Without a Doubt Tidbits

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin - Without a Doubt

A few random thoughts before we take a little break for the summer . . .

** The Fortnight for Freedom is not about the Church’s teaching on contraception, although that teaching is valid and clear. It’s not about women’s health or national health care, although they are legitimate issues. It’s not an exercise in partisan politics in an election year, although Catholics should be involved in that process. The battle to defend religious liberty is just that – it’s about religious liberty, a right that comes to us not from the federal government nor even the Constitution, but from God.

** As the debate over homosexual marriage continues, it’s helpful to recall that the rejection of homosexual activity isn’t just a Catholic thing but is deeply rooted in Christian tradition and upheld by other faith communities as well. In one of his lectures, Martin Luther described the conduct of the people of Sodom as “extraordinary, inasmuch as they departed from the natural passion and longing of the male for the female, which is implanted into nature by God. Whence comes this perversity?”

** Kudos, also, to the Southern Baptists who, at their recent national convention, affirmed their belief that marriage is “the exclusive union of one man and one woman,” and that “all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sinful.” Their statement adds, “It is regrettable that the homosexual rights activists and those who are supporting the recognition of ‘same-sex marriage’ have misappropriated the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement.” That’s a point that needs to be made more often.

** I have enormous admiration and affection for Pope Benedict and the courageous but gentle leadership His Holiness is providing for the Church in these turbulent times. But, respectfully, I think he’s trying too hard to reconcile the renegade group, the Society of St. Pius X to Rome. They’re schismatic; they’ve rejected the authority of the Pope and the teachings of the Second Vatican Council; they’ve caused great division and have ruptured the unity of the Church. The “negotiations” should end. If they return to the Church on their terms, we’ll always have to tiptoe around their theological sensitivities lest they be offended again. If they want to be Catholic, let them make an unqualified profession of faith and accept the teachings of the Church without hesitation.

** President Obama, in speaking recently at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, said: “It’s a bitter truth – too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale. And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.” While the President’s words certainly have unique relevance to the Holocaust, it’s too bad he can’t bring the same compassion and vision to the “killing of innocents” that takes place through abortion. As a pro-abortion zealot he should look in the mirror and be haunted by the “atrocities he has not stopped, the lives he has not saved.”

** Along the same lines, any perception that Congressman James Langevin is still pro-life has dissipated like the morning fog over the Narragansett Bay. Although he continues to identify himself as a “Catholic, pro-life member of Congress,” consider his record. He voted in favor of Obamacare that allows the funding of abortion; he has championed the use of embryonic stem cells, a practice that results in the destruction of human life; he has proudly announced his support of homosexual marriage, a concept that is, ultimately, an offense to human life; he supports the HHS Mandate that requires Catholic ministries and others to provide insurance coverage for immoral practices; and recently he voted against the bill that would have banned the horrific practice of sex-selection abortion. It’s clear that Langevin has abandoned the pro-life cause. What a disappointment!

** Congratulations to the management and staff of the Rhode Island Catholic that won ten awards at the recent Catholic Press Association meeting. The awards are a fitting recognition of the outstanding work our newspaper staff does, day-in and day-out. I remain convinced that a good diocesan newspaper, like the Rhode Island Catholic, is important to the life of the Church, especially in this age of the New Evangelization.

** And congratulations, too, to the three newly ordained priests of the Diocese. They are fine young men and we pray that they will serve the Lord and His Church joyfully and faithfully for a long time. Let’s continue to pray and work for an increase of priestly vocations for our Diocese so that we’ll have many more ordinations in the days to come. As Blessed John Paul II wrote, “all the members of the Church, without exception, have the grace and responsibility to look after vocations.”

** And, a word of sincere gratitude to our diocesan priests who have just retired from the active ministry. Though now free of the burdens of daily administration, they’ll continue assisting with sacramental and pastoral ministry in the Diocese. Our recently retired, and all of our senior priests have served with great distinction. We are a better and stronger Church because of them. God bless them with much health and happiness in the days and years to come!

** “Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.” (Ada Louise Huxtable)