November 4, 2023 Column Father De Celles

(I write this on Tuesday due to an early bulletin deadline.)

New Sound System. By the time you read this our new sound system should be in place. We have new hardware and software as well as new and moved speakers. I hope you notice the improvement in sound. We also have a new set up for those with hearing trouble—ask the ushers for assistance if this applies to you.

                 I am eager for your feedback. No system is perfect, but I hope we see a positive difference. Let me know.

NOVEMBER: PRAYING FOR THE DEAD. Last Thursday we celebrated All Souls Day. But as we go forward in November we remember this whole month is set aside by the Church as a month to pray for the dead who are in Purgatory being prepared for their entrance into Heaven. So I encourage you to pray and offer Masses for our beloved dead this month, and for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, especially the “most abandoned,” the souls who no one else remembers to pray for.

“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.”

Vote Like a Catholic. This Tuesday, November 7, Virginians go to the polls to elect our Virginia State Delegates and Senators, as well as our Fairfax County government and School Board members. Sadly, many voters, including many Catholics, will vote for candidates who embrace abortion, the “LGBTQ+” (transgender) agenda, and the undermining of parental rights and religious liberty. Many others will not vote at all. But as the Church teaches that not only must Catholics vote, they must vote like Catholics, placing priority on the most “fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms (230). These values are not negotiable (Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 83).

Prayer and Adoration for the Election. I encourage all of you to pray for God’s will to prevail in the election, and remind you we will have Adoration and Exposition in the church all day on Election Day (this Tuesday), beginning immediately after the 8:30am Mass and ending at 7pm. I also ask you all to pray the Rosary today, tomorrow and Tuesday.

Scandal in Rome. From the National Catholic Register, Father Raymond J. de Souza, October 27, 2023 (excerpt): “With the world media in Rome to cover the signature synodality initiative of Pope Francis, a stomach-churning Jesuit scandal returned to dominate the news.

“To the outrage of victims, the shock of the assembled synod delegates, the bewilderment of bishops and the shame of the Holy See, it turned out that the world’s most infamous Jesuit abuser, Father Marko Rupnik, had been returned to ministry in a Slovenian diocese….

“Father Rupnik has been for generations one the world’s most celebrated Jesuit priests…The most famous Catholic artist in the world…. The favor was not only official, but personal — he was granted papal audiences by his fellow Jesuit, Pope Francis, and invited once to preach to the Roman Curia.

“Hence it was a veritable earthquake in Rome when, in November 2022, it was reported that there were a long series of allegations of sacrilegious and repellant sexual abuse against various religious sisters over whom Rupnik had spiritual and professional authority. What followed was still more appalling.

“The Jesuits knew in January 2020 that Father Rupnik had committed one of the most serious canonical crimes, offering sacramental absolution to someone with whom he had had illicit sexual contact. Despite being in a state of automatic excommunication, the Society of Jesus permitted Pope Francis to invite him to preach a Lenten recollection to the Pope himself and the Roman Curia.

“Father Rupnik’s excommunication was formally confirmed by the DDF in May 2020, but lifted shortly thereafter. The Jesuits then put restrictions on Father Rupnik’s ministry, especially regarding spiritual direction and confession for women.

“In 2022, a nauseating dossier of allegations arrived at the DDF. The dates of the allegations required the DDF to lift the statute of limitations in order to put Father Rupnik on trial. When it declined to do so, no case could proceed against the celebrity priest… Pope Francis …expressed his agreement …

“The international outcry in late 2022 forced the Jesuits to act. They further restricted Father Rupnik’s ministry and declared that the allegations made by dozens of women were “highly credible.” When Father Rupnik would not abide by the restrictions, the Jesuits speedily expelled him for “stubborn disobedience” in June 2023….

“…Father Rupnik wrote to his hometown diocese of Koper, Slovenia…In August the local bishop admitted Father Rupnik, meaning that he had the capacity for ministry again….

“…. [A]fter dragging out the case and declining to act for years…[w]ithin 36 hours of the news breaking about the decision in Koper, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis was going to act against Father Rupnik.

[“…[T]he Holy Father reversed himself …[and] directed that the Rupnik case be reopened at the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), and lifted the statute of limitations to that effect….]”

Closing of the Synod. From The Catholic Thing, Robert Royal, October 30, 2023: “Several voices – mostly close to Pope Francis …– declared the assembly, before the fact, the most significant event in the life of the Catholic Church since Vatican II. …[S]everal of the officially selected speakers suggested, as one of them put it, ‘When we reach the consensus that the Church is constitutively synodal, we will have to rethink the whole Church, all the institutions, the whole life of the Church in a synodal sense.’

“If that were to happen, it still wouldn’t necessarily be the greatest Catholic event since Vatican II…But the Synod might well be…the most utterly wearying.

“…[E]ven the controversies and attempted infidelities, the rigging and manipulations, of the previous synods in the Francis era were more varied, interesting, and substantial than this one. …With this one, you wandered in a fog that, for all its strict structuring and regimented march through various modules and discussions, seemed to go nowhere. 

“And to judge from the final document, released late Saturday in Rome, the appearance was very close to the reality.

“The only ‘news’ for those hoping for the usual litany of changes – on LGBTs, women, married priests, etc. – was that there was no news, except the failure of the false expectations that the Synod had, intentionally or not, created.

“…Some more hopeful progressive voices characterized all this as a ‘postponement’…. Vatican spokesman Paolo Ruffini has confirmed that the same delegates will return next October to continue the synodal discernment process. 

“If that process is conducted fairly, it’s difficult to see how this same group will provide any greater satisfaction to those whose expectations have been raised by this confused ‘walking together.’”   

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles