September 25, 2020 Column Father De Celles

Supreme Court. Last Friday Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87. Justice Ginsburg dedicated much of her life in service to our country, and for that she is rightly honored. She is clearly an important figure in our nation’s history. Moreover, she was a strong advocate for civil discourse and debate, and abhorred the violence we see in our streets today.

Unfortunately, many of her judicial rulings were diametrically opposed to Catholic moral thought, and contrary to the intentions of our Founding Fathers and most of our American ancestors.

            This, of course, includes, but is not limited to her positions on same-sex “marriage,” freedom of religion, and most especially, abortion. One could not find a more strident and dedicated advocate for the right to kill unborn babies.

            But following the Lord’s commands, in charity we pray for her soul, asking  Him to judge her with His omnipotent mercy, and grant her peace.

            And our President will now choose her successor. He has promised to appoint a woman who is pro-life and pro-traditional American values. Of course, the left is going nuts; for them abortion is something akin to a sacrament, absolute dogma, the sine qua non of their ideology. They cannot believe that their control of the Court will swing from a pro-abortion 5 to 4 majority to a pro-life majority of 6 to 3 in just over 2 years.

So it will be an ugly fight for the nomination and the Senate’s approval. And so we must pray fervently for the new nominee, pray like the lives of millions of babies depend on it.

Because of the printing deadline, I write this on Wednesday—before the President’s Saturday scheduled announcement of the nominee. I’m guessing it will be Judge Amy Barrett. But as you read this you know who it is. Whoever it is, God bless her, shower His graces on her, and send His Holy Angels to protect her.

Heart of a Lion. Five years ago our parish was blessed with the presence of, and talk by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. Today we congratulate His Excellency for his courageous stand against the radical leftist-secularist city politicians trying to ignore and perhaps even intentionally harm the spiritual well-being of their citizens. In a homily preached  last Sunday he defended the spiritual necessity and Constitutional right of being able to attend Mass, something all our leaders should pay attention to. But he also spoke loudly on the state of the Church in America—and the left’s utter contempt for our needs and rights, which redounds loudly in our political culture and in the coming election. As the Archbishop wrote, in part:

“….Months ago, we submitted a safety plan to the city including masks and social distancing, just like indoor retail stores did. The city said “yes” to indoor retail but we Catholics are still waiting to hear back. The city continues to place unrealistic and suffocating restrictions on our natural and constitutional right to worship. This willful discrimination is affecting us all. Yes, discrimination, because there is no other word for it. We ask: Why can people shop at Nordstrom’s at 25 percent capacity but only one of you at a time is allowed to pray inside of this great cathedral, your cathedral? Is this equality? No, there is no reason for this new rule except a desire to put Catholics—to put you—at the back of the line.

“For months I have pleaded with the city on your behalf, advocating for your need of the consolation of the Mass, and the consolation you derive from the practice of your faith and connection with your faith community. City Hall ignored us. City Hall ignored you. They didn’t deny it, but they simply ignored you. It has become clear to me that they just don’t care about you. To them you are nothing, to them you don’t matter. Let me repeat that: to City Hall, you don’t matter.

“One person at a time in this great cathedral to pray? What an insult. This is a mockery. They are mocking you, and even worse, they are mocking God. To City Hall, you don’t matter. 

“But maybe that itself doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because, to me, you do matter. Yes, to me you do matter very much. I am here because you matter to me, and because I love you. We are here together because we love God, and love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. God created us to know, love, and serve him in this life, so we can be happy with him forever; so, we know that when God is rejected by society, it only brings misery and despair.

“Just look around our city. What has happened to our beloved city? San Francisco was once known as a place of great beauty and hospitality, a world-class city of great culture, the first home of the United Nations, whose very name conjured up images of “little cable cars [that] climb halfway to the stars.” Now what images come to mind when people think of San Francisco? Look around the city and see: rampant homelessness and sprawling tent cities, drug dealing and shooting up in broad daylight, human feces on the streets. What has happened to our beloved city?

            “All of this is happening, and we Catholics are at the end of the line, because our city has abandoned God. Our blessed Lord is openly mocked to the gleeful grins of the cultural elites.  The sacred symbol of the religious habit is blasphemed with the glowing approval of those who profess mutual respect and tolerance for others who are different, while they openly discriminate against us.

            “This, my dear brothers and sisters, is godlessness, sheer godlessness. What do we people of faith do when faced with sheer godlessness? We go to the back of the line. But please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we should accept injustice. We have been patiently putting up with unjust treatment long enough, and now it is time to come together to witness to our faith and to the primacy of God, and tell City Hall: No More!

“What I mean by going to the back of the line is that all we do must be for God’s glory, not our own. …No, as the prophet Isaiah tells us, we must act according to God’s thoughts and God’s ways, that are as high above our own as the heavens are above the earth; we must not use worldly means simply to fight to get our own way. In fighting for justice, we fight for the glory of God. ….

“But to persevere, we must be spiritually grounded….Our spiritual grounding will elevate us to move in God’s ways and think with God’s thoughts.  May God grant us this grace, for his glory and for the healing of our city, of our country, and of the entire world.”

            Note: see today’s Church Persecuted section for another recent brave article by the Archbishop.

Oremus pro invicem, et pro patria. Fr. De Celles