Fourteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time

July 4, 2016 Column Father De Celles


New Parochial Vicar. Last week we gave a thankful and prayerful farewell to Fr. Kenna as he moved to his new assignment at St. Elizabeth’s in Colonial Beach. This week we welcome our Fr. Charles Smith as our new Vicar. I am delighted to have Fr. Smith join us, as I’m sure you all are as well. Remember, these moves are stressful on a priest, so I ask your prayers for Fr. Smith as he makes this transition. I know you will extend him a warm welcome to our parish, and offer him your patience and charity as he gets used to things here.

To give him an official welcome I invite all you to a reception for Fr. Smith after the 12:15 Mass today (July 3). Please join us.


Supreme Court: Abortion v. Women’s Health. From CWN, June 27: “By a 5-3 vote, the US Supreme Court has overturned a state law that imposed health regulations on abortion clinics in Texas. In the decision, announced June 27, the Court majority ruled that the regulations enacted in Texas were not prompted by concern for the health of pregnant women, but by an unconstitutional desire to limit access to legal abortion. The Texas law had required that abortionists have admitting privileges at local hospitals, and that abortion clinics adhere to the same standards ordinarily required for outpatient surgery….Responding on behalf of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Deirdre McQuade said: ‘The Court has rejected a common-sense law protecting women from abortion facilities that put profit above patient safety…’”

I haven’t had a lot of time to absorb this ruling yet, but it is clearly a huge blow to the protection of both pregnant mothers and unborn babies. It once again shows how our nation’s courts have placed the ideology of the immoral left ahead of the Constitution, as well as facts and truth, as it continues to give abortion a unique and specially protected status in the law. It makes clear the lie behind the immoral left’s use of the term “women’s reproductive health,” as they continue to try redefine the meaning of words: “women’s reproductive health” has nothing to do with “women” or “health,” but simply means “killing unborn babies.”


4th of July, and Fortnight for Freedom. We continue our prayers for religious liberty this weekend, and conclude the Fortnight tomorrow, the 4th of July, with Mass at 10am, followed by special prayers for religious liberty. Thanks for all who have participated in the Fortnight so far, and please join us this weekend and on the 4th.

As we celebrate the liberty proclaimed in 1776, we also continue to fight to defend that liberty from decaying into anarchy and chaos. To do that we must especially protect the moral principles upon which America was founded, and the instrument from which those principles flow and which has reinforced those principles for 240 years: the Christian religion. In that regard, it’s important to recall what the Father of our Nation had to say about the essential relationship between religion (which to Washington and his fellow countrymen meant Christianity) and national success.


George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789 (excerpt)

…[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States…

            In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States.

            Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage…

            …Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people….

            I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to favor the American people, with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of Government, for the security of their Union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.


George Washington’s Farewell Address, September 17, 1796 (excerpt)

Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

            It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?


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