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June 26, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: A churchgoer wrote a letter to the local newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 2,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So I think I’m wasting my time, and the preachers are wasting theirs, by giving sermons at all.” There were many letters responding to this one, but this was the best one:
“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time, my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this — they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today.”

Q. I know we’ve always been taught that there are eight Beatitudes, but in reading them at Mass today, there appears to be nine of them. After what is usually listed as number eight (“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness . . .”), we read, “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven” (Matt. 5:11-12). That sounds like another beatitude to me. What do you think? — M.L., Florida.
A. There are a couple of possible explanations that occur to us. One, it is a continuation of number eight since it also talks about being persecuted for following Christ. Or second, the traditional eight Beatitudes, which all begin with the word “blessed,” are addressed to persons in general, e.g., “the poor in spirit,” they who mourn,” the meek, “they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, and “they who are persecuted.”
Although the next line also begins with “blessed,” it is more personal: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you. . . .” The verse uses the word “you” four times and is directed at each one of us individually, not to a generic “they.” If anyone else has any thoughts on this, please let us know.

Q. On June 7, the Knights of Columbus invited President Trump and his Catholic wife to visit the St. John Paul II Center in Washington before signing an executive order promoting religious liberty. The visit was a powerful image of the President and First Lady praying at this holy shrine during a time of protest and division in our country. So why did the Catholic archbishop of Washington, Wilton Gregory, refer to the president’s visit as “baffling and reprehensible”? — A.G., Maryland.
A. Because Archbishop Gregory doesn’t like President Trump and has accused him of “diminishing our national life.” Gregory also has a long history of supporting leftist causes. While he objected to President Trump praying at the shrine dedicated to St. John Paul, he apparently had no problem in 2019 offering a funeral Mass for pro-abortion journalist Cokie Roberts, whom he called an “extraordinary, professional servant of the truth,” when in fact she would not have known the truth if she tripped over it.
And to make things worse, Gregory let Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a vociferous advocate of abortion and same-sex “marriage,” deliver a eulogy to Roberts in the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, D.C.
This was in direct contradiction of the policy adopted by U.S. Catholic bishops to deny a public platform to any pro-abortionist. But then Gregory, in 2018, also invited the pro-homosexual Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin to speak at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception about “Showing Welcome and Respect to LGBT Catholics.”
So it was not surprising that he would attack the most pro-life president in U.S. history. Gregory accused the St. John Paul II Shrine of allowing itself “to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree.”
Guess that doesn’t include the rights of Donald Trump.
A spokesman for the shrine said that the president’s visit had been arranged long before the riots in Washington and elsewhere and that “it was an event for the president to sign an executive order on international religious freedom. This was fitting given St. John Paul II was a tireless advocate of religious liberty throughout his pontificate. . . . The shrine welcomes all people to come and pray and learn about the legacy of St. John Paul II.”
Interestingly, Archbishop Gregory confused two events when he conflated the president’s visit on June 1 to St. John’s Church, which had been the target of arsonists the night before, and his visit on June 2 to the John Paul Shrine. Gregory said that the late Holy Father “would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter, or intimidate them [the protesters] for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.” Despite media claims to the contrary, there was no tear gas used during the walk from the White House across Lafayette Park to St. John’s Church.
One can’t help but wonder how the media, and Archbishop Gregory, would have reacted if President Barack Obama had made the same walk.

Q. Why does a statue of Martin Luther (1483-1546) stand in the Vatican? We certainly do not have a shortage of saints and martyrs whose statues could be in the Vatican. — A.S., Illinois.
A. Erecting the statue was part of an event in 2016 where Pope Francis welcomed a group of 1,000 Lutherans to the Vatican pending celebration of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s proclamation of 95 theses at a church in Germany. This precipitated the Protestant Reformation, the most damaging split in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church. Forty-one of Luther’s theses were declared heretical in a papal bull in 1520 and, when Luther burned the bull, he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X.
Pope Francis traveled to Sweden on October 31, 2016 and took part in a celebration of Luther’s life with leaders of the Lutheran community. Calling Luther “an intelligent man” who was rightly upset by the corruption and lust for power that existed in the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, Francis said that some good came from Luther and the Reformation, explaining that “with gratitude we acknowledge that the Reformation helped give greater centrality to Sacred Scripture in the Church’s life.”
He said that “we too must look with love and honesty at our past, recognizing error and seeking forgiveness, for God alone is our judge.”

Q. I was concerned with the absence of holy water in church and now the closing of the shrine at Lourdes. Sick people travel to Lourdes for a cure, either physical or emotional. Holy water can remove venial sin and is used to cast out the Devil. How then can it not kill viruses? Masses are not open to the faithful, and we need the Church and the sacraments, especially in tough times. There have been many times in history where death was imminent, but the sacraments were not withheld. Why is it so different now? — J.O., via email.
A. In previous times of plagues and pandemics, there were no mass media to frighten the daylights out of people and to scare them into accepting measures to curb their freedoms. Of course, prudent measures must be taken to prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus, but some of the policies imposed were draconian and unnecessary. More Catholics, including the hierarchy, should have fought back when churches were ordered closed while certain businesses, including liquor stores, abortion facilities, and marijuana dispensaries, were deemed “essential” and allowed to remain open.
There was often conflicting advice from the so-called experts about wearing masks or practicing “social distancing,” The experts were virtually silent when protesters and rioters by the thousands packed the streets of American cities.
And then there was Dr. Anthony Fauci saying that it was okay to have sex with someone you met on the Internet, but you had to keep your distance from those in church. Maybe we need to sprinkle some holy water on these experts.

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Beware of those who claim to be progressive and yet place the environment. certain social ills, same sex attraction and also social ills that have plagued us for years on the same level as abortion. Makes no sense.

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Catholic Replies

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