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Archive for August, 2003

September 2003

Chaplain’s Counsel

Dear Brother Knights,

We have so many wonderful activities, like the recent Crab Feast. Activities of this sort are not frivolous. They are essential in the advancement of fraternity with one another, the nurturing of our families, and our relationship to the larger community and our churches.

I hope my comments last month about the need for directors representing the local churches served by our council will prove fortuitous. It is the best way to keep the lines of communication open and it would do much to help our recruitment efforts. We must show that the Knights and the Catholic presence in this section of Prince George’s County are here to stay. I must also repeat our desperate need for bilingual contact persons and a vigorous outreach to Hispanic men.

Our country needs Patriots, and the men of our Order, especially the Fourth Degree, are living witnesses of how we can simultaneously seek the kingdom of Christ and fulfill our responsibilities as American citizens who love their country. This truth is no where more evident than when we are engaged to protect the dignity of human life, particularly the child in the womb. This is an issue of singular importance; and in lobbying efforts and marches, it is almost impossible not to mention names. However, I would urge our men not to forget that upon many other areas of political life there is a great diversity of opinion and our rules forbid the rancor of partisan politics at our meetings and in our publications. As an example, many American churchmen were on both sides of the issue regarding the recent conflict in Iraq. While the Vatican made good arguments on behalf of peace and dialogue, Michael Novak and other reputable “orthodox” theologians argued that the situation fit the criteria of our “just war” doctrine. The Church, herself, admits that it is the responsibility of the civil authority, i.e. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, to make such determinations. I mention this concern, because our own prejudices for or against the administration, and the mania in the media to find conspiracies and controversy, may compel us to mistakenly select the wrong forum to express our ideas. Further, we still have men in harm’s way and my own sense of pro-active (and not negative) patriotism would cause me to hesitate in ridiculing our commander-and-chief during such a time. While we might not agree about the means, certainly the deposing of murderous dictators and the restoration of security and justice are themes important to us all.

At the Shrine Mass for the Supreme Convention, Cardinal McCarrick preached on the Book of Revelation and the conflict that has already begun. He said, “Faith and trust in the Lord is the answer to all the problems and all the mysteries and all the evils that swirl around us.” Despite the persecution of the first three centuries and how all the early Popes were martyrs, God’s people trusted in the promise of Christ. Jesus says that he will come back. Like them, we must be “faithful to him who is faithful to [us].” We also look to “the woman clothed with the sun,” a figure for Mary, the Church, and our ultimate salvation. She is attacked by the dragon, but she escapes from one peril to another. And then, there is a Child. “We ask his Mother to keep us with the Lord.” Jesus promises that “He will make all things new again.” While Revelation speaks about the problems facing the Church and describes in symbols and images a terrible conflict, we are also given hope. “God ultimately triumphs and brings us to his kingdom,” as long as we “live as we are taught to live,” and do not allow ourselves “to be marked by the sign of the world and of the beast.” Our Lord comes to make all things new. May we renew our efforts as Knights and as Catholics in the work that God has given us to do.

Fraternally yours in Christ,
Father Joseph Jenkins

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