If you do not eat of my flesh and drink of my blood, you will no have life within you. Jesus Christ
The Eucharist was a scandal. Many of Jesus’ followers left Him when He explicitly told them I am the bread of life.
It is popular today to cast Jesus as a Casper Milquetoast god thingy of our devising. According to popular cant, Jesus’ sole purpose in becoming human was to tell us that, hey, I’m ok and you’re ok. Do what feels good and so long as it doesn’t kill somebody else — unless of course it’s euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research or abortion, in which case, it’s a “human right” to kill somebody else — so long as it doesn’t kill somebody else that you’ve decided it is a denial of human rights not to kill, it’s fine by me.
Jesus’ living teaching about the mercy of God toward the weak and helpless, in particular women, when He said let him who is without sin cast the first stone has been transmuted to mean I can commit any sin I want and the Church is sinning if it says my sin is a sin.
The Eucharist was a hard teaching, a scandalizing teaching, on that day when Jesus first taught it. Many people left Him because of it.
But Jesus didn’t follow after them and try to smooth things over. He didn’t say C’mon back. I didn’t mean it that way.
His reaction — if you have deluded yourself into believing in the Casper Milquetoast Jesus of modern pop theology — was downright unChristlike.
Stop grumbling among yourselves. He said. It is written, They will all be taught by God.
Then, he doubled down on his teaching about the Eucharist: My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink … Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.
Finally, He turned to His disciples and said, Are you going to leave me too?
Not, notice, please, please don’t leave me; I was only speaking metaphorically.
He looked at them and without equivocation acknowledged that they were as scandalized by this teaching as those in the crowd, but, again, without wavering one inch on that hard teaching, asked them the real question that He asks each of us: Are you going to leave me, too?
It was a line in the proverbial sand. Stay or go, He was saying, but the teaching will not change.
He asks us, all of us, including our cardinals and bishops, this same question today. Are you going to leave me, too?
Will the hard teachings of our Christ Jesus, Who was anything but a Casper Milquetoast, be too much for you?
Today’s Catholics wuss right by the hard teaching of the Eucharist. We’ve got that one down.
But the other hard teachings about the sanctity of marriage and human life, about the reality of hell and the fact that yes, Virginia, there is a satan, are too difficult, too embarrassing, too demanding of us in this post-Christian world.
We want to whittle Jesus down, to wear away His rough edges like a bar of soap, until we have a slippery little g god who won’t make things so tough on us. We want our silly addlepated little wimp of a self-made god who won’t trouble us in our desire to be accepted and loved by everybody, including those who are unknowingly following satan when they attack Him.
We want Christ without the cross, eternal life and salvation without redemption and conversion.
It hurts me! Sinners cry. It hurts to be “judged” a sinner just because I break these eternal rules. It rankles and angers me that anyone would think that the things I want to do are wrong. So, stop saying that. In fact, tell me that what I want — whatever I want — is good and virtuous.
If the Church obliges, it will condemn these people to hell.
It will also condemn itself to inconsequence.
It is one thing to teach that this Church of ours is the cornerstone, that it was built on Peter the rock and that Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against it. It is quite another to arrogantly assume that the Church may change the basic teachings of the faith and teach that which is contrary to what Christ taught and that it will be A-Ok because Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against us.
The first is faith. The second is presumption.
Jesus did not mean whatever this Church does is holy because the Church does it. His great Apostle, St Paul, said quite clearly, God is not mocked.
John the Baptist told the Pharisees, when they went into the wilderness to refute him for his preaching, that everyone — including them — was in need of redemption. He then smashed their self-justifying claims of exemption from following the laws of God. Do not say we are sons of Abraham, he told them. God can raise up sons of Abraham from these very stones.
Jesus said it best, of course, when He said, A servant is not greater than his master.
That applies to those who wear the mitre just as it does to the rest of us.
Perhaps the hardest teaching in that day of hard teachings when Christ the Lord made clear beyond misunderstanding what the Eucharist really meant, was the answer He gave to those who walked away. It is written, they will all be taught by God.
We have been taught by God made flesh. This is not some wimpy, politically correct little g god of our devising. This is a God who was reviled and attacked, mocked and betrayed and yet did not yield. This is a God who consented to be beaten, tortured, mocked, and horribly murdered; Who took on the bottomless alienation of all sin, Who became Sin, in order to buy us back from our perdition.
Are you going to leave me too?
That is the question.
It’s up to each one of us to decide what we will answer.
Oklahoma City’s Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius Beltran was a gift to our state when he led us.
He was always willing to take the hard step up to the plate to defend the human person from the ravages of discrimination and hate.
About 10 years ago, Oklahoma passed an outrageous law aimed at Hispanics. This law made it a crime to help people, even when they were in dire situations, who had entered this country illegally. It was so draconian that it cut right across the mission of every Christian to serve and love the “least of these.” It was, in truth and in fact, a Jim Crow law for Hispanics.
I actually debated this point when I spoke against this law. I dug out the vote on the original Jim Crow law that Oklahoma had passed not long after statehood.
Do you want your name on a list like this, I asked my fellow legislators, pointing to the votes. It did no good. The state Republicans had whipped the public into a mindless and vicious anti-Hispanic hatred in order to win elections, and even legislators who saw that this law was a crime against God voted for it for fear of losing their next election.
My own district, which was a mix of all sorts of people — a true “rainbow” district of skin colors — was in a welter over it. Later, when the pro abortion people tried to defeat me in an election, they made an attempt to use that stand against this law to defeat me.
I had to take another stand, this time in my district, and tell the people there that I would not vote for something like this, and that if they wanted a racist who attacked people for political gain, then they should not vote for me. I won that election by a huge margin, with the full support of every racial group in the district.
What that meant — and continues to mean — to me is that the people of District 89 are far better people than you will find in much of the rest of our good state. They are some of the best people you will find anywhere.
Archbishop Beltran did not have the luxury of speaking to and for the Catholics of a small part of Oklahoma, like my House district. He wasn’t dealing with people who had known him all his life. He had to deal with the irascible and diverse Catholic population of his archdiocese. Many of the Catholics were just as thoroughly whipped up into anti-Hispanic hatred as the rest of the state.
So, when their Archbishop came out against this law with the full force of his prophetic and moral voice as their religious leader, they were irate with him for doing so. He did not let that stop him at all. The Catholic Church in Oklahoma stood tall against this dastardly legislation, just as it had stood for life and human dignity in an absolutely reliable way for years.
The Church was not able to stop passage of the law, but the Church, by taking this stand, raised the issue of the moral responsibility of lawmakers in an arena which was operating by a faux morality that justified harming other people. The Catholic Church was alone in taking a stand against this law. Others joined later, but in the beginning, the only voice against it was the Catholic Church.
The priests who were on the priest council here in Oklahoma all signed a declaration saying that they would not obey this unjust law. The statement declared that they would minister to everyone, regardless of ethnicity or legal status, even if doing so meant that they would go to jail.
These men made me proud to be Catholic. More than that, they made me feel that the Church was a refuge for those who were without other refuge, that Christ really did animate what they were doing as His priests. They sent the message with that statement that the Church was for real.
That taught me a simple lesson that I’ve seen enacted again and again around the world. When people are totally abandoned by everyone; when they become the object of such universal hatred that anyone who stands up for them is taking a big risk, the Church is their refuge.
That is what happened to black people during the long dark night of segregation. The black churches not only created community, they ennobled a people. Their message of Christ saved black Americans from falling absolutely into the pit of rageful despair which would have destroyed them in an absolute way that Jim Crow could not.
Archbishop Beltran was a young priest in Atlanta at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. He knew Martin Luther King, Jr. Father Beltran did in that time what Archbishop Betran did later. He stood with the weak and the hated against the powerful haters who wanted to destroy them. Archbishop Beltran marched with Martin Luther King when it was a dangerous thing to do. He marched with his bishop’s permission, but with the understanding that if he was arrested, his bishop would not try to get him out of jail.
This was a time when jail was a witness to truth. Father Beltran marched with the understanding that he might have to be just such a witness.
Among the many wonderful things that Archbishop Beltran did, he wrote a pastoral letter about violence against women. I treasure this deeply. The Church needs to use its moral and prophetic voice to speak out more decisively against violence against women. It could make such a difference if it did.
The Sooner Catholic recently published an article, discussing Archbishop Emeritus Beltran’s experiences in the Civil Rights movement. Here is a brief excerpt.
From the Sooner Catholic:
On a steamy Georgia morning in March 1965, Father Eusebius Beltran and three of his brother priests piled into the four-door sedan they borrowed from the Archdiocese of Atlanta and headed south toward Selma, Ala.
It had been two days since they’d heard news of a police shooting and beatings during a protest march in Selma that would later become known as “Bloody Sunday.”
The men were not strangers to marches during the Civil Rights Movement, having marched many times through the streets of Atlanta to protest discrimination by schools, restaurants, bus stations and other public venues. But, they hadn’t marched in a protest like this. The Selma marches became a national spark to protest the ongoing exclusion of African-American voters from the electoral process and from the discrimination they faced.
At the urging of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who they’d spoken with often at his father’s Baptist church, the Catholic priests sought approval from Archbishop Hallinan for the road trip to Selma and use of the archdiocese’s car.
“He told me that he wanted to see the boys, the priests, who were going with me before we left,” said Archbishop Beltran, who is now Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
“The four of us went to see Archbishop Hallinan in the hospital and that’s when he asked us ‘Do you guys know what you’re doing? Do you realize you’re breaking the law? Do you know that you could go to jail? And, that if you go to jail, I want to let you know I will not bail you out because part of standing for the truth is you take the punishment, and that’s part of the punishment.’ We said we all knew that, and he said ‘OK, God bless you.’”
After a nervous 4-hour drive to Selma, the priests each claimed a mattress on the floor of a hallway at the Catholic church and headed to join the crowds at a pre-march pep rally.
“The whole thing was well-organized and there was always a spokesman up there who was giving directions, reminding people no violence and to be ready to take a beating. It was scary in a way, but when you’re young, you don’t think about it. And, it had to be done too. It was part of the movement at that time. Selma brought together everything we were working toward.”
The next day, the march began in the same way it had two days earlier. Dr. King led the way across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the group of more than 2,500 marchers were met by state troopers. Since a judge had issued a court order prohibiting the marchers from continuing to Montgomery, Ala., they turned around and marched back to the church without incident. (Later that evening, three white pastors were attacked by members of the Klu Klux Klan, killing one Universalist pastor after the public hospital refused treatment.)
Following the second march, which became known as “Turnaround Tuesday,” Father Beltran and his crew returned to Atlanta where they continued their meetings and marches for several years – including a march to protest a segregated chicken restaurant owned by Lester Maddox, who later became Georgia’s governor.
I’m late to the party.
But then, I often am.
It takes me a while to think through certain events. There are also times when it takes me a while to care about certain events.
The three cardinals — Dolan, Kasper and McCarrick — and their grand slam of confusion is a case in point. I’m going to take their statements/actions one at a time.
Cardinal Dolan and his parade.
It seems that the New York St Patrick’s Day Parade is going to allow a group of gay people to join in the march. It has been noted in some circles that the writers here at the Catholic Portal at Patheos have been — up to now — silent on this subject. I guess they overlooked — or perhaps didn’t like — the commentary by the Anchoress on this subject. For my part, I’ll attempt to add a bit of perspective from fly-over America.
I’ve been writing a lot about beheadings, mass murder and possible war. So, when I read that homosexuals were going to march in a parade in New York (which I hasten to remind you is almost 2,000 miles and a whole culture away from me) I thought, ummm … it’s a parade. Big whooping deal.
Then I heard that Cardinal Dolan was going to be the grand master at this hoe down, and I thought ummm … it’s a parade. Big whooping deal.
Then, I heard the plunk, plunk, plunk of the sky falling in the New York outpost of the faithful Catholic blogosphere and I thought ummm … it’s a New York thing. Big whooping deal.
To be honest, I’m sorta stuck at it’s a parade and a New York deal.
We’ll see how it comes off. If Cardinal Dolan ends up two-stepping down the road leading the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or some such, I may decide that, in addition to being a parade, it is an embarrassment.
But basically, I’m still kind of caught up in the fact that we’ve got a blood-red Christian genocide going on and that, well, it’s not a parade. Or a New York deal.
Cardinal McCarrick and his newfound universalism.
Cardinal McCarrick attended a press conference arranged by the Muslim Affairs Council and managed to do such a good job of Muslim apologetics that one headline brayed that “Catholic Cardinal McCarrick Embraces Islam.” All in all, it sounds like the Cardinal put on a pretty good show. It might help if he gave another press conference with Eastern Church leaders to show solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. You know; just to even things out.
Cardinal Kasper and his protestantized view of the sacrament of marriage.
My colleague, Dr Greg Popcak already wrote a post about this, so I’ll pick up the salient quote from him. Here it is:
If a Catholic who is divorced and civilly remarried, without a decree of nullity, “repents of his failure to fulfill what he promised before God, his partner and the church in the first marriage, and carries out as well as possible his new duties and does what he can for the Christian education of his children and has a serious desire for the sacraments, which he needs for strength in his difficult situation, can we after a time of new orientation and stabilization deny absolution and forgiveness?”
I’m not any kind of theologian. In fact, I’m only a Christian and a Catholic due to enormous unmerited forgiveness. So, I “get” the desire to let people in, no matter what they’ve done. I also “get” that in this post-Christian world the Church is flat-out counter-cultural. I’m sure that these cardinals deal with the fallout of that counter-culturalism every day when they interact with civic and social leaders in the upper strata.
I’ve had a few doses of that poison myself.
I also “get” that, due to pew-sitting Catholics drinking great draughts of that cultural poison, divorce and remarriage are increasingly a source of alienation for many of the “faithful.”
However, I don’t “get” slam-dunking 2,000 years of Christian teaching in order to make the Church fit in with this fallen world.
I’m not big fan of the annulment process as it is used today, anyway. I know there are times when a sacrament may not have taken place at a wedding, and I also know that the Church always errs on the side of forgiveness and compassion.
I have benefitted from that forgiveness and compassion. When I accepted Christ and changed, no one else would forgive me. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, not only took me in, but treated what I had done as a thing of the past that did not pertain to me as I am now.
I will be grateful for this loving compassion and forgiveness to the end of my days.
I understand that this deep compassion and desire to forgive animates all that the Church does. But compassion can not overwrite the plain teachings of the Gospels. In fact, it is misguided compassion to try. The compassion that I received was a firm and abiding belief in the power of Christ to redeem sinners, including me.
If the Church had told me — as a number of denominations would have — that it was ok for me to be pro abortion (that was my public sin that others would not forgive) that would have been a terrible injustice to me, a false compassion that would have led me into deeper sign, and ultimately hell.
The Church has the same responsibility to the truth in the area of marriage, divorce and remarriage that it has about abortion.
The Church is bending over backwards to allow people who’ve divorced and remarried to come back into the fold. It does this via a somewhat complicated and terribly faulty annulment process.
As I said, I know that there are times when, for various reasons, a marriage is not sacramental and an annulment is justified. But I honestly believe that those times are much more rare than the number of annulments reflect.
I realize that this is one of the more contentious issues facing the Church today. But the fact remains that the facts remain. I know what I’ve seen. And what I’ve seen is people getting annulments for marriages that
they willingly contracted when they were free adults
they undertook after lengthy premarital counseling by the Church that took place in Catholic Churches
whose vows were given in front of many witnesses and before a priest
were not abusive but were cases where the people simply decided — for various reasons — to get out and go and get annulments so they could try again with someone else.
I know the annulment system is a mess because I’ve also seen people who entered into marriage
when both were drunk during the ceremony and they were both sleeping with other people at the time they married and they both knew it not getting an annulment because they couldn’t get the paperwork filled out.
Add to that, I’ve also seen someone refused entry into the Church because they couldn’t get the paperwork filed out concerning a common law marriage from decades in their past.
The annulment process isn’t working for people who deserve annulments. And it’s chunking out annulments for people who should not get them.
But what the Cardinal seems to be suggesting is to toss the whole thing overboard and shake hands and call it even. In essence, what he’s leading up to is a revocation of the sacramental nature of marriage. I say that because, if marriage is a sacrament, you can’t undo it. Can’t. Not possible.
And if marriage, after 2,000 years, isn’t a sacrament, then what is? I mean, if marriage isn’t a sacrament, then why would Holy Orders, which is akin to it, be a sacrament?
The real problem with all of these actions taken by these various Cardinals is that they are deeply disturbing to the people who actually hold the Church together. I do not mean the hierarchy. I mean the pew-sitting Catholics who believe and try to follow what the Church teaches. It’s a mistake of Homeric proportions to abandon those people and go off chasing after the ones who have left the Church.
Remember when Jesus said, If you do not eat of my flesh and drink of my blood, you will have no eternal life within you? His frank discussion of the sacrament of the Eucharist, of which this statement is a part, caused a number of people to abandon Him. They went off muttering about cannibalism or some such.
But Our Lord didn’t go chasing after them and say, Wait a minute, I didn’t mean it that way.
He let what He’d said stand and He allowed them to leave.
If the princes of the Church start teaching that 2,000 years of Christian teaching on the sacraments is up for grabs because it’s an embarrassment to them, we are in big trouble. In truth, sex outside of marriage, including homosexual sex, is a sin. In truth, marriage is between one man and one woman and it is for life. In truth, there are radical differences between Christianity and every other belief system. Christianity alone has the empty tomb and the words that lead to eternal life.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. There is no other.
On the other hand, it is just a parade and a New York deal, and it was just a speech, and then another speech.
Confusing leadership is … well … confusing. In times such as these, it can be frightening. It seems to be almost impossible for the American bishops to give clear teaching on what is in fact the 2,000 year old teachings of the Church for which they claim to speak. They’re trying so hard to be loved by everybody that they trip over their own eagerness.
That scares people who’ve paid a great price to follow the Church, and it angers them. I think the best way to deal with that is to remember that it has always been so, and it will always be so until the Lord comes again. Your task is to stay faithful, in spite of it.
As for the New York parade deal; I just hope that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence stay away.
It’s the new hot trend. Go online and pick an egg donor from photos and order up a harvesting of her body in order to design a baby, made to your specifications. Then hire a “surrogate” (read that breeder) to carry the baby to term for you. And if the thing goes wrong, as biology is wont to do, why, then, order the surrogate to kill the baby for you. You know, like a Roman Pater discussing the upcoming birth of his child with the family Mater in this love letter from the front:
“Know that I am still in Alexandria…. I ask and beg you to take good care of our baby son, and as soon as I received payment I shall send it up to you. If you are delivered (before I come home), if it is a boy keep it, if a girl, discard it.”
This lovely practice of “discarding” baby girls —along with babies with birth defects — runs throughout recorded history. It is still practiced in parts of the world today.
Early Christians labeled the practice infanticide. They went out into the streets, got these baby girls, brought them home and raised them.
The idea that there is no Greek nor Jew, no male nor female but all are one in Christ Jesus was a startling Christian innovation. The teaching, which was formalized in writing as early as the Didache, that all human life, including unborn human life, is sacred, is another peculiar Christian innovation.
Today’s version of “discard it,” at least in the “civilized” West, is abortion. The neat tidiness of legal killing in a clinical situation has it all over any other mass killing field in history. There are no furnaces belching out smoke to run day and night disposing the bodies. No one sees the carnage except the medical staff. Even the receptionist who sits out front is left innocent of what is really happening.
Combine this take-a-number-and-wait killing field with the highly-lucrative business of harvesting and renting women’s bodies as if they were farm animals in order to manufacture made-to-order babies for sale, and you have the total commercialization of human life and human beings.
Call it “creating families” or whatever pretty little phrase you want to paste over its ugliness. This is the practice of commercialized medicine for hire, put to the service of creating, buying and selling people. It has nothing to do with the healing arts or medicine practiced to save lives.
It is the ultimate prostitution, and the “doctors” who do it are the ultimate pimps. It degrades women and babies to the level of chattel for the express and openly acknowledged business of buying and selling people.
The tripping up part, of course, is what if the baby-buyers decide at the last minute that they don’t want their new human widget. What if, say, there’s a divorce? Or the manufacturing process goes awry and the baby has a cleft palate or down’s syndrome or spina bifida. What if those designer genes turn out to be somewhat idiosyncratic?
In that circumstance, our “modern” baby buyers do the modern thing. They order the baby killed. It is, after all, their possession that they bought in good faith that it would be delivered as ordered.
Now, it’s defective. They’re behaving the way anyone would if the factory delivered the wrong purchase. They are sending it back. Consider these stories:
1. An Australian couple who was paying a woman from Thailand to carry their twin unborn babies as a surrogate asked the woman to abort one of the babies because testing had revealed one of the babies has Down Syndrome.The couple enlisted the woman, whose family was heavily in debt, to become their surrogate and to use IVF to become pregnant. She was subsequently found to be pregnant with twins but the initial joy turned to rejection when testing showed a boy nicknamed Gammy was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.The couple wanted the mother to have an abortion, but she refused and eventually gave birth to Gammy and his twin sister in Bangkok. The couple then refused to take Gammy back with them to Australia and left him in Thailand.
2. A British surrogate mother said yesterday that she is raising a disabled baby as her own after the child’s intended mother told her she did not want a ‘dribbling cabbage’ for a daughter.The healthy boy was taken home by the childless British couple whom the surrogate mother claims then rejected his unwell sister because of her disability.‘I remember her saying to me, “She’d be a ****ing dribbling cabbage! Who would want to adopt her? No one would want to adopt a disabled child”.’She is now raising the baby – identified only as Amy – with her partner and their other children.
3. A British woman who agreed to become a surrogate mother for an American couple is suing them for allegedly backing out of the deal because she is carrying twins.Helen Beasley, 26, claims Californians Charles Wheeler and Martha Berman demanded she abort one of the foetuses because they only wanted one child.When she refused, they allegedly refused to have anything more to do with her.Miss Beasley, who is six months pregnant, wants to put the twins up for adoption. But under Californian law, parental rights in a surrogacy agreement go to the intended parents, not the surrogate mother.Miss Beasley, a single woman from the Midlands, already has a nine-year- old son. The two of them arrived in the U.S. a week ago.She said she could not afford to support the twins, so adopting them herself was not an option. But she claimed to feel very responsible for the babies.’You can’t help but get attached to them, and I just want the best for them,’ she said last night. ‘When they’re born, what happens to them? I can’t have them. I can’t do anything with them. They’re not mine.
4. “The View” host Sheri Shepherd reportedly wants “nothing to do” with her unborn childnow that her marriage has folded. Shepherd reportedly used IVF to conceive a child with her husband Lamar Sally but now is not interested in caring for the baby, who is being carried by a surrogate mother. 5. Doctors told surrogate mother Crystal Kelley, 29,five months into her pregnancy last year that the baby she was carrying had a series of disabilities. When the child’s parents told her they wanted to abort the foetus, she fled from Connecticut across the country to Michigan, where under state law she had legal rights as the child’s mother. … The baby was suspected to have a cleft palate, a brain cyst and serious heart defects. Doctors were unable to locate the child’s spleen or stomach, and gave the baby only a 25 percent chance of living a normal life They offered her $10,000 to have the procedure but Ms Kelley refused, demanding $15,000 instead in what she says was a “weak moment”. The parents refused, and reminded her of her contractual obligation to abort the foetus if it displayed signs of abnormality. If she refused, she would be sued for the fee she had already received, plus all the medical expenses and legal fees.
Archbishop Paul Coakley filed suit today against the group which has said it will conduct a “black mass” at the Oklahoma City Civic Center.
The basis for the lawsuit is that the group has illegally obtained property belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, i.e., a Consecrated Host.
There are a number of statutes which might apply to this situation. According to an article in National Catholic Reporter, a “black mass” involves a naked woman lying on the “altar,” which has a certain symmetry since their “priest” is a convicted sex offender. Since Oklahoma has laws against public nudity, the Satanists claim they are going to forego that, along with using excrement and urine.
Here is a sampling of other statutes which might apply to the situation. These are all from Title 21, criminal law. I’m sure there are many others under tort law.
Oklahoma Criminal Statutes:
1. Receiving property obtained under false pretenses:”§21-1713. Receiving stolen property – Presumption.
A. Every person who buys or receives, in any manner, upon any consideration, any personal property of any value whatsoever that has been stolen, embezzled, obtained by false pretense or robbery, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe the same to have been stolen, embezzled, obtained by false pretense, or robbery, or who conceals, withholds, or aids in concealing or withholding such property from the owner, shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary not to exceed five (5) years, or in the county jail not to exceed one (1) year, or by a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or by both such fine and imprisonment.2. Larceny:“§211701. Larceny defined.Larceny is the taking of personal property accomplished by fraud or stealth, and with intent to deprive another thereof.”3. Crime against a house of worship (as an Accessory to the crime).“§21-1765. House of worship or contents, injuring.Any person who willfully breaks, defaces, or otherwise injures any house of worship, or any part thereof, or any appurtenance thereto, or any book, furniture, ornament, musical instrument, article of silver or plated ware, or other chattel kept therein for use in connection with religious worship, shall be guilty of a felony.”§21173. Accessories defined.All persons who, after the commission of any felony, conceal or aid the offender, with knowledge that he has committed a felony, and with intent that he may avoid or escape from arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment, are accessories.§21901. Blasphemy defined.Blasphemy consists in wantonly uttering or publishing words, casting contumelious reproach or profane ridicule upon God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Scriptures or the Christian or any other religion.§21902. Serious discussion not blasphemy.If it appears beyond reasonable doubt that the words complained of were used in the course of serious discussion, and with intent to make known or recommend opinions entertained by the accused, such words are not blasphemy.
This is the press release Archbishop Coakley put out about the lawsuit:
I read a book this weekend, Even Silence has an End, by Ingrid Betancourt.
Doctor Betancourt is a former senator and candidate for the presidency of Columbia. She was kidnapped by FARC Communist rebels while she was en route to a campaign appearance in her race for the presidency and held prisoner for six years.
Even Silence has an End describes her long years in captivity. A number of her fellow captives have also written a book, Out of Captivity.
If I read the other book, it will be after I give the subject a rest. There’s only so much of the brutality and injustice that FARC visited on these people that I can take.
What interests me today is the extremely toxic personality conflicts that developed among this small group of abductees and the hatred that it engendered in them toward one another. Small group toxicity and the resulting nastiness affects all of us as we go about our jobs and workaday lives. It poisons our relationships and wounds people deeply. It also makes us less effective in what we are trying to accomplish. Instead of getting good things done, we end up wasting our energies scratching and clawing at one another.
It sounds very much like this is what happened among these captives during their long years of helpless insecurity at the hands of brutal guards who might beat, starve, put them on forced marches or even kill them at any time.
One of the comments the American authors made about Doctor Betancourt is absurd and abusive on its face. “It was her own arrogance that got her kidnapped,” one of her fellow captives said.
Let’s be clear. The abduction of Ingrid Betancourt, as well as the other captives, was caused by the criminals who abducted them. FARC did this.
According to Even Silence Has an End, what happened is that presidential candidate Betancourt was scheduled to make an appearance in an area that officials had recently declared guerrilla free. She was supposed to have armored vehicles and military escort. When she arrived at the jump-off point, her armored vehicles and military escort were withdrawn. The orders probably came from her political opponent, the president.
Doctor Betancourt does not say that the president wanted her to be abducted. She says that he was trying to keep her from making the campaign appearance.
Whatever the motives behind all this, she had gone into dangerous areas before and decided to go ahead with the campaign trip. She was abducted while she was en route to the engagement.
Does that make her abduction her “fault?” No. She was abducted by FARC. It is their fault.
What is astonishing is that this intelligent person is so messed up by his captivity that he doesn’t “get” that.
It is a mark of the damage that prolonged and intense association within toxic little groups does to people’s thinking. Leadership plays a huge part in this. if the leader — and by that, I mean the one who has the power — wants people to settle down and get along, they usually do. But FARC had everything to gain by pitting these prisoners against one another. If they had worked together, it would have made escape much more likely.
By dividing them emotionally and keeping them focused on hating one another, FARC had a much more manageable group to deal with.
One of the oddball claims that the other prisoners have made is that Doctor Betancourt retained authority, even as an abductee. She certainly was the most high profile prisoner, which would have made her more valuable to FARC. She also had dual citizenship with France, and the French went to bats for her and kept on fighting for her throughout her captivity. This, too, would have made her more important to FARC.
At the same time, the other prisoners, including the Americans who wrote Out of Captivity, were pretty much forgotten and ignored by everyone but their own families and sometimes not even them. They had less value to FARC because of this. They also had to live with the emotional damage this abandonment did to them throughout their captivity and for the rest of their lives.
It is important to note that Doctor Betancourt was chained with a chain around her neck. She was also starved and put in solitary confinement. When she attempted escape, the FARC soldiers gang-raped her as punishment.
If that’s what it means to be the queen bee of a FARC prison camp, I think I’ll pass.
The interesting point in all this is that these captives might very well have managed an escape, and they certainly would have been much less damaged emotionally by their captivity, if they had not yielded to the manipulations of their captors and fallen into obsessive small-group hatred and internecine rivalry.
They needed leadership and discipline within their ranks. They also needed to work out goals for themselves that would have allowed them to function as a unit without attacking one another. I can think of no better goal for a group of abductees who are being unjustly held prisoner than escape.
They got confused — and apparently are still confused to this day — as to who their enemy was. And that made a hell of their hell, which continues to run their emotions, even after they are physically free.
This sad tale forms teachable parallels with Christians today all over the world. I’ve heard from more than one person that part of the trouble in forming a Christian resistance to the genocide taking place in the Middle East is internecine rivalries between different Christian faith traditions. I see it all the time in the internet rivalries and name-calling that goes on among Catholics on internet websites.
We are feuding with one another over whether or not to say the mass in English or Latin, whether or not to hold hands during the Our Father, and whether or not or even how much to bend our faith to politically correct cultural dictates such as gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia. Even our own priests are all over the map about these things.
At the same time, we are carrying on these absolutely moronic feuds among ourselves, we are seeing a genocide of Christians in Muslim countries that just keeps intensifying and growing. We stand silent while Christians are imprisoned in North Korea, while their churches are razed in China and while they are mocked and unjustly reviled here in the United States and in Europe.
Much of the reason why is that we are wasting our energies and our time fighting with one another. We need to remember that we are not, ever, truly in the power of those in power in this world. We answer only to Jesus Christ and we are citizens of His Kingdom before any other.
We need to stop fighting with one another. That is the devil’s handiwork in our lives.
Here is Archbishop Coakley’s letter calling for prayer and penance about the black mass in Oklahoma City.
The video from Bishop Slattery, of Tulsa, Oklahoma is below that.
August 4, 2014
The Memorial of St. John Vianney
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
By now you are probably aware that a Satanic group has scheduled a so-called Black Mass for Sunday, September 21 at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City.
Even though tickets are being sold for this event as if it were merely some sort of dark entertainment, this Satanic ritual is deadly serious. It is a blasphemous and obscene inversion of the Catholic Mass. Using a consecrated Host obtained illicitly from a Catholic church and desecrating it in the vilest ways imaginable, the practitioners offer it in sacrifice to Satan. This terrible sacrilege is a deliberate attack on the Catholic Mass as well as the foundational beliefs of all Christians. It mocks Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we Catholics believe is truly present under the form of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist when it has been consecrated by a validly ordained priest.
In spite of repeated requests, there has been no indication that the City intends to prevent this event from taking place. I have raised my concerns with city officials and pointed out how deeply offensive this proposed sacrilegious act is to Christians and especially to the more than 250,000 Catholics who live in Oklahoma. I am certainly concerned about the misuse of a publicly supported facility for an event which has no other purpose than mocking the Catholic faith. I am especially concerned about the dark powers that this Satanic worship invites into our community and the spiritual danger that this poses to all who are involved in it, directly or indirectly. Since it seems this event will not be cancelled, I am calling on all Catholics of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to counteract this challenge to faith and decency through prayer and penance.
Specifically, I am asking that the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel be included at the conclusion of every Mass, beginning on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6) and continuing through the Feast of the Archangels (September 29). I invite all Catholics to pray daily for divine protection through the intercession of this heavenly patron who once defeated Lucifer in his rebellion against the Almighty and who stands ready to assist us in this hour of need.
Secondly, I am asking that each parish conduct a Eucharistic Holy Hour with Benediction to honor Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, between the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15) and September 21, to avert this proposed sacrilege.
Finally, I invite all Catholics, Christians and people of good will to join me in prayer for a Holy Hour, outdoor Eucharistic Procession and Benediction at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Oklahoma City at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 21, the day of the proposed sacrilege. We will pray to avert this sacrilege and publicly manifest our faith in the Lord and our loving gratitude for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our lives.
A printable version of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese on the archdiocesan website (www.archokc.org). If you have not yet done so, I urge you to contact the Office of the Mayor, the Honorable Mick Cornett, to express your outrage over this offensive and blasphemous sacrilege and this misuse of a tax-supported public space.
Commending our efforts to the Lord through the loving intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Oklahoma’s Governor Mary Fallin condemned black mass that is scheduled for Oklahoma City next month.
From the Governor’s website:
Monday, August 11, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today condemned a scheduled performance of a satanic black mass next month in Oklahoma City.
“This ‘Black Mass’ is a disgusting mockery of the Catholic faith, and it should be equally repellent to Catholics and non-Catholics alike,” said Fallin. “It may be protected by the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t condemn it in the strongest terms possible for the moral outrage which it is. It is shocking and disgusting that a group of New York City ‘satanists’ would travel all the way to Oklahoma to peddle their filth here. I pray they realize how hurtful their actions are and cancel this event.”
Fallin joins Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley in criticizing the event, scheduled for Sept. 21 at the Oklahoma City Civic Center. The archbishop said the black mass “is a satanic inversion and distortion of the most sacred beliefs not only of Catholics, but of all Christians.”
Oklahoma City officials have said the Civic Center is a public building and the city must abide by the First Amendment and allow it to be leased to any group that agrees to abide by all laws and city ordinances.
The black mass in Oklahoma City reportedly is being organized by the Satanic Temple of New York City, which last year submitted plans for a public monument of a seated Satan on the state Capitol grounds to counter a monument of the Ten Commandments.
If ever there was a needful thing, this is it.
The bishops of Oriental Churches are calling Muslim religious leaders to issue Fatwas banning attacks against Christians. A few incredibly brave Muslims have taken steps on their own. More than 200 people, many of them Muslims, gathered in July in front of a church in Baghdad, carrying signs that said, “I am Iraqi, I am Christian.”
“A group of citizens … they were Muslims … carrying slogans saying “I am Iraqi, I am Christian,” said Father Maysar Bahnam of Mar Korkis of Catholic Church. “They prayed in solidarity with us, saying that we are people from this land.”
Now, the Oriental Bishops are asking Muslim religious leaders to do the right thing and use their authority to help end what has become a genocide.
I do not know what the response will be. There may not be any response at all. But it is important to issue this call. This is an opportunity for Islam to demonstrate that there is more to it than the face we see on the news every night.
It is not enough for politically-correct Westerners to insist that Islam is a faith of peace and beauty. Muslims themselves — in particular Muslim religious leaders — need to demonstrate this by their actions and teachings.
The bishops of Oriental Churches on Thursday demanded Muslim religious authorities to issue fatwas banning attacks against Christians and “other innocents” in the East, urging also parties financing terrorist organizations “to immediately stop arming” these extremist groups.
“We call on Muslim religious authorities, Sunnis and Shiites, to issue fatwas banning attacks against Christians and other innocents,” Beirut Maronite Bishop Boulos Matar said after a congregation of the bishops of Oriental Churches at Diman, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s summer seat.
In a related story: Austrian Muslims Hold Protest March Against Christian Persecution in Iraq