I now pronounce you man……and man?

In 2008, the good people of California passed Proposition 8, declaring that marriage could only take place between a man and a woman, just as God intended it to be.  Yesterday Judge Vaughn Walker, an openly practicing gay man, by the way, struck down Prop 8, in effect making it legal for gay “marriage” to take place in the state.

There are so many things wrong with this I hardly know where to start.  But let’s start with the legal system.  52% of voters declared two years ago that they wanted marriage in their state to be a contract between a man and a woman with the possibility of having children.  That’s the way God planned it and that’s the way the majority of Californians want it.

As I understand it, the proposition passed every legal challenge it’s opponents could muster before it was ever put on the ballot.  How could a judge throw it out after it had been subject to such scrutiny?  What if we have a gay judge review it?  That seems fair, doesn’t it?

So, we have a situation where a federal judge, clearly biased in favor of these attempted marriages overruling the wishes of millions of voters.  Make no mistake, this ruling will be appealed, all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary.  One would hope that somewhere along the way the courts will come to their senses and recognize the simple biological fact that it takes a man and a woman to make a baby.  That’s marriage.

This has nothing to do with anyone’s “rights”, it’s just a simple fact.  God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Bruce.

Cardinal Francis George, President of the U S Conference of Catholic Bishops, said “It is tragic that a federal judge would overturn the clear and expressed will of the people in their support of the institution of marriage.”  Archbishop Joseph Kirtz, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage commented that “Marriage is more fundamental and essential to the well being of society than perhaps any other institution.  It is simply unimaginable that the court could now claim a conflict between marriage and the Constitution.”

With all due respect to the Archbishop, it’s not all that unimaginable.  There are forces at work here in the United States that would like nothing better than to destroy the institutions that built our country, especially our churches.  It would have been more surprising if the self-proclaimed homosexual judge had ruled otherwise.

Make no mistake, this is about much more than the legal definition of marriage.  Our rights as Catholics, as Christians, and as Americans are being whittled away by activist judges and others.  If marriage falls, what’s next?

Our loyalty is to God and His Church first and our nation second, but watching our enemies, domestic and foreign, tear down our once God-fearing country brick by brick scares me to death.

I know you’ve heard the story about the frog and the boiling water.  If you put a frog in a pan of boiling water he will wisely jump out.  But put him in a pan of cold water and gradually turn up the heat, the frog will sit there until he’s  cooked.

The same goes for the attacks on our freedoms, religious and otherwise.  They want to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance.  You can’t put a Nativity Scene on the courthouse lawn.  School kids get winter breaks and spring breaks instead of Christmas and Easter vacations.  They’re turning up the heat folks and we’re sitting around like frogs waiting for the frog-leg dinner to begin.

It’s not too late.  Again, no disrespect toward Cardinal George, Archbishop Kurtz, or any of our bishops, but a three paragraph press release isn’t going to cut it.  Every Catholic, every Christian, every American needs to pray, first of all that God will deliver us from politicians whose only interest is their own advancement, damn the consequences for our children and grandchildren.  Second, as the largest voting bloc in the country, we have to forget political parties and vote for people who represent US, not special interests.  Finally, we have to be unafraid to take a stand for what we believe in.

I’m not sure who said this, or even the exact wording, but someone once said, “Those who are silent in the face of evil are also evil.”  The evil one prowls the earth and is counting on our complacency.  Let’s not help him get his way!

August 5–Create a clean heart in me, O God.

A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.  Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

This line from today’s responsorial Psalm (Ps 51:12-13) pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?  You may recall yesterday’s entry on Saint John Vianney.  He preached against the evils of sin and pilgrims came by the thousands to hear him speak and to let him hear their confessions.  He pulled no punches when it came to sin and the people loved it.

Like many preachers, I usually avoid talking about sin.  I don’t want to make anyone mad.  I want to be popular.  After all, I have to live with my parishioners.  What if I talk about the sanctity of marriage and someone in the crowd is living in sin.  I don’t want to embarrass them.  I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.

In other words, “I’m a coward”.  That’s the only explanation.  When I was ordained, I knelt before the Archbishop and put my hand on the book of the Gospels.  He said, “Receive the Book of the Gospels, whose herald you now are.  Believe what you read. Preach what you believe, and practice what you preach.”

Believe it.  Preach it.  Practice it.  Simple enough, but how often do many of us do what we promised?  Jesus talked about sin.  He was against it.  It’s recorded in the Gospels.  Yet, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve preached against a specific sin.  Like I said, I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.  But if you read Jesus’ words, he had no problem with making folks squirm.  In fact, that often seems to be His mission.  After all, what’s worse?  A little discomfort now, or an eternity of separation from God?  I think we all know the answer.

We prayed today that God would create in us a clean heart and a steadfast spirit.  My job is to help you do exactly that.  Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel.

BTW, living with someone without the benefit of the Sacrament of Marriage is a sin.  Don’t do it!

Saint John Mary Vianney

Today we remember Saint John Vianney, the patron saint of priests.  Like Forest Gump, Vianney wasn’t a smart man.  He had a very hard time in school.  In fact, it was only after private tutoring that he was able to pass his exams to become a priest.

His first, and only, assignment was to Ars-en-Dombres, a remote place with only 230 people.  Through Vianney’s hard work, he was able to turn the place around and make it a site for pilgrims from all over the world..

He was strongly against blasphemy, profanity, and obscenity and he let the people know it in his homilies.  He crusaded for a return of holiness to the Lord’s day; not just getting people to mass, but also to get them to stop working on Sunday.

He was also very much against dancing. calling it an occasion to sin.  Clothing was also an issue with him and he spent years fighting against immodesty.  It took him many years, but he finally won the people over.

Amazingly, Ars became a place for pilgrimages, not because of any particular holiness of the place itself, but because people wanted to see and meet the good Father.  From 1830 to 1845 more than 300 people per day came to visit. From 1858-59 more than 100,000 pilgrims visited Ars.   Apparently 18th century Catholics were just as hungry for the truth as 21st century Catholics are today.

A travel office was set up in Lyons to handled all the travelers wanting to visit Ars.  Tickets were issued for 8 days because there was no way you could hope to see Vianney in any less time than that.  He spent from 12 to as many as 16 hours per day hearing confessions.  Think about that!  Today most parishes hear confessions for 30 minutes to an hour every WEEK.  No wonder Pius XI canonized him in 1925 and made him the patron-saint of priests in 1929.

It’s too bad that most priests (and deacons) don’t follow John Vianney’s example of speaking out on the important moral issues concerning all of us today.  When was the last time you heard a preacher speak out on the evils of blasphemy or profanity in a Catholic church?  I imagine it’s been a long time.  In the so-called Protestant mega-churches, they hear it all the time and their numbers continue to grow.

It’s obvious that Vianney’s homilies, speaking out strongly against sin, attracted thousands of pilgrims to his little church.  It would be good if all of us who have the great gift of being allowed to speak from the ambo would follow his example.

Saint John Vianni, pray for us.