Twentieth Sunday In Ordinary Time

August 15, 2015 Column Father De Celles

A Religious Vocation. A year ago I wrote to you about former parishioner Teri Tolpa, daughter of parishioners Debbie and Ted Tolpa, and former chair of our Respect Life Committee. Last August I asked for your prayers for her as she entered the Sisters of Life in New York as a “postulant.” Now I can report that on July 25 Teri took her next step in religious life, entering the Novitiate of the Sisters of Life—“taking the veil” and a new name: Sister Theresa Francesca. We all thank God for calling her, and congratulate Sister for responding to His call. Please keep her in your prayers.


Republican Debates. I didn’t see the “debate(s)” on Fox News last week, but since then I’ve seen some of the clips of the more interesting moments. I’d like to talk about two of those moments.

The first was a question reporter Megyn Kelly asked of Gov. Scott Walker. Here is the transcript (edited for brevity):

KELLY: “Governor Walker, you’ve consistently said that you want to make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. ….Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion?” WALKER: “…I believe that that is an unborn child in need of protection out there, and …that that unborn child can be protected and there are many other alternatives that will also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven. ….”

At first glance I object to the way the question is framed: “Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion?” But since this is probably how many otherwise good people might ask the question, we should be ready to answer them without rancor or condescension. Governor Walker did a decent job of this by pointing out 2 key errors behind the question.

First, he pointed out that we are talking about two lives and deaths here: besides the mother, there is also “an unborn child in need of protection.” Even if it were true that there could ever be a choice between the two lives, nowhere else in our laws or morals do we say it’s okay to murder one innocent human being because it might save the life of another. [Note: this is not self-defense: babies do not attack their moms]. And even if we did, how does the mother claim a superior right to life over the right to life of the child?

However, as Gov. Walker went on to point out, it is simply factually incorrect and medically ignorant to presume that such a choice exists. Since 2012 over 1000 medical doctors (including hundreds of OB/GYNs) have signed the so called “Dublin Declaration” which states the simple medical facts that: “…direct abortion…is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman….[T]he prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”

With the advances in medical science, there is never a need to intentionally kill/abort an unborn baby to “save the life” of its mother. This does not mean, as the Declaration notes, that sometimes medical procedures to save the life of a mother may not result in the unintended death of her unborn baby, but that is not abortion, either under the law or under Catholic doctrine. For example, it is morally permissible for a pregnant woman to take chemotherapy to treat her deadly cancer, even if the side-effects of that therapy might result in the unintended death of her unborn baby; there is no direct intentional abortion, but a terrible unintended secondary effect of normal medical treatment.

A second question, again from Kelly, but this time to Governor John Kasich, was also worth noting. But this time it’s the answer that was problematic. To a question about “same-sex marriage” Kasich replied:

“…I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I’ve also said the court has ruled…and I said we’ll accept it. And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do, doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or can’t love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? That’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith.”

Where do I begin? First, he says, “the court has ruled…and I said we’ll accept it.” Well, I won’t accept it. It is the law, but it’s an unjust immoral law, and it must be fought and changed. The court once said blacks did not have human rights and it still says that you can kill unborn babies: did/do we “accept” that?

Second, we should absolutely never go to so called “gay weddings” because they celebrate immoral relationships and acts, as well as a desecration of marriage. We can love someone without going to their “wedding,” but we cannot go to their “wedding” without sending the message that we celebrate/approve what they are doing. In fact, if we really love someone who suffers from same-sex attraction we should kindly and respectfully inform them we cannot support what they are doing, even though we won’t stop loving them and being there for them. Same-sex “marriage” (as well as SS sexual acts) is/are bad for the persons and society. We cannot love someone and celebrate them hurting themselves and others.

Third, that’s not “what we’re taught when we have strong faith.” This just another example of the distortion of our faith that people use to try to justify their sins. Our faith tells us to “love our neighbor,” but loving someone doesn’t mean we have to “accept” the things they do that are sinful and bad for them or others. Last Wednesday we read at Mass Jesus’ instruction to correct sinners, first in private, then in public. And He concludes, “If he refuses to listen … treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector”—in other words, completely avoid them. I’m not saying we should completely avoid people with same-sex attraction, but we should completely avoid celebrations of their same-sex attraction, e.g., so called “gay weddings.”


Parishioners Moving, Volunteers Needed. I mentioned a few weeks back that several parishioners are moving this summer due to transfers or retirement. All of them will be missed as dear brothers and sisters in Christ. But many of them will also be missed for their very generous volunteer work in the parish. This creates opportunities for the rest of our good parishioners to be even more involved in the work of the parish. In particular, we have some big shoes to fill in teaching religious education, CCD, as several of our excellent catechists have left us. Please prayerfully consider whether the Lord is asking you to help in this or other volunteer activities.


Oremus pro invicem.  Fr. De Celles