Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Canada Loses More of Its Innocence

CBSA Guard Shot at BC Crossing Point

Yesterday afternoon, a Canada Border agent was shot and seriously wounded by a man entering Canada, who subsequently shot and killed himself.  When I first read about it yesterday, I confess that I did not feel connected to it, tut tutted, and moved along.

At 12:30 am this morning we received a call from one of our children, telling us that the guard was a close personal friend of hers from Ontario.

That made a senseless tragedy somewhat personal, though I only know the young woman anecdotally.  But, in that she is someone highly regarded by one of our children, her assault took on more meaning for us.  MDW looked on this as a mother would, concern for the young woman's mother, as a mother for a mother, and of course, for the young woman herself.

By this morning, we were more aware of things that had transpired, and this random senseless act of violence was in some way mitigated by acts of kindness from co-workers of the mother, co-workers of the daughter, and friends of both, who have come to their aid and comfort already.

Most of us will only see the act of violence, as that is largely what the media will report and analyze to death in coming days, as they discuss the state of mind of the alleged perpetrator, how lax or tight border security is, whether the guard should have been armed, and blah blah blah.

This is the first time in history that a Canadian border guard has been shot in the line of duty.  In our travels in the southern US, we see border guards near the Mexican border, armed with machine guns,  wearing Kevlar, and ready to go to war on a moment's notice.  Innocence has been lost there, and it is now common place, and even to a large extent to us, as we see it so frequently.

But, the loss of innocence at US borders started with one random act of violence as well, and now we have joined that slippery slope.

This is a sad day for a young woman whose world has been turned upside down by an idiot with a gun, and it is a sad day for Canada, as like her, we have suffered some Innocence Lost this day.  It can never be recovered.

May God bring healing to this young woman, and to her family in the wake of this tragedy, and may God also comfort the spirits of her co-workers,  Also, may God have mercy on the soul of the man who set this all in motion.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How Are We To Respond to Challenges to the Faith?

Yesterday, I posted a response, in a sense, to an article by Tom Moran in the Star Ledger written in criticism of a Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop of Newark NJ, Archbishop Myers, entitled "When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage".  It is a thoughtful, and beautiful defence of what has always been Church teaching about sacramental marriage, and is worthy of being read, prayed about, and then brought into our daily lives.

Archbishop Myers states in the letter:
Marriage is a natural and pre-political institution.  As such, it is not created by law or the state, though governments rightly recognize it in law and protect and support it for the sake of the common good.  Marriage is a human institution, to be sure, and spouses can enter into the bond of marriage only by freely choosing to do so.  Still, marriage is an institution whose defining features and structuring norms are not pure products of human choice.  We cannot define and redefine marriage to suit our personal tastes or goals.  We cannot make forms of relationship or types of conduct marital simply by attaching to them the word "marriage."  The defining features and structuring norms of marriage are written in the design of creation and revealed to us by a loving God who made marriage a powerful symbol of the mystery of his love for us.

But, the next page is where he hits hard, fair but hard, when he says:
Canon law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church both provide a straightforward definition of marriage: "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring . . ."  Thus, the essential elements of marriage include a communion of life (unity), permanence, fidelity, and an ordering toward fecundity (fruitfulness).  It should be clear from this definition that the Church recognizes as valid and binding all true marriages, not simply those between Catholic or Christians or believers in God.  It is true that Christ has elevated the marital covenant between baptized persons to the dignity of a sacrament. . .

It is my duty as your Archbishop to to remind you that Catholics who do not accept the teaching of the Church on marriage and family (especially those who act in public or private life contrary to the Church's received tradition on marriage and family)  by their own choice seriously harm their communion with Christ and His Church.  I urge those not in communion with the Church regarding her teaching on marriage and family (or any other grave matter of faith) sincerely to re-examine their consciences, asking God for the grace of the Holy Spirit which "guide [us] to all truth" (John 16:13).  If they continue to be unable to assent to or live the Church's teachings in these matters, they must in all honesty and humility refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they can do so with integrity; to continue to receive Holy Communion while so dissenting would be objectively dishonest.

I contend that not only Archbishop Myers, but all bishops in North America owe this kind of honesty to the faithful in their dioceses.

Men and women in authority, who claim the mantle of their alleged Catholic faith, have been giving the Church a rap of being inconsistent as they proclaim abortion rights, gay marriage rights, and other things under a false banner of social justice, all under the watchful eye of the public and of their bishops and pastors, who have sat quietly by.  They have been fostered by the silence to breed dissent in the Church.  This dissent is a cancer that, but by the grace of God, would destroy the Church given enough time.

When Jesus taught the essence of the Eucharist to people of his time, many walked away because this teachings was too hard for them.   Well, gay marriage and abortion rights are hard teachings as well, and our Catholic Church leaders are called to be like Jesus and give us all the teachings, including and especially the hard ones.

The Tom Moran's of this world, and we are all like Tom Moran more or less, need to be told the truth in love and kindness, but also firmly, as Archbishop Myers has done.  How we respond to truth is not the Archbishop's problem.  As he himself noted When I look back at my own life, beginning in the 1950's, I see that I was weakly catechized, and that when the trials of the teenage years came upon me, I was not prepared to stand firm in the faith I was raised in.  I was too weak and too ill prepared for the battles that waged at that time for my soul.  The world was too enticing for me to courageously stand against it.

If it were not for the Catholics in the Church, the Church would be perfect.  However, there will always be Catholics in the Church, and so we, those Catholics, must be made into the City of God, by right teaching, by the sacraments, and by personal sacrifice for the good of Holy Mother Church.  It is by the Grace of God that we are all called, but having been called, we must be helped to answer that call.

Tom Moran will return to the Church; count on it.  He has a mother praying in heaven for his soul, two actually, his human mother, and His Holy Mother Mary, and he has a third mother here on earth praying for his reversion to the faith of his youth, Holy Mother Church.  So, Jesus will not let him go ever.

My mother never gave up on me.  She prayed me back to the faith, while she was still alive, and I am sure she prays for me now from heaven.  But, even if she had not prayed for me, God would not have given me up, not without a very serious fight.

We must pray, and trust that God hears our prayers, and answers our prayers, for the reversion of all those in our families who have left the faith, and for conversion for all those outside faith in Christ Jesus.  Not only must we pray, but we must live the faith which we pray, loving those who we encounter daily

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Church Made Me Do It

I am a Victim Here

Over at Where the Rubber Hits the Road, Father Tim Moyle has a habit of posting links to various articles that touch on matters of faith, particularly the Catholic faith.  We have conversed by email over the last couple of years periodically, and one time I asked him to comment on the articles that he posts, since I would value his thoughts, and believed that others would as well. 

However, that has not been his style, and as time has passed, I have come to appreciate his approach.  By providing the links only, usually without his personal opinion, I have to think harder about the article linked than I would if I could just have a priest's viewpoint.  It is not that he does not have a priest's viewpoint, but there is a synergy and continuity to the articles he links.  Also, he monitors the comments that the articles generate and participates as he feels the need.

Consequently, his method has made me become a more studious Catholic Christian, by providing me things on which to ruminate.

This morning he provided a link to a blog posting over at by Tom Moran a writer at the Star Ledger, and a lapsed Catholic, who while canonizing his much loved mother, has claimed that he is a spiritual refugee, and wonder of wonders it is the fault of the Catholic Church.

He wrote about the Catholic Church that he was raised up in, and how through no fault or responsibility of his own he fled a million miles from it, and finds himself spiritually homeless.  A million miles from New Jersey would put him somewhere out in space, which is probably a good place for his brand of Catholic theology.

He states that:
One in three American adults was raised in a Catholic family, but fewer than one in four identify as Catholic today. No other church has shed so many followers, according to surveys by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

So if I am a refugee, I am walking on a road that is crowded with others who feel the same way.
But, really he wants to share with us his angst that Archbishop Myers of his local diocese issued a pastoral letter called "When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage", which can be read at the Archdiocese of Newark site here, or in executive summary at the same site here.

If Mr. Moran (I wonder if his last name is not misspelled) has read Catholic teaching, or perhaps scanned the sections of the Catechism that the Archbishop refers to in his teaching, he would know readily that Archbishop Myers is not telling the people what he wants them to do, as Mr. Moran put it, but what the Church believes today, and has always believed.  That the good Archbishop chose now to present his teaching is timely, though Mr. Moran sees it as politically motivated.

The American people have an opportunity in a little over a month from now to vote their consciences in their national election, and shame on them if they do not.  Whether they should vote Democrat or Republican in this election is a matter for them individually to decide.  That one party, the Democrat party has party policies that are in direct conflict with the Church as it relates to marriage, and also to the sanctity of life, does not preclude individual Catholics from voting for a Democrat politician locally who has beliefs that he is prepared to push forward that are consistent with Catholic teaching.  But, if Catholic Church teaching matters to Catholics, and it should, then serious thought has to be given to how one votes.

Mr. Moran cited his sainted mother who after his father passed away, married a divorced man a decade later, and with the complicity of her parish priest continued to receive Holy Communion.  Archbishop Myers advised Mr. Moran that the priest and his mother were wrong, which shocked Mr. Moran.  That his mother had taken birth control pills, because pregnancies gave her serious migraines apparently should have furthered her cause for sainthood.

The late Mrs. Moran was born a sinner, lived as a sinner, and died as a sinner.  There, I bet she was received into the loving arms of Her Saviour, because she is not different than any one of us on the planet, except in one way.   Unlike most of us, she sought to do God's will in her life.  Most of us skip that part.  But, we are all sinners, and like her, sometimes we sin because in seeking to do our best we are wrongly advised, as happened to her in the matters of our sexuality. 

We are complicit in our illicit sexuality, and Archbishop Myers is trying to correct that to some extent.  We, the faithful, need our pastoral leaders to tell us the truth that the Church teaches.  We need them to be unequivocal with us about what is and is not right.  We need them to not wave like the flag does in the breeze, but to stand strong against the tide of the world, and lead us to freedom.

No, Mr. Moran, the Catholic Church will not ever have women priests.  Also,  gay marriages will never be accepted in the Catholic Church for the reasons that Archbishop Myers has clearly stated, and did not make up on his own.

Archbishop Myers has a solemn duty to teach authentically what the Church believes to be true, and risks his own personal salvation if he does not.  He knows that, and is not playing with us about it.

As Lifesite News reported shortly after the pastoral letter was released, the Archbishop goes so far as to state that those in opposition to Church teaching should not present themselves for Holy Communion.  That is a hard teaching, and as many walked away from Jesus when he preached about the Eucharist, and that we were to eat His Body and His Blood if we were to have life within us, many are likely to walk away from the Newark Archdiocese. 

Since Mr. Moran has a pulpit of his own to spread dissent beyond his own family, he has manipulated the pastoral letter to protect his job, and to sell newspapers.  As the failure of many to follow Church teaching on sexuality in the past, because it was not presented well, and often not at all, is in no small part the responsibility of the bishops of the day, spreading lies and falsehoods, as Mr. Moran is doing will be on his head when he leaves this mortal coil.

Let us pray for the reversion of Mr. Moran to the truth of the Catholic Church, and may we rejoice with the angels when the prayers of his own mother in heaven, and our Holy Mother in heaven for his soul are answered in their fullness.