Sort It All Out

Fr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,

Any time we worship anything other than God we dance around the altars of Baal, a false god. The more we do the more frantic we become and the more we begin to hurt ourselves. Sounds like addictive or compulsive behavior to me. That is exactly what happens when we substitute a material thing for God. We will dance around it more and more frenetically until we start to harm ourselves. Witness an addiction to a drug: the thing we convinced ourselves would help us turns around and begins to harm us.

This First Sunday of Lent gives us the prescription for curing what ails us spiritually. When we worship God rightly, we find peace. Whenever we adore God, we are face to face with him, whenever we adore anything less than God our soul disintegrates into a spiritual cacophony. How often have you tried to substitute material things for spiritual things but always came up unsatisfied, always wanting more and with a very restless heart? Those substitutions can take a lot of different and subtle forms. The four classical things that we substitute for God are usually wealth, power, pleasure, and honor. We make these and not God our ultimate concern. They become our center of gravity. And think how often we are prompted by the false prophets to seek these, just watch any marketing campaign, TV commercial: it all suggests that happiness is found in power or pleasure, wealth or honor or any combo of these four. When we pursue these, we are like the false prophets, worshiping around the altars of a false god.

And when we do get any of these, even just a little taste of say wealth we get a buzz but it eventually wears off, then you seek more, and that buzz lasts even less, and you frantically hop around the altar of a false god wanting it to produce that which it can’t.

Likewise, pleasure is good but it is not God yet we hop around the altars of pleasure too. Power too can be used for good purposes. But most people who get power don’t know how to use it but once had it becomes addictive. Some finally make honor their god. But honor is for others not the self. And the gratification from being appreciated, recognized, affirmed is a short-lived buzz when we do get it. Every one of these is an altar that I have danced around at times in my life. The false prophets, you know are very seductive and can convince you that this is the way to true happiness. Who doesn’t want more prestige, it’s a platform we tell ourselves to do great things, or having sufficient wealth and power can help me do even better things, for God of course! And then having done all the hard work w e talk ourselves into pleasure as ever so rightly deserved.

What I have learned is that the only way to keep them at bay, to keep them from corrupting your soul and making you dance around their altars, is to like Jesus in the desert to simply rebuke them, call them out publicly for what they are: false gods that don’t deserve our worship and only offer a cheap substitute for human happiness. That’s why Jesus asks His disciples for absolute allegiance. Love Him more than father, mother, sister, brother, anything. As the song says, you can have all this world but give me Jesus. If you put Jesus first then you will not be worshiping at any other altar. But failure to keep first things first can have lethal consequences.

We live in a culture where freedom and self-determination are the highest concerns. Jesus is telling us otherwise. True freedom, to really become who you are, is found by subverting your will to that of God’s will. It is not what I desire that matters, not the course that I am plotting for myself but what God desires, what God’s plan is for me. When we put God off to the side and go it alone, we find only the illusion of freedom. We too easily get the order wrong, me, my desire, my self-determination matter.

The Bible tends to scorn such behavior but praises those who listen to the Lord and allow God to define them and allow God’s will to determine them and not their own will. No, the scriptures tell us God first always and you will find freedom. Allegiance to Jesus or the false prophets? What’s it to be? Lent is the season to sort it all out.

Love,
Fr. John B.

 

Advertisements

Catholics, Mormons, Lesbians & The Knights of Columbus

Fr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Sometimes help comes from unexpected sources… Recently some members of the AZ Legislature put forth a bill that would have basically repealed all the restrictions on abortion in AZ that we had worked to put in place over the last 44 years, including the mandate to provide life giving care to infants who survive an abortion. The proposed bill came up pretty quickly, which was by design to catch us off guard and ram it through stealthily. Fortunately, within 48 hours the Pro-life Community organized and hundreds of people showed up for the Committee Hearing. Because of that effort the Bill died in committee! The Catholic Pro-life contingent was well represented but so was a good contingent of Mormons. Who could have imagined back in 1973 after Roe v. Wade was forced upon the country that Catholics and Mormons would be working together to defend the sanctity of human life? Even though our theology and ecclesiology are not exactly on the same page, both Catholics and Mormons understand first principles and why they must be defended before all else.

Over on the Federal side, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would have required any medical practitioner in attendance to provide immediate medical care to an infant who had survived a late-term abortion. Party of Death lives up to its name. Their reason for not supporting the bill was that it would interfere with a women’s right to have an abortion. Well actually no it doesn’t, the abortion was performed but failed to kill the child. But on second thought that’s the point, isn’t it?

On a different topic, we are all familiar now with the push to remake our reality to accommodate transgender people. The bathroom wars continue to be fought and now transgendered women are insisting on the right to compete as a woman in women’s sporting competitions. Not so fast says the tennis star, Martina Navratilova, who identifies as a lesbian. She made the statement that trans women should not be allowed to compete in women’s sporting events because of obvious physiological differences. For that comment she was expelled from membership in a LBGT advocacy group. Other lesbians, such as professor and author Camille Paglia, have pointed out how detrimental equating trans women with biological women can be. Case in point, the trans woman who was convicted of raping several women, and placed in a women’s correctional facility where he raped another woman. On this issue I am standing with the lesbians and all women. How strange that many of those who pushed feminism and fought to dismantle the “patriarchy” are now seemingly simpatico with a backdoor being opened for men under the title of “trans” to undermine women.

I’m not sure if this next one is a case of help from unexpected sources or a case of strange bedfellows but democrats and republicans in the US Congress agreed on something! What they agreed on was to give assistance to religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East who have been displaced by ISIS. The new law authorizes the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide direct support to Syrian and Iraqi Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities who were the victims of ISIS genocide. The official policy of the State Department going back to the Obama Administration was that these groups were not victims of ISIS oppression and genocide and hence did not qualify for assistance (though the State Dept. did acknowledge the genocidal nature of ISIS actions in 2016). The charge to change the policy was led by the Knights of Columbus. The Knights themselves have provided millions of dollars (along with Aid to the Church in Need and Samaritan’s Purse) in assistance to the displaced Christians, Yazidi’s, non-Sunni Muslims and other smaller religious and ethnic groups that had been targeted by ISIS and forced to flee their homelands. In the past the Knights also led the charge to assist victims of the Armenian Genocide, and lobbied (unsuccessfully) for President Roosevelt to protect European Jews during WWII. The Knights have been on the forefront to protect religious liberty for all people and bring attention to the plight of those who are targeted because of their religious beliefs. They finally, after years of lobbying, convinced the Congress and the President to change course and provide assistance to these communities that have nearly been wiped out by ISIS terrorists.

Catholics, Mormons, Lesbians and the Knights of Columbus may seem to be strange bedfellows but in these instances they all clearly see the reality before us and the damage that living in unreality can cause. We can agree to disagree because we recognize our common humanity and oppose those things that attack our shared humanity. No surprise that standing up for first principles brings help from unexpected sources.

Love,
Fr. John B.

PS Keep in your prayers this weekend our RCIA catechumens and candidates who are on Retreat making final preparations for their reception into the Church and the Sacraments.

Silent Shepherds

Fr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,

L’Affair McCarrick” has been adjudicated, partially. Theodore McCarrick, aka “Uncle Ted”, former Cardinal and Archbishop of Washington D.C. has in the common parlance been “defrocked”. In Church Law parlance he has been permanently removed from the clergy and returned to the lay state. Though technically the sacrament of Holy Orders, like Baptism cannot be removed only its exercise restricted. This penalty for the crimes he was convicted of by a Vatican Tribunal is irrevocable. What still remains to be adjudicated is to find those who knew or covered up McCarrick’s behavior and held accountable. We owe a debt of thanks to those who came forward and broke the thick cloud of silence which enabled this atrocious behavior. Ultimately this is what ends sexual abuse: breaking the silence about abuse so that perpetrators are held accountable and prevented from abusing others. It is often not easy for a victim to come forward as one of the characteristics of abuse is that it gets you to blame yourself.

Breaking the silence is the necessary key that opens the door to bring abuse into the light. As abuse cases from the past come to light there are two things that I want to point out. First, there were many of us, myself included who tried to bring light on the behaviors of other clergy that were both suspicious and inappropriate though there was no accusation of abuse that had been made. Often, in the absence of an outright claim of abuse, reporting inappropriate behaviors or suspicious behaviors were met with incredulity, some of us were told we were only jealous of another priest’s success with young people or that there was some sort of personality conflict. I remember one case in particular, in the 90’s, after I had written to the Archbishop about my concerns about a very inappropriate relationship a priest had with a teenager, though I didn’t know if anything sexual was going on. I was the one called on the carpet and asked “what’s wrong with you, your letter seemed very angry?”. My response was less than polite. My point is that there were some of us who tried to say something in hopes of either preventing or stopping abuse and certainly scandal but we were not listened to and in some cases were chastised for trying or labeled as trouble makers. (Years later that very priest was brought up on criminal charges.) Sexual abuse has a way of pulling in many accomplices who help keep the code of silence. Such is not the case today as things have changed dramatically especially since each Diocese has a Safe Environment Office, which operates independently from the Bishop’s Office and to which reports can be made directly to and will be investigated. Or where there are real or suspected sexual abuse reports are made directly to local law enforcement.

Second, currently dioceses across the country are publishing lists of priests, deacons or seminarians who have been accused of abuse and removed from ministry. The problem with these published lists is that often there is no way to know if the priest was afforded due process, able to defend himself or if the case was just settled financially by the Diocese to avoid a court case, leaving the priest unable to have his day in court. Obviously, the cases that were handled criminally are much clearer and more convincing. Still, the lists are jarring as many of you have pointed out to me after seeing the name of a priest you knew growing up or when you lived in another state. The two reactions that seem to be the most common are, “he seemed like a really good guy” or “I always thought he was a bit creepy”.

As a result of seeing the name of a priest you know who has been removed from ministry, many of you ask, “are the sacraments he gave me valid?”. The answer is yes. The longstanding teaching of the Church is that the grace of the sacraments depends not on the work of the worker but comes from the very work itself. In other words, regardless of the moral or spiritual state of the minister of the sacrament, the sacrament itself always gives grace to a properly disposed recipient. And that’s a good thing. If God’s grace depended on the holiness of anyone of us, we might never receive that grace. God has made sure that we who are earthen vessels, imperfect at that, can have His grace always available to us even when the minister of the sacrament is a master scoundrel.

The more past cases of abuse come to light, the more our pain and sorrow will grow. But we need to remind ourselves that the light is also shining on the abuse that was shrouded for way too long in darkness. The darkness cannot overcome the light. Though it sure seems like the darkness has had its way for too long.

Love,
Fr. John B.

PS Work will begin on March 4 to upgrade the Church HVAC System. Thanks to all who donated to the Together Let Us Go Forth Campaign that made this possible. This summer when it’s hot outside and cool in the Church you can say, “I helped make this possible!” If you haven’t made your gift, you can still give to the Campaign either online through our website or by filling out a Pledge Card located at the Church exits. We are currently at 97% of goal.

Incredibly not Credible

Fr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

With the confirmation hearing of Justice Kavanaugh we witnessed the standard of “guilty by accusation” replace innocent until proven guilty, and the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” or even the lower standard of “to a preponderance of the evidence”. But the standard of “guilty by accusation” has already been in use in the Church in the US as it is applied to Catholic priests accused of abuse of a minor since the 2002 Dallas Charter.

The Dallas Charter accomplished many good things but the standard that was adopted for priests and deacons accused of abuse of a minor was that an accusation be deemed “credible”. What does that mean? In the context of the Dallas Charter that meant that the abuse could have occurred if the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator were more or less in the same place at the same time and that time maybe 20, 30, 40 or more years ago. So therefore, on any Sunday in February 2019 at Mass, you and I are in the same place at the same time. That’s all that is necessary to deem an abuse allegation credible and to have a priest removed from ministry. As a result, since 2002 hundreds of priests have been removed, without any due process. Even when accusations are deemed not credible by law enforcement, Bishops will often not accept that and still remove a priest without substantiated evidence or canonical due process. That is certainly a very low bar for conviction and every priest in the US knows it and knows he could be next. This is especially dangerouswhen cases are not adjudicated criminally but civilly and lots of money is on the table. Money tends to bring out false allegations. You can understand why trust between priests and bishops is at an all-time low.

In 2000, the U S bishops published a pastoral letter entitled “Responsibility and Rehabilitation.” It criticized the American criminal justice system for adopting one-size-fits-all concepts of justice and policies that often distort justice such as “zero tolerance” and “three strikes and you’re out”. The bishops urged that justice should be restorative, and not just punitive. Two years later, those same bishops signed the Dallas Charter inflicting upon their own priests what they condemned in the criminal justice system: zero tolerance and one strike you’re out. I wonder if they read their own letters.

With that being said, I was stunned to read that Cardinal DiNardo, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “Credibly accused is being worked out in terms of our lawyers even now as we speak.” What? After 16 years of applying one definition of “credible” to priests and deacons, the Cardinal now says it is being examined for another definition? All of a sudden the wording the US Bishops are using to define an allegation of abuse of a minor has now become: “credible and substantiated”. Why the change? That would be because the standard now is going to apply to Bishops and Cardinals. CYA Bishops.

With the Dallas Charter and all that we have done since, the Church in the US has become a model for how to prevent or spot abuse as soon as possible and weed out abusers and not give them access to children. In fact, our Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Minors are stronger and more effective than any other organization in the US that deals with children. But the Policies and Procedures will not work, no matter how well designed and applied, if those in leadership cover up or hide their own complicity in the problem.

The upcoming summit at the Vatican with the Pope and the Presidents of all the worlds Bishops Conferences is for the specific purpose of dealing with the issue of abuse of minors. Well, fine. I am sure most of the rest of the world still needs to do what we in the US have done. But failure to address the issue of Bishops and Cardinals who have been accused or who have covered up abuse or who have turned a blind eye to homosexual predation in seminaries will not put the final nail in the coffin on this sad chapter in the Church’s life.

In the meantime I happened to see this news story: “A bombshell investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News found that over the last 20 years, about 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced credible accusations of sexual misconduct.” I wonder how much press this will get? But no matter, the issue of sexual abuse is real and cuts across all demographics. Let’s pray that the Church will be a leader in helping rid society of this awful plague against the dignity of human persons and God’s beloved children.

Love,
Fr. John B.

A Cat Named Bill

Fr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,

I’ve had an explosion of feral cats in the back yard lately. It always seems that one of them is having babies. So, to control the population now, I take the kittens as soon as I can from the mother and drown them quickly. It keeps the population down, significantly. Besides the ASCAP wants $35 a piece to euthanize them.

That probably evoked a strong emotional response when you read it. But truth be told, I do not drown kittens, have never drowned kittens and have no intention to ever drown kittens, nor puppies. I even let those black widow spiders that live in the garage alone, beautifully intricate little creatures, albeit filled with toxic femininity. Somehow, some people will be more outraged by someone drowning kittens than someone killing infants. Some will even claim that there is a significant difference between the two. Well, yes there is. One is an act of animal cruelty and the other is murder in the first degree.

At least now we know that the Pro-Choice side is simply all about abortion. Gone is any pretense that suggests abortion should be “safe, legal and rare”. But then again, we always knew that but fooled ourselves into thinking otherwise and that somehow, we could limit the numbers of babies killed by having sensible restrictions. The howling and cheering in New York because of the removal of all restrictions on abortion and the calm, almost nonchalant way the Governor of Virginia described an act of infanticide shows that something truly diabolical has descended on some of our politicians and their supporters. Make no mistake, the hounds of hell are upon us.

It has been sickening to watch the Democrats as soon as they took power either in the House or State Chambers or Governor’s offices, the first thing they did was to bring forth pro-abortion bills. The US House tried to revoke the Hyde Amendment (that prohibits tax dollars from funding abortions) and New York legalized and Virginia tried but failed to legalize infanticide. So now we know when they are elected this is their agenda, so be warned.

Let’s be clear about what we are really talking about here. To have a late term abortion, a mother has to go through labor and delivery. The only question is whether the infant is killed before, during or after birth. Abortionists do not like killing the child while it is still in the womb since they have to insert sharp instruments in the womb so they can inject the child with a lethal dose of Digitalis, causing a fatal cardiac arrest in the child, those sharp instruments risk perforating the womb. What abortionists prefer is to “partially” deliver the baby and then with its head outside the womb, sever its spinal cord. However, as is sometimes the case a baby can exit the birth canal very quickly, hence the child is fully born, outside the womb completely. The abortionist then severs the spinal cord, killing the new born.

In the case that the Governor of Virginia referred to, “a non-viable fetus” well since the child is non-viable there is no need for an abortion. Either the child will be delivered still born or it will live only for a short time, usually minutes or an hour. If that is the case, why not just have a nurse or someone hold the child until it expires? I have witnessed this many times, after baptizing such babies. I can tell you it is the supreme act of humanity and heroic virtue for a parent to do.

What happened in New York and what was attempted in Virginia is to wipe out all the restrictions that have been placed on abortions. Namely that a licensed medical doctor be present, that an abortion clinic be regulated just as any other outpatient medical clinic, that ultrasound be performed to properly let the mother know the gestational status of the child and give informed consent and many other safeguards that were in place including restricting late term abortions and infanticide. However, there is a good chance that God will write straight with crooked lines and that this new law in New York will become the case that the Supreme Court uses to get rid of Roe v. Wade. How ironic would that be? Let’s hope so.

By the way, I do have a feral cat that took up residence in the back yard about 12yrs ago. I call him Bill. Bill does not let any other cat come over the wall into the yard, ever. He has his borders fully secured! Long live Bill!

Love,
Fr. John B

JesusLand

Fr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,

We just completed another annual observation of Catholic Schools Week. The first Catholic school was opened by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the early 1800’s (yes a woman with serious power in the Church that long ago) and then soon after St. John Neumann started the Catholic School system in the US. But right on cue, the scolds at the NY Times couldn’t resist defecating on the Parade with a Twitter feed: #exposechristianschools. We all know that when a journalist wants to “expose” something they are not looking for virtuous deeds or random acts of kindness. No, it’s much more sinister than that. Strange how the subject of attack is Christian schools, don’t the prisspots in the media know there are lots of Hebrew schools and Muslim schools? #exposemuslimschools anyone? Not happening.

This all started with Karen Pence, wife of the Vice-president who is volunteering at a Christian school. Apparently, it was earthshattering news to journalists that the school requires staff members and teachers to sign a code of conduct that comports with Christian faith and morals. How medieval, Torquemada would be proud! Well Codes of Conduct and Statements of Faith are normal operating procedures and have been for a long time in religious schools of all stripes. Yes, we have our staff sign them as well. Not sure why that is so surprising, after all why would you hire someone who doesn’t believe in the product?

Of course, the journalist could easily look at our graduation rates, the percentages of students who go on to college, our math and reading proficiency levels, our standardized test scores and compare them to other schools and see how successful our schools are. But it’s not about any of that. Rather it’s about exposing all those inbred freaks that
populate Jesusland.

But in terms of “exposing”, there is nothing to expose. Everything we do is out in the open. This includes our curriculum, our teaching methodology, our Human sexuality curriculum, our philosophy of discipline, our extracurricular programs and the ways in which we integrate faith with reason. We have no secrets. Maybe if the journalist wants to hear about people’s experience in Catholic schools, he could interview five of the nine US Supreme Court Justices (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Sotomayor, Roberts, Thomas) who attended a Catholic High school or even Lady Gaga. Or maybe even the Obamas, they sent their daughters to a Friends Select School (Quaker). None of them seem like illiterate half-wits.

But I do thank the journalist for firing a warning shot. Now we know they are coming after us. I realize that many in the media have a special disgust for homeschooling and hold lots of venom for Charter schools but Christian and Catholic schools are not far behind. The strategy to take us down is pretty commonplace: use the Courts and Law to close us or regulate us out of existence, rescind any tax credits or school vouchers in states that have them. When that doesn’t work file endless lawsuits that squeeze us into bankruptcy. If that doesn’t work find a Court that will rule that the Constitution demands only government run schools. If that fails enjoin the Twitter mob to spread lies, horror stories, cult like narratives about religious schools. Finally scare parents to death that their children will be shamed out of polite society if they send them to a religious school. This is not the first time Catholic schools have had to fight against bigotry. The anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments of the nineteenth century were designed to shut us down. But they didn’t. In many ways the history of the Catholic school system in the US is like the “Little Engine That Could”, despite the uphill climb we are still chugging along.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was the Protestants that wanted to shut us down. Today we have a new foe, the secularist who believe religious people are “on the wrong side of history” and that religious ideas are so outdated. Instead they want to replace the outdated religions and their apocalyptic warnings with their own secular revelations: warning us that the world is about to end (12yrs, climate change) and climate deniers need to repent and pay a carbon tax which is a big improvement on the idea that the world was ending because of sin, sinners need to repent and pay for an indulgence. Gone are the days when religion told you what behaviors were immoral and now the enlightened editors of the Times and the Post get to tell you instead. Glad they straightened all that out! #exposepatheticjournalists

Love, Fr. John B.

PS: The bishops of Covington and Louisville apologized for joining the mob against the Covington Catholic students. Funny how they want us to give them the benefit of the doubt when they didn’t give the students the same?

What A Rush

Fr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Rush to judgment, jump to conclusions and join the mob is what was on display with the incident involving the students from Covington Catholic High School. Can we pause for a moment and remember these are high school teenagers? And every now and then, and this may come as a huge, stunning shock to you but sometimes, teenagers don’t always act appropriately. But in this case, they did. They were on a class trip, they stood up for justice for the unborn in the January cold of Washington D.C., they were waiting for the bus to take them home and they were harassed by a group of Black Supremist, being taunted with phrases such as: incest baby, cracker, trailer trash, faggot and worse. They were particularly vile to one of the young black students, telling him, “the white man is going to kill you and steal your organs”. One of his white classmates put his hand on that student’s shoulder and said to him, “we love you”. Who was doing the wrong thing here? Yet that group was never condemned by the twitter mob. And then a man with a drum comes marching up to them. What were they supposed to do, what were they supposed to think at that moment? And one slice of that video, maliciously edited, surfaced on-line and those kids were toast.

I realize the internet and social media world demand instant craziness and create instant villains. And I also accept that the media will no longer try to determine facts and context before forming opinions and that the twitter mob breathlessly waits for the slightest offensive so they can erupt in rage. But what I find appalling and disappointing in the extreme is the initial reaction of the School officials and the local Bishop of Covington and the Archbishop of Louisville. They rushed to judgment, did not even for a second stop to think and ask for the facts before they condemned these students via Twitter. Immediately the school threatened expulsion, the local Bishop of Covington pontificated about not tolerating such shameful behavior and for some reason, the Archbishop of Louisville decided he needed to pile on. Stop tweeting Bishops, and defend your flock from the wolves!

Why did they all need to virtue signal? Proof they didn’t want to get their hands dirty. No, when the wolf came the Shepherds ran away. When the mob came for their children, they instantaneously joined in the groupthink. No laying down your life for your sheep here. Why didn’t they stop and think: these are our children? Don’t we need to stand with them and help them through whatever went on? That doesn’t mean condoning bad behavior but it also does mean not abandoning your children and your flock when things go wrong. Please God, save us from the feckless, self-serving shepherds of this generation.

What message does all that send to these young people? What they learned is that adults are liars, they tell us to do the right thing even when it’s hard but then they themselves take the easy route and join the mob. They didn’t even give us the benefit of the doubt, they didn’t even wait to ask for our side of the story before they rushed to judgment, they were quick to believe the worst about us despite the fact that they know us and know what kind of young people we espouse to be.

What reason do these young people have to remain in the Catholic Church? The exemplary Catholic adults in their life turned out to be not so exemplary. When things got tough for these young people their leaders sacrificed them on the altar of political correctness. There they were at the March for Life doing the right thing, waiting for the bus to take them home and they got thrown under the bus by their leaders. How ironic, that leaders trying to teach young people to think and not live out of their feelings, turn around and react on feelings and surrender their thinking for a mob mentality.

The tweets of the local Bishop are particularly contemptuous and the tweets of the Archbishop of Louisville are doubly so. Why did he have to pile on? Lest you think me too harsh, I can accept that they got it wrong but they have yet to apologize. What message does that send? Why is it so hard to stand with your children even when things go wrong? Why abandon them when they are in the midst of a controversy? Why not have the emotional maturity to wait and ascertain the facts before you make a judgment? Maybe they need to be reminded that rash judgment is still a sin even in Kentucky.

I was a Prison Chaplain and my “parishioners” were mostly men and women who did some really bad things. While I never condoned their actions, sought to justify them, nor get them out of the consequences of their behaviors, I was still their pastor and found ways to advocate for them and support them and help them learn to do the right thing. That wasn’t always easy nor comfortable and sometimes I got vilified. So, it really baffles me that Catholic leaders had such a hard time standing by their young people who were trying to do the right thing and be their advocates even in the midst of a chaotic moment.

Please don’t rush to judgment, learn the facts first and don’t be quick to join the mob. We have to learn to stick together and support each other. The mob is coming for everyone one of us.

Love,
Fr. John B.