Monday, May 2, 2011


Although we must never forget what was done to this country on 11 September 2001, we can and must forgive. As we consider yesterday's announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden, we will do well to pray for the grace we each of us need in order to maintain a sense of charity.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Troubling Message from Abp. Gomez

In a message from Archbishop Gomez, Chairman, U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, I am troubled to see yet again, a bishop of the Church frame the discussion of illegal aliens as though they were migrants or refugees. There are several issues at play here.

First, people who violate our laws to enter the country, and again to obtain forged documents, and yet again to work illegally, are not migrants, and most assuredly not immigrants; they are criminals. Neither are they refugees, and I am sure that any plea for asylum by any of them would clearly establish that in legal terms.

Second, immigration is a legal process, a process with which I have considerable experience, as both my wife and step-daughter are immigrants. Becoming an immigrant requires taking steps prior to entry to this country. These steps take time, and require patience. Forms must be filled out, and medical tests taken. For all these things there is good reason, as the Church acknowledges in CCC 2241:
2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.
At present, our country is failing utterly to defend its sovereignty by enforcing its border. And Mexico, our supposed friend, as has been widely reported, is doing all that it can to assist its citizens in migrating North, without benefit of legal process.

I am at a complete loss to understand how the question of immigration can be discussed by an Archbishop without reference to CCC 2241. And look carefully at the second paragraph, where it says:
Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.
Were the demonstrations in Los Angeles and other cities a display of gratitude? Does violence in protests reflect obedience to our laws? I think not.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reassurance Received

Yesterday, in the wake of that terribly disruptive meeting on Sunday, I wrote to a local priest, not in my parish, but in an FSSP parish. He was kind enough to reply this morning, offering encouragement, and reminding me that in these matters, my Pastor is the ultimate authority. He also suggested that I try to disregard "the other business."

Truly, for my immediate peace of mind, to dismiss what happened as "the other business" may be best. But for the health of my parish, now and in the future, I think not. So I must try to do as the good Father suggest, for now. But once this is behind me, I must, in good conscience, take this up with my Pastor, in the fervent hope that no one is treated in such a fashion again.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trials Before Easter

I found myself, yesterday, in a most unhappy position. My parish, of course is gearing up for baptisms and confirmations at the Easter Vigil. Having awaited my own entry to the Church for four and one-half long years since I entered RCIA, I am also eager. However, it is tremendously important to me that my aunt and uncle be a part of the rites, as my uncle is the one to whom credit is due for getting me in the door.

A week ago, I explained my wishes to our pastor, who was most understanding, and allowed that the family circumstance should rightly take precedence. He then proposed a schedule of events which would accommodate my family's needs. Since my aunt and uncle live out of state, they will come to stay with us during the events, but as the stay would be several days if during Easter week, and they will leave only a couple of days later to be in Chicago for the First Communion of one of their grandchildren, they asked if we could delay.

My personal priority is for my uncle, the sole surviving sibling of my late mother, to be my godfather. Once again, my pastor supported that desire without reservation.

Yesterday, after dismissal, our Director of Religious Education and two of our catechists met with us in the dismissal room, at the request of the DRE. It amounted to an intervention on their part. The DRE wanted to know specifically what infirmities made it impossible for my uncle to attend at Easter. My wife and I were told that the pastor's schedule, as presented to the DRE, was "all confused." It was hinted that this schedule might be invalid. I suggested that as a priest and canon lawyer, I was inclined to trust in what he laid out. The DRE laughed, and said I "can never assume that." I was appalled.

The parish is quite liberal, a real bastion of spirit of Vatican II thinking. I have managed to remain apart from that, holding to my much more traditional values. However, this episode yesterday has been profoundly hurtful. Even my wife doesn't understand how damaging it was for the DRE to intimate that my pastor doesn't know what he is doing. The best image I have been able to give her is that the last time I felt this bad, it was at the death of a family member.

I must pray for grace, and for my pastor, the Church, and for the DRE.