Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Walk Thru the Mass at Immaculata

Would you like to learn more about the Mass? 

Starting Wednesday, November 6, I’ll have a three-week “Walk Through the Mass” series. We’ll meet in Immaculata Church -- 30 Guido Street in Mount Adams -- at 7 pm, for one hour. I’ll walk through the entire Mass.  

Wednesday, Nov. 6 will be the beginning of Mass to the Creed; Nov. 13, the offertory and the Eucharistic Prayer; Nov. 20 will be the Our Father to the end.

This would be a great way to engage your children. I'd be delighted to have your kids ask questions like, "Why do you wear that?" "Why do you say ____?" "Why do you go here, and go there, and do this and that?" (I've noticed kids will say out loud the questions adults want to ask, but won't.)

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sorry to be away...I've been busy!

It's been a good, but busy, two weeks.

Last weekend, many weeks of planning came to fruition at the parish. The Pastoral Council, the Finance Council, and I have been discussing, since the summer, the need to have an effort in the parish to acquaint parishioners with the financial needs of the parish and ask for folks' help in raising weekly contributions. We had a series of messages, in the bulletin and from the pulpit, over many weeks, about the situation. Over two weeks, parishioners shared personally about what their parish means to them; one weekend, we had a financial report that laid out the facts; and then the following week--last week--I made the case.

However, I made a mistake: I failed to notice that I had an obligation that would take me away on Saturday evening (a wedding at my prior parish). There was no getting around it: I simply had to be at the wedding, of course; and I couldn't postpone the whole program.

So, last weekend, I made the case at the Sunday Masses; this weekend, I made the case on Saturday.

As it happens, I was busy with other things, and simply couldn't get around to writing out my homily. Many times--and this was one of those times--I just have too many ideas, too many directions, at work in my head, and it's hard to boil it down. This is just one of the things that makes writing a homily hard: figuring out just what thread to follow, what themes to build the the message around.

So it was last week; and again this week. This weekend I had an added complication: my homily on Saturday would be very different from Sunday.

What keeps me busy? Well, a lot of it is meeting with couples preparing for marriage. Anyone familiar with Holy Cross-Immaculata will not be surprised to learn, this is a very popular place for weddings! So that means lots and lots of meetings with couples. And, because they usually are busy all week, that means lots of meetings on Saturdays; and some on Sundays.

And then, after our last Mass today, I had a trip up to Dayton. The folks with the "40 Days for Life" project--involving 40 days of steady prayer outside the abortion mill in Kettering--asked me to come up and give a pep talk this afternoon as part of their closing prayer service (although, it turns out, they will be keeping vigil at the death chamber for one more week). So I shared a few thoughts about what it means that our task seems so hard, and our hopes long delayed. I'm just grateful I didn't forget! I've been doing more of that, lately.

So, sorry for no homilies lately. God willing, I'll have something to post next weekend.

Friday, October 18, 2013

What can young Catholics of today expect from the Church of tomorrow?

...That's the topic I was given, by the young adults group at Holy Cross-Immaculata, when we gathered this past Wednesday for a first "Soul Supper," at a local establishment on The Hill.

We had a great time, eating bar food and drinking beer and discussing the Faith.

Lots of great questions were bandied about; I enjoy fielding questions about the Faith.

But they also asked me to give an answer to the question posed in the title of this post.

Here are the notes I wrote up. They are notes, so I apologize if any thoughts are incomplete or confusing. Feel free to ask questions in the comments about anything that is unclear.

What can you expect from the Church?

1. She will be there, because Christ promised. “Upon this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Also, the Book of Revelation describes the Church as triumphant in heaven, even as she is engaged in mortal combat on earth, until the final consummation.

The Church’s very existence is miraculous; as is her perseverance.

It’s very hard to explain the origins of the Church, the spread of the Faith, and the catholicity of the Church both then, and between then and now, without seeing it as a matter of divine providence.

There are several things that often seem to threaten the Church:

New truths (New World, Copernicus, Evolution, Physics)
New situations

Here’s a famous quote by the English historian Thomas Macaulay:

She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.

2. She will have the same mission: to introduce you to Jesus Christ in this life, so that you can live with him in eternity.

When you think about us—our basic needs, our basic questions, are they really so different? We want a good life; we want to make the most of what we have; we want to share our lives with other people, perhaps be married, perhaps have children. We want to find what will make us truly happy; and we want to make a difference. And, if we reflect on it, we realize these questions extend beyond death. However different our life here in the USA, in AD 2013 is, from the rest of the world and the past, Aren’t the basic questions the same? Someone in Africa or Asia, right now; or someone who lived 500 or 5,000 years ago: wouldn’t they have had those same big questions?

The Baltimore Catechism said it well. Why did God make me? To know, love and serve him in this life, so that I may be supremely happy with him in the next.

This is the mission of the Church. And if you think about it, what the Church does seems—by design—to be evergreen.

Again, a little history. With all that has changed in the life of the Church, we are praying very much in the same manner as the early Church, the basic structure of the Church hasn’t changed all that much, we have the same message, and the same means, the sacraments. I really think that if you could snatch a Christian from the 1st Century and plunk him down in the 21st Century, at Mass, at a baptism, at an ordination, at a wedding, in the confessional, and whatever else was confusing, she would recognize the sacraments.

So many times when I’m explaining the sacraments, or the various practices of the Church, it occurs to me: wasn’t God clever? In how this works out? Long before psychologists gained their insights about the workings of the mind, of conscience, of guilt, we had the sacrament of confession. Long before someone figured out that societies regularly need to find scapegoats; and that rituals of violence can be powerful, purging experiences…long before, God planned for the Passover Lamb, and for himself to come and offer himself on the Cross: The Lamb of God.

3. She will be Christ to you; therefore, speak to you the way Jesus Christ speaks to you.

It’s funny how people will say, “we want the pope to say X” or “we want the priest to say Y.” And we actually spend a fair amount of time, in parishes, and in dioceses, trying to figure out what people want from the Church, what the Church should say or do.

But did you ever see Jesus doing that in the Gospels? Did he ever show up anywhere and say, “What would you like to hear?” The Apostles never did that. They would be invited to speak, but they didn’t do a survey first. When our Lord was invited to speak at the synagogue in Capernaum, he took the scroll of Isaiah, and found what he wanted to read.

By the way, the first reaction to him was very positive. But as he continued speaking, they turned against him, and went to toss him off the cliff!

Father Ted Ross, who teaches at our seminary, says something like this: We don’t need the Church when we’re right; we need her when we’re wrong. And a corollary is, we don’t need the Church to tell us what we already believe and like; we need her to tell us the things we don’t want to believe, or don’t like to hear. That’s what we need her for!

The Gospel at Mass today was really funny. Our Lord is giving the Pharisees a hard time. And after repeatedly saying, Woe to you, Pharisees!, we hear this:

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them” (Luke 11).

***Here ends my writen notes. I recall winding down with something about how important it is that Christ speaks the truth to us, and that's what we need the Church to do. The truth is, I was racing the clock as I wrote my notes...

What's wrong with two men having sex together, if they love each other?

As a way to getting acquainted with the people of Holy Cross-Immaculata Parish, for the past few weeks, I've been visiting parishioners' homes for small gatherings; we sorted all the parishioners by zip code, and everyone got invited to this or that home. Most of the meetings have happened, but a few are coming up in the next two weeks.

Last night, one of our parishioners asked: "What is wrong with two men, or two women, if they love each other, getting married?" And, as we discussed that, he followed up, "why is it wrong for two people of the same sex to have sex together?"

A great question. Lots of people need to ask us that question, because if we don't have a satisfactory answer, they're not going to accept what the Church teaches. And they won't see why the definition of marriage shouldn't be changed to include same-sex relationships.

So how did I answer?

Well, we covered a lot of topics, and lots of people were joining in, so I can't easily reconstruct my actual answers, versus what I was trying to say. But basically, I explained that as Catholics, we understand God's design to be that sex is inherently both about uniting two people in love, and about procreation; and separating these two parts of the design leads to all manner of trouble. In the course of that, I talked about Pope Paul VI's teaching in Humanae Vitae, contraception, and in vitro fertilization, in which human life is created in a laboratory, rather than in a human act of love.

And I cited something the Catholic writer Mark Shea often says: that there are two phases in how these things play out: first, the "what could it hurt?" phase, followed, sooner or later, by the "how were we supposed to know?" phase.

So, I talked about how God intends sex to be about procreation and family; and that when sex is deliberately rendered sterile--either by intervention or by acts that cannot be life-giving--then it starts down the wrong road.

Each of us, no matter who we are, is meant to be a life-giver. Whether we ever have sex or not, marry or not, conceive children or not, we are life-givers. Everything about is is oriented toward that; including our own psychology and emotional structure. As we go through life, a fundamental desire of every healthy person is to make a difference--to leave something behind--to share what's good with others...to give life. Nothing is more profoundly negative than to look at oneself and find little or nothing, in ones life, that counts as having been a life-giver in the broadest sense. And no matter how old we get, as long as each of us finds some way to give life to others--even very small ways--we will find life worthwhile. I can't prove it empirically, but I rather suspect that this is true, regardless of religion, language, economics or culture. It's something built into us as humans. Either by God--or evolution.

And, I added, that when God tells us not to do certain things, it's not because God finds them icky, but because he knows--even if we don't--that they will, one way or the other, distort our humanity. They are bad for us. And we don't have Ten Commandments telling us not to do things that we'd never dream of doing. There's no, "Thou shalt not stick a knife in your eye" commandment, because no one needs that to be explained. But "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and "Thou shalt not covet" are not always easy to accept; just as, "Thou shalt not steal/lie/do murder" etc. also can be hard to live by--and so it goes with everything God has told us about how to live.

This morning, in the shower, more occurred to me on the subject. And it comes in the form of a question: if we no longer talk about sexual morality in terms of an inherent purpose or design, then just what sort of morality should apply to sex?

In other words, I wish I'd thought to ask in reply, "And what if they don't love each other? What's wrong with sex then?" Who says it has to be about love?

Why, for example, should we expect people to be married before they have sex? Why, in fact, does it matter for people to have any particular commitment or love? Why isn't consent sufficient?

(And, if you say, because of children, then my reply is--and if there are no children? Never will be? Conception can happen by accident in a heterosexual union; but gay couples can pretty confidently say there won't be any oops babies.)

Of course I know that many people think exactly this. But this is a question I'm posing, very specifically, to those who say they are Christians, and yet say Christianity should have no objection to same-sex behavior.

If that's you, reading this, feel free to answer in the comments: if you think there's nothing immoral about two men or two women having sex, do you attach any conditions? I.e., do you think they should be married? In love? Even know each other? Be limited to two parties to the relationship? Not be too closely related? Is it immoral to sell sex for income? Is casual sex immoral?

I'm serious. If you are OK with gay sex inside marriage, or inside some sort of commitment--but you think it's wrong, say, on a casual basis, then my question is, WHY?

Secularists are more coherent on this: they will make it all about consent; sometimes they will also insist on safety--but then, is risky sex immoral if there is consent?

But I'll say it again: I'm asking people who say they're Christians for their answer.

If it's not the Bible, or the Church, or Natural Law, that determines the morality of any particular sexual act--what does?

The truth is, a lot of people have moral stances that are largely based on an "ick" factor. They think eating dogs or horses is "wrong," but not eating cows or pigs. Why?

Similarly, they will say they see nothing immoral about same-sex behavior, but they will refuse to address the question of whether sex among multiple partners is immoral, or casual sex, or incest, or pornography, or sex-for-pay, or bestiality, etc. If you can't articulate a coherent moral argument for allowing one, and not the other, then I say you're really applying a morality of "ick"--and, sorry, that won't work.

After all, that really is how the moral argument against same-sex behavior was sustained, socially, for some time--and why, I think, it collapsed so readily in recent years. A lot of people thought homosexual acts were wrong, not so much for any coherent moral reasoning, but because they found it icky. And now, a new generation of people doesn't find it icky; either they don't care, or they may find it intriguing.

And, I ask again--not so much of agnostic libertines, but of professed Christians--why shouldn't they?

The agnostic-libertine morality of our society is that consent is the only real moral criteria. Thus we emphasize "consenting adults."

Now, someone will protest, oh Fox, you're dragging in red herrings. No one is advocating any of these other things, just an acceptance of gay people and their sexuality, and allowing them to marry. All this talk of polyamory and incest is just a scare tactic.

Well, first, it's simply not true no one is advocating for these things; but it is true that this advocacy is far from a significant political force. And I will readily concede that they may never have an impact on the civil law.

But that's all irrelevant. If that comes up in the comments, the red-herring-in-dragger is you, dear commenter!

This post is expressed by the headline: it's about sexual morality. If society never legalizes polygamy or incest, there are still moral questions at stake here. And the point I'm making is that when Christians set aside the existing rationale for Christian sexual morality, something has to take it's place.


The truth is, that the understanding Catholics (and all Christians, even if they don't realize it) have on these matters is both rooted in what is revealed -- via Scripture and Tradition -- as well as Natural Law.*

Now, whenever I bring up Natural Law on this site, some tedious person shows up to complain. Well, let's save you the trouble, if you're reading. You're perfectly free to say there is no Natural Law. There, I just saved you the trouble! And the other argument will be that Natural Law never had anything to do with civil law, and no one but Catholics ever believed in it.

I'm certain the second point is simply wrong, although it's true that the whole body of thought around the term "Natural Law" was developed in the context of Western--i.e., Christian--Civilization. It's not my place to say what non-Christian cultures have to say about it. But I will say that the insights of Natural Law are not constrained by their Christian matrix; I see no reason one has to be a Christian--or, as I said, even to believe in God--to find the approach useful, and even true.

One basic insight of Natural Law is that there is a design, and order, and structure, to each thing, and all things, and it behooves us, as creatures in this world, both to discern that order--that "Law"--and to live according to it. It's not law in the stricter sense of a law of gravity; but in an analogous sense, with analogous consequences for disregarding the law.

But in our time, humanity increasingly is thinking, and acting, in a very ahistorical, and morally autonomous way. What I mean is this: increasingly we are supposing that human history and experience (all bound up in Natural Law thinking), as well as any other "handed down" sources of truth, are advisory at best. Or to use C.S. Lewis's imagery, we are cutting off the limb on which we are perched, confident that nothing bad will happen when the limb is detached from the tree. And, of course, that's only perilous if there really is a tree; if not, then indeed, we can cut away the excess. In any case, once the final cut takes place, we'll find out, won't we?

So, of course, it may be that if there is a God, there really is no plan in his Creation that we are bound to respect. Or, indeed, there may not be a God to contribute a plan. And if there is no God, even if we can discern some sort of structure, or "law" in the order of things, who says we can't remake it?

A thought comes to mind unrelated to human sexuality, but about the natural environment. Isn't it interesting how frequently the argument about things like climate, and exploration for oil, and whether to modify or develop various natural resources, will involve stern warnings about not respecting the structure and order of the natural world? And I think there are people who believe in Natural Law in morality, but not in ecology; and vice versa. In any case, the argument that is often made in questions of climate, or exploiting natural resources, is that if we master the technology, we should not hold back from redesigning the natural design. So we have efforts to redesign food we grow and eat, proposals for "geo-engineering" aimed at addressing climate-change concerns, and we have people busily working to redesign humanity itself.

Similarly, much of the unexpressed mindset behind a new morality on sexuality is the notion that, whatever "law" we might have discerned in human nature about what sex is for, we should have no compunctions in setting these aside, and creating a new design.

So, for example, God, or evolution (take your pick) has given us a complementary sexuality: male and female. Regardless of what sexual attraction anyone feels, however deep-seated, toward anyone or anything, the fact remains, as of Noon on October 18, AD 2013, that male and female are both necessary for procreation.

Ah, but not for long! There are folks working on a new design. And that, my friends, is the context of this whole debate over sexual morality in general, and redefining marriage in particular.

Consider this. If some segment of humanity pulls off a new design--let's suppose we begin creating human life through cloning, or some other process, that may eventually completely leave sexual intercourse and the womb behind--who lives with that achievement? People who do not yet exist.

How much does this change the world? Will it be a greater change than, say, caused by fracking, or genetically modified wheat, or some of the geo-engineering schemes aimed at storing carbon, or otherwise cooling the planet? It's one thing to redesign a tomato, or a mountain; it's something else to redesign us.

In other words, we're seeing the truth of what a character in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov asked: "Without God and the future life? It means everything is permitted now, one can do anything?"

My answer? I've given it. Once we depart from God's Plan, we start down a wrong road. It's also a very long road. I think the next 50 years will give us a vivid tour of that wrong road.

* Natural Law, in a nutshell, is the term given to those "laws" that can be discerned, through the use of human reason, to the observation of the world around us, including ourselves, and how we are designed and operate. It generally presupposes a Creator, but it seems to me one could articulate a Natural Law without a Creator. Since I am not seeking to do that, I'll let others pursue that line.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Power: Real and Imagined; Self and God (Sunday homily)

Of all the things we might see in these readings, 
I’d like to suggest we think about power; 
and the contrast between the power we want, and the power we have.

Naaman is a powerful official with the King of Aram. 
But he has leprosy, and he can’t cure it.

If you read the larger story, you’ll see he traveled a long way, 
expecting the prophet to come out and pray over him. 
Instead, Elisha sent a message: go bathe in the Jordan River. 

Naaman was angry. 
He was a big-shot, and he expected to be treated that way.
Had Naaman not let go of his pride and anger,
He’d have gone home empty handed.

A lot of people wonder why they get angry.
Listen, and I’ll tell you a big reason why.

We get angry because we expect to have power in a situation, 
And we are frustrated when we do not.

A baby is crawling toward a hot stove.
Mom picks up baby; baby howls with fury.

Later, mom is driving up 75—in the fast lane. 
Behind a slow driver!
Mom howls with fury.

Or, we’re watching the news on TV. 
An elected official comes on. We don’t like him!
Now we howl: you’re wrecking the country! 

It’s all the same: I expect my way. I didn’t get my way. Fury!

Now: look at the second reading.
When Paul talks about the glory and power of God, 
What does he point to? 
Jesus—God—our King—nailed to the cross!

Why didn’t Jesus get angry?

For the same reason Naaman didn’t turn around go back home.

My way? Or God’s way?
Ego? Or surrender?
Now, my point is not to be passive in the face of wrong.
Naaman was not passive. 
He did what was within his power to do.

So, with the politicians, we can speak out, we can get involved, we can vote. 
We get a very thin slice of power, and we can and must use it for good.

But beyond that? Isn’t that God’s problem?

We’ve been talking about stewardship lately. 
A steward isn’t the boss—but he exercise power given him by his boss.
Part of that is material resources. 
So we’ve been talking about the financial support we give to the parish.
And, in the bulletin this weekend, we have a parish financial report.

But a good steward does a careful inventory.
And we have a lot of gifts that are not material. 
In my visits with parishioners, 
I keep hearing you say how much you value each other!
That’s part of the inventory—along with all the talents each of us has.

I said we get angry because we don’t have the power we want.
The flip side is we fail to appreciate the power we actually do have.

And I mentioned one, which is prayer. Real, intense, focused, sustained prayer.
And the power of prayer is precisely the power of God.
And the change it brings includes changing us—bending us and our will to His.
And I’ll always remember what a priest said once, 
in promoting adoration of the Holy Eucharist (which we’ll have after the 8 am Mass):
He said, the truth we won’t admit is, we don’t like to pray!
And he’s right!

Yelling at the politicians indulges my fantasy of being powerful.
While prayer demands the one thing I hate: 
It bends my ego right down to the ground!

In taking this inventory of power we actually do have,
There remains the awesome power of my own, individual choice. 
I can’t make the world change; I can’t make you change.
But I can choose to change myself! That’s my little kingdom. 
It’s not very big, but in the kingdom of my life, and my soul, 
God has put me in charge. 

Here, at last, we come to the paradox. 
I’m king of my life; and yet I am powerless 
over my own sins and failures,
my ego and pride and lust and greed.
Yet when I bow down before my Savior, nailed to the Cross.
When I let my ego be nailed there with him.
Then I have his power. That is freedom! That is Life!
That is yours! That is mine!

Friday, October 11, 2013

What First Communions have become...

Battle of Lepanto

My friend Rich Leonardi posted this a few days ago, I meant to link to it.

The Battle of Lepanto is one of the pivotal battles of all time.

What Hallowe’en is—and is not

(This was my bulletin column last Sunday at Holy Cross-Immaculata Parish.)

As this annual holiday draws near, it’s good to set some things straight. A lot of people have the wrong idea about Hallowe’en—due both to how TV and the movies depict it, and also how some misinformed, but well intentioned people, talk about it.

It’s not pagan! It’s Catholic. It’s the eve of All Hallows—aka, All Saints. Some pagan practices had an influence; but this way overstated. It would be more accurate to say that both paganism and Catholicism do similar things—marking time and taking account of the rhythms of nature and life—but for very different reasons.  But similarities and coincidences are inevitable.

Begging for snacks appears to originate from “souling”—in which poor people would seek food, offering prayers in return. It’s similar to Christmas caroling or “wassailing.” Dressing up may come from All Souls Day, Nov. 2. There was a custom in France, in the 1500s, of having plays that showed a “parade” of humanity, from birth, to death, to eternity, involved dressing up. It wasn’t sinister, but an invitation to conversion and prayer.

In our country, many Catholic images and practices have been “drained” of their Catholic content, only to be replaced with more questionable content. St. Patrick has been turned into a leprechaun who drinks too much. St. Nicholas became a shill for Coca-Cola. Easter and Christmas have been transformed; and this is what has happened with Hallowe’en.

How about we re-Christianize Hallowe’en? What if your child, while visiting homes, offered a prayer card in return—or simply promised a prayer? Visit 20 homes, say 20 “Glory Bes”? If the kids don’t dress as saints, at least be something heroic or fun, but not sinister.

I strongly urge you to avoid the darker things that have crept in. I know its fun to say “boo!”—but much of secular Hallowe’en goes way beyond that. We have TV shows and movies that are filled with darkness—and we make a grave mistake thinking this is all fun and games. Spiritual evil is real, and not to be taken lightly. And we have no reason to fear: we have Christ and the Sacraments!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Choice or Love (Sunday homily)

Is it off-putting to hear our Lord describe us as “servants,”
and to have him tell us not to expect praise from God
when we simply do what was expected?

If so, why? God is God, and we are his creatures.

Maybe the reason why is that most of the time,
we are told, or we tell ourselves, how important we are.
How special we are.

Now, I think it’s true that some people have too little self-esteem.
We hear about that. But we never seem to hear much discussion
of whether we have too much self-esteem!

Ego. Narcissism. It’s all about me.

But we have a whole lot of children suffering in our society
because of adults who put themselves, and their relationships,
their own freedom, ahead of responsibility
to the children they brought into the world.

In the whole discussion about
changing our society’s collective definition of marriage,
the issue of children has almost entirely been pushed aside;
because in our modern age,
marriage and the raising of children have been disconnected.

None of this changes the fact that a child can’t exist
without a mother and a father.

Either children are welcomed—even when they show up unexpectedly—
or else they will be discarded,
because they are imperfect,
or else because they don’t fit into the adults’ plans.

Our society says, it’s all about choice.
I’d like to suggest that what the Gospel says,
is that it’s all about love.

Growing up, my parents told me they loved me.
But that’s not what lives in my memory.

What I remember—
what touches me more deeply as I grow older—
is the memory of how my father and my mother
got up, day after day, and worked.
Everything they did, they did to make a good life for all of us—
but most of it wasn’t for them; but for their children. For me.

And I don’t know how any of that
could have happened if “self” and “choice”
had been number one, instead of love.
Not just my family; but any family.

One of the ways my parents loved me
wasn’t in what they gave me, or what they did for me,
as much as what they refused to give me! When my parents said No!
And their reward was my complaining about how mean they were,
and out of touch, and how they needed to get with the times!

Isn’t that what happens to us, as Catholics, when we confront our world,
and sometimes one another,
with parts of the Gospel that aren’t so easy to hear?

So, yes, we have been against war when everyone said go.
We oppose the death penalty and speak out against vengeance.
When our government says torture is necessary, it’s our duty to say No!

And when we are asked to buy the notion
that the dignity of women
must come at the cost of destroying unborn children,
again, we have to reject that sort of thinking,
and say, no, both lives are valuable,
because all human life is valuable.

And that’s what’s at stake in the subject of immigration.
Washington is so messed up,
I’m not even going to talk about any legislation.

But one of the key things our bishops are trying to get across—
and they need our help to do it—
is that whatever we do with immigration and borders,
we cannot forget the dignity and real needs of the human beings involved.

Whether with immigration, or war, or abortion, or health care,
or any other issue, it can’t be all about me—us—my kind—
or just about people who talk or look or pray like us.

This part of being a Christian can be hard,
Just like being good parents, or a good friend,
Who sometimes has to take a friend aside, and say, “we need to talk.”
But we do it out of love.

And what God said to the Prophet Habbakuk
in the first reading he says to us:
The message we have has to presented clearly.
And if it seems our vindication is delayed, wait for it.
“The vision will have its time.”