Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


The Silence of the Shepherds

02-24-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“L’Affair McCarrick” has been adjudicated, partially. Theodore McCarrick, aka “Uncle Ted”, former Cardinal and Archbishop of Washington D.C. has in the common parlance been “defrocked”. In Church Law parlance he has been permanently removed from the clergy and returned to the lay state. Though technically the sacrament of Holy Orders, like Baptism cannot be removed only its exercise restricted. This penalty for the crimes he was convicted of by a Vatican Tribunal is irrevocable. What still remains to be adjudicated is to find those who knew or covered up McCarrick’s behavior and held accountable. We owe a debt of thanks to those who came forward and broke the thick cloud of silence which enabled this atrocious behavior. Ultimately this is what ends sexual abuse: breaking the silence about abuse so that perpetrators are held accountable and prevented from abusing others. It is often not easy for a victim to come forward as one of the characteristics of abuse is that it gets you to blame yourself.

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Incredibly not Credible

02-17-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

With the confirmation hearing of Justice Kavanaugh we witnessed the standard of “guilty by accusation” replace innocent until proven guilty, and the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” or even the lower standard of “to a preponderance of the evidence”. But the standard of “guilty by accusation” has already been in use in the Church in the US as it is applied to Catholic priests accused of abuse of a minor since the 2002 Dallas Charter.

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Kill Bill?

02-10-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I’ve had an explosion of feral cats in the back yard lately. It always seems that one of them is having babies. So, to control the population now, I take the kittens as soon as I can from the mother and drown them quickly. It keeps the population down, significantly. Besides the ASCAP wants $35 a piece to euthanize them.

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JesusLand Schools

02-03-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We just completed another annual observation of Catholic Schools Week. The first Catholic school was opened by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the early 1800’s (yes a woman with serious power in the Church that long ago) and then soon after St. John Neumann started the Catholic School system in the US. But right on cue, the scolds at the NY Times couldn't resist defecating on the Parade with a Twitter feed: #exposechristianschools. We all know that when a journalist wants to “expose” something they are not looking for virtuous deeds or random acts of kindness. No, it’s much more sinister than that. Strange how the subject of attack is Christian schools, don't the prisspots in the media know there are lots of Hebrew schools and Muslim schools? #exposemuslimschools anyone? Not happening.

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In the Cold Kentucky Rain

01-27-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Rush to judgment, jump to conclusions and join the mob is what was on display with the incident involving the students from Covington Catholic High School. Can we pause for a moment and remember these are high school teenagers? And every now and then, and this may come as a huge, stunning shock to you but sometimes, teenagers don't always act appropriately. But in this case, they did. They were on a class trip, they stood up for justice for the unborn in the January cold of Washington D.C., they were waiting for the bus to take them home and they were harassed by a group of Black Supremist, being taunted with phrases such as: incest baby, cracker, trailer trash, faggot and worse. They were particularly vile to one of the young black students, telling him, “the white man is going to kill you and steal your organs”. One of his white classmates put his hand on that student’s shoulder and said to him, “we love you”. Who was doing the wrong thing here? Yet that group was never condemned by the twitter mob. And then a man with a drum comes marching up to them. What were they supposed to do, what were they supposed to think at that moment? And one slice of that video, maliciously edited, surfaced on-line and those kids were toast.

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Still Strong at 46

01-20-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The 2019 March for Life has come and gone, barely noticed by the media as usual. Still, the impact of the March for Life reverberates throughout our land. What’s notable is that the millennial generation (those born between 1981-1996 or so) are much more agreeable to placing restrictions on abortion than their parents. This is consistent with the long-term strategy of the Pro-life Movement to change hearts, minds and culture so that regardless of the law, abortion will no longer be sought after. Remember it took 224 years from the time African slaves were first brought to the American colonies to finally abolish slavery and even longer to establish civil rights for blacks and shake off the legacy of one group of people deciding a weaker group should be at their mercy. We are in an epic struggle.

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Who's Unamerican?

01-13-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Knights of Columbus?” That question sounds like one you would have heard from the Select Committee on Unamerican Activities and Joe McCarthy. But it was actually posed by two sitting US Senators, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) as they sought to grill Brian Buescher, a federal district court nominee from Nebraska, by submitting questions for the record that singled him out because he is a member of the K of C.

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Deja Vu All Over Again!

01-06-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The first letter of the year will be one that already was! Reading this you may be thinking is this the day the earth stood still? No, it’s just a little deja vu. A fresh letter next week! Soon it will be the year that was. But was it a year to remember, or your favorite year? Was it the best yearever, maybe a year in the life of a fool? Or was it more the days of wine and roses or a time we’d rather forget? However, those 525,600 minutes of those 365 days of 2016 passed by I hope you can find many reasons for gratitude and thankfulness.

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Help Has Come!

12-30-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we turn the page on the year that was and look to the year that will be, it promises to be a blest year. At least for us locally here on our ten-acre patch of God’s good earth. As I already announced to you, the Shea Family Charities has awarded our School $2.8 million to renovate our School and Preschool buildings and infrastructure! I can’t tell you how many headaches that prevents over the next decade or more. We have been operating a School on this property since the late 1950’s and frankly we are showing our age. The pitter-patter of thousands of little feet takes their toll on a classroom. The good news for all of you is that this means I won’t have to hound you for funds to keep up with repairs and much-needed renovations. So that’s the way the old year passes…

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Our Hobbit Hole

12-23-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In one of the final scenes of the film, The Hobbit, the dwarves are battling the armies of Mordor, though they are surrounded on every side they are holding their ground and starting to win, and then out pop an army of giant creatures from under the earth and the lead dwarf looks at them and exclaims, in a thick Scottish accent, “Awe, y’ve gotta be kidding me”! That describes well how I felt after the revelations of this past Summer of Shame in the Church. “Seriously, again, didn't we deal with this already?” But the dwarves fought on to victory, not easy, but with the help of Bilbo Baggins they prevail. So, must we.

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Tradition and Tamales

12-16-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I wonder how many of you remember the Christmas present that was under the tree when you were 7yrs old or even at 11yrs? Probably not so much. Now if you got coal in your stocking, that probably left an impression. The things that we remember are the traditions and rituals that accompanied the season that our families observed. This is especially true if you grew up in an ethnic neighborhood that held on to traditions from other countries. Unfortunately, today so much of our Christmas “traditions” have become homogenized by commercial and corporate marketing.

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Beyond Thunderdome

12-09-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The passing of President George H.W. Bush reminded me that there was a time before we all entered “Trump World”, a day before “Obama-in-the-Highest” worship took hold, even a period before Bush 2.0 and war-without-end, amen! became the norm, a world without the “blue dress” and Clinton & Clinton and Clinton redux. As I accurately foresaw in my March 6, 2016 pre-election prophecy, we have entered the world of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. A place where “two men enter, one man leaves”. You remember November 2016, Dr. Dealgood won, Aunty Entity lost. Still, Aunty Entity cries ceaselessly: “You think I don't know the law? Wasn't it me who wrote it? And I say that this man has broken the law. Right or wrong, we had a deal”. The 24-hour cable news, social media cycles demands nothing less than the death of your political opponent and even then, the corpse must be dragged through the streets.

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Still, He Comes

12-02-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Not everyone always agrees with my writings, imagine that. Actually, if they did that would be rather boring. And so, some did take issue with my assessment in my letter, “An Unexpected Journey”, as being too loud, not speaking softly and rather acerbic. I accept that criticism. At the same time after putting in over 30yrs of serving and building up the Church I love, I find it hard not to come to its defense. It’s not just that the Church is a force for good in the world that I want to see continue as such but the salvation of souls hangs in the balance. Each priest, each bishop will be heldaccountable for the souls lost due to scandal and confusion. Therefore, speaking up so that people know that the ecclesiastical bureaucracy is not the Church nor is it a way to determine the veracity of the teachings of Catholicism appears to me to be a necessary action.

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