From Under the Rubble
The Wanderer, p.3
June 18, 2009
In this “age of the laity,” the laity that the USCCB bureaucracy pays attention to features Chris Dodd, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy, and Nancy Pelosi. Now Barack Obama, has taken the lead, brandishing his newly-minted Fighting Irish imprimatur and adroitly evading moral absolutes as he preaches the same political agenda that the USCCB has embraced for years.
Obama’s speech at Notre Dame was a clarion call for pro-abortion “Catholics” to stand up and fight for the heresy that Pope Benedict has called “the dictatorship of relativism.” That effort requires a sly semantic two-step -- first, reductionism: equate the importance of the paramount life issues of abortion, stem-cell research, and contraception to the “social justice” issues like those found in the platform of the Democratic Party. This approach echoes the “seamless garment” sleight-of-hand promulgated by Obama’s favorite bishop ever, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin.
The second step is pragmatism: we must (ahem, regrettably) admit that we are not within practical reach of reversing Roe v. Wade, passing a Human Life Bill, or adopting a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution. Therefore, we must find “common ground,” without alienating those pro-abortion politicians whose cooperation and support is so critical to the successful expansion of our “seamless garment” goals. Now, those same pro-abortion politicians are all supporters of “gay rights” as well. They are busily cooking up “hate crimes” bills that might outlaw the preaching of Catholic moral teaching altogether, as like-minded leftists have already done in Canada and England.
Many bishops have taken a firm stand of late in defense of traditional marriage, but some apparently find it difficult to take the next step and preach Humanae Vitae, even though Paul VI prophetically predicted the evils that are ravaging our culture today. These sinful indulgences are advocated in the public schools and celebrated on once-Catholic university campuses. They permeate the entire popular culture, and represent nothing less than a brazen and virtually unopposed frontal attack on the Catholic Church.
Models Of Perfection
On June third, we celebrated the Feast of Saint Charles Lwanga and companions, who were brutally executed by Ugandan King Mwanga on June 3, 1886. King Mwanga, a homosexual, hated Christians. Charles Lwanga was a lowly page in the court of the King, but he and his companions bravely rejected the King’s advances. The irate King ordered savage executions for the boys, all of whom chose to die for their Faith. Their heroism so impressed Pope Paul VI that he canonized the Ugandan Martyrs in 1964, then traveled to Uganda to in 1969 to break ground for a Basilica to be built on the site of St. Charles Lwanga’s execution.
On that occasion, Pope Paul VI said, “Who could have predicted to the famous African confessors and martyrs such as Cyprian, Felicity, Perpetua and – the greatest of all – Augustine, that we would one day add names so dear to us as Charles Lwanga and Matthias Mulumba Kalemba and their twenty companions?… The infamous crime by which these young men were put to death was so unspeakable and so expressive of the times. It shows us clearly that a new people needs a moral foundation, needs new spiritual customs firmly planted, and to be handed down to posterity.”
Holy Mother Church is so devoted to the memory of these valiant young men that Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to the basilica in 1993. All Uganda reveres them every year on June 3, which is now a national holiday there.
Like many homosexuals today, King Mwanga hated the Catholic Church. Yet Popes Paul VI and John Paul II underscored the heroic witness of the Ugandan martyrs to the truth of Catholic moral teaching in defiance of the king’s hatred that he inflicted with such brutality. Today, as we watch one “Catholic” state after another ratify some sort of officially-recognized homosexual consortium, Saint Charles Lwanga and his companions might be admirable models for our prayerful advocacy of moral foundations and spiritual customs based on the truths of the Catholic Faith.
Pope Paul VI visit to Uganda came less than a year after he had promulgated Humanae Vitae. He clearly recognized the fearless heroism required to defend moral teaching in the face of a decadent culture backed by a vile and powerful ruler. Today, in our midst, the battle is on. Saint Charles Lwanga and companions, pray for us!
Abortion Is Child Abuse
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is an intrinsic evil, but a lot of Americans don’t think we really mean it. A majority of Catholics -- and possibly even of our bishops -- apparently voted for Obama, and today many “Catholics” willingly serve and support the most pro-death administration in American history. How can we restore the unity of the faithful that prevailed among our ancestors just 100 years ago -- when virtually everyone (and not only Catholics) considered abortion to be murder?
Christ prayed “that all may be one,” (John 17:22), but today the sheep are scattered indeed. In recent months, many of our bishops have bravely confronted the Culture of Death in the political sphere. At their upcoming meeting on the weekend of June 17-19, they have two opportunities to make further progress.
First: In 2008, when employees of Catholic Charities of Richmond, Virginia, procured an abortion for a minor under their care, neither Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo nor the director of Catholic Charities reported the incident to the Safe Environment Director in the Chancery. The lawyer for the diocese justified such secrecy, insisting that abortion is simply not considered either child abuse or murder by the Diocese of Richmond.
At their meeting this month, the bishops should take their cue from Bishop DiLorenzo. They should amend the definition of "abuse" in their 2002 Dallas “Charter For the Protection of Children and Young People” to include “abortion, or the procurement of an abortion for a pregnant minor.” It may seem like a no-brainer, but believe me, the bureaucrats, lawyers and insurance companies will scream bloody murder if the USCCB even discusses the issue in public.
But wait, there’s more: Bishop DiLorenzo fired four employees after this incident, but required them to sign nondisclosure agreements or lose their severance pay. This cover-up, was paid for with the money of the faithful to keep from the faithful facts they deserved to know. Such deceit was a central ingredient of the scandals for decades – but today it is also a direct violation of article VII of the Dallas Charter, which requires – which demands -- transparency.
Is there any worse occasion of "child abuse" than the murder of the defenseless child in the womb? The bishops should act swiftly.
Second: another no-brainer. the bishops should amend the Charter to reverse their decision in Dallas to exempt themselves from its provisions. In 2002, the bishops acknowledged that they had lost the credibility of the faithful because of the clerical sex abuse scandals. Cardinal Avery Dulles warned them that their Charter would alienate them from their priests. You could see them on EWTN, furtively glancing at the cameras as they voted to amend the definition of “cleric” to exclude bishops.
Unfortunately, that same approach has also alienated many of our bishops not only from their priests, but from the laity. In 2002, the bishops thought they could sweep it all under the rug and “put the scandals behind them.” Today we know all to well the damage wrought by that approach.