Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

June 15, 2019 Column Father De Celles

Trinity Sunday. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, celebrating the most
sublime mystery of our faith: that God is One, in three Divine Persons, Father, Son and
Holy Spirit. It is a “mystery” in that It is something that we know only because God has
revealed It to us, and is something we cannot fully understand because It’s divine nature
is so far above our human intelligence and experience. This does not mean It is irrational
or imagined—no more than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is irrational or imagined
simply because it isn’t fully understood by 99.999…% of human beings. I don’t
understand how the world was created—it’s a mystery. But it happened.
I say It’s “sublime” because It reveals something amazingly wonderful about God:
that He is a personal communion of three persons sharing one life and one love. Hence,
St. John would say, “God is love,” and Pope Benedict XVI would say, “for God, life is
love.” So that at the heart of God’s essence…His being…who He most truly is, is this
eternal, total, complete, mutual self-gift between the three Divine Persons in love, that is
at the center of their absolute unity.
And I say “most” sublime because It is really the beginning of all meaning in life
and the end to which all life is directed: living in the love of God. We are created in the
image of this amazing Trinitarian love in order to share in it, both on earth (by loving
God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving each other, beginning in the
family) and in heaven. What a glorious Feast.

Happy Father’s Day! Today is also, of course, Father’s Day. It’s great when this secular
feast falls on the Christian Feast of Trinity Sunday, because the two help us to understand
important things about each other. We remember the familial relationship within God and
that at the head of this Divine Family is God the Father—from whom the Son is eternally
begotten, and from whom, with the Son, the Holy Spirit proceeds. So, the mystery reveals
the essential importance and role of fathers in the family, as well as the essential
importance of the family itself. But in doing so it places the dignity of fatherhood in
relation to the equal dignity of each member of the family, e.g., God the Son (Jesus) is
equal but obedient to the Father.

Reaction to the Mural. I was so pleased to hear the comments of so many parishioners
last weekend who love the new mural. I love it too, and can’t wait for the 2 nd one to go up
in October.

“Religious Freedom Week.” Due to the efforts of our President Trump and his
administration we have made significant strides in defending religious freedom in the last
two years. But we must continue to be vigilant in defending this freedom. So, once again
we will join with the Bishops of the United States and commemorate “Religious Freedom
Week,” which begins next Saturday, June 22, the Feast of St. Thomas More, and ends on
June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. St. Raymond’s will keep this “Week” by:
 praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” after every Mass;
encouraging all parishioners to pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily at home,
and perhaps also making the Novena to St. Thomas More (see the insert in this bulletin).

Changing the Words of the Our Father. All week people have been asking me,
“Father, Father, is it true the Pope changed the Our Father?” The simple answer: NO. The
press once again has caused great confusion among the faithful by poorly reporting the
facts. Last month the ITALIAN BISHOPS’ Conference approved a new ITALIAN
translation of the Our Father, and last week this was approved by Pope Francis. The
German Bishops’ Conference thought about doing the same thing last year, but decided
not to. In any case, the American Bishops are not considering any such change, and I
can’t imagine they ever will, since that would be an ecumenical disaster, putting us out of
sync with most Christians in America.

Speaking of the US Bishops’ Conference. The Bishop’s met in Baltimore this last week
for their regular semi-annual meeting. Their last such meeting was last November, their
failed effort to address the problem of disciplining lying and abusing bishops in their
midst. This time they will address this issue by approving an implementation plan for
Pope Francis’ new rules issued last month, under which accusations against bishops
would be investigated by the archbishop of their province (the “metropolitan”). This is
different than accusations against priests, which are investigated jointly by the bishop and
an independent lay board. And remember, former cardinal-archbishop Ted McCarrick
was a Metropolitan archbishop for 20 years. (Note: as I write this on Wednesday there is
no news from the meeting).

Speaking of Lying and Abusing Bishops. Last week Archbishop Lori concluded his
investigation of the accusations against Bishop Michael Bransfield, suspended bishop of
our neighboring Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. Archbishop Lori’s
report is a sickening tale of homosexual sexual abuse and harassment, and of
misappropriation of millions of dollars of diocesan funds to finance a lavish and opulent
lifestyle, including large and small gifts to scores of cardinals, bishops and priests. In his
report Archbishop Lori revealed that he had personally received a $10,000 gift from
(Note, there is nothing illegal in giving or receiving gifts, except when you give
away money that isn’t yours. Although I question their wisdom, in fairness to the
recipients, there are no accusations that they knew the money was “misappropriated,” and
Bransfield had a reputation as being independently wealthy, having inherited family
money. Even so, it seems imprudent to accept such gifts ….)
As in the case of McCarrick, the report’s findings, as shocking as they are, were
not a great surprise to many priests who had been hearing rumors about Bransfield for
decades. But it seems, that like McCarrick, he had many powerful friends in the hierarchy
who promoted and protected him. One can’t help but wonder if money played a role in
Speaking of Church Finances. Every fall I publish a financial report to the parish and
invite and encourage anyone interested to ask any questions about the numbers. Some

people do ask, and as a former accountant I enjoy answering their questions. Also, in the
last 5 years we have been independently audited 3 times, with a very clean report each
time. Moreover, if you are ever concerned about the priest’s “lavish” lifestyle, I would be
happy to give you a tour of our rectory, which is comfortable, but is modestly furnished
and in need of new carpet and paint. Also, I have a finance council of 5 parishoners very
well versed in finances and accounting, who has access to all parish financial
information, and with whom I consult concerning all significant parish financial
decisions. Finally, several years ago I made a policy prohibiting gifts to me (e.g.,
Christmas, Birthday) from the vicar and staff, because it might appear inappropriate.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles