June 23, 2013

June 23, 2013 Column Father De Celles

St. Joseph and the Mass. This last week the Congregation for Divine Worship (in charge of liturgy) in the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has decreed that St. Joseph’s name will be added to Eucharistic Prayers 2, 3 and 4 right after the invocation of his spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to honor him and to invoke his intercession. Blessed Pope John XXIII had added St. Joseph to the ancient “Roman Canon” (Eucharistic Prayer 1) in 1962, but for some inexplicable reason Pope Paul VI left him out of the new Eucharistic Prayers (2, 3 and 4) he introduced after Vatican II. God bless Pope Francis for remedying this oversight! St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Adopted Father of Jesus, Husband of Mary, pray for us!

Altar Boy Training. Every week I notice a lot of boys and young men who attend Mass every Sunday but are not altar servers. Of course, this is their choice, but some, especially junior and high school boys, feel they can’t or shouldn’t serve for some reason, e.g. perhaps they only moved to the parish recently, or they never learned how to serve with they were younger, etc. I encourage all eligible boys to please consider serving—it’s a great way to serve the Lord and to be focused at Mass. It’s never too late to learn. Training for new Altar Boys begins July 1—see the note later in this bulletin for more information.

Update on New Priest in Residence. As I mentioned last week, effective this Wednesday, June 26, we will have a new priest in residence, Fr. Paul Quang Van Nguyen. Father will be with us for a few days this month, but will be travelling most of July. He will be with us full time beginning in early August.

Workcamp. Please keep our high school youth in your prayers this week as they head off to Workcamp in the Shenandoah Valley. Pray that the Lord will keep them safe and that they have a great experience of prayer and Christian fellowship, and deepen their relationship with Christ as they serve him in the poor and underprivileged.

Fortnight for Freedom. This last Friday night, on the vigil of the Feast of St. Thomas More, “the King’s good servant, but God’s first,” we began our observance of the second annual Fortnight for Freedom, two weeks of pray, fasting and action dedicated to protecting our threatened Religious Liberty. We continue these efforts this week, especially with the Prayer for Religious Liberty at the end of every Mass and the Holy Hour every evening in the church. Please see the note below for more information.

What follows is an excellent article by the Archbishop of Philadelphia on a troubling development as the administration steps up its campaign against our religious liberty. [Note: The article begins with a lengthy quotation].

Religious Freedom and the Need to Wake Up
May 24th, 2013
By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

“IRS officials have, of course, confessed that they inappropriately targeted conservative groups — especially those with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names — for extra scrutiny when they sought non-profit status. Allegations of abuse or harassment have since broadened to include groups conducting grassroots projects to ‘make America a better place to live,’ to promote classes about the U.S. Constitution or to raise support for Israel. However, it now appears the IRS also challenged some individuals and religious groups that, while defending key elements of their faith traditions, have criticized projects dear to the current White House, such as health-care reform, abortion rights and same-sex marriage.” Terry Mattingly, director, Washington Journalism Center; weekly column, May 22

Let’s begin this week with a simple statement of fact. America’s Catholic bishops started pressing for adequate health-care coverage for all of our nation’s people decades before the current administration took office. In the Christian tradition, basic medical care is a matter of social justice and human dignity. Even now, even with the financial and structural flaws that critics believe undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the bishops continue to share the goal of real health-care reform and affordable medical care for all Americans.

But health care has now morphed into a religious liberty issue provoked entirely – and needlessly — by the current White House. Despite a few small concessions under pressure, the administration refuses to withdraw or reasonably modify a Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate that violates the moral and religious convictions of many individuals, private employers and religiously affiliated and inspired organizations.

Coupled with the White House’s refusal to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and its astonishing disregard for the unique nature of religious freedom displayed by its arguments in a 9-0 defeat in the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision, the HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion. Access to inexpensive contraception is a problem nowhere in the United States. The mandate is thus an ideological statement; the imposition of a preferential option for infertility. And if millions of Americans disagree with it on principle – too bad.

The fraud at the heart of our nation’s “reproductive rights” vocabulary runs very deep and very high. In his April 26 remarks to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the president never once used the word “abortion,” despite the ongoing Kermit Gosnell trial in Philadelphia and despite Planned Parenthood’s massive role in the abortion industry.

Likewise, as Anthony Esolen recently noted so well, NARAL Pro-Choice America’s public statement on the conviction of abortionist Gosnell was a masterpiece of corrupt and misleading language. Gosnell was found guilty of murdering three infants, but no such mention was made anywhere in the NARAL Pro-Choice America statement.

None of this is finally surprising. Christians concerned for the rights of unborn children, as well as for their mothers, have dealt with bias in the media and dishonesty from the nation’s abortion syndicate for 40 years. But there’s a special lesson in our current situation. Anyone who thinks that our country’s neuralgic sexuality issues can somehow be worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead, without a parallel and vigorous defense of religious freedom, had better think again.

As Mollie Hemingway, Stephen Krason and Wayne Laugesen have all pointed out, the current IRS scandal – involving IRS targeting of “conservative” organizations – also has a religious dimension. Selective IRS pressure on religious individuals and organizations has drawn very little media attention. Nor should we expect any, any time soon, for reasons Hemingway outlines for the Intercollegiate Review. But the latest IRS ugliness is a hint of the treatment disfavored religious groups may face in the future, if we sleep through the national discussion of religious liberty now.

The day when Americans could take the Founders’ understanding of religious freedom as a given is over. We need to wake up.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles