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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Father Rutler: The Power of Clear Teaching

Fr. George W. Rutler
The Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas has been made a shrine, for the massacre there has left it a hallowed place for mourners. A red rose marks where each of the victims died, and then there is one pink rose. That is for the unborn baby that died in the womb. To the frustration of some, Texas is one of 38 states that recognize an infant in utero as a victim when the mother is assaulted. Federal law also accords legal rights to the unborn in cases of federal and military crimes. A pink rose is at least a tacit acknowledgement that a human life existed before birth, and Catholics know that life is life, with no varying shades. This is one example of how truth prevails despite attempts to obscure it.
 
Confusion has also muddled marriage. When marriage is refashioned into an oxymoronic “same-sex marriage,” along with ambiguity about procreation and the permanence of natural marriage, the social order loses interest in it altogether. Even among self-professed Catholics, whose population has increased in the last forty years, there has been a 60% decrease in weddings.
 
As the Religious life is a consecrated form of spiritual marriage, opaqueness about such commitment has caused the virtual evaporation of many communities. In the past five years alone, with the exception of communities solid in doctrine, there has been a loss of over seven per cent among women religious, while orders of men declined somewhat less.
 
St. John Paul II spoke clearly about priestly charisms, and during his pontificate the number of seminarians worldwide increased from 63,882 to 114,439. The years of Pope Benedict XVI saw the numbers grow to 118, 257. Since then, in a time of confusion in the Church and society as a whole, there has been a consistent global decline. In our own vast archdiocese, of the small handful of recent ordinations none was a native New Yorker.
 
Yet often where there is clarity of doctrine and high morale, the picture is bright. In 2015, the most recent year for statistics, there was a 25% increase nationally in ordinations. The archdiocese of St. Louis, with a Catholic population roughly less than a quarter the size of the archdiocese of New York, has considerably more seminarians, and the dioceses of Madison, Wisconsin and Lincoln, Nebraska, relatively small in population, each have about twice as many seminarians as we have in “the capital of the world.”
 
In the pro-life movement, on the federal level there are positive developments correcting the anti-life legislation of recent years. And where better instruction is provided, Catholic marriages are becoming more purposeful and stable. Then too, a new generation of young priests sound in doctrine and liturgy is appearing. There is strength in clarity. “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8).


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanks Be to God for Blessed Solanus Casey

In the early 1980's, I first discovered leaflets in the back of a Church about the extraordinary life of Father Solanus Casey.  From that moment on, I felt powerfully drawn to a spiritual friendship with this simple, humble and very holy man.  It was as if I had always known him, and though most unworthy, I feel no less touched by him than the many thousands who have received dramatic physical and spiritual healings through his intercession.  He constantly prods and helps me in my brokenness, and I thank God for this special friend, spiritual guide, powerful intercessor and beautiful reflection of God's own love.  Most especially, I thank God ahead of time for the beatification of Father Solanus soon to take place and his ultimate canonization.  These recognitions will make this saint, whose whole life was one of service to others, known to the whole world.  "Blessed be God in all his designs."

Following is a brief introduction to the life of Blessed Solanus Casey and a longer video which explores his powerful spirituality and union with God.




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Polish PM Offers to Save John Paul II Statue after French Court Orders Removal of Cross

The bronze statue of Pope John Paul II in Ploërmel, France (Getty Images)
She offered to move it to Poland to save it from 'political correctness'

Poland’s prime minister has stepped into a row over a statue of Pope St John Paul II in Ploërmel, a town in Brittany.

France’s top administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, has ruled that a large cross over the nearly-25-foot high statue of John Paul in prayer must be removed, because it contravenes a 1905 law banning any “religious sign or emblem” in a public space, upholding France’s strict separation of Church and State.

Beata Szydło, prime minister of Poland, has offered to have the statue moved to Poland, to rescue it from “the dictates of political correctness”. She said that religious censorship is undermining the values of Europe.

Read more at Catholic Herald >> 

 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Father Rutler: Words That Are Spirit and Life

Fr. George W. Rutler
Annals new and old are filled with quotations that most people can recognize. Reaching back, there are Caesar’s “Et tu, Brute?” and Brutus’ own “Sic semper tyrannis.” Preachers recall Saint Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.” A hymn quotes Francis as saying: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love…” To Voltaire is credited: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Poor Marie Antoinette labors under her “Let them eat cake.” Tediously over-quoted is Churchill’s jibe to Nancy Astor when she said that if he were her husband she would poison his drink: “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.” Along with that is his rather unchivalrous quip to Mrs. Braddock: “I may be drunk, Bessie, but you are ugly, and tomorrow I shall be sober.”
In our national lore, George Washington is quoted as speaking against “entangling alliances,” and Patrick Henry boldly declared: “If this be treason, make the most of it.” Actors recreate Paul Revere’s clarion cry from his horse: “The British are coming!” Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired many: “Only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.” We smile at Mark Twain saying: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” Soldiers were moved when General Pershing apostrophized:  “Lafayette, we are here!” Charles E. Wilson was mocked for saying: “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” Ginger Rogers boasted: “I did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels,” and sportsmen take a motto from Vince Lombardi: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”
 
To burst a few bubbles, though, those people never uttered those words. As the inimitable Yogi Berra explained, “I really didn’t say a lot of the things I said.” More problematic than misquoting, is cherry picking actual quotes out of context. Public figures, or their speechwriters, not infrequently affect familiarity with unfamiliar sources. President Kennedy paraphrased a line from Shaw’s Back to Methuselah, and his brother later quoted the same in a campaign speech: “You see things and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’ ” In the play, these fine sounding words in fact were spoken by the serpent in the Garden, fooling Eve.
 
Dreams may inspire visionaries, but fantasizing about illusions is how the Prince of Lies brought sin and death into the world. Jesus, on the other hand, said, “. . . The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Saint John never misquotes the Master: “This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24).


In Gratitude on Veterans Day