Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


The Award Goes to...

09-30-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The First-Place award for how NOT to handle an allegation of sexual assault goes to: Sen. Diane Feinstein of CA. Congratulations Senator for demonstrating extreme self-centeredness in using an alleged victim of sexual assault as a political prop. Someone in her leadership position is required by law, when they receive an allegation of this nature that includes the name of the alleged victim, alleged perpetrator and approximate location and time frame, to report the allegation to law enforcement, in this case to the Montgomery County, Maryland Police. By not reporting it she is probably guilty of the crime of failure to report (and so is the counselor to whom this allegation was first made in 2012 if it included the same information). Every one of you who have completed our Safe Environment Training knows this is the procedure to report an allegation. How is it that a lawmaker who helped make the law for mandatory reporting doesn't herself follow it? If the Senator loses her upcoming re-election bid she could always try her hand a being a Bishop.

READ MORE

Picking Real Winners

09-23-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite novelists, Graham Greene wrote a short novel entitled, Monsignor Quixote. It's a humorous story of the adventures of a Spanish Priest from a small town who through a fluke is named a Monsignor by the Vatican much to the chagrin of his Bishop. The Bishop eventually suspends him as it’s just too much for the Bishop to have this lowly, unimportant, small-town priest to wear the robes of a monsignor. The irony is that Quixote is a very delightful, humorous man who is very well versed in Catholicism and ultimately is mortally wounded trying to save a statue of the Virgin Mary from being desecrated. The story is an ecclesiastical version of The Man of La Mancha in many ways.

READ MORE

Necessary Clarifications

09-16-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In 2017 there were 1,207 allegations of child abuse by Pennsylvania public school employees. There were 280 reports alone in Philadelphia. In 2017, in the Catholic Church in all 50 US States and its territories, there were 24 allegations of abuse by Catholic priests. Six of the twenty-four allegations were determined to be substantiated and of those six, four were against the same priest. It would seem that child abuse by a priest is a thing of the past. But what about child abuse by Public School teachers?

READ MORE

Who will be strong and stand with me?

09-09-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Do you hear the people sing,
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.

Will you join in our crusade
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see
?

Les Misérables: Final Lyrics

READ MORE

Double Standards?

09-02-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The sworn memorandum by Archbishop Carlo Viganó, confirms things I wrote in my previous letter, albeit on a much larger scale. The media’s reporting on his testimony is quite curious. While this is potentially one of the biggest scandals in Church history, and we have had a few doosies over the centuries, the media is being very restrained in a lot of its coverage. (Of course, I realize that no story, no matter how big can compete with Trump-amania.) In the Reuters reporting, while they stated Viganó’s allegations they were quick to add that “no evidence was presented”. Other outlets stated that the document lacked proof or documentation to back up the claims. Fair enough. The same for the Archbishop’s recalling of a private conversation with Pope Francis in which he said he informed him that McCarrick had a very substantial file on him that the Pope should review, the media called that conversation “unsubstantiated”. Strange that the same media took as Gospel truth James Comey’s account of the private conversation he had with the President.

READ MORE

When I Wore a Younger Man's Clothes

08-26-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In light of the sordid and criminal actions of the former Cardinal, McCarrick, we are witnessing the inability of the US Bishops to hold themselves accountable and therefore the complete collapse of confidence in the leadership in the US Church. At the same time, with L’Affaire McCarrick, the homosexual cabal that infiltrated the US seminaries, chanceries and bishoprics is being exposed. Many ask, “why didn't priests tell what was going on?” Part of the reason for that is because they, the cabal, controlled the levers of power in many places and would punish anyone who dared come forward. Maybe that’s a cowardly excuse but when you are a seminarian or young priest you had everything to lose by not keeping quiet. Even now I am sure some will come after me for the things I am going to say. That’s the risk I take, the risk we all take to rid the Church of this infestation. I know there are those who struggle with same-sex attraction and remain chaste or fall through human weakness, I am not referring to them but to those who have rationalized and justified living a double life.

READ MORE

Now Proscribed

08-19-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This is an enlightening juxtaposition of events: an inmate on Arizona’s Death Row for 23yrs had his conviction thrown out by a Federal Judge who ordered that he be immediately granted a new trial or release from custody; at about the same time Pope Francis issued an amended version of the Church’s teaching on the use of Capital Punishment for the Catechism.

READ MORE

Servants for 20yrs!

08-12-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

15 August 1998 was a day the world became a better place. That is the date of the founding of the Servants of the Plan of God/Siervas del Plan de Dios of which our wonderful Sisters are a part. That means Wednesday, August 15 is their 20th anniversary.

Their community and mission were approved by Pope St. John Paul II and their foundation was a response to the late Pontiff’s call to reinvigorate the Church as we approached the Third Millennium of Christianity. A new era calls for new ways of proclaiming the Gospel. Just as Jesus said, “a good steward brings forth from his storehouse both the old and the new.”

READ MORE

Back to School

08-05-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way, Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say,Cause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their hands, when you teach the children teach em the very best you can, The world won't get no better if we just let it be, The world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me. -Wake Up Everybody sung by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.”

READ MORE

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?

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE