By REY FLORES
“For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me” (Psalm 23:4).
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As a nation, we are undoubtedly walking in the midst of the shadow of death right now. Let us be thankful and grateful that we walk not alone, but with the Good Shepherd. He is with us, but we must also be with Him.
I sought that Scripture this morning as I sat down to write my weekly column, because while perusing the Internet for the latest news and propaganda, I ran into a few items that simply make me shake my head in disbelief.
How can some people think and operate the way they do?
Now, about this recent government shut down: Are they kidding?
Outside of the “business as usual” corporate lobbyists, union fat cats, overpaid politicians, and other exclusive insiders, for all intents and purposes, this government has been morally and intellectually shut down for quite a while now.
With all of the rhetoric and government propaganda being regurgitated by the sycophantic news media, the majority of the country appears to be in a numbed state of existence. I would go so far as to say that the masses are stupid.
Now, before you jump the gun and accuse me of name-calling and ad hominem attacks, let’s look at the origins of the word “stupid.” Its first known use was in the middle of the 16th century and comes from the Latin word stupidus, from stupere to be numb and to be astonished.
You have to agree here in saying that many, many Americans today are either numbed or astonished, to say the least.
Some numbness may be self-inflicted by alcohol and/or prescription and street drugs, while other numbness is a post-traumatic stress disorder caused by all of the insanity in the world.
“Astonishment” would be a more accurate term for those of us who still attempt to make sense of this crazy world, simply by rooting ourselves in our belief in Jesus Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
We are not numbed, but we certainly are astonished, at how incredibly evil some people choose to be and that their evil doings are not only permitted to exist, but encouraged to flourish by our United States government.
During the federal government shutdown, civilian Catholic chaplains were temporarily prohibited from celebrating Holy Mass on military bases.
In a recent op-ed in the Archdiocese for the Military Services web site, General Counsel John Schlageter disclosed that non-active duty Catholic priests had been ordered not to work — or even volunteer — on military installations for the duration of the shutdown, making it impossible for servicemen and women at some locations to attend Mass the first weekend of October.
Schlageter wrote in his op-ed:
“There is a chronic shortage of active duty Catholic chaplains. While roughly 25 percent of the military is Catholic, Catholic priests make up only about 8 percent of the chaplain corps. That means approximately 275,000 men and women in uniform, and their families, are served by only 234 active-duty priests. The temporary solution to this shortage is to provide GS and contract priests.
“These men are employed by the government to ensure that a priest is available when an active duty Catholic chaplain is not present. With the government shutdown, many GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work — not even to volunteer. During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”
Fox News, CNN, and The Washington Post all gave coverage to Schlageter’s op-ed.
I am thoroughly disgusted, yet not surprised, at the gall this current U.S. president and his administration have. Never did any of us ever imagine that any administration would go so far as to threaten to imprison priests simply for celebrating Holy Mass on military property.
I recently wrote about a “soft persecution” against Catholics and other Christians in the U.S., but it has now been officially cranked up a notch. Yes, this is the ugly reality we live in today.
In a more recent development, Schlageter told Catholic News Service: “We’re now being told priests can return to work.”
I wonder how long it will be before Obama sends out some other sort of message to let Catholics and other Christians know that they are no longer free to practice their faith.
Before the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) was passed in 2010, the then-speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, insisted that this legislation be passed, and then people could find out what’s in it afterwards.
It got rammed through, all right. It was like selling somebody a really expensive, high-ticket item like a car or a house, sight unseen.
Fast-forward to a few days ago when Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius couldn’t answer liberal comedian Jon Stewart’s questions about Obamacare on his cable television show. Sebelius uttered pathetic comments that she made up as she went along, clearly demonstrating that either she doesn’t know what’s in this disastrous law or that she’s further obfuscating the truth.
Stewart simply ended the painful segment by saying: “This is a system that has been jerry-rigged to deal with the crazy people!”
Even administration propagandists like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell can’t defend Obamacare anymore. Wisconsin Cong. Sean Duffy totally shut her down by simply asking Mitchell to answer this question: “Can you defend why the president shouldn’t be in Obamacare like members of Congress and their staffs?”
Mitchell, looking rather tired, simply answered, “I can’t defend why,” and never said much of anything else before Duffy gave her some solid advice on how to do her job.
Yes, some of the things going on today are at times overwhelming and difficult to even comprehend; however, we are very blessed to be able to take comfort in our Lord as Psalm 23:4 reminds us. One thing the enemy could never shut down is the Church Triumphant.
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(Rey Flores can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)