October 4, 2021 Column Father De Celles

GUARDIAN ANGELS. Yesterday, Saturday, October 2, was the feast of the Guardian Angels. It is the infallible Doctrine of the Church, revealed repeatedly in Scripture, that each of us has our own Guardian Angel who cares for us and protects us. What a great thing! Imagine, everywhere you go, you have a heavenly bodyguard, a friend, a servant, who is caring for you and trying to get you to heaven.

            So you should pray to your Guardian Angel—they love you, and they want to help you, why would you ignore them? Every one of us should pray this ancient prayer, or something similar every single day.

Angele Dei

(“Angel of God” or “Prayer to Your Guardian Angel”)

Angel of God, my guardian dear,

to whom God’s love commits me here,

ever this day, be at my side,

to light and to guard,

to rule and to guide. Amen.

POLITICS, NO. LIBERTY AND MORALITY, YES. Sometimes people will accuse me of preaching in support of issues that are merely political and partisan, and not “Catholic.” That I cross the line between religion and politics. Just to be clear: I do my very best to stay away from publicly taking any political position that I believe is contrary to the Church, or preaching anything that is not directly related to the Church’s teaching. While I sometimes will give my prudential pastoral opinion, I try to only do so when I believe it is truly important to guide you in the way of the Lord Jesus and His Church. Pray that I will always know God’s will in my preaching and writing.

            Respect Life. Today is “Respect Life Sunday,” beginning “Respect Life Month,” in which the American Bishops call on us to remember that thousands of innocent American babies are killed every day by abortions, over 1 million a year, for a total of 60 million dead since 1973. How can this happen in America, to innocent babies? And how can we vote for political leaders who don’t “get” this?

            But in this year’s election (November 2, 2021) for Governor of Virginia, one candidate supports the most basic human right, the right to life, and the other opposes it. Consider these quotes from the September 16th gubernatorial debate:

Glenn Youngkin (Republican): “As I have said, I’m pro-life..”

Terry McAuliffe (Democrat): “ I’ll be very clear. …I believe a woman ought to make a decision about Her own reproductive rights. And I will support those and I was a brick wall. While I was governor, I vetoed all the bills that he would have proposed that ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood.”

Parental Rights in Education. It is the clear, universal and ancient Doctrine of the Church, that parents are the primary educators of their children and have primary rights in that regard. Consider:

            Second Vatican Council (“Vatican II”), Gravissimum Educationis, 3: “Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators.”

            Catechism of the Catholic Church: “2221 The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.” “2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children.” “2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental….Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.”

            Code of Virginia: § 1-240.1. “Rights of parents. A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26.1: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

            But in this year’s election for Governor of Virginia one candidate supports this basic human right, and the other opposes it. Consider these quotes from last week’s gubernatorial debate:

Glenn Youngkin (Republican): “I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”

Terry McAuliffe (Democrat): “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Shame on Terry McAuliffe. How can a Catholic, much less anyone who supports basic human rights, vote for him?

True and Amazing Story. Many years ago a Secret Service agent told me the following story. He was there, he saw it. The story has been recently making the rounds on the internet, so I will relate it as it was told to me by this very credible eyewitness.

On October 8, 1995, John Paul II visited Baltimore. When he arrived he told his planners arrange for him to meet briefly with all the seminarians who had come to town for his morning Mass at Camden Yards. It was decided that this would take place in the evening at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, so the Secret Service, who had been tasked with handling Papal security on the visit, sent a team to secure the seminary. Part of this involved bringing in a dog to search not only for explosives but for people—the dog was specially trained, and was often used in searching for cadavers in explosions, etc.

Long story short, when the dog searched the seminary chapel, which they knew the Holy Father would visit, things were uneventful until suddenly the dog suddenly ran to the side chapel, and started barking and going nuts—its usual reaction when it discovered a human body.

And what had he discovered? This side chapel was where the Tabernacle was kept, and apparently there was a live human body hiding in the tiny Tabernacle.

            Two years later, eyewitness-Secret Service agent became a Catholic and a devout believer in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. True story.

            As an aside, I was one of the hundreds of seminarians gathered from all over the East Coast in front of St. Mary’s that evening. I remember how the Saintly Pope arrived in his helicopter, and went directly into the that chapel to pray before that same tabernacle, and then came outside again and spoke with us. And how he led us (well, at least the seminarians from Mt. St. Mary’s and St. Charles) in singing the Salve Regina. It was a great evening. 

Fr. Daly. I spoke to Fr. Daly this week. He’s out of the hospital and rehab, back to his apartment. He’s still weak and having a hard time walking, and needs a walker or wheelchair, but otherwise he’s as well as can be expected. He thanks us for all our prayers and asks that we keep them coming. He also hopes to soon take me up on my invitation to return to the parish to at least concelebrate Mass with me. God bless him!

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles