Pope Francis says that torture is a mortal sin.
For those who might be confused, a mortal sin is a willfully committed transgression against the law of God that deprives the soul of divine grace. In other words, a mortal sin can send you to hell.
Pope Francis says that torture is a mortal sin.
For those who might be confused, a mortal sin is a willfully committed transgression against the law of God that deprives the soul of divine grace. In other words, a mortal sin can send you to hell.
Pope Francis excommunicated all members of the Mafia today.
It is rare indeed for a Pope to say that every single person who is member of a group is excommunicated by reason of that membership. But, in my opinion, this particular excommunication is long overdue.
Pope Francis went to Calabria, a region of Italy that is reputed to be heavily corrupted by the Mafia, to issue this excommunication.
He called the Mafia an “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”
“Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated,” he said.
The fact that the Holy Father chose the weekend of the Feast of Corpus Christi to issue this excommunication is deeply symbolic. The Body of Christ, which is present in the Eucharist on all the altars of the Catholic Church in the world, must not be profaned by allowing those who live by murder and corruption, destroyers of life, to partake of it.
Salvation is available to anyone who repents. I hope that this excommunication results in two things: A cleansing of the Church, and a changed life for at least some of these people who have chosen the Mafia as their little g god.
In the meantime, we need to pray for the safety of our brave and honest Holy Father, Pope Francis.
From Vatican Radio:
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis concluded his one-day trip to the southern Italian region of Calabria with strong words against the Calabrian mafia, calling it “adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”
“Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated,” he said to applause.
The Pope made these statements on Saturday during the feast-day Mass he presided for Corpus Domini on the plains of the small town of Sibari, a once-important city in the Hellenistic period of Calabrian history.
Organizers planned for 200,000 faithful to attend. They gathered under the hot sun, with temperatures flirting around the 30-degree mark. Sitting in the first rows of the assembly were those with illness and disability, rather than local dignitaries—a decision the local bishop chose to underline ahead of the Pope’s trip.
The Pope’s visit to the region, marked by violence and corruption and renowned for mafia activity, was highly anticipated by the locals, who in recent months were rocked by the murder of Fr. Lazzaro Longobardi, as well as the death of a three-year-old boy, the innocent victim of a mafia homicide.
In his homily, the Pope spoke about the evils that can occur when adoration of God is replaced by adoration of money.
I’m writing back to back truth-sifting-to-the-top posts today.
It happens that way sometimes. The truth, after a loud cacophony of untruths, will suddenly start sifting to the top all at once.
It seems that the story of Irish nuns having dumped 700 baby bodies into a septic tank is just that: A story. Or rather, a hoax. Or, to put it bluntly the invention of an anti-Catholic press looking for anything at all to be turned into another scandalizing story about the Church.
Father James Martin, SJ, who is an editor at large at America magazine, pinged the Associated Press in public about their inaccurate reporting of the Septic Tank Story. The AP responded by printing a retraction.
The one time I asked for a retraction from a publication because of a story about me, the story was serious lawsuit bait. They printed a left-foot-of-honesty retraction kind of like this one. Instead of just saying “we got it wrong folks,” they spent most of the ink saying that I hadn’t been available when they tried to contact me to verify.
I should have demanded at least one other retraction, for the same reason, (lawsuit bait) but didn’t. I kind of regret that now. However, I’m sure their retraction would have been as murky as the one I got the first time. After being attacked like this for years, I’m slower than most to believe these too-bad-to-be-true exposes.
Since it wouldn’t be possible for either the dead nuns or the dead babies to sue, my hat is off to the Associated Press for giving it up and doing a retraction. I am also grateful to Father Martin for pushing them to do it. America Magazine has the clout to force the issue, something that not everyone does.
I want to ask Public Catholic readers to stop and consider all this in light of themselves and their reactions. The babies buried in the septic tank story sounded bogus from day one. It was implausible on its face. I wrote about this and then commented on it in the com boxes. The response was that a few commenters chimed in with reality-stretching explanations as to why the story could have been true, despite the impracticality of stuffing 700 bodies into a septic tank.
I think those people wanted to believe the story, for their own reasons.
On the other hand, a lot of good people got drug off the road by this story. I imagine there were heartsick Catholics all over the world going, “not again,” when they read this thing. I’m guessing that a lot of them got down at heart over it, and maybe even a few of them wondered if they would still follow the Church.
That was the agenda behind this story. The reason for jumping on this odd assortment of random facts and stringing them together into accusations of 700 baby bodies thrown into a septic tank by nuns who operated a Catholic orphanage was … well … to damage the Church and to destroy your faith.
I had no hard proof the story was bogus.
But my knowledge gained from having lived in a household that used a septic tank,
plus my understanding of the space requirement for 700 bodies,
plus my knowledge of the Church’s teachings about respect for human remains,
plus my understanding of the kind of people I know nuns to be,
plus my understanding of how lousy the popular press is with anti-Catholicism
led me inexorably to the conclusion that the story, minus some real proof, was, to put it bluntly, almost certainly a dead, flat lie.
However, I didn’t jump out there and say this is a lie. What I did was counsel you to wait and see how it all turned out; to let the truth sift itself to the top.
I’m going back over this now to caution readers, once again, about the popular media. You can’t believe them. They deliberately use stories that get you worked up and hook you into obsessive viewing throughout their 24-hour news cycle.
More to the point, much of the popular media is rabidly anti-Catholic. I look at a lot of news stories about religion, and I can tell you that I see story after story, trashing the Catholic Church, Christians and Christianity. The rare balanced — not favorable, but balanced — story stands out like a flashing light.
Most of what the media is saying about the Church is carefully selected and edited to put the Church in the worst possible light. I think the reason for this is that the Church has taken courageous stands on social issues that go against the media zeitgeist.
In this atmosphere, my advice to let the truth sift itself to the top is doubly important. Do not allow yourself to be yanked around emotionally by these stories. Do not bite down on the the totally untrue implication that you have to decide who is right or wrong and what should happen to them.
There are plenty of things in your life that you need to decide, and plenty of things you need to be concerned about. But these endless cycles of outrageous and manufactured stories are not among them.
When it comes to negative reporting about our Church, get out your salt. Take every negative story published about the Church that does not have substantial objective facts that you can look at yourself to back it up with as much salt as you can load in your wagon and wheel in.
Here, courtesy of America, the National Catholic Review, is the left-footed retraction from the Associated Press. Notice it falls over itself with one thing that has been lacking in the reporting of this story: Specificity. The retracting is limited to specific facts the AP got so wrong there is no denying it. Even then, they toss in the idiot jibe that “that may have occurred” regarding refusal of baptism. No proof, no fact; just speculation to gloss their mistake.
The truth about Pope Francis’ health is sifting itself to the top.
“There is no sickness whatsoever,” the Reverend Thomas Rosica, said in reply to a CNN question about the Holy Father’s health. “If there was, we would be open about that and ask people to pray for him.”
I suppose I could go on and on about the details, but it turns out that Pope Francis is just taking a mini vacation by following a lighter schedule during July. This is the same thing he did last year. It is, as I have said, more than his predecessors did. They took full vacations in the country during July at Castel Gandolfo.
Not only is Pope Francis not sick, he’s added a new trip to South Korea for Asian Youth Day. This will be August 13-18.
The pope’s regular workday runs from 7 am mass until around 8 pm. How many 77-year-olds can do that?
The moral of this story is simple: Don’t let the internet/media blather keep you in an emotional dither. Sometimes things really do happen. But most of what they try to get you worked up about is slow news day speculation. If you’re in an airplane and it crashes, you’ve gotta move and get out of that thing. But if you’re sitting home on your sofa watching talking-head speculation on tv, the best thing you can do is wait and see. Let the truth sift itself to the top. It will.
From the DailyNews:
Even Popes get pooped sometimes.
As rumors swirled about the Pope’s declining health, a Vatican spokesman soundly squashed reports that Francis had become ill.
“There is no sickness whatsoever,” the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office, told CNN. “If there was, we would be open about that and asking people to pray for him.”
The speculations emerged after observers noticed that the pontiff had canceled his weekly general audiences in Saint Peter’s Square during the month of July. He is also not planning on inviting guests to his early morning Masses during both July and August.
Although it seems like a lighter schedule, the Pope’s summer calendar is similar to last year’s, the Catholic News Service reports. In fact, he’s adding on a trip to South Korea for Asian Youth Day from Aug. 13-18.
I’m proud of you.
Public Catholic readers have not gone off the deep end, blaming Father Joseph Terra for the actions of the man who beat him and shot and killed his brother priest, Father Kenneth Walker.
Father Terra, a Catholic priest, was critically wounded when an assailant broke into the rectory in Phoenix that he shared with Father Walker. Father Walker was shot and killed. It seems that the assailant managed to get his hands on a gun owned by Father Terra, and that is the gun he used to shoot Father Walker.
Public Catholic readers have not attacked Father Terra for being a victim, and I’m proud of you. There has been a focus on the gun in our discussions here, which, I think is still a mis-direction. After all, Mr Gary Michael Moran, the individual who has confessed to this break-in/beating/murder was paroled just two months ago and he wasn’t in prison for singing too loud in church choir on Sunday morning.
Mr Moran has a long history of violent assaults. He was paroled for crimes that were quite similar to the one he committed against these two priests.
If we are so intent on blaming someone besides Mr Moran for this assault, we might look past Father Terra and take a gander at the parole board who put him on the street. Or, to dig a bit deeper, how about considering the lawmakers who wrote the laws that allowed the parole board to put him on the street? Or maybe we should blame Mr Moran’s mother/teacher/neighbor/dog for the crime.
Or, then again, maybe we could take a quick look at Mr Moran himself. Does anybody besides me think that he’s the guy who did this and he’s the one we should hold responsible?
Public Catholic readers have discussed this intelligently. But what about those other folks, the ones who are all but accusing Father Terra of being the miscreant in this situation?
It appears that the lightning rod in this is the gun. We’ve got a group of people in this country who are a little nutty when it comes to firearms. They consistently make inaccurate connections between criminal acts and the gun the criminal uses rather than looking at the criminal him or herself. You’d think, the way they talk, that guns had minds and souls and the ability to act on their own.
Every time we have another of these random mass murders — and they come along with regularity these days — when someone who is loaded down with weaponry goes to a public place and starts killing everybody he can, we see people denouncing the gun laws. Nobody seems to be brave enough to ask what we are doing to manufacture these killers in the first place.
What we have is a relatively new phenomena which has been escalating over the years until it is becoming a commonplace. The gun laws were actually much more liberal before this phenomena took hold than they are now.
I’ve read grisly stories about mass killings in other countries — one in China comes to mind — with very strong gun control laws that occurred when someone armed with a knife or axe invaded a school or other public place and, true to type, started killing everyone they could. I know people who’ve been in buildings that were bombed by terrorists. I also know someone who was crippled for life in a drive-by shooting where the assailant used a gun made with a piece of pipe.
I know this is going to make people angry, but guns are the means, they are not the reason. Banning guns, even banning them altogether, won’t fix this. Guns are not the problem.
The problem here is not the implement of destruction. The problem is our unwinding society and the feral young people we are raising up inside it. I’ve said this before to a chorus of “not trues” but we are manufacturing psychopaths in our society. Somewhere back in the not-too-distant past, we changed our methods of raising people and the result has been a growing number of mass murders, and a much larger number of random killings, drive-by shootings and other violence on a more individualized scale.
There have always been murderers. It does back to Cain. But this is different. And it’s international. And it’s getting worse.
How does this apply to the blame-Father-Terra viciousness that’s out there glopping around in the internet hive mind?
The blame-Father-Terra crowd is part of the problem. Their self-righteous refusal to think straight and their vicious verbiage misdirects our energies away from dealing with the situation at hand. I think a lot of it is deliberate so that we won’t have to accept responsibility and change our ways.
The situation at hand is that Father Terra is a wounded individual who has suffered an unjust, unwarranted and totally preventable attack from an individual who should never have been out on the streets in the first place. He is being blamed for attempting to defend himself and his brother priest.
What I think happened — and this is just a guess — is that Father Terra didn’t have what it took to pull that trigger. He probably wanted to use the gun to intimidate the attacker, not kill him. He is not a killer and he was doing battle with a man who is a killer. I think it was as simple as that.
Good, normal people are always at a disadvantage in these situations where they are savagely attacked without warning. The attacker knows what they are doing, they’ve got the advantage of surprise. Plus, they are bad. Bone deep bad. They don’t mind killing. They’ve come into this situation ready to hurt and to kill.
Mr Moran has a history of hurting people in violent assaults. He’s used to it. He doesn’t mind it. He went into that rectory with that intention. He is practiced at hurting people. He was also awake.
Father Terra was wakened from sleep, and almost certainly intending to handle things without killing anybody. Father Walker just woke up and came to his friend’s aid.
Yet they are the ones we are blaming. Them, and of course, the gun.
Meanwhile, the man who did all this, we’re just kind of ignoring. Because that’s our way. We ignore the offender and blame the victim — or those who try to aid the victim.
You know why? Because facing the real truth of this would mean that we would have to acknowledge that we can’t toss our kids around like things; that children need stable homes and safe families in which to grow up and we haven’t been providing them.
There is also the desire to avoid the other fact. We can’t disarm these monsters once we build them. We blame the victim because we’ve figured out on some level we don’t want to admit that most of the Mr Morans in this world aren’t fix-able. By the time a person gets to the level of repeat violent offender we can’t rewind them back to harmlessness. We can lock them up. Or, we can let them out and then blame the victim when they do it again.
But we can’t fix them.
It seems more productive to blame the victim and the gun, and maybe the lack of an alarm system or the slow response at 911, than to face the very difficult fact that we are manufacturing these guys with the way we raise our kids and that once we’ve manufactured them, they don’t have an off switch.
We can take away every freedom we have and lock ourselves into lockboxes and we still won’t be safe. if we want to stop these things, we’ve first got to face facts. And the fact is that we are building the Gary Michael Morans ourselves. If we want to stop having so many of them, we’ve got to stop building them.
Nothing else will work.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen may soon be called Blessed Fulton Sheen. Watch the video below and learn more about it.
I am proud to be part of a Church that is not intimidated by politically-motivated bullying.
From what I’ve read, the pro-gay-marriage folks did manage to drive down attendance at the March for Marriage today. I am familiar with this sort of thing, on a much smaller level.
The photo at the top of Public Catholic’s page was taken of a demonstration against me, calling for my censorship by the Oklahoma Democratic Party. The reason was that I had passed a pro life bill over the veto of our Democratic Governor. That made me a big-time traitor in the eyes of many party members. In fact, it put a wedge between me and many of them that has never gone away, not to this day.
I learned about the demonstration in the photo only a few hours before it happened. The demonstrators showed up at a fundraiser I held to try to get funds for my re-election campaign. The minute I heard about the demonstration, I knew that donors were going to stay away from the fundraiser and the whole thing would be a big, embarrassing, bust.
I sent one email to a couple of close pro life friends who were not at all political, asking them to come just so I wouldn’t be left alone. When I got to the fundraiser, I was booed and to enter the building through a gauntlet of people chanting “Traitor!” at me in loud voices. I also had a few of them run at me, waving signs and yelling various things.
When I got inside the building, I discovered that my friends had forwarded that email to their friends, who in turn forwarded it to their friends. I specifically told my friends not to make a donation. All I wanted was for them to be there to give me emotional support. What I got was a group — not a huge crowd, but several dozen — pro life people who dropped everything and came to the fundraiser to support me.
These people were not political activists. They were just pro life citizens who felt called to keep me from being left alone. What totally surprised me is the amount of money they donated to my campaign. One of them told me that when he walked past the yelling demonstrators, he waved his check book and said, “I’m going in, and I’m giving money!”
These weren’t lobbyists — who, with two exceptions, ran away from me as fast as their little legs could carry them — but ordinary people, writing checks on their personal accounts.
It was a surreal experience for me all around. But I went home that evening feeling affirmed.
It was also interesting that a number of close friends of mine apologized to me later for not coming. They were really embarrassed, but they told me they were just too scared to come and be there during that demonstration.
I think this is what happened on a much larger scale at the March for Marriage today. People didn’t show up because they were scared to take a stand in a hostile world. They didn’t want to be called names.
I actually understand that, and I am not condemning anyone for it. But please folks. look into your hearts and see if you can find the courage to stand up in the future. We’ve got to start doing that.
It makes me proud that my Church was not among those who ran away. Archbishop Cordileone has been targeted for a bit of bullying over his plans to speak at this march. But he was there, and he gave a fine speech. At no time did he allow his comments to drop into the negativity and defamation that characterize what has been aimed at him and the organizers of this march.
The sound quality on this video is less that stellar, so I’m putting the full text, which I found on the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s website, below.
Read it and be proud.
Building a Civilization of Truth and Love
- June 19, 2014
“BUILDING A CIVILIZATION OF TRUTH AND LOVE”
Archbishop Cordileone’s Talk at the March for Marriage
June 19, 2014; Washington, D.C.
In our Catholic faith tradition, young people around the age of junior high school or high school receive the sacrament of Confirmation, normally administered by the bishop. At a Confirmation ceremony I celebrated recently in a large, Hispanic parish, two of the young people shared some reflections on what their Confirmation meant to them. They said that their Confirmation gave them the grace to go forth and “build a civilization of truth and love.” I could not have said it better myself! And that, my friends, is why we are here. Both are necessary, both, together, if we wish to have a flourishing society: truth and love.
This is the legacy we have received from our ancestors in faith. To my fellow believers in Jesus Christ I would call our attention to those first generations of Christians in the city of Rome, who were so often scapegoated by the powerful pagan Roman government. But when a plague would strike the city and the well-to-do fled to the hills for safety until the plague subsided, it was the Christians who stayed behind to care for the sick, at great risk to their own health and very lives. And not just the Christian sick: all the sick, regardless of religion, of how they lived their lives, or even what they thought of the Christians themselves. The historian Eusebius noted about the Christians of his time, “All day long some of them tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together from all parts of the city a multitude of those withered from famine and distributed bread to them all.” Likewise, the Emperor Julian complained to one of his pagan priests, “[They] support not only their poor, but ours as well.”
It is this kind of love and compassion in the service of truth, especially the truth of the human person, that has marked the lives of the holy ones of our own faith tradition and others as well: hospitals, orphanages, schools, outreach to the poor and destitute – giving without concern for getting anything in return, seeing in each human being, especially in the poor and destitute, a priceless child beloved by God, whom God calls to turn away from sin and toward Him, so that they might be saved. In1839 Jeanne Jugan met one such priceless child of God, a blind old crippled woman whom nobody cared for. That night, Jeanne carried the woman home to her apartment, and put her to sleep in her own bed. From this profound encounter was born the Little Sisters of the Poor, who even today are loving, caring for and providing homes for thousands of elderly who deserve dignity as well as care. These are the very nuns who now face the possibility of being shut out of spreading the love of Jesus to the needy because of their refusal to comply with a healthcare mandate that violates their moral convictions, convictions which stand on the truth of basic human dignity.
Let us, then, take our cue from the best our predecessors in faith have inspired, and not humanity’s frequent failings and sins. Like them, we now in our own time need to proclaim and live the truth with charity and compassion as it applies to us today: the truth of a united family based on the union of the children’s father and mother in marriage as the foundational good of society. Every child comes from a man and a woman, and has a right, a natural human right, to know and be known by, to love and be loved by, their own mother and father. This is the great public good that marriage is oriented towards and protects. The question is then: does society need an institution that unites children to the mothers and fathers who bring them into the world, or doesn’t it? If it does, that institution is marriage – nothing else provides this basic good to children.
Yes, this is a foundational truth, and one to which we must witness by lives lived in conformity to it, and which we must proclaim with love. Love for those millions of loving single mothers and fathers who struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives and succeed in creating loving homes for their children – they need and deserve our love, affirmation and support. Love for the husband struggling with fidelity, for the woman who feels abandoned and pressured into abortion, for the teenager struggling to believe in the heroic vision of love that makes sense of chastity, for the single person who cannot find a mate, for the childless couple trying to cope with infertility, for the wife who finds herself nursing a sick husband in her marriage bed, for the young person trying to navigate through sexual identity issues and may feel alienated from the Church because of it, maybe even because of the sort of treatment received from those who profess to be believers. To all of you, I say: know that you are a child of God, that you are called to heroic love and that with God’s help you can do it, that we love you and want to support you in living your God-given call.
And let us not forget: we must also proclaim this truth especially with love for those who disagree with us on this issue, and most of all, for those who are hostile toward us. We must be careful, though, not to paint our opponents on this issue with broad strokes. There is a tendency in our culture to do this to groups of people the powerful don’t know and think they don’t like. We must not do that. We must recognize that there are people on the other side of this debate who are of good will and are sincerely trying to promote what they think is right and fair. It is misdirected good will. But even those from whom we suffer retribution – and I know some of you have suffered in very serious ways because of your stand for marriage – still, we must love them. That is what our ancestors in faith did, and we must, too. Yes, it is easy to become resentful when you are relentlessly and unfairly painted as a bigot and are punished for publicly standing by the basic truth of marriage as a foundational societal good; it is tempting to respond in kind. Don’t. For those of us who are Catholic, we just heard our Master command us in the gospel proclaimed at Mass the day before yesterday: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44). We must not allow the angry rhetoric to co-opt us into a culture of hate.
Yes, we must show love toward all of these and more. Love is the answer. But love in the truth. The truth is that every child comes from a mother and a father, and to deliberately deprive a child of knowing and being loved by his or her mother and father is an outright injustice. That is our very nature, and no law can change it. Those with temporal power over us might choose to change the definition of marriage in the law even against all that we have accomplished through very generous participation in the democratic process, but our nature does not change. If the law does not correspond to our nature, such that there is a conflict between the law and nature, guess which will prevail? And people will figure it out.
We can take heart from what we see happening now in the pro-life movement. Back in the early 1970’s, just before the Court issued its infamous Roe vs. Wade ruling, public support for abortion was growing rapidly. And as with marriage redefinition today, a generation gap opened up in the polls, leading many to predict that opposition to abortion would literally die off. That was the future; before long, it would not even be an issue. Instead, something unexpected happened. A relatively small band of faithful believers held the line on the sanctity of human life in the womb, and today, two generations later, the pro-life movement is flourishing like never before. We now have the most pro-life generation of young adults since the infamous Roe decision. People have figured out that it is a human life that is within the mother’s womb, and that abortion, yes, really does harm women; they’ve figured out that it’s good to cherish that human life and surround the mother with love and support so a truly happy choice can be made, the choice for life.
People, too, will figure out that a child comes from a father and a mother, and it’s good for the child to be connected to his or her father and mother. These truths may seem obvious to us, but they aren’t to everyone while in the heat of controversy. They will figure out this truth about marriage, though, because it, too, is in our nature, and it is a key to individual and societal flourishing. All we have to do is look around and see that our society is broken and hurting in so many ways; there is so much work to do to fix it and bring healing. Yes, it is very complex, and many different things need to be done: we need to fix our economy; we especially need to pay a living wage to working class families; we need to fix our broken immigration system; we need to improve our schools, especially those that are failing children from poorer families. Yes, we need to do all this and more. But none of these solutions will have a lasting effect if we do not rebuild a marriage culture, a culture which recognizes and supports the good of intact families, built on the marriage between a man and a woman committed to loving faithfulness to each other and to their children. No justice, no peace, no end to poverty, without a strong culture of marriage and the family. This noble cause is a call to love we cannot abandon, that we will not give up on, and that in the end we know will triumph.
So take heart: the truth spoken in love has a power over the human heart. We are here today to March for Marriage, to pick up the torch, and pass on to a new generation the truth about marriage, not just the abstract truth, but the lived reality that makes a difference in children’s lives. So, my friends, we must not give up: the truth will not go away, and we will not go away. Let us take heart from the legacy we have received, let us place our trust in God, and let us go forth to build a civilization of truth and love.
There will be rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. Jesus Christ
There must have been rejoicing in heaven a few weeks ago. That’s when Wojeiech Jaruzelski, the former Communist dictator or Poland asked for last rites.
Mr Jaruzelski was also the former and the commander of the Soviet Military forces that put down an attempted move toward democracy in Czechoslovakia. He was an avowed atheist for most of his adult life.
True to its way of doing things, the Church accepted him back and rejoiced in his salvation. Mr Jaruzelski died May 25, following a stroke and was given a funeral Mass on May 30. He had recanted of his atheism and asked for the rites of the Church two weeks before his death.
“What a … beautiful thing, that the head of the government which was at war with the Church should in the end be reconciled with the Church. That’s cause to ring the bells of glory, isn’t it?” said Fr Raymond Gawronski.
Warsaw, Poland, Jun 19, 2014 / 12:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The recent funeral Mass said for Wojciech Jaruzelski, who was a Polish military commander and communist politician during the Cold War, has been received as an occasion for rejoicing.
“What a very odd but beautiful thing, that the head of the government which was at war with the Church should in the end be reconciled with the Church. That’s cause to ring the bells of glory, isn’t it?” said Fr. Raymond Gawronski, a priest of Society of Jesus’ Maryland province and a Polish-American, in an interview this month with CNA.
Jaruzelski, who was for many years an avowed atheist, died May 25 following a stroke. He was given a funeral Mass in Warsaw May 30, said by Bishop Jozef Guzdek of the Polish Military Ordinariate.
A priest at the ordinariate’s cathedral announced that two weeks prior to his death, Jaruzelski had requested last rites.
Jaruzelski was born in 1923 to a prominent Catholic family of Poland, and shortly after country’s invasion by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, he and his family were deported to Siberia, and he was later made to work in coal mines in Kazakhstan.
Before World War II ended, he had joined the Soviet-backed Polish army to fight the Nazis. He continued to fight the anti-communist Polish Home Army after the world war, defending the Soviet-backed Polish government.
Jaruzelski formally joined Poland’s communist party in 1948, and 20 years later became Poland’s defense secretary; that year, he occupied Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring, an effort at democratization.
In 1981, he seized power in Poland and soon declared martial law in an effort to suppress Solidarity, an anti-communist trade union inspired by Catholic social doctrine. Tens of thousands were arrested, and some 100 were killed in the crackdown; Jaruzelski’s imposition of martial law lasted until 1983.
My heart goes out to Father Joseph Terra.
He has to heal from grievous injuries, but that’s the least of it, really.
He also has to heal in his wounded heart. He will live with the trauma he has suffered personally, and also from the additional trauma of seeing his brother priest die in front of him, for a long time to come.
Survivors of violent crime are often saddled with guilt of all types.
Why didn’t I fight harder? Why didn’t I call the police? Why didn’t I do this or that or the other? They ask themselves these questions over and over until the questions themselves become a wound, a source of shame and grief.
There are other questions, as well. Why me? Why did this happen to me? Why would anyone do this? And the companion questions: Why did I survive? Why am I alive when others are dead?
Father Terra did all he could. In fact, he was heroic. But, good man that he is, he is also bound to be attacked by the questions that keep coming in the middle of the night, the first moments after waking, when he sees a television show that reminds him.
He will wake up at the hour it happened for a long time to come. He will be struck with panic and sudden memories that feel like he’s reliving it. He will face, over and over and over again the endless repeating memory of Father Walker, coming to help him, the sound of the gunfire, the death of his friend.
It doesn’t stop because the victim wants it to stop. It doesn’t stop because people tell them they were heroes and to let it go and get over it. It simply doesn’t stop.
These thoughts punch holes in a person. They drain away self-worth, peace of mind and trust. Everything depends on how people treat the victim of a violent crime in the first days, weeks and months after the event. In that, I think Father Terra is blessed. He is surrounded by loving people who want to help and honor him.
Father Walker is in heaven. I don’t doubt that. He is probably praying for the man who killed him. I have little doubt that he is also praying for Father Terra as he makes his way through the pain and grief of what has happened.
Father Terra will never be able to rewind this tragedy. He will always be the man that this happened to. But he can, with time and God’s grace, make it into something good. He is a priest, which means he is a conduit of God’s grace. He is now also the victim of a senseless violent crime. The Holy Spirit can combine those two things in wonderful ways.
I pray for Father Terra. My heart goes out to him. I hope that God uses him and this tragedy to give new hope and healing to many lost souls who need it.
PHOENIX – On Monday morning, Father Joseph Terra, a victim from last week’s attack at a Phoenix church, made his first public appearance.Terra didn’t speak at Monday’s Requiem Mass service.Father was in a wheelchair and hands were bandaged up. Severe lacerations were evident on his head.Father Terra was beaten so severely, he was brought to the hospital in critical condition.Around a thousand people packed into Saint Catherine of Siena Monday for a requiem mass service in honor of murder victim Father Kenneth Walker.