With the passing of Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago, it is worth reading a column he penned in September 2014 prior to retiring. This writing is one of the most insightful and thought provoking articles written about our historical moment and the challenges we face moving forward as religious believers in America. As the US Supremes take up the issue of SS-Marriage this week, the Cardinal's words are more prescient than ever.
Once upon a time there was a church founded on God's entering into human history in order to give humanity a path to eternal life and happiness with him. The Savior that God sent, his only-begotten Son, did not write a book but founded a community, a church, upon the witness and ministry of twelve apostles. He sent this church the gift of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love between Father and Son, the Spirit of the truth that God had revealed about himself and humanity by breaking into the history of human sinfulness.READ MORE
So the Indiana Governor signs into law a state version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and gay freak out ensues, political propaganda feeding mob hysteria. Here in AZ we experienced a similar brouhaha in March 2014 (I explained it all in my letters of 2 & 9 March '14). Simply put the original RFRA was first signed into law by President Clinton after almost unanimous congressional support. It was one of the few times that Congress was able to effectively reign in the power of the Supreme Court by restoring the "balancing test" that the court had used for decades in deciding cases of religious liberty but jettisoned in a 1990 Court case.
That case involved a small Native American group that used a psychoactive substance in their religious services. The substance fell under the Controlled Substances Act and therefore was illegal to possess. The court ruled that a law of general applicability like the Controlled Substances Act did not specifically target religion and therefore in this case trumped religious freedom. In other words a religious exemption could not trump a law of general applicability. Up to that case the court had used the "balancing test" to see if government had a strong enough compelling interest to restrict religious rights, the balance between governmental interest and religious liberty. After that ruling the liberals and conservatives in Congress got up in arms and accused the court of restricting religious liberty. Hence was born the 1993 RFRA.READ MORE
"Ch, ch, ch, changes, turn and face the strange". You're either too old or too young to remember that David Bowie song but not too old or young to notice changes to our Bulletin format.
The way Church Bulletins work is that parishes contract with publishing companies that provide the weekly Church Bulletin at no cost. Basically the publishing company provides the software for a parish to assemble the Bulletin which in turn electronically transmits the Bulletin to the company that prints it and then delivers its. The way publishing companies make a profit on Church Bulletins is through the advertising, which they solicit and then print in the Bulletin.
Over the last few years providing Bulletins at no cost is becoming difficult. Businesses have migrated their advertising to the on-line world. Additionally a smaller amount of businesses do not want to advertise in Church Bulletins for fear of a backlash (especially if said Church does not support certain cultural innovations). That is the case with the publisher of our Bulletin. So they have cut the size and coloring down which means we have less space for information and events. Our Parish will use the current Bulletin format until the end of our contracted period (Oct. 16).
For now we will be as judicious as possible in assembling what information to place in the Sunday Bulletin. All other information will be available on line through our website or Social media pages. At some point in the future I am sure we will be 100% digital. So let us know what is important to you to find in the weekly bulletin. And know you can always check out my weekly letter, upcoming events, schedules and information about Sacraments etc. on our website.
Love, Fr. John B.
It was 20yrs ago, March 25, 1995 that Pope St. John Paul II issued one of his greatest encyclical letters: Evangelium Vitae and introduced into our lexicon the phrase: the "culture of death" and called upon all the disciples of Jesus to overturn it. Not too long before, at World Youth Day in Denver he challenged young people to embrace what he termed "a culture of life". The force of that teaching pushed the moral teaching of the Church on human life to the front of our consciousness and empowered us to tell the truth that abortion is the human rights injustice of our times. And it is making an impact.
If you participated in or saw any coverage (in the Catholic Media as the MSM just ignore it, hoping it will just go away) of the Annual March for Life in Washington D.C. over the last few years you would have noticed how populated it was with young people. Teens and young adults more and more reject abortion as a solution, which demonstrates that the teaching of St. John Paul has indeed taken root. Subverting the culture of death is a long-term strategy and the change can at times be imperceptible. That's why it is important that we notice that the seeds planted 20yrs are germinating and growing. Now we have to keep tending to them.READ MORE