Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time

January 28, 2017 Column Father De Celles

CARDINAL BURKE IS COMING TO ST. RAYMOND’S! I am very honored and excited to announce that Cardinal Raymond Burke will be giving a talk at our parish on Friday evening, March 24, 2017. I’m still trying to tie down the specific time and title of the talk, but I wanted to let you know now so you can save the date—you will want to be here for this visit.

As most of you know, Cardinal Burke is Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, and a member of several Vatican Congregations. He is widely held to be as one of the Church’s foremost authorities on canon law, and is known for his passionate defense of Catholic doctrine.

A native of Wisconsin, he studied for the priesthood in Rome, where he was ordained in 1975 by Pope Paul VI for the Diocese of La Crosse (Wisconsin). After ordination, he served as assistant rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman and taught High School religion in La Crosse. After returning to Rome to earn his doctorate in canon law, he returned to La Crosse to serve in various diocesan posts. In 1989, he was called to Rome to take the position of Defender of the Bond of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

In 1995, he was ordained a bishop by Pope St. John Paul II and appointed bishop of La Crosse. In 2004 he was appointed Archbishop of St. Louis, MO, where he served until 2008 when Pope Benedict XVI called him to Rome to serve as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome (essentially the “Chief Justice” of the Church’s “Supreme Court”). Pope Benedict named him a Cardinal in 2010. In 2014 Pope Francis appointed him to his current position as Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

His Eminence’s academic achievements are many, including: from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome: Doctorate in Canon Law (1984), Diploma in Latin Letters, (1983), Licentiate in Canon Law (1982), Master of Arts in Theology (1975), Bachelor of Sacred Theology (1974); from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC: Master of Arts in Philosophy (1971), Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (1970).

I can’t say enough how excited I am to have His Eminence come to our parish to talk—he is truly one of the most outstanding churchmen of our times. He has been an inspiration to me and model for my priesthood since I first heard of him when I was in the seminary. I was privileged to become personally acquainted with him a few years ago, and receive his counsel on different issues. In fact, I am a little surprised that he accepted my invitation to speak at my parish, since the last time I spent time with him I made him late for an appointment when I got lost driving him around Washington.

In any case, save the date, you won’t want to miss this visit by this great man.


Inauguration. Well, we have a new president. God bless President Trump, and our nation. I have been frank in the past about my personal reservations about his personal suitability for the office, as I was equally critical about his opponents. But during the campaign I also expressed my hope that if elected he might put an end to the federal government’s egregious assaults on our national moral fiber, including the aggressive promotion of sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, transgenderism, contraception, abortion, degradation of marriage and family, and oppression of the religious liberty of Christians.

So far, I have been very pleased with what I have seen in this regard, especially through his personnel appointments to important offices, surrounding himself with solid pro-life traditional Christians, including many Catholics (I don’t know if General John Kelly is pro-life, but did you see him make the sign of the cross as he finished taking his oath to head Homeland Security?) Also, it was great to see the pro-LGBT page taken down from the White House website on the day of the inauguration. Then of course, there is the extremely symbolic executive order President Trump signed ending funding for international abortion providers (restoring the so called “Mexico City Policy”), as well as his Inauguration Day signing of the executive order directing the HHS to ease enforcement and penalties under Obamacare–this seems to signal a coming relief for Christian employers forced to provide contraception insurance (i.e., the Little Sisters of the Poor).

So….so far so good on these issues.

I have to tell you though, I’ve been sickened by the media’s response to his inauguration, as they focus on the opposition to his policies. For example, consider their over-the-top coverage of the pro-abortion, pro-LGBT, pro-promiscuity, anti-woman “Women’s March on Washington.” I counted at least 6 full pages in section A of the Washington Post giving glowing coverage, with at least 4 color half-page photos (I don’t normally read the Post, but I did scan the pages for this). Did they give this kind of coverage to the March of Life, which has gathered similarly large (and larger) crowds every year for 43 years? Of course not (I write this before the March, but the answer is doubtlessly predictable.).

Remember: the press lies all the time. We know they lie constantly about the Church, and about pro-life, “LGBT rights,” and religious liberty. And we know they lie about anyone they see as opposing their immoral agenda. So they lie about President Trump. There’s a lot not to like about Donald Trump, especially his past public sins, indecorous language and annoying tendency to self-aggrandizement. And there’s a lot to disagree with President Trump on his policies. But I still say pray for him, oppose him when he is wrong, but give him a chance to govern and support him when he does something right. And take the remarks of the media and politicians who embrace and promote an radically immoral agenda for what they are—remarks coming from completely discredited groups.


Blessing of Throats. This Friday, February 3, is the Feast of St. Blaise, which means it’s time for the blessing of throats. St. Blaise was bishop of Sebaste and was martyred about A.D. 316. Legend has it that one day Bishop Blaise restored a pig (alive) to its owner, a poor woman, after it had been eaten by a wolf. A few days later, when the Bishop was imprisoned for his Catholic faith, the woman brought him candles to light the darkness of his cell. In that same prison, he miraculously cured a boy who was choking to death from a fishbone lodged in his throat. Thus, the custom arose of using candles and invoking the Saint to bless throats against all sorts of ailments. We will give the blessing of throats at the end of both morning Masses this Friday (6:30 and 8am) and at 6:45pm before the 7pm Extraordinary Form Mass.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles