Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.


Snap it Off!

07-29-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One thing we all know about most young people, mostly based on our own experience as former young people, is that young people will do stupid things. The difference today, as opposed to just ten or so years ago, is that young people also take photos of everything. So, put it together and we have young people doing stupid things and taking photos of themselves doing stupid things.

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Bordering on...

07-22-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Mass hysteria without borders about the Border seems to be the prevalent state of affairs.

My old teen-age heart-throb, Bethilda Bagshot, emailed me to demand that I firmly oppose the separation of parents and children at the border. So, I firmly oppose it. There, done, problem fixed. Actually, nothing has been solved nor will be by mass hysteria nor by finger-wagging or the tsk-tsk-tsk statements of many US Bishops. Pope Francis when asked about the problem, responded: “During the Obama years I celebrated Mass in Ciudad Juárez while on the other side of the border 50 bishops concelebrated and in the stadium there were many people. The problem already existed there. It’s not just an issue with Trump but goes back to prior governments.”

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Life Affirming

07-15-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

July 25, 1968, a day that will live in infamy? That, of course, was the date of the promulgation of Humanae Vitae. 50 years later what has the failure to heed it’s teaching wrought and what has acceptance of its teachings bought?

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Extraordinary

07-08-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The “C-word”.  I haven’t really used it before but here goes.  The “C-word” as in Campaign. There, it’s actually a pretty nice word. Now mind you, not a political campaign but campaign as in the Diocese of Phoenix Campaign: Together, Let Us Go Forth, Juntos Sigamos Adelante. Our number has been called and it is time for us to participate in the Diocesan Campaign.

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A 4th of July Regression

07-01-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Confirm thy soul in self-control” these lyrics from America the Beautiful seem to very pertinent as we observe this 4th of July. As we celebrate life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and equality under the law and the long road that we have had to travel to really get there as a nation, we seem to be backsliding some.  Events lately have the vomit inducing taste of the days when things like, “we don't serve your kind here” and “know your place, boy” were all too common.

What happened to the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, when she was refused service at a Lexington, Virginia restaurant, is that it was not the color of her skin that got her disinvited but rather political affiliation. I guess Virginia isn’t for lovers anymore. Mrs. Sanders apparently forgot her place and had to be humiliatingly reminded that her kind need to sit at another lunch counter and use a different water fountain. Strange how so many of the same people who have schooled us recently on the principle that a place of public accommodation must serve all comers are now applauding this denial of service. Maybe it is a case of inconsistent application of principles or just outright hypocrisy. Normally it would be identified as invidious discrimination.

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Some Children But Not All

06-24-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia) is showing itself to be less than loving. The City recently decided not to renew its contract with Catholic Social Services (CSS) Foster Care Program even though it rated CSS as number two in quality of services among the 27 Foster Care agencies the City contracts with. The reason for not renewing the contract with CSS, even though the City admits it has a shortage of foster families, is that CSS adheres to the Church’s teachings on marriage and the family and therefore does not place foster children with same-sex couples. The City has not received any complaints from same-sex couples about CSS and CSS policy states that it will refer same-sex couples to other Foster Care agencies.

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A Cake and the Court

06-17-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,Sometimes I impress, well, even myself, humbling speaking. In the run up to the Supreme Court Masterpiece Cake case (in which the owner declined to create a cake for same-sex wedding) I predicted the decision would be 6-3, it was actually 7-2 in favor of the baker. Close enough. I also said that one of the reasons Justice Kennedy did not retire was so he could write the majority opinion in the case as he wanted to shore up religious liberty that he had torn down in the Obergefell case. As predicted the Justice did just that.READ MORE

50 Life Affirming Years

06-10-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Humanae Vitae, 50 years later… One of the lasting effects of “the late and not so great 1968” was a seething dislike for authority. I don’t think I go a day without hearing someone say things such as, “who are you to tell me” or “who says I can’t do such or such”. And then there is my favorite, “who is the Church to tell me what to do”!

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The Virtual Illusion

06-03-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

During a recent meeting with the priests of the Diocese of Rome, Pope Francis made this observation in relation to a question about young people:

What is the cry of young people? The cry of young people isn’t always conscious. I link it with one of the gravest problems, which is the problem of drugs. The cry is: “save us from drugs,” but not only from material drugs, but also from alienating drugs, from cultural alienation.  They are in fact an easy prey for cultural alienation: the proposals made to young people are all alienating, all alienating — those that society makes to young people. Alienating of values, alienating from insertion in the society, alienating even from society: they propose a fantasy of life. It worries me that they communicate and live in the virtual world.  They live like this, communicating so, they don’t have their feet on the ground . . .

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Live Well, Die Well

05-27-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we remember on this Memorial Day Weekend all those who gave their lives in service to our country, we would also do well to consider our own dying. Specifically, how we die but not in the sense of the cause or the circumstance. Rather what condition will our hearts be in when we enter the last phase of our lives?

I bring this up because recently it was reported that a well-known public figure who is coming to the end of his life stated that he did not want another well-known public figure attending his funeral. I don't know whether he actually said that or it is just chatty, tabloid journalism. But for the purposes of this letter, let’s posit is as true. I don't make any judgments on this person but just use the example as something that can teach us a few things.

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Still Counting

05-20-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Half-time goes by, suddenly your wise, another blink of the eye, 67 is gone, the sun is getting high, we’re moving on.”  - 100 Years sung by Five for Fighting

Lord Jesus, Eternal High Priest, Thirty years have passed since that day when my name was called at the Cathedral and I responded: Here I am. Well Lord, here I am, still, despite myself---

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Loose Ends

05-13-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the most irritating hemorrhoids on the geopolitical posterior that the last four US Presidents have had to deal with is North Korea and its nuclear program. In fact, the problem goes way back to the Korean war itself. It is a good example of how lose ends come back to bite us. The fact that there was never a Peace Treaty negotiated has only prolonged the conflict from a hot war to a cold war and now a warm war. A good reminder to all of us to tie up our loose ends. The longer you wait to sew that tear in your shirt the worse it will become and the harder to fix. Such is the case with North Korea.

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Humpty Dumpty

05-06-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

All the Queen’s doctors and all the Queen’s judges refused to put Alfie Evans family back together again…

I’m sure you heard about the birth of the latest British royal prince and the upcoming wedding of another prince. That’s because for some reason the US Media thinks they’re really important. But not much coverage on the case of Alfie Evans and his parents, who were not allowed to seek medical treatment for their child outside the UK or even take him home to die. 

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