Open letter to Bishop Joe S. Vasquez

On January 26, 2017, the Catholic News Service reported: The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration criticized President Donald Trump’s executive memorandum to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Below is an open letter to Bishop Vasquez in response.

Dear Bishop Vasquez,

I hope that this letter finds you in good health and rich in the joy of Christ’s holiness, in which I pray you will grow more and more.

I am puzzled by your opposition to the Trump administration’s decision to control illicit immigration into the United States.  You make some statements that are on their face quite counter intuitive.  For example, quoting from http://www.catholicnews.com, ‘[The wall] would “put immigrant lives needlessly in harm’s way.”‘  Pardon me, your Excellency, but it is precisely by trying to cross the border at points other than the existing Ports of Entry that puts these “immigrants” in harm’s way.

The wall will channel them through the normal Ports of Entry which are really quite safe.  I know this as I have crossed the US/Mexico border thousands of times this way.  There is no danger of getting lost and dying of hunger and thirst in the desert, or of being captured by desperadoes seeking to employ undocumented persons against their will, or of snakebite, or even of being apprehended by the US Border Patrol.  Of course there is the matter of what distinguishes an immigrant from an invader.  An immigrant follows established legal pathways to citizenship and full integration and acculturation into the society and culture which welcomes him.  An invader forces his way across borders against the express laws and desires of the country whose borders he is crashing through.  Any country who wishes to do so may welcome immigrants, no country can reasonably be expected to welcome invaders.

Your criticism of a surge in immigrant detention and deportation forces, you say, would “tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities.”  This too is counter intuitive.  If families stay together they will not get torn apart.  If people stay and work to better the conditions in the communities in which they were born and raised there will be no fear and panic about border enforcement.  Nor would there be fear and panic if they go through the admittedly lengthy and arduous procedures to be welcomed as legal immigrants with all the requisite documentation.

16386918_1285580714834792_8344866708761631666_nIf they don’t have the proper documentation to cross at the Ports of Entry then they obviously should stay in the country where all about them speak their language and share their culture, where they are closer to the help and support of their friends and family.  If they don’t have that documentation and they have invaded the US by whatever means, we as Christians have the duty to assist them, indeed, we may not close our hearts to them and their self inflicted plight.

We must feed, clothe and nurse them back to health before we return them to their homes and families whence they came.  We must encourage them to improve their lot in their native place with the strength they will receive from fidelity to the Gospel, particularly the Beatitudes.  We must support them with our unceasing prayers.  We must send them gifts to sustain them from our own generosity, including methods of working for social change in conformity to the Gospels and the teaching to the Church.

The Church in the US can and should play a vital and active role in assisting the Churches in all these places from which these unfortunate invaders come, in making the lives of their flocks spiritually richer and materially more secure.  Indeed, as you are well aware Americans have been, and under the wise direction of our secular leaders and spiritual shepherds, will continue to be extremely generous to those in need.

My hope is that you will not be misled by the culture of death, which while wearing the mask of moral superiority and mouthing platitudes of caring and peace, has been for many decades trying to smash American culture by fostering a race war among us.  I pray that you will discern the true path of the authentic Gospel to guide your flock along it towards Christ our Lord, while defending them from the sham gospel of fashionable and easy delusions that leads to self congratulation and violence.

Cordially yours in Christ,

Tamquam L. Rugiens

Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. – Virgil
Do not yield to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.

The Star, plus Epiphany!

Fr. Z has a great post over at his blog about one of the prayers of the Mass for Epiphany.

This is what we are praying for, hoping for, living our earthly lives for: to see God face to face, directly and immediately.

In this life we know God only indirectly, by faith, our reason aided by the authority of revelation and by grace.  This is St. Paul’s “dark glass” (1 Cor 13:12) through which we peer toward Him in longing.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He is the Father’s Beauty. He is Truth and Beauty and Glory itself.

St. Hilary of Poitiers (d 367) conceived God’s divine attribute of glory as a transforming power which divinizes us by our contact with it.  After Moses talked with God in the tent of the Ark, he wore a veil over his face, which became too bright to look at.  We pray today, literally, to be brought “all the way to the beauty of glory (species celsitudinis)” of God “which is to be contemplated”.  His beauty will act on us, increase our knowledge of Him and, therefore, our love for Him … for all eternity.   We will be, all the more, the images He intended.

Christ could be understood to be the species celsitudinis of this prayer. Contemplate His truth and beauty.  Christ is the true speaker and spoken truth of every prayer of every Mass.

If eternal Beauty transforms us, “divinizes” us, then beauty in this life changes us too.

Could a fostering of beauty in our churches help us reach people today in a way that arguments or other appeals may not?

Our liturgical worship of the Most High God must lead us to encounter beauty, truth, transcendent mystery.  Holy Mass requires the finest architecture, vestments, music – everything – we can summon from human genius, love and labor.  What we sing and say and do in church, and the church itself, ought to presage the liturgy of heaven, where the Church Triumphant enjoys already the Beatific Vision.  Liturgy should be “epiphany”, wherein we encounter transforming mystery.

Let us celebrate every Mass in such a way that we become shoeless Moses before the burning bush which is never consumed.  Let Mass make us Magi with sight and mind fixed in longing upon the beautiful, true and yet speechless Word, in whom transcendent glory was both hidden and revealed.

Fasting and abstinence

I take the following from the indispensable Fr. Z’s blog regarding fasting and abstinence:

gettyimages-488513858-fish-dinner-allekoDays (other than Sunday) within the Octave of Christmas are not “heavy enough” (as a “solemnity” would be) to “outweigh” the Friday obligation to do some sort of penance as determined by the conferences of bishops.

In the 1962 Missale Romanum they are “II class”, which corresponds to the newer, non-traditional calendar’s “feast”. In the 2001 Missale Romanum they are categorized as second class, as “feasts”, not as solemnities (as they are during the Octave of Easter).

If, however, you are at a parish named “Holy Innocents”, and the Feast of the Holy Innocents falls on the Friday, you might argue that it is greater due to it being the patronal feast of the parish.

Bottom line, the Octave of Christmas does not have the “weight” of the Octave of Easter.  Easter Friday outweighs the penance thing, but Christmas Friday does not.

In any event, pay attention to can. 1251.

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

And, you can ask your parish priest to dispense you or commute your act of penance.

Can. 1245 Without prejudice to the right of diocesan bishops mentioned in can. 87, for a just cause and according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop, a pastor[parish priest]can grant in individual cases a dispensation from the obligation of observing a feast day or a day of penance or can grant a commutation of the obligation into other pious works. A superior of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, if they are clerical and of pontifical right, can also do this in regard to his own subjects and others living in the house day and night.

Members of religious communities and third orders should consult their own regulations and review to whom they turn for dispensations.

You can substitute another form of penance for abstaining from meat.  Make it penitential, however.  Abstinence from meat has good reasoning behind it.  For some, however, there abstinence from other things can be of greater spiritual effect.

That said, it seems to me that fasting and abstinence are pretty good penances/mortifications. Fasting is especially helpful.  Cutting back on the quantity of food you eat is something that can be done daily, so long as you do not endanger your health or ability to care for your family.

homeless-man-1-bw-big.jpgThe Latin Fathers, such as Leo the Great, attached almsgiving to fasting. Fasting wasn’t just about fasting. It was about then giving the money saved to the poor.  Picture yourself going to purchase your fresh food each day since there wasn’t refrigeration.  Instead of buying the food, you gave the money to the poor.  With a little thought, the same could be done now, right?

Thus, though we are always called to perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy, our penances can be more significant if we attach works of mercy to them.

Declaration of intent

ill-see-you-and-raise-youIt is commonly said that one does not discuss politics or religion in polite society.  This would prohibit anybody from discussing anything of importance, for politics deals with people’s goals in this life and religion with their spiritual goals in the next.  We would be reduced to talking about the inane and the insignificant, it would be both useless and boring.

Andrew Breitbart famously said that politics is downstream from culture, meaning that culture determines what issues politics can deal with and in what way.  This is true, but there is another, vital step that comes before culture.  Culture is downstream from  cult, a formal, public system of beliefs and rituals, another word for which is religion.

The Old Religion of America and the West, Christianity, has been at war with the New Religion of Dialectical Materialism which also goes by the name of Progressivism, Collectivism, Leftism, Socialism, etc.  To this point Christianity has been losing badly because while it abhors and decries the advances of the Left, it has offered no serious resistance to them, and has been therefore in near constant retreat.

Never has a war been won by retreats.  Enough!

Here I will discuss the state of the battle, the strategies and tactics of the Enemy and propose tactics and strategies to defeat them.

Welcome to the battle.  We also take on Progressivism, and make them the same offer as we do Jihad: You have three choices: Yield, Flee or Fight.

Unlike the 44th President of the United States, I am totally comfortable with victory,  I expect nothing else.

Deus vult.

On Racism

As Catholics we believe that God created all men (meaning everybody, excluding nobody) in His Image and Likeness. God loves all men passionately, enough to have become human and accepted death on the Cross for us. As Catholics we know that we have a call from God to love everyone reagardless of skin color, place of origin, culture or any other trait associated with hour human natures. In fact, the Catholic Church has a long history of doing just that.

In today’s world it has become fashionable for certain people to call those who don’t agree with them “racist.” The purpose of this name calling, as with so much other name calling, is to make sure that the one being maligned knows he is morally inferior and to try to silence him. Al too often it has nothing to do with any opinion that the one so named holds the opinion that people with one kind of ethnic characteristics is superior or inferior to another. People who thoughtlessly throw these kinds of insults around in this way are lying about their fellow man, but denigrating their humanity, both of which are sins.

It is just a nasty way to make somebody with whose opinions, frequently political, they disagree and are unable to refute logically and rationally shut up.

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