Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 3, 2019 Column Father De Celles

Happy Labor Day. This weekend our nation celebrates “Labor Day.” For some, this weekend is merely the end of Summer. But for many it’s a celebration of the hard work of so many Americans that has made our nation so successful in so many ways. We should rightly celebrate this, as “work” is one of the original gifts given to Man by God, as He gave Adam and Eve dominion (“lordship”) over all the earth and commanded them: “fill the earth and subdue it.” That “subduing” of the earth is the work/labor of Man, who was created in the image of the Creator. Man shares in God’s creative work by his labor, and when he works in ways consistent with God’s will, he grows in holiness.
Often, however, we don’t work in ways consistent with God’s will. Too often we work motivated by envy or greed. Sometimes we deceive or cheat our customers, co-workers, employers or employees. Sometimes we don’t give an honest day’s work for our wages, or we don’t pay fair wages to our workers. Sometimes we work too much and neglect our family and God, and sometimes we force our employees to do that. Some neglect work to engage in criminal activities or simple dependence on governments. Of course, some are retired after years of hard work, and some can’t work for a good reason—God bless them, and may they work in whatever way they can (volunteering, assisting friends, etc.) so that they may always participate in God’s creative work!

St. Frances Cabrini Isn’t Good Enough. Let me quote an article in the New York Post, on August 10:
“She was America’s first saint, a tireless advocate who founded an upstate orphanage, a school for girls in Washington Heights and 67 organizations for the needy in the late 1880s. But she wasn’t good enough to be named one of New York’s seven most important women.
“Francesca Xavier Cabrini and other female icons were denied honorary statues after a group controlled by First Lady [of New York City] Chirlane McCray tossed out the revered Catholic sister in favor of …a drag queen-turned-LGBTQ activist. This despite Cabrini getting the most votes in a poll of New Yorkers on who should be included. [Emphasis mine].
“‘The whole process was a charade,’ said Harriet Senie, who served on the panel that weighed the poll results and recommended to McCray that the city honor groups over individuals….
“The She Built NYC project, which started last summer when McCray set out to balance the male-female mix of statues of prominent New Yorkers, asked for the public’s input — and more than 1,800 suggestions poured in, with some 320 women nominated….
“Cabrini — who was known as Mother Cabrini and whose remains are entombed in a shrine at the former Mother Cabrini HS in Washington Heights — got 219 votes, which was tops.
“McCray, the wife of Mayor de Blasio, then formed a blue-ribbon panel to review the results and make its own recommendations on the seven winners, who will be memorialized by six monuments in the city, funded by about $5 million in taxpayer money.”
What more can I add to that. Imagine, an immigrant woman—one of the most prominent Americans of the 19th century, when women couldn’t even vote. A woman who worked untiringly to help other immigrants progress and assimilate into the American culture and economy. But she was a pious Catholic nun. She isn’t good enough for New York.

Cardinal Pell. Last week Cardinal George Pell, former Archbishop of Melbourne (Australia) and former Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy (Vatican) lost his appeal of his criminal conviction on a charge of child abuse in 1990. He has announced that he will appeal this decision to Australia’s highest court.
I am publicly on record as having no patience or leniency for priests who sexually abuse children. My gut level (pre-reason) response tends to be beat them with a baseball bat and then call the police. Now, this is hyperbole, and emotional, not my last best moral judgment in sound reason. That judgment would be to try them, and then thrown them in prison for the rest of their lives.
But I also believe that some priests are erroneously accused, and some for malicious purposes. I could be wrong, but I think Cardinal Pell falls into this category.
In support of this let me cite the decision of the appellate court, which voted 2 to 1 for upholding the trial court’s conviction. Which means 1 appellate judge, Justice Mark Weinberg, voted to find Pell “not guilty.” I can’t reproduce his entire 200+ page dissent (almost twice as long as the opinion of the rest of the court), but consider some of Justice Weinberg’s remarks:
“From … the complainant’s evidence, it can be seen that there was ample material upon which his account could be legitimately subject to criticism. There were inconsistencies, and discrepancies, and a number of his answers simply made no sense…
“An unusual feature of this case was that it depended entirely upon the complainant being accepted, beyond reasonable doubt, as a credible and reliable witness…Yet the jury were invited to accept his evidence without there being any independent support for it.”
“All of these witnesses [defending Pell] were important, but there were some whose evidence was critical…It can fairly be said that their evidence, if accepted, would lead inevitably to acquittal…The same result would follow, even if the only finding that could be made was that their evidence, as regards the events in question, was a ‘reasonably possible’ account of what had occurred.”
As Chief Justice Anne Ferguson summarized from the bench: “In Justice Weinberg’s view, there was a significant body of cogent and, in some cases, impressive evidence suggesting that the complainant’s account was, in a realistic sense, ‘impossible’ to accept. To his mind, there is a significant possibility that the Cardinal may not have committed the offences. In those circumstances, Justice Weinberg stated that in his view the convictions could not stand.”
To see the full opinion:

More Scandal. As reported by LifeSiteNews, August 15, 2019 [Emphasis mine]:
“The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Scranton have launched a “comprehensive investigation” into Monsignor Walter Rossi, the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception….
“The investigation was announced just one day after a young man asked D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory at an August 13 Theology on Tap event about misconduct allegations against Rossi and why they haven’t been investigated…
“Rossi is [a priest of] the Diocese of Scranton but has been the rector of the basilica since ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick appointed him to that role in 2005. Rossi replaced now-Bishop Michael Bransfield….Earlier this year, accusations that Bransfield was a serial sexual harasser of young men were deemed “credible…Rossi has been working for the shrine in various capacities since 1997, according to his bio on its website.”
The article also reminds us that in June 2019, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò accused Rossi of being, “without a doubt, a member of the ‘gay mafia.’”
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles