Jew-Hate Junction

Fr. John Bonavitacola

􏰲􏰩􏰏􏰔􏰎􏰪􏰩􏰪􏰴 􏰔􏰒 􏰔􏰕􏰎 􏰇􏰎􏰨􏰏 􏰰􏰒􏰓 􏰠􏰖􏰪􏱐􏰔 􏰕􏰎􏰗􏰚 􏰺􏰓􏰔

Dear Friends.

Jew-hatred is the oldest bigotry on the books. As one author said, “all bigotries meet at Jew-hate
Junction”. The NY Times recently published a neo-Nazi cartoon in its international edition and
the editors want you to believe that there would be peace in the Middle East if it weren’t for the
Jews. Likewise, the media outlet, Politico wants you to believe that Trump would be in jail if it
weren’t for the Jews who control him. Congresswoman IIhan Omar cast aspersions upon the
Jews with one of the oldest Jew-hate tropes, “for Jews”, she said, “it’s all about the Benjamins”.
And when the House of Representatives tried to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, it
couldn't muster the votes and instead just condemned all forms of hatred and bigotry. One thing
is for sure: when the alt-right with its neo-Nazi obsessions and its anti-Semitism and the alt-left
with its penchant for defending Islamo-fascists and its anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism,
are on the rise, Jews dies.
But what the Congress missed with its watered-down resolution was that Jew-hatred is not just
one form of hate among others, it is the hate that paves the way for all other hates and bigotries.
Amazingly it wasn't that long ago, recent memory really, when the world saw where Jew-hatred
leads. For the members of the House of Representatives and its leader apparently the lessons of
the Holocaust have yet to penetrate their politicized hearts. It surprised me to see Speaker Pelosi
lose control of her caucus and be unable to stop the Jew-haters from gaining control. I guess for
her past performance is no guarantee of future results.
After 9/11 I said that if we did not respond with quick and overwhelming force we would
become like Israel, a security state constantly fending off terrorism in one form or another. So, it
has happened. At the synagogue in Poway, there was one Israeli tourist, who had witnessed
many shooting and bombings in his homeland and had been under fire there as well. He was shot
in the leg as he attended synagogue, not in Tel Aviv but at the Chabad in Poway, California as he
ushered the children into safety. Whether it's a synagogue in Israel or in the US or a Church in
Sri Lanka or a Mosque in New Zealand, Jew hatred and terrorism is getting the upper hand.
This latest synagogue shooting along with the one in Pittsburgh as well as the Holocaust should
teach us, once again, that no amount of dead Jews will bring about peace on earth. That no
amount of dead Jews will get Trump out of office, that no amount of dead Jews will make
socialism work, that no amount of dead Jews will stop the Islamists from carrying out their acts
of terror, that no amount of dead Jews will make the financial systems of the world even and fair
to everyone, that no amount of dead Jews will end the global conspiracies about Jews controlling
the levers of power. Pharaoh learned long ago that no amount of dead Jews would make him a
god or secure his power. Our world seems to have to repeatedly relearn the lesson.
The shooting in the synagogue in California happened at the only Orthodox Synagogue in the
area. And it was the last night of Passover. After Passover, Moses parted the sea and the people
escaped death in Egypt to find life in the Promised Land. Ironically when the shooter opened fire
in that synagogue the people there were expecting death but because of a good guy with a gun

they kept their lives, save but one. Just as God used the sea waters to stop Pharaoh from killing
the lives of the Jews, God used one person again to save the lives of these Jews.
Rabbi Goldstein, who was leading the congregation that day, ironically in the Mourners Prayer
for the Dead, had his index finger shot off and said, “You know, with the loss of my index
finger, it’s going to be a scar for the rest of my life – to both – to remind us of literally how
vulnerable we are, but also how brave we need to be. Everyone needs to be a hero. Everyone
needs to step up and do something in the face of terror”.  Good advice, Rabbi. Baruch Hashem.

Love, Fr. John B.

 

PS This week, Monday -Thursday afternoon all the Priests of the Diocese will be at our
Convocation with the Bishop. The Convocation was scheduled for September but in light of the
recent scandals in the Church, was moved up to May. Pray for the priests that we can respond to
the challenges our Church faces with the light of the Holy Spirit. As a result, there will be no
morning Masses on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. A Deacon will lead a Prayer Service
instead.

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Easter Sunday 2019

Fr. John Bonavitacola

􏰲􏰩􏰏􏰔􏰎􏰪􏰩􏰪􏰴 􏰔􏰒 􏰔􏰕􏰎 􏰇􏰎􏰨􏰏 􏰰􏰒􏰓 􏰠􏰖􏰪􏱐􏰔 􏰕􏰎􏰗􏰚 􏰺􏰓􏰔

Dear Friends.

Listening to the News you can’t help but hear things like: the economy is strong, unemployment
is down, labor force participation rate is climbing, GDP is up and Stock Markets are very strong-
——-BUUUUT, in the same breath, the News reports, “ there are signs the economy is cooling”
or “recession is right around the corner, the whatever bubble is about to burst or the FED has to
stave off hyper-inflation.” Jeez, talk about Debbie Downers. They want us all living on the edge
of the Apocalypse. I guess so we will “stay tuned” for the next Armageddon. The Media just
always has to be right even when they get it wrong. No “mea culpa’s”. The same can be said for
the Weather Forecasters: today there is a 10% chance of rain. And then it doesn't rain and they
can say, “well we told you it was only a 10% chance” or if it does rain, then they can say, “we
told you there was a 10% chance of precipitation.” The media need you to believe that the
apocalypse is nigh and it’s only a matter of time before we will be reduced to cannibalism or
freeze or be boiled to death so that you will vote for their preferred candidates and espouse their
radical chic doctrines and prove them right. Somehow it never occurs to them that if a man could
rise from the dead, his power could have a dramatic effect on the trajectory of history, including
the economy and the weather.
Google recently listed the Film, Unplanned, as a “Drama/Propaganda”. Really. How is a true-life
story of the conversion of a woman who was a Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic Manager to
the Prolife side in anyway propaganda? (Google did change it after it got lots of blow back.) The
media has a hard time with facts and the truth. Twitter also suspended the Film’s account. Their
rational: “just because, that’s why, shut up”. How is it that a low budget film, with no big named
superstars is such a threat to the media? The facts of the film like the facts of the economy just
don't sync with the narrative you are supposed to believe that is being told to you by your
superiors in the media. We all need to be a little more like Dorothy, Toto too and ignore the pleas
to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.
Two thousand years ago, whatever media was around, it tried to falsify the Resurrection of Jesus
as well. “His disciples stole his body from the tomb” was a quick and easy way to dismiss the
Resurrection. Except the facts proved otherwise. The High Priests anticipated that his disciples
might steal his body to perpetrate a fraud so they went to Pilate and had the tomb sealed and
guards posted outside it. Their cleverness actually undid the only plausible excuse they could
have come up with about the disappearance of Jesus body. Despite the many excuses to deny the
Resurrection of Jesus, either that he never really died, he was never placed in the tomb or that he
escaped and lived happily ever after with Mary Magdalene, the Resurrection of Jesus persists to
this very day. Why?
Because it is true. It happened. Denial can only suppress the truth for so long. But perhaps the
greatest witness to the Resurrection is the fact that the small group of Jesus followers, who all
fled in fear after his arrest couldn't shut up about his Resurrection a few days later and who were
beaten and imprisoned because they wouldn’t say it was false. So much so that that small group
of Jesus followers spread the Christian message throughout the Roman Empire and successfully
converted it.

Jesus was the only person ever to successfully predict his death and resurrection and pull it off.
That counts for a lot. It’s easy to claim there is a 10% chance of rain and then it rains or that the
economy will go into a recession, it always does. But claiming you will be raised from the dead?
A long shot if there ever was one.
We Christians who celebrate the Resurrection this Easter Sunday need to spread the joy and the
happiness. After the Resurrection, the Jewish Temple would be torn down, stone by stone and
Temple worship would end never to be restarted again, the Roman Empire would go into decline
and collapse, Europe would suffer the Huns and Vandals, the Nordic invasions, a little ice age,
the Islamic conquests and later on the Wars of Religion, the Thirty Years War, the Hundred
Years War, WW I and II and on and on but the message of Jesus Christ would persist.
Will it persist in our age of doom and gloom and media propaganda and hyper surveillance and
moral relativism? It will, if we, the followers of Jesus make it known and keep making it known.
Spread the joy this Easter, come rain or shine, recession or inflation, there is good news to report.
Jesus Christ is Risen. All will be well.
Love, Fr. John B.

Palm Sunday 2019

Fr. John Bonavitacola

 

Dear Friends,

The friends of Jesus and his mother will make the journey this Holy Week to bring his lifeless body to his grave. In a similar way more families and friends than we can count are bringing their lifeless children to their graves, lifeless because of drug overdoses. Mostly but not exclusively, overdoses from opioids laced with fentanyl. You see in the world of illicit drug sales there is no quality control and satisfaction guaranteed equates with death. And now with the tightening on prescriptions for opioids and the reduction of their manufacturing, one of the unintended consequences is reduced availability of pharmaceutical grade drugs and that reduction is often being ïlled with heroin and fentanyl. And both are streaming across the border from Mexico at rates that could kill most of the US population.
Fentanyl is easy enough to smuggle without being detected since only a tiny amount is needed to produce the desired effect. That’s because Fentanyl is very potent. Only a small amount, four or ïve grains, the size of salt grains can cause an overdose. Police oícers, ïrst responders who come in skin contact with the drug often experience overdose. What makes the endless ðow of drugs across the Border a never-ending game of cat and mouse is that the Drug Cartels are constantly devising ways to be always one step ahead of Customs and Border Patrol. And as good business people the Cartels factor in loss. On a given night they will send maybe 5 truckloads of drugs across the border in any one location knowing that one of them will get intercepted and the other four will drive safely across, headed to a place like Phoenix, AZ, the current wholesale drug depot of the Cartels in the US. Basically, in Phoenix you can get if for wholesale. The suckers in Chicago, New York or Boston have to pay full retail price.
There are a lot of angles from which we need to tackle this problem, including interception of the drugs, prevention, and treatment for addiction and why our culture is producing such a huge number of addicts. But we also have to step in and try to stop the rate of overdosing until those other areas are suíciently dealt with. This means equipping large numbers of people with the anti-opioid drug Narcan (naloxone) and the training to use it on overdose victims.
uncomplicated and the use of Narcan is not dangerous. Obviously, this is a band-aid approach to a much larger problem. But if we can stop the bleeding, we have a chance at getting people help and off of opioids.
The training will be held in Phoenix on April 18, 10am-Noon. If you would like to attend please email me (frjohn@olmctempe.com) and I will get you registered. You don’t need any special medical training and you are covered under the Good Samaritan laws. If you work with young people, as a teacher, coach, mentor, school nurse you especially should consider attending. By equipping as many people as possible hopefully we can stem the tide of overdoses. Plus, I would be very grateful not to have to bury another overdose victim…
That’s a bit of a downer. But for some good news now. We opened our third FullCircle Program in Denver at the beginning of the month. That means we are in Phoenix, KC and Denver with more planned. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you give to the FullCircle Program by using the Coffee Shop on Sundays, coming to the annual Banquet, making donations and spreading the word. I often speak to people who run Dioceses and schools and they look at me like I have ïve heads. “Why would you want to do that”, they ask? And I often think “don’t they realize these are our children too”? Their families sit in our pews and send their kids to our schools? So why wouldn’t we want to help them and keep them connected to the Church?
One of versions of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” says, “It’s so hard to grow old without a cause. I don’t want to perish like a fading horse.” Maybe this is my cause but really the health and well-being of our young people should be all our cause. Don’t you think?
Pope Francis just issued a new Exhortation, “Christus vivit” based on the recently held Youth Synod and he stated his desire for: “youth ministry capable of being inclusive, with room for all kinds of young people, to show that we are a Church with open doors.”
Well, my dear Holy Father, we have opened our doors to young people who get messed up with drugs, alcohol, cutting, eating, pornography and other self-destructive behaviors that destroy the beautiful image of God in them.
Love,
Fr. John B.
PS Don’t forget we have two other Youth Ministries at OLMC! Our Jr. High Program called Bridges run by the Sisters and our Teen Program called Compass run by our college students from St. Paul Outreach at ASU. Check them out on our website.
The AZ Attorney General has a State-wide Opioid Task Force, which I have served on, to try to ïnd ways to prevent and treat the Opioid Epidemic in Arizona. Currently myself and our FullCircle Staff are trained in the use of Narcan and have it available. If you encounter someone who you believe is unresponsive due to drug use please feel free to contact us and we can come and administer Narcan. (Which prevents the opioid from being absorbed into the body.)
The Attorney General’s Oíce is offering this training to members of the community who are willing to make themselves available to respond to a possible overdose. The training is simple and

Too Much Trash

Fr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

It took Christians about 300yrs to convert the Roman Empire and become the dominate culture and ethics of the Empire. It took the Religion of Recycling a little over 20yrs to convert approximately 75% of trash making Americans to its doctrines and precepts. The high conversion rate to the Religion of Recycling surprised even its most ardent supporters and most managers of local municipalities. Many parents and all schools have indoctrinated their children with the morality of recycling, hands down in a far superior way than Christian morality was ever taught. Many cities even check your blue bin to shame you into compliance. If it is filled with proper items you get a star on your bin, if not you get an excommunication notice. Behavior modification at the refuse level! But there is a big crack in the foundation of the Religion of Recycling catechism.

Contemporary society did not invent the idea of reusing cups, forks and plates, nor repurposing organic garbage or even animal excrement for fertilizer. Just visit a Museum and you will see in the Antiquities section, ancient and even prehistoric reusable ceramics and stoneware used as eating utensils. Or just think back to say the 1970’s when soda, milk and juice bottles were all made of glass and reused again and again or even baby diapers. What we did invent is the Disposable Everything. Convenient and sometimes limiting the spread of infectious disease or germs but very wasteful.

By the 1980’s someone figured out a way to make money off of our trash. Brilliant! And the Religion of Recycling was born. Now local municipalities could actually make money off of your refuse by selling paper, plastics, glass, aluminum and cardboard to the Recycle High Priest; he could then recycle it and sell it back to manufacturers. This required religious loyalty from citizens in order to be successful. Several problems, however, have brought this arrangement to a screeching halt. First, believe or not, people recycled with the furor of a religious zealot, that is, at a much higher level than anticipated which caused a glut of recyclable materials and lots of it has to be sent to landfills. Then most recently, China, who bought almost all of our recyclables has now stopped importing our capitalist trash. So now that we are fully indoctrinated in to the Religion of Recycling to the point that when we don’t, we feel like we need to go to confession, there is nowhere to put all the recyclables, except back in the landfills or incinerators. The Religion of Recycling is dying out like the gods of Olympus and the Pantheon.

I have tried to find out where the recyclables that the City of Tempe collects are now going since they lost their one-way trip to China but no one seems to know. I think they actually do know and are bit shy to say. After all these years of indoctrinating us to recycle and make a religious ritual of sorting our trash, how could they tell us to go cold-turkey and just stop? So, we just go along with the charade, recycle, feel good about ourselves all the while the recyclables are heading to landfills and incinerators or piling up in warehouses.

But there is a solution. Much of what we put in the recycle bin is actually not recyclable. Most paper is but not so with plastics and cardboard that has been wrapped in plastics or sealed with glues. The solution lies in taking action not at the end use but at the beginning. The biggest problem we actually have is with packaging, too much packing, way too much packaging, the wrong type of packaging and our reluctance to use reusable items like glass bottles.

While I know this is the unforgivable sin of Marketing Departments who like bright shiny packaging but manufacturers should reduce the amount of packing on their products and start using only the types of plastics that can actually be recycled. That will go a long way to reducing our waste problem. Supermarkets could start wrapping things in wax paper instead of plastic wraps and plastic bags as they did in the not too distance past and brown paper bags could replace those ubiquitous plastic bags that can’t be recycled. By putting pressure on the beginning of a products life we will have less to deal with at the end of the products life.

Most of what you put in that blue bin these days goes to a landfill or incinerator. So be prepared to get a letter from your local municipality telling you something like, “the economics of recycling has become unfavorable” and “we will have to reconsider what recycling means to our citizens”. Sounds like a change in doctrine to me. The truth is the Communists no longer want our trash and it is starting to pile up. Which means trash collections fees will start to rise (even though when the cities made money off of trash the fees never went down).

During this Lent challenge yourself to find ways to reduce the trash you produce. And worship not the blue bin but the God who gave us this creation and commands us to be its stewards.

Love,
Fr. John B.

The Ghost of Molly Malone

Fr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The snakes are back in Ireland. Folklore tells us that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland in his day. Ireland, mainly because of its climate and detachment from the mainland has no native snake species. But that didn’t stop people from importing them and keeping them as pets. And as we are seeing happen in Florida so too in Ireland, the fascination with these reptiles fades and people tend to get tired of taking care of them, they grow too large, become too expensive to care for or they escape their cages and these former pets start showing up in the wild and not so wild places. Unicorns make much better pets.

The tales of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland is certainly more metaphorical than historical. The ancient foe, the Satan is depicted in the Bible as a serpent. What St. Patrick drove out was nothing less than the ancient foe of paganism and the superstitious and often inhuman practices that accompanied it. Unfortunately, that ancient foe of paganism has returned to the Emerald Isle with a vengeance. The wholesale rejection of Christianity and Catholicism in particular is pretty stunning in Ireland. Ireland had gone from being the most Catholic nation in Europe (along with Malta) to the least Catholic in less than a generation. (I don’t mean to pick on the Irish as the Italians are not too far behind them.) At this point it seems that every belief is welcome in Ireland except Christianity. What happened to the land where “in the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing”? The Church in Ireland has become a bit like the ghost of Molly Malone.

The Irish were the last holdouts when it came to legalizing abortion. But sadly, they got talked into being just like the rest of us. What a betrayal of their history. I always thought that small little Ireland had an outsized influence on the rest of the world. Now they have given that role up. The Irish were at their best when they stood up to the rest of the world. Think how long they withstood the British and at what a cost. Or during what we call the Dark Ages, when Europe was in constant turmoil, the Irish built monasteries where monks kept safe Western literature and learning and, in the process, produced an enormously large number of saints. So much so it became known as the Land of Saints and Scholars. While the rest of Europe was plunged into darkness and disorder, the Irish built a strong civilization whose heart was the Gospel. And then Irish missionaries exported their faith and culture all over the world.

There are probably many reasons to point to for the collapse of the Church in Ireland such as clericalism or the speed of secularization in our day. But the far biggest reason was the long-term alliance between Church and state or more precisely an unbecoming alliance with the hierarchy and political power. While Ireland was never a theocracy, the influence of the Catholic Church was very dominant. When the Kingdom of God becomes too cozy with the Kingdom of this world the Church always loses. I admit it’s all so dazzling: if you have all this temporal power you can accomplish so much good, right? But eventually you will have to bow down and worship it, such is the Devil’s bargain. Let’s be grateful for the separation of Church and state which has prevented the US Church from going down this road.

How ironic that the Irish missionaries came to the America’s in droves to help establish the Church on this side of the pond and now we are sending missionaries to them. And it wasn’t all that long ago. Our former pastor, Msgr. McCready was one of the many priests who came from Ireland to Arizona, which was still mission territory, when there were very few priests here and way too many in Ireland. That was in 1955 and Msgr. McCready is deceased less than 20yrs. Which shows you how quickly things have changed in Ireland. The luck of the Irish has certainly run out.

The legend is that when St. Patrick was making a 40 day fast, snakes attacked him and so he drove them all into the sea. The Irish Church has lately become a bit like the cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, it has lost its nerve. The Church on the Emerald Isle needs to find its way back to the Emerald City and rediscover that the Gospel of Jesus Christ still has the power to defeat the ancient serpent. Jesus Christ is still Lord of the Dance.

Still, Erin go Bragh. St. Patrick pray for us.

Love,
Fr. John B.

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.

 

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.