Monday, January 30, 2012

NCR sides against Catholic freedom

The sad saga of the National (so called) Catholic Reporter continues.

On its site today, it posts an editorial that I would summarize as follows:

We're pretty much fine with Obama forcing Catholics to go along with contraceptives and sterilization and abortion-causing drugs, as part of health care, because...we think those are good things and that's where the crowd is going, and, well, we wish the Obama administration had been a little more subtle but so what. Everyone should stop complaining because that makes things unpleasant, and we don't like that.

You can, of course, read it for yourself and form your own conclusion.

I wonder what NCR blogger Michael Sean Winters--who wrote a scathing denunciation of President Obama's attack on religious freedom--will do now.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A new assignment

(I am reading the following statement at all Masses in Piqua this weekend.)

As I described in the bulletin two months ago, pastors are routinely assigned for six-year terms, and when those terms end, they can be given new assignments, or else appointed for a second term.

My term as your pastor is coming due June 30 and thus Archbishop Schnurr faced a decision about either re-appointing me or giving me a new assignment.

After discussing the matter with the Archbishop, and Bishop Binzer, and giving consideration to the needs of the parishes, the Archbishop believes that I have done all I can do for the parishes in Piqua. I will be given a new assignment come July 1 but I don’t know yet what that will be. A new pastor will be sent here for both parishes. New pastors are usually announced in March or April.

In March, Bishop Binzer will come to Piqua and meet with the pastoral councils, the finance councils, the school board, and anyone else who wishes to participate, in order to explain how a new pastor is chosen and how this fits in with the needs of parishes in the area.

I have been honored to be your pastor.

'This is about conscience' (Sunday homily)

I have a letter to read to you from Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.

(Read letter.)

At this time, we don’t know
whether Piqua Catholic School or Lehman High School
will be exempt.

It appears obvious our Catholic universities, our Catholic charities and hospitals,
will not be exempt. Obviously, any of us who own a business, won’t be exempt.

As you heard, Archbishop Schnurr has said, “we cannot—we will not—comply.”

Now, there are many who do not understand why we are taking this stand.

So, let me fill that in, so it’s clear why the Church is prepared—why I am prepared—
to go to jail rather than obey this. And it may come to that.
They will fine us if we do not obey; and either someone goes to jail,
or they seize our property, if we refuse to pay.

Why do we believe contraception and sterilization are so wrong
that we cannot and must not provide them as part of health plans?

Our human nature is caught up in God’s eternal plan.
We are not mere animals; God has said of us,
that you and I are made in his image and likeness.

So, first, that means that all our human choices are moral choices;
and when it comes to the use of our sexuality, this is especially true.

When a man and woman come together
they are capable at that moment—and no other—
in doing what otherwise, God alone can do:
bring into existence, out of nothing, a human being, an eternal soul!

The moment of a couple’s union is the moment when humanity is most like God.

So when Pope Paul VI in 1968 issued Humanae Vitae,
all he did was reiterate the constant teaching of the Church.
He did create a new doctrine. He restated it as follows.

Human acts of love are by their nature, both unifying and life-giving.
This is obvious.

Here is the key point: we believe that these two essential qualities of human acts of love
cannot and must not be separated.
The life-giving part must be respected and accepted together with the unifying part.
You can’t take one without the other.

Contraception and sterilization are two ways humans attempt to remove the life-giving part.
As Catholics, we believe this is a mortal sin—because it re-designs God's design,
and also it strikes at the very heart of our human identity.

And this is also why we cannot go along with
conceiving children outside of those same human acts of love—
in vitro fertilization.
Because that again rejects God’s design in a mirror fashion:
by setting aside the unifying part, and taking procreation to a laboratory.

This helps explain why it we consider sex outside marriage to be sinful;
because only in the context of marriage—saying “I do” for life—
are these acts truthfully loving.
Love isn’t momentary or selfish; it’s forever and it gives all.

While on the subject, this is why we can never agree to redefine marriage.
Marriage—and thus family—are not the creation of governments.
Marriage of a man and a woman arises out of our human nature itself.
No one “invented” marriage; it is written in our very nature.

Here is what is under attack right now:
-- What is marriage?
-- What is family?

-- What is human life and human dignity?

In short, this is a war on our very human nature itself.
Is human nature itself subject to the whims and dictates of government?

Now, folks are saying, this is just a Catholic doctrine. Not all Americans share this faith.

Well, on the question of human dignity and marriage,
a society has to have common ground.
But on the question of contraceptives,
we aren’t asking every American to share these beliefs.
All we are asking is that our government not interfere in our beliefs!

This is about conscience.
We ought to be just as outraged
if it were Muslim or Amish or Jewish consciences that were being violated.
It would be just as wrong.

From now on, at every Mass, we will include a petition about this.

We will soon provide a way for you to write Congress.

I ask you to pray and fast. I ask you to contact Archbishop Schnurr—
his address is on the letter inserted in the bulletin—and give him your support.
Expect to hear a lot more, unless by God’s help, this is turned back quickly.

Sad to say but true...