July 6, 2020 Column Father De Celles

10 Years. This Tuesday, July 7, will mark the 10th anniversary of my arrival at St. Raymond’s. The time has flown by.

            In one of my early columns I wrote: “I take very seriously the title “Father.” Since solemnly promising celibacy to Christ and His Bride, the Church, at my diaconate ordination …I have tried to more deeply live and interiorize that gift in union with Christ the Bridegroom, and to understand myself as wedded to His Bride, with all her children as my own. Every time someone calls me “Father” I am reminded of this. But now this fatherhood, in some ways, takes on a more direct and consequential meaning, since …I am, before God, entrusted with the care of your souls and am profoundly obliged to do everything in my power to see that the eternal life you were born into at baptism grows ever stronger so that it may reach its fullness in the joy of heaven.”

            It has been a true joy to be your spiritual Father. Although life on earth is never perfect, and my sins still weigh me down, I can say I have never been happier in my life. I thank God every day for my priesthood, and for giving me this wonderful parish. I truly love being the Father of this parish, and of each of you.

It has been a great 10 years for me. And I thank you for your patience,  assistance,  docility, reverence, forgiveness,  obedience,  loyalty,  generosity, affection and love. And I look forward to another 10 years with you. What great things God has in store for us!

And as always, I ask for your prayers and promise mine to you. As I write so often, “oremus pro invicem!”—let us pray for one another!

BLM Attacks Praying Catholics. The violence of Marxist-inspired groups continues. Last week in St. Louis, Mo. a group led by Black Lives Matters attacked Catholics praying at the statue of  St. Louis. According to LifeSiteNews: “Yesterday, while praying for peace and unity in our city and the protection of the Saint Louis statue, Black Lives Matter protesters started to harass, berate, and assault the Catholics that were peacefully praying,” Connor Martin, one of those praying at the vigil, posted to social media. “We did nothing in retaliation. We allowed them to spit on us, call us names, put their fingers in our faces, push us, and antagonize, but we did not retaliate. We continued to peacefully pray…At that moment someone in the crowd poured an unidentified liquid on [an] older man …and [he] was then attacked by a violent individual…. We got the elderly man out of there safely…when the mob approached him. They asked if he was with me, and when he said yes they began to berate him. They took his walking stick from him and when he didn’t react they knocked his hat off of his head, called him a skin head, and attacked him. At this point I intervened to pull the attacker off of my friend, and I was attacked by the mob and the attacker. I have a video attached below of the assault… This can not stand…The police were called 6 times by others on the sidelines and never showed up…”

SCOTUS Mixed Results. Last week the Supreme Court handed down 2 decisions that were especially newsworthy to Catholics, one decision that was bad news, the other good news. And once again Chief Justice John Roberts was the deciding vote in both. In the bad news case, the court ruled unconstitutional a Louisiana law requiring physicians performing abortions to have active admitting privileges at a hospital located not further than thirty miles from the abortion clinic.

In explaining his vote with the majority, Roberts contrasted his position with the others in the majority, reminding us that in 2016 he had voted against the Court’s decision in an almost identical case overturning an almost identical law from Texas, “….and [I] continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided. The question today however is not whether [the 2016 Texas case] was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case….  The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike. The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

“Stare decisis (‘to stand by things decided’) is the legal term for fidelity to precedent….The Court accordingly considers additional factors before overruling a precedent…In those instances, ‘[r]emaining true to an ‘intrinsically sounder’ doctrine established in prior cases better serves the values of stare decisis than would following’ the recent departure. ….”

            Some say Roberts wording here is a signaling, “this is not the case we want to use to overturn Roe v. Wade, let’s wait for a case with better facts.” Perhaps.

            But in the second decision Roberts gave us a much happier decision. In that case the court found that a Montana program granting individuals tax credits for donating to organizations that award scholarships for private school tuition could not prohibit scholarships to religious schools. This time Roberts voted with and wrote the opinion for the majority, finding that the law, “discriminated against religious schools and the families whose children attend or hope to attend them in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the Federal Constitution.” Excellent.

Snitching on Your Brothers. Last week I wrote about the mainstreaming of Marxism, including manipulation of the government into adopting vile Marxists tactics. A good example of this is found on the Virginia Department of Health’s website, which encourages us to snitch on each other if we don’t like the way someone is observing, or not observing, the mandates of the Governor’s coronavirus orders. There’s even a form to report violators of “the requirement to wear a face covering while inside buildings…”

            My dear sons and daughters, this cannot be applied to your brothers and sisters at our church. As St. Paul teaches very clearly, in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 “When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? …So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?…Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles