Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 2, 2019 Column Father De Celles

Never Let Up the Pro-Life Fight. The last few days have been a reminder to all of us that we can never stop fighting the good fight to defend the right to life, especially for unborn children.
New York. On January 23rd, one day after the 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that will allow unborn babies to be aborted at any stage of the pregnancy, even just before full-term birth. It also allows non-doctors to perform abortions, redefines a “person” as “a human being who has been born and is alive,” and describes abortion as a “fundamental right.”
One of the side-effects of the law is that it will no longer be a crime for someone to kill an unborn child even if the mother is not seeking an abortion, e.g., if unborn baby dies as the result of an assault on 40-week pregnant woman, the baby’s death is not a crime.
This is nothing short of barbarism. Think of this: a healthy unborn baby, who comes to full term, one day before his mother would normally give birth, may be killed with the state’s approval. One day later, that same baby, now born, is a human being and killing it is the crime of murder. One day. Nonsense.
Cuomo, a baptized Catholic, went on to brag about his barbarity, and to mock his Catholic faith: “The Catholic Church doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose…I understand their religious view…I’m not here to represent a religion.” Let’s rephrase that for him properly (my own rephrasing): “The Catholic Church doesn’t believe that anyone has a right to kill an unborn human being,…I understand their rational human view…but I’m not here to represent rational humans.” Killing babies, born or unborn, is wrong because they are human beings, “persons”, no matter what the law of New York says. It is not simply a religious view, it is the scientifically informed rational truth. And Cuomo is a bloody barbarian, and he should be excommunicated, for his own good and the good of God’s people.
Virginia, and Springfield. Then comes the news this week that our very own state Delegate from Springfield, Kathy Tran, freshman Democrat, has introduced a bill similar to the one in New York, HB2491. It would allow abortion up to 40 weeks (including outpatient late term abortions), repeal informed consent and abdominal ultrasound requirements, eliminate the 24-hour waiting period, allow abortionists to self-certify third trimester abortions, and exempt abortion clinics from health and safety standards.
This is just sickening. Consider this back-and-forth between Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert and Tran on the House floor last week:
Gilbert: “So how late in the third trimester could a physician perform an abortion if he indicated it would impair the mental health of the woman?”…
Tran: “I mean, through the third trimester. The third trimester goes all the way up to 40 weeks.”…
Gilbert: “So where it’s obvious that a woman is about to give birth, she has physical signs that she’s about give birth, would that still be a point at which she could still request an abortion if she was so certified? [pause] She’s dilating?…
Tran: “My bill would allow that, yes.”

We must stop this. Did you vote in the state elections in November 2017? Or did you stay at home? Did you vote for this woman who thinks it’s okay, a right, to kill a baby when it’s ready to be born? Who even wants to do away with all common-sense medical protections for the mother’s physical health?
Please contact Delegate Kathy Tran to voice your rejection of this abhorrent bill. Contact info:
Richmond: Pocahontas Building, 900 E. Main St, Richmond, Virginia 23219; Phone: (804) 698-1042.
Springfield: P.O. Box 2731, Springfield, Virginia 22152; Phone: (703) 828-7173.

Thanks be to God, the small pro-life majority in the House of Delegates will most certainly not pass this bill. But our narrow advantage could easily be wiped out in the state elections this coming November. If we don’t stop them. Peacefully, with charity and reason, but also forthrightly, with clarity and truth. And with speaking out in the public square, to our friends and in the voting booth!

March for Life—Thanks. Thanks to all parishioners and friends who participated in this year’s March for Life on the Washington Mall on January 18. Once again it was a great success for us, as we took 4 bus loads to the March, and were joined by dozens of other parishioners who drove or “metroed” in. Not to mention all who participated at home, work or in church, by praying, and all those who prepared a wonderful chili dinner for the marchers in the parish hall afterwards. Special thanks to Liz Hildebrand and Sherri Burns for all their hard work in organizing things.

New Altar Rail and Pulpit. Over the last few months I have been approached by many parishioners asking me to make the altar rail more permanent. So I’ve asked a church designer to come up with some proposals. We would most likely install a marble rail, and extend the sanctuary out a few feet to where the current wooden rails are now. To ease the flow of traffic a bit, we would probably remove the first row in front of the sanctuary (this would eliminate only 10 – 12 seats, which would only affect us on Christmas and Easter). I’m also thinking of installing altar rails in front of the statues of Mary and Joseph, so that folks sitting in the side transepts could also make use of the altar rail. If I do that, I will also replace the carpeting in front of those statues with marble, so as to make that area more a part of the sanctuary (while still allowing access to the votive candles).
Also, I am considering replacing our pulpit. Unfortunately, our current pulpit presents several problems: 1) it is not constructed very well (as you can see if you actually stand near or especially at the pulpit); 2) it is oversized and does not fit aesthetically with the rest of our sanctuary; 3) its size tends to unnecessarily block the view of the sanctuary from the pews on the “Mary”-side transept; 4) although large on the “outside”, it is actually rather narrow for someone standing inside of it (and so uncomfortable for larger readers and priests).
So I’m thinking of commissioning a local marble worker to design and craft a new smaller but beautiful pulpit.
I’m not sure when we would do the work on this in the church, but I would hope it would happen this summer. Also, before that we would have to raise the money from a special fund drive/capital campaign.
But it’s just in the planning and thinking stage now. Nothing is final. I want your input. Always with charity and respect. But tell me what you think—email, write or call me. I’ll report back to you in a few weeks when I have a better feel for what the parishioners are thinking, and what the designers, etc. are proposing.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles