Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

"Census at Bethlehem" by Pieter Breughel the Elder

As I was walking the streets of San Francisco this evening, looking at all the Christmas trees in the windows, I was reminded of this message of St. Pope John XXIII, when he left his position as Archbishop of Areopolis in Bulgaria in 1935:

"There is a tradition in Catholic Ireland that on Christmas Day each family puts a lighted candle in their home, so that if Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary should be passing by they may know that within, beside a fire and a table blessed by the grace of God, the family awaits them."

All the lit windows made me see Christmas a sort of reverse Passover--instead of making a sign to ask God to pass over us, I saw the trees as an invitation for God to join us. May we invite our Lord and the Holy Family to join us always!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pastor Defends Marriage: Exactly what we need right now!

The Church speaks!

This letter (via Rorate) was included in all the parish bulletins at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal, VA. This is a church that deserves our thanks, plus a donation at Christmas (which I sent). Their address is here:

St John the Baptist
120 W Main St.
Front Royal VA 22630

Affirmation of Faith Concerning Marriage and the Family
We, the Pastor and the Parochial Vicar, in union with the parishioners of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal, Virginia, have signed the following Affirmation of Faith concerning Marriage and the Family as a sign of our fidelity to Christ and His Holy, Catholic Church. 

Issues were raised and discussed during the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome (October 5-79,2074), touching upon essential elements of the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Magisterium, resulting in much confusion amidst the laity, and distortion by the secular media, so that we find ourselves deeply stirred to manifest our fidelity to Our Lord and His Church by publicly reaffirming those parts of Catholic Doctrine that seem to have been put in doubt.

We thereby reaffirm our submission to the One, True Church, and plead with Pope Francis, Christ's Vicar on earth, to proclaim and defend the authentic teaching of the Magisterium against those within and without the Church who seek to misrepresent, dilute or contradict the truths relating to marriage and family life,

1. We believe that the Sacrament of Matrimony, as established by Jesus Christ Himself, which images His own union with His Church, is indissoluble. Marriage is a holy and irrevocable vow and promise, made to God, between one man and one woman which is to be open to the children, which He may want to send them, and commits the couple to lifelong fidelity. As a consequence of this vow, and the sacramental grace it effects, many wonderful families have been established and exist among us. Also the many flourishing families in our parish are outstanding witnesses of the Grace of God who enables them to be able to keep their promise to each other and to Him.
2. We believe that anyone who breaks that marriage bond and remarries outside the Catholic Church, without first securing an annulment, sadly places oneself in an irregular union which is objectively a grave mortal sin! Though we dare not judge the heart of any person, we must view such marriages as invalid, and lacking sacramental grace. 

3. We believe, as St. Paul taught, that anyone living in the state of sin or being conscious of having committed any mortal sin, should not receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. To do so would result in sacrilege. Therefore, remarried divorced persons cannot be allowed to receive Holy Communion, until they manifest genuine repentance, followed by an amendment of life which removes them from an objective state of sin. Those who find themselves unable or unwilling to rectify their irregular situation are nonetheless children of God and should persevere in a life of prayer and penitence, not despairing of someday returning to His Grace and reception of the Sacraments. They should avoid presumption by not taking lightly their being in the state of sin, and be mindful of the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.

4. We hope and pray that all individuals who have put their own souls in jeopardy by choices which result in their alienation from the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, may find in our parish the inspiration and means to better form their consciences in accord with the teachings of Christ and His Bride, the Church.

5. We believe that God instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony primarily for the procreation of children and their education in eternal truths, unto Vita Aeterna. "Be fruitful and multiply." As a primary end of marriage is procreation, the Church must work to defend the traditional understanding of this Sacrament so that children may be welcomed and grow up with the blessing of two loving parents in a stable and enduring family life. "Let the little ones come to Me," Our Lord said. May they not find themselves to be "abandoned orphans of divorce."

6. We believe that God calls every Catholic family to be open to the children He intends to send, so that any form of artificial contraception or the selfish use of natural family planning, must be seen as objectively sinful and be strenuously opposed.

7. We believe that the family as planned by God is to be composed of one man married to one woman along with their children. Homosexual acts must be seen as intrinsically disordered as contrary to the Natural Law, thus the union of two homosexual individuals must never be seen as a "marriage" as such unions can never be open to procreation. At the same time, the Church must reach out to homosexual parishioners as She does to all those other members of the Church who may fail to live up to the high ideals of Christian chastity, which Christ has mandated for all His children, Any pastoral programs or outreach to homosexuals in a parish must have as their goal a life of celibate chastity! Only repentance, conversion and a strong purpose of amendment, in fidelity to Catholic Truth, will enable the homosexual person to be fully free. All of us sinners all called to become Saints!

8. We believe that the Sacrament of Matrimony is necessary for a Christian man and a Christian woman to establish a common life together into which they can welcome the children God sees fit to send them. Any bond outside of that Sacrament, be it in the form of cohabitation, or of mere civil marriage without the blessing of the Church, is lacking in grace. It is objectively disordered and as such is an offense against God. We as a Catholic people must be faithful in living out the Works of Mercy, one of which is to "admonish the sinner." The Church must not fail to raise Her voice as She proclaims the fullness of the Gospel in regards to marriage and family life, avoiding any temptation to give into the "political correctness" of our time. And the Church must remind us all that we need God's Sanctifying Grace to be able to live up to His Commandments.

9. We believe that the Canonical Process of Nullity with all its carefully crafted elements of procedure is an expression of the care and mercy of the Church for the souls who have had a divorce and who seek to find out whether, before God, their first marriage was indeed a valid Sacrament or not. Any shortcuts in this process must be avoided lest we give the impression that an annulment is equivalent to a Catholic divorce, as some already view it. In every Diocese, there should be a sufficient number of priests to expedite cases so that a sound judgment can be rendered in a reasonable amount of time, remembering that "justice delayed is justice denied"!

10. We believe that Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are infallible guides in evaluating marriage and family life in order to promote the salvation of souls, which is the supreme law! True love and true mercy must be grounded in Truth if souls are to be saved. Therefore, any equivocation or laxity in the Church's pastoral practice must be excluded lest the Catholic people be left in a confusion, which appears to be increasing in our time, potentially resulting in the loss of many souls. Affirming doctrine, while at the same time instituting pastoral practices which can appear to undermine that same doctrine, would be a terrible risk to take, and create new dangers and obstacles, which could hinder one's sanctification and salvation. Some within our parish have themselves traveled the path of conversion and an amendment of life, and can thus affirm that only by such fidelity to the Gospel and discipline of the Catholic Church (always a Merciful Mother), can we truly love God in Himself, and then manifest that same love and mercy to others. True happiness comes only from union with God in Jesus Christ, Our Lord. He alone reveals the Truth that will ultimately make us free in this world and happy forever in the world to come. Finally, and fittingly, we pray: May the Immaculate Virgin Mary Mother of the Church, protect that Church in these troubled times and assist Christ's Bride to be totally faithful to Him. It was the abundant love of God who sent His Blessed Mother to Fatima, in 1917, to warn us that "More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh (sins of impurity) than for any other reason." May Our Lady's admonition not go unheeded but rather sober all of us that we may be led to a deepening of our Christian lives in faith and practice. May the Patron of our parish, Saint John the Baptist, as well as the Patron Saint of our Diocese St. Thomas More, who were both martyred for their defense of marriage, pray for the Church as it prepares for the Synod of Bishops next year!

Front Royal, 28 October 2014, Feast of Saint Simon Zealot and Saint Jude Thaddeus

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

27,000 Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe in SF!

On Saturday, January 6, tens of thousands of Bay Area Catholics turned out on a cold morning to honor Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. The pilgrimage began at All Souls Church in South San Francisco (at around 5AM!) and finished at around 2PM at St. Mary's Cathedral where His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone celebrated Mass. Here is a photo from Holy Cross Cemetery, early on in the pilgrimage:

Photo courtesy Holy Cross Cemetery.

Catholic San Francisco covered the event:

Thousands process for Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 10th, 2014

Thousands of people walked 12 miles from All Souls Church in South San Francisco to St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 6.

“Our Lady of Guadalupe likes the number 12, because she did appear to Juan Diego on Dec. 12, 1531,” said Pedro Garcia, organizer of the Cruzada Guadalupana de San Francisco, which celebrated its 21st anniversary this year. The group’s first stop after All Souls is at Holy Cross Cemetery, where the staff opens early to welcome them and the second decade of the rosary is prayed.

About 4,000 people began the pilgrimage at All Souls, said Garcia, with others joining all along the route until organizers counted 27,000 at Van Ness Avenue and Market Street..."

Bless their hearts!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fr. John Malloy 5K for Life in SF’s Golden Gate Park

(A shorter version of this post appeared in yesterday's California Catholic Daily).

Before you WALK for Life…RUN for Life!
Fr. John Malloy 5K for Life in SF’s Golden Gate Park

On January 24, 2015 the Walk for Life West Coast will be preceded by the Father John Malloy 5K Run for Life.

The Run for Life, which honors the Late Fr. John Malloy, SDB, the founding chaplain of the Walk for Life West Coast and first winner of the Walk’s St. Gianna Molla award for pro-life heroism, is a joint production of the Walk for Life West Coast and LIFE Runners.

The run will begin at 7:30 AM in the parking lot on the north side of the Polo Fields in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at 1232 JFK Drive. Runners will run half-way around the Polo Fields, proceed west, then turn east for over a mile on John F. Kennedy Drive before turning south on Chain of Lakes Dr. E. The final turn will be at South Lake, west onto the trail toward a final 3/4 lap around the Polo Fields. The finish is just past the original starting line at the parking lot on the north side of the Polo Fields. All participants will find ample parking along JFK drive, near the Polo Fields.

It was Fr. Malloy’s support and hosting of San Francisco’s 2004 Rally in Defense of Marriage which gave the impetus to the creation of the first Walk for Life West Coast in 2005. In that year he was named the Walk’s original chaplain, a position he held until his death, at age 91, in 2013. Fr. Malloy’s stand for the unborn was unshakable, and he used his pulpit to preach the pro-life message. He did not shy away from calling out Catholic politicians by name when they supported abortion. One of many examples was in the Saints Peter and Paul parish bulletin Pastor’s message of July 20, 2003:

“Certain political positions increase my blood pressure every time I come across them. One of the most upsetting is the abortion issue. How anyone in his/her right mind could support abortion (murder), at this time in history, is, for me, inconceivable....You and I, my dear parishioners, are called upon to affirm the dignity of women, and to protest this attempt to force abortions and sterilizations on helpless women.”

Fr. Malloy’s association with the Walk for Life West Coast was one of his proudest achievements. We take great comfort in his eternal prayerful support for life and family.

LIFE Runners, the world’s first pro-life running team, was co-founded by running partners Dr. Pat Castle and Dr. Rich Reich in 2008 as the Pro-Life action arm of the LIFE Group Devotions which they had co-founded in 2007. LIFE Runners currently has over 60 chapters in all 50 states of the union, plus more than 20 countries worldwide. In 2013 LIFE Runners raised over $100,000 for pro-life organizations. In addition to local races, LIFE Runners sponsors the A-Cross America Relay. The A-Cross America Relay consists of four separate arms, starting at the Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, Corpus Christi Bay in Portland, TX, and the Red River Bridge in Grand Forks, ND. The route goes by abortion facilities, where runners will pray with 40 Days for Life groups. All 4 arms will unite on Palm Sunday at the beautiful Falls Park near St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls, SD.

To register for the Fr. Malloy 5K Run for Life, please go to the LIFE Runners sign-up page: which will complete both your LIFE Runner and 2015 Fr. Malloy Walk for Life 5K registrations (be sure to check "Yes" for the Fr. Malloy 5K field! If you are already a LIFE Runner, please just email a quick note that you'd like to register for the Fr. Malloy 5K, put on your LIFE Runners gear and meet us at Golden Gate Park on January 24th!

To learn more about the Father Malloy 5K for Life, visit:

To learn more about LIFE Runners, visit

To learn more about the Walk for Life West Coast visit

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Does Archbishop Cupich believe in the Real Presence?

On November 30, Archbishop Blaise Cupich of Chicago was interviewed by Norah O'Donnell on Face the Nation. O'Donnell asked about giving communion to pro-abortion politicians--that is, Catholics who are persisting in grave sin:

“So, when you say we cannot politicize the communion rail, you would give communion to politicians, for instance, who support abortion rights.”

Cupich responded:

I would not use the Eucharist or as they call it the communion rail as the place to have those discussions or way in which people would be either excluded from the life of the church. The Eucharist is an opportunity of grace and conversion. It's also a time of forgiveness of sins. So my hope would be that that grace would be instrumental in bringing people to the truth."

This reasoning obviously applies to any mortal sin: murder, rape, sodomy, you name it.

Speaking as an all-too-frequent sinner, I DO NOT receive communion when in a state of mortal sin. My frequent sinfullness has given me the opportunity to reflect on why:

Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar is in the same situation as Jesus on the Cross. As was the case at Golgotha, He is utterly defenseless, helpless For me, or anyone else, to receive Jesus when in a state of serious sin, is to attack an utterly defenseless Person.

That of course is presupposes a belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament. And reading the Archbishop's statement, I remind him  that the "time of forgiveness of sins" is during the sacrament of penance.

Speaking of Law, a sad story with a very nice aspect

From Lenore Skenazy, writing at

Pedophile Panic at the Salvation Army: No Teen Boys Allowed-Too Dangerous

"When it comes to helping families in need, the Salvation Army turns a cold shoulder to one class of people: Teenage boys. A family in Johnson City, TN, found this out recently when, on a freezing cold night, they asked the organization for shelter. But because their family of five contained a 15-year-old boy, they were turned down.

As the dad, Tim Lejeune, explained to WMC Action News 5:

'They said he's too old to stay on the women's side, because of the women running around in their pajamas and they said he's too young to stay on the men's side in case some pervert wants to do whatever,' Lejeune said.

Lejeune says his wife, their 15 year-old son, 16 year-old daughter and five year-old son, all down on their luck, have been living in their car for the last several weeks.

So instead the family headed to their car. The temperature: 18 degrees.

Somehow, local police officers came upon them and brought them to the Johnson Inn. The officers then pooled their money to pay for a room. When the night clerk figured out what was going on, he comped the room, so the officers' money went to groceries for the family.

Meantime, 911 dispatchers who had been in on the action pooled their money to provide the Lejeunes some more food.

And after that, the Salvation Army did take the family in—minus the teen boy.

He's not sleeping on the streets. He's now in a mental health facility. He had a breakdown, his dad says, because he thought it was his fault the family was turned away from shelter.

I blame a society so obsessed with sex crimes and predators that it has lost its mind. It cannot imagine a 15-year-old male, chilled to the bone, simply and gratefully sleeping through the night. In our worst-first fantasies, which we give the weight of fact, all young men are either innocent victims about to be violated by predators, or predators eager to prey upon innocent victims.

The Salvation Army told WMC it is now reconsidering its longstanding prejudice against teen boys.

That should make us all sleep a little easier."

Emphasis added. God bless the good police officers, the good motel clerk, and the good 911 operators!

Now that the Feruson dust has settled...