Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I’m on vacation this week, so I’m putting this column together early in the week and borrowing extensively from other sources, including a column I’ve previously published. Please pray for me that I may have a safe and restful vacation.
Opposition to Transgender Regs is “Hatred.” No, it’s not, but that’s what we’ve been told over and over again by some. Some folks have even told me that my homilies and columns on this topic are “not Catholic,” and that I need to be “more like Pope Francis.” This amazes me, since the Pope has been very clear in opposing gender ideology. Let me give you some examples, the first from an article detailing some of Pope Francis’ less formal comments, and then from his own Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.
Article from LifeSite.News.com. NAPLES, Italy, March 23, 2015 … Speaking Sunday with young people on his voyage to Naples, Italy, Pope Francis spoke of the “ideological colonization” of families seen throughout Europe and the West.
“Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion,” he said. “So the family is under attack.” As to how to deal with the “secularization” or the “ideological colonization,” the pope said he does not have the answer. He pointed however to the Synod on the Family, which he called inspired by the Lord.
The comments echo those made in an in-flight interview Pope Francis gave while returning from Manila in the Philippines on January 19, 2015. Francis lamented the Western practice of imposing a homosexual agenda on other nations through foreign aid, which he called a form of “ideological colonization” and compared it to the Nazi propaganda machine.
Asked by a reporter to explain the phrase “ideological colonization,” the pope gave an example from 1995 when, he says, a minister of education in a poor area was told she could have a loan for building schools so long as the schools used a book that taught “gender theory.”
“This is ideological colonization,” he said. “It colonizes the people with an idea that wants to change a mentality or a structure.” This ideological colonization, he added, “is not new, the dictators of the last century did the same.” “They came with their own doctrine. Think of the Balilla (The Fascist Youth under Mussolini), think of the Hitler youth.”….
Amoris Lætitia, Pope Francis, March 19, 2016.
- Yet another challenge is posed by the various forms of an ideology of gender that “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family. This ideology leads to educational programmes and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.” It is a source of concern that some ideologies of this sort, which seek to respond to what are at times understandable aspirations, manage to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised. It needs to be emphasized that “biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated”. …It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.
On a Lighter note. This month we celebrate many of the great mysteries of our faith, as well as the feasts of many important saints. Of course this coming Saturday, the 6th, we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration, and later on we celebrate the Assumption of Mary (15th), and the Queenship of Mary (22nd).
This coming Thursday (4th) is the feast of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests. (Pray for your priests on this day especially!) Then there’s the great founders or reformers of religious orders. St. Dominic (8th): founder of the Dominicans and friend of our own Dominican, St. Raymond. There’s St. Claire of Assisi (11th), founder of the Poor Claires. And of course the great St. Bernard of Clairvaux (20th), Doctor of the Church, great reformer of the Benedictines and the whole medieval Church. Also: St. Jane Frances de Chantal (12th) founder of the Visitation Sisters; St. John Eudes (19th) (my name saint and patron), founder of the Eudists and first promoter of liturgical devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts; and St. Cajetan (7th), founder of the Theatines.
We have the great saints of ancient times: St. Bartholomew the Apostle (24th), and St. Eusebius (2nd); and St. Lawrence (10th) who was martyred over a fiery pit, making light of his suffering: “I’m done on this side, you can turn me over!” And we have great saints of modern times: St. Edith Stein (9th) and St. Maximilian Kolbe (14th)—both powerful witnesses to the truth and love of Christ, and martyred in the Nazi concentration camps.
Also the illustrious saintly kings: St. Stephen (16th) first king of Hungary, and St. Louis (25th), the pious king of France. And the holy Popes: St. Sixtus II (7th), St. Pontian (13th), and St. Pius X (21st). And lest we forget the tiny but magnificent flower of Peru, patroness of all Latin American, St. Rose of Lima (23rd).
And we close the month in a flourish: St. Monica (27th) patroness of parents whose children seem to be lost to sin, and mother of St. Augustine (28th) who was the worst of sinners before becoming the most revered Church Father and the Church’s greatest theologian. And finally, we celebrate the Beheading of St. John the Baptist (29th), of who Christ said there was “no greater man born of a woman.”
What a great month in the life of the Church, a wonderful time to grow in our understanding of our faith and our history, especially through meditating on the lives of the great saints.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles