Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City sounds like a true apostle:
Warriors with Our Eyes Fixed on Heaven
Last Saturday I had the privilege of consecrating the restored church of Old St. Patrick. This is the oldest existing Catholic church in Kansas City. It will serve as the Oratory for the Latin Mass community which first began here under Bishop John Sullivan, and for many years has shared the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows.
One of the beauties of the Traditional Latin High Mass that I celebrated is that it highlights a most profound aspect of the Mass, namely our participation with the Communion of Saints. The high altar, multiple candles, incense and Gregorian chant, collectively give us a striking image of the Heavenly Jerusalem which is our ultimate home. Every Mass celebrates this reality, but I must admit that the traditional Mass captured this magnificent expression of the ultimate hope and goal of Christians in a powerful way. We should reflect on this often, because the ultimate goal of everything we do is to get ourselves to heaven and bring with us as many as we can.
The month of November begins with the two great celebrations: All Saints day (November 1) and the Commemoration of All Souls (November 2). These feasts celebrate our communion with the “Church triumphant” in heaven, and the “Church suffering” in purgatory. Today I would like to share a few brief comments about what we have sometimes called the “Church militant,” the Church here on earth.
We, the Church on earth, have a very special challenge as participants in the grace and life of Jesus Christ to “fight” against the enemies of Christ’s justice and truth and light and life. We must be attentive to the demands of this daily “battle” in a peaceable but serious manner.
I am sometimes amazed at the casual manner with which Christians, Catholics included, take up our life within what Pope John Paul II rightly called the “culture of death.” The Church, by comparison, reminds us that we are engaged – by reason of our Baptism and Confirmation – in a battle, “not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities and powers, with the rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in heaven.” (Eph 6:12) Jesus Christ has won the ultimate battle, but we, in the course of our human life must make our choice, determining on whose side we will live and die. Whose side will you choose?!
What is at stake in this battle is our immortal soul, our salvation. My responsibility as bishop is with the eternal destiny of those entrusted to my care. My total energies must be directed to the well being of those who otherwise may come under the spell of a radically flawed and fundamentally distorted moral sense, at odds with what our Mother the Church teaches. There are objective and transcendent truths. There is such a thing as right and wrong. There is a legitimate hierarchy of moral evils, and the direct willful destruction of human life can never be justified; it can never be supported. Do you believe this firm teaching of the Church?
Did you know that in Canada priests and Christian ministers have already been brought before tribunals for preaching and teaching in support of marriage? They are charged with “hate speech” against homosexuality. In light of the tyranny of choice growing each day in our own beloved country, we ought to be ready for similar attacks on religious freedom. We must not fail to preach the Gospel. We can not withhold the truth of our faith. That is why I will never be silent about human life. It is why I am proud of so many others – bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity – who are not afraid to speak out about the values that matter most. What about you?!
Our Lord told His apostles that they would be hated by the world, just as He was. Nearly all of them died a martyr’s death. As warriors in the Church militant, we must never resort to violence. But we must stand up fearlessly against the agents of death, the enemies of human life. Human beings are not Satan, but we know too well that they can come under his spell. They can become willing agents of death, numbed and poisoned in this culture of death. What about you?!
As we begin this month of November, the month of the Church, let us call upon the Saints to inspire us, befriend us, and pray for us. Let us offer many prayers and sacrifices for the poor souls who have gone before us. They need our meritorious suffrages to help them reach heaven.
And let us resolve to be warriors of the Church militant; warriors with our eyes fixed on heaven. Let us ask God’s mercy and strength to persevere in our call – individual and collective – to holiness. Mary, Mother of the Church, Pray for us!
Beautifully said, Your Excellency! (H/T Fr. Zuhlsdorf.)
As I’ve already mentioned a few times, my page views are way up thanks to Sarah Palin. Mr. Curley of Bethune Catholic has tried to get in on the action by putting “Sarah Palin” in one of his blog titles. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to be working for him. Sorry about that, Jim. I don’t know what to tell you. It works great for me. Here are some of my stats this morning:
I had a conversation with our Catholic postman this morning. He’s optimistic about Barack Obama and thinks an Obama administration is going to get us out of our present economic troubles. I mentioned Obama’s record of socialist activism and his stance on abortion and infanticide, but this didn’t seem to concern him much. There is something about Obama that just gives him hope.
What is it about this strange man, Barack Obama? What do we know about him? A commenter over at Creative Minority Report provides an interesting checklist:
1. Occidental College records — Not released
2. Columbia College records — Not released
3. Columbia Thesis paper — not available, locked down by faculty
4. Harvard College records — Not released, locked down by faculty
5. Selective Service Registration — Not released
6. Medical records — Not released
7. Illinois State Senate schedule — “not available”
8. Law practice client list — Not released
9. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate – - Not released
10. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth — Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published — None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles — None
13. Record of baptism– Not released or “not available”
14. Illinois State Senate records–”not available”
Some are claiming that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore ineligible for the presidency. I don’t know what to make of such a claim, except to note that it is odd, to say the least, that a market for doubt exists about something which should be very easily proven.
You have probably seen a few of the creepy, cult-like, quasi-religious videos produced by Obama supporters. The “Alpha-Omega” chants were ominous enough, ascribing a biblical name for Jesus Christ to Obama himself. Now we have the bizzare “I AM Obama” campaign – “I AM Obama” signs are popping up in front yards out here – which appropriates another name for Almighty God: “I AM”. I don’t know whether these folks are being deliberately blasphemous or just stumbling into blasphemy out of ignorance.
Effusive, messianic songs of praise are being written about this man – a politican not yet out of his forties. And then there are the poems, and the portraits, and the frenzied rallies. Even more troubling is the wild popularity of Barack Obama among foreigners, particularly Mohammedans.
Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like this before. The postman suggested to me this morning that JFK inspired similar emotions in people, but was JFK’s following really so transparently religious? I try not to automatically think “antichrist” when I see images like this, but lately I haven’t been having much success. The following video, blasphemous to the hilt, is the latest evidence that the Obama phenomenon is more than an American political campaign, but is in fact emerging as a worldwide religious movement.
If Sarah Palin had been prepped with this Bob Newhart clip (some may suppose),
her first interviews might not have gone so badly.
Don Knotts as TV Weatherman
Abbott & Costello’s classic “Who’s on First?”
George Burns and Gracie Allen
According to my stats, Stony Creek Digest has picked up some new readers in the past several months – mainly due to Sarah Palin’s candidacy for the office of vice president. (Any post with Sarah Palin in the title seems to generate a tsunami of search engine traffic.) As a service to these new readers I thought I would offer links to some interesting discussions that have long since dropped off the front page. In no particular order …
From the encyclical Quas Primas by Pope Pius XI, instituting the Feast of Christ the King:
Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: “His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.” Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In Him is the salvation of the individual, in Him is the salvation of society. “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.” He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. “For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?” If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ.
Lydia McGrew has a provocative post up at What’s Wrong with the World about the looming confrontation in Australia between Catholic hospitals and the government of Victoria, due to a new law requiring pro-life hospitals to provide abortion referrals. “No, we won’t kill your baby, but let me help you find someone who will!”
She says it’s time for civil disobedience in Victoria, Australia, and she’s absolutely right.
I say it’s past time for civil disobedience here in the United States.
Local school boards, for example, should have openly defied certain state-mandated curricula years ago.
During the judicial murder of Terry Schaivo, the entire hospice staff, police, and other authorities should have disobeyed the court.
Catholic Charities in California should have disobeyed the state and refused to provide contraceptive insurance coverage for their employees.
Catholic Charities in Massachusetts should have disobeyed the state and continued to operate without providing adoptive services to homosexual “couples”.
Starfish Creative Invitations should have disobeyed the city of Seattle and refused to comply with the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
Every county clerk in California should have refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses in the wake of the California Supreme Court misruling last May.
Etc., etc., etc..
I know, I know, the threat of imprisonment and financial ruin and all of that.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day. He’s a school administrator in a little town up here and a traditional Catholic. The various state mandates which require that acceptance of homosexuality be force-fed to school children haven’t yet been implemented in some of these districts in rural northern CA. My friend is adamant that he won’t allow such things in his school, and if it finally comes down to it, and the state sends in the National Guard or the local sheriff, he’s ready to face the consequences.
Somerset ’76 comments on this post:
Several things are factoring into what Jeff observes.
1) The perversion of American education over the last 100 years. How many folks today under age 65, regardless of educational level, could read and understand one of those McGuffey Readers written for fifth-graders? (Many of you will be stunned by the density of text and the vocabulary used therein.) And, of course, the fact that political “debates” are no more than an exchange of talking-points demonstrates again this overall dumbing-down. (Quite a different thing from, say, the Lincoln-Douglas affair.) Let’s not forget how impatient we get (me included) when a sermon lasts more than 20 minutes….
2) Along with the degradation of the substance of education has gone its pervasive anti-Christian, pro-Marxist tilt, in accordance to Dewey’s socialist plan. This has given rise to the anomaly that “educated” people are overwhelmingly leftist, while those of Christian and conservative instinct have little more than their own common sense to fall back on. Herein lies the appeal of Sarah Palin: she didn’t spend her life “palling around” with leftist intellectual elites, a la Peggy Noonan, Christopher Buckley, et al. The destruction of a principled Christian intelligentia forces us into leadership choices of less-educated decent souls of common sense vs. pseudo-intellectual enemies of the good.
3) The permeation of sin into the lives of everyday people of all stripes, particularly through spiritually-compromising intimate relationships — not to mention the compounding of the problem as these dissolve and new ones take their place, oftentimes with children in tow. And there’s nothing like sin, a compromised conscience, to dull one’s mind, as this internal pressure induces either a refusal of awareness or else a perverse reordering of one’s priorities. Example of the latter: why are so many pro-aborts so keyed up on “animal rights” and/or environmental sensitivity? As to the former, it is why all kinds of things are coming out about Obama and his Marxist lineage and yet there is so very little concern….
Look before you leap!
(Caution: mild profanity.)