Welcome Bishop Burbidge. We are pleased to welcome our Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Burbidge, to St. Raymond’s to celebrate today’s 10:30 Mass as the Diocese’s annual Respect Life Mass. We also welcome other guests from around the Diocese, especially members of the Northern Virginia guild of the Catholic Medical Association, headed by Dr. Marie Anderson, OB/GYN. Membership in the CMA is open to physicians, medical students, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, psychologists, and other allied health professionals. See their website for more information: https://www.novacathmed.org.
Parents Beware. We had a great turnout, over 175 folks, on October 9th for our presentation on the social engineering going on in our Fairfax County Public Schools. Cathy Ruse, Erin Lobato, and Laura Murphy gave excellent talks on the Family Life Education program, libraries and proposed boundary policy changes. Videos of the talks can be found on the parish website: click “FCPSB FLE PARENT TALK – Oct. 9” at the top of the home page. Thanks for all who helped make that such a success, especially Mychele Brickner.
CANDIDATE FORUM HERE THIS THURSDAY. As I mentioned last Sunday, our Religious Freedom Committee will be sponsoring a Candidate Forum for Virginia House District 42, this Thursday, October 24, at 7pm in the Parish Hall. Both candidates have been invited to participate; so far Steve Adragna (Republican) has accepted and incumbent Delegate Kathy Tran (Democrat) has been invited and is trying to rearrange her schedule to attend. I very much hope Del. Tran can participate, so we can all hear her views and positions, but if she is unable to attend, the Forum will still be held with Dr. Adragna.
November 5 is Election Day in Virginia, for state and local offices. Turn out for these “off year elections” (when a president or governor is not being elected) is typically about 29% of registered voters; compare that to 72% in the 2016 presidential election. And yet, in this election we are choosing the people who will have a direct impact on our daily lives on a local level. So we need to go out and vote, and I strongly encourage you all to attend this event so you can vote intelligently on Nov. 5.
As you know, the Church does not endorse individual candidates, and this forum will be conducted on a strictly non-partisan basis, granting equal respect and time to both candidates. We are inviting our neighboring parishes and other churches in the area to attend, and encourage you to bring your neighbors along.
Religious Liberty and Next Year’s Election. Too many people are focused on the 2020 election which is over a year away. Personally, I’m not paying a lot of attention to it yet, except to notice that the socialists are trying to take over the Democrat Party, which I hope doesn’t happen, since socialism has been repeatedly condemned by the Catholic Church. One of the reasons socialism is condemned is because it tends toward authoritarianism and has its own moral order which it tries to enforce. This, in turn, often leads to the oppression of religion, especially the Catholic Church.
Some read this and say, “Oh no, Father! That’s not what Socialism is about today!” Really? Consider this from candidate “Beto” O’Rourke last week during CNNs “Equality Town Hall.” O’Rourke was asked by the moderator, “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities — should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?” He responded, “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone, or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights of every single one of us.”
So, if you oppose the new Leftist/Socialist morality, you will be punished. Or, in the context of the “Equality Town Hall,” “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Saint John Henry Newman. Last Sunday several of our parishioners were on hand in Rome as Pope Francis proclaimed Cardinal John Henry Newman, a Saint of the Catholic Church. He is truly a saint for our times.
Newman was the 19th-century’s most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian, although he spent the first half of his life as an Anglican (Church of England, Episcopalian) and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both churches.
Born in London, England, he studied at Oxford’s Trinity College, was a tutor at Oriel College, and for 17 years was vicar of the university church, St. Mary the Virgin. He eventually published eight volumes of Parochial and Plain Sermons as well as two novels. His poem, “Dream of Gerontius,” was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar.
After 1833, Newman was a prominent member of the Oxford Movement, which emphasized the Church’s debt to the Church Fathers and challenged any tendency to consider truth as completely subjective. Historical research made Newman suspect that the Roman Catholic Church was in closest continuity with the Church that Jesus established. In 1845, he was received into full communion as a Catholic. Two years later he was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome and joined the Congregation of the Oratory. Returning to England, Newman founded Oratory houses in Birmingham and London and for seven years served as rector of the Catholic University of Ireland.
Newman eventually wrote 40 books and 21,000 letters that survive. Most famous are his book-length Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, The Idea of a University and Essay on the Grammar of Assent.
To the surprise of many, especially considering his Anglican background and his status as a mere priest (not a bishop), Newman was named a cardinal in 1879, taking as his motto “Cor ad cor loquitur”—“Heart speaks to heart.” He died on August 11, 1890, 11 years later. [Cf., www.franciscanmedia.org).
Newman was a key inspiration to many of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, especially Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote of him:
“The characteristic of the great Doctor of the Church, it seems to me, is that he teaches not only through his thought and speech but also by his life, because within him, thought and life are interpenetrated and defined. If this is so, then Newman belongs to the great teachers of the Church, because he both touches our hearts and enlightens our thinking.”
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles