Thursday, November 17, 2011

Apostacy and Wolves

1 Maccabees 2: 15 - 29

Then the king's officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the city of Modein to make them offer sacrifice.
Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons were assembled.
Then the king's officers spoke to Mattathias as follows: "You are a leader, honored and great in this city, and supported by sons and brothers.
Now be the first to come and do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the men of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts."
But Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: "Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to do his commandments, departing each one from the religion of his fathers,
yet I and my sons and my brothers will live by the covenant of our fathers.
Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances.
We will not obey the king's words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.”

When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice upon the altar in Modein, according to the king's command.
When Mattathias saw it, he burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar.

November 17, 2011

This was the Old Testament reading at morning Mass today. When I entered Church I must admit that I felt much as did Mattathais. Righteous anger was burning in my heart. I grasped in my hand the current Catholic Free Press, Dated Nov 11, 2011. As bishops stay neutral, voters have say on ‘personhood’ the headline reads.

When I was just a little girl, the ‘right to kill’ one’s own child, as long as it resided within the womb, was granted universally to any woman living in The United States of America. This right was granted by a court composed of nine justices. A seven to two majority vote deemed abortion a fundamental constitutional right. Remember always what abortion is. Abortion is the deliberate killing of a ‘fetus’ and fetus means offspring in Latin. The year was 1973 and the States could impose no restrictions during the first trimester. In 1992 the right to kill your unborn child was extended to the ninth month under the notion of privacy.

On November 8th 2011 a ballot question was proposed to the voters of Mississippi. It would have amended the state constitution to define a human being, a person, as existing from the moment of conception. The Catholic bishops of Mississippi decided to remain silent. They decided to take no position. The USCCB as far as I know, made no recommendation to the Faithful.

Strange in how short a time, things have changed. When I was 13 the nuns taught us that human life began at conception. Not only did human life begin at conception, but the soul, which is the special creation of God, was also created and given at that very moment. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5) When one considers the awesome humility of a God who would submit His own action to the whim of His creatures there is cause for trembling. However sperm meets egg, whether within the intended confines of marriage or outside of that holy bond, God has obligated Himself to the special creation of an eternal soul.

In 1973, the medical community claimed they didn’t know when life began. The seven justices who made abortion a legal right didn’t know when life began. Imagine that!! They just didn’t know. The Catholic bishops of Mississippi 'remain neutral on the issue of personhood.' Can anyone today legitimally claim that they still don’t know when a human life begins? Apparently so, as proposition 26, known as the Personhood Amendment was defeated by a 58 to 42 percent margin. With all of the technology available to us, hi definition ultrasounds etc. they just still don’t know.

Our Constitution guarantees the right to life, so life MUST be denied. It has to be or abortion would be obviously declared illegal. Truth is denied and Christ is slain once again by His own. His bishops deny Him by remaining silent, justifying the self-told lies that have perpetuated the gravest of moral evils, the murder of innocents. Those bishops are guilty of the sin of omission, and by that ommission are complicit in the murder of innocent children. How many conciences would be awakened by the sound of truth If our shepherds would stand proudly with Christ and declared unequivocally, what we all know anyway, that human life begins at conception. Perhaps then the headline under The Catholic Free Press stating “ You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) would be more than just words. The bishops know the truth and by their silence they advance anti-life/pro abortion politics in our country. Their lack of action leads the flock astray. They make up excuses for their silence but will face the judgment seat of God one day. "If you deny me I will deny you' warns Jesus. By abnegating their responsibility to the body of Christ, they are culpable for abortions that will continue to be performed, aided by their deafening silence. I am filled with the anger of Mattathaias and the truth burns in my heart. The body of Christ is betrayed once again. The blood of the innocent unborn "offspring' continues to cry out for God's justice.

Fearful Shepherds or Wolves?

Fearful Shepherds?

I am writing in response to Father Michael N. Lavalle’s Sunday Epistle on ‘body image’ The Catholic Free Press Aug 26, 2011. I have something to say to you Father, “gracias, merci, danke, salamat, and so forth. . .” Thank you Father from one of the beleaguered faithful, for voicing the little proclaimed truth that sexual immorality within the Church is unacceptable but I would go futher and say that it is intolerable. It is massively destructive to the human soul. Growing up in the sixty’s, I can write from experience. Having drifted away from chastity as a young person, and consequently having also drifted away from The Catholic Church, I know full well the dangers to both soul and body. The two are fundamentally connected and as I see it, the pastors of the Catholic Church, as Christ’s representatives on earth, have a solemn duty to preach on the dangers of sexual sin. How much misery, attendant to unchaste living such as fornication, adultery, contraception, abortion, pornography, pedophilia, divorce, homosexuality and so forth and so on . . . . . could have been avoided if our priests had had the courage of the Apostles and had challenged the depravity of our modern culture, is sadly unknown. By its very nature sexual sin has caused the decimation of many lives. It is not for nothing that St Paul exhorts the Christian to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). I know of no other sin which we are told to flee. One flees a situation that is fraught with imminent danger.

It has been a perpetual question of mine, as to why our spiritual shepherds have remained largely and steadfastly mute on the most dangerous sins of our day. Why have I never heard a forthright sermon against the absolute tragedy of babies slaughtered in their mother’s wombs? Why have I heard not a hint from the pulpit that contraception is gravely wrong in God’s eyes? Why do our priests blithely marry cohabitating couples without so much as a blush at their premarital behavior, nor even a mild warning that their sexual sin may be detrimental to not only their future marriage but also to their souls.

By the grace of God I found my way back to the ‘Truth’ established by Jesus Christ, but the journey has been long and filled with suffering.

Having been back in the Church for over twenty years, I am happy to see this subject broached by a priest of the Catholic Church. I can’t help but wonder why it has taken so long for me to see a published article by a Catholic priest, addressing a subject that has caused so much loss of faith and even life. I have taught many religious education classes over the years and I and have often addressed the subject of sexual sin with my young high school students. I have always found it necessary to first, educate those entrusted to me, on the nature of objective mortal sin, its consequences and its gravity, in light of the Church’s teaching. I have found consistently that the vast majority of young adults lack an even fundamental understanding of what constitutes a grave sin. When, after explaining the relationship of the grave nature of sexual sin, to their salvation, their faces register shock. Their expressions are a testament to the woeful failure of both pastors and parents to protect these treasured souls. Whenever, I have taught on the nature of venial vs. mortal sin, my young students wish to know one thing only, mirroring the question of the young ruler, “What must I do to be saved?” When presented with the truth that behavior matters to their eternal destiny, they wish to be saved and they are indeed willing to change their behavior.

How can they be saved if no one is willing to tell them? They wish to know the truth and to follow it! To not tell the full truth to our young people as well as to the middle-aged and even the elderly, is to leave them defenseless and in ignorance. It is to leave them prey to the agents of moral depravity, which the contemporary Christian must inevitably face. Do our priests simply not understand what their silence has accomplished?

If I sound angry, I am. We must all, as Catholics do our part in passing on the ‘inconvenient’ truths of our faith but is it not primarily the responsibility of our shepherds, by their weekly sermons, to protect and instruct God’s flock, preaching the gospel in its fullness? Today, parents as well as children are awash in a sea of moral ambiguity and the consequence of this lack of knowledge is self-evident. Young and old alike are victims of the sexually depraved era in which we live and we need courageous leaders to pastor the flock into safe pastures. My heart continues to long for an unequivocal sermon, preached from the pulpit on the moral choices that face the contemporary Christian and I must admit, that I fear for the majority of our priests who will give an accounting one day to the God of Heaven and Earth, when He asks them why they remained silent as His flock was devoured by wolves. There is another possibility that even I am hesitant to pen. Not all wolves dwell outside the sheep pen. Was it not Jesus Himself that warned that there would be many wolves in sheeps clothing indicating that those we must beware of most, will look like and act like they belong to the flock when, in reality they are ravenous wolves. Whether is is fear, ignorance or malice I cannot know for sure, but what I do know is, that in over twenty years of regular Mass attendance, I have never heard a sermon on the legal murder of innocent unborn babies.