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

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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.

Still Strong @ 46

Fr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,

The 2019 March for Life has come and gone, barely noticed by the media as usual. Still, the impact of the March for Life reverberates throughout our land. What’s notable is that the millennial generation (those born between 1981-1996 or so) are much more agreeable to placing restrictions on abortion than their parents. This is consistent with the long-term strategy of the Pro-life Movement to change hearts, minds and culture so that regardless of the law, abortion will no longer be sought after. Remember it took 224 years from the time African slaves were first brought to the American colonies to finally abolish slavery and even longer to establish civil rights for blacks and shake off the legacy of one group of people deciding a weaker group should be at their mercy. We are in an epic struggle.

We have also seen a great multiplying of Pro-life Health Centers that offer women an alternative to abortion, assistance with a pregnancy and help afterwards as well as offering a variety of health care procedures that women require. This is where the real work is being done and I applaud all of you who support one of our local Pro-life Centers. Whether you are a prayer warrior, sidewalk counselor, volunteer inside the clinic, a generous donor, your presence is critical to the work of protecting human life.

One of the most effective tools in helping mothers choose life is the use of the Ultrasound. The newest versions of the machines give a brilliantly clear picture of the new life forming in the womb of the mother. The Knights of Columbus through their Ultrasound Initiative are helping Pro-life Centers obtain the machines. So, your support is greatly appreciated.

Ironically, just as the Pro-life Centers are trying to offer more health services to women, the new President of Planned Parenthood took the media to the shed for its obsessive focus on those same medical services that PP Clinics offer and underplaying abortion! Now that we have a full-blown pro-abortion majority in the House of Representatives, there is apparently no need to pretend that Planned Parenthood is about anything other than abortion and insuring it remains legal or as the PP President tweeted: “Our core mission is providing, protecting, expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care…”

Moving Pro-life legislation forward at least on the Federal level has become a bit more muddled. Grant it, we don’t have much of a choice politically. We have the ‘dumb as an elephant’ party and the ‘jackass” party. The ‘dumb as an elephant’ party promised to defund PP and never did it. Obviously, many of them played us and we fell for it, promising to support Pro-life legislation but never quite got around to it. Now the ‘jackass’ party has control and any hope we had to defund PP, no matter how slight has evaporated. We at least have to try to hold the line. One glimmer of hope is that the President and his administration have enacted significant Conscience Protects and Religious Liberty Protections across Federal agencies. On the state level things are a little better but we have to be vigilant.

But we need to prepare ourselves for a truly epic battle. If during the rest of this President’s term, Justice Ginsburg leaves the court, the battle for her replacement will make the Kavanaugh hearing look like a playground scuffle. You can call it Apocalypse Ruth. And we will need the full strength of the Pro-life Movement and all those of good will to be united. While I don’t think a Supreme Court even with a majority that takes a dim view of the jurisprudence of Roe v. Wade will overturn it in one fell swoop, they will stop the march of expanding abortion rights and taxpayer funding and uphold state level restrictions that are in place. So even now pray for whomever is nominated, to be protected and able to withstand the onslaught that will be hurled at them and their family.

In the meantime, try to nurture in yourself and cultivate a culture of life that upholds the right to life of every person no matter what stage of development or decline. Pope Saint John Paul II wrote, “A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer” (Evangelium vitae, 100). May that prayer arise in our hearts today and each day forward until every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.

Love,
Fr. John B.

No Love For The KoC?

Fr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,

“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Knights of Columbus?” That question sounds like one you would have heard from the Select Committee on Unamerican Activities and Joe McCarthy. But it was actually posed by two sitting US Senators, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) as they sought to grill Brian Buescher, a federal district court nominee from Nebraska, by submitting questions for the record that singled him out because he is a member of the K of C.

According to Harris and Hirono, the Knights of Columbus are “extremists” as they take extreme positions on current issues. What might you say are those “extreme” positions? Are they trying to overthrow the US Government? Create a theocracy with the Pope as the Sovereign? Or worse still: do they use Russian salad dressing? No, none of that. The “extreme” position the Knights took was to support the Marriage Proposition in California that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

What the Senators are saying is that Brian Buescher is unfit to serve in public office because he is a member of a religious organization that holds a position that was the generally held position for most of civilized history until very recently. Despite the fact that the Constitution explicitly states that, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”, he apparently failed the test. We saw the same line of thinking with Amy Comey Barrett during her judicial confirmation hearing in 2017 since she is part of a Catholic Covenant Community much like our own City of Lord, when Senator Diane Feinstein stated she was troubled by Comey Barrett’s beliefs, stating: “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern.”

I realize these Senators are playing politics and trying to appeal to their leftist base but it is a dangerous path to head down when someone’s sincerely held religious beliefs disqualify them from holding public office. Sadly, too many Catholic elected officials have opted to hold a “public” position and a “private religious” position which is one reason why religious belief is getting washed out from public life. For a judge, if ever a conflict arose between being faithful to your religious values and the Constitution the right course of action is to recuse yourself not to surrender your faith.

The irony here is that a person is a member of a religious sect because they believe in certain dogmas, otherwise what’s the point? But belief in dogmas is not limited to the religious. The above-mentioned Senators have their own dogmas: marriage should be between any two or more people, child can be aborted up to the moment of birth, gender is a construct of the mind. As much as the Senators might accuse religious believers of being superstitious, their dogmas are even more so. The religious dogma of marriage has nature to back it up, after all a man and woman’s body are made to be complimentary. And biological science can back up the dogma of that one is born a man or woman or that a child in vitro is a living human being. The Senators positions are purely based on ideology.

It’s a scary day when a member of the Knights of Columbus is held suspect by US Senators. After all the Knights are a 2-million-member Catholic Service Organization that has existed in the US since the 19th century and very publicly serve the Church and US civil society. In fact, one of the reasons the Knights were started in the US was to try to clear away the Catholic bigotry that existed in the earlier part of US history by showing that the Church was not anti-American nor Catholics loyal to a foreign monarch. Over the past decade alone the Knights have raised over $1.5 billion for charities and that does not include all the work of their hands they do and the time they give in service.

While political and policy disagreements will always abound and we will always have to try to find ways to live in peace with those we disagree with, to smear the Knights of Columbus as an “extremist” group, is ignorant of the history of the Organization, its mission and accomplishments. If freedom of speech and religion is only for those who share certain social views then liberty in general is in peril. Who’s really being unamerican here?

In the meantime, my heartfelt thanks to all of our Knights here at Mt. Carmel. They are always the first to place themselves at the disposal of the Parish for anything we need. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for the support they offer the Family, unwed mothers, Aid to Women’s Center’s needs, Maggie’s Place, people with intellectual disabilities, immigrants and refugees, the homeless and countless other service projects they do throughout the year. And yes, of course, those pancakes they make!

Love,
Fr. John B.

Ask A priest

 

My question is regarding Mary. At Mathew 13:55,56 says there that Jesus had brothers and sisters.
Also at Galatians 1:19 Paul says that James was the brother of Jesus.
Isn’t then the Bible the word of God? Thus it shows to us that yes Mary was virgin up to Jesus birth and thereafter had children with Joseph. Jesus was brought up in a normal family..
So according with the biblical evidence why Catholic Church still believes that Mary remained virgin in all her lifetime.
Please could you answer me.
Thanks

Fr. John Bonavitacola

 

The first point you always have to remember is that when you read the Bible you are reading a translation from the original languages. In the case of the New Testament the original language it was written in was ancient Greek ( a bit different than modern Greek) Anytime you translate a word from one language to another some of the meaning with be lost or altered. When you look up a word in a dictionary it will often give you multiple meanings of a word, with the first listed as the most used.

This is the case with the wording of the phrase: Jesus brothers and sisters. The Greek word also means relatives, close relations, cousins. We often describe people who are very close to us as a brother or a sister even though they are not a blood relative. So based on the meaning of the original word it is hard to say if these brothers and sisters of Jesus were full blood siblings. Another explanation is that Joseph may have been widowed and had children with his first wife, its why he is often depicted in art as being much older than Mary. So the brothers and sisters could have been step siblings. Alternatively they could have been children Mary and Joseph took in after their parents died. The point is that from the actual text you can not prove or disprove that Mary had other children with Joseph.

Therefore you have to consider other evidence, namely that the tradition of the Church from the first centuries held that Mary remained a virgin and that this has been consistently held through the centuries. Also it would seem odd that if Mary had other biological children why did Jesus entrust her from the Cross to John the Apostle and not one of the “brothers and sisters of Jesus”.? This doesn’t mean that Jesus was not raised in the normal way by his parents. Mary would have followed all the practices of a first century parent and a good Jewish mother in raising her son and whatever other children she may have had in her care.

Deja Vu All Over Again!

Fr. John Bonavitacola
Dear Friends,

The first letter of the year will be one that already was! Reading this you may be thinking is this the day the earth stood still? No, it’s just a little deja vu. A fresh letter next week! Soon it will be the year that was. But was it a year to remember, or your favorite year? Was it the best year ever, maybe a year in the life of a fool? Or was it more the days of wine and roses or a time we’d rather forget? However, those 525,600 minutes of those 365 days of 2016 passed by I hope you can find many reasons for gratitude and thankfulness.

As 2019 dawns we have a new day and a new opportunity for sanctity. What kind of day will it be: A Holy Day, Ground Hog Day, or Independence Day or maybe Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Might it be a Dog Day Afternoon, or the Day of the Jackal or a Day of Reckoning? Or will it just be the Longest Day or the End of Days, the Day of Wrath or just a Long Day’s Journey into Night? It possibly could be a Hard Days Night or just One Fine Day. For some, it might be Training Day, D-Day, Judgment Day or the Last Day. Unlikely you’ll get a Snow Day but maybe a Fathers Day or Valentines Day and hopefully a Pay Day. One thing for sure it will be the First Day of the Rest of Your Life.

Then again it could be a Jour de Fete or Dia de los Muertos or Una Bella Giornata, who knows? There should be at least one Fine Spring Day and A Brighter Summer’s Day, a Day Off, a Day in the Country, a Day at the Races and a Grand Day Out! For a few fortunate ones there will be a Special Day, a Five Star Day or one Perfect Day and the proverbial Another Day in Paradise.

Still for others there will be a Day of Anger, and a really Bad Day. Some might yet Die Another Day or live to See a New Day. Of course it could be a Blustery Day or a Rainy Day or just a plain old Grey Day not to mention a Cold Day in the Park.

Yet you never really know Where the Day Takes You then again On a Clear Day You Can See Forever: maybe One Day in Europe, 2 Days in Paris or One Day in September or the Day After Tomorrow? Around the World in Eighty Days? We pray there will be only one April Fool’s Day and there can only be one Day the World Ended just as there was only one Day without a Yesterday. You might wind up at Graduation Day, or the First Day on the Job, and fall in love on the Last Day of Summer. Who knows? Whatever befalls, well it’s all in a day’s work.

Still I hope you will not have Trouble Every Day nor will the Day Catch You Off Guard. And that one day during 2019 you will be a Thirty Day Princess or King for a Day or just disappear for a day and have a Vacation Day rather than a Sick Day or a Busy Day. Maybe you will have your Lucky Day, a Blest Day, day in and day out and most of all may you have One Day More, a Day like none Other and a Day you won’t soon forget.

So let’s take it one day at a time, day-by-day, brick by brick, inch-by-inch, minute-by-minute a new day is dawning. What kind of day will you make it or will it make you? After all, all you really have is today.

Happy New Year!

Love,
Fr. John B.