July 25, 2020 Column Father De Celles

Church Burnings, Etc. From the desecration of statues of Jesus, Mary, and saints, to the arson at San Gabriel Mission in California and Nantes Cathedral in France, attacks on Catholic Churches are dramatically on the rise, especially in the US. Some of this upsurge seems to be connected to the uptick in Marxist inspired riots and anarchy across the nation. The attack on San Gabriel Mission, in particular, seems to be directly related to this, as it was founded by St. Junipero Serra, who has been under attack as a supposed “racist” by Marxist inspired groups. Recently far-left activist Shaun King urged us to tear down statues of “white Jesus and His European Mother.”

            And the attacks aren’t just against Catholic Churches. Last Sunday a Bible study at Grace Covenant Church in Chantilly was attacked by a knife wielding assailant, who injured a pastor and 3 others (one of those was Fairfax County Police Chief, Edwin Roessler, a member of the congregation).

            Please pray for an end of these senseless attacks on the Church, and an end to all the Marxist inspired attacks on our freedom.

Speaking of Racists. After years of denial, Planned Parenthood, at least part of it, is finally admitting its foundation as a racist organization. According to the New York Post: “Planned Parenthood of Greater New York on Tuesday [July 21] said it’ll ditch the name of Margaret Sanger — one of the founders of the national organization — from its Lower Manhattan clinic over her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement.

“…Planned Parenthood dates its beginnings to 1916, when public health nurse Sanger…opened America’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn. Long viewed as a feminist hero for her pioneering views on women’s right to choose, Sanger also supported eugenics — a discredited movement to promote selective breeding that often targeted people of color and the disabled.

“‘The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color,’ Karen Seltzer, the chair of Planned Parenthood of New York, said in a statement. ‘Margaret Sanger’s concerns and advocacy for reproductive health have been clearly documented, but so too has her racist legacy.’”

            “The Planned Parenthood founder’s troubling embrace of eugenics — which was later practiced by the Nazis — has come into focus in recent years.”

            Interesting. Many of the most vocal in attacking our nation’s history claim that racism was built into the founding of our nation and constitution, and so it must be torn down and rebuilt from the bottom up. I wonder ….Since Planned Parenthood (the nation’s largest supplier of abortions) was founded as a fundamentally racist organization (and continues kill a widely disproportionate number of black babies every year), perhaps it will be torn down too? By the left. And then rebuilt as pro-(Black)-life. Probably not.

St. Mary Magdalene. This last Wednesday, July 22, we celebrated the feast of this great saint. According to ancient Catholic tradition Mary was like many women you know today: she was the sister of Lazarus and Martha who grew up innocently enough in the small town of Bethany, but somehow left home and fell into a life mired in debauchery and filled with all seven deadly sins. In God’s mercy, however, she eventually heard Jesus preaching and was transformed by His words, grace and love, and her faith in and love for Him (“she has loved much”) led her to become the great repentant servant of the Lord Jesus, who would go on to stand at the foot of the Cross, be the first to see the Risen Christ, and the first to proclaim the Resurrection, even to the Apostles themselves.

            As you know, I have been close to this saint since I was baptized in 1960 at St. Mary Magdalene Church. I grew up in that parish and school, and received all the sacraments of my youth there. My devotion grew over the years, until July 22, 2002, on her feast day, she interceded for me, as I was miraculously cured from “Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome” (ARDS) that was supposed to kill me that same day.

            I commend her to you as an outstanding example for our times, to confirm our hope in the power of Christ to “make all things new.” And I commend you to her powerful intercession for yourselves, for our children, and for our culture. And I especially commend her to you during this pandemic: ARDS is often what kills people with COVID-19, and she’s proven herself powerful in curing it.

Humanae Vitae. Yesterday,July 25, was the 52nd anniversary of Pope St. Paul VI’s issuance of Humanae Vitae [1968], reaffirming the Church’s ancient and constant teaching against contraception. It is important we remember his teaching, especially:

            “[10] …In the task of transmitting life, therefore, they are not free to proceed completely at will, as if they could determine in a wholly autonomous way the honest path to follow; but they must conform their activity to the creative intention of God, expressed in the very nature of marriage and of its acts, and manifested by the constant teaching of the Church.

            “[11] These acts, by which husband and wife are united in chaste intimacy, and by means of which human life is transmitted, are, as the Council [Vatican II] recalled, “noble and worthy,” and they do not cease to be lawful if, for causes independent of the will of husband and wife, they are foreseen to be infecund, since they always remain ordained towards expressing and consolidating their union. In fact, as experience bears witness, not every conjugal act is followed by a new life. God has wisely disposed natural laws and rhythms of fecundity which, of themselves, cause a separation in the succession of births. Nonetheless the Church, calling men back to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by their constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marriage act (quilibet  matrimonii usus) must remain open to the transmission of life.

Thanks. I want to thank all of you who answered my invitation to help me celebrate my 10th anniversary here by sending me your family photo (it’s not too late to send yours if you forgot). Also, thanks to so many of you who sent me cards and gifts. It was all much appreciated.

Back from a Break. The week before last, Monday to Friday, I took a short vacation out in the Blueridge and Shenandoah Valley. Using a friend’s getaway cabin as base, I played golf, ate some good country food, and explored the beautiful and historic countryside of western Virginia. It was very relaxing and recuperative, especially after the stress and shutdown of these last 6 months. And, as always, it was good to come home to St. Raymond’s.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles