Thursday, May 31, 2012

Going to the Polls in November

Our American Brothers and Sisters go to the polls in November.  Catholic voters have recently put aside their consciences and voted for people, some of whom claim to be Catholic, who support abortion, redefinition of marriage, and the taking away of constitutional freedoms.

The Catholic faith is not a smorgasbord, where you pick and choose what you want.  In truth you are either a Catholic Christian committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in your heart, or you are not really Catholic, more what we would call a cultural Catholic.  A cultural Catholic pretends that being Catholic matters, but believes that he/she is the maker of his/her own destiny.

This attitude should never have come to the fore, but frankly our bishops and priests fell asleep along with us, and did not provide the teaching that would form our consciences to a hardness that is necessary to wage war against the vagaries of secular humanism and moral relativism.

It's a new day, Baby.  Time to wake up and smell the scorching flesh, before it is yours.

Here is a video that should inspire Catholics and all Christians of good will, because abortion, marriage and religious freedom are not Catholic issues.  They are issues for all people.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why Does A Loving God Let Evil Happen?

Interesting Question, But Is It the Right One?

That evil occurs is a fact. It comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes, often when least expected, and nobody is immune from it. The rich can't prevent it; the poor can't hide from it.  It does not discriminate between the young and the old. The evil that visits you is not unique in the world, though its occurrence might be unique in your life. You are not the first to have ever experienced the particular brand of evil that has come your way, but your response is uniquely yours. You have choices to make when evil comes calling at your door.

This is actually an essay about injustice, at least in man's eyes, and more particularly about the injustice visited on Father Gordon MacRae.  Father Gordon was convicted and is imprisoned in New Hampshire State Prison For Men for offences that did not occur, except in the mind of the accuser (and then only as a means to a financial windfall), and because of an over zealous detective, an equally over zealous prosecutor, a judge determined to prove that justice is blind, and worst of all a bishop and his staff who turned a blind eye to the false railroading of one of their own.

There was a lot of blindness present in what transpired to put a faithful Catholic priest in the New Hampshire State Prison for Men.  And blindness is in lock step with injustice.  Without blindness, injustice would be toothless.

How then does a loving God let things like this happen in our world, such clear injustice?  And in this case, it lingers, and lingers and lingers.

In 1981, conservative Rabbi Harold Kushner released a well received book entitled "When Bad Things Happen to Good People", in response to the death of his 14 year old son from a genetic disease.   Rabbi Kushner did not call his book "Why", but "When"  bad things happen.  Kushner watched his son die of progeria, a premature aging disease, so his son died at 14 of old age.  He explored what it all meant as part of his grieving process, and subsequently discovered that it all made him a better rabbi, husband, father, and person, all of which we would have bypassed if only he could have kept his son alive.  He learned what we, his Christian brothers and sisters have scripture to remind us of that "all things turn to good for those who trust in the Lord."

Back to Father MacRae.  There is little doubt in my mind that Father Gordon MacRae is a holy priest. Yet, he has spent 18 years imprisoned wrongfully for sexual abuse of a minor. You would think that this kind of adversity would breed anger, hatred, self pity, and a whole lot of not good things, particularly if the person was incarcerated with murderers and rapists and other miscreants, there not being a lot of confirmed saints in prisons these days.  If, of course, at some time, Father MacRae did not feel those things, he would not be very human, for in their proper place they are all the feelings of a grieving process, and when one's life is taken from them unjustly, or even justly, there is a great loss that needs to be dealt with.

The things that led up to his imprisonment, the perfect storm of real sexual abuse by Catholic Clergy, a detective who knew the answer without having to ask the questions, or verify the information he received, a judge who had blinders on, and believed that a lack of credible evidence was still grounds for a guilty verdict came together marvelously.

Saint Theresa of Avila once opined in conversation with her Lord and Savior that "If this is the way you treat your friends Lord, it's no wonder you don't have more of them."

Father MacRae might be able to echo that sentiment.

But, the reality is that if Our Dear Lord was not spared the ultimate suffering of a heinous death on a cross, should we be spared sufferings concomitant with His love for us, if those sufferings would. Make us more like Him, and better witnesses of His Abundant Love for us?

Father MacRae is very human. I have no doubt that he engaged in some anger, some self pity, and other emotions that humans feel when their world is turned upside down. But, I also have no doubt that he ultimately offered them up to the Lord to be used for His Glory, as He (God) saw fit, not as Father MacRae would have deemed.

If Father MacRae had not been wrongfully imprisoned, his witness to the inmates in the New Hampshire Prison for Men would never have happened, and some men who are on a path of working out their salvation in wonder and awe might not have had the opportunity to witness the love of Christ working in one of their own.

And how many of us who have been regular visitors to These Stone Walls, where Father MacRae writes of his life of faith would have had the opportunity to witness in the person of an alter christus suffering like the Apostle Paul who too was imprisoned wrongfully, and more so the sufferings of Jesus himself, as manifest in Father Gordon.

We are blessed to be witnesses, even if vicariously, to the life of Father MacRae, and to be inspired to take up our own crosses daily as he takes up his.  We look forward to Father MacRae's resurrection hopefully on this earth, but surely in heaven.  When Father passes from this life, he will be met face to face by the Jesus that he has re-presented for us here on earth, who will say to him, "Well done good and faithful servant."

So, the question I think is not really How does a Loving God let evil happen, but how could a God who professes abundant love for all of His Creation not let these things happen?

Friday, May 25, 2012

HHS - What's a Beleaguered Bishop to Do?

Silence is Golden Except When It Is Not

Yesterday, over at Socon or Bust, which is a social conservative, Catholic focused, popular blog site here in Canada, John Pacheco referenced a LifeSite News article with the title "Catholic Leaders Outraged Over Media Silence on HHS Mandate Lawsuits" linked here.   He opined:
Religious freedom is important and it must be defended, but the real issue here is contraception. If the bishops start talking about THAT, it will get coverage because the media THINKS it can win on that topic. But if the Church actually provides a defense – ANY DEFENSE – it will win. Why? Because people think contraception is like apple pie, so any criticism of it is at least going to gain some converts
So, in John's opinion the lack of news coverage is because the bishops won't call the issue what it is, (at least in his mind) a fight over birth control, not a battle over religious freedom.

I think he is seriously wrong, as without religious freedom, the bishops will not have a pulpit to speak the truth about contraception and abortion, a truth that we should have been told about regularly and faithfully since day 1, even if you want to move day 1 forward to the Humanae Vitae encyclical from Pope Paul VI in 1968, and if you want to read some truth, with no fluff or pretence, here is a link.

Now, this morning over at Sancte Pater,  a fine Catholic blog site, Ann Barnhardt in an article with the title "The Bishops are Being Played. Like Cheap Fiddles." goes off like a roman candle on the bishops accusing them of folding their tents.

Frankly, I like the way Ms. Barnhardt has written her article.  Her wit is acerbic, no punches were pulled, and there is a slight possibility that there is a degree of truth in what she has said, a large degree of truth.  She starts out with:

I do not understand how it is that this isn't glaringly, beat-you-over-the-head obvious, but whatever. I'll explain it. Listen up. Especially if you have a hat shaped like the blade of a posthole digger in your wardrobe, and people actually call you "Excellency."

Withdrawing health insurance (like Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio), shutting down schools, closing adoption agencies, soup kitchens or ANYTHING ELSE in "protest" of ObamaCare and the HHS "mandates" is EXACTLY, PRECISELY, TOTALLY and COMPLETELY what the Obama regime wants.

Further, the reason why the "press" has OBVIOUSLY been given the order to keep all of this quiet and to not report in any way on the lawsuits filed by the dozens of various Catholic organizations this week against the Obama regime - the largest religious legal action ever taken against the U.S. government by a long shot - is obvious.

The Obama regime is sitting back and watching all of you cowardly fools fold your own tents. None of the stupid bread-and-circus addicted crowd knows anything about any of this. You have to break out of your narcissistic little world and understand that even though these things are earth-shattering to you, uh, most people in this country don't even know that their "government" has declared war on the Church.

I was disappointed to see a few Catholic institutions folding on HHS, by withdrawing health care programmes from students or workers, though there might be more to the withdrawal than meets the eye.  Quite possibly, there is not an insurer in the country prepared to underwrite a health care package that obviously flies in the face of the US President and his cronies and denies the birth control and abortion services so desperately needed by the women of America.  If there is not, then how about the Catholic Church creates one, or get the Knights of Columbus to upgrade their insurance company to provide group health care.

I am not sure that 40 something lawsuits and counting filed against the Obama administration over HHS is tent folding and skulking away in the night.  But, I do concur in general with her conclusion, and have one of my own to add at the end.  Ms. Barnhardt concludes with the following:

Listen, you fools. YOU DON'T SHUT ANYTHING DOWN. You keep going exactly as you have been, and you force those dirty rotten SOBs to literally storm your hospitals and shut YOU down at gunpoint. And I'm not kidding. Make them physically shut down your hospital by dragging you out at gunpoint. Make them physically shut down your schools. Make them shut down your university by force because you won't cover abortions in your student health plan. Make them physically shut down your soup kitchens. Make them shut down your adoption agencies because you won't hand a baby boy over to two men who like to jam various and sundry body parts up each others' rectums.

In other words, STAND AND FIGHT.

The only proper course of action is total non-compliance with these totalitarian edicts of the regime, and FORCING THEIR HAND.

Anything less than that, and you LOSE. MEN fight wars. If you refuse to do your duty and act like MEN, then the war is already lost. And make no mistake, cowardice is a grave sin, and you will answer for it.

Every bishop is given a crosier upon his ordination to the episcopacy. A crosier is a shepherd's staff. It is a six to seven foot long staff that a shepherd uses to beat the crap out of wolves. That's your job. Beating the crap out of the wolves - not killing all of the sheep yourself so that there is nothing left for the wolves to eat.

Though I think that Ms. Barnhardt and Mr. Pacheco are guilty of some bloviation, they are voicing the concerns of many faithful Catholic men and women in the world. 

I honestly think that the bishops are standing and fighting and that Cardinal Dolan is the right man to be the head of the USCCB for this time and place.  Under the normal succession methods of the USCCB, it was Bishop Gerald Kikanas, of our winter home diocese in Tucson, who was next in line.  Bishop Kikanas is a kind and gentle shepherd, whom I had the occasion to meet on one occasion at a pro-life event to conclude 40 Days for Life in Tucson a few years back.  For him to be jumped by an Archbishop, and now Cardinal in Cardinal Dolan is no slight to this holy man, but Cardinal Dolan, like Ann Barnhardt does not pull punches, though his language might be a little less colorful than Ms. Barnhardt.

I think Cardinal Dolan knows what the crosier is to be used for, which Ms. Barnhardt so eloquently described in the quote above from her, but he and all priests throughout the world are in dire need of our prayers, not our indignation and judgement.  Judgement prevents the graces that God calls us to generate for them by our prayers to be generated in the first place, and to flow where the need is so great.

So, I recommend that we take what Mr. Pacheco and Ms. Barnhardt have written as a call to action, since the fight going on is ultimately our fight.  Our call to action is to pray for the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, who has a special love for all priests, particularly for their role as alter christus, or another Christ, in imitation of Her Beloved Son.  We must also pray for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that we might direct our prayers and offer up our daily joys, works, trials and tribulations in unity with Our Dear Saviour to the Father for these precious sons of God who are the heart and soul of our Church.

Father, in heaven, we lift up all your priests to you, called to holiness, and to lead the people of faith to the foot of the cross of Your Beloved Son, Our Saviour Jesus Christ.  We join our prayers for their continual growth in holiness and commitment to the Gospel, on their behalf with our Blessed Mother and her Immaculate Heart.  We implore Jesus to cover them with the Precious Blood which flows from His Sacred Heart, and to present them to you along with ourselves as living sacrifices at your altar.  Father, Your Will be done.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bishop Takes Pawn: Plundering The Rights of a Prisoner Priest .

Ryan MacDonald

The case of Father Gordon MacRae, of the Diocese of Manchester New Hampshire stinks.  Father MacRae was convicted, in the absence of any evidenc,e in what essentially amounts to part of a pogrom against Roman Catholic priests over allegations of sexual abuse of minors.  That some Catholic clergy committed egregious offences against children whose trust they destroyed is not in dispute.  But, that some opportunists saw a chance to fleece the suckers (diocesan leadership) by advancing trumped up claims of abuse is also not in dispute.

Father MacRae has served over 17 years in prison simply because he will not admit guilt, and show remorse for something that he continues to claim he did not do, and evidentially could not have done.  Had he admitted guilt, he would be free to roam the streets of America.  He would not be a Catholic priest, of course, and that seems to matter to him, as it should.  He would also have to admit to having been a liar for proclaiming his innocence, which for him would be a more grave lie.

Ryan MacDonald has periodically written solid pieces of journalism, as new evidence has come forth, and as his research has uncovered long buried evidence.  In the piece linked below, he paints a picture of the railroading of Father MacRae, by the most unlikely of sources, the Bishop and leadership of the Diocese of Manchester.

Be prepared to be astounded, and after that wears off, keep Father Gordon and the Bishops of Manchester in your prayers.

A Ram In The Thicket: Bishop Takes Pawn: Plundering The Rights of a Pris...: By Ryan A. MacDonald Bishop John B. McCormack, Aux. Bishop Francis J. Christian and  Fr. Edward Arsenault, announce names of accused pr...