Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 25, 2019 Column Father De Celles

Priest Transfers. This last Thursday Bishop Burbidge announced his annual list of priest transfers/assignment. Thanks be to God, Fr. Smith and I will be staying at St. Raymond’s another year. Unfortunately, no additional priest will be coming to assist us, but considering the priest shortage, I’m glad we still have two priests assigned here.
Most of the other transfers won’t directly affect us, and there are few major changes that you’d be interested in, except for one: Fr. Scalia, in addition to his current job as Vicar of Clergy (in charge of all the priests and deacons) will also become the pastor of St. James’ Parish in Falls Church. That is a large parish, much larger than ours, which means he won’t be coming to St. Raymond’s to help on Sundays any longer. Fr. Scalia is an excellent priest and preacher, so I was very glad that he asked to help out here when his other obligations permitted. I am happy for him getting to become a pastor again (this is where the real fun of being a priest is) but I’m worried that he will be overworked with basically two full-time jobs.
So, please keep Fr. Scalia in your prayers, and when you see him, thank him for all his help to us these last few years.

State Abortion Laws. If you’ve been following the news you’ve heard that several states have passed new laws placing new restrictions on abortion. Probably the most talked about is the Georgia law that prohibits abortions after the baby’s heartbeat can be detected—about 2 weeks after conception. This will basically make all abortions illegal in Georgia, since most women don’t know their pregnant until at least 5 to 7 weeks. Although aborting mothers will not be charged with any crime, doctors who perform abortions face long prison sentences. Also, there are no exceptions for rape and incest, or for the general “health of the mother,” but there are exceptions in the case of acting to save the mother from death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment,” or if the pregnancy has been deemed “medically futile” (i.e., the child would die shortly after birth).
Of course the pro-abortion crowd is going berserk, especially over the lack of exception for rape and incest (which is less than ½% of all abortions). But if an unborn baby is a human being, why should he or she be punished for the brutal act of a rapist or incestuous relative? What did the baby do wrong? Many abortion activists are saying, “the rapist will get out of prison before the doctor does.” Well, maybe we need longer sentences for rapists, but intentionally and willfully killing an innocent baby, whether it’s in the womb or playing on a swing set, is killing a human being, and the punishment for that has always been the harshest. And doctors should know better.
That being said, I’m worried that pro-life legislatures may have gotten ahead of themselves, that this may not work politically. And if it doesn’t work politically, it could do great harm to the pro-life movement. Most of these laws stand a very strong chance of being overturned at the district and appellate level, and the legislatures seem to be counting on the cases all going to the Supreme Court. But remember, the SC doesn’t have to accept every case appealed to it. There’s an old saying in the courts, that “bad facts make bad law,” so that the SC often rejects cases that don’t have the fact pattern that makes for clearly resolving difficult legal issues. I’m afraid that might be the case here. Let us pray….

Georgetown Visitation. Some of you may be acquainted with Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, a Catholic girls’ high school in Washington considered by many to be an “elite” school. But last week it bowed to the elites of the world, at the sacrifice of its Catholicism, when it announced that it will include news about the so-called “same-sex marriages” of alumnae in the school’s alumnae magazine.
Sister Mary Berchmans, president emerita of the school, wrote: “The Church is clear in its teaching on same-sex marriages. But, it is equally clear in its teaching that we are all children of God, that we each have dignity and are worthy of respect and love….As I have prayed over this contradiction, I keep returning to this choice: we can focus on Church teaching on gay marriage or we can focus on Church teaching on the Gospel commandment of love…we choose the Gospel commandment of love.”
Sister, Sister, Sister. There is no “contradiction.” The Catholic teaching on marriage flows from Jesus’ actual teaching in the Gospel (and the rest of Scripture). It is a specification of how love expresses itself in marriage. Jesus tells us, “if you love me you will keep my commandments.” And when He teaches about the 6th Commandment, “you shall not commit adultery,” He specifically tells us that marriage is only between one man and one woman: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”
Should we worship a pagan idol (against the 1st Commandment) if not doing so would offend someone we love? No. Then why should we honor adultery (which “same-sex-marriage” is a form of) if not doing so would offend someone we love?
Fortunately, the Archdiocese of Washington issued a statement admonishing the school. It remains to be seen what action the new Archbishop will take against the school, if any.
As for me, all I can say is, no parent who wants their daughter to receive a solid and sound Catholic education should send her to Visitation.

Peter’s Pence. Every year we are required to take a second collection at Mass for “Peter’s Pence” which funds the Pope’s charitable giving. This year it will be taken on the weekend of June 29-30, 2019. I thought you might be interested in how your donations are being spent.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Vatican News, 27 April 2019.
“Pope Francis has donated 500,000 dollars to assist migrants in Mexico. The funds, from the Peter’s Pence collections, will be distributed among 27 projects promoted by sixteen Mexican dioceses and religious congregations, which requested assistance in continuing to provide food, lodging, and basic necessities to the migrants.
“According to a statement from Peter’s Pence, “In recent months, thousands of migrants have arrived in Mexico, having travelled more than 4,000 kilometres on foot and with makeshift vehicles from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Men and women, often with young children, flee poverty and violence, hoping for a better future in the United States. However, the US border remains closed to them….In particular, the aid is intended to assist the more than 75,000 people who arrived in Mexico in 2018, in six migrant caravans.…
“Thanks to these projects”, the statement concludes, “and thanks to Christian charity and solidarity, the Mexican Bishops hope to be able to continue helping our migrant brothers and sisters.””