Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
Just a few days left until our annual Parish Festival on April 5, Saturday. The fun begins around Noon and continues to 9pm so please plan to join us with your family and friends. Our Festival Preview Dinner (so called since you can preview the Silent and Live Auction Items will be held on Friday Evening starting at 6pm. On the menu (since it is a Friday of Lent) are Baked Fish & Chips, Fish Tacos, a Fish Fry and lots of salads and desserts. Afterwards join us for a Casino Night, Hot Air Balloon rides and a chance to purchase some premium parking for the day of the Festival. Childcare will be available.
This weekend we are making it easy for you get your Festival tickets now and not have to wait in line the day of the Festival. Purchase your tickets for the Preview Dinner, ride tickets for the children, food and drink tickets, and Super Raffle tickets! Don't forget to get a Festival Tee shirt that was designed by one of our school children. On the day of the Festival we will have both a Silent Auction and a Live Auction!READ MORE
On March 25 the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case dealing with the Affordable Care Act's mandate of contraception/abortifacients. The question is whether or not the government can use its power to coerce employers to take an action that violates their moral beliefs. March 25 is also nine months before December 25, so it is the Feast of the Annunciation to Mary, also known as the Incarnation. Maybe it's a bit of divine irony that the Supreme Court is hearing a case dealing with contraception on the day we celebration the conception of Christ in the womb of Mary.
The Court decided to take two cases not involving religious employers or religious affiliated employers but rather two non-religious for-profit companies (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp.) So the question before the Court is: do owners of non-religious companies still retain their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion in their business practices? Or if they look at the issue through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act: does the mandate constitute a "compelling government interest" and if so, is it being applied in the "least restrictive manner"? That would be the broadest possible view the Court could look at but they often choose to take a much narrower approach leaving many questions unanswered.READ MORE
This coming Tuesday we welcome Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares to our parish to celebrate our Lenten Healing Mass at 7pm. While Bishop Nevares was here to celebrate Confirmation and First Communion for our children this will be his first visit to our parish at large. So please come and welcome him. More importantly please come so that the Lord can have his way with you and bless you with the healings He knows you need.
Over the years as we have done these Healing Masses it has become apparent that often the healings come in unexpected ways and in areas of our lives that we didn't really think much about. Sure that out of control blood pressure or that cancerous tumor gets our attention but it seems that God knows what we really need even more than we do. So come with a spirit of expectation and openness for whatever it is that God wants to do in your life.READ MORE
So what was all the fuss and panic about regarding SB 1062? Based on the hysterics and threats of the opponents you would have thought businesses were putting up signs saying: "No Gays Allowed" or that businesses were being given permission for wholesale discrimination. The proposed legislation never even mentioned same-sex marriage. And even though there were many sane voices coming from the gay community supporting the bill, the Gay Gestapo won the debate with their usual mantra of "you must applaud all things gay or else". And despite what Gov. Brewer claimed, that the bill was a solution to a problem that has not yet happened in Arizona. Do you wait for the house to burn down before getting fire insurance?
The other problem is that the word discrimination sets off red flags for most of us based on our country's history of segregation and our affirmation of human equality. Not all forms of discrimination are wrongful or invidious; the bartender who refuses service to a 16yr old is discriminating based on age but that discrimination has a rational reason. Maybe we should call it something like: opting out of providing a specific service on high moral grounds.READ MORE
When it comes to an issue such as AZ Senate Bill 1062 is trying to deal with, I suggest both sides take a deep breath and give some serious consideration to the issue. Remember it cuts both ways: a Christian not wanting to cater a same-sex wedding can easily be a gay couple not wanting to cater a White Supremist anti-gay, anti-black workshop. Should they be compelled to do so? The thought behind this legislation is to provide legal protections for conscientious objectors. Without some protection the long tradition of carving out a space for moral or religious objections can easily go by the wayside and yet with this legislation we run the risk of permitting lots of unintended forms of discrimination and a greater societal divisiveness.
The challenge in marking out what can legitimately be considered a refusal on moral grounds and when does it become wrongful discrimination, is where do we draw the line? Whether or not that can be carefully delineated in our legal code is something for legal minds to figure out. But for our purposes, how can we be sure we are upholding a moral principle and not discriminating based on persons? And how can we protect ourselves from malicious lawsuits whose only purpose is to punish someone for their beliefs?READ MORE
In Belgium, euthanasia has been deemed medically appropriate for adults for at least twelve years and now has been legalized for minors, with the consent of their parents of course and only after the child has put his request to die in writing. The Belgians are "surprised" that much of the world finds this development disturbing. As reported by Reuters:
Bart Sturtewagen, chief editor of De Standaard, one of the country's largest daily newspapers, said that after 12 years of legal euthanasia in the country, Belgians had grown used to it as an option for the final stages of their lives. "I'm annoyed at hearing 'you'll kill children' in the foreign media. We don't use that kind of language anymore. It's a very different debate on a different level," he said..
Obviously forthright language is for a lesser culture than Belgium. Euphemism is now the lingua franca of ethics and morality. Euphemism is how to say what you don't mean and mean what you don't say. The use of euphemism seems to be the way to permit the formerly impermissible. If we just change the language, the words we use, killing even children somehow becomes acceptable. This strategy, something George Orwell called "double-speak" in 1984 cleans up the ugly reality that has become part of our moral slide to depravity. It functions as verbal quicksand: just try to debate why the issue of killing the sick and vulnerable is wrong and you get stuck in the muck of "you just want people to suffer" backlash.READ MORE
We just celebrated St. Valentines Day and as anyone who has been married for a long time knows, love, real love is much more than romance. Still romance is important and must be keep alive and that's why having a day to just be romantic is important. Unfortunately for those whose married love is waning a heart shaped box of chocolates or a dozen roses won't change things much. Married love requires much more. Think of it like one of those little bonsai trees that need lots of trimming, just the right amount of water and sunshine. Without that kind of attention married love can easily begin the slow process of decline and just like the bonsai tree that shows little signs of stress until it is too late, marriages can come apart without the partners realizing it until it is too late.
One of the lessons that was learned from the sinking of the Titanic was that a sense of urgency is often our best defense against serious and sometimes fatal problems. During the sinking of the Titanic the crew made a decision to keep the lights on so as to keep the passengers calm. They realized too late the seriousness of the destruction the iceberg caused the ship and instead of alerting the travelers that they had little time, keeping the lights on lulled them into thinking things weren't that bad. Reacting quickly, taking action and not waiting to see if things are really that bad is a good sound strategy for marriages.READ MORE
(While I'm away here's a "Guest Columnist". One of our young men at ASU who does some exceptional writing for The State Press)
By Matthew Rich *** November 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm
As an economics student and a believing Christian, I have often found myself conflicted as to how I ought to balance my educational influence with my theological influence. As I have come to understand the field of economics, I have discovered that it is fraught with mathematical conceptions and models that can come across as cold and insensitive to the human condition.
This scientific approach is certainly important to economics, as it provides a framework for consumption patterns, ideal policy decisions and more. However, to reduce economics to a merely scientific subject is to strip it of the very question it seeks to address: the human condition.READ MORE
I wish the President had not waded into the marijuana craze that is sweeping the country. Or at least he had commented on the issue as a parent rather than a politician. But then again politicians tend to see everything as a political opportunity. Whatever the President said, no matter how you parse his words, what many teenagers heard was the "Obama says pot is OK".
This makes it even more difficult for parents who are trying to get their kids not to smoke pot. Parents in this country, especially in Colorado and Washington just don't need the President giving their children another excuse to rebel against them. In fact it would have been nice for the President to let parents know that he was interested in putting up more walls and hurdles to make it more difficult for young people to get pot by using his "pen" or simply by actually enforcing existing marijuana laws. The Presidential seal of approval on marijuana is certainly something that parents could have done without.READ MORE
Little Sisters of the Poor v Big Brother, actually big sister Sebelius, is a David and Goliath sort of lawsuit. The Sisters asked the Federal Court for relief from the Affordable Care Act's "abortion pill mandate" and while the District Court said no, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor issued a temporary injunction pending full review by the Federal District Court in Denver.
The Little Sisters of the Poor for over a hundred years have been operating Nursing Homes in the US for the poor elderly. They give a dignified life to some of the poorest people in the country and none of their residents die alone as the Sisters are there with them at their bedside. In order to support their work the Sisters even go out and beg weekly. I know I worked with this wonderful group of religious women back East. More pertinently the Sisters live a very simple lifestyle and take their religious commitment with all seriousness. Their Catholic Nursing Homes are not considered religious employers by the twisted logic of HHS regulations because they don't restrict their homes to Catholics only therefore they fall under the ACA's abortion pill mandate. HHS offered them a "compromise": sign a piece of paper stating your conscientious objection and giving your Insurance Carrier permission to give your employees no cost contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization". Obviously HHS is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. The Sisters said no.READ MORE
The US Supremes this week refused to hear an appeal from Arizona on the 9th Circuit's injunction stopping implementation of AZ's new abortion law that permits abortions up to 20weeks. All this means is that the State Lawmakers will have to fix the law and try again. While there are other states operating with the same abortion law they for some reason have not been stopped from implementing the law. (Then again Arizona has the unfortunate geographical curse of being under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit). This is pretty much how it has gone with abortion laws over the last 41 years since Roe v Wade, an unending series of litigation. But the good news is that our persistent efforts have paid off in many cases in this unending war against the unborn.READ MORE
Have you gotten a contact high yet from that giant cloud of marijuana smoke wafting down from Colorado? Now that marijuana has been made legal for "recreational" use we'll get to see how this social experiment turns out. Will it be a really groovy Rocky Mountain high or one toke over the line?
So far I've noticed the following "tweets" from the Office of National Drug Control Policy:
U.S. Drug Policy (@ONDCP):
Teen marijuana use is higher in states with medical marijuana laws.
1/3 of high school seniors in medical marijuana states report getting marijuana from someone else's prescription.READ MORE
Just so you know it is not my imagination….
Dr. Kevin Conners who for the past 50 years has been cheerleading for the legitimization of ADHA (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in a recent NY Times article (12.14.13) had this to say about the ever-increasing rates of ADHD diagnosis:
He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.” “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”READ MORE