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Archive for the ‘Sexuality’ 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.”

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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!

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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.

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Given the importance of this matter, and how it is a special teaching moment, here is an article from the archdiocesan newspaper . . .

Incident at St. John Neumann spurs reflection on significance of Holy Communion

Special to the Standard

Recent news accounts have reported an incident at St. John Neumann Parish in Gaithersburg, where a woman was initially denied Communion at her mother’s funeral Mass (she did, however, receive Communion from a Eucharistic minister) and the celebrant did not attend the burial. (Another priest did preside at the graveside service.) In response, the Archdiocese of Washington issued a statement (below) and Auxiliary Bishop Barry Knestout, vicar general, personally contacted members of the family.

This is the statement issued by the archdiocese on February 27:

“In matters of faith and morals, the Church has the responsibility of teaching and of bringing the light of the Gospel message to the circumstances of our day. When questions arise about whether or not individuals should present themselves for Communion, it is not the policy of the Archdiocese of Washington to publicly reprimand the person. Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive Communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.

“The archdiocese is looking into the incident at a funeral Mass that was celebrated by Father Marcel Guarnizo and will handle this as a personnel issue.”

This situation provides an opportunity to refresh our understanding of the Eucharist, its importance and the guidelines on how it is to be administered and received.

For Catholics, the Eucharist is the most important of the seven sacraments because we believe that through this mystery, we literally receive the Body and Blood of Christ. It is not just a symbol. Jesus is truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. It is an intimate encounter with Christ, in which we sacramentally receive Christ into our bodies, and become more completely assimilated into his.

Therefore, because the Eucharist is Christ himself, who is the center of all Christian life, the Church teaches that Catholics must be properly disposed to receive the Eucharist worthily. Catholics should examine their conscience and make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation if they have committed grave sin before receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.

The following guidelines, issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, clarify how Catholics should prepare prior to receiving the Eucharist:

“As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental Confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for Confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the sacrament of penance is encouraged for all.”

The priest has an obligation to make sure that the sacraments are respected. Since it is difficult to know what is in a person’s heart, it is also important that when doubt arises regarding whether a person is properly disposed to receive the Eucharist, it is handled in a pastoral and compassionate manner, privately between the priest and the communicant.

The reception of the Eucharist is a blessing and a grace. We should receive Jesus with the intention of becoming more like him. No one is entitled to the Eucharist. It is a free gift that should be received with humility and reverence. It is also a sign of unity with the Church’s teaching on faith and morals.

CLICK for Guidelines for the Communion Line

CLICK HERE to see MORE COMMENTS AT BLOGGER PRIEST

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Who is the architect of this fiasco with the HHS?

The buck stops with the President and the head of the department, which he appointed: Kathleen Sebelius. What is her background as a “Catholic”?

When she was governor, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas told her that she “should stop receiving Communion until she publicly repudiates her support of abortion.” More recently, Archbishop Raymond F. Burke, former archbishop of St. Louis but now prefect for the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court, ruled that Mrs. Sebelius should not approach the altar for Communion in the United States. Despite pastoral admonition, she obstinately persists in serious sin and now she would entice the bishops and the rest of the Church to join her.

In 2008, Sebelius vetoed House Substitute for Senate Bill 389, titled the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act by its sponsors. Proponents of the bill claimed the legislation would strengthen late-term abortion laws and prevent “coerced abortions” particularly with respect to minors.

She has been given high ratings and endorsement from Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion provider around. It has made a financial “killing” in destroying unborn children under the banner of women’s rights.

The administration was SHOCKED into making a compromise… not because religious liberty was esteemed as an important value in itself.

The Obama administration hopes that the U.S. bishops will accept its proposed compromise (February 10, 2012). However, while we are still awaiting word from our shepherds, I still have serious reservations. The administration was shocked that even liberal Catholic voices were joining the chorus in deploring the initial policy as encroachment upon religious liberty. It was certain that there would be no movement of the Obama Whitehouse away from the giving women free access to contraception. But as Republicans picked up on the issue, election strategists urged an immediate counter-strategy. The offer of a year of grace was insufficient. Is this the best for which we can hope? Might this merely be a ploy to defuse the situation while really changing very little? Catholic parishes, schools, charities, and hospitals should not be forced to provide birth control to employees since such would violate Catholic teaching against artificial contraception. That is the bottom line!

Even if the institution is protected; what about the rights of individual believers? What about individuals and organizations that are not part of the Church administration but are Catholic in values? EWTN, for instance, is a lay organization with a lay board.

The sentiments of Catholics and other pro-life Christians would not be respected by this change. The Church is more than the institution but is found in her membership. Their personal religious rights and conscience would not be respected. I know a doctor who runs her own practice and refuses to prescribe birth control. Now, she would still be forced to pay for it as a health benefit for employees! That is wrong and the Church needs to be a voice for people like her. Similarly, I know a man who refused to take a vaccine because there was the remote use of embryonic material from an abortion. He would rather close shop than add his money to the purchase of abortifacients.

The First Amendment protects not only the rights of churches but the individuals who make up those faith communities. Even if Catholics should themselves personally dissent, continued membership implies that they still respect (on some level) the teachings and the authority of the Church. I suspect that President Obama miscalculated in thinking that Church teaching was subject to polls or that liberal Catholics could force further passivity upon the bishops. This new measure might protect Church institutions and pamper dissenters, but it would hang faithful Catholic citizens out to dry. Their rights would not be respected.

Nothing has really changed, what we have here is only magical sleight-of-hand.

The revised rule says that religious organizations would not have to offer or pay for contraception. So far, so good; but then it stipulates that health insurers would have to take up the cost and provide it directly to women for free. Does this really leave the employer out of the equation? It seems to me that what we have here is a new version of the old shell game. Nothing is really free. The money is going to have to come from somewhere. What will happen is that premiums will go up and people will pay more for a sick person’s needed antibiotic to make up for a promiscuous woman’s contraceptive.

What about those dioceses which are self-insured? Would this force us out of the insurance business?

Another wrinkle, and I see this as very problematical in my own Archdiocese, is that we are self-insured. There is no absolutely independent insurance entity to which we can give the dubious honor of providing contraception. I suppose such a measure would also make it hard for practicing Catholics to function at the leadership level or as CEOs of insurance agencies.

Where do we go from here?

It is not clear to me that the Obama administration really wants to go to the bargaining table. However, the bishops have suggested that this newest offer is a sign that he is willing to make some kind of compromise. It is my interpretation and I admit to being fallible, that there remains a serious hurdle and that we must take to heart Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s remarks in The Wall Street Journal, “Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience.” This really says it all and is the line from which we must not retreat.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made this statement: “The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.” The statement continues, “We will therefore continue–with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency–our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government.”

We must urge Congress to pass the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act!

CLICH HERE to leave comments at BLOGGER PRIEST

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The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity has put out an official press release on the FATHER CORAPI SCANDAL. Fr. Gerard Sheehan, the superior writes:

“While SOLT does not typically comment publicly on personnel matters, it recognizes that Fr. John Corapi, through his ministry, has inspired thousands of faithful Catholics, many of whom continue to express their support of him. SOLT also recognizes that Fr. Corapi is now misleading these individuals through his false statements and characterizations. It is for these Catholics that SOLT, by means of this announcement, seeks to set the record straight.”

While I can appreciate the need for a statement, I must admit that I am surprised at the bluntness and the depth of revelation. He remarks about the investigative process and what they discerned from emails, witnesses and other sources that has been going on during the time of the priest’s public ministry:

  • Fr. Corapi already handed in his resignation in early June.
  • He paid $100,000 to silence the woman making charges.
  • Other witnesses were similarly silenced and Fr. Corapi refused to release them for testimony to the investigative team.
  • He had violated his promise of poverty by holding legal title to over one million dollars in real estate, luxuary cars, boats, etc.
  • He cohabitated in two states with a known prostitute, recently began sexting one or two women and resorted to repeated drug and alcohol use.

I would not normally even post about such matters, but I can well appreciate the frustation of his superior. Fr. Corapi is a powerful communicator and people love him. If he is guilty of such things and is falsely placing the blame on the leadership of the Catholic Church, then public correction needs to be made. Having said this, I think that the leadership in SOLT must be faulted for allowing this situation to grow so out of hand. They should have reigned him in years ago. Their passivity has now made for a far worse and more scandalous situation. The press release continues:

“SOLT has contemporaneously with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.”

A letter of resignation would not release him from his priestly promises and those made to SOLT. A good priest does as he is told. This is a bad situation all around. I wonder how Fr. Corapi will respond? I suppose die-hard fans will contend that the evidence is contrived and that the priest is innocent. And indeed, I would still argue that if he is innocent then he should make his case and work with the process. It is unfortunate that Fr. Corapi has forced this whole matter and scandal into the public forum. But souls are at stake and this delicate situation is about more than one man. If he is guilty, then he should demonstrate sorrow and contrition, placing his ministry and future into the hands of his lawful superiors. It would be a wonderful teaching moment and maybe the highpoint of his ministry. Christ is speaking to him through his superiors. That is how priestly obedience works. But will he listen? Will he fight for his priesthood? This battle cannot be won with militant rhetoric or tactics of subterfuge. He can only find victory by being a faithful son of the Church and a humble priest. He must be courageous and forthright about any revelations exposed by the truth. He must reckon himself as any confessor to be the first among sinners, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” Things will never be the same but God may not be finished with him yet. I pray that Fr. Corapi will make the right choice and work with God’s grace in this.

An element which really upsets me about this situation is how one segment of the Church is set against another. Father Corapi comes under investigation and the priest comes out with a statement that the bishop and his superior have a right to do what they do; but next he talks about the real enemies of the Church and we all know he is targeting those who put him on administrative leave. Then he claims obedience but his personal corporation makes a statement that they are under no one’s thumb and the ministry media business will continue as if nothing has happened. By the beginning of June he submits his resignation and tells his fans weeks later that the Church has forced him out. Bishop Michael Mulvey and his lawful superior, Fr. Gerard Sheehan, SOLT, seek to clarify matters but then there is the public intervention on his behalf of the founders of SOLT, Father Flanagan and the Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Bishop Rene Gracida. Critics and fans of the priest can now take their pick and decry the other side as wrong-headed or evil. The impression is given that the Church is fighting with herself. Despite the lament of Fr. Corapi that this is a plot of the liberals who are out to get him, the battleground that emerges is between very conservative or orthodox churchmen and laity. Liberal revisionists are no doubt having a delight in watching the so-called “religious right” of the Church rip itself apart over the media priest. This has all the makings of a new voyeuristic television program called THE BATTLING BISHOPS. Since the clarification released from SOLT, I notice now that Bishop Gracida seems to have shifted somewhat from supporting Fr. Corapi to attacking SOLT for allowing the situation to develop in the first place. However, it seems to me that the stage was set by those who initially allowed Fr. Corapi to set up his independent operations. In other words, there is blame enough to go around. It is troubling that Bishop Gracida took a public stand against a man’s lawful superiors even though he admits that he has not talked with the priest for years! Now Fr. Corapi is telling his fans on Twitter to look forward to an important announcement on Thursday. Enough already! I discern a manipulation of good men behind all these tensions that is due to evil human machination and/or to the intrusion of something devilish.

I would beg people to separate the truths Father taught from the possible failings of the messenger. All are tempted, but the devil delights in targeting priests; while he could not seduce the high priest Christ, he often settles for corrupting those men who participate in his priesthood. Pray for priests, pray for Father Corapi and pray for “the little ones” who might despair of their faith.

CLICK HERE to read the SOLT press release.

CLICK HERE to read my post on this matter last month.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I found Sonja Schmidt’s words about abortion and black genocide reminescent of Bishop Holley’s remarks last year.

Here is a funny video:

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1194984585936802019female_rollandin_frances__svg_medMary gave birth to a baby boy and named him Jesus.  Jesus grew up and he picked more boys to be his apostles.  They in turn ordained still more boys to be bishops, priests and deacons.  The priesthood is the ultimate boy’s club.  But radical feminists act as if it is a woman-hater’s club… it is not.  We all benefit from the ministry of priests.  Not all men are worthy of this vocation.  Women are called to other vocations, like religious life and motherhood.  Except for a misguided sense of egalitarian equality, a disproportionate focus upon one element of social jusitice and feminists hungry for power, there is little that commends a move to ordain women.  These dissenters would not only refashion the ministries but also Jesus would be remolded to their liking.  He would become an abstraction, a model for their agenda but not the historical Savior.  If God is not neutered, then he is likely made feminine.  Jesus becomes Jessica or the Kristi who hangs upon the cross, raped and defiled by male machismo.  They talk about equality; but this is a lie.  They seek dominance and payback for what they regard as past subjugation and oppression.       

I just read an article by Greg Archer over at THE HUFFINGTON POST entitled, “Roman Catholic Female Priests Growing in Numbers: An Insider’s Perspective.” I feel compelled to make a few comments. It is important that good Catholics not be confused by dissent on women priests or priestesses. There simply is no such creature within the Christian context. Christ has never given the Church the authority to ordain women. While our Lord counted women among his disciples, only men were selected to be his apostles. Jesus proved time and time again that he was willing to break the stereotypes of his day; however, upon this matter he retained a male leadership or hierarchy.

Many are surprised to find out that Catholicism only has one High Priest— Jesus Christ. Every man ordained to service is configured to Christ and participates in his one priesthood. The ordained priest is a living and breathing icon for Christ. His very flesh and his manhood resonate with that of Christ— making our Lord and his saving work present for the community. Historically, the Gnostic heretics had priestesses because they rejected matter as evil and denied the full incarnation of Christ as the God-Man. Catholics and/or orthodox Christianity take the incarnation seriously. Matter is not evil. Indeed, human nature is elevated and divinized by the coming of God among us as our brother. While the soteriological implications transcend gender, in baptism and faith all can know the gift of redemption; the parameters of sacerdotal ministry were clearly laid out. Only men could be bishops and priests. This did not deride the role of women. Holiness is available for all. It is just that God has intended that we fulfill differing roles.

Some have argued that the male-only priesthood gives balance to God’s life-giving love. Just as only women can physically conceive and give birth to a child; only a man (who is a priest) can spiritually confect the Eucharist and give us the bread of life. The Church also offers us the marriage analogy that passes down from Scripture. The priest signifies Christ who is the divine bridegroom; the congregation at Mass signifies the Church, his bride. Many of the centrist advocates for priestesses hate this analogy because it makes the notion of a woman priest into a kind of sacramental lesbianism.  Of course, the more liberal critics might like this analogy in that they also support the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

The article started off by mentioning Victoria Rue, a lady who “attempted” ordination back in July 2005. Although the author claims to be “an insider” he refers to the precious blood as a wine chalice. This might be Episcopalian terminology; but, it is not how informed Catholics would speak about the cup. In any case, his point is that she is only one of a quickly growing number of women who are becoming “priests”. I have to stop at that point and insist that he is wrong to assume that these women are truly priests. They can play dress up, but as far as the true Catholic Church is concerned, they are only posturing.

He pokes fun that the Vatican would solely acknowledge “those sporting an XY chromosome” and yet he fails to realize that gender is more than an accidental. Too many people have bought the lie that the sexes are interchangeable or essentially the same. Gender is more than facial hair and muscles; it is a core element of human identity. The saints in heaven will still be both men and women, not neutered monstrosities. The resurrected and glorified Christ was still a man. Mary, our Blessed Mother, is still a woman. Gender has more purpose and meaning than genital expression. It is who we are.

Seven women tried to become priests three years earlier on the Danube River, seeking to avoid canonical sanction from the immediate archdiocese. However, by January 2003, they were all rightfully judged  excommunicated. He also mentions Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Gisela Foster of a group called Womenpriests. They make a claim to ordination because their renegade bishop had apostolic succession. However, a woman constitutes “invalid matter” and cannot be ordained, even if the form is correct. They also like to confuse the issue of a celibate clergy (a discipline in the Church) with that of proposed women priests (which is doctrinally impossible).

Other women are also slowly joining the ranks of excommunicated wannabe priestesses. Rue claims that the Vatican has become quiet because they do not want an escalation. I suspect the real reason is because the Church has already made its position clear. There might also be an element of pity for these poor women who want something so desperately that they cannot have. The article gives the impression that this is all a game of strategy. But this is only the opinion of the dissenters. The Church is not playing. There is no game. It is a done deal. There can be no change… not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

These so-called women priests are really just creating their own church. They are Protestants with a few Catholic trappings. Some have gravitated toward the Episcopal communities that allow priestesses. As far as many of us are concerned, this movement is rather mute. Anglican orders, even for men, are probably largely invalid. Women priests merely represent the last nail in the coffin for a church that is no longer even Christian in its values. Adultery is routinely accepted.  Fornication is excused.  They welcome openly gay men and lesbians! What is left?  When mortal sin is regarded as a virtue, Satan has won the day!

The author cited a 2006 NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER survey of U.S. Catholics that said 62% of those responding favored women priests. An AP poll in 2005 found about 65% supported the change. But the AP is hardly sympathetic to Catholicism and such numbers make good news. As for the NCR, it is a liberal rag that gets the answers it wants. Traditional Catholics would likely not even respond to such garbage surveys. Further, who are these Catholics? Are we talking about NCR readership? Just because someone was baptized or went to Catholic school does not make a person a “real” or “practicing” Catholic. Only a quarter of our people still go to Mass. The rest are victims of modernity with its secular humanism, materialism, hedonism, and ignorance of faith. In any case, the truth and Church teachings are not open to polls. The Church is not a democracy. Christ is king and still in his heaven. The Pope is his vicar on earth.

While the 1975 report of the Pontifical Biblical Commission noted “no scriptural objections to ordaining women,” this summation is somewhat misleading. All it means is there is no direct statement from Christ about it. However, we do have the Scriptural teachings about Christ’s relationship to the Church (see St. Paul) and his example in appointing only men as his apostle-bishop-priests. Further, Catholicism is NOT a “sola scriptura” religion. We also have Sacred Tradition. There we do find explicit statements against women’s ordination. The early council of Nicea forbade the laying on of hands upon women (ordination).

Rue asserts in the article that there is archeological and Scriptural evidence for priestesses, but this is not true. She and her organization Womenpriests put a spin on dubious materials that cannot be substantiated. Conveniently for her, too much so, she complains that there was more evidence the Church destroyed and that the canonist Gracian wrote them out of the Church’s legal books and history. Her organization also sometimes fails to distinguish early heretical groups from the orthodox. They try to argue that boyish icons of priests are really females. They grab for straws and the author of the article swallows it uncritically.

And who is this know-it-all Victoria Rue who functions as his chief source? She is an ex-nun, seduced by militant feminism and angry with the Church. She left the Catholic Church. Her theological training was at a Reformed Protestant school in New York. She studied Liberation Theology, inherently Marxist in regards to its dialectic analysis of poverty, but she pursued it under the umbrella of radical feminism and lesbianism. She also studied at the GTU in Berkeley, California, a so-called ecumenical school known for its adherence to religious indifferentism and relativism, even in regard to blatantly and/or pagan non-Christian religions. She, along with other Womenpriests, are deceitful to gullible Catholics about their standing. As a teacher of propaganda in “women studies” and “comparative religious studies” she feigned being a real priest and offered a “weekly Catholic Mass” at San Jose State University. We are told that the diocese in 2006 rendered this statement:

Rue is not a validly ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church. Members of the Roman Catholic Church should not participate in celebrations of the sacraments that are conducted by Victoria Rue, as those celebrations are not in union with the local or universal Church.

The fact that she regularly celebrates so-called Masses at an Episcopal church in San Francisco says it all. They might be in communion with her but she is not in communion with the bishops of the Catholic Church. She is a Protestant. All priestesses are either Protestant or pagan (understood as a reference to the old religions prior to Christ). Some of them even say that they worship the goddess. There is a popular crucifix with a naked woman upon it. However, Kristi is a model of the divine that has no place in genuine Christianity. It is Jesus Christ who offers the saving sacrifice and who forgives sins, not Kristi suffering with a bad hair day.

At the end of the article we are told that Rue is a lesbian who has lived with her partner for many years— big surprise— NOT!

Scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality and lesbianism mean nothing to her. She cites psychological views to the contrary. Of course, the American Psychiatric Association once referred to perversion as a disease. It was only when gays poured into the field that this verdict changed. Divine positive law and natural law take precedence over human whim. Rue says that her sexuality is important to her identity as a priest. This is an interesting statement, given that she renounced the Church’s prohibition of women priests based upon the importance of male gender as an element of identity in the priest.

The article concludes by telling us that there are now five RC bishop gals and almost 100 priestesses in the U.S. This is hardly a number about which the Church needs to be worried. Few practicing Catholics take these ladies seriously. Many of them are also quite advanced in years. They will not be around for long. Meanwhile, the numbers of young men entering legitimate seminaries are on the rise. Nice Catholic girls and women are entering religious orders with traditional charisms and structure. Rue traded in her habit for a collar. But the former she prized too lightly and the latter does not belong to her.

The article ends with the acclamation, “Hail, Mary!” But Mary would not be pleased. She is about bringing us to her Son. These women are preoccupied about themselves and power. In reality, the priesthood must always be about humility and obedience— servanthood. However, Mary must indeed be brought into the equation. All these wannabe priests should repent and come home to the true Church.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us Sinners!”

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THIS FROM LIFESITE NEWS: (July 16, 2009)

Dr. Joseph Kerwin, the first American doctor in outer space, joined other former NASA greats – including retired astronaut Dr. Bill Thornton and Mr. Gene Kranz, the Flight Director at Mission Control during the Apollo program, including the famous Apollo 13 mission – on Monday at a press conference in Houston to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11′s historic landing on the moon and to launch the new ad by CatholicVote.org.

The new ad opens up with a detailed 3D ultrasound of an unborn baby, and the words “At 5 weeks his heart will beat.” The ad continues, “At 9 weeks his feet will form,” and “At 80 weeks he will take his first step.” The ad concludes with famous footage of Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon and the words “at 2024 weeks…”. The final shot shows a footprint on the moon and the “Imagine” slogan.

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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.

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