Bishop Finn: “immortal souls” at stake

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.)

How we got here

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….

Things that don’t bother me – II

It’s time for another “things that don’t bother me” post (see first post here):

1. McCain-Palin voters
2. The bailout
3. John Birch Society
4. Birkenstocks
5. Lew Rockwell
6. Breastfeeding in public (discreetly)
7. Electric cars
8. Zippy Catholic
9. Trader Joe’s
10. Nationalization of banks
11. League of the South
12. Jim Curley’s humor
13. Non-mavericks
14. Quiche
15. Men who chew tobacco
16. Partisans
17. Dale Price’s sports obsessions
18. Feeneyites
19. Garrison Keillor
20. Falangists
21. Girly-girls
22. Green tea
23. Authoritarianism
24. Gated communities
25. The smell of a dairy herd
26. Pack-rats
27. Poor spellers
28. Trial lawyers
29. Unmowed lawns
30. Women who call me “hon” and “sweety”
31. Ivory towers (and the people who live in them)
32. Gruff priests
33. TSO’s vacation notes
34. Most forms of “nepotism”
35. Most forms of “conflict of interest”
36. Raw milk fanatics
37. Pasteurization
38. Public TV and radio
39. Flea markets
40. Elevator music

Please feel free to add your own …


As we inch closer to an Obama victory in two weeks, some of you are probably feeling angry. Perhaps you’re angry at conservatives who refuse to vote for McCain and who have criticized his campaign. Perhaps you’re angry with the McCain campaign itself for botching things up so terribly. Perhaps you’re angry with the GOP for having lost its vision (and its marbles) in nominating McCain. If so, I think your anger is misdirected.

Be angry at your neighbors. Millions of your fellow Americans will be voting for Obama on November 4. That’s not my fault, that’s not McCain’s fault, and that’s not the GOP’s fault. The fact is that your fellow Americans don’t much care about the unborn. They don’t much care about religious freedom. They don’t much care about the damage that Obama’s radical ideologies – feminism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism, etc. – will inflict, and have already inflcited, upon our society. They don’t much care about threats to the traditional family. They don’t much care about the principle of subsidiarity. They don’t much care about economic freedom. They don’t much care about business, small or large. They don’t much care about homeschooling or renewable energy or foreign wars or family farms.

They are voting for Obama.

Let’s face it: the much-exalted “Joe six-packs” and “hockey moms” of America are not conservative in any but the most superficial sense. Indeed it is probable that the majority of voters in this election – the common, ordinary, working taxpayers of “middle America” – are seriously, gravely, and culpably voting for a man who doesn’t even wince at infanticide. That’s hard for some conservatives to admit, especially since the GOP has turned populist in recent years, but it’s a lesson we had better learn.

First-grade field trip in San Francisco

To those who falsely claim that same-sex marriage will not change anything in the schools, here’s the latest abomination proving otherwise:

Class surprises lesbian teacher on her wedding day:

A group of San Francisco first-graders took an unusual field trip to City Hall on Friday to toss rose petals on their just-married lesbian teacher – putting the public school children at the center of a fierce election battle over the fate of same-sex marriage.

The 18 Creative Arts Charter School students took a Muni bus and walked a block at noon to toss rose petals and blow bubbles on their just-married teacher Erin Carder and her wife Kerri McCoy, giggling and squealing as they mobbed their teacher with hugs.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, a friend of a friend, officiated.

A parent came up with the idea for the field trip – a surprise for the teacher on her wedding day.

“She’s such a dedicated teacher,” said the school’s interim director Liz Jaroflow.

But there was a question of justifying the field trip academically. Jaroflow decided she could.

“It really is what we call a teachable moment,” Jaroflow said, noting the historic significance of same-sex marriage and related civil rights issues. “I think I’m well within the parameters.”


With the American economy in a tailspin and the approaching Obama victory in November, I wonder if Catholics ought to be making some common-sense preparations. Thanks to the corruption and stupidity of the Republicans, the toxic mix of economic austerity and a hard-left government could be an imminent reality. Expect the latter to use the former as a pretext for lots of mischief. What to do? Most advisors would say “pay off your mortgage”, but for most of us it is too late for that. The layoffs will continue, the foreclosures will continue, the slide of the dollar will continue, the shrinking of credit will continue, the energy crisis will continue, etc., and very soon, the liberal social agenda will escalate.

Yesterday, you could work at your job and stay in your cubicle while ignoring the anti-Christian bias of your employer. Tomorrow, you may be required to compromise your convictions.

Yesterday, if your employer asked for too much compromise, you could simply find another job. Tomorrow, that may not be an option.

Yesterday, if you needed to sell your home in order to adjust to lower wages, you could downsize accordingly. Tomorrow, that may not be an option.

Yesterday, you could borrow from your 401K to get through some hard times. Tomorrow (heck, today!) that may not be an option.

I haven’t thought about this methodically, so I’d like to hear your suggestions. Here are a few of my own off the top of my head:

1. Get used to the idea of poverty. It can be an effective means of sanctification, and it may be forced upon you anyway.

2. Go to confession, pray, and get your spiritual life in order. Massive social unrest can be lethal.

3. Cultivate and/or restore your relationships with family, neighbors, and friends. You’re going to need each other.

4. Keep your vehicles in good working order and keep the tanks full. You never know when you might need to get out of Dodge. It’s a good idea to own a vehicle large enough to live out of, if necessary. We just bought a 12-passenger van.

5. Buy guns, learn how to use them, and make sure at least one more person in the household can shoot. A new and dangerous underclass could emerge quickly (and indeed is already emerging).

6. Keep a few weeks of food and water in storage. Store your water in juice bottles and milk cartons.

7. If possible, move away from large urban centers.

8. Grow as much of your own food as possible.

9. Learn how to effectively resist (or avoid) the aggressive social policies of Big Brother. Some jobs, for example, will be more vulnerable to coercion and manipulation than others. Know when to speak out and when to keep silent. But if possible, resist the new “policies” openly. Let there be a record. Make things difficult for the new regime.

Cowboys, miners, & sailors

“The Last Cowboy Song”, by Ed Bruce

“Coal Mining Man”, by Ricky Skaggs (and more)

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, by Gordon Lightfoot

“The Last Farewell”, by Roger Whitaker

For Aunt Hilda, here are the lyrics to “The Last Farewell”:

There’s a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbor
Tomorrow for old England she sails
Far away from your land of endless sunshine
To my land full of rainy skies and gales
And I shall be aboard that ship tomorrow
Though my heart is full of tears at this farewell

For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

I’ve heard there’s a wicked war a-blazing
And the taste of war I know so very well
Even now I see the foreign flag a-raising
Their guns on fire as we sail into hell
I have no fear of death, it brings no sorrow
But how bitter will be this last farewell

For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

Though death and darkness gather all about me
My ship be torn apart upon the seas
I shall smell again the fragrance of these islands
And the heaving waves that brought me once to thee
And should I return safe home again to England
I shall watch the English mist roll through the dale

For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell.

The slide continues – part II

Governor Schwarzenegger has just signed three more homosexual-bisexual-transgender bills into law. Read all about them at the Campaign for Children and Families site. Some highlights:

AB 3015 forces foster parents to train foster children to support homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. The 2000 law upon which AB 3015 is based resulted in homosexual, bisexual and transsexual activism on school campuses from ‘LGBT’ students and teachers. AB 3015 will do the same for foster children, many of whom have already been emotionally damaged by sexual abuse and neglect.”

SB 1729 mandates that nurses be trained to support homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality, despite their deeply-held moral values to the contrary. According to the final Senate floor analysis, SB 1729 ‘requires all registered nurses, certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses, and physicians working in skilled nursing facilities or congregate living health facilities to participate in a training program focused on preventing and eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.’ In other words, good professional nurses at convalescent homes and assisted-living centers could be disciplined or fired for not attending or not actively participating in these homosexual-bisexual-transsexual training classes, or if on the job they ever speak against homosexuality, bisexuality or transsexuality.”

AB 2654 elevates homosexual-bisexual-transsexual ‘rights’ above moral, religious and family values in the private insurance field and government processes. AB 2654 is one of a package of five bills passed in the last five years by Democrat legislators and signed by Schwarzenegger that applies broad definitions of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality to all other areas of the law. For example, in Government Code, Section 12926.1, ‘sexual orientation’ is defined as including not just homosexuality but also bisexuality, and, because of Penal Code, Section 422.56, defines ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ as including ‘a person’s gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.’ As the Democratic Senate floor analysis of AB 2654 disclosed, ‘In doing so, this bill expands the protected classes in some statutes to encompass those recently added’ [i.e. ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender’]. This means AB 2654 essentially completes the homosexual-bisexual-transsexual takeover of government entities and imposes its sexual agenda more fully upon the private sector.”