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!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It continues...

On several occasions in recent years I've mentioned how our society is moving not simply away from God, but actively against God and His Church. I'd like to be able to say that this movement is happening only slowly, but I'm afraid Satan realizes he has a better opportunity to work his evil if he acts quickly.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley
Although it's been going on for centuries, the Scatterer has been particularly busy in Western Europe and the USA. For example, some years ago the legislature of the commonwealth of Massachusetts decided that the Catholic Church would have to stop its foster parenting and adoption services unless it agreed to place children with same-sex couples. Ultimately, the Church, in the person of Cardinal Sean O'Malley, refused to agree and, therefore, ceased providing these services. The courts supported the state, in effect saying that these family services had nothing to do with religion. The prohibition, therefore, was not considered to be a violation of religious freedom. In fact, the state courts maintained that any organization refusing to place children with same-sex couples acted for one reason only: it must hate gay people. Although the state legislature that enacted the legislation was (and remains) overwhelmingly Democrat,  the Republican governor at the time -- Mitt Romney -- and the Republican lieutenant governor both did little or nothing to encourage the legislature to revise the law. Although state laws vary, this same prohibition has been adopted by a number of other states causing Catholic Charities and other Church-related agencies to cease adoptions. You can read more about this here and here and here.

Massachusetts, of course, wasn't satisfied with abolishing freedom of religion for its citizens. No, it still has work to do because people might actually speak openly against its enforced political correctness. The state legislature has now enacted legislation designed to protect transgenders from a variety of evils, including the evils of religious belief and religious speech. This new law will be enforced by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, an agency dedicated to eliminating discrimination against everyone but believers. And so the commission has decided that all churches must comply with the new law. This includes prohibiting the use of improper pronouns by Church leaders and volunteers since doing so would constitute harassment. Bre Payton, of The Federalist, writes:
"The potential infringements upon religious freedom are vast, as this new law basically provides the state and trans activists with a legal tool to force pastors into using terms that violate their beliefs (and basic biological facts).
"It also raises some serious constitutional questions. The Bible states that humans were created as man and woman in part so they would procreate, a blessed event. So if a pastor faces legal consequences for preaching the Bible, these new rules threaten their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion."
You can read more about this latest governmental assault on the Church in a recent article published in Boston's Catholic weekly, The Pilot.

Archbishop Charles Chaput
One of our great bishops who never shies away from the front lines of this battle is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. In his weekly column, dated October 19, the archbishop shows us exactly where these battle-lines are drawn and who the enemy really is. Read it before you cast your ballot in the upcoming election. Here's a link: About Those Unthinking, Backwards Catholics.

Our nation's founding fathers not only included religious freedom in the Bill or Rights, but placed it in the very first amendment to our constitution. And even there they gave it primacy of place, listing it before freedom of speech, or the press, or assembly. They considered religious freedom to be the most important of all our freedoms. 

Today, however, our society has not only rejected religion, it has largely rejected God Himself. Despite all their religious allusions in stump speeches and public addresses, most of those who enact and enforce our laws are tacit atheists. By this I mean that they have essentially chosen themselves over God. They are convinced that their laws supersede God's laws, and by doing so they have chosen darkness over light. 

So far it's been a bland sort of atheism, but lately it's becoming far more virulent. It exchanges a belief in God for a belief in technology and science as the future saviors of humanity. It thrives on a kind of materialism that seems to have no moral or ethical boundaries. It argues for prosperity and peace but brings only hardship and strife. It's also a clueless form of atheism because it doesn't understand or refuses to accept that it is largely responsible for most of the growing ills confronting our societies today.

Pope Paul VI
I'm reminded of something Pope Paul VI said during a General Audience almost fifty years ago:
"In the world of thought everything is doubted today, and consequently, religion too: It seems as if the mind of modern man finds no peace except in total negation, in abandoning any kind of certainty and any kind of faith. He is like a person with infected eyes who finds no rest except in obscurity, in darkness. Is the realm of darkness to be the final end of human thinking, of man's unquenchable thirst for truth and of his encounter with the living and true God?" [General Audience, 14 June 1967 - Italian Only]
I don't fear the future, because at my age I don't have that much of a future to fear. Anyway, Our Lord told us only a few dozen times: "Be not afraid!" And so I'm determined to do just that until the day He calls me home. But what do we do in the meantime? I suppose we just continue doing what we've been called to do: we make disciples of all nations, starting right here at home. We preach the Word; we teach God's people all that He commanded us; and we touch those who need to feel God's healing hand on body and soul.

And for those of you -- and there are many -- who are worried sick about the upcoming elections, don't be. Each of us can only do our duty as citizens and Christians by voting. Just keep in mind that God's will must always surpass the ways of the world, and we should vote accordingly. And regardless of the outcome, the Lord of History will ensure His New Covenant with His people will be kept.

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