SATURDAY HOMILY: America and the Sadness of Christ
On the second day of his first term as president, he revoked the "Mexico City Policy" allowing once again the flow of American dollars to pay for abortions abroad. It may sound harsh to say this and upsetting to some people, but is it not counter-factual to say that President Obama, unlike any politician before him, is an abortion imperialist?
Adding insult to injury is the President's "Health and Human Services mandate" or the "HHS mandate." This part of the implementation of Obama Care will coerce Catholic educational, health care and philanthropic institutions to provide for their employees health care plans that include "services" such as sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacient drugs, all of which the Church opposes.
If the Catholic Church's legal action against the HHS mandate loses in the courts and if the Obama government continues to refuse exemptions to churches and other faith based entities, my parish's elementary school which is located in an economically depressed area of Long Beach will have to close its doors.
August 1, 2013 is the deadline for the enforcement of this unjust mandate and then there will have arrived in the "land of the free" our own "Thomas More" moment. Will the Catholic Church in America take the easy way out and capitulate or will we resist and suffer a new form of persecution at the hands of a government we elected?
In "The Sadness of Christ," St. Thomas More draws an unfortunate parallel between the sleepy apostles in Gethsemane and the English bishops of his day who one after another buckled under the heavy handed mandate of the monarch. In the weeks and months ahead we must increase our prayers for the hierarchy of the Church in America so that our shepherds will remain united and unyielding to the tyrannical policies of the current administration.
In the aftermath of Obama's recapturing the White House, there has been considerable talk about coming together as a nation under our President in order to work toward building a better America. It's a nice thought, but really how does one go about doing that when we have a President who seems hell bent on imposing his own morally bereft views on Catholics and other believers in shameless disregard for our first and most cherished liberty, the freedom of religion?
In "The Sadness of Christ" Thomas More also recalls that while the apostles were overcome with sleep, Judas was wide awake, carrying out his carefully orchestrated plan to hand Jesus over to His enemies. Too many Catholics have grown complacent with the abortion culture that has permeated our nation for nearly 40 years. They need to be awakened from their own somnolence through the faithful preaching and teaching of bishops, priests, deacons, catechists and other leaders in the Church. Until now, with too few exceptions, our pulpits have been silent about these assaults on our faith and on our freedom to practice it. This must change.
Do not doubt it. Everything is on the line. Now is the time for us to "wake up from our slumber" (Romans 13:11) and to "strengthen our drooping hands and our weak knees" (Hebrews 12:12).
May Holy Mary, Immaculate Virgin and Mother, crush the head of that ancient serpent the devil and free us from our enemies.
Fr. G. Peter Irving III is a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is pastor of Holy Innocents Church, Long Beach.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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