June 4, 2022 Column Father De Celles

Pentecost! This Sunday’s readings tell us that the Holy Spirit first descended on the early Christians with “a noise like a strong driving wind,” and appeared like “tongues as of fire.” After this they “began to speak in different tongues” so that the people gathered in Jerusalem “from every nation under heaven” could hear them “speaking in his own language.”

                That same Holy Spirit descended on each of us in Baptism, and came again to strengthen (“confirm”—see below) His gifts in us in our Confirmations. By the baptismal indwelling of the Spirit we were united to the Divine life of Jesus Christ, and in Confirmation we were given the gifts to live the fullness of the faith amidst the great challenges of the world. These gifts help us individually to get to heaven, by loving God and our neighbor, but they are also meant to help us proclaim the Gospel to all those around us, just as the first Christians did.

                And the Holy Spirit does not merely come to individuals, He comes and dwells in the Church as One Body of Christ. Because of this no gift of the Holy Spirit is meant merely for personal enhancement separate from the Church, or contrary to the unity of the Church.

                Let us pray to Christ and His Father, to renew in us the powerful presence of their Holy Spirit within each of us and within the whole Church. And let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to use His gifts to become the Christians we are called to be.

My Covid. Well, you may have heard by now that after 2+ years of avoiding Covid, it finally caught up with me. Which is why I’ve been in hiding for several days. Fortunately, my symptoms weren’t very severe, and I’m recovering nicely. I want to thank all of you for your prayers and kind notes.

                At the same time I came down with Covid, so did 3 of our staff: Kirsti, Virginia, and Luis. Looks like Virginia and Luis are doing well now, but I’m still concerned for Kirsti, whose health isn’t great to begin with. So please keep her especially in your prayers.

Our Bishop and Our Vicar. Before I got sick I asked for and was given a meeting with Bishop Burbidge to discuss the parish’s need for a parochial vicar. It was a very constructive and positive meeting. The Bishop clearly felt bad he couldn’t assign us a vicar this summer, but he assured me that he understood our concerns, and promised to keep us in mind going forward. The Diocese lost several priests last year—to the military, religious life, illness, leaves of absence and death—so several of the larger, busier parishes were even more shorthanded than us. But I’m confident the Bishop will help us out as soon as he can. So keep him in your prayers in his very tough job.

Pelosi in Arlington. In last week’s column I wrote praising San Francisco’s Archbishop Cordileone’s publicly banning his subject, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic, from receiving Holy Communion. In the days that followed several of the Bishops around the country joined in supporting his decision. I’m proud to say that Bishop Burbidge has said we will follow the Archbishop’s decision in the Diocese of Arlington.

“He is her bishop and as that bishop the direction and guidance he provides is not limited to just a geographical area,” he said on his Walk Humbly Podcast. “I can’t say it enough, (these) decisions are made for the good of individuals to guard the faithful from scandal, which is caused when Catholics in public office take positions at odds with Church teaching…That confuses people and a bishop has to guard against that….All people, including those who are not public individuals, have to approach the sacraments truly in communion with the Church and Our Lord.”

“Bravo” Bishop Burbidge!

New Cardinals. Last Sunday Pope Francis announced the elevation of 21 new cardinals. Among these is one American, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego. McElroy’s elevation came as a shock to almost everyone, for many reasons. He is not an archbishop and his metropolitan archbishop, Archbishop Gomez, of Los Angeles, has been repeatedly passed over for cardinal, even though Gomez heads the largest diocese in the U.S. and is the President of the USCCB, i.e., the elected spokesmen for all the American Bishops.

                Many in the media have observed that Bishop McElroy is probably the leading voice among the more “liberal” American Bishops, and has often been at odds with the majority of the other American Bishops. For example, he has opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, and is supportive of women deacons (which is doctrinally impossible) and sympathetic to “LGBTQ” ideology and relationships. Moreover, he has been criticized by many for his failure to act on information he had received years ago about disgraced (former cardinal) Ted McCarrick’s sexual abuse of seminarians and priests.

                Regarding the appointment, Papal advisor Fr. Antonio Spadaro said it is “a strong and clear message for the Church in the United States.”

Words Redefined. I’ve spoken many times about how the Left has redefined common words in order to dominate our culture. “Love” no longer means willing the good of the other, but now it means either lust or agreeing with the Left. Boy no longer means boy, it means a boy or girl who self-identifies as a boy. And so on.

                I have been arguing for some time that they have been trying to do the same thing with the word “racist,” a word that has a long history of being one of the worst pejoratives in our country. Because of that it is a powerful word to throw at an opponent, so they try to use it to mean many things it does not mean.

                In a homily not too long ago I explained that Webster’s Dictionary gives the standard actual meaning of the word “racist,” that is: “a belief that different races, including different ethnic groups, are inherently naturally superior and inferior to each other.” Now Vox.com says that this is about to change:

“Signifying the larger cultural shift felt around the US, Merriam-Webster will now include systemic oppression in its latest definition of racism….‘Because people often turn to the dictionary to gain a more nuanced view of the way a word is being used in a particular context, and because the use of the word racism to specifically describe racial prejudice combined with systemic oppression is now so common, ignoring this meaning of the word may leave our readers confused or misled,’” [M-W spokesman said]….Merriam-Webster said the revised entry for racism is being drafted and will be added to the dictionary soon.”

Dear Merriam-Webster: people get confused when other people use words to mean something they don’t. It is Orwellian to change your dictionary to ratify ideology liars. Perhaps you should redefine the word “liar” to include, “a person who is on the cutting edge of word redefinition.”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles