Sunday, June 27, 2010

God bless your Church, give it perseverance in adversity and peace in persecution, grant it your strength to prevail against the forces of evil and to endure the disdain of the world and those enslaved to the flesh. Grant this through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. Amen.

This is an act of sacrilege, a sign of the disdain with which we are held by secular society. Would they do such a thing to the tombs of Protestant bishops, much less to those of Jewish or Muslim leaders, regardless of the crimes of which those religious communities had been accused? I think not. They only do these horrible things to the Catholic Church because they hate us for our "meddling." We've been held to be respectable for too long, perhaps distrusted for our beliefs which challenge the desires of the flesh but still invited into society and allowed to hold our Masses with a degree of freedom. It would seem that the world has grown tired of our chiding as it falls deeper into the abyss of carnality and avarice, and so it has decided to bring us low by destroying our sacred tombs and desecrating our holy objects. Unfortunately for them we've been through this many times before, and our Scriptures along with the grace of God will bring us through just as they have always done throughout the last two thousand years.

We've had it easy for a long time, being held respectable by the world may have its advantages but it doesn't help one to lead a holy life. We've grown comfortable in polite society, holding a grudging acceptance from those whose great-grandfathers scoffed at us and regarded us as vermin and trash. Now it would seem that this acceptance, this toleration, is at an end, and frankly it may be the best thing that could happen to the Church. We are supposed to be at odds with the world, despised by it because we say the things that it doesn't want to hear. We are supposed to speak truth to power, and that simply can't happen if we ourselves constitute that power. A rising tide of persecution may strip away from our ranks those among us who are perfectly willing to worship God in comfort but unwilling to do so in adversity, but those who remain will worship Him all the more in their absence. We may not continue to have 1.1 billion adherents, but the ones who remain will be all the more devoted due to the risk involved. This is a very clear violation of the Church's freedom of worship, showing clear contempt for the faith of Catholics, and it would be naive to think that such things couldn't happen in other countries.

This attack on the Church makes me sick, as it should to all Catholics. Anybody who would use these thinnest of excuses to desecrate sacred crypts can't have much respect for our religion. It's the beginning of a new era for the Church, an era of persecution and contempt, and this is but the first of likely many attacks to come. God bless us all.
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm
and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do
not use this freedom as an opportunity for the
flesh; rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.
I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will
certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For
the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the
Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each
other, so that you may not do what you want. But if
you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the
Gal 5:1,13-18

Too often in our society we equate freedom with the ability to do whatever we please, to act however we want and satiate whatever desires we may choose to entertain. However, many of these desires constitute in themselves a form of slavery that robs us of free will and negates our freedom. How many of us have suffered with an addiction, whether of a chemical nature like alcohol or drugs or else of a more mental nature like addiction to pornography or violence? Many things can be enslaving; such as wealth, lack of wealth (aka financial anxiety), possessions, lust, anger, fear, hatred, and of course pride. If we indulge these sinful inclinations then they will own us just as surely as if we were slaves in the physical sense. This is not something that just affects "sinful" people either, as we are all sinful regardless of how highly we are esteemed by those in the world or even those in the Church. Even Popes sin, even the self-proclaimed lay leaders of parishes sin, and there are many among us like the Pharisees in the Bible who will proclaim their "holier-than-thou" status right up to the point where they're thrown into the lake of fire. To their credit I think that many in the hierarchy realize this fact, I've heard many including the Pope who seem very willing or even eager to highlight their faults and show themselves to be ordinary people with the failings inherent in all flesh. As Socrates is claimed to have said, the wisest among us are those who recognize their own ignorance and lack of wisdom. It is only through losing ourselves and our notions of self-importance and power that we will truly become free from the chains that bind us to our dying flesh.

In his book 1984, George Orwell parodied the philosophy of totalitarianism with the line "freedom is slavery." To an extent this may in fact be true. When left to his own devices, man can be a cruel and destructive force. It is only in subjugating our will to something larger and more powerful, whether that be the "social contract" of Hobbes or the God of Christianity, that we can be at peace with ourselves and with those around us. We do not clearly see the perfect reality of the universe, we can at most only see what is immediately around us and visible to our senses. Even the great insights of science only get us so far, since they are to an extent dependent upon our fallible senses for interpretation. Because of this limited sight, we are not always conscious of what evil consequences our actions may create. Even when we can predict those consequences, often we either willfully ignore them or enter into our actions fully accepting them and deeming our own pleasure to be worth the cost. We only have to look as far as events occurring in our own time and place to see this in action. The Gulf Coast oil spill came about as a result of a company seeking short-term gains without care for long-term risks. They cut corners and sacrificed safety in order to increase profits, knowing that such a disaster was at least possible as a result, and when the unthinkable happened they pretended to be surprised and tried to salvage their public image with the least amount of expense possible. They chose the freedom of personal wealth over their obligation to society and the environment, and as a result we have a catastrophe of immeasurable scale. Whenever we as flawed human beings put our selfish desires ahead of our duty to society and our fellow human beings it inevitably ends in sorrow, whether we're talking about abortion or polluting the environment or starting unjust wars or any other situation where selfish interest is in conflict with concern for humanity.

As our technological command over nature increases, the conflict between greed and compassion will grow larger and much more dangerous. Even an atheistic, humanist worldview would have to agree that we must subjugate our own egos and selfish desires in order to survive as a species and preserve our planet, but how much more so are we as Christians called to put the needs of others over our own desires and look at their safety and security as paramount over our own? How much more are we as Catholics called to become slaves to the Cross of Christ, to follow him even to death and not look back so that our subjugation can lead to the freedom of the world from sin and evil? To paraphrase the words of Bob Dylan, you gotta serve somebody and it's either going to be the Devil or the Lord. We're not powerful enough to serve ourselves, even when we think we're doing so we're only doing the bidding of Satan. We all have a choice to serve Good or evil, and if we thought about the consequences I think that we'd all arrive at the same position. It is only in serving the Lord that we find the true freedom to cast off sin and become true people as we are meant to be. It isn't easy, I certainly haven't found the way and very few actually have, but through God's grace and the inspiration of the saints perhaps one day we can find the strength to give away our lives to God.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

He said, "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and
be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the
scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised."
Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me,
he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and
follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose
it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet
lose or forfeit himself? Whoever is ashamed of me and of
my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes
in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the
holy angels.

Luke 9:22-26

Today at Mass I heard what is possibly the worst homily ever, the one that more than any reflects what I consider to be the antithesis of a good homily. The priest who gave the homily is often frustrating and seldom says anything that I would consider good or helpful, but this one was worst by far. It started out okay, a typical "special day" homily for Father's Day that didn't relate to the readings (the whole point of a homily) but wasn't really problematic either. Then it started, the movement from hippy-dippy futility to outright disobedience against the teachings of the Church. The priest started out by saying that he was jealous of fathers for their relationship with their children, and then stated that the Church must allow Latin Rite priests to marry and have families. His point seemed to be, regardless of what the Pope might say, the Church must bend to his will because otherwise it'll be a catastrophe (that seems to be a very common claim by those who advocate the elimination of tradition). Scattered throughout the homily were several glaring errors that diminish the effect of his argument. For one thing, he said that there was a married Anglican minister (he was Lutheran) who was ordained a priest in an action by the Diocese of Camden that he described as a theological turning point (not even close, see below). He also said that the Church would probably not accept married priests in his lifetime (not necessarily true) and that refusing to do so would be the death knell of the Church (not likely).

The first obvious error in the priest's logic is in thinking that married priests are something new or particularly interesting. There have been married priests in Eastern rites under the authority of the Pope since the first millennium, and "Anglican Use" parishes with married ex-Protestant clergy have been in existence in the United States for 30 years. The situation of a Lutheran minister who comes home to the Catholic Church and seeks ordination as a Catholic priest is neither new nor unique, and therefore is not earth-shattering. Clerical celibacy is particular to the Latin rite, and there are many Catholic priests who do not belong to that rite. Another problem with his logic is the idea that the Pope is refusing to speak about celibacy and therefore denying priests something that they desperately need. Celibacy is not a doctrine, it is a discipline and therefore can be changed by the Pope if he so desires. There are many good reasons to continue the discipline, from the devastating financial toll married clergy would have on parishes already struggling to survive to the fact (recognized by St. Paul 2,000 years ago) that celibate clergy can devote more of their time and energy to the parish without having to worry about caring for their families. In spite of this, if the Pope decided tomorrow to end the discipline of celibate clergy it would not be earth-shattering and the Church would continue to exist with few if any Catholics leaving over the change. If that day ever comes the media will make a big deal about how the Church supposedly bowed to secular pressure and abandoned sacred doctrine, mostly because they like to tear down the Church at every opportunity, but they will be wrong.

Another error in the priest's logic is the idea that not allowing married priests will produce a catastrophe that will either destroy or at least seriously damage the Church. The priest in his homily gave no specifics about why the Church "cannot afford not to act," but I have heard various arguments as to why the Church must acquiesce or die. Some people think that allowing married clergy will eliminate the priest shortage, while others believe that doing so will cure the child abuse scandals and ensure that such things don't happen in the future. As for the first argument, there's no reason to think that men would flock to the priesthood if they were also allowed to have sex. The reluctance to accept celibacy is merely a symptom of two larger problems, namely our society's obsession with sex and aversion to discipline and obedience. Men don't avoid the priesthood because they can't accept celibacy, they do so because they want to control their own lives without any obligation or obedience required. Priesthood is about obedience and service, and neither of these things is very popular in our culture. The other argument, that married people and those in acceptable sexual relationships don't "resort" to sexually abusing children, is also quite absurd. There are many married people who abuse children, and in fact many of them abuse their own children which makes it much more difficult to get the victims to come forward. If people think that an abuser's brother priests would be reluctant to turn him in, how much more reluctant would you expect his wife to be? Regardless of whether we have married clergy we will still have a shortage of priests because of the cultural aversion to service, and we will also still have to be vigilant against child abuse because human nature does not change just because a person gets married and has an acceptable outlet for sexual desire.

I would like to think that this disobedience is rare, that most Catholics accept the authority of the Pope and don't make demands like this. However, the loud applause that broke out while this priest was talking makes me think otherwise. What is the Catholic Church if not a group of people who follow the Bible and the teachings of the Church? If we're all just a bunch of free agents who listen when the Pope says what we want to hear and shout him down when he doesn't, then what kind of Church are we? I know that there is a great deal of orthodoxy among those currently in and recently out of seminary, a fact that fills me with optimism for the future. Still, while the "old guard" parish priests are still in authority and the pews are filled with people who clap at blatant disobedience we will have to be careful about what we take from homilies at certain parishes. I am fortunate in that this parish is not my home one, merely a neighboring parish that I occasionally attend, but he is not the only priest who does stuff like this and all but the most conservative of parishes could easily hear the same tired demands.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I really should stop reading articles written by Christopher Hitchens. The man has such a vitriolic style, and such an absurdly inflated obsession with himself and his self-acknowledged genius, that I end up screaming at my computer screen with every double standard and piece of false logic. Still, some part of me apparently can't stop reading it, which is why I happened upon this tired stupidity. Basically a rehash of Hitchens' usual arguments, it literally made me want to scream. If you choose, you can read my comments about the more egregious parts below.

Faced with a number of court cases in the United States that have named the pope himself as a defendant in the enabling and covering up of many rapes, the Vatican has evolved the strategy of claiming that the Holy See is in effect a sovereign state and thus possessed of immunity from prosecution.

Vatican City is a sovereign state by every definition of that world of which I am aware. It has a leader and a military (at least in theory) and is not subject to the authority of another sovereign nation. It also has its own set of laws and a well-established history of diplomatic relations with many other states. It also has citizens and a currency. If Hitchens can explain how Vatican City is not a sovereign state, if perhaps he can come up with an alternative definition of sovereignty, then I think that he should do so. Otherwise he's just picking and choosing who gets the protection of international law based solely on whether he likes them or not, which now that I think about it wouldn't be a first for him (he did, after all, support the previous US administration's "war on terror").

It has now been announced that the Obama administration will be advising the Supreme Court to adopt this view of the matter.

I can certainly understand why they would do this, after all if one state can lose sovereignty simply because it's unpopular then how is anybody safe?

It is not usually considered polite to mention that the majority of Supreme Court justices are practicing Roman Catholics.

Perhaps if he considers it impolite, then he shouldn't say it. I think that it would be perfectly polite to bring such a situation up if it seemed to have a bearing on the actions of the Court, however I don't see that to be the case. As far as the Catholics on the Court go (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Kennedy, and Sotomayor, in case you're wondering), it seems to me that they vote with their political allegiance much more than their religious ones. Scalia, Thomas, and Alito may support restrictions on abortion and a less than favorable view of the Roe decision, but they also decide against Church beliefs on issues like torture and the death penalty. As for the other two, Kennedy has always been a swing vote and Sotomayor will probably be a reliable pro-abortion vote considering the party that put her on the bench. Would Hitchens make a big deal of the fact that 4 of the 9 justices (44% of the total) are Jewish when only 2% of the US population belongs to that religious group? I doubt it. He's trying to incite hatred and fear in order to stigmatize Catholics in Western countries for his own selfish agenda. Hopefully he won't succeed.

We will soon have a Supreme Court that contains no Protestants and no secularists and which is being asked to rule on a matter central to the religious beliefs of a majority of its members, who are bound to regard the man formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger as the vicar of Christ on earth.

More fear-mongering. Besides, just because you're a Catholic doesn't mean that you can't be a "secularist," at least in terms of putting secular agendas over religious ones. Half of the Democratic Party, including many of its senior leaders (Pelosi, the late Ted Kennedy, John Kerry) are Catholics after all, and they see no conflict between going to Mass on Sundays and ignoring the teachings of the Church during the rest of the week.

Even if they do decide the matter in this way, they will not succeed in banishing the terrible question of Vatican responsibility for the destruction of so many childhoods and the protection of so many hardened criminals.

Ah, hyperbole. The Catholic Church is not unique in having abusers in its midst, nor is it alone in having covered up abuse. Most of these cases wouldn't have even been known about at the Vatican, the cover up having been perpetrated by local leaders. I don't see Hitchens getting worked up over the epidemic of child abuse in public schools, or in any other segment of society where children are present.

This all arises because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made a ruling that effectively lifted the Vatican's immunity under a 1976 law (the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which governs the extent to which foreign entities can be pursued on American soil).

The Appeals Court overstepped, essentially changing international law and stripping sovereignty from a state without justification. Let's hope that the Supreme Court stops this from continuing, otherwise it'll be open season on the sovereignty of any nation that has enemies (last time I checked the USA has a few of those too).

The church's response to this has been especially absurd, claiming that the pope exercises only spiritual authority and not managerial control.

The Church is not a multinational corporation. The Pope does not sign off on everything that is done by bishops and priests throughout the world. It's more like a group of people with a common purpose (in theory) who collaborate but don't send every single thing up to the top for approval.

Then ask yourself what would happen to a priest or bishop who expressed doubts about the Vatican's teaching on abortion or divorce.

President of a Jesuit college? Call to Action? There are plenty of priests and bishops who actively oppose the Pope's teachings on pretty much every issue, and many of them are still saying Masses and passing off their ideas as the authentic beliefs of the Church. If the Church defrocked every priest who advocated for women's ordination or took a permissive stance toward birth control, then we'd certainly have a lot less priests. If anything, I think that it's harder to find a theologically conservative priest than a liberal one at least in the parishes where I've lived, although that does seem to be changing due to the aforementioned rise of orthodoxy among seminarians.

It was Joseph Ratzinger himself who invited Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson all the way from Argentina and back into the fold in an attempt to conciliate Catholicism's more reactionary wing.

This old lie is getting tired. Bishop Williamson's excommunication may have been lifted, which means that he can once again receive the Eucharist (just like Pelosi and Kerry and the other pro-abortion Catholic legislators), but he doesn't become a bishop in the Catholic Church because of it and as far as I know isn't even incardinated as a priest unless the Vatican says he is (which it hasn't). The Vatican has made it clear that he has to fully renounce his Holocaust denial in order to become a bishop, which he hasn't done. Even the SSPX has restricted his authority, in fact their superior general said that his beliefs were radioactive, so I don't think that the Pope is going to be giving him a position of power in the near future or probably ever.

Kagan and her colleagues should be made to feel the shame of this, as should the president, who talks so glibly about human rights and equality before the law.

I don't think that Obama should be hurt by what is said here, considering that it's said by a man who "talks so glibly about human rights" himself while supporting unjust wars and torture performed in the name of neo-conservative colonialism. Hitchens is a hypocrite, demanding that everybody ascribe to his shallow and cruel worldview while condemning those who he accuses of doing the same thing. Hopefully some day people will stop listening to him, although I'm sure there will always be people willing to listen when he tells them what they want to hear.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

We, who are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the
Gentiles, (yet) who know that a person is not justified by
works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we
have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith
in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the
law no one will be justified. But if, in seeking to be justified
in Christ, we ourselves are found to be sinners, is Christ then
a minister of sin? Of course not! But if I am building up again
those things that I tore down, then I show myself to be a
transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, 19 that I
might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live,
no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the
flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given
himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if
justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Galatians 2:15-21

It has been said many times that Catholics reject this sort of thing, that we claim to be justified by law and work rather than by grace through faith. The fact that we hear these words on the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time would prove that to be false. The Catholic Church does not claim salvation through works, as if our feeble human efforts could come close to meriting Heaven, but rather gives good works the position that they deserve as a sign of faith and a necessary result of the love of God. Jesus tells us that if we love him we'll keep his commandments, while St. James said that faith without works is dead. Works may not be the ticket that we use to enter Heaven, but we cannot sit back and live like pagans with the expectation that we'll have such a ticket when we pass from this life.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Once again proving that liberal dissidents have no sense of causation or history

If opening the priesthood to women and married men would create a Church free of sexual abuse and less inclined to keeping secrets, then you would think that the proof would be shown in secular society or in the various religious groups that allow members of these two groups to become clergy. Alas, this is not the case. Married men have a rate of pedophilia that is no better than that of Catholic clergy, at least according to the sparse records that we have on groups other than the Catholic Church, and in fact oftentimes will abuse their own children which creates its own problems with reporting (Would a wife rat our her husband whom she loves and with whom she has built a life? Would a child rat out his own father?). As for women, the numerous Mary Kay Letourneau-type cases where female teachers abuse students would seem to indicate that they are no more trustworthy than men in this regard. Plenty of women are executives and even CEOs and Presidents of companies that do horrible things and cover up horrible things for the sake of profits.

The mere fact of being a celibate man doesn't make one a pedophile or a sexual predator, the fact is that many such pedophiles flock to the clergy of all religious groups as well as to teaching jobs and medical jobs because those jobs give them access to children in an atmosphere of trust. Allowing women and married men to become priests, just like allowing openly homosexual clergy to do so, would do nothing to increase transparency and decrease abuse, as all these groups commit abuse just as much as heterosexual men bound by a vow of celibacy. If anything the incidence of abuse among Catholic priests may be lower, considering that we hear about every unsubstantiated claim of abuse by a Catholic priest but there aren't statistics for non-priestly abuse cases that don't end in a conviction and therefore a Megan's Law registration. They don't keep abuse statistics that take into account how many teachers or coaches or doctors or police officers offend, they just keep statistics of the population at large and maybe male versus female offenders. Even other religious groups don't seem to have statistics available, which means that they are only counted as a percentage of the entire population. Only the Catholic Church has a comprehensive index of accusations, going back almost half a century, so for all we know the problem in other occupations may be even worse.

The motive of these protesters obviously has nothing to do with saving the children and everything to do with liberalizing the Church bit by bit until it becomes a less traditionalist version of Unitarian Universalism. They figure that they did such a good job with the Episcopalians, picking away a little at a time until a church once steadfast in support of tradition suddenly became a church without tradition and with no sense of what it believes in. They figure that if they can get us to acquiesce on women priests then we'll acquiesce on homosexual priests, and if they can get us to buckle on homosexual priests then they can get us to get rid of sexual morality in general. Unfortunately for them we are not the Episcopalians, rather we are a worldwide and truly universal Church that has no need to buckle to the agendas of small groups in individual nations. The media may make a big deal about this, but there have always been dissidents and heretics trying to undo the Church from within and the Church has always outlasted them. The whole idea that Austria is "at the forefront of demands for change" also strikes me as a bit disingenuous, as Cardinal Schoenborn only suggested a change to the rules on celibacy (which is a rule rather than a doctrine and could be changed at any time) and the other Bishop only said that allowing women to be priests was something that could be discussed "eventually" (certainly a dissent from Church teachings but not nearly as radical as the protesters would want). I also question the suggestion that Austria is a bastion of extreme traditionalism, considering that Cardinal Schoenborn has frequently shown himself to be mainstream among the Catholic hierarchy on abortion and even liberal on issues like using condoms. He may not be as liberal as a Cardinal Mahoney or Hans Kung, but he's certainly not a Cardinal Arinze or a Marcel Lefebvre either. The next time that Schoenborn says something in support of the hierarchy he'll be denounced by these same liberals as an ideologue, but for the moment he's saying something that helps their cause so they're acting like he's on their side.

Personally I wouldn't be upset if the Church allowed married men to be priests, I certainly wouldn't leave over it. It's an issue of discipline rather than doctrine, and so the Pope could change it at any time without any theological problems. I would caution against it though for at least a couple of reasons. Many parishes would find such a change to be an unbearable hardship, as they already struggle with finances and would have a hard time increasing pay for priests or purchasing larger houses for them and their families. Clerical celibacy is a time-honored tradition that gives the priest more time to serve his flock. While it wouldn't be the end of the world if this tradition was ended, at least as long as the Church made it easier on parishes to implement the change, it certainly shouldn't be changed because of the agitation of some liberals who won't be satisfied with it and will only look at it as a hole in the armor and a positive sign for their extreme liberalizing agenda.
Some people need to get their priorities straight

I can understand if you think that Mother Teresa did more harm than good (although it's not true) or that she's not important enough to merit the honor (although that's also not true), but if you can honor the other people and groups mentioned then you should certainly honor her. Regardless of how you feel about Mother Teresa's actions, she certainly didn't kill as many people as did Communist China and her motives behind her actions were far purer. As for her relevance, if you consider Mariah Carey and some dog show to be relevant then she should certainly fit the bill. I hate to agree with Bill Donohue, who usually brings more bombast than useful criticism, but this does seem to be a clear case of bias against her and against the Church in general. Obviously there is a great deal of animosity in popular culture against the Catholic Church, there's nothing new about that, and as for Mother Teresa specifically the "elites" started speaking ill of her before her body was even in the ground. Perhaps they took a cue from Christopher Hitchens, who has worked hard to sully her memory in order to validate his horrible belief that nothing good can come from religion. Still, one has to wonder what sort of morality these people are embracing if they consider Chairman Mao to be worthier of praise than Mother Teresa.

It is a depressing sign of the times that we are so quick to ridicule those who show signs of holiness in their lives. Mother Teresa worked in squalid conditions with few resources and even less assistance. People bring up the huge donations that she was given, but even a million dollars is not much when spread between all of the sick and dying of Kolkata. She didn't have access to the highest quality of equipment and medicine that would have been available in the West, all the money that she was given wouldn't have been sufficient to buy enough of those supplies for everyone. For that reason, the goal of her work was more palliative than curative. Many of the people she served would have died regardless of what she did, particularly the ones with AIDS, as they couldn't stay with her forever and had no access to good food and clean water outside of her clinics. If the secular West wants to complain about her actions then it should put forward the billions of dollars necessary to create world-class hospitals and improve quality of life in India, instead of just sitting back and clicking their tongues at those who do the little that they can to allow people in an inhuman situation to die with dignity. Until they're willing to do this, they shouldn't condemn the woman who gave her whole life when nobody else even wanted to acknowledge the problem.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Glorify the LORD, Jerusalem; Zion, offer praise to your God,
Who has strengthened the bars of your gates, blessed your children within you,
Brought peace to your borders, and filled you with finest wheat.
The LORD sends a command to earth; his word runs swiftly!
Thus snow is spread like wool, frost is scattered like ash,
Hail is dispersed like crumbs; before such cold the waters freeze.
Again he sends his word and they melt; the wind is unleashed and the waters flow.
The LORD also proclaims his word to Jacob, decrees and laws to Israel.
God has not done this for other nations; of such laws they know nothing. Hallelujah!

The Feast of Corpus Christi makes me remember longingly the Eucharistic processions that occur at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where the Solemn Mass at noon would end with a procession out of the building and then around to the entrance to the Crypt Church. Once inside the crypt there would be music and incense and a feeling of communal praise that I have missed since moving back to Jersey. Everybody has that one thing that feels right, this is what felt right to me. I would get impatient as the Easter season went on, counting the Sundays until Corpus Christi when I could experience that feeling again. Now that I am back in the suburbs we don't have this sort of thing, although processions will happen occasionally due to the large Brazilian and Portuguese community in the parish. I honestly don't know if they're having one tomorrow, it just doesn't feel the same here as it did down there. I hope that as time comes on I still feel a longing for that experience, a bit of nostalgia when Corpus Christi comes around. It's good to have a happy memory to look back on, to inform what comes after it and keep one rooted in the things that matter.