Twenty Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time

October 17, 2015 Column Father De Celles

Archbishop Cordileone is Coming to SRP. I am delighted to announce that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the courageous Archbishop of San Francisco and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, will be speaking at St. Raymond’s on Thursday, November 19, on the topic of “Marriage and Religious Liberty in America” (working title). Since taking the helm of the Archdiocese His Excellency has been under constant public attack for his strong and outspoken defense of the Church’s moral teachings, especially with regard to same-sex attraction and “same-sex marriage.” In June he was the subject of a nationally publicized letter from 78 politicians and activists, including  California’s Lieutenant Governor and the Mayor of San Francisco, criticizing his defense of Marriage. He has also been subject to months of public harassment for amending archdiocesan contracts with Catholic high school teachers to clarify the important moral responsibilities that teachers must accept while working at a Catholic school.

It is really a great honor to have this good shepherd and heroic defender of the Faith come to speak to our parish, and I encourage all of you to attend and to invite your friends to join you. Mark your calendars now.


Bishops’ Synod. The three week Synod of Bishops gathering in Rome from around the world continues this week. The official topic of the Synod is “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world,” but most news reports have focused on debates about the pastoral treatment of divorced and remarried couples, as well as those suffering from same sex attraction. News reports make it pretty clear that this has not been a very harmonious meeting, with even cardinals of the highest rank openly butting heads.

I have been amazed and saddened how some bishops even seem to be completely ignorant of our Catholic Faith. One example of this was a cardinal who, in speaking in favor of allowing Holy Communion to Catholics who have divorced and entered into second civil marriages, said, “Could Peter not be merciful like Moses?” He was referring to the passage from Chapter 10 of Mark’s Gospel which we read 2 Sundays ago at Mass. In that passage Jesus acknowledged that Moses allowed the ancient Jews to divorce and remarry, “Because of the hardness of your hearts.” But Jesus then immediately proceeded to overturn that law of Moses, saying, “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall …be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. ….Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” And then he continued: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” Moses gave in to his stubborn people, but Jesus does not: Jesus restores Marriage to what it’s supposed to be: a permanent union of male and female. Was Jesus (God the Son who died on the Cross for our sins) unmerciful to demand we eradicate a sin that is bad for us, or was Moses (a mere man, a sinner) more merciful that Jesus? It’s no surprise that the Patriarch of Antioch immediately responded: “To assist spouses one must show them the unchangeable, spiritual vision of matrimony. Many times we are not united with the positive vision of marriage and the family. Jesus corrected Moses. Dissoluble marriage is against its nature.”

Let us continue to pray for the Bishops in Synod, that they may have the faith, hope, and love—and the courage—to defend the teaching and truth of Christ, passed down to us in the Church for 2000 years. May the Holy Spirit descend upon them and us, and as Jesus promised Peter and the Apostles, “remind you of everything I have told you.” Veni Sancte Spiritus …Come Holy Spirit…


Local Elections Coming. In just over two weeks, on November 3, Virginia voters will go to the polls to elect our local officials—including the Fairfax County Public School Board.  Do not forget that this is the school board that mocked and laughed at hundreds of parents at a public meeting (May 7) when those parents objected to the imposition of “gender identity” values on their children, and then voted 10-1 to add “gender identity” to their non-discrimination policy (i.e., forcing little Suzy to change in a locker room next to little Johnny if Johnny says he thinks he’s a girl). They later swore there were no other changes coming, but a week later they announced important pro-gender-identity changes in the middle school curriculum.

Now is time to change that, to make the Board accountable to parents. And it will be our only chance for the next 4 years. Stand up for the truth, and for the sake of our children. If you are eligible to vote, VOTE! And vote like Catholics! If you are not eligible to vote, encourage your friends and family to vote.

During every election people ask me who they should vote for. Of course, I cannot tell you who to vote for, and I never publicly endorse any candidate. But as your father, brother and friend, I think I can tell you some important facts.

First, with the exception of Elizabeth Schultz and Patty Reed, all the other candidates who are running for re-election to the Fairfax County Public School Board, voted in favor of the new pro-gender-identity policies.  Second, several new candidates for the “At Large” positions on the Board (i.e., we can vote for all three of these if we choose) have stated their opposition to the pro-gender-identity policy of the current board, including: Bob Copeland, Jeanette Hough, and Manar Jean-Jacques. Third, in the races for districts nearest to St. Raymond’s the following candidates have stated their opposition to the pro-gender-identity policy of the current board: in the Springfield District, Elizabeth Schultz; in the Mt. Vernon District, Anthony Stacy; in the Providence District, Patty Reed; and in the Sully District, Tom Wilson (who is the son of long-time parishioners Dave and Mary Wilson).

Vote as your Catholic conscience tells you, but vote like Catholics, to defend our children and the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children.

Dominican Sisters News. The monastery of cloistered Dominican sisters in Linden, VA, continues to grow and prosper. This week they emailed me to say that due to a generous gift they have been able to pay off the mortgage on their monastery! Thanks be to God, and to all of you who have helped them in the past!

But they still need your support, both financially and prayerfully, as they depend on donors for their daily sustenance and to build their new long-awaited chapel. So keep up your support for them as they keep our parish, especially your pastor, in their daily prayers.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles