Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Here is the HHS Compromise, be attentive because it gets complicated: “With respect to self-insured group health plans, the eligible organization would notify the third party administrator, which in turn would automatically work with a health insurance issuer to provide separate, individual health insurance policies at no cost for participants. The costs of both the health insurance issuer and third party administrator would be offset by adjustments in Federally-facilitated Exchange user fees that insurers pay.”

136009898198238

Since the Archdiocese is self-insured, this would in effect mean that some of our employees would have to be insured by an outside organization, either in whole or in part. Look at all the actors in this play: (1) the Church; (2) the third party administrator; (3) an outside health insurance issuer; (4) the federal government; (5) the supplier of services; and (6) the insured person. The user fees are essentially a tax to insure that contraceptives are free and to pay the third party administrator. What happens to the viability of the self-insurance program if people opt out for the third party insurer?

In any case, I still think people are going to pay more for heart and blood-pressure medicine to make up the cost for free contraceptives. What insurance company will cover just contraception, sterilization and abortifacients without funds to shift from other medical coverage? I doubt federal fees with be sufficient. It will be exploited. Is the Church still morally culpable if we collaborate with other agents in such a scheme? Are we culpable for money given to the government to pay the insurance companies to supply people with contraceptive services?

Given the intransigence of the administration with insisting that health care include free contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization; I cannot say that I trust the latest offer of exemption to the Church and associated religious entities. It seems to me that religious liberty is still very much threatened. Remember, this is the same administration which sought jurisdiction over ministerial assignments; no doubt supposing that if they lost one ridiculous or outrageous battle, it would make churchmen more passive about what was viewed as a lesser campaign. I think they were genuinely surprised by men like Cardinal Dolan. Suddenly Catholic bishops had teeth and could bite back.

I suspect this newest offer is to convince the bishops of a need to see the dentist. The administration still insists that the agenda of Planned Parenthood will become the official policy of government. No matter how you spin it, that means a confrontation with the Church and the Gospel of Life.

I was amazed that some critics and churchmen quickly rejoiced and sang Hallelujah when the revised policy was announced. We must not return to a posture of passivity and ineffective opposition to Big Brother and modernity. More level-headed religious leaders argue that we need to look at this offer closely. It may be a trick. It seems to me, upon closer examination, that there is no miracle break-through or adequate accommodation. The shell-game continues.

The question proposed is this: can such a policy be mandated against Church institutions with religious and moral reservations? The response of the administration seems to be that some institutions have more of a claim upon religious liberty than others. If the previous offer only preserved such liberty within the walls of the churches, this new policy will only add the porch or parking lot. Churches, individually or corporately, are protected, as are religious orders, but the rest is still up for grabs. Again, this administration has a very narrow notion of what constitutes “church.” Ministries in the area of community service are understood entirely within the matrix of secular humanism. President Obama’s religious vision is wholly a horizontal one (earth-bound) with little or nothing of the vertical or transcendent. In other words, God made us— great; but WE make the rules.”

We still have a fight on our hands because of the indiscriminate outreach of our religious charities, hospitals and schools. This element of the policy has not really changed. Okay, even if self-insured, we would not be required to pay “directly” for the contraceptive coverage; however, we still have to find other insurers to dirty their hands for us. The cooperation with evil becomes more remote but they will still be our agents.

Throughout it has saddened me that we have stressed the religious liberty of the Church as an institution but not the same rights of individual believers and citizens. There is no exemption for them and their businesses. It is bad enough that pro-life groups, EWTN, the Knights of Columbus and others might be forced to comply; however, what about the good Catholic entrepreneur who bakes donuts or fixes cars or cuts the grass. There are no exemptions at all for them. I know, some will say that they could fight and pay out hard-earned money to litigate for themselves. But this is America, our rights are supposed to be guaranteed, not entitlements for which we have to fight and beg.

I bet if it had not been for the courts, we would not have seen even these concessions. No doubt the administration wants to promote a particular public perception: a liberal government wanting to dialogue about national healthcare and a backward-thinking Church wanting to deprive couples of pills and condoms. President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius know full well that many if not most American Catholics are out of sync with Church leadership and moral teachings. As in Maryland with the proposition for same-sex marriages, they hope to exploit this advantage and show that they are the true magisterium, not the ecclesial shepherds largely abandoned by their flocks. As much as the USCCB has sought to frame this debate under the banner of religious liberty and the First Amendment, the administration has been highly effective in convincing many people that it is about reproductive choices and health. God help us!

Read Full Post »

I am slowly deciphering some of the written materials left by the late Msgr. William J. Awalt. For review and comments, they are being posted at my BLOGGER PRIEST site.

http://bloggerpriest.com/category/awalt-papers/

Msgr. Awalt was the pastor of St. Ann’s Church in NW Washington , DC for just over 30 years, retiring in the year 2000. I was honored to preach at the Mass celebrating his 60th anniversary as a priest in 2007. His pastorate was marked by a deep devotion to the Eucharist and a never-ending preoccupation with preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic faith.

Read Full Post »

Muslim cleric Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed tells a reporter on THE SAMOSA website:

“It is not an aggression, it is not an assault, it is not some kind of jumping on somebody’s individual right. Because when they got married, the understanding was that sexual intercourse was part of the marriage, so there cannot be anything against sex in marriage. Of course, if it happened without her desire, that is no good, that is not desirable. But that man can be disciplined and can be reprimanded.”

We as Christians often speak about our beliefs and our witness as signs of contradiction on behalf of the Gospel. Where the Judeo-Christian faith once heavily informed Western culture, there is today increasing tension and conflict. Scandal has made the situation even more critical, not only the past presence of predators among certain clergy but the passivity of many of the laity toward deviant lifestyles and the mass destruction of the unborn. However, although individual Catholics fail to be everything they are supposed to be, the Church stands for the dignity of the person and for justice. More aberrational and sometimes in conflict with our views from another angle is the rise of Islam in our society. The tendency toward religious relativism is hard-pressed to sustain itself in light of a religion where many still espouse forced conversions and the subjugation of women. As one secular critic remarked, “In light of Muslim rigidity, maybe we did not have it so bad under the Church and the Pope?” I would contend that the best of our values and the most objective truths about things are gifts from the Church and developments from the Good News of Christ. We should be careful not to stereotype religions and their adherents, but there should also be a critical honesty in reference to them.

This morning there was a MSNBC headline which brought this point home: “U.K. cleric: Rape is impossible within marriage.” I can imagine some readers looking at this and immediately asserting about the danger of Islam, “I told you so!” The topic itself is a difficult one to discuss. Over the years I have had to counsel women who were assaulted. Many think it is all about sex. Actually, it is more about violence and wrongfully asserting power over another. Such crimes are extremely serious and should not be taken lightly. Many women take years to heal and some scars may well be permanent. It is a sin that might leave bruises, but more than this, it wounds a person’s soul and destroys trust. It is also a very prevalent crime, often unreported.

Given the many sexually laden influences around us and massive promiscuity, it is often hard or impossible to prove that such encounters were not consensual. When purity was more of a premium, the righteous anger and justice of society against the violation of a virgin and another’s wife was swift and severe. Today, it is suggested that a third of teenage girls under 18 have endured attempted date rapes. Forgive me for a moment more, as my mind frequently wanders, but I also recall a situation where a diminutive young man was ridiculed for bringing up charges against a woman for raping him. He became the butt for all sorts of jokes. As one sick person remarked, “Men might be rapists, but outside of gay sex, men cannot be raped.” I would categorize such a critic as “sick” because he can envision a man as an abuser but not as a victim. Such a person is very dangerous.

Looking at the news article today, I suspect there are many other “dangerous’ people as well.

The Imam in question is not a wildcard or a rare fanatic. Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed is the president of the Islamic Sharia Council. He is a leading Muslim cleric in London. We are often told that we have nothing to fear from the “real” Islam, well the rape of human beings is pretty serious and word games make it no less so. The controversy is simple. Speaking as a teacher of his faith, he argues that it is impossible for a husband to rape his wife. Consequently, he says that the husband should never be prosecuted by law for raping his wife. The most we can request, he continues, is that the husband ask her forgiveness for any roughness. He concludes that should be enough. He is right that “sex is part of marriage,” but as I said earlier, this is a crime of violence. He explains on the Samosa website, “Maybe aggression, maybe indecent activity… Because when they got married, the understanding was that sexual intercourse was part of the marriage, so there cannot be anything against sex in marriage. Of course, if it happened without her desire, that is no good, that is not desirable.” He qualifies his remarks, but take note of the use of “maybe.” There is NO MAYBE about it. He does not believe a husband can rape his wife— period. He would have it that women should have no recourse to the authorities for justice and protection!

Illegal in Britain since 1991, this basic protection for married women would probably be stripped away by Islam. Proof of such an eventuality is in how Islamic countries so often treat their women. We have read the stories. Apologists would say that we do not understand and that they are isolated incidents. But the fact is that the problem is systemic and that even one such tragedy is too many. Women, married are not, are not property but persons with a sacred dignity, worth and calling. Husbands and wives are helpmates and companions. While they have different roles in the home, there is never an excuse for brutality or for oppression. Christians may view the husband and father as the head of the home but the wife is the loving heart. That heart must always be treated with respect and gentleness. They give each other to one another. They belong together. They are as the Scriptures remind us, one flesh. One commentor observed, “A religion which permits multiple wives and utterly subjugates them under the husband’s authority is jarring to our culture but also to the sensibilities of Christians.”

The cleric continued, that if the husband “does something against her wish or in a bad time,” he “may be disciplined, and he may be made to ask forgiveness. That should be enough.” Again, look at how carefully he couches his language. The conditional “may” is used again and again. These are hesitant allowances, but really he is giving up nothing about his view.

He is really saying that husbands have a right to rape their wives, but afterwards, if they feel like it, they can say they are sorry. Maybe they can give them flowers? Of course, they can rape them again tomorrow, and do so with impunity. But you wait and see, there will soon be people defending the cleric and brow-beating “intolerant” secularists and infidel Christians for criticizing him, the Koran and Islam.

Islam is a religion of the LAW. What the cleric is giving us is a legal definition and interpretation of rape under Muslim law. He told The Independent, “In Islamic sharia, rape is adultery by force. So long as the woman is his wife, it cannot be termed as rape. It is reprehensible, but we do not call it rape.” At least he calls it “reprehensible,” but still it is regarded as not something that can be prosecuted.

Although I am increasingly tempted toward cynicism, I am still hopeful that we will hear sane voices from Islam, Christianity and the secular world about this question.

Out of curiosity, I went to DICTIONARY.COM and looked up the definition of rape. The first entry reads: “the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.” A secondary entry omitted the reference to gender. I would elaborate that it also refers to a lack of consent. Husbands and wives should want to share the marital act, but sometimes because of the spacing of children, fatigue and illness, there should be a measure of restraint and understanding. The marital act is a duty of their state and hopefully a joy open to the generation of new human life. Respecting human dignity, consent needs to be present.

Apart from the question of married couples, it should be added that some like children and those mentally challenged need to be protected because they cannot lawfully give consent and get married.

LEAVE COMMENTS AT BLOGGER PRIEST

Read Full Post »

Dr. Kenneth Howell, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Champaign, who taught classes on the Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought, was fired for teaching and explaining in an email to students the Catholic teaching on homosexuality. While the Catholic position is based upon the clear Scriptural prohibition, the meat or substance for our position is a reasoned stand applying Natural Law.

The universal catechism is very clear:

[CCC 2357] Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

The context of the current controversy was an upcoming test on the theory of utilitarianism. He contrasted it with the Catholic appreciation of natural law. Apparently, the university wanted him either to be silent regarding such Catholic teachings or to encourage dissent. Because he honestly taught what he was charged to teach, he was terminated. A friend of the student complained that the explanation he gave amounted to “hate speech.” This is precisely the kind of repercussion that we were told by liberals would not happen when legislation redefined such speech. Professor Howell has also suffered the loss of his position at the campus Catholic center. I suspect that the school will now seek out lapsed and/or bad Catholics to replace him. No “good” Catholic would take such a position since that school has unveiled its blatant anti-Catholic bias. 

The professor wrote:

  • In short, to judge an action wrong is not to condemn a person. A person and his/her acts can be distinguished for the purposes of morality.
  • Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY. In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same.
  • Men and women are complementary in their anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Men and women are not interchangeable. So, a moral sexual act has to be between persons that are fitted for that act. Consent is important but there is more than consent needed.
  • One example applicable to homosexual acts illustrates the problem. To the best of my knowledge, in a sexual relationship between two men, one of them tends to act as the “woman” while the other acts as the “man.” In this scenario, homosexual men have been known to engage in certain types of actions for which their bodies are not fitted.
  • I don’t want to be too graphic so I won’t go into details but a physician has told me that these acts are deleterious to the health of one or possibly both of the men. Yet, if the morality of the act is judged only by mutual consent, then there are clearly homosexual acts which are injurious to their health but which are consented to. Why are they injurious? Because they violate the meaning, structure, and (sometimes) health of the human body.
  • Thus, people tend to think that we can use our bodies sexually in whatever ways we choose without regard to their actual structure and meaning. This is also what lies behind the idea of sex change operations. We can manipulate our bodies to be whatever we want them to be.
  • Natural Moral Theory says that if we are to have healthy sexual lives, we must return to a connection between procreation and sex. Why? Because that is what is REAL. It is based on human sexual anatomy and physiology. Human sexuality is inherently unitive and procreative. If we encourage sexual relations that violate this basic meaning, we will end up denying something essential about our humanity, about our feminine and masculine nature.
  • I know this doesn’t answer all the questions in many of your minds. All I ask as your teacher is that you approach these questions as a thinking adult. That implies questioning what you have heard around you. Unless you have done extensive research into homosexuality and are cognizant of the history of moral thought, you are not ready to make judgments about moral truth in this matter. All I encourage is to make informed decisions.

To read the complete email, go to:  THE GAZETTE

This honest and good teacher taught for nine years at the University of Illinois. He told his students that they would be tested on their understanding of Catholic teaching, not judged upon their personal acceptance or beliefs.

The setting for the controversy was one of his lectures in the Introduction to Catholicism course. He wrote an email in May to his students in preparation for an exam regarding the application of natural law theory to a practical social issue, i.e. like judging the morality of homosexual acts. Despite acknowledging that many might disagree with Catholic doctrine, and the notion of natural law (like Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan), the good professor gave an accurate application to a pertinent issue from Catholic social teaching. Nevertheless, the school insisted that the teachings and email violated their standards of inclusivity.

Today, certain concerned administrators of the school have asked that the faculty committee determine whether or not academic freedom was violated. I suspect for many of us, even those unsympathetic to such views, would regard this as a no brainer. It seems obvious that a pro-homosexual litmus test usurped such freedom and an accurate, if offensive to some, Catholic teaching. Would he have also been fired for the application of natural law to the abortion question? Liberals hated Justice Clarence Thomas for his paper in such an application, drawing an analogy with the question of slavery and the violation of the innate dignity of human personhood.

It amazes me that a facility dedicated to open education could be so closed-minded. What are they saying to their students?

Truths are relative, unless they are liberal truths.

Judge no one but we can judge you.

All ideas are welcome, except those which are not politically correct.

Exercise your faith, unless you are a conservative Christian or Roman Catholic.

This professor was hired to teach Catholic thought. This university has not only wronged this man but sends the bigoted message that Catholic thinking is unacceptable on their campus. Perversion (my word, not that of the sensitive and gentle professor) is tolerated but no insinuation that such actions might be judged morally wrong. I suspect that this speaks ill both for the religious studies and the philosophy departments. If religious tenets and philosophical/ethical questions cannot be freely addressed, then any insistence of academic freedom becomes a hypocritical sham. Discussions about homosexuality, fornication, and abortion would be limited to the left or made taboo. The teacher gave a forthright answer. The students could have argued and disagreed with it. Instead, the professor was silenced. He attacked no one. He merely gave the Catholic position on a question of conduct.

Faithful Catholic students should complain that they are not really welcome to be fully engaged in the life of the school. Parents should consider sending their children elsewhere. I know one Catholic university which hired a renowned atheist philosophy instructor. The students and other faculty members often delighted in debating with him. They respected each other. But here is a case where a believer is punished precisely because he teaches views which non-believers or secular students will not tolerate. It is ironic that those who are the most fanatical about toleration are so often incredibly intolerant.

Dr. Kenneth Howell is an award winning educator (recognized by the university in 2009) and a convert to the Catholic faith. He has taught there for nine years. The word is out that even the local bishop is requesting his reinstatement. The professor was very careful to admit that he was a faithful practicing Catholic and thus he was sympathetic to the subject matter he was hired to teach. He slandered no one and even admitted that a critical eye to certain actions should not be interpreted as condemnation or hatred against others. Rather than a professional and academic debate, anonymous students and “politically correct” co-workers decided they would simply get rid of him. It reminds me of the spoiled child who takes his ball and runs home when he starts to lose in a game.

We are told that the university president, Michael Hogan, has received over 100 emails. Now he has asked that the matter be reviewed. Maybe more of us should say something about this as well?

UI President
uipres@uillinois.edu
http://www.uillinois.edu/president/

Executive Offices
http://www.uillinois.edu/administration/vps.cfm

Trustees
http://www.uillinois.edu/trustees/

Ethics Office
http://www.ethics.uillinois.edu/policies/index.cfm

My suggestion is that the professor be rehired or that the public school make it very clear that Catholic teachings are neither welcome in the classroom nor in regular discourse.  If they do the latter, they should also forfeit tax dollars and public support.  They can hang a sign on their doors, saying, “Catholics are only welcome if they shut up and compromise their faith and values!”  

Further, if he is reinstated, I would recommend that those administrators, faculty members and students who violated his academic and personal rights face, themselves, some sort of disciplinary censure.  They violated this man’s academic freedom, religious freedom and freedom of speech.  Where he was open to rational discourse, they were not.  He gave a coherent presentation of the subject matter he was charged to teach, Catholicism, without any foul language or attacks upon persons.  Those who fired him were not so noble or magnanimous. 

Is it not interesting that a liberal atheist professor at another university faced no reprimand when he urge the theft and desecration of the Eucharist while mockingly name-calling Christians and Catholics?  However, when a Catholic professor who stresses respect for persons and freedom for intellectual inquiry, shares ideas which are found offensive by a radical minority over-sensitive about homosexual rights, he is quickly terminated. 

Finally, I would urge other Catholic professors, students and those sensitive to matters of academic freedom, to take Dr. Howell’s email and to sign it themselves.  At present, he is a man who stands largely alone.  He did nothing wrong.  This could be done online and with hard copies sent to the university.  This should not be anonymous.  That is the route of cowards, like the one who started this mess for the good professor.  We should stand up and be counted.

We love our homosexual brothers and lesbian sisters. 

However, Catholic teaching rightly stipulates that homosexual acts are disordered and a violation of our nature. 

In any case, even if you disagree with Catholic teaching, given the public setting and the classes he was hired to teach, those who favor academic freedom should also support him.

Read Full Post »

cartoonkennedyNARAL had awarded the Massachusetts senator a 100% approval rating.

He was the Catholic voice for the culture of death for a quarter of a century, supporting not only abortion but partial birth infanticide, the use of embryonic human beings for research, and same sex unions for homosexuals and lesbians. He also championed repression against free speech and religious liberties (at least for conservative, orthodox or biblical churches) by expanding “hate crimes” legislation to include criticism of gays.

He was also responsible for the increased politicization of the Supreme Court by his pro-abortion litmus test against the nomination of Judge Robert Bork, a strict-constructionist, in 1987.  Judge Bork came into the Catholic Church a few years ago.

At the time of his death, Senator Kennedy was advocating health care reform that would guarantee federal money for artificial contraception and abortions.

While many acclaimed him as a hero for women and the poor. Many pro-lifers regarded him as one of the nation’s chief enemies of motherhood and the poorest of the poor, innocent and voiceless children in the womb.

His was a life of many personal scandals and a general lack of discretion. However, I have no desire to enumerate upon those things in his personal life which are already public knowledge. Our reaction now should be one of prayer for a man who was baptized and raised as a Catholic. God will be his judge, even as we continue to repair the damage that he did to the witness of the Church and the moral standing of our nation. Indeed, for all we know, God’s grace might have brought him to repentance and conversion in the last moments of life.

Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered groups are certainly weeping the loss of one of their great defenders and proponents. It is too bad that they neither weep for the murdered children nor about the decomposition of morals and marriage.

It is also said that Ted Kennedy was a pivotal figure in the transformation of the Democratic Party and its agenda, making possible the Obama presidency. He certainly made his impact felt upon history. Now, the final chapter is closed. He passed away from his brain cancer on Tuesday night in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. First Joseph, then John, next Robert and now Teddy— the last of the Kennedy brothers has gone to God.

Rest in peace.

Read Full Post »

gibsonpaintedI am sick at heart about the hypocrisy we find all around us. It is no wonder that good people feel discouraged in the Church. Today’s headline was like a punch in the stomach: MEL GIBSON’S GIRLFRIEND IS PREGNANT! What? I was still lamenting his wife’s decision to divorce him.

A few years ago the conservative voices in the Church fell over themselves trying to make an apologia for Mel Gibson’s breakaway “traditionalist” Catholicism. Much was made of the fact that an approved priest offered the Tridentine Mass for Gibson and his associates while they filmed his movie about Christ in Italy. He was even interviewed very “gingerly” on EWTN. Many claimed that it was the fault of liberals and aberrational practices in the post-Vatican II Church which had estranged him. His PASSION OF THE CHRIST was reviled by some and praised by others. Purportedly the late Pope remarked about the movie portrayal: “It is as it was.”

The movie upset some in the Jewish community, but the same voices criticized Pope Benedict for insisting that Jesus remains the universal Savior. Gibson told Diane Sawyer: I don’t want people to make it [his film] about the blame game. It’s about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. That’s what this film is about. It’s about Christ’s sacrifice.”

The film was violent, but was probably still short of the terrible reality that constitutes crucifixion. Gibson told Sawyer that the drama was a personal testimony of faith. But there was a great disconnect in the fact that he could claim Catholicism and still ridicule the Holy See, the bishops, and breech himself from juridical unity. It was also hard to understand how a good Catholic could be party to sexual simulation as an actor.

Gibson confessed that he had been suicidal, even contemplating jumping out a window. But he turned to the Bible and rediscovered Christ. He rightly asserted that our Lord “was beaten for our iniquities.” “He was wounded for our transgressions and by his wounds we are healed. That’s the point of the film. It’s not about pointing the fingers.” Many had hoped that the film would make him a true champion of Catholic faith and values. However, it seems that the “spiritual bankruptcy” which plagued him years earlier has sought to reclaim him.

Mel Gibson is a man with many gifts and yet also terrible addictions. He is one of us, although cameras and gossip mongers follow him everywhere he goes. He admitted to problems with alcohol. He fell off the wagon and used anti-Semitic slurs against the arresting officer. He admitted to sexual promiscuity. His wife has left him and now a young girlfriend is reported as pregnant. Gibson really is in no position to criticize the Church, with or without the vernacular Mass and reforms. Gibson needs our prayers and we should let him know that the Christian community is still ready to help him.

The Church teaches that marriage is a permanent bond that lasts until the death of one of the spouses.

Jesus forbids divorce.

Fornication and adultery are listed as serious sins by St. Paul. They rob us of the kingdom of God.

After 28 years of marriage, Gibson’s wife filed for divorce. They were separated for three years. His publicist acknowledged today that his “girlfriend” Oksana Grigorieva (a 39 year old Russian musician) is pregnant. She already has a son by her former boyfriend, Timothy Dalton.

Drunkenness, fornication and adultery are faults which require repentance. Although Gibson has seven children, his latest will have to face the shame of being born out of wedlock. No priest will marry a couple if there is an existing prior bond. Gibson might have his private chapel staffed by a sede vacantist priest, but he would assuredly be told to refrain from taking Holy Communion.

My advice to Mel Gibson is to overcome your addictions and the demons which corrupt your life. Strive diligently to avoid mortal sin, repent, make restitution and seek absolution. If your marriage can be salvaged, that too should be explored. If the pieces cannot be reassembled, then you should strive for the gift of chaste celibacy. Make provisions for the new child, but part from this woman. She does not belong to you. You cannot exchange your wife for a mistress.

He gave us a great gift with his movie about Christ. He needs to know that while we are saddened and disappointed, he is still in our prayers.

Who killed Christ? When asked this question by Sawyer, Gibson answered, “The big answer is, we all did. I’ll be the first in the culpability stakes here.” Yes, his answer rings true, both then and now. The accumulative sins of all mankind throughout all human history and in every place targeted our Lord. We are the murderers of Jesus Christ. He dies so that we might live. However, his gift demands that we make a gift of ourselves. We are to surrender our talents, but also our hearts, minds and whole selves to God.

Mel Gibson loves the Mass. The Mass participates in the heavenly marriage banquet. Marriage is a sacramental covenant which points to the union of Christ to his bride, the Church. We all need to see ourselves in the Offertory and orations of the liturgy. We should see something of ourselves in the wine and bread. We offer the things of earth to be refashioned to that of heaven. Just as we ask that these gifts be changed, so too we beseech God to transform us ever more and more into the likeness of his Son. The one element missing from THE PASSION was the offering of ourselves with Christ, grafted to him, as a pleasing oblation to the Father. We must become spiritually one with the Lamb of God. God became a man so that men might by grace share in something of the divinity— eternal life.

Read Full Post »

teacherxratedLast Friday, a school teacher at Isabelle Jackson Elementary School in Elk Grove, Northern California gave her 24 students a DVD of class memories as they went off on summer vacation. The children were recorded sharing stories. By accident, a six second segment of her having sex on a couch was included. Although originally asked to return the recordings, a spokesperson for the school system has asked that parents now destroy them.

This is the height of bad judgment and incompetence.  Who knows what damage she did or might still do.  I feel sorry for her, but my concern is mostly for the kids. 

http://www.egusd.net/Jackson/index.html 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31717690/ns/us_news-weird_news/?GT1=43001

This brings up the question about the type of people to whom we entrust our children. It sounds as if there shall be no reprimand against the teacher. But, is not the violation of innocence a type of abuse?

Okay, it was an accident, and if she is married then she is entitled to relations with her husband, but is it moral to video record such intimacy?

If not married, then she is both sexually permissive and into sexual voyeurism. Years ago, such an event would cost the teacher both her good reputation and her job.

I suspect the school board would have done better to insist upon the return of the DVDs and to personally orchestrate their destruction. Potential future scandal is real. What if a depraved parent puts the video online or seeks to profit from it? What about the possibility of blackmail? This teacher has made a nightmare scenario for herself.

Her name has been withheld, but what about the good name of the other forty-five to fifty women who work at her school. Parents will talk and so all the immediate parents and their families will know about it. Everyone else will look at the school roster and wonder, which woman is it?

How can these kids ever look at their teacher again in the same way?

THINGS HAVE SURE CHANGED FROM THE DAYS OF LEAVE IT TO BEAVER!  IF THIS GAL WAS HIS TEACHER, AND HE SAW THE VIDEO, I THINK HE WOULD HAVE DONE BEST TO CLIMB A TREE AND STAY THERE!

Read Full Post »

lightepbishopI grieve for the Church. It was bad enough that Father Alberto Cutie was living a secret life. He seemed more apologetic about being caught than about having his scandalous doings with his lady-friend photographed on a Florida beach. But now we are told that he has joined the Episcopal Church. My heart drops at the news.

The wayward priest spent his designated “retreat” time hanging out with his girlfriend. He did not even try to reform. We have all been deceived. While he asked forgiveness and said that he did not want to be the poster-boy for married priests, he has abandoned the true Church entirely. He has done the very thing which he promised he would not do. He has brought both Church doctrine and discipline to ridicule. He has hurt the faith of simple people. Given his popularity as a pastor and as a widely-known media priest, the danger of his defection is incalculable. Who knows how many will follow him out of the Catholic fold?

The picture of a bishop here is not that of Father Cutie’s true spiritual father, but rather of a robber who comes to steal from the flock.  In this case, he did not get away with sheep but with the shepherd.  The Episcopal Bishop Leo Frade (pictured here) should be deeply embarassed by his disrespect to the priest’s legitimate bishop, Catholic Archbishop John Favalora.  Ecumenism is dealt a serious set-back.  I would not be surprised to see lightning bolts from heaven about this travesty.  The good Archbishop would have us pray for his prodigal son in the hope that he might return to the fold.  The Miami Archdiocese has a beautiful short video online which brings home the wrongness of what Cutie and Frade have done:

THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS

The news of his infidelity only broke recently but he was unwilling to give the matter the proper amount of time and distance for sober reflection. I have to wonder how much of this was premeditated. There is even speculation that his girlfriend may have had some prior involvement with the photographer on the beach. But I think it is reaching to suppose he was setup to force his hand. Regardless of the machinations behind the scenes, the blunt of the blame must be borne by Father Cutie.

Although supposedly orthodox in his teachings, this latest act shows quite the opposite. He broke trust with his bishop and brother priests but now refers to Episcopalian priests as his “many brothers… [who] serve God as married men and with the blessing of having their own families.” This act sickens me. Episcopalian priests may be good Christians, but he sees no difference between the authentic priesthood of Catholicism and the empty shell of Anglicanism. He is not the first.  But, almost every one of them abandoned Roman Catholicism, not for deep-seated doctrinal reasons, but because of the desire to bed a woman and still retain a public or ministerial persona as a spiritual guru.

Catholicism receives many Episcopalian priests into her ranks, but they are drawn by doctrinal permanence over fluctuating instability, moral absolutes over relativism and a humility coupled with obedience to God and his Church over a selfish and earthbound liberalism. Those who become Catholic often sacrifice much in the way of salary, standing and home. While a few married Episcopalian priests have been ordained in the Catholic Church; many have sacrificed their ministries entirely to be a part of the Catholic family. They placed a higher premium on divine truth than upon a capricious religion easily swayed by the fads and fashions of the day.

How could he give advice about faith and relationships to others on television, radio and in writing when he was so personally messed up? People came to him for life-giving water; but he was really an empty well. Many of his supporters seem more “on his side” than in harmony with the mind of the Church. He made disciples, inadvertantly I suppose, less for Christ and his Church and more for himself. Sometimes I think the Church should rotate clergy in media settings. Left too long in front of the camera or on the radio– and a personality cult frequently develops. We should not hero-worship our clergy. If a popular priest should fall, he might take many souls with him. This business with Father Cutie has re-ignited the married priest debate even though most active priests prefer the status-quo in favor of compulsory celibacy. Who knows how dire this will be for the Church in Miami?

A television station showed parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Parish marching around their church in support of their former pastor. Evidently they did not care that their pastor had broken his promises and had lived a lie. When interviewed they compared Father Cutie’s transgressions favorably against the terrible crimes of pedophiles. The real comparison is with good and faithful celibate priests.

The situation was intensely precarious. Today, it became a great deal worse. The woman is identified as Ruhama Canellis. She stood by his side at Trinity Cathedral where they both entered the Episcopalian church. The Episcopal bishop and priests in attendance dressed up for the event. They pulled all the stops. Even priestesses were in attendance. He is planning to marry his lover and to become an Episcopalian priest. I suppose it is fitting. King Henry VIII stole the English people from the Catholic Church so that he might divorce and remarry. Canellis is a divorced woman. Did Father Cutie miss the class in seminary on basic Christian morality?  Are not fornication and adultery still sins?  This should matter to them both.  In addition to these concerns, he is now a renegade Catholic priest. If he accepts Protestant teaching, and plans to expound upon it, then he will be a heretic as well. He is digging a big hole for himself. My fear is that thousands might fall into it with him.

Well, it is a sad thing, but if the Episcopalian church wants our rejects then that is their trouble. Look how quickly they grabbed this fallen priest. We would have taken more time with one of theirs. His legitimate Catholic bishop was not even notified about his reception into the Episcopal church.  That shows how little respect Father Cutie had for him and the ROMAN Catholic Church.  The Episcopal diocese should be ashamed of itself.  But given the current fragmented status of the Episcopal communion, are they even capable of shame?  This was all quite sleazy and I suspect it was in the works for some time. I have no respect for men who do such things.

Father Cutie described his new faith affiliation as “a new family” and yet we do not subscribe to any form of religious relativism. Father Cutie disowned his family today. That should be the real headline. All churches are not the same. The Holy Father was clear. The Catholic Church is the true Church; Orthodoxy is a defective church; and all Protestant groupings are ecclesial communities, but not properly CHURCH. Many Protestant communities claim no priesthood or Eucharist; Episcopalians claim both but the Catholic Church judged their orders invalid and their Eucharist as false.

SEE APOSTOLICAE CURAE   (Pope Leo XIII, 1896)

They are not a branch of Catholicism but a foreign misbegotten creature that has delusions of grandeur while feigning a pedigree it does not really possess.

What clouds the issue is the presence of former Catholic priests in the Episcopal church. They are still priests, even if in mortal sin and excommunicated. Father Cutie says that he will continue to proclaim God’s Word; but what is a Catholic priest apart from the Catholic Church? Will he preach the Word of God or the word of Cutie?  Father Cutie is rejecting the Pope, the authority of his lawful bishop, the seven sacraments as clearly defined by Catholicism, our view of priesthood, our moral teachings on sexuality and marriage, the prohibition against divorce and remarriage, and the basics of Catholic ecclesiology. Will he be happy? Can he close his mind and heart to the many differences we have with Episcopalianism? He will be obliged to accept women priests, gay bishops and same-sex unions, a tolerance for abortion, artificial contraception and divorce with remarriage. He is leaving the Church of commandments for the church of anything goes. He says, “I will always love the Catholic Church.” But, he did not love her enough. The Church was his bride. Now he has traded her for two paramours: the divorcee and the mistress church of Henry VIII and Cranmer the despoiler.

Read Full Post »

thornIsn’t the Father Cutie scandal just further evidence that it is wrong and dangerous for Catholic priests to suppress their natural desires for sexual intimacy with women?

The priest in question admitted he had a long-standing serious struggle with his sexuality and need for a wife and family. It may be that he sought ordination without open full deliberation and resolution of this concern with those to whom he was entrusted for formation. He may have been chaste in his behavior for many years but failed to surrender dreams and hopes for a family of his own. The man who would be a priest must let these things go. His hopes and aspirations should revolve instead around his prayer life and his goals and service as a pastor of souls. Men in seminary must also be realistic about their drives. As St. Paul reminds us, it is better to marry than to burn. Priests must also be very wary of their fantasies regarding choices not made and how other men might live. The grass might seem greener on the other side of the fence; but priests must not trespass where they do not belong. They freely embraced celibacy so as to enter into holy orders and become priests. Had they become married deacons, they would still be clergy in the Church. They could have lived saintly lives as laymen. But they made a choice. They made promises. These promises should be kept. Before ordination is the proper time for deliberation and soul searching, not afterwards.

The business about Father Cutie should have no meaning beyond this one poor priest, himself. He is not representative of the thousands of other priests in the United States who have never compromised their promises or their celibacy. The impression from the question is that men cannot be expected to have any semblance of self-control. This is silly and shows just how far our society and its views have been contaminated and distorted by excessive nudity, immodesty, and eroticism. We even dress our little girls like whores and then wonder why there is child abuse. Teenagers have their bellies exposed and shorts up to their crotches. Parents sometimes object but then cannot find decent stuff in stores. Television and movies celebrate fornication and give us scene after scene of simulated sex acts. Pornography has gone main stream and sexual gratification is viewed as a necessary rite of passage. It is into this mix that we find the celibate priest. Mothers want their sons married because they cannot see how a man might otherwise be happy. Fathers want their sons married because otherwise everyone will think they are gay. The truth is that celibacy can be very rewarding and liberating. Celibacy is not a denial of love but a special way of loving.

The priest promises perpetual celibacy but even married men promise a fidelity to a spouse which will require periodic chastity. Those who follow Natural Family Planning would understand how one must be creative in love, perhaps reverting back from time to time to the romantic and chaste acts of courtship during fertile periods. Celibacy is not merely a matter of priests suppressing their sexuality; rather, it is redirected to a love of God and a love of neighbor in sacrificial service. Priests, who say their prayers and stay busy, have neither the time nor the interest to pursue an exclusive relationship. If men in general cannot be expected to control themselves, then what happens when a spouse is sick or incapacitated or away? If the husband has military duty abroad or the wife has to travel back home to care for an ailing parent or there is an extended business meeting, would the man control his sexual urges or be compelled to commit adultery? If his wife is sick and cannot have sex with him, does he necessarily turn to her pretty nurse as a proxy? An over-sexed society suffering from an epidemic of fornication, perversion, adultery, pornography, prostitution and child endangerment can hardly speak in a credible way about priestly celibacy and marriage. The trouble with these fallen priests is not the Church but the fact that they themselves are more formed and affected by the fallen world around them. Secularists and hedonists criticizing priestly celibacy are like drunk boozers telling teetotalers to take a drink.

Read Full Post »

peter333QUESTION:

You claim that Peter was the first Pope, and yet Scripture attests that he was married. Since this great apostle could be married, why not all bishops and priests?

RESPONSE:

Restricting ourselves to the Gospels, no doubt you are referring to Peter’s mother-in-law. We read in Luke 4:38-39: “After he left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.” See the story again in Mark 1:30.

The Catholic Church does not deny that Peter was married. However, note her general absence in the New Testament texts. We do not even know her name. We only encounter the mother-in-law, never his wife or any children. Indeed, throughout the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, references are made to Peter’s activities and travels; but, only a vague intimation by Paul in 1 Cor. 9:5 that he had a right to travel with his “believing wife.” If it were not for this mention in the epistle, one might suppose that Peter was a widower. Tradition suggests that his wife was martyred. It is peculiar that although the wife would ordinarily have cared for the needs of guests, Peter had to rely upon his wife’s mother.

However, granting that she was still around (somewhere); she evidently assumed a secondary role in his life behind his leadership of the infant Church. Indeed, her insignificance in the biblical witness would seem to provide weight to the supporters of priestly celibacy. Like Peter, bishops and priests might do better to serve God’s people without the distraction of wives and children. Jesus gives his sheep to Peter. Pastors similarly love Christ and care for their flocks. This is the emphasis of Catholic ministry, our family in faith.

This post was never meant to be a defamation against Peter’s wife. I have also edited it to avoid any peripheral discussion about whether or not the tradition can be trusted regarding her martyrdom; given that some authorities speculated that she might have died earlier and/or that there might have been a second bond. It is probably best that we accept the tradition at face value.

Here are early testimonies for the martyrdom of Peter’s wife:

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (died around 215 AD)

(THE STROMATA, 7:11)

So then he undergoes toils, and trials, and afflictions, not as those among the philosophers who are endowed with manliness, in the hope of present troubles ceasing, and of sharing again in what is pleasant; but knowledge has inspired him with the firmest persuasion of receiving the hopes of the future.

Wherefore he contemns not alone the pains of this world, but all its pleasures.
They say, accordingly, that the blessed Peter, on seeing his wife led to death, rejoiced on account of her call and conveyance home, and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, Remember the Lord. Such was the marriage of the blessed and their perfect disposition towards those dearest to them.

Thus also the apostle says, that he who marries should be as though he married not, and deem his marriage free of inordinate affection, and inseparable from love to the Lord; to which the true husband exhorted his wife to cling on her departure out of this life to the Lord.

Was not then faith in the hope after death conspicuous in the case of those who gave thanks to God even in the very extremities of their punishments? For firm, in my opinion, was the faith they possessed, which was followed by works of faith.

EUSEBIUS (around 265 AD to 340 AD)

(ECCLESIAL HISTORY, 3:30)

1. Clement, indeed, whose words we have just quoted, after the above-mentioned facts gives a statement, on account of those who rejected marriage, of the apostles that had wives. Or will they, says he, reject even the apostles? For Peter and Philip begot children; and Philip also gave his daughters in marriage. And Paul does not hesitate, in one of his epistles, to greet his wife, whom he did not take about with him, that he might not be inconvenienced in his ministry.

2. And since we have mentioned this subject it is not improper to subjoin another account which is given by the same author and which is worth reading. In the seventh book of his Stromata he writes as follows: They say, accordingly, that when the blessed Peter saw his own wife led out to die, he rejoiced because of her summons and her return home, and called to her very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, and saying, ‘Remember the Lord.’ Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their perfect disposition toward those dearest to them. This account being in keeping with the subject in hand, I have related here in its proper place.

Read Full Post »

abortionczar2The person to watch is Melanne Verveer. Back in March the Senate confirmed her as the Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues. Abortion is so crucial for the Obama administration that a full-time person had to be given charge of it!

Former Chief of Staff for First Lady Hillary Clinton, she was VP for the liberal People for the American Way, the organization that helped to block Judge Bork for the Supreme Court. Under the guise of women’s issues, she will probably become the U.S. abortion czar for the world. The president is committed to the population control plan proposed in Cairo 15 years ago.

Indeed, the administration has decided to give $50 million to the U.N. Population (Control) Fund. She spoke at a luncheon for Dr. Nafis Sadik (Former UNFPA head) who sought to mandate global abortion services and to require that medical personnel be trained to do abortions, even if such should be against their conscience.

Population goals were set and abortion is seen as a way to keep numbers to the prescribed quotas or limits. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Planned Parenthood Federation of America “that reproductive rights and the umbrella issue of women’s rights and empowerment is going to be a key to the foreign policy of this administration.”

Sadik lamented “the distortions of religion” that deny women their human rights and the “bigots” who fall back on cultural values to deny (contraception and abortion) rights to young girls and women.

“There are six things that Y-hw-h hates, seven that he abhors: a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…”

“You will not allow any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech…”

“A voice is heard in Ramah lamenting and weeping bitterly: It is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”

“They found themselves entrapped, and sacrificed their own sons and their daughters to demons. Innocent blood they shed, the blood of their sons and daughters; offering them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the country with blood…[God] handed them over to the nations, and their opponents became their masters; their enemies tyrannized over them, crushing them under their rule.”

Read Full Post »

MARIA TERESA:

Would like to know if a person married in civil rites to a non-Catholic 40 years ago then separated after five years of marriage and with 3 children needs an absolution from the Pope even if the person after separating confessed her sin and received absolution from a priest?

FATHER JOE:

It may be that you are confusing “absolution” with “annulment” but in either instance the Pope would not normally enter the picture. Given that the person who married a non-Catholic is a Catholic, the civil marriage ceremony would have no standing in the Church. A simple declaration of nullity would be all that is required should that person want to marry in the Church. The amount of time that has passed since the attempted marriage and separation, even the instance and number of children, would be inconsequential to the ecclesiastical grounds against it being licit. Church law requires that Catholics have their marriages witnessed by a deacon or priest unless the appropriate dispensations have been granted. The absolution of a priest after a divorce or separation is a separate matter; however, if a Catholic should cohabitate with a civil law spouse, absolution could not be given.

If the person who married a non-Catholic was also a non-Catholic at the time of the civil ceremony, then the Church would consider that marriage as lawful and binding. If there was a divorce and either party wanted to marry in the Catholic Church, a formal annulment case would have to be entered and adjudicated by a Church Tribunal to determine the true validity of the prior bond. If the first marriage is shown to be binding and genuine, no second marriage could be permitted until the death of one of the spouses.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 124 other followers