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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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Stoned to Death for Adultery

Today’s news included the story about a stoning of an adulterous couple, 20 year old Sadiqa and her lover 28 year old Qayum. Qayum had left his wife for her and the two were caught at a friend’s house by the Taliban. This past Sunday, before a crowd of 150 men, they were stoned to death in the Kunduz providence of northern Afghanistan. Before the fall of Taliban rule such stonings were common. Such brutality shocks us but it speaks volumes about the mentality of the enemy and their brutal religious beliefs.  (Take note, we are told that such is a distortion of Islam.)   

Despite dark moments in history, by contrast, right-minded Christians would censure wrongdoing but pay heed to the witness of our Lord.

Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” (John 8:2-11)

Our nation seems to have moved to the opposite extreme, excusing all sorts of sexual depravity and the violation of the marriage bond. Adultery, fornication and sodomy were once universally regarded as crimes. Half of the 50 states of the U.S. still regard adultery as a criminal offense. Not in your state? Last I heard it was illegal in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. However, along with the other immoral acts, it is rarely prosecuted. Adultery is still a violation of the military code of conduct and can earn a court martial.

Adultery was defined in some states as actual sexual congress and in others, like Virginia, as “lewd” or “lascivious” associations. I recall a few years ago the authorities used a fornication charge to get a court order to raid a house of a suspected drug pusher— sneaky! Possible penalties for adultery are as severe as a life sentence (Michigan), two years imprisonment (Pennsylvania) or in my own state of Maryland, a $10 fine. Given the money problems in the state, I am surprised the fine is not raised and the law enforced. Just as with the speed and red light cameras which catch offenders for hefty fines, could we not place discrete anti-smooching cameras in parks, near pools, at bars and maybe even in bedrooms? Charging per each offense, I would suspect given the lifestyle and lack of commitment today, the money would come flooding in!

How far must we go to insure public morality? Who determines today what is right and wrong?

What are your thoughts about all this?

Leave comments at BLOGGER PRIEST.

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I have always had the deepest respect for women religious. It seems to me that we unjustly joke about them or ridicule them. Critics will complain about sister hitting them with a ruler but say nothing about the learning and discipline that made their later successes possible. (By the way, a nun who is four-foot-something tall controlling a class of 50 plus boys might take a broken ruler or two!) These women often did without so that they might make a difference in people’s lives. They gave themselves to God’s service as his brides. Now that so many of them are elderly and sick, we need to remember them with love and respect. They pray in worship to God and in petition for those whom they love.

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Making Myself Scarce

I am not dead, just busy. Blogging is not the fun it used to be. There are so many nasty people, bad for the blood pressure.

Here is an instance, a person from Texas (under various names) offered the following three comments to my blog:

“You make me sick, you old freak. ROT ROT ROT!”

“You narrow-minded bigot. ROT IN HELL!”

“You have no right to call yourself a priest, you are despicable and disgusting, and it is you my friend who will rot in hell. ;)”

I am just sick and tired of it.

Sorry, I do miss the good souls who came to this blog. I will still pop back once-in-a-while. God bless!

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FATHER JOE IN HIDING?

I am experimenting with a new TEMPLATE at http://bloggerpriest.wordpress.com/.

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http://fatherjoe.wordpress.com/2008/01/07/do-dogs-go-to-heaven/

Some time back I made a post in response to inquiries about people’s pet dogs and the question as to whether they would be given entry into heaven. It is amazing how long the subsequent thread has become. My answer was essentially to stress human immortality and our hope for heaven. Animal substantial forms would continue to exist as paradigms in the divine mind. Anything more would be up to God’s mysterious providence and I would not presume to give an answer where the Church has not. Others were free to speculate, but we would not know anything more fore sure until or if we find ourselves among the saints.

All sorts of responses were elicited. Some were angry with me and thought I was mean-spirited. (I could not post all of these comments.) Others made arguments for the continued existence of animals because they are a part of our affection and shared existence in this world and thus would add to our happiness in the next. Others cited Scripture and argued for a literal new earth. Some ridiculed the whole notion of an afterlife, for anyone or anything. Others agreed with me that the stress had to be upon the beatific vision and how we (people) are made for God. In any case, the whole gambit of responses were made. It actually makes for an interesting discussion. I mention it again here, in case anyone new might like to see the comments or add some.

I would not worry much about the fate of animals after they die.  If we love animals we should do what we can now to protect them from abuse and suffering.  We live in a world where many species are rapidly becoming extinct. 

Further, some may err by the sin of presumption about their own salvation.  Are you sure that you are going to heaven?  Speaking for myself, I have faith in Christ and try to be a faithful disciple in the Church.  I worship God and try to serve him through my charity and sacrifices for others.  However, if people forget God, discount obedience to the commandments, and hate their fellow man… well, they may be in for a terrible surprise!

While I do not agree with everything in the fundamentalist protestant message, here is an interesting clip from a Christian Scare Video that was shown to me in HS Bible Club…

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