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!

Although I am an ordained deacon of the Catholic Church, the opinions expressed in this blog are my personal opinions. In offering these personal opinions I am not acting as a representative of the Church or any Church organization.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Lunch at Micanopy

Some of you, at least those who know us well, realize that Diane took a fall about two weeks ago. While trying to break her fall she put her left hand down and instead broke her wrist. Fortunately, she has a wonderful orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand/wrist injuries and did a wonderful job. Diane is now undergoing post-op therapy and coming along well. Poor Diane has had her share of pain and injury in recent years. Her right shoulder, after two reverse shoulder replacement surgeries, is still only partially useful; and yet she manages to get along almost as well as her far older husband. 

Today we drove 90 minutes north to the Dental Department of the University of Florida in Gainesville, so Diane could undergo another phase of her complex and seemingly endless dental work. While they work on her for three or four hours, I sit in a comfortless chair in the waiting room, which is really a narrow hallway, and try to do some work on my iPad as masked dentists, nurses, technicians, office workers, and patients scramble by and try to avoid kicking my feet. The only redeeming value of these too frequent visits to UF relates to my long walks to the coffee shop at the other end of the building. There I buy coffee and a tasteless but supposedly nutritious muffin from pretty, young coeds (do they still call college girls coeds?), all for an unreasonable price. 

For Sale in Micanopy

Anyway, on the way home, we stopped by the little town of Micanopy, Florida. Micanopy is one of my favorite Central Florida towns, a place with a collection of cafes, gift shops, galleries, and other small businesses that sell the kind of unique objects we find interesting. The little town exudes that “old Florida” ambiance that can still be found if you wander off the beaten track. We ate a nice inexpensive lunch at one of those little cafes and enjoyed sitting out on the covered front porch. Diane decided on the chicken and dumplings — good but not as good as her grandmother’s — while I wolfed down two excellent hot dogs. What was especially surprising was the cost of a can of Diet Coke and an ice cream cone: each cost only $1.00. Out on that porch we were also serenaded by a trio of folk-singing musicians who played their instruments well, sang well, and triggered our musical memories with folk songs from 60s and earlier. Of course, that was expected since all three looked to be about our age. I took the below photo of Diane as we sat awaiting our lunch. I guess she decided to read her book because of the quality of the conversation.

We had a good time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr. Irenaeus was a remarkable saint, born c. 130, who died a martyr about the year 200 or shortly afterwards. Born in Asia Minor, he was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who happened to be a disciple of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. Irenaeus, then, was only two generations away from those who knew and walked with Our Lord. 

As an early missionary, Irenaeus eventually made his way to Gaul, to the Roman city of Lugdunum, now known as Lyon. This was during the time of great persecution and in 177, when the Bishop of Lyon, Pothinus, was martyred, along with dozens of other Christians, Irenaeus was chosen as his successor. It was a position he would hold until his own martyrdom almost 25 years later.

Unfortunately, only a few of the saint's writings have survived, but those that we have are enough to show us the brilliance and the sanctity of this Early Church Father. From these writings we realize that the Church had already developed a fully Catholic theology very early. Much of Irenaeus' writings were directed against the Gnostic heresy which had already infected parts of the Church. Gnosticism was a rather diverse heresy, but one version claimed that the real truths of Christianity were secret knowledge accessible only by a select few. Countering this, Irenaeus wrote his primary work, Against Heresies. It’s a wonderful work and should be more widely read today since echoes of ancient Gnosticism can still be heard from too many politicians, and even from some Christians. 

I don’t intend here to offer a review of St. Irenaeus’ works but would like to share just one brief passage in which this early bishop and theologian describes the presence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the Old Testament. Too many Christians seem to think the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, was somehow hidden away in some heavenly cell before the Incarnation. St. John, of course, tells us otherwise with the very first words of his Gospel:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” [Jn 1:1-3].

As John reveals, the Son, the Creative Word of God, was present from the beginning. Now read what St. Irenaeus had to say about that presence:

“The Son of God has been sown everywhere throughout the Scripture [of Moses]. Sometimes He speaks with Abraham, sometimes with Noah, giving him the measurements of the ark. He looks for Adam, brings judgment on the Sodomites. There are times when He is actually seen, guiding Jacob on his way, speaking with Moses from the bush.”

We must never forget that Jesus, the Word of God Incarnate, is also the Word of God Revealed. Read Irenaeus. The above link connects to an excellent translation of his major work, with a beautiful introduction by the great twentieth-century theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar.  

Pro-Abortion Sadness

A few moments ago, I happened across a photo on Twitter. It shows a family protesting the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. I’ve included the photo below and hesitate to say much about it, since the sign carried by the mother and the expressions on the faces of her husband and three children really say it all. 
My only concern is what these beautiful children will think of their parents when they are old enough to understand exactly what their mom was thinking when she made that sign. This family and so many others like them need our prayers. 

Today also happens to be my mother's birthday. Martha Catherine (Cavanaugh) McCarthy was born 113 years ago on June 28, 1909. Mom died on March 12, 1977. I thank her for giving birth to me, for trying to raise me well in spite of my rebellious nature, for teaching me so many good and wondrous things, for the sacrifices she made for our family, and for the love she showered on me and my brother, Jeff. I know she is now with God and ask for her intercession for Diane and me and for our family. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, June 27, 2022

D is for Democrat…and Death

I haven't posted anything about the recent Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade -- not because of a lack of interest...far from it. We simply had a few health crises to deal with in our normally peaceful home. Diane fell and broke her wrist, and last Thursday, the same day the court released its decision, she underwent some rather complex surgery that includes screws and metal plates. She came through it all very well and we hope she's on a fast track to full recovery. This morning she had a post-op appointment and initial therapy session, and all was good, so God be praised! I'm happy and thankful. On Friday, I underwent some oral surgery which left me grumbling about the resulting pain until Diane pointed to her wrist. Yep, she has it far worse than I, so the state of our relative suffering is now clearly understood, making me the primary caregiver. Please pray that the quality of my cooking doesn't add malnutrition to her problems.

Anyway, here a few thoughts about the current chaos. I try not to get too political on this blog, at least not too often, but in today’s world few issues are purely political since most also encompass faith and morality. A perfect example is the United States Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday to overturn its earlier (1973) Roe v. Wade decision. The chaos in the streets, the violent attacks on pro-life centers, and the scurrilous claims and offensive comments by politicians, members of the mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, and the professional pro-abortion crowd...well, it all typifies the ironic lack of choice desired by those who insist on labeling themselves "pro-choice." 

I am, of course, pleased and thankful about the decision, but I'm also disgusted with the hypocrisy, lies, and hatred we’ve had to witness these past few days. In truth, we’ve witnessed all of this for weeks, ever since the leak of the draft majority opinion and the resulting intimidation and threats aimed at the Court’s justices. So…what are we to make of it all?

First of all, the Court's decision did not ban abortion in the United States. It merely stated that the Constitution does not include a "right" to abortion. The earlier 1973 decision was based on a Constitutionally non-existent right to privacy invented by the earlier court; therefore, the current Court ruled that, when it comes to abortion or anything else not specifically included in the Constitution, the 10th Amendment holds; that is: 
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Constitutionally, therefore, the Court considered abortion a state issue, and the people of each state can decide on its legality. This, of course, really upsets the pro-abortion folks because they know if will lead to open debate in state legislatures and the public revelation of the truth about abortion. It will lead people to understand the inherent violence of abortion, a horrendous, barbarous act that destroys the lives of the most innocent among us. So long as Roe v. Wade was considered "law," abortion became an issue that could be pushed aside: "It's been decided; there's no need for further discussion." But now, the discussion, and the truth, will enter the public square and I believe the inherent goodness of most Americans will become evident. We shall see. 

Sadly, though, the Democrat Party is almost exclusively pro-abortion. They have become the party of both death and racism. How many people know that the leading cause of death among Black Americans is abortion. Why? Because Planned Parenthood, an organization that financially supports so many Democrat politicians, was formed by Margaret Sanger, a racist who wanted to eliminate the "lesser races." Why do you think so many Planned Parenthood "clinics" are located in minority communities? And how many Americans realize that it was the Democrats who were the party of slavery? Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Republicans were far more united than Democrats in support of civil rights legislation, while many Democrats voted in opposition. You won't hear that taught in our "woke" public schools.

For the past few days, in advance of the November elections, the Democrats have been trying to shift focus from inflation to abortion, hoping the people will forget about the nation's crumbling economy, climb aboard their sinking ship, and vote instead based on their support for abortion "rights." Yesterday I saw the results of a poll asking Americans what their #1 issue would be in the ballot box. 28% said abortion, while 60% said inflation. The news commentator believed abortion would, however, climb and eventually become the major issue. Of course, he assumed those 28% were all pro-choice. I disagree. For example, I and most of my pro-life friends have always given priority to abortion. For over forty years, I've considered abortion my #1 concern when it comes to voting. Indeed, I have never voted for a pro-choice politician, and actually voted for several Democrats because they were pro-life, and their Republican opponents were not. And I've been a registered Republican since I came of age. 

I may be wrong, but I believe the pro-abortion position will show itself as a big loser politically, especially if the radicals continue to demonstrate their terroristic tendencies. America is a nation of hard workers and entrepreneurs and creators and innovators. We are a nation of builders; a nation that strives to build up, and not tear down. We are a God-fearing nation, not one that tries to cast God out of the public square. We are also a nation of life-givers, live-savers, and life-believers, not a nation of life-destroyers. Too many of our politicians, self-isolated in their D.C. cocoon, simply don't understand this. Perhaps they'll come to appreciate it in November.

In the meantime, sisters and brothers, pray for life and let the world know it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Saving the Republic

The left loves to confiscate. It stems from its basic belief that individuals do not and should not own anything. In their view, only the state, the acquisitive state, should possess. Socialists, communists, and yes, even fascists all believe the state alone has the right and should, therefore, exercise its power to take anything from anyone in order to further its mission. And what is that mission? To exercise total control over the population, because that's the only way totalitarianism can survive. When all power resides in the state and a people is dispossessed of everything, that same people can do nothing. Of course, we see an example of this with so-called "gun control," a policy that ultimately aims at gun confiscation. An unarmed public is far less threatening to those in power than one which possesses millions of weapons. This, then, is the theory under which the acquisitive state operates.

We saw signs of this in England and elsewhere when landowners and even small property owners were attacked both politically and financially. But the signs became very real during the twentieth century when the Soviet and Chinese Communists, along with their less influential proteges, blatantly confiscated all productive property. In response, the United States government openly condemned the violent and terroristic approach of these nations. And yet, despite the condemnation, our government's policies tended push our nation and its people in the same leftward direction. The New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society, Globalization, Obamacare, the Green New Deal, and many other doctrines and programs moved our nation and its people away from personal freedom and toward increased governmental control of all aspects of their lives.

Although most of these doctrines were hatched in the political incubators of the Democrat Party, the Republicans did little to slow the process. Under Republican administrations we experienced the establishment of many intrusive agencies and recent Republican presidents have expanded government spending by huge amounts, doing very little to slow the advance of an unelected bureaucracy to power. It would seem many Republicans have decided to continue along the same leftward path, but to do so more slowly and less conspicuously. At the same time, they declare the welfare state is doomed, that it will eventually collapse. One is reminded of Margaret Thatcher's famous line: "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." Perhaps, but that can take a long time so long as those "other people" willingly provide the funds.

Free-market economies not only offer economic freedom and opportunity, but also encourage political freedom. But it's important to remember that socialist regimes like Communist China have been able to remain in power, even though they reject the true economic freedom and productive benefits of capitalism. They've stayed in power because they use the technological advancements of capitalism, technology they acquire through both trade and thievery.

The Communist Chinese have learned much from the earlier mistakes of the Soviets. Personally, I don't believe they are about to collapse, at least not in the near term. Such regimes, which rely heavily on terror, will manage to survive so long as capitalism still exists. I suspect they can last even longer through the ready use of force and other means of coercion. Force, especially when it is applied brutally, can overcome a people's desire to achieve the material benefits of a free economy.

If we truly want to save our Republic from morphing into just another form of totalitarianism, we must take a totally different approach, less political and more spiritual, more religious. We must openly address the moral inhumanity of all forms of socialism. Socialism aims to deprive the individual of the gift of his humanity since it views people as mere statistics, thereby demeaning them all. It denies the person the ability to exercise the freedom to choose how he lives and deprives him of responsibility for his future and for the well-being of family and community. Only by focusing on moral and spiritual means and ends can the plague of socialist totalitarianism be defeated. It demands more than individual, family, and community prayer. Prayer is necessary, but we must also act. We must courageously address our civilization's and our nation's moral and spiritual foundation, ensuring that those who follow will continue the fight for the freedom God wills for us. We must accept that we are not fighting an economic or social war, but rather a spiritual war. No other approach can succeed.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Aging...Not So Gracefully

In September 1980, Pope John Paul II opened an International Forum on Active Aging with an address to the participants. It was brief address but contained some wonderful insights. Keep in mind, at the time the Holy Father spoke these words, he was only 60 years old, hardly what we would consider very elderly. (Indeed, right now I'm just a couple of years from 80, but back in 1980 I was just a kid in my mid-thirties. As we used to say, time flies when you're having fun, and most of my life has been truly enjoyable.)

Anyway, forgetting all of that, I was struck by one particular comment in Pope John Paul's address:

"To turn our attention to the elderly is to realize how much they are a part of God's plan for the world, with their mission to fulfill, their unique contribution to make, their problems to solve, their burdens to bear" [Active Aging, 2]

Reading these words today, I find them wonderfully supportive. If I had read this address back in 1980, I doubt I would have paid much attention to that sentence. After all, at the time I was still rather young, and wouldn't have considered these words personally applicable. In other words, most young people are more self-focused than other-focused. Okay, that's a generalization, but a reasonable accurate and understandable one. Young people are making their way through what to them is a new and expanding world in which they are growing, testing, discovering, and learning. One would expect them to be more wrapped up in themselves because they're still in the process of becoming fully human, physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

When I was younger, I didn't ignore the past, but most of my attention focused on the present and the future. Today it's just the opposite. I often turn, or return, to the past, especially my personal past, where I encounter an accessible storehouse of knowledge, wisdom, lessons, strategies, tactics, cautions, signs, sound counsel, and, yes, many mistakes. These I can apply to the present as I look forward to an unknown and largely unplanned future. I was fortunate to have worked for and with many intelligent, and occasionally wise, people who willingly shared their thoughts and wisdom with me. I might have rejected some of their ideas and principles, but I didn't forget them, and tucked them away in that same storehouse. I was especially blessed to have worked with my father for many years. When I joined him in his consulting business, he was nearing 70 and over time he taught me more than I could possibly have learned anywhere else. I've also been an avid reader, another habit that has provided me with hundreds of wise and not so wise counselors. These habits, manifested as a kind of healthy prejudice, have helped me separate error from truth and accept the reality of God's wondrous creation. 

As I experience the world my generation has both inherited and molded, I realize we have allowed the unchecked growth of some very evil ideologies. Today, for example, the elderly (a group increasingly hard to define) are considered by many to be similar to the unborn. If, because of physical or mental decline, they have become inconvenient, we’ll then, society should be able to “take care” of them. After all, we old folks consume a lot of taxpayer funds through Social Security, Medicare, and other government programs. Back when these programs were conceived nobody dreamed that average lifespans or associated costs would increase so much. 

Attitudes here in The Villages, a retirement community with well over 100,000 residents, are perhaps a little different. The extensive healthcare community here tends to be far more elderly focused since we make up the vast majority of its patients. The irony, as you might expect, is that many "Villagers" don't seem to realize or accept that they are elderly...until they are confronted with life-threatening injury or illness. At that point our supposed Disney World for seniors suddenly becomes God's vestibule. I've encountered the same awareness in our parish. So often new parishioners tell me they haven't attended Mass in decades, but now believe God is calling them to return. I jokingly call it the "nearer my God to Thee" syndrome, but it's really quite true. As life nears its end, those long-neglected seeds of faith take root and blossom anew.

In his address, Pope John Paul also remarked how the presence of the elderly "enriches the home." And yet how many of us are physically separated from our grown families, often the result of societal changes or personal decisions that have pulled families apart geographically? Those of us residing in retirement communities throughout the country no longer live in multi-generational homes of the sort so common decades ago. My guess is that little enrichment can be experienced via Zoom or FaceTime. 

Just consider my own experience. Although I was born in Connecticut, where most of our close relatives lived, my family moved to the suburbs of New York City when I was only five, a move driven by my father's work. For similar reasons we also lived for a time in northwest Florida and Germany. After I graduated from high school, my parents moved to Cape Cod. I spent the next five years trying to get educated in Washington, DC and Annapolis, MD. Then, as a newly commissioned naval officer, I headed south to Pensacola for flight training and marriage to Diane. As our family grew, we bounced between the coasts until we, too, made our way to Cape Cod, a wonderful place to raise the children but a place far from both of our childhood roots. 

Even at my current age I like to think I have something to offer to those who share the little slice of creation in which God has placed me. I believe, as our saintly Pope John Paul stated, that I still have a mission to fulfill, a unique contribution to make, perhaps a few problems to solve, and many burdens to bear. This is what keeps me going. Too many of my contemporaries, who seem to define themselves and their lives solely by their secular work, consider their retirement a reward that frees them not only from that work, but also from the Church's call to evangelization. 

I'll conclude with another quote from Pope John Paul's address in which he emphasized this call:

"Old age is able to enrich the world through prayer and counsel; its presence enriches the home; its immense capacity for evangelization by word and example, and by activities eminently adapted to the talents of the elderly is a force for the Church of God yet to be thoroughly understood or adequately utilized." [Active Aging, 5]

Now that we have time on our hands, perhaps we should get to work, God's work.

Homily: Saturday, 11th Week in Ordinary Time

Readings: 2 Chr 24:17-25; Ps 89; Mt 6:24-34

Over the years, as I’ve re-read and meditated on these words of Jesus, I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone, every single human being, is a servant. Now, this was no great theological insight on my part, since the Church has been telling us this from its very beginning. It just took me a while to figure it out.

We all serve, whether or not we actually choose to do so. We serve because we are creatures, created beings, and instinctively look to something greater than ourselves. And yet, despite our status as servants, God has given us the freedom to choose.

The question, though, is not: Will I serve? No, the important question is: Whom will I serve? Will I serve Him who promises life and joy? Or will I make an idol, a false god unworthy of my service? In my freedom, what choice will I make? Will I choose the Way, the Truth, and the Life? Or will I choose the father of lies? That’s what it really boils down to.

You see, we’re all created as children of God, to belong to Him completely. Of course, this bothers many people today, whose mistaken concept of freedom leads them to believe they are dependent on no one. Rejecting God, Who brought them into being, they turn themselves into little gods, who will not serve. The irony of it all escapes them: for they remain servants, but servants of some lesser god.

But in today’s Gospel passage Jesus doesn’t seem to be speaking to those who reject God completely, those who choose to serve only another. He’s speaking to His disciples. He’s speaking to us, to the ones who too often believe we can divide our allegiances. How did Jesus put it?

“No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and mammon” [Mt 6:24]

At the deepest level I think we all realize this, even though we spend very little time there. To do so can be painful as we encounter the truth about ourselves. And so, we stick to the surface, for it’s there that the world talks to us, telling us we can feed our addictions to all that the world offers, and still be “spiritual.”

We deceive ourselves into believing that we actually serve God, while loving not God but the world. We convince ourselves we can serve Him because we’re strong enough to resist evil, good enough to do good in the world, and spiritual enough to turn to God in occasional prayer and worship…all while we embrace the world, that other master.

But Jesus tells us: No! You can’t serve both. You must choose, choose the One or the other. By trying to serve two masters, we end up serving neither, therefore achieving nothing, certainly nothing lasting. Jesus calls us to make a choice: serve God or serve yourself. And if you serve yourself, your life will be defined by fruitless worry and anxiety.

In the ten verses of today’s Gospel passage, Jesus tells us again and again not to worry, just as He tells us throughout the Gospel not to fear. Worry is simply another form of fear, another symptom of our lack of faith. That’s what fear and worry are, the very opposite of faith. We spend so much of our lives worrying about and planning our future, our material, earthly future while neglecting our spiritual present.

As Christians, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to trust, to turn to God in all things and live His great commandment. We are not called to love money, or fame, or power, or technology, or security, or possessions, or work, or beauty, or even golf.

No, we are to love God and love our neighbor. In his rule, St. Benedict instructed his monks: “Let nothing be preferred to the love of Christ.” Of course, none of this means we should turn away from God’s creation; after all, God proclaimed all creation as good. We can enjoy that which God has given us, so long as we enjoy it responsibly and don’t place it above our love for God and our neighbor. As Jesus revealed to St. Paul:

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness" [2 Cor 12:9].

Perhaps recognizing our weakness is the best test. If you lost everything today, would your love for God, and the joy this love brings, be as great tomorrow?

Friday, June 10, 2022


Okay, let me begin by saying I find so-called Pride Month abhorrent. If I recall correctly, it used to be Gay Pride Day, and was celebrated on the last Sunday (of course, they chose a Sunday) of June when active homosexuals would parade and exhibit their lifestyle. As a Christian, as a Catholic deacon who accepts the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church, I find it so very sad that anyone would publicly take pride in living a sinful lifestyle. Now, if you’re an atheist, an agnostic, or someone who believes sin and evil are fanciful creations, irrational concepts dreamed up by religious fanatics, I suppose you might actually welcome the pride supposedly experienced by these people. It takes a kind of amoral attitude to accept or even tolerate the celebration of sinfulness.. 

Today, as many predicted, the celebration has expanded to include a wide range of warped lifestyles, so the focus has evolved beyond homosexuality and now reflects a simpler, more inclusive, title, “Pride Month.” Hence we find the commentators, news readers, and politicians stumbling over the ever-changing, politically correct collection of letters — e.g., LGBTQIA+ — that represent a range of deviant lifestyles few can actually identify.

But what aggravates me more than the mere promotion of Pride Month is the attempt to make everyone on earth support and extol it. Employees of corporations, government workers, police officers, members of the military, even school children are expected to fall in line and not resist the push to normalize public sinfulness. Of course we’re all sinners, but that doesn’t mean we should celebrate our sins. All I can do is continue to resist anything that celebrates evil and pray for the ongoing conversion of all (including me). If, as faithful Christians, we all do this, then we can let God handle all the world’s confusion. After all, He’s especially good at that.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Postscript: Ilya Shapiro and Georgetown

Another postscript: June 9. Read the interview of Ilya Shapiro on


Several days ago I mentioned Georgetown Law School's "rehiring" of Ilya Shapiro after a four-month investigation into his tweet criticizing President Biden's policy on Supreme Court nominations. 

Well...things have changed, drastically. Based on the report published by the Law School's Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA), Shapiro decided he could not remain in his position as Executive Director of the law school's Center for the Constitution and submitted his resignation.

In response to the IDEAA's report, a report that clearly demonstrates Georgetown's intolerance for diversity of thought, Shapiro wrote a letter of resignation that thoroughly addresses the school's embracing of cancellation culture in which only so-called "progressive" opinions are permitted. His letter of four scathing pages is worth reading and can be found here on Twitter:

Ilya Shapiro on Twitter: "Here’s my resignation letter from @GeorgetownLaw, a place that doesn’t value free speech. In the name of DEI, it stifles intellectual diversity, undermines equal opportunity, and excludes dissenting voices." / Twitter

A Georgetown spokesperson responded with the following:

"Georgetown urges members of our community to engage in robust and respectful dialogue. Our speech and expression policy promotes free and open inquiry, deliberation, and debate and does not prohibit speech based on the person presenting ideas or the content of those ideas, even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial, or objectionable...While we protect speech and expression, we work to promote civil and respectful discourse. In reviewing Mr. Shapiro's conduct, the University followed the regular processes for members of the Law Center staff."

The dishonesty of this response is apparent if you take the time to read Shapiro's letter. 

As I mentioned in that earlier post, I attended Georgetown's School of Foreign Service for a year prior to entering the Naval Academy. I have kept in touch as a (sort of) alumnus and receive the school's quarterly alumni magazine just to keep up with its devolving values. In truth, the university has changed so much since my time there in the early 1960s that I am ashamed to claim any allegiance. Georgetown has essentially ceased to be a Catholic or Jesuit university, and simply mirrors the godless values that typify so many American universities today.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

St. Augustine Prayer for the Sick

Every so often I come across something that just strikes me as perfect. The other day a friend sent me the following prayer, apparently composed by the great St. Augustine. Involved as I am with funerals, cemetery committals, visits to the sick and homebound, and aware that many of my acquaintances are afflicted with illness or injury, I was struck by the beauty, the brevity, and the inclusion of the prayer. I intend to make it a part of my daily Evening Prayer.

            Prayer for the Sick

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake,

or watch, or weep tonight, and give

your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.

Rest your weary ones.

Bless your dying ones.

Soothe your suffering ones

Pity your afflicted ones.

Shield your joyous ones.

And all for your love’s sake. Amen.



Our Times

We certainly live in strange times. So many today seem to have lost the ability to engage in logical, rational thought based on real truth. Instead, they have allowed their little worlds to become politicized, making everything else, including truth, subordinate to politics. Here are just a couple of news stories that recently caught my attention:

A "Die-in" at Amazon. Apparently quite few Amazon employees believe the company that pays them isn't sufficiently "woke." These employees are upset that the book-selling side of the company, whose business is ostensibly focused on satisfying its customers demand for books, dares to sell books these employees believe are "transphobic." 

About 30 of these employees, therefore, staged what they called a "die-in" at Amazon's corporate headquarters in Seattle. Based on the photos published online, the protesting employees covered their bodies with colorful sheets that symbolized Amazon's attempt to "rainbow-wash" its corporate image. They did all this on the sidewalk since lying down in the street might actually result in death. As a result of this wise decision, most of the employees managed to survive the die-in.

Of course, the truth is, there's no such thing as a "transexual" since biologically a person's sex cannot be changed. Surgery just alters the person's surface, but he or she remains what they were at birth. Just check their DNA or count their X chromosomes. Every woman carries a double dose of X chromosome, while men carry one X and a Y.  The desire to change one's sex, regardless of the direction, is nothing more than a psychological aberration. It's all very sad to see so many today caught up in this lie, but God doesn't make mistakes. He is "the way, the truth, and the life." And we should never forget that in the Nicene Creed we profess our belief that the Holy Spirit is the "Lord and giver of life." Yes, indeed, God gives life and defines it, not us. If you don't believe that, you don't believe in God.

Amazon will certainly reassure the world, its shareholders, and even its employees that they remain committed to the LGBTQA+ agenda. All the corporate movers and shakers claim to take this weird, ever-expanding concatenation of letters seriously, but we all suspect they really care little about any of these issues. Most large corporations simply want to avoid the backlash from the woke media and the highly vocal true believers. I expect Amazon will continue selling the books its customers want to buy, although they will no doubt donate big bucks to "appropriate" causes and highlight books supported by the company's "woke police" even though few people actually buy them.

Georgetown Relents...a Little. Okay, honesty up-front: I attended Georgetown University (its School of Foreign Service) for one year in 1962-63. I'll admit it was a fun year and I managed to slide through with a B average. I found I could achieve that comfortable level of academic excellence with only minimal effort. I just read everything I was told to read and apparently recalled enough to do okay on exams. A few weeks after the end of that Georgetown year I reported to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis for four far more challenging years. Believe me, the Naval Academy wasn't nearly as much fun. 

Of course, back in the early 60s Georgetown seemed very Catholic and very traditional in its approach to both education and campus life. Back then many Jesuits actually acted like members of the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, an order that pledged special obedience to the Pope. Anyway, Georgetown has changed. I receive a quarterly copy of the university's alumni magazine, but reading the latest issue, one would be challenged to find evidence of the school's Catholic foundation. 

Anyway, I came across an online article announcing that Georgetown had reinstated Ilya Shapiro, a senior lecturer at Georgetown's Law Center and the executive director of its Center for the Constitution. What happened? Well, several months ago, the university put Shapiro on administrative leave because some folks were unhappy with his tweets about President Biden's Supreme Court choice. It seems the conservative Shapiro thought, rightly I believe, that the president's decision to limit his pool of qualified candidates to black women was a poor decision that likely ensured the best qualified person would be overlooked. For this Shapiro was removed.

After a four-month investigation, the school concluded that Shapiro wasn't an employee when the tweets were written, so he should be reinstated. In Shapiro's words, "What I achieved was a technical victory but one that still shows the value in standing up for free speech in the face of cancellation...It was an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone except perhaps the instigators of the Twitter mob that launched this tempest...I found out who my friends are, even if I would've preferred not to have had the need to know."

And all of this happened even though Georgetown has an explicit Speech and Expression policy stating the "University is committed to free and open inquiry, deliberation and debate in all matters, and the untrammeled verbal and nonverbal expression of ideas." Yeah...right.


Nancy and Her Archbishop. I was going to include a few words about Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, but I've run out of time. Let me congratulate the growing number of U.S. bishops who have openly expressed support for the Archbishop. At the same time I wonder why all our other bishops haven't joined them. If I have time tomorrow, maybe I'll post a few words about it. 

Homily: Saturday, 7th Week of Easter

Readings: Acts 28:16-20,30-31; Ps 11; Jn 21:20-25

My! Today's readings sure give us a lot on which to reflect, to pray, and to preach; so, I decided just to turn it over to the Holy Spirit and ask for His help.

You see, today’s readings complete the Easter season by presenting us with the final verses of both the Acts of the Apostles and John's Gospel. In a sense they sum up all that’s gone before.

Luke began and ended his Gospel in Jerusalem, and it's in that city, too, where he began his second book, the Acts of the Apostles. In Acts we follow Paul on his journeys through the Greek-speaking world, as he establishes local churches and calls people to Christ while moving inexorably toward his destination, toward Rome – in one sense, the new Jerusalem.

In today's reading we encounter Paul in the final days of his ministry. Imprisoned in Rome, he awaits execution at the hands of Nero, the emperor who will also take the life of Peter. And it's there, in Rome, Luke tells us, that Paul "with complete assurance and without hindrance proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ" [Acts 28:31]. Yes, Paul remains the true disciple as he completes his earthly journey of faith.

Our journey of discipleship is much the same – one of discovery, and praise, and wonder, and stumbling, and prophecy fulfilled – a journey filled with a lifetime of experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Like Paul, we, too, sometimes encounter obstacles or outright barriers, or simply head off in the wrong direction, only to be called back by the Holy Spirit. Just like Paul, we need to rest along the way and regain our strength, for discipleship is no easy road. Jesus knows this, for He experienced it too. He knows our weaknesses, all those little pieces of us that crave attention, all that call us away from Him. And so, He comes to us again and again, giving us a taste of that which awaits us.

How did Paul put it to the Jews who visited him in Rome, and to us? We share in the hope of Israel, a hope fulfilled in Jesus’ death and resurrection [See Acts 28:20]. Keep the faith, Paul says, don’t let all the stuff of our lives distract us from the eternal.

Peter, too, learned and preached this. But as John’s Gospel comes to a close, we find Peter just beginning his formation as a disciple. Filled with questions, Peter still awaits the fulness of the Holy Spirit. In his heart Peter knows he’s been given a very special task – “Feed my lambs…feed my sheep” [Jn 21:15,17] – and no doubt he fears all it will bring.

Suspecting Jesus has given him the hardest road to travel, he points to young John, the fair-haired boy, the one whom Jesus loved, and asks, “What about him?” Peter is so devilishly human, isn’t he? He’s so much like you and me, so worried about himself, always comparing himself to others, unaware that God doesn’t compare, that God sees each of us exactly as we are.

Jesus tells Peter this, in effect saying: “Look, Peter, don’t worry about John, or my plans for him. It’s really none of your business. Just do the work I’ve given you.” And to ensure Peter understands, he adds, “You follow me!” [Jn 21:22]

How often are we just like Peter, so caught up in what others are doing that we neglect the work God has given us.

What is God calling you to do – not next week or next month – but what’s His will for you today, right now? Life is a gift, brothers and sisters, and it can end at any moment.  If we take each of those moments that God gives us, and simply follow Him, always doing His will in all those seemingly little things, one moment to the next, He will lead us to the big things.

Even though we’re struggling and broken and torn and sinful, God continues to call us to the work He has for us. He calls us in the moment, in the little things of our lives, in the things He knows we can handle.

This is what Divine Mercy is really all about: it’s about God’s love bringing us back to Him, repeatedly, one tiny piece at a time.

And discipleship? It’s nothing complicated, just a total offering of self, an offering of all those pieces, an offering that God willingly accepts. Through His love, His mercy, and the working of the Holy Spirit, He makes us whole again so we can do our part to complete Christ’s mission on earth.

Yes, indeed, we tend to complicate things, but Jesus keeps it simple: Just follow me!