November 3, 2013

Vote Like a Catholic. This Tuesday, November 5, Virginians go to the polls to elect our state and local officials, including our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Delegates. Sadly, many, including many Catholics, will vote for candidates who embrace abortion, “gay marriage” and the undermining of religious liberty, and many others will stay home and not vote at all.

It is our moral duty, as Christians, to vote, and I encourage all of you to do so on Tuesday, and to vote like the faithful Catholics you are. And I also encourage you to pray for the good of the Commonwealth, especially by joining in our Novena to St. Thomas More.

The following are some quotes that I think will be helpful as you prepare to vote. (Note: for lack of space I am only quoting each in part).
——
Pope Calls Faithful to Participate Actively in Politics

by Catholic News Agency – Lauren Cate, September 17, 2013 (in part)

…In his Sept. 16 daily homily at St. Martha House, the Pope rejected the idea that “a good Catholic doesn’t meddle in politics.” “That’s not true. That is not a good path,” he said, according to Vatican Radio. “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.”

“None of us can say, ‘I have nothing to do with this; they govern,’” Pope Francis told those present for the Mass. Rather, citizens are responsible for participating in politics according to their ability, and in this way, they are responsible for their leadership.

“Politics, according to the social doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good,” he explained. “I cannot wash my hands, eh? We all have to give something!”

He noted that it is sometimes common for people to speak only critically of their leaders, to complain about “things that don’t go well.” Instead of simply complaining, we should offer ourselves — our ideas, our suggestions and, most of all, our prayers, the Holy Father said.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (2239-2240)

It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.

Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country…

Homily of Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis), Archbishop of Buenos Aires, In a Homily August 31, 2005.

When one listens to what Jesus says: Look, “I send you, I send you like sheep amongst the wolves,” one wants to ask: “Lord, are you joking, or do not have a better place to send us?” Because what Jesus says is a little chilling: “if you proclaim my message, they are going to persecute you, they are going to slander you, they are going to set traps to deliver you to the courts and to have you killed. But you must continue forward. For that reason, take care, Jesus says, and be astute, be clever like the serpent but very simple like doves,” joining the two things.

The Christian cannot allow himself the luxury to be an idiot, that’s clear. We don’t have the luxury to be fools because we have a very beautiful message of life and we’re not permitted to be fools. For that reason, Jesus says, “Be astute, be careful.” What is the astuteness of the Christian? In knowing how to discern who is a wolf and who is a sheep.

And when, during this celebration of life, a wolf disguises himself as a sheep, it’s knowing how to smell him. “Look, you have the skin of a sheep but the smell of a wolf.” And this, this mandate that Jesus gives us is very important. It’s for something very great. Jesus tells us something that attracts our attention, when someone asks him: “well, why did you come into the world?” “Look, I come to bring life and for that life to be in abundance, and I am sending you so that you can advance that life, and so that it will be abundant”…

I was reading a book a while back, where this disturbing phrase was found: “In the world of today, the cheapest thing is life, what costs the least is life” — which is, therefore, the most disregarded thing, the most dispensable thing…

This child who is on the way is a bother to the family. “Oh no, for what? I have no idea. Let’s discard him and return him to the sender.” …

That’s what the culture of death preaches. It’s not interested in life. What interests it? Egoism. One is interested in surviving, but not in giving life, caring for life, offering life…

Open your heart to life! …How beautiful is caring for life, allowing life to grow, to give life like Jesus, and to give it abundantly, not to permit that even one of these smallest ones be lost. ….And we care for life, because He cares for our life from the womb. We have it in the motto for this year: “From the womb you were our protector.” He cares for us and he teaches us that.

We (modern society) don’t care for life. Because there is an ethical order of caring for life, we simply care for life. Jesus teaches us to care for life because it is the image of God, who is absolute life. We cannot announce anything else but life, and from the beginning to the end. All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth.

But it is a road that is full of wolves, and perhaps for that reason they might bring us to the courts, perhaps, for that reason, for caring for life they might kill us. We should think about the Christian martyrs. They killed them for preaching this Gospel of life, this Gospel that Jesus brought. But Jesus gives us the strength. Go forth! Don’t be fools, remember, a Christian doesn’t have the luxury of being foolish, I’m not going to repeat, an idiot, a fool, he can’t give himself the luxury. He has to be clever, he has to be astute, to carry this out.

Oremus pro invicem, et pro Virginiae. Fr. De Celles

30th Sunday In Ordinary Time 2013

October 27, 2013
Homily by Fr. John De Celles
St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church,
Springfield, Va.

As most of you know,
I was born, bred, schooled and gainfully employed until the age of 31
in the Great State of Texas.
Texas is a unique state.
It has flown the flag of 6 nations, including the “Republic of Texas” for 9 years.
It’s massive expanse of land is bounded
on one side by the vast coastline of the Gulf of Mexico,
and on the other by the Rocky Mountains;
and in between it has the coastal plain, the piney woods,
the hill country, and yes, the desert.

But most of all it has it’s history: from it’s pre-colonial Indian tribes
to it’s colonization by Spain in 1519, to the modern day,
Texas history is filled with colorful characters and dramatic events.
Perhaps the best known of these is the story of its war for independence,
in particular the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio—my home town—
and it’s great heroes:
James Bowie, William Travis, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston.

So, as you can see, I am a proud Texan.
And it took a lot to get me to leave there 22 years ago when I entered seminary:
it took another Great State with a colorful history and tradition:
my new home, the Great State, the Great Commonwealth, of Virginia.

Like Texas, Virginia is a physically beautiful state.
Of course it doesn’t have the serene and starkly dramatic desert
—but it does have that stunning vivacious rolling greenery.
And it doesn’t have the shear size of Texas,
but what it lacks there it more than makes up for
in the size of its history and historical characters.
While Texas has it’s Crockett and Houston,
they are midgets in comparison to giants like
Patrick Henry, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson,
and, of course, George Washington.

______
Now, you might wonder, what does any of this have to do with Jesus Christ
and the Catholic Faith?
Well, I’ll tell you.

Virginia has been a tremendously important state in the history of our nation.
And there can be no doubt that individual Virginians
have profoundly changed and shaped that history.
But Virginia and Virginians,
also have a terrible stain on their record:
200 years ago they supported an institution so horrible
that today we Virginians, and all Americans, still feel the guilt:
the despicable institution of slavery:
the treatment of a human being
as less than human
and so without basic human rights or dignity.

How could such a great state with great statesmen
ever support this inhumane institution?
Well, you can come up with lots of explanations:
different times, the effects of culture, the economics, etc.
And you can understand that while Jefferson and Washington
seemed to truly want to eliminate slavery, they found it impossible to do so
without ripping the fragile Union of States apart
losing their historic chance to establish
a government truly of “We the people.”

But then…why did they continue to own their own slaves
—Washington only freeing his in his will, Jefferson not even doing that?
Of course, again, there are lot’s of reasons,
and I’ve well aware of them so please don’t come to me after Mass
to educate me.
Understand me: I am not trying to knock down these giants
—their great and noble historical achievements stand for themselves
and do not merit attack from this pulpit.
And I will say it: I am a huge fan and admirer of Washington.

But no matter how we look at it, no reasons and no historical anomalies
eradicate the fact that slavery is—and always has been—
a grave moral evil.
And as great as these men were, no one could convince me that in 2013
Virginians would ever elect a Thomas Jefferson or George Washington
if they were around today and still supported slavery.

As we know that one stain was not isolated in its effects,
as it corrupted the whole society of the first part of the 19th century,
warping the economic, social and political systems,
eventually leading to over 500,000 dead in a bloody civil war,
which was followed by another 100 years
of the hatred and oppression of racism
that we bear the scars of even to this day.

All because certain states and even certain great men in those states
refused to recognize a particular class of persons as human beings
with human rights.

______
States and their governance are important, always have been.
It was, in fact, the states who came together and organized the United States,
and it is at the state level that many, if not most,
of the laws that effect the day to day life of Americans
are written and enforced.
This importance is reflected, at least to some extent,
in the American constitutional principle of “states’ rights”.

Unfortunately, nowadays,
“states rights” tends to have a negative connotation in some circles.
This is understandable inasmuch as that negative connotation
is rooted historically in state laws protecting slavery and racism.
But the problem is not with “states rights,”
but with the persons who are defining, defending and working out
the laws at the state level.
As long as state government officials were tolerant of slavery or racism,
their corruption would corrupt their states, and then the whole country.

So we see, the men and women we choose to lead our states
are critical to real justice in our country.
Remember that all of those heroic Virginians I mentioned
served in Virginia government before achieving national prominence
—both Henry and Jefferson served as Governor.

______
In less than 2 weeks we have a state election in Virginia.
But sadly too many Virginians seem to view this so called “off year” election
as really unimportant.
This baffles me, especially when you consider all the issues at stake,
especially in the election of Governor:
taxes, jobs, the economy, transportation, energy, etc..

But the thing is, no matter where you stand on those important issues,
what good is any of that if the man or woman you vote for
doesn’t get it right on the most fundamental issues?
For example, what if one of the candidates
seemed to have all the right answers,
but one day came out saying
that a certain group of people are inferior to others,
not fully human beings with fundamental human rights .
Who in their right mind would vote for him,
even if he was the 2nd coming of George Washington himself?

The thing is, there are candidates around today who say this very thing.
But this time the group they target is not people of African decent,
but people of every color and ethnicity
who have only one fatal defect:
they are simply unborn baby human beings.

One gubernatorial candidate, who is strongly pro-abortion,
is actually openly and viciously attacking his strongly pro-life opponent
for defending the fundamental right to life of unborn Virginians.
He tries to label him as “anti-women,”
but what he really means is that his opponent is ant-abortion.
For example, the pro-abortion candidate runs ads
accusing the pro-life candidate
of supporting new health and safety regulations
on all the abortion clinics in Virginia
just to shut down them all down.
As if shutting down all the clinics killing unborn baby Virginians
would be a bad thing?

The pro-abortion candidate says the pro-life candidate wants
to end women’s access to contraception.
In reality, the pro-life candidate supported a bill
recognizing that each unborn Virginian is a “person”
from the moment of their conception.
But the pro-abortion candidate won’t call the unborn babies “persons”,
just like the slave owners wouldn’t call their African slaves “person.”
And what the pro-abortion candidate calls “contraception”
is really drugs that induce abortion after conception,
and so we’re not talking contraception, but abortion.

Now, imagine if Candidate A criticized Candidate B for
trying to put restrictions a white man’s right to choose
to treat a black man as his property…or to lynch a black man.
Or if Candidate A criticized Candidate B because
Candidate B tried to pass a law saying that all blacks are persons.

The whole state would be in an uproar, and no one would vote for Candidate A.
Why don’t we have the same reaction to a candidate who says
that unborn babies are not persons and that we can kill them?

______
Jefferson and Washington were great men,
and they gave birth to a great nation, and a great state.
But what made them great was the founding principle,
carved into the foundation of our history by Jefferson himself, as he wrote:
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident,
that all Men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

But in denying those self-evident truths as applying
to Africans and their descendants, those otherwise great Virginians
undermined the very thing that made for greatness,
and led our nation, our state, to disaster.
And the same stands true today in Virginia, as candidates
for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and assembly delegate
deny these self-evident truth—the “unalienable right…to Life”
when it comes to unborn baby Virginian.
How can you vote for them?
And how can you stay home and not vote against them?

______
Today’s gospel tells about the self-righteous Pharisee blinded by his pride,
and the penitent tax collector who, by humble openness to God’s grace,
saw himself as he truly was.
The Pharisee reminds me of the many Christian in the 18th and 19th century,
who were blinded by either their noble ambitions for our nation
or simply by greed
or by a prideful sense of both a moral and natural superiority
over the black race,
and so defended or even embraced the practice of slavery.

But the tax collector reminds me of the many others, who saw their error,
and humbly repented their involvement in slavery.

In particular he reminds me of another tax collector, a man named John.
You see, before he was a tax collector, John was the Captain of a slave ship.
Until one night his ship was caught in a terrible storm
and like the tax collector in the parable,
he called out to Jesus, and Jesus saved him.
But not only from the storm, but from his whole way of life, and as he became
one of the most outspoken opponents of slavery of his time.
He would put all this into the words of what has become
one of the most beloved Christians hymns, as John Newton would write:
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”

How blind were John Newton, and Thomas Jefferson and George Washington,
to the great inhumanity called slavery?
How blind are we Virginians today to the great inhumanity called abortion?

Some of you may be thinking:
“preacher, mind your pulpit,”
or “there is a wall of separation between church and state.”
Tell that to the Reverend John Newton,
the former slave trader, turned tax collector, turned Anglican priest,
and to the other founders of the Abolitionist Movement,
that began in and was spread from the pulpits of that day
—first in England, and then in America!
There can be no wall that separates
man from humanity,
or truth from government.

______
22 years ago I moved from the Great State of Texas
to the Great Commonwealth of Virginia.
I am still a Texan at heart, but I am proud to be a Virginian too,
especially because of Virginia’s rich traditions of noble courage,
and great heroic figures that forged our great nation.
Even so, too many Virginians of times passed, including our greatest heroes,
were blinded by their times, culture, and fears,
and, yes, even blinded by their hopes for the future of America.
But as time would tell their hopes could never be fulfilled until
“all men” were truly treated as “created equal,”
and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,
…Life, Liberty, an
d the Pursuit of Happiness…”

On Tuesday, November 5, I pray that we Virginians
will live up to what was best in our forefathers.
But I pray also that, by the grace of Jesus Christ,
we may see what they were so unpardonably blinded to.
I pray that we will all be true heroes, authentic moral giants,
defending the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
of all human beings, white or black, rich or poor, born or unborn.

God bless the Commonwealth of Virginia. Amen.

October 7, 2012

Today is “Respect Life Sunday,” beginning “Respect Life Month,” in which the American Bishops call us to remember that over 3000 innocent Americans are killed every day by abortions, over 1.3 million a year, for a total of over 50 million dead since 1973.

But even as horrible as that death toll is, we can’t forget that abortion has other consequences as well—consequences that have been eating away at the moral and legal fiber of our nation and culture.

Of course, we cannot forget the consequence of abortion’s devastating effect on women. Especially the women who have been lied to and told, “it’s okay, it’s just a formless clump of cells.” But deep inside they know, or come to know, the truth of what they’ve done. These are the 2nd victims of abortion, but they are ignored and ridiculed for expressing their pain and feelings of guilt. We must not forget them, we must love them and do everything we can to help them heal, and to make sure that the evil of abortion will not continue to plague future generations of women. We must put an end to the real “war on women”—born and unborn.

But the consequences of abortion go beyond even that, as the establishment of a constitutional right to abortion is like a virus injected into the body politic slowly corrupting every other right, and the freedom that is the life’s blood of our great nation. Because there cannot be any human rights if human beings don’t have a right to life. If you’re not alive, you have no rights at all.

This is why, in 1776, when Virginian Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the only rights he felt it necessary to list were the most fundamental: “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—with the right to life being first.

At this point, some might be wondering, “what about the separation of church and state.” But as Pope Benedict told a group of American bishops gathered in Rome last January: “The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues….”

When most of us think of the separation between church and state we think of the Bill of Rights. What does it actually say? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Notice, it’s not about protecting the government from the church, but protecting the individual and religions from the government.

Just as the “right to life” is the first right listed in the Declaration, the right to freely practice our religion is the very first right listed (in the very first words of the very First Amendment) in the Bill of Rights. And rightly so. Because the freedom of religion is essential to the freedom of thought, to decide for oneself what one believes to be true, right and good. How can we defend any rights if we don’t have that right? And how can we defend any rights as being given to us from God himself, as the Declaration states, unless we have a right to believe in God as we see fit?

But since the right to life necessarily precedes all other rights and liberties, when someone embraces a theory of man and society that rejects the right to life, he thereby perceives all other rights and liberties as not fundamental, natural or God-given, but simply invented by political expediency and political power. So that when those in power find that the exercise of a certain right or freedom is not politically expedient to their agenda, they will quickly dismiss that “freedom” or “right.”

In January 2012 our President did just that. After years of notoriously rejecting the right to life he issued regulations (now in effect) that, while exempting institutions that primarily serve Catholics (e.g., parishes), require most Catholic institutions and employers to provide health insurance for their employees that will cover contraception, abortion inducing drugs, and sterilization. This is repugnant to Catholic morals, but the president directly and willfully dismisses our constitutional and human right to freedom of religion. Moreover, he imposes draconian fines on those who defy him, fines that will bankrupt and close every faithful Catholic college, hospital, and charitable institution (e.g., Catholic Charities, Knight of Columbus, Catholic Relief Services) in the country.

The President says he is not attacking our liberty and that he strongly supports the “freedom to worship.” But as Pope Benedict has reminded us so often, religious freedom is not merely the freedom of worship. “Worship” is not what the First Amendment is about: the exercise of religion is actually practicing the tenets, putting faith into action. In other words, the work of Catholic hospitals, charities etc.—the very organizations the administration is attacking.

Is this direct assault on the Catholic Church aimed to punish the Bishops and faithful Catholic for their opposition to abortion, and our defiance of the President’s relentless promotion of the gay agenda and sexual promiscuity? Perhaps, perhaps not. In any case, just as they tossed out the most fundamental right to life, now they have thrown out the first right that flows from it. And if they can so easily cast aside the first right recognized in the First Amendment, what will keep them from ignoring the rest of the rights listed in the First Amendment: freedom of speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances?

And if they can make Catholics provide contraception, etc., what else can they make us provide? Direct surgical abortions? “Gay weddings”? And if they can close down our charities, can they take away the Church’s tax exempt status or put your priests in jail for preaching against their attack on the Church? You might think it’s a stretch, but according the reasoning of the Supreme Court, the constitutional right to contraception was the basis for both the right to abortion and the right to sodomy. Once you ignore the natural rights of man, and replace them with their opposites, then anything is possible.

As Pope Benedict told the American bishops: “…[I]t is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political …spheres… Of particular concern are …attempts being made to limit …the freedom of religion.…. [and] the right of conscientious objection…”

So what do we do? There are many ways we can effect change. First, we can still exercise our First Amendment right of free speech to tell to our neighbors the truth about what’s going on. And in 4 weeks we can exercise our right to vote to elect congressmen and senators and a president who will defend our God given rights, and end this hellish persecution of Christ and His Catholic Church.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

September 30, 2012

SOCIAL JUSTICE. The Catholic Church coined the term “social justice” in the mid-1800’s as part of a systematic effort to apply traditional Catholic doctrine to address the new problems raised by the Industrial Revolution, and to counter the evil proposals advanced by Marx and other socialists, i.e., “the left.” This effort reached official “doctrinal” status when Pope Leo XIII issued his encyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891, and almost every Pope since then has weighed in to further clarify and to apply the doctrine to their own times.

Unfortunately, the doctrine has often been misunderstood, and even hijacked by the ideologies it was meant to counter, so much so that now many good Catholics identify the term with secular leftist principles. Even so, those same “good Catholics” would readily support the actual Catholic doctrine and apply it in real life. So, for example, these Catholics would have no problem with the doctrine the we must care for the poor, and would support programs that effectively and efficiently assist the truly needy, assuming it had no significant negative moral side-effects.

At least two key difficulties arise. The first is rather straightforward, arising when ideologues replace the unchanging principles of Catholic “social doctrine” with their own immoral ideological principles; e.g., redefining “marriage.” The second is more subtle, arising when the unchanging (Catholic) principles must be applied by individuals to the particular situations of their times by the use of prudential judgment. This can lead to different proposed solutions to the same problem, each being morally valid but not necessarily equally successful; e.g., one person might try to address poverty by giving a man a fish, another might try by teaching a man to fish.

SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE COMING ELECTION. Three key principles that form the basic foundation of Catholic social doctrine are the right to life, the dignity of the family, and freedom of religion and conscience. In the last month two bishops spoke out on the effect of these principles on the coming election. Allow me to quote from them at length:

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Diocese of Springfield, Illinois (Catholic Times, September 23, 2012):

“Much attention was given at the Democratic National Convention held recently in Charlotte, N.C., …In 1992 Presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” That was the party’s official position until 2008. Apparently “rare” is so last century that it had to be dropped, because now the Democratic Party Platform says that abortion should be “safe and legal.” Moreover the Democratic Party Platform supports the right to abortion “regardless of the ability to pay.” Well, there are only three ways for that to happen: either taxpayers will be required to fund abortion, or insurance companies will be required to pay for them (as they are now required to pay for contraception), or hospitals will be forced to perform them for free.

“Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that “gay rights are human rights,” and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.

“…There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding “political” and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins…

“So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin…. One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils…

“Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”

Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia (National Catholic Reporter, “Chaput in Philly swims against ‘nostalgia and red ink,’” Sept. 14, 2012, interview with John L Allen Jr.).

“Reporter: …Let me ask flat-out: Do you believe a Catholic in good faith can vote for Obama?
“AB Chaput: I can only speak in terms of my own personal views. I certainly can’t vote for somebody who’s either pro-choice or pro-abortion. I’m not a Republican and I’m not a Democrat. I’m registered as an independent, because I don’t think the church should be identified with one party or another. As an individual and voter I have deep personal concerns about any party that supports changing the definition of marriage, supports abortion in all circumstances, wants to restrict the traditional understanding of religious freedom. Those kinds of issues cause me a great deal of uneasiness.

“Reporter: What about the wing of the church that says a party that supports the Ryan budget also ought to cause concern?
“AB Chaput: Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don’t help the poor, we’re going to go to hell. Period. There’s just no doubt about it. That has to be a foundational concern of Catholics and of all Christians. But Jesus didn’t say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments. Anybody who would condemn someone because of their position on taxes is making a leap that I can’t make as a Catholic. … You can’t say that somebody’s not Christian because they want to limit taxation. Again, I’m speaking only for myself, but I think that’s a legitimate position. It may not be the correct one, but it’s certainly a legitimate Catholic position; and to say that it’s somehow intrinsically evil like abortion doesn’t make any sense at all.

“The Ryan budget isn’t the budget I would write. I think he’s trying to deal with the same issue in the government I’m dealing with here locally, which is spending more than we bring in. I admire the courage of anyone who’s actually trying to solve the problems rather than paper over them…It’s immoral for us to continue to spend money we don’t have. I think that those persons who don’t want to deal with the issue are, in some ways, doing wrong by putting it off for their own political protection or the protection of their party.”

DON’T FORGET THE PARISH PICNIC TODAY from 1pm to 4pm! All are welcome!

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

September 9, 2012

Welcome, Fr. Joseph Kenna. I’m sure you all join me in extending a warm and heartfelt welcome to Fr. Kenna, our new Parochial Vicar. It’s great to have him here, and I look forward to working with him to help you all draw closer to Christ and His Church. Of course, Father will need a little time to get his feet firmly on the ground, change is hard as we all know. But I know he’s looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting to work and to know all of you. Please join me this afternoon (Sunday) after the 12:15 Mass for a welcoming reception/lunch for Father in the Parish Hall.

Religious Education Classes (“CCD”) Starts Tonight! With school starting up for all of our kids in the last two weeks I’m sure they’ve all (at least the public school kids) have been chomping at the bit to get back to religion classes. All kidding aside, there is no more important thing a child studies than his/her religion; the First Commandment tells us: “I am the LORD your God, you shall not have strange gods before me.” If we dedicate time going to school to learn about secular subjects like math, science, and history, but don’t spend time learning about God, don’t we make those secular subjects into false gods and place them ahead of The True God? It is one of a parent’s most fundamental obligations, a grave duty, to educate his/her children in the faith. And children, how can you love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength—how can you love anyone even a little bit—if you don’t know about him?

So I look forward to seeing all of you in religion class this week, and throughout the year. But remember, you only get out of something what you put into it. I expect all students to prepare for class, do their homework, and participate actively in class. And parents, remember that you are the primary educators of your children: CCD is only here to help you. So you must continue their religious education at home, including by making sure your children take their CCD classes seriously.

And I know you will! God bless you all as you begin the new school year!

Voter Registration. Well, as is obvious to anyone who browses the internet, picks up a paper or turns on the TV, there’s a big election coming on November 6. Remember what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2240) teaches: “co-responsibility for the common good make[s] it morally obligatory …to exercise the right to vote…” Since the we, the citizens of the United States, enjoy supreme sovereignty in this democratic- republic, it is imperative that we exercise that sovereignty by voting for, or choosing, the officials who will represent us well in the government.

But you can’t vote if you aren’t registered to vote. So many times forgetting to do this very simple thing does what no foreign power has been able to do for 230 years—take away the individual’s right to vote. Most of us are already registered to vote here in Fairfax, but some of you tell me you haven’t voted in a while, and I know a lot of our parishioners have moved recently, and most every time you move you have to register to vote in your new state or county.

So, to help you in this regard, next weekend we will have folks manning a table in the narthex with forms and instructions to register you to vote in Fairfax County.

Also if you think you’re going to be away from home or otherwise might not be able to get to the polls on November 6, you should seriously consider voting absentee, if you are eligible to do so. You can vote absentee in one of 2 ways: 1) go into one of 7 special voting locations between October 17 and November 3, or 2) vote absentee by mail. Voting by mail is easiest for a lot of folks, but to do that you have to first apply for an absentee ballot. Next weekend’s table will also have Absentee Ballot Application Forms available for those wishing to exercise that option.

The last day to register to vote is Monday, October 15th, and last date to apply for an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, October 30th.

New Precinct Polling Location. You should also note that the voting/poll location for one local precinct has changed this year. Those of us in Precinct 806 will no longer vote at Hunt Valley Elementary School, but will now be voting at the Sydenstricker Methodist Church, 8508 Hooes Road, which is on the north side of the Parkway, just off Sydenstricker. Note that Precinct 807, which has also been voting at Hunt Valley Elementary School will remain at Hunt Valley ES. Your Precinct number is found on your voter registration card.

For more information go to: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/ (there is also a link on our parish website). You can also check on your registration status on this web page.

Democratic Convention. It is a terrible thing that one of our two major political parties, the Democrat Party, so stridently supports the right of a mother to kill her unborn baby, i.e., abortion. The week before last pro-abortion (so called “pro-choice”) pundits ridiculed a Republican Senate candidate for his opposition to abortion in the case of rape and incest (less than 1% of all abortions)—i.e., giving the death penalty to the innocent child for his father’s crime. But this week the Democrat Party, at its National Convention, trotted out speaker after speaker who actively support the most barbarically extreme positions on abortion—including partial birth abortion and allowing babies who survive abortions to die without medical attention. Not to mention, they once again nominated for President a man who holds those same extreme positions: Barrack Obama. Not only that, they released a platform document—their official statement of their political positions—that officially endorses all forms of abortion: “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” This is basically the same position they’ve embraced for years, except that this year they added something new: “regardless of ability to pay.” In other words, they support taxpayer funded abortion, something that 72% of Americans oppose. They want to force you and me to pay for abortions Who is the extremist?

Tomorrow: Weekday Mass Changes to 8 A.M. Please remember that beginning tomorrow, Monday, September 10, Mass will no longer be offered at 9:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, but will be moved to 8:00 a.m.. Let this be an opportunity for all you who find 6:30 Mass “too early” and 9:00 Mass “too late” to finally start coming to morning Mass at the “just right” time of 8:00. (The M-F 6:30am Mass will stay as usual, as will the Wednesday 7:00pm Mass and Saturday 9:00am Mass).
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles