Tuesday, September 29, 2015

St. Remy Doors Update

Here's the scaffolding needed to set in place the final piece, called the tympanum.

Here's a closer look; although not close enough: at the bottom it says, Domus Dei et Porta Coeli: "House of God and Gate of Heaven."

Here's the tympanum being set in place a few minutes ago.

Dinner report: beer can chicken

I've made this before. I was going to get some steaks out and grill them, but I forgot; so on the way home from a movie, I picked up a chicken. Here it is, washed, dried, rubbed with butter, and coated with Cajun seasoning, and stood up on the stand (there's a can of Coors Light in there somewhere):

After about an hour, here's the chicken. (I think I left it on the grill just a bit too long, but it still tasted very good.) I'm not convinced the beer really does anything, because I doubt the temperature gets high enough for the beer to boil. One of these times I'll try it with an empty beer can.

While the chicken was "resting," I whipped up some sauteed spinach. This is really easy, by the way. You get some fresh spinach (not frozen; and if you wash the fresh spinach, be sure it's dry when you cook it), and after heating up some olive oil, throw in a generous amount of garlic powder. (Fresh garlic is even better -- just slice it fine and then gently cook the garlic, but not too much, before you throw in the greens.)

The spinach cooks fast; keep turning it so it all cooks evenly. At some point, add salt and pepper to taste, and I like Parmesan cheese on mine. Sometimes I see it with lemon, but I don't prefer that.

Here's the final dish. It was tasty! The chicken itself was a little scrawny, which is probably why it cooked so quickly. I ate almost half of it! You can't see it, but I had a glass of Chardonnay with this.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

God & guns

Here's one of my parishioners; here's his website; he trains people in self-defense and safe gun use.

He and his family are very faithful Catholics. I'm sure city people are appalled.

Bonus: go to the gallery to see pictures of folks around here shooting -- at targets!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sunday homily: late report

Sorry for no post of a homily on Sunday, but it was one of those weekends where I didn't have a text; and, to boot, I had a tight agenda for the weekend:

> Saturday after Mass, I was at a parishioner's house for dinner, and then stopped by a Catholic Social Services fundraiser.

> Sunday I had the first two Masses, then drove down to Cincinnati for the Bengals, then Oktoberfest. I got home Monday evening.

So what did I preach about?

I decided to zero in on the second reading, and I talked about serenity as the disposition we need, in order to keep from either the problems of ego and self-importance, as shown in the Apostles in the Gospel, or from the anger and envy and greed that the Apostle James talked about in the second reading.

I gave examples of anger and greed that we are all so prone to, in contrast to a serenity that comes from accepting our smallness, and not trying to grasp too firmly on either possessions, or even life itself. I cited the example of the saints, particularly those who embraced the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; along the way I said that some present were surely called to that life, and they would not be fully happy until they answered that call. And I talked about the one, and only one, possession we can be sure we will never lose, and that is Jesus Christ himself. I closed with the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference" -- as both a worthwhile prayer to pray, and also as a plan of life.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dinner adventure: Flank steak

As promised, my next cooking adventure is the flank steak I found in the freezer. I don't know why I bought it; when I was in the seminary, flank steak was one of the most-served/least-favorite items. I guess I'm over that. It was probably cheap.

For the recipe, I found this. First step? Produce some lemon juice. I had two-thirds of a lemon from last night; that didn't quite make enough, so I cut half of a second. That did it.

Here is the food processor with the rosemary leaves, garlic, salt and pepper, red pepper, olive oil and the aforementioned lemon juice. If you want your home to smell good, fresh rosemary is pretty awesome.

I blended that as called for (you'll see the result shortly). Then I got out the flank steak, and as directed, stuck it with a fork "twenty or thirty times." I thought about people who've been mean to me.

Here's the marinade (which tasted pretty good). Does this look "smooth"? I was wondering if I should have kept blending it. We'll see.

And here's the steak, ready for the fridge. I'm supposed to let it sit "four to eight hours" but it will be a lot more than that. Is that bad?

So what's for dinner tonight? Something pretty simple; something I think my ancestors would have eaten. I had some smoked sausage in the fridge, which I heated up in a skillet with a little water, and meanwhile, I cooked a potato in the oven. Here it is with some butter, salt and pepper. All washed down with a Bud Light:

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the Flank Steak Saga.


So, last night I prepared the flank steak. The only thing that was complicated was making the "dressing" or marinade, whatever you want to call it. It was more lemon juice, plus more rosemary, plus more olive oil and assorted spices. The tricky part was lemon zest. I have never "zested" a lemon, but however you do it, I'm sure it's easier if you haven't already cut the lemon to juice half of it. I was scraping the skin with the jagged edge of a potato peeler, but that method was going to take all night. So I turned the peeler around and sort of struck glancing blows against the lemon, yielding little scrapes off the skin. "That'll have to do," I decided, after I'd scraped my knuckles the second time.

Then I tried to chop it, but that was kind of a pain, too. Add to this that the recipe called for "mincing" the rosemary leaves. That's when I decided to try the food processor again. It worked pretty well, I think, although the rosemary never really got "minced." "Good enough," I decided. Here's the result:

And here's the meat, with the old marinade scraped off, and seasoned with pepper and salt:

The flank steak went on the grill for about six minutes a side; and I brushed it with the aforementioned marinade, which was also intended as a sauce after it was cooked. Here's the steak right off the grill:

And, about seven minutes later, during which I prepared the broccoli (I heated it in the microwave oven, then added butter, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice). Here's the resulting dish:


I had seconds!

The steak was good (although it was still a little chewy, but that's flank steak); I tried it first without the sauce, then with; a little better with, I think. Despite all the garlic in the marinade, and how long the meat was soaking in it, I'd have liked more garlic, and more red pepper too. I wonder if a marinade made with something like A-1 or another conventional steak sauce would work?

Last night's dinner experiment: Weiner Schnitzel

 Yesterday was my off day, so after sleeping late, I set out for Troy for breakfast; then, after lingering with coffee over the day's news, I headed to Piqua to catch a movie ("No Escape." Pretty entertaining.) While I was lingering, I looked up a recipe for some flank steak I fished out of the freezer; but the recipe I liked called for many hours of marinating. So that meant something different for this evening. After the movie, I got a sandwich and then headed to Krogers where, as I browsed the meat section, an orange "reduced!" label caught my eye. It was veal! Usually too pricey, but it was heavily marked down -- so I got four! I also got some strawberries, as well as the fresh rosemary I'll need for the flank steak later in the week.

So when I got back home, first I prepared the strawberries:

Here they are all cut up; after this I doused them with some sugar and a little red wine. Whatever will I do with them? Stay tuned...

Next I prepared the veal. I had found this recipe for Weiner Schniztel, which I love, but I'd never made before. It looked pretty easy, so I gave it a try. Here are the ingredients for the egg mixture:

Here's the veal:

After dipping the veal in plain flour, then in the egg mixture, finally in some bread crumbs, here's the veal, ready to put in the fridge for an hour or so. After this, I headed over to the church to say my prayers and offer Holy Mass.

Back from Mass, I whip up a shortcake with Bisquik, and then fix myself an aperitif. This is a Negroni:

Unfortunately, I lingered over my drink too long (I only had one, I swear!), so I had to redo the shortcake. After getting the shortcake out of the oven, I started some pasta. After finishing the refresher, I started the veal:

Meanwhile, I sauteed some garlic, pepper and parsley for the pasta (using this recipe):

Here's the finished schniztel:

And here was last night's dinner (and today's lunch):

Verdict: Pretty good!

I would have done better to use a larger pan for the pasta, as I couldn't stir it very well. Also, the garlic cooked very fast, and because I was caught up with the veal, I didn't watch it as closely as I ought to. Still, it was very good. The schnitzel would have been better pounded out a bit thinner, and I think it needed some sauce. The butter in the pan got a little brown, so I didn't use that. Next time, I might see about some sort of lemon-butter sauce. Oh, you noticed no capers? Yes, that was deliberate!

And dessert? Well, how can strawberry shortcake go wrong? I actually did leave the second shortcake in slightly too long, so it was more crunchy than I like! And, the strawberries will be better the next time, because they extrude more juice when you let them sit longer (which is why I did them first).

New doors at Saint Remy

My venerable predecessor set this in motion; I'm just around to see it happen.

Over the past year or so, an artist out west has been hand-crafting a new set of front doors for our church. We've been waiting excitedly for their installation, which was forecast, at one point, for last fall.

Today is the day -- at least, the first day of a multi-day project.

Here are the first steps:

To boot, I scooped the Fish Report!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jesus: 'Don't want the Cross? You don't want Me' (Sunday homily)

In the Gospel, Peter is offended 
by the idea of the Messiah going to the cross. 
But then, wouldn’t we have been? 
Isn’t what Peter says to Jesus just what we might say?
If someone says to us, “I’ve got a terrible path ahead of me. 
I’m probably going to suffer and die.” 
Wouldn’t we say, “God forbid! No such thing shall ever happen to you”?

And yet Jesus whips around and says, 
“Get behind me, Satan!” 
He’s not rejecting Peter; but he is warning him 
of just how wrong-headed his thinking is. 
And notice, Jesus doesn’t say get away from me, 
but rather, “Get behind me”—
meaning he wanted Peter with him, not as a roadblock.

How does this apply to us?

Well, I think about how some people respond 
when someone says, “I am thinking about being a priest,” 
or entering religious life. 
And parents and grandparents will say, oh no, that will be too hard; 
you’ll be lonely, you won’t make much money. 
They try to talk their children out of it, because it’s too hard. 
Too much of the cross.

Now, I have known great joy as a priest. 
And this summer at a conference, I asked a Dominican friar, 
how he would explain what’s special about entering religious life. 
And he said, it brings you as close as possible, in this life, to heaven! 
Because you are living your life centered on Jesus, on the Mass, 
on prayer, and on community with others doing the same thing. 
Isn’t that what heaven is?

Still, I won’t deny you do embrace the Cross. 
Especially as a priest, because to be a priest 
is to unite yourself with Jesus the High Priest, 
and his priesthood is the Cross.

But then, after explaining these things to Peter, what does Jesus do? 
He calls everyone together, not just the Apostles, 
but all who were listening and says: 
Whoever comes after me must take up his cross and follow me. 
“Whoever”! That’s every single one of us.

Parents, I want you to know what Karen, Mark Travis and I, 
what Gina and Maria and Carla and I and our catechists
are telling our boys and girls in our religious education program,
and in our Catholic kids groups.* 
We’re telling them that to be a Christian man or woman 
isn’t to run away from the Cross, but to face it. 
That’s where virtue happens. That’s how we become saints.

People like to mock Catholics, 
saying we have some perverse attachment to suffering. Not at all. 
I’d point out that Christianity, drawing from Judaism, 
has always led the world in relieving suffering. 

It was Catholic priests, led St. Camillus de Lellis, 
who created the first battlefield ambulances to assist the wounded. 
Did you know they wore red crosses on their cassocks?

What we do believe is that there are better things to live for 
Than merely comfort and affluence. 
And that many of the most worthwhile things in life 
Usually involve suffering, but that they are worth it. 

Friday was 9-11, and we remembered when our nation was attacked. 
We especially remember the first responders 
who risked everything to save so many lives. 
To embrace the Cross is to ready to run toward the danger, 
rather than away.

We might think of the county clerk in Kentucky, Kim Davis, 
who was in the news last week. 
She refused to put her signature 
on marriage licenses for same-sex couples, 
because she knows that no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court says, 
marriage is a man and a woman; that’s what marriage means.

She would not compromise, no matter what threats she faced. 
She may face impeachment; she may lose her job at the next election. 
She actually did go to jail, rather than back down.

Now, some have criticized Ms. Davis 
because of her own checkered experience with marriage. 
But there’s one fact that stands tall: 
she actually went to jail for her convictions. 
That’s something almost none of us have actually done, 
and something few of us would be willing to do. 

She was the first to go to jail over this issue, but she won’t be the last. 
But it goes beyond that. What about losing a job, or a promotion? 
What about losing friends or social position? 
Losing customers, or your whole business?
Christians are going to face these things in the years ahead.
If we’re going to be his disciple, we will take up the Cross.

This is a good time to talk about one of the teachings of our Faith 
that is most misunderstood, and most widely disregarded, 
and yet I think it will prove, in years to come, 
to be the most prophetic. 

That is our teaching – which goes back to the beginning, by the way – 
about contraception and openness to life: 
that all acts of love between husband and wife 
must be open to life, and that life must have its beginning, 
not in a laboratory, but in a couple’s act of love.

Of course I realize being a parent is a sacrifice. 
So many of you bear witness to this every day;
and I will always remember the sacrifices my parents made, 
which I had to reach adulthood to understand fully. 

But to me, that only proves the truth of this teaching: 
because notice, it puts the cross right at the center of marriage. 
How can a Christian marriage be otherwise? 
How can a home and a family be Christian, 
without the Cross right at the center? 

So there is either the sacrifices of a larger family, 
or the sacrifices that Natural Family Planning entails. 
But I don’t understand an argument that says, “
this teaching can’t be true, because it’s too sacrificial.” 
I see no way to square that with what we just hear Jesus say.

When Jesus said, we can’t be his disciple without taking up the Cross, 
that ought to make our eyes pop. It sure did Peter’s! 
Notice what Jesus is saying: it’s the whole deal. 
There is no being a Christian without taking up the Cross.

When we come to the day of judgment, the Cross—
not just wearing it, but carrying it and living it—
is how he will know his own.

That’s why it’s essential to understand that when we come to Mass, 
we are coming to the Cross. It really is just that simple. 
That’s the only real reason to come: 
Jesus is offering himself for our salvation; 
we come here to receive salvation, 
and to help him plead for the salvation of others. 
That’s what the Mass is; that’s what the Eucharist is. 

When the priest offers us the Eucharist, 
it’s not just “the Body of Christ,” 
it’s the broken, crucified Body of Christ, 
and the shed-for-us-on-the-cross “Blood of Christ.” 

But thank God, it’s also, 
the risen-from-the-dead, victorious Body of Christ!

That’s what we say “amen” to: We say “yes” to the Cross.

* After two Masses, someone helped me realize I ought to apply this to our Religious Education efforts. My apologies.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Scenes from parish life

Here are some little snapshots of my parish:

> Last Saturday and Sunday was the annual parish homecoming. We routinely have an outdoor Mass on Saturday evening; but about 90 minutes before the scheduled time, radar showed a good chance of a storm hitting during Mass. So I made the call to move the Mass back inside. I was in the confessional at the moment, but no one with me, of course.

We had four or five boys lined up to serve the Mass; I came out of the confessional to let them know; so they dutifully started bringing chairs back inside. I told the boys -- who, out of habit, had already gotten dressed for Mass -- that they didn't have to wear their cassocks for the hauling in of the chairs. It was over 90 outside. Such dedication!

> The Saturday Mass was packed. Normal attendance for Saturday evening Mass will be between 250-300. Expecting a much larger crowd, I planned for about 800 communions. After communion, I think I put about 100 consecrated hosts back into the tabernacle. The church seats about 350; with extra chairs, and standing-room only, maybe we get 500 inside the building. The rest were outside. I expected a ghost town the next day, since our weekend average is around 700-800; as it happened, we probably had around 500+ more at Sunday's three Masses.

> Wednesday morning -- 5:45 am -- we have the Traditional Latin Mass. Some days it's about 6 people; sometimes more. This week it included a family; the brother wanted to learn to serve the older form of the Mass, and the way I teach them is to have them shadow a more experienced server, who shows them the ropes. He was here on Friday evening for the First Friday Traditional Latin Mass; and he came back on Wednesday. And his mom and sisters came too! Very impressive.

> Last night was religious education. I met with the 8th graders and we talked about how Jesus is present in the sacraments, particularly in the Mass. As part of it, I recruited several of the boys to take turns reciting part of the Eucharistic Prayer, as if they were priests at the altar. They did well! When I was explaining what a sacrament is, I began the traditional, nine-word definition (from the Baltimore Catechism): "An outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace." They all finished the definition with me. They knew it. People wonder why I love my parish...

> I just got an email from a parishioner who is head of our St. Vincent de Paul committee. I'd asked him to head up efforts to generate food for the "Food for All" project. The Archbishop had asked every parish to contribute 5,000 items of food for the poor, as part of a "spiritual bouquet" for the Holy Father, when he visits in a few weeks. The goal was to raise $2,500 -- the committee raised over $3,400! They're going to add another $100 for a round $3,500, and they'll use that to buy food for the drive.

I have other stories, but those are private; but it's the same story. I have a great parish. God is doing good things in the lives of people here.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Annulment can of worms

The pope keeps making news. Last week it was encouraging all those who participate in abortion to seek absolution; this week, it is reforms in the process of having the Church determine whether one's prior attempt at marriage was invalid.

I haven't seen the document translated into English, and I don't know when I will. In any case, I haven't yet finished Laudato Si (the pope keeps stepping on his own headlines), and I have no particular expertise in Canon Law.

My reaction was that most of these weren't big changes, but one of them was: the proposal for an expedited process. Supposedly this will be reserved for special cases; I think it'll be another of those loopholes, intended for rare use, that becomes widespread. For example: "extraordinary ministers of holy communion" were supposed to be an exceptional thing.

Here's what a bona fide expert in canon (i.e., church) law has to say.

A final thought (for now). It occurs to me that the pope may be returning serve to the German and Swiss bishops whose defiance of Catholic moral teaching has come out into the open in recent months.

Recall that what they say they want is "merely" to make it easier for divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive holy communion. (In reality, what they are asking for is a revolution in Catholic moral teaching, sweeping aside what we believe about same-sex behavior, contraception, abortion, adultery, sex outside marriage, and the permanence of marriage.) Well, it occurs to me the pope has lobbed it back over the net. "You want to make it easier? This makes it easier." Not that the holy father approves of their defiance, or that he wants the process abused; rather, he may be hoping this gives them a chance to draw back from schism, and this is his saying, in effect, "this is far as I can go."

Sunday, September 06, 2015

What will people remember you saying? (Sunday homily)

Let’s take a look at this healing in the Gospel.

The man cannot hear and he cannot speak clearly. 
The Lord Jesus takes him aside, away from the crowd, 
and says, Ephphatha: “be opened!” 
Jesus touches his tongue, and “he spoke plainly.”

While Jesus was more than willing to heal people’s eyes and ears,
that wasn’t his primary mission.
His main purpose was to heal their relationship with his Father, 
and also the relationships between one another.

In a word: heaven.
There is no heaven for us if we are not united with God;
Nor can it be heaven if God’s children are not united with each other.

The healing Jesus gave this man was a prelude to spiritual healing.

That’s true for us, by the way. 
We ask for physical healing. We may or may not receive it.
What we need most of all is healing of our soul.
So when the priest is called to give the sacrament of anointing,
There is always a spiritual healing – I’ve seen it many times –
Even if there isn’t the physical healing.

And here’s something else that happens: the person who is ill, 
when I anoint him or her, will often see a recovery, 
but it only lasts for awhile.

And we might wonder, why would God do that?
One answer could be: 
to give the sick person the opportunity 
to heal his or relationship with God, or with family. 
Again, that is something I’ve seen.

So to reiterate: as important as physical healing is, 
Jesus is always aiming at healing our souls, 
healing our relationship with God – and then with others as well.

Let’s put ourselves in this Gospel story. 
What if that man was you?
Are your ears open?
How much conflict is because we’re not listening?

Some of us are good at telling, but listening not so much.

Is this you? When you’re in a conversation, 
and someone else is speaking, are you really listening? 
Or, are you working out what you’re going to say next?

That’s me: I am a talker. I have to work at staying silent.
If you’re like me, here’s a challenge for you. 
It’ll drive you nuts, but it will do you good:
The next time you’re in a conversation with a coworker, or your spouse, 
or anyone, make a point not to respond!

Instead of saying something smart, just nod.
Instead of arguing, say: “I will think about that.”
Let the other person have the last word!
And instead of jumping right in, try saying nothing at all, 
and wait until you’re asked what you think?

I know what you’re afraid of: No one will ask!
Yeah? And if you’re like me, there’s a message: 
Maybe we’ve been talking too much.

Now, some of us are the opposite. 
We don’t talk, even when we need to.

You may think your wife or husband knows what you think, 
but don’t assume. Tell her. Tell him.

When is the last time you told your husband 
something you appreciate about him?
Husbands, when did you last do that for your wife?

A few words of appreciation are amazingly powerful.
Words like “please,” “thank you,” and “I was wrong” 
are amazingly healing.

I don’t often tell jokes in a homily, but I will today. 

There was a guy who became a monk; 
and the rule was, no one ever spoke, except once a year, 
you would would meet with the Superior, 
and you get to say just two words.

So twelve months go by, 
and the new fellow comes to meet with Father Superior, 
who asked for his two words: “Bad food.” 
With that, he went back to his cell.

Another twelve months goes by, 
and he comes back, and his two words are “Hard bed.”
The Father Superior nods, and sends him back to his cell.
Now another twelve months goes by, 
and when he guy returns a third time, he says, “I quit.”

And the Father Superior shook his head sadly, and said,
“I can’t say I’m surprised. All you do is complain!”

If you only got two words, what would they be?
What will people remember you saying?

Friday, September 04, 2015

What the pope said re: confession & abortion

A lot of people are talking about what Pope Francis said last week about giving priests faculties to absolve the sin of abortion, as well as what he said about priests affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and given them faculties so they can validly hear confessions during the special Jubilee next year.

This requires some explanation.

As you may know, in March Pope Francis declared a special Jubilee Year of Mercy to begin December 8, 2015, and to extend until November 20, 2016. His hope is that during this time, all Catholics will reflect deeply on God’s mercy, especially as he makes it available in the sacraments – the sacrament of confession in particular:

Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord's words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk 6:36)”

Pope Francis expressed the hope that this year “might animate it as a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy.”

A lot of people are confused; they didn't know that priests couldn't already absolve the sin of abortion.

Church law deems some sins so grave as to require the bishop – not a priest – to absolve them; such is the case for procuring an abortion. That said, however, in this Archdiocese (and I suspect in many other places), priests were already given faculties to absolve the sin of abortion. What the pope did was extend this faculty to priests worldwide.

Another aspect of this is that Church law makes distinctions between sin, crime and sanction. I'm not an expert in these matters, and unless I write it carefully, I'll confuse the matter. Instead, here's an article by an eminent expert in the field.

What about the grant of faculties to SSPX priests? That can be explained two ways.

First, this may be a gesture the pope is making to hasten reconciliation. The SSPX was formed in 1970 by a tradition-oriented French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, in the wake of Vatican II. In 1988, Lefebvre ordained four bishops in defiance of Pope John Paul II, creating a conflict that has not yet been healed, although Pope Benedict made many efforts to do so, and Pope Francis has continued in the same vein.

The second factor is this: priests affiliated with the SSPX, because it’s in an irregular relationship with the Vatican, do not have faculties to hear confessions or to officiate at weddings. Because there are people who are very attached to the traditional Mass, who in good faith seek confession from SSPX priests, this is a way to meet their needs.

In any case, these are two concrete steps the pope is making to foster more people coming to confession; which I hope spurs all of us, of whatever situation, to seek God’s mercy in confession.

But it isn’t all about the pope, or even priests. Each of us is called to be a messenger and bearer of mercy. If we hope others will go to confession, are we going ourselves? Are we offering forgiveness in our own lives?

Finally, here's something I got from the Archdiocese:

Much of the news coverage about Pope Francis extending to all priests the faculty to absolve the sin of abortion and remove the automatic excommunication that can incur has been misleading and confusing.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati wants to make it clear that our priests have already had this faculty for many years. No one who has received absolution for this sin from a priest of the Archdiocese, acting as the instrument of God’s mercy, should doubt the validity of the sacrament.

No priest can engage in sacramental ministry without being granted faculties to do so by the local bishop. What is included in those faculties is detailed in writing. Priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as permitted by canon law, have long been granted by the Archbishop “the faculty to absolve the sin (of abortion) and to remit the (automatic) penalty” of excommunication. 

As St. John Paul II assured post-abortive women in his encyclical, The Gospel of Life, “The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” The Catholic Church also offers compassionate post-abortion healing through Project Rachel.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

What the Kentucky clerk case is really about.

You've probably seen coverage of this story: Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk of Courts, who refuses to issue same-sex "marriage" licenses, because of her conscience.

She's lost her last appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. As sad as that is, it's not surprising.

Here's a comment someone posted in a Facebook discussion of this:

She swore an oath to defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If she cannot abide by that, she has no business being a public servant, paid for by those she serves. Her beliefs should have no function in whether she performs her public duties. If she has an issue with this, and possibly other laws that might conflict with her faith, then she should resign. It is that simple.

The sad truth is, that's more or less the way the law will sort out.

But this is a lot bigger than Ms. Davis.

This raises a broader question: what sort of country are we becoming?

I'd like to know what the bishops have to say to the question Ms. Davis raises: is it moral for a Christian to cooperate directly with "same sex marriage" in this fashion: by issuing a license for such a "marriage"?

Are faithful Christians obliged to refuse -- and, if necessary, resign?

Ms. Davis isn't the only one in this situation. Across the country, I'm sure there are a lot of employees in these county offices facing the same dilemma. What's different for her is that she isn't just an employee, she's the elected official responsible for this function. In other cases, I'd bet office staff who have moral objections are quietly stepping back, and letting coworkers, who don't have any objections, handle those cases.

Mark my words, at some point, the hammer will fall on one of those subordinates. Someone will demand: no, you can't let Suzie or Joe issue the license. You must sign it. You must issue it. Just as we've seen the exact same thing happen with bakers and florists and photographers. You must give your personal approval to my actions -- you -- you the Christian. I want you to have to do it -- or, face destruction.

Let's see where this points us, especially when you add in other conflicts that will come down the pike before long.

We already have schools being told, they must allow "transgender" students to use the locker rooms and bathrooms of their choice. That means a boy who claims to be a girl can have access to the girls' locker room, and vice-versa. The University of Tennessee is pushing students to use made up, "gender neutral pronouns"; at Washington State University, a professor plans to fail students if they refer to "male" and "female."

When the U.S. Supreme Court imposed "same sex marriage" on the entire country earlier this year, did you notice all the big corporations that gleefully -- and instantly -- published ads and tweets, siding with the decision, and in many cases, making it clear that they had no use for anyone who disagreed? I visited with a friend a few weeks ago -- he's a layperson with several children -- who works for a big company. He candidly says he expects he won't be able to be promoted, precisely because he dissents from the new orthodoxy.

This is the new "freedom," the brave new America: if you are a faithful Christian, you will be marginalized:

> You won't be hired by many companies; and if hired, you will not be allowed to advance.
> You won't be able to serve in many government offices; you won't be able to be a judge or a magistrate, if you won't solemnize unnatural "marriages."
> You will be hounded out of many, if not, most universities.

And what about the military? Does anyone think this won't reach there? You know that it will.

All this is solely from the same-sex marriage issue, and the related crusade for "transgender rights." We aren't even considering what happens if the government finds a way to implement it's mandate that businesses and religious entities help provide contraception and abortion services -- as part of health insurance. Nor are we even considering the implications as legalizing euthanasia gains steam.

Oh, it may all be "lawful."

But stop and think what it means when committed Christians are turned into exiles in their own country.

Think about the implications if you are a committed Christian.

But also: think about what it means if you are concerned for the country. Will making Christians unwelcome in the military, help our nation's defenses? Will alienating faithful Christians be good for the cohesion of our society?

Have a care, secularists. Christians have been through this before, and worse. They will endure. What will this do to the country?