The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Persecution? Pauline Year

When I awoke early this morning and turned on the news to check the latest hurricane update, I caught the tail end of a news story about how the Catholic Church in Canada is under attack by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for its stance on moral issues, particularly homosexuality. This isn't anything new and has been going on in Canada for some time now. But it's still disturbing to learn that the Catholic Church, merely by stating its unchanging moral teachings, can be considered a criminal entity by the government of a Western "democracy."

After thinking about it, I suspect that we're really not all that far behind in the good ol' USA. Certainly the city leadership of San Francisco, if they could somehow circumvent that pesky old U.S. Constitution, would try to force the Church to follow their radically immoral agenda. Failing that, they would probably just try to evict the Catholic Church from the city. And while San Francisco is thankfully not typical, it is the home of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, a woman whose public remarks and voting record place her right there in the same hive along with the local S.F. pols. And if our bishops should ever develop some collective intestinal fortitude and actually take on the scandal of all those self-proclaimed Catholic politicians publicly supporting abortion and other anti-life abominations, I suspect things will get very hot indeed for us Catholics. In a world where quoting Scripture can be considered "hate speech," the excommunication of politicians might just be turned into a capital offence. But maybe a little persecution is just what the Church needs.

One of the things that's drawing us to Rome at this particular time is the special jubilee year of St. Paul declared by Pope Benedict to celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle. We look forward to spending some time at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls while we're in Rome. Diane and I have visited the basilica several times in the past, but only briefly. This time we hope to explore it more thoroughly. I realize that many people -- especially church architects -- don't particularly like the basilica's rather heavy, nineteenth century style, but for reasons that I cannot articulate, I'm always very comfortable there. Something about it just feels right and very Pauline. If you're interested, you might want to visit the basilica's nicely updated website. It's quite thorough and full of interesting information on St. Paul, the Basilica, and the Pauline Year. Click here to visit the English language version of the site. (I took the photo above on a chilly November day in 2005.)

Pray for our nation and those who would lead it...

God's peace.

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