Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 15, 2016 Column Father De Celles

More News on Bishop Burbidge. I continue to thank the Lord Jesus Christ (and His Mother) for the appointment of our new Bishop. Last week I mentioned that Fr. Smith went to the same seminary that Bishop Burbidge had been rector of, that is, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. When I wrote that I was out of town and had not had the chance to discuss the appointment with Fr. Smith at length, but since then Father tells me (as he mentioned briefly at several Masses last week) that Bishop Burbidge was his rector when he was at St. Charles, and he sings the Bishop’s praises. I do really believe all of our prayers were heard. But keep praying for Bishop Burbidge—he has a tough job ahead of him and, on a personal level, a huge change in his life to deal with.

Speaking of praying for Bishops, you may have noticed that we continue to pray for “Paul our bishop”—i.e., Bishop Paul Loverde—during the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass. This may surprise you (as it did me), since we technically have no bishop at this time: Bishop Burbidge doesn’t actually take over until December 6, and Bishop Loverde’s is now only the Apostolic Administrator. This means Bishop Loverde continues to run the Diocese as a “caretaker” when it comes to day to day matters, but cannot make any major changes or decisions. Even so, according custom and protocol, we continue to pray for “Paul our bishop” in the EP because he is a bishop and he is acting with the equivalent authority of “the Bishop of Arlington.” Please, keep him in your prayers at Mass and throughout these next few months.


Speaker on Education Challenges. This Thursday, October 20th at 7:30 p.m., Mr. Patrick Reilly, the founder and president of The Cardinal Newman Society, will join us to discuss the religious liberty threats to Catholic Education, including the effect of Supreme Court vacancies, Common Core, Title IX, transgender “rights”, “same-sex marriage”, etc. on Catholic education. Reilly is a nationally known commentator on Catholic education and is regularly seen on EWTN News and other national television and radio outlets. The Cardinal Newman Society is the largest Catholic organization focused on preserving and protecting the Catholic identity of Catholic education. It is best known for its Newman Guide which recommends faithful Catholic colleges and universities, but has also over the last four years, done significant work with K-12 schools. I look forward to attending this talk, and invite all of you to join me.


The Election: Good Grief. How did we ever get here? How did we come to this point, 3 weeks before the election of the leader of the free world, and only have a choice between two repugnant candidates? I’m sorry, if you disagree, but that’s how I feel. Last week we read about the (unsurprising) disclosure of one candidate’s disgusting and abusive “locker room banter” about women, but at the same time we remember the equal repugnance of the other candidate’s disgusting and abusive treatment of the various women who have been accusing her husband of either rape or sexual assault for 30 years. I could go on and on about the sordid record of both, but surely you’ve kept up, and been appalled. Who is worse? For the sake of argument, let’s call it a draw.

(By the way, it is also clear that the media strongly favors one candidate and vehemently opposes the other; but who really trusts the media? Not me. They lie about Catholicism all the time.)

Can we vote for either candidate? Many people have concluded they cannot. I see their point. From a moral perspective, although voting is normally a grave obligation, one is not required to vote if one truly finds it impossible to choose which candidate is the better, or at minimum, the least worst. I see how many apply that to this case.

But for me, I see this election as voting mainly for the Supreme Court. As I’ve said before, the Justices (Judges) on the Supreme Court are the most powerful people in our government, as they regularly uphold or throw out decisions by our elected officials—both the President and those in Congress—as well as decades, centuries, and millennia of precedents and common sense assumptions of Western Society. For example, it was one vote (on a 5 to 4 vote), so one Justice, who overturned the immemorial unanimous belief that marriage was only between a male and female and it was one vote/Justice who kept abortion a fundamental inalienable right. On the other hand, it was one vote/Justice who protected the religious liberty of business owners (i.e., Hobby Lobby; and remember the Little Sisters of the Poor case currently before the Court), and it was one vote/Justice who temporarily stopped the President from forcing local schools to give special privileges to “transgenders.”

And that’s what it comes down to for me: The Supreme Court and abortion, traditional marriage, religious liberty/freedom of conscience, and the attack on common sense (the transgendered issue). And the next President will select up to 4 members of the Supreme Court, including the replacement for the good Catholic Justice Antonin Scalia, recently deceased.

Can we vote for one of these two horrible candidates for president? Perhaps, if we remember we’re also voting for the Supreme Court. And here is what Mrs. Clinton said the other night at the debate about the Justices the two candidates would put on the Court: “I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose [i.e., abortion], and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality [i.e., “same-sex marriage”].  Now, Donald put forth of the names of people he would consider. And among those are people who will reverse Roe v. Wade and reverse marriage equality. I think that would be a terrible mistake and take us backwards.”

Clearly we can’t vote for the horrible candidate who also promises to appoint even more horrible Justices to the Court. But if we’re voting for a pro-life, etc. Supreme Court, it seems to me there is a horrible candidate you could vote for to give us that.

And besides, who is more repugnant than a candidate who aggressively defends the killing of a million babies a year. Not to mention, forcefully equates sodomy with the life-creating act, or tells us we’re too stupid to know the difference between a boy and a girl?

In my opinion, we have an incredibly unbelievably miserable choice between two terrible candidates. All things being equal, I could see why some might choose not to vote. But I think we have something to vote for—the Supreme Court, and pro-life, marriage, religious liberty and common sense.

But I never publicly endorse candidates—and how could I endorse either of these horrible candidates? Jesus, Lord, have mercy on us.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles