Sunday, July 20, 2014

Archbishop Cordileone: "At the heart of marriage is the spiritual-sexual relationship between husband and wife"


The following is an excerpt from His Excellency's speech given at the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, in Hanceville Alabama, July 8-11, 2014.

You can listen to his full speech here.

Marriage as the Key to the New Evangelization 

The virtue of chastity is absolutely necessary for persevering in any vocation, no matter what your vocation may be, because it is necessary in order to arrive at true love, in which one makes a gift of oneself to the other, and so attains the true happiness that God created us for; this is living the way God designed it to work.

For married couples, this is lived out by the spirituality of responsible parenthood, the complete, unreserved gift of each one to the other, in conformity to God's design for marriage, all the way to the most intimate dimension of the marital relationship. The point of all this, though, is not only for the good of the couple themselves; it goes far beyond that.

How does an individual grow into a person capable of this great of love? The obvious answer, as challenging as it is in the times in which we're living, is chastity. Today's world sees this as a negative, as a deprivation, as a suppression of the sexual appetite. Chastity, though, essentially means living according to the personalistic norm in our relationships.

If you think about it, the formula is quite simple and clear: healthy societies are built on healthy, united families; healthy, united families are based on healthy, happy, harmonious marriages; and at the heart of marriage is the spiritual-sexual relationship between husband and wife. It all really comes down to that. The whole point is the plan of God for our happiness: it is clear that in the plan of God marriage is meant to be a faithful, fruitful, life-long union between a man and a woman.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dutch euthanasia supporter now says he "was ‘wrong – terribly wrong, in fact’"

Gee, who could have foreseen this?

From the Daily Mail:

"Don't make our mistake"

"A former euthanasia supporter warned of a surge in deaths if Parliament allowed doctors to give deadly drugs to their patients.

‘Don’t do it Britain,’ said Theo Boer, a veteran European watchdog in assisted suicide cases. ‘Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely ever to go back in again.’

His native Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, has seen deaths double in just six years and this year’s total may reach a record 6,000.

Professor Boer’s intervention comes as peers prepare to debate the Assisted Dying Bill, promoted by Lord Falconer, a Labour former Lord Chancellor. 
The bill, which has its second reading next week, would allow doctors to prescribe poison to terminally ill and mentally alert people who wish to kill themselves.

Professor Boer, who is an academic in the field of ethics, had argued seven years ago that a ‘good euthanasia law’ would produce relatively low numbers of deaths....But, speaking in a personal capacity yesterday, he said he now believed that the very existence of a euthanasia law turns assisted suicide from a last resort into a normal procedure...

Euthanasia is now becoming so prevalent in the Netherlands, Professor Boer said, that it is ‘on the way to becoming a default mode of dying for cancer patients’. He said assisted deaths have increased by about 15 per cent every year since 2008 and the number could hit a record 6,000 this year.

Professor Boer admitted he was ‘wrong – terribly wrong, in fact’ to have believed regulated euthanasia would work. ‘I used to be a supporter of the Dutch law. But now, with 12 years of experience, I take a very different view.

(In about 12 years I expect to see supporters of counterfeit "marriage" saying the same thing.)

Whereas in the first years after 2002 hardly any patients with psychiatric illnesses or dementia appear in reports, these numbers are now sharply on the rise.

‘Cases have been reported in which a large part of the suffering of those given euthanasia or assisted suicide consisted in being aged, lonely or bereaved.

‘Some of these patients could have lived for years or decades. Pressure on doctors to conform to patients’ – or in some cases relatives’ – wishes can be intense.

‘Pressure from relatives, in combination with a patient’s concern for their wellbeing, is in some cases an important factor behind a euthanasia request. Not even the review committees, despite hard and conscientious work, have been able to halt these developments.’

The latest euthanasia figures for the Netherlands show that nearly one in seven deaths are at the hands of doctors.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hobby Lobby's "Landmark victory for freedom" clarifies sides in Culture War

More positive fallout from the Hobby Lobby ruling are being noticed. Dennis Saffran, writing at City Journal calls it "a landmark victory for freedom" and notes that it may be used to defend "creative professionals" (read: bakers and photographers who do not want to be forced into supporting counterfeit "marriages").

Saffran writes:

"In sum, the immediate impact of Hobby Lobby—providing a religious accommodation to a handful of covered employers who object to a handful of covered contraceptives—will almost certainly be negligible. No hands will 'reach into a woman’s body,' and no one will be denied their free IUDs. Yet the decision may nonetheless prove a landmark victory for freedom, especially if it helps bring an end to other coercive efforts, such as the cases involving the creative professionals. At the least, Hobby Lobby carves out space for objections to modern political orthodoxy, thus infusing real meaning into the progressive mantras of 'tolerance' and 'diversity.'” 

Saffran seems to be correct--or at least some people are acting as if he is.

Yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle reported:

Alarmed by Hobby Lobby, LGBT groups dump job-rights bill

"Several leading gay advocacy groups said Tuesday they are abandoning the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, commonly known as ENDA, following the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision last week."

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are moving to pass a bill that would reverse the Supreme Court's ruling, according to Talking Points Memo:

The legislation will be sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO). According to a summary reviewed by TPM, it prohibits employers from refusing to provide health services, including contraception, to their employees if required by federal law. It clarifies that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the basis for the Supreme Court's ruling against the mandate, and all other federal laws don't permit businesses to opt out of the Obamacare requirement.

The legislation also puts the kibosh on legal challenges by religious nonprofits, like Wheaton College, instead declaring that the accommodation they're provided under the law is sufficient to respect their religious liberties. (It lets them pass the cost on to the insurer or third party administrator if they object.) Houses of worship are exempt from the mandate."

Catholics who support the Democratic Party face an irreconcilable conflict between being Catholic or a member of that party. In my opinion, that's been the case for a long time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"Growing state absolutism" leaves "no room for the moral authority of the Church"

The great James Kalb nails it, over at Catholic World Report:

"Carrying on the Battle"

To deal with the current situation we must abandon comfort, mediocrity, and the habit of blurring our views on fundamental issues 

"The issues that now put Catholics in opposition to secular public thought are too basic to ignore. The Church accepts God as our reference point, and views freedom to develop our relation to Him and act by reference to it as basic to our good and our dignity. In contrast, secular society has made our own outlook and desires our reference point. Those things make us what we are, or so it is thought, and freedom to follow them is considered the key to a good and dignified life.

That opposition leads to views of morality and justice in which drastically different claims and authorities carry weight. The Church values conscience, and accepts 'this is right'—in general, this expresses the moral nature of a world that after all is God’s creation—as a claim that normally overrides other considerations. Today’s secular world values individual autonomy instead, and prefers the authority of claims such as 'I want this' or 'this is part of my identity as I define it.'

The contradiction is sharpened by conflicts in institutional loyalty. The Church accepts its hierarchy as the authority that defines, protects, and furthers the most fundamental human concerns. Secular society rejects that authority in favor of that of the state, with its courts, constitutional law, experts on human rights, and system of education and social welfare. At one time it was possible to reconcile the two by saying that they dealt with different matters, the Church hierarchy with fundamental spiritual and moral principles and the state with worldly practicalities and standards of conduct generally accepted as a matter of vernacular natural law (otherwise known as common sense).

That view no longer works because of growing state absolutism resulting from the decline of transcendent religion and the sense of a natural moral order. All social institutions, including the family, are now viewed as state creations, so that determining what they should be in light of ultimate values such as equality and personal autonomy is considered a basic function of government. On such an understanding there is no room for the moral authority of the Church...."

Monday, July 7, 2014

"Everyone has to undergo his own exodus"

From Pope Benedict:

"When it comes down to it, everyone has to undergo his own exodus.  He not only has to leave the place that nurtured him and become independent, but has to come out of his own reserved self.  He must leave himself behind, transcend his own limits; only then will he reach the Promised Land, so to speak — the sphere of freedom, in which he plays his part in creation.

We have come to recognize this fundamental law of transcendence as being the essence of love..."

Pope Benedict XVI. "Transcendence vs. Isolation." from God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2002).

Posted on Catholic Education Resource Center.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Yuval Levin on the Hobby Lobby Case

Lots of commentary is being written on yesterday's Hobby Lobby ruling. The learned and always interesting Yuval Levin, writing at National Review, places part of the decision in a context he has written about before: how religious tolerance developed in this country and how it applies to institutions (not just individuals). This, of course, ties in to the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which is in complete opposition to the totalitarianism implicit (& explicit) in today's Democratic Party. 

Here's a long excerpt from today's column (emphases added):

"The element of the Court’s decision that most perturbed many liberals—the suggestion that corporations could effectively be bearers of rights—was actually the least controversial question among the justices themselves. Only two of the nine justices, Ginsburg and Sotomayor, argued that for-profit corporations could not be considered legal persons capable of exercising religion for purposes of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The other two liberal justices, Breyer and Kagan, declined to join that part of the dissent written by Justice Ginsburg (though they articulated no view of their own on the question), and the remaining five justices affirmed the view that rights could indeed be mediated, and so in effect put into practice, through and by for-profit corporations. .

In one sense, this is a rather obvious point. As Justice Alito argued forcefully in his majority opinion, there is no reason why people should be expected to give up their basic rights when they incorporate a business. And Justice Ginsburg’s attempt to distinguish between profit-seeking and non-profit corporations on this front, made necessary by the fact that the administration did recognize the religious-liberty claims of some corporations and not others in this case, was the very model of a muddle. (It wasn’t as disturbing as her shockingly thin idea of what constitutes religious practice, though, and of what religious institutions are for.)

But in another sense, the standing of institutions, as opposed to individuals, as bearers of rights in our civil society is a complex and much-contested question, and a very important one. This is particularly so with regard to the exercise of religion, where we are the inheritors of a long tradition—the English common-law tradition of religious toleration—that has a very mixed record when it comes to protecting institutions rather than individuals.

I’ve taken up this question a couple of times around here in recent years, but to put matters very (very) simply, that tradition was born of efforts to find a way to provide protection for Jews and protestant dissenters in a nation with an established church but specifically not to provide much protection for Catholics. It did this in large part by distinguishing between individuals and institutions. Catholicism is an exceptionally institutional religion, with massive charitable and educational arms that are Catholic but are not houses of worship and that not only employ but also serve non-Catholics. Such arms are much more rare in other religious traditions, and used to be even more so. This distinction therefore in effect once allowed for broad toleration of just about all religious minorities in Britain except Catholics. It was supported by a line of reasoning evident over centuries, and given expression even in John Locke’s great Letter Concerning Toleration, which is one of the foundational documents of the intellectual tradition of liberal toleration.

The American offshoot of this tradition of toleration has tended to think a little differently about this question, above all because we have not had an established church in the United States. We have tended to take the absence of an Anglican monopoly on legitimate religiously-rooted social institutions to mean not that there could be no such institutions at all but rather that different communities of faith could build out different institutional forms and stake out for themselves a variety of roles in civil society and the private sphere. This has meant seeing some groups of people working together, and not just individuals alone, as protected by the various forms of the right of conscience and accepting as legitimate the idea that groups of people, as well as individuals, should whenever possible be protected from forms of coercion or restraint that violate their religious beliefs. And the extension of this attitude to corporations owned and run by people with religious convictions and in the service of those convictions has been perfectly natural.

The Obama administration has been pushing up against this American form of the tradition of religious toleration (which, being Americans, we tend to call “religious liberty”) in an effort to establish a public monopoly on the aims of social action. American progressivism has always wanted to clear out the space between the individual and the state and to confer rights only on individuals, rather than encouraging people to form complex layers of interacting institutions with diverse views of the good that each pursues with vigor and conviction. The HHS mandate, like so much of the administration’s domestic agenda, is intended to turn the institutions in that space, including private corporations, into arms of the government, carrying out the will of those in power."

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby Ruling: "The end of the beginning."

Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of religious liberty, one of the foundations of our teetering civilization. Certainly we are happy with the ruling--because anything else would have been catastrophic.

But let's step back a little, historically. The fact that a government of the United States could blithely, without a second thought, compel U.S. citizens to violate their deeply held religious convictions, is outrageous. And remember: the HHS mandate not only violates the First Amendment, but threatened conscientious objectors with fines of $100 per day per employee. And for what? Free contraceptives.

Rush Limbaugh put this in perspective today:  

"In the Hobby Lobby case, narrow though it may be, the Supreme Court, by 5-4 majority decision, defended liberty. And it should be noted that even after this decision, birth control remains widely available. It is dirt cheap no matter where you want to go get it. The fact is, if you wanted to be entirely -- well, not entirely -- if you wanted to be somewhat negative about this, you could say that the most appalling thing about today's decision is that we had to even endure it, that we had to even go through this.

We had to sit on the edge of our seats to find out if people who own a for-profit company will also be allowed to exercise their religious views under our laws. The fact that that was up for grabs is an indication of where we are nationwide and where we're heading. I think it's just amazing, given that we're supposed to have freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution, it should never have been an issue. The only reason it is is because we have a political party today conducting an all-out assault on the Constitution because they don't like it."  Emphases added.

I think that is the correct way to view today's decision. Yes, it is a victory--but we are taking back ground that should never have been lost in the first place. Our situation reminds me of Churchill's statement after the second battle of El Alamein. The Nazis still held most of Africa and continental Europe, so the great Englishman, while happy with the victory, knew it needed to be put in perspective:

"This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supremes Uphold First Amendment, End "Buffer Zones"

Good news for those of us who peacefully witness in front of abortion businesses, and for anyone who values freedom of speech. We'll see how wide the 9-0 decision can be applied.

The full opinion can be read here.

Congratulations to the attorney's who argued the case, and to our dear friend Walter Hoye, unjustly imprisoned under just such a law. Walter's attorneys had filed an amicus brief in the case.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Requiem Mass Sermon for Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP

On Friday, June 19, Star of the Sea in San Francisco celebrated a Requiem Mass for Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP, the young Phoenix priest who was murdered.

Here is the very powerful sermon given at the Mass by Fr. Paul Nicholson, taken from the website of the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco.

Fr. Nicholson will be leading the New Evangelization Parish Mission this week (Monday through Thursday) at Star of the Sea. The Parish Mission begins with Mass in the Extraordinary Form at 6:30 PM, followed by the Mission talk at 7:30, and confessions at 8:30.

Star of the Sea is at 8th Avenue and Geary Street in San Francisco.

Friday, June 20, 2014

New Pastor, Parochial Vicar for Most Holy Redeemer

An edited version of this article appeared last week in California Catholic Daily. They did not include what we consider to be one of the most interesting things about MHR, and why it is so hard for pastors there, addressed with utmost brevity in our second to last paragraph (in bold).

On June 2, Catholic San Francisco, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco announced the clergy changes that will take effect in the coming year. The changes included the news that Fr. Brian Costello will be leaving the City’s notorious Most Holy Redeemer parish. Fr. Costello will be replaced by Fr. Jack McClure C.PP.S, who will serve as pastor, and Fr. Matthew Link C.PP.S, who will serve as Parochial Vicar. C.PP.S. is the acronym for Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

 On June 6, the National Catholic Reporter ran an article titled “San Francisco’s largest gay parish to get new pastors.” From the article:

 “(Fr.) McClure said when Link learned in January that Most Holy Redeemer would be looking for a pastor, he approached McClure and suggested they apply as a team. Eventually, the men met with Auxiliary Bishop William Justice, who heads pastoral ministry for the archdiocese….The Precious Blood Fathers have had an outreach to the LGBT community since 2007. They say the ministry was developed to foster dialogue, reconciliation and justice with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.”

“Outreach to the LGBT community” won’t be necessary at Most Holy Redeemer. On page 29 of Jesuit Father Donal Godfrey’s chronicle of MHR Gays and Grays: the Story of Most Holy Redeemer Parish, he describes events in the parish, circa 1983: “The two gay men (on the MHR advisory board) suggested we start a gay and lesbian outreach. And that was approved 12 to nothing.” Further down the page he writes: “The Gay and Lesbian outreach Committee—so unique, so bracing, so critically what the parish needed when it needed it—eventually withered away, a victim of its own success, when the entire parish had taken on the work it was formed to begin.” In other words, “gay and lesbian outreach” was no longer necessary because the entire parish had become a locus for the celebration of homosexuality. By 2002, the New York Times was reporting “…about 80 to 90 percent of the members are gay.”

Fr. Brian Costello, the outgoing pastor, truly had the spiritual welfare of his parishioners at heart. Some parishioners did not see it that way. The NCR reported that Fr. Costello had requested a transfer last August, and quoted him:

"It just didn't work out. I did the best I could. My best was just not good enough for a lot of people here," he said. "There are real challenges here, and the truth is I just didn't have the gifts to meet those challenges."

One example of the tension between Fr. Costello and “a lot of people here” occurred early in his tenure. On April 19, 2012 CalCatholic reported that in the previous week transvestites had MC’d/judged a Castro Country Club fundraiser at the parish. The MC went by the name “Laybelline” and the judge “Syphilis Diller.” In October of 2012 the same group wanted to come back, but the Archdiocese and Fr. Costello nixed the event. The homosexual oriented Bay Area Reporter covered the story, and quoted Fr. Costello ““I am the new pastor…There is a new archbishop. The archdiocese told me straight out, ‘No drag queens.’… “I am big on compromising.” Fr. Costello said “[Castro Country Club] would not work with me. It was all or nothing. And they got nothing.”

The Archdiocese eventually made the ban more generally applicable, thus appeasing homosexualist activists. Following the ban, Costello had received push-back from parishioners, which MHR’s business manager, Michael Poma, described as “education.” Poma was quoted in Bondings, the blog of New Ways Ministry: “‘Father Brian wasn’t educated about the importance of drag queens in the gay community…We are part of the community here and to think that we’re banning drag queens is obnoxious and ridiculous.”

Another example was related by Fr. Costello himself in the March 3, 2013 MHR bulletin:

“Two weeks ago, after Pope Benedict XVI had announced to the world that he would be resigning the office of Peter as of February 28th, I put the Pope’s picture, that usually hangs in the rectory, in the church. A handful of people told me that they would rather it not be there. They explained that the feeling was while he was Pope, as well as his time as a Cardinal, Pope Benedict had made hurtful and hateful statements regarding the LGBT Community and thus, his picture should not be placed on the altar of MHR. I was also warned, many parishioners would walk out of Sunday Mass if the picture was not removed. I spoke with a close priest friend of mine, and even though both of us were saddened by this, the wisest course, I felt, was to remove the Pope’s picture.”

The difficulties Fr. Costello experienced, and that Frs. McClure and Link will face, are formidable. Psychologically, the parishioners at MHR are “a chosen people”—a group formed by the shared minority experience of same-sex attraction, followed by the shared experience of an apparently hopeless and fatal epidemic, but one which against all hope was overcome, followed by the shared experience of undreamed-of political victories and power. That “chosen people” attitude was expressed by Fr. Godfrey on page 130 of Gays and Grays: “A parish such as MHR calls the rest of the institution to conversion.” Such an attitude is not conducive to salvation. One comes to the Catholic Church not to convert, but to be converted.

That’s difficult material to work with. If Frs. McClure and Link have an easier time of it than did Fr. Costello, it’s probably a sign they’re doing something wrong.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Watch Marriage March Live!

UPDATE: A home run by Archbishop Cordileone. His segment begins at 17:54 into the video.

His Excellency Archbishop Cordileone speaking now!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Pelosi Excommunicates Cordileone!

Hot from the boys over at Eye of the Tiber:

Pelosi Excommunicates Cordileone

June 17, 2014 by Admin

"Washington, DC––In an astonishing move today, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and Mouthpiece of God in the United States Nancy Pelosi has excommunicated San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

The move comes just a day after Pelosi sent Cordileone a letter asking him not to attend the National Organization for Marriage march in Washington D.C., calling the event “venom masquerading as virtue.” In response to the letter, Cordileone issued a response saying that the March for Marriage “is not anti-LGBT, but rather, it is a pro-marriage march.”

The letter of excommunication begins with Pelosi regretfully informing the San Francisco bishop that, due to actions displaying disdain and hate towards LGBT persons, “I, Nancy Pelosi, Mouthpiece of God Almighty, Secretary of Defense Against Bigotry, Director of the Office of Tolerance, and Ambassador to the Alpha and the Omega, hereby impose a ferendae sententiae, excommunicating you from my Catholic Church. I ask you to ‘evolve’ and to mend your bigot ways.”

“We separate him, together with his accomplices and abettors, from the precious Body and Blood of the Lord and from the society of all Christian people,” Pelosi told EOTT as she stroked the point of her long red tail. “We exclude him from our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth; we declare him excommunicate and anathema; we judge him damned, with the Devil and his angels, to eternal fire until he shall recover himself from the toils of the Devil and return to amendment and to penitence. So be it!”

At press time, Pelosi’s uncle, Screwtape, is very proud of her."