From the Pastor: Nothing Humorous This Week
Last week’s article was just for fun. This week’s is all business. Sorry about that! The first order of business is All Souls Day. This is your last week to write down the names of those whom you wish me to pray for on All Souls. Remember, since most priests seem to canonize the deceased person at each funeral Mass, most people have become convinced that their loved one is now “in a better place” or “playing golf with Jesus” or something like that. Priests and people (but Father, priests are people, too!) alike spout lovely nonsense such as, “The funeral Mass is for the living, not the deceased” and therefore do not pray for the repose of the soul of the very one being laid to rest. November 2, All Souls Day, is the one special liturgical day which really focuses on the fact that the dead person may very well be suffering terrible pains of purgation, as if being refined by fire, and will benefit tremendously by the prayers of the very few living who still care enough to pray and offer sacrifices (and The Sacrifice) on their behalf. So write down the names of your departed family and friends and bring them in sometime this week or this coming weekend. They will be eternally grateful for your love and prayers. If they get released from Purgatory or even if their sufferings there are lessened because of your simple act, you know that they will pray for you with great fervor whenever they see God face to face!
The second order of business is an update on the air conditioning system in the church. You would not believe how many AC technicians simply shake their heads and leave once they get a good look at what we have. Even the head honcho at the diocesan office of construction came out to see why the estimates were so high. He came expecting that we were being ripped off. He left understanding why we are seeing such a high cost looming ahead. He did have some good news for us, though, insofar as the possibility of building a new church, social hall, school, parking lot and retention pond goes. He thinks we have plenty of land to work with here if we want to build new rather than spend like new on this current building. So if any of you have a few million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, let me know. In the meantime, we are looking into keeping the old AC units functioning as long as possible and perhaps adding some smaller units to make up for the half of one which is currently not functioning. Heck, I am even looking at putting in window units everywhere rather than spending 400 grand replacing the old system. They wouldn’t look too good, but if they replaced the current stained glass windows it might even be an improvement!
The next and last item to be covered is the latest bit of unexplainable stuff to come out of Rome. Here are the headlines: “Pope Francis, in Shift for Church, Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions” (NY Times); “Pope endorses civil union laws for same-sex couples” (CNN); “Pope calls for civil unions for same-sex couples, in major departure from Vatican doctrine” (NBC News); and from the UK’s highest circulation paper according to Ed Pentin’s tweet of their front page, “Pope Blesses Gay Weddings” (Metro); the list could go on and on. Did the Bishop of Rome really make such statements? Yes. Did he make it part of Church teaching? No. Or, a more accurate answer might be, not yet. He simply gave yet one more interview which never should have been given, only this time it is an interview on camera and shown in an anti-Trump movie which has just now (curious timing!) been released. There is no Catholic priest (no real Catholic priest, that is) who ever hears the words, “He gave another interview” without cringing and wondering out loud and with a groan, “What now?” So far (I had to write this the very night that this news broke, so hopefully there will be more like this coming) one US bishop has put forth a useful statement about the political propaganda movie’s big quote. From Bishop Tobin of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, we read on his website, “October 21, 2020. The Holy Father’s apparent support for the recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples needs to be clarified. The Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions. The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and must have their personal human rights and civil rights recognized and protected by law. However, the legalization of their civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible.” He also later tweeted, “Popes John Paul and Benedict, in formal teaching said that same-sex civil unions were wrong and that Catholics had to oppose them. Pope Francis, in a movie, said that same-sex civil unions were helpful and should be promoted. So, I ask, how could there possibly be any confusion?” I answer that there is no real confusion. There is a battle between good and evil being played out for all to see. The “confusion” is hiding nothing. All who have eyes to see, see quite clearly. “Choose this day...whom you would rather serve.” Where and how you spend eternity depends on your choice. “...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka