…Sixteen years ago tonight I was received into the Church. I was confirmed as Mark David Mary. And I received Holy Communion for the first time…
Here is a homily for Easter:
The feast of Easter begins with God commanding us to rejoice. Rejoice, o heavens. Rejoice, o earth. Rejoice, o church. Christ our King has risen from the dead, never to die again.
God commands us to rejoice. How are we going to obey this command? Here are three ways.
One good way to rejoice is to help someone who needs help. Helping others gives us joy. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture—just some real helpfulness, like maybe doing the dishes or taking out the trash.
A second way to rejoice is to contemplate something beautiful—like take a walk or listen to some beautiful music.
I woke up this morning feeling basically okay with myself. But then I discovered that I agree with Ken Woodward…(If the comic strips appearing here are too small for you to read, you can see a larger size by clicking on it.)
…According to the Law of Moses, capital crimes were to be punished by stoning to death.
The first stones were to be cast by the witnesses upon whose testimony the guilty party was convicted. Then everyone else could join in the stoning. By this violent act, the injustice of the crime would be purged from the nation.
God is perfectly just. He examines every heart. Before Him, no one is innocent.
But He has not cast a stone and done violence to the guilty ones. Rather, He subjected Himself to violence at the hands of the unjust.
By this violent act, our injustice is purged. We are not condemned to death.
God restores justice; we are pardoned; we may live.
…Here is a little compendium of my sermons on the seven deadly sins…
Of course, I wear black clothes every week. But this week I am in mourning for three particular reasons.
First and foremost, I am in morning because the pro-life cause would seem to have suffered a serious set-back. The right to life of the innocent unborn, who are killed by the thousands every day, is the most pressing issue of our time. Yet the overwhelming majority of the American electorate seems to have ignored this matter of fundamental justice. May it please God to bring good out of this somehow. (I am NOT in black because the President-Elect IS black. That has nothing to do with it.)
Secondly, on a lighter note: I am in black because the Redskins were “bruised burgundy” on Monday.
And thirdly because the Wizards managed to blow a big lead over the Bucks last night. Now the Character-Commitment-Connection team is 0-3.
Seriously, though: We priests wear black as a sign that our life is “hidden in Christ with God.” Our business is not here. We deal with the invisible realities of the world to come, God’s will and the salvation of souls. We are dead to this world.
This does not mean, however, that we hate the world. Quite the contrary. Loving God first allows us to love the world precisely as it ought to be loved–no more, no less.
St. Therese of Liseux expressed it beautifully in her autobiography. She was traveling through Italy on pilgrimage to Rome, not long before she was to enter the convent. She loved seeing everything she saw on her tour. “What an interesting study the world is when one is ready to leave it!”
According to the Redskins Rule, the ‘Skins game immediately before the presidential election will inevitably predict the outcome.
In every instance since the franchise came to Washington, if the Redskins won, then the party which got the most votes of U.S. citizens in the previous election won the presidency. If the Redskins lost, the other party’s nominee became president. (In 2004, the Rule was correct, even though the Redskins lost. In 2000, the candidate who received more votes of U.S. citizens was a Democrat.)
Apparently, ESPN asked the NFL to schedule a home game for the Redskins on the Monday night before Election Day. The geniuses of the network thought that it would be “interesting” to be in Washington tonight.
Sure. Now we will have to listen to Tony Kornheiser wax political all night. Great.
Sports is supposed to be an ESCAPE from politics. This reminds me of the evening last month when I visited my beloved watering hole to try to relax and write to you. They violated their own strict sports-only-on-t.v. rule by putting on the second presidential debate.
The first debate was more than enough for me.
Anyway, may the good Lord’s will be done, both tonight and tomorrow.
I think that everybody knows that I vote pro-life. No issue could be more grave than the protection by law of the innocent, defenseless unborn. I will vote pro-life until Roe v. Wade is overturned, until the day when, as the director of Vitae Caring Foundation Carl Landwehr put it in a speech I heard him give the other night, “abortion becomes unthinkable.”
As someone who shares in the shepherding ministry which the Lord entrusted to the Bishops of the Church, I hold myself responsible for clearly teaching not only that abortion is an evil of enormous gravity, but also that the right to life of the innocent unborn must be a part of the fundamental plan of any truly just society.
Considering all this, you would think that I would applaud the recent letter of our former Auxiliary Bishop Kevin Farrell, now Bishop of Dallas, and his brother Bishop Kevin Vann of Ft. Worth. These bishops spell out the morality of voting with admirable clarity.
They assert something, however, that I am afraid to say I do not think is true.
The Bishops carefully explain that the right to life of the innocent unborn is not a matter of prudential judgement, not something that can be weighed against other considerations. It MUST be decisive. Yes. I applaud the making of this crucial point. Thank God. This takes courage.
Then the Bishops go on to write that: “To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or ‘abortion rights’ when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil—and, therefore, morally impermissible.”
Now, morally impermissible means what it says it means. We cannot do morally impermissible things. If we do morally impermissible things knowingly and freely, our souls are in danger of damnation.
One can cooperate in evil in one of two ways, either materially or formally. Someone who vacuums the carpets in a medical office building where a doctor performs abortions participates materially in those abortions. But unless he intends to support the work of doing abortions by vacuuming the carpet, he does not formally cooperate. He might just be trying to earn a living, and this is the only job he could find. It is not a good situation, but at the same time it is not ipso facto a sin on his part.
If someone’s material cooperation in evil is “remote,” that is, not closely connected to the evil, then they do not bear moral responsibility for the evil.
Remote participation is permissible provided the person does not intend to be a part of the evil business. I could sin by intending to cooperate with something evil even if had practically nothing to do with it. An absurd example: If I planned to take a trip to a particular city BECAUSE they allowed same-sex “marriage” in that city, that would be a sin. But it is not a sin to go to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge.
Anyone who votes for a pro-“abortion rights” candidate participates materially in the evil. But if the voter does not vote for the candidate for this reason, but rather votes for the candidate for another reason, he or she does not formally co-operate with abortion. I would think that the material cooperation of a voter in an election for the President of the United States is certainly far enough removed from actual abortions themselves to qualify as “remote.”
Therefore, it is morally impermissible to vote for a pro-abortion candidate BECAUSE he is pro-abortion. Likewise, it is negligent to vote without considering the gravity of the right to life of the innocent, defenseless unborn. But I think that it is incorrect to say that anyone who votes for Obama commits a sin.
It is clearly a sin to vote for him because he supports legal abortion. But there are other reasons why people might choose to vote for him. I do not claim to sympathize with those reasons; I would be delighted to argue them calmly.
I think people ought to vote for the more pro-life candidate.
But I am NOT telling anyone how to vote. My point is exactly the opposite. We HAVE to avoid committing serious sins. But we do not HAVE TO vote for one candidate or the other. What we have to do is to stand before God and do what we believe is right.