I do or say is going to affect him. On the other hand, I should at least pray for him, and I will. On the one hand, people should expose bad behavior, because there is no other way to address it. On the other hand, do we expose the bad behavior to bring the person and others into a realization that they should behave better, or do we do it to destroy them? On the one hand, he is a public figure and political speech has always used humor to bring across a point. On the other hand should things be that way?

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Christians must oppose Trump

I see this all over the place, articles like The Moral Confusion of Trump Christians. The gist is that Christians who support President Trump are hypocrites, morally confused, immoral, anti-biblical, you-name-it. There are so many ways to refute this, frankly, I am confused (about which way to show that this is ridiculous).

First off, let's look at the claims.
  • Trump is an immoral man, who has had affairs, divorces, etc.
  • Trump is a boorish person.
  • Trump is racist
  • Trump is divisive
  • Trump is anti-Christian values
Therefore anyone who votes for him or thinks he is doing a good job is not a "real" Christian, but is betraying Christ.

Is Trump what they claim he is?

First off, does he even exhibit these attributes for which Christians should allegedly avoid him?
  • Has he had affairs, divorces, etc.? Yes (well, the "proof" of affairs is circumstantial).
  • Is he boorish? Yes.
  • Is he racist? No. When asked to back claims of this people point to his immigration policy (enforce existing law) which is not racist, or that his economic policies favor one group over another (a dubious claim, given how minorities are thriving under his economic policies) or that he supports white supremacists (a lie).
  • Is he divisive? In the sense that liberals have distanced themselves from the rest of the country because they don't like him. But in terms of fostering division between people, no.
  • Is he anti-Christian values? Emphatically no. He has reinstated the Mexico City policy, reversed religious discriminatory practices and championed the pro-life cause.
Is he worse than the alternatives, in immorality?

Secondly, if we are to avoid supporting Trump, who should Christians support instead? Certainly there are third party alternatives, and I have posted quite a bit about them in the past. But the majority of people in the US fall into the "I must vote for a party that has a chance to win' camp. And that means if you don't vote Republican, you vote Democrat.

Who are the Democratic candidates who will be running against Trump, and do they align more with Christian values? Let's look at a few.
  • Kamala Harris claimed that Catholics should not be allowed to serve in government due to their bigotry. She believes in abortion up to birth, and with Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Kolbuchar voted for legalized infanticide.
  • Elizabeth Warren, aside from her vote above, lied about being a Native American.
  • Bernie Sanders, aside from his vote above, argues for socialism, directly against Christian teaching.
  • Cory Booker, aside from his vote above, defends his groping of a woman in college against her will.
  • Joe Biden, aside from his notable use of the F-word, is now the subject of multiple, well documented accounts of sexual harassment.
100% of these people are pro-abortion and in favor of Obamacare, with its restrictions on religious freedom (remember the Little Sister of the Poor). They may or may not have as much of a "shady past" as Trump but consider that, unlike Trump, their anti-Christian views are current, not in the past, and they defend those views as "right thinking" whereas Trump has never defending sleeping with a porn star (for instance) as the "right" thing to do.

Does it Matter?

What all these claimants seem to miss is that, unless Jesus (or Mary) is on the ballot, everyone we vote for will be a sinner. But we are not voting to say we approve of every aspect of their lives, we are voting to hire them for a job. When you hire a roofer, or a landscaper you don't choose them by whether they sinned in the past, but by whether or not they will do a good job for you. To the extent that you consider their moral character at all you might look at their current beliefs. We have a religion based on repentance and forgiveness. The criteria for a Christian to support a candidate is not "is the person saintly" but "will their actions in office advance or detract from Christian morality."

In that sense we can see Trump has clearly been on the plus side, especially as compared to any of the above candidates. As noted above, he restored the Mexico City policy, has rerouted money from Planned Parenthood to actual women's healthcare groups, has reversed or eliminated may religious discrimination policies, such as Obama's "weaponization" of the IRS against religious conservatives, the HHS mandate and others. He has welcomed Christians into the White House for prayer and council. He has spoken at and supported two Marches for Life. He prays publicly.

As Christians, we can disagree on Trump's immigration or economic policies (although I really don't see how, but that's another topic), but in general, even taking that into account, there is much more good there, from a Christian perspective, than not.

Conclusion

Christians should not oppose Trump. In fact, Christians should support President Trump. God help us if any of his opponents are elected in 2020. People claiming Christians who support Trump are morally confused are, well, morally confused themselves.

P.S.

To those Christians who oppose him on the grounds of wanting abortion to be legal, as a Christian I must warn you to consider your opinion on the matter. The Bible clearly forbids murder, and abortion, whether you like it or not, falls into that category, from a Christian perspective. If you think this is some new thing Catholics invented, consider the Didache, which was written by first century Christians (possible predating some of the New Testament) [emphasis mine].
2:2 Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not corrupt youth; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use soothsaying; thou shalt not practise sorcery; thou shalt not kill a child by abortion, neither shalt thou slay it when born; thou shalt not covet the goods of thy neighbour;
For those who want to fall back on "science", claiming that the ancients believed a fetus was a child but we know better, you need to rethink your source of scientific knowledge. If anything, we know now unequivocally that from the moment of conception (fertilization) the child is human (DNA tests prove this) is alive (exhibits all the activities necessary for life) and is an independent organism.

The only differences between that 1 day old blastocyst and that two year old are location and dependency. And nobody can argue that a mother has no obligation to care for a child dependent on her (well, people do argue that, but it's a ridiculous argument, and doesn't change the fact of the humanity of the child).

I make these statements not to win an argument but to save your souls. You will be judged by what you did not do for the least of these, thy brethren. Consider that thoughtfully.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Where is the Pope in the Bible?

The words below were posted by me in a facebook conversation. There are some references to other posts, which I leave in for context, but the crux of the post is why the papacy (and Apostolic succession) is Biblical.

I made my previous comments ("Protestantism is the epitome of un-Biblical") intentionally provocative because although Protestants are always accusing Catholics of not being “Biblical” but I can show you passages in the Bible to support everything Catholics believe. The same is, ironically, not true for Protestant beliefs. I do not say this to denigrate Protestants. They are trying to follow what they believe to be the truth, and some of them are living a more loving and moral life than I am for sure. But they are following the traditions of men, as set down by Luther, Calvin, etc.

But as I noted, all of this comes down to authority. For instance you quoted Matthew 26:26- as “proof” that the Eucharist is symbolic. I use the same exact same words as “proof” that the Eucharist is NOT symbolic. Your objections are that eating human flesh is a curse (the same issue the disciples struggled with) and if it were meant to by physical wouldn’t the NT have clearly stated/clarified such? Well, Jesus DID state/clarify in John 6, and the disciples would not accept it and left.

It all depends on your interpretation. Sorry, but the Bible does not “interpret itself.” If it did we would not have this division of Christians, as we would all be able to understand the Bible in the same way. As it is, the Bible contains many passages that appear contradictory, even in light of the entirety of scripture. If our understanding of the Bible differs, how can we decide who is right and who is wrong? You say “well that’s wrong because of ‘X’” and I equally vehemently say “you’re wrong because of ‘Y’”. We can point fingers and say "you're not reading it right" but in the end it’s either all opinion, or there is some authority we can look to.

The Bible says the authority for disputes between Christians is the church (Matthew 18:15-18). And not some invisible communion of all believers, as it would be hard to “tell it to” a community of all believers and have them make a definitive judgement. In Acts 15 we see the church, as a visible body of bishops deriving authority from the Holy Spirit, make a declaration on just such a question (more on that later).

So I thought a good place to start, to cut to the heart of the matter, is apostolic authority and succession.

You claimed, in your post that the Bible says nothing about Apostolic succession. The Bible does, in fact, say a great deal about Apostolic succession. First, let’s cover the specific example of Papal authority and succession, which will lead into the more general case of apostolic succession.

Even if this does not convince you that Catholics are “right” on this topic, I hope it convinces you that Catholicism is not un-Biblical. That is, you can say “I disagree with that interpretation” but the words and verses are there to support the Catholic position, which takes them exactly as written.

There is lots of evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Here’s a brief summary:

• Peter is mentioned more than all the other Apostles combined.
• Whenever the Apostles are named, Peter is listed first, even though he was not the first Apostle to follow Jesus (Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13).
• Sometimes the apostles are referred to as "Peter and those who were with him" (Luke 9:32).
• Peter generally speaks for the apostles (Matthew 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and even speaks for Jesus (Matthew 17:24).
• It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32).
• Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17).
• An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7).
• John waits for Peter to go into the tomb (John 20:4).
• The risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34).
• On Pentecost Peter was the first to preach to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40). Peter worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7).
• Peter led the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26).
• Peter received the first converts (Acts 2:41).
• Peter declared the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11)
• Peter excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23).
• Peter received the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).
• Peter led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15).
• Peter announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11).

And I haven’t even mentioned the one test you thought I would (Matthew 16). So let’s look at why Peter should be so prominent.

Name

When Simon joins Jesus, Jesus renames him “Peter” (Petros or Kepha) which means “Rock” (John 1:42). This is not just a nickname, this becomes the name by which he is known. Why Rock? Aside from Abraham, who is referred to as a rock one time (Isaiah 51:1-2) only God is known as a rock, and in neither of those cases is rock a proper name. In fact “rock” was never used as a proper name in those days. Clearly something is going on. Jesus changes Simon’s name to a new name that Jesus invented. As you well know, a name change in the Bible signifies a change in the person’s role. Abram becomes Abraham, Sarai becomes Sarah, Jacob becomes Israel and Simon becomes Peter. You may also note Jesus calls James and John Boanerges, but that is a nickname applied to both, not a replacement for their names; they are still called James and John.

Later (Matthew 16) Jesus would reiterate this name change. The place where he does this is Caesarea Phillipi, which was located near a giant wall of rock. The location wold have been chosen to emphasize the importance of the name change. It was there Peter made his profession of faith: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Jesus told him that this truth was specially revealed to him, and then he reiterated: "And I tell you, you are Peter" (Matthew 16:18). To this was added the promise that the Church would be founded, in some way, on Peter (Matthew 16:18).

Office

Let’s look at Matthew 16:16-18:
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Now take a look at Isaiah 22:15,20-23:
Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: …
In that day I will call my servant Eli′akim the son of Hilki′ah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house.
Jesus’ words in Matthew are clearly referring to the office of “Al Biet” (he who is “over the household”) in Isaiah. This was an office similar to Prime Minister or Viceroy in the Davidic Kingdom. Nor is this the only instance in the Bible where such an office was held. Consider Joseph in Genesis 41:40-44:
You shall be over my household, and all my people will obey your command. Only in respect to the throne will I outrank you.” ... “I am Pharaoh,” he told Joseph, “but without your approval no one shall lift hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
The person who held this office had the authority to speak in the king’s name, to make rules and judge in the king’s name, and to be a steward of the kingdom when the king was away. The symbol of this authority in the Davidic kingdom was possession of the keys of the kingdom. Jesus is assigning this role to Peter. He gives Peter the keys of the kingdom and gives him the power to bind (shut) and loose (open), not just on earth, but in the heaven! This is a big deal!

Note that this person shall be a father (aka pope) to the people and shall be a peg in a sure place (e.g. the one who holds the others together). Note also that this is an office, not a one time thing. In Isaiah the office is transferred from Shebna to Eliakim. It does not end with Shebna.

This is also demonstrated multiple times throughout the New Testament. For instance, in Matthew 17:24-27 Peter speaks to the Pharisees for Jesus. Jesus informs Peter that “the sons are free” but not to give offense they will pay anyway… then pays for himself and Peter. In other words, not only Jesus, but Peter is exempt as being part of the household of the king.

In Luke 22:31-2 Jesus says:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”
In verse 31 “you is plural (Satan demands to have you (plural) that he might sift you (plural)” but in 32 it is singular “I have prayed for you (Peter) that your (Peter’s) faith may not fail; and when you (Peter) have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” Jesus shows that Peter has a special role among the Apostles. It is Peter who will not fail, and who will, after the turns back, support the others… kind of like… a rock.

In John 21:15-17 Jesus asks Peter “do you love me more than these?” (meaning the Apostles). He then reminds Peter that he is to “feed my sheep” and “tend my lambs.” Jesus is delegating his responsibility as shepherd to Peter.

Thus we have Jesus assigning Peter to an office (Al Biet) which is to be passed down from one to another. The office is holy in that it is assigned by God, and the person who holds that office is to be a father. Hence we call the Pope (pope is from papa, or father) “the holy father” not because the Pope is especially holy, but because his office is holy and that of a father.

Acts

In the interests of brevity I will skip a bunch of stuff, but note some examples of how Peter exercises his authority.
Acts 1:15-20:
In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus…. 
For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘Let his habitation become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’;
and
‘His office let another take.’
Peter leads the group (of 120 people) to choose another bishop. They all understand that the office of bishop does not end with the death of the person holding the office, but that new ones are chosen as successors.

In Acts 2:14 ff. Peter again speaks for all the Apostles, addressing the crowd. Peter instructs them to repent and be Baptized. In Acts 5:1-11 Peter condemns two people to death (exercising his authority that whatever he binds is bound in heaven).

In Acts 15 Peter leads the Council of Jerusalem, where the church makes its first doctrinal declaration. Note that the council of bishops and priests (aka Apostles and elders) frames their decision as: “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials...” - the church council speaks with the authority of the Holy Spirit.

So we see a visible church body, with offices of Pope (Al Biet), bishop (episkopos) and priest (presbyteros), which appoints new members to its offices, which claims the authority to make doctrinal and pastoral decisions in the name of the Holy Spirit.

For other examples of apostolic succession see 1 Timothy 1:6 and 4:14, where Paul reminds Timothy that the office of bishop had been conferred on him through the laying on of hands. Notice in 1 Timothy 5:22 that Paul advises Timothy not to be hasty in handing on this authority to others. This, of course, assume apostolic succession as a rule.

For more evidence we can turn to extra-Biblical sources. While these do not have the weight of Scripture, they are at least historical evidence that apostolic succession was practiced by the Apostles and by those on whom they conferred their authority. Here there are dozens and dozens of documents I could cite, but just to pick two:

Pope Clement I:
"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier... Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).
St. Augustine:
“If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church’... [Matt. 16:18]. Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement, Clement by Anacletus, Anacletus by Evaristus...” (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412])
I could go on, but this, I think, is good evidence that both the Bible and history agree that Apostolic authority and succession are Biblical, and practices by the first Christians, and Papal authority and succession are Biblical, and practiced by the first Christians.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Opposite guns

More from the Opposites files:

Too dangerous for kids to have - causes them to commit violence.


Totally OK for kids to play - not violent at all.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Charity and Doonesbury

When I was young there was a hymn with that title, loosely based on "Ubi Caritas". The lyrics go like this:
Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found; Brought here together by Christ’s love, by love are we thus bound.
With grateful joy and holy fear His charity we learn; Let us with heart and mind and soul now love him in return.
Forgive we now each other’s faults as we our faults confess; And let us love each other well in Christian holiness.
Let strife among us be unknown, let all contention cease; Be His the glory that we seek, be ours His holy peace.
Let us recall that in our midst dwells God’s begotten Son; As members of His body joined, we are in Him made one.
No race or creed can love exclude, if honored be God’s name; Our family embraces all whose Father is the same. 
So I opened this morning's comics and read today's Doonesbury, which is all about a conservative family attacking a member who says "Happy Holidays". I don't normally read Doonesbury, and this is why. In a world where people lose their jobs for saying "Merry Christmas" this cartoon turns it around and depicts the Christian as the aggressor, forbidding his family members to say "Happy Holidays."

To me, one of the most divisive, hateful thing in the world today is the inability to assume the good will of others. This is the time of year when you will be sitting down to table with people who have different political and world views from yourself. There are two ways the world suggests you respond - either push these people out of your life, or fight with them.

I'd like to suggest a third way, and it's something radical in today's world. It's called dialogue. So your brother-in-law wants to fund Trump's wall. Did you ever consider tat maybe he is not a racist who hates immigrants, but rather he wants to shut down the "coyotes" who extort families and sexually abuse women and children to smuggle them into the US. Or perhaps your sister thinks Obamacare is God's gift to the US. Did you ever consider that maybe she wants to create a world where everyone can afford to get treatment for whatever ails them?

Did you ever consider that the ill-dressed person casually consuming Christ at mass is not being disrespectful, but is, in fact, leading a more Christ-centric life than you? Or that the lesbian couple on the next block are devout believers and pray a lot more (and more sincerely) than you do?

Then again, maybe your brother-in-law is just a jerk. The point is, you don't know what's in a person's heart. On every socio-policial issue there are two sides. Let's assume the people on the other side aren't doing it because they are evil, but because they want the good. We live in a fallen world, and we are all seeing "through a glass, dimly" so it's no wonder that people come up with imperfect solutions to a problem.

Let's be open to family and friends, and even strangers. If we're not willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, why should we expect others to do so for us. This is my Christmas meditation:
Let us recall that in our midst dwells God’s begotten Son; As members of His body joined, we are in Him made one.
No race or creed can love exclude, if honored be God’s name; Our family embraces all whose Father is the same.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

No Words

I am surprised and dismayed about the extent of the abuse scandal in PA, and the lies of the bishops of the USCCB. I guess I sholdn't be, looking around me. You see, we can point at the priests who did these horrible things, and the bishops who excused them or even supported them, but the fact is, the priests and laity all around us are looking excusing and supporting this as well.

Consider Fr. Feelgood, who every week gives a "Guido Sarducci" style homily "God loves you" and "Love your neighbor." There is no preaching of the Gospel. He's happy to ignore the couples cohabitation, committing adultery, contracepting, aborting, abusing themselves, each other and their children. Do you think there's a moral difference between abusing a child by rape and abusing a child by abortion, or simply neglect? He's happy to ignore the people who put Sunday games above the rightful worship due the creator of the universe. He makes football jokes off the altar, and the laity laugh, and come to mass dressing their favorite team's jerseys.

Does Fr. Feelgood even believe we need to worship the creator of the universe? He says so, but he doesn't act that way. He complains about having to say mass, and says as few as possible. He is more concerned with the appearances of holiness in shows of philanthropy than actually cultivating prayer and penance in himself and in his parishioners.

And we the laity sit in the pews and accept all this. We don't expect to hear (and are complacent not to ever hear) a homily that makes us uncomfortable. Truly uncomfortable. Oh we'll listen to the "love your neighbor" homily and realize we fall short of that, but how many times do we hear a homily on hell, sin, immorality that makes us uncomfortable? Never. And we like it that way.

When we are engaging in sterile, immoral, illicit, secret sex, and excusing it in ourselves and others, why are we surprised to find that others (including our priests and bishops) are doing the same? When we regularly violate our marriage vows, why are we surprised that our priests and bishops violate theirs as well?

The bishops are trying to rile up the people to righteously oppose immigration laws and the death penalty, when by their own actions they are keeping people out of the church and killing the innocence of those in the church.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe to the world for temptations to sin. For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire."