Crazy commentators like Juan Williams are writing things like Columbus Day should be abandoned because Columbus is somehow blamed for the deaths and atrocities committed against the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Other commentators have joked that Columbus was the first illegal immigrant and the alt- left should be celebrating his life and discoveries instead of tearing down his statues. I propose that they both have it wrong. The Indians were actually immigrants who migrated to the Americas starting from Asia, crossing the land bridge into Alaska and Canada and then migrating all the way to the tip of South America. To take these illogical arguments even further, the Asians were immigrants from Africa, where humans were first created. So if you want to protest, protest God, your creator and His stupidity in creating you.
Separation of Church and State
Any federal or state law which impinges upon a person’s free exercise of religion is a violation of the separation of church and State clause. The alt-left so often invokes this clause. For example, if a public school posts the 10 commandments, the alt-left will immediately file suit to remove the plaque. Well maybe the tables have turned. President Trump is now overturning regulations and executive orders issued by the Obama administration which forced businesses and individuals to provide contraceptive and abortion services to employees even if the business held religious objections. The right must stand up for the equal enforcement of the separation of church and state clause of the Constitution. The alt-left needs a dose of its own medicine. Federal and state governments cannot make laws which impinge on the free exercise of religion.
Times, they are a changing.
We live in a world where time does not stop. We cannot stop our existence in time, say in the roaring twenties or the fascinating fifties or plop ourselves back into history. A moral and cultural sensitivity existed in those decades that no longer exists today. Even before the two great World Wars, at the turn of the twentieth century, a moral and ethical certitude pervaded the globe. Everyone knew there place in society and each country managed to govern the masses based on a biblical reckoning accepted by the people. For example, in the 19th century, sex outside of marriage by a man or woman labeled one a harlot or gigolo. By the 20th century, children born outside of marriage became frowned upon, suggesting sex was now permissive. Now children born out of wedlock is commonplace and the Supreme Court has even sanctioned gay marriage. What changed? Moral and ethical norms which we get from the bible do not change. Society changed. Humans tend to tolerate a progressively depraved set of theological formulas at the expense of a well-functioning society. Most of this deformation can be blamed on the Protestant Reformation with their ideas of total depravity and their trend toward no centralized font of moral invective. With sola scriptoria, each man takes on a theological basis upon himself and the Bible means whatever he wants it to mean. The Catholic Church has stood on the sidelines and watched this deterioration without a word. At least the Muslims still hold onto biblical principles although many would call them radical and barbarian.
Just like time, we cannot stop our accumulation of knowledge. We learn new things about genetics, electronics, robotics and even nature. The internet and cell phones have increased the dissemination of this accumulating knowledge to a wider and wider base of individuals throughout the globe at an alarming rate. But with this accumulation of knowledge and its dissemination and interpretation, we have somehow concluded that life, in general, and the individual in particular, has no meaning and neither are worth relishing. Such malice toward human life leads the uninformed toward a blasé attitude toward society, the family and eventually rips even the individual apart. Anything goes. Pornography, the sex trade, homosexuality, bestiality, satanical worship, abortion become accepted norms within society. The result is the breakdown of the family. The family, which is the building blocks of any society, even the building blocks of any church, disintegrates. The result is war, mass migration, and radical demonstrations. With this denigration of the individual and the family, comes the denigration of the church. The church is led to believe that it must follow the times and adapt to the changes within society to be morally relevant, otherwise its members will not learn and participate in its teachings. Its teachings become less strict to accommodate an ever increasing uninformed and doubting public. The church gets caught up in this vicious circle and its participation exposes itself to evil. The odd thing is that the truth, morals and ethics of the 19th century have not changed even through today. Morals and ethics have remained the same from the beginning of time. Individuals and societies change and people try to conform their lives to this ancient moral ethic and are not successful, so society either attempts to change the moral ethic or it becomes discarded altogether.
Lets take one example in the Catholic Church to justify my position. Recently, more than 60 Roman Catholic theologians, priests and academics have formally accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy in a 25 page “filial correction.” This letter was written and signed by these 60 Catholic theologians in order to shed light on the deliberate or uninformed attempt by the Pope to “water down” the two millennia worth of teachings, canonical law and magisterium of the Catholic Church. They accuse Pope Francis’ attempt to extend communion to the civilly divorced and remarried in Amoris laetitia (The Joy of Love) as a deviation from solid church teaching and thus a heresy. Never mind that they do not address the issue of homosexuality mentioned by the Pope in Amoris Laetitia, a document prepared by the Pope as a result of the Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church in 2015.
Here is a quote of the ‘filial correction’ letter the by 60 signatories. “The words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness to which we wish to refer, and which in conjunction with these passages of Amoris laetitia are serving to propagate heresies within the Church, are the following:
- Your Holiness has refused to give a positive answer to the dubia submitted to you by Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller, and Meisner, in which you were respectfully requested to confirm that the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia does not abolish five teachings of the Catholic faith.
- Your Holiness intervened in the composition of the Relatio post disceptationem for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. The Relatio proposed allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics on a ‘case-by-case basis’, and said pastors should emphasize the ‘positive aspects’ of lifestyles the Church considers gravely sinful, including civil remarriage after divorce and premarital cohabitation. These proposals were included in the Relatio at your personal insistence, despite the fact that they did not receive the two-thirds majority required by the Synod rules for a proposal to be included in the Relatio.” These are very harsh accusations against the Pope, but the hierarchy and the laity want answers and valid theological reasons for any deviation from 2000 years of church teaching.
Let’s turn briefly to the Dubia mentioned by the ‘filial correction’ letter of the 60 signatories. On September 19, 2016, Catholic Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke and Joachim Meisner wrote to Pope Francis asking for an audience, raising the confusion caused by the language in Amoris Laetitia. The word ‘dubia’ is a Latin word meaning ‘doubt.’ In this context it is a letter of cardinals asking the Pope to clarify some questions concerning Catholic faith. Cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner have recently died as the Pope continues to refuse to answer the questions propounded to him.
Here is the list of the five questions:
“1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (nn. 300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person ‘more uxorio’ (in a marital way) without fulfilling the conditions provided for by ‘Familiaris Consortio’ n. 84 and subsequently reaffirmed by ‘Reconciliatio et Paenitentia’ n. 34 and ‘Sacramentum Caritatis’ n. 29. Can the expression ‘in certain cases’ found in note 351 (n. 305) of the exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’ be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live ‘more uxorio’ (as man and wife)?
2. After the publication of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?
3. After ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (n. 301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?
4. After the affirmations of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (n. 302) on ‘circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,’ does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ n. 81, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which ‘circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice?
5. After ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (n. 303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ n. 56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?”
In other words, must the Church accept what the evident words of the bible clearly means or must we now interpret them in such a way as we do not offend those who partake in open violation of the Bible’s prohibitions? This toleration of moral ineptness results in the examination of my own personal actions so that those who violate biblical laws are not offended, while in the meantime, strict observers of the law and commandments are frowned upon as discriminatory, misogynistic, bigoted and homophobic. Political correctness of our current ‘times’ plays a huge part in this form of reverse polarization. I am sorry that many do not want to follow the clear wording and meaning of 2000 years of church tradition and teaching. But violators have alternatives. Practice your confusion in the Protestant Churches or don’t call yourselves Catholics at all. Unfortunately, this theological chaos has fallen into secular society.
These questions bring up extremely valid points which demand answers. The church’s future existence depends on the correct answers to these probing questions. Another issue raised in Amoris Laetitia was the burning question of homosexuality. Will the church ever validate a homosexual marriage? Can openly married homosexuals receive communion or become Eucharistic ministers? Will the Catholic Church ever perform homosexual marriages? At least this open and frank discussion within the Catholic Church is civil, unlike the political unrest taking place in America today between the conservatives versus the liberals, communists and fascists. One can be certain of one thing. All of the confusion and anarchy occurring in the world today, even with the Muslim jihad extremists, is a direct result of these unanswered questions. Times, they are a changing.
In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a married gay couple filed a lawsuit against a cake shop owner who refused to bake their wedding cake because gay marriage is against the cake shop owner’s religious beliefs. The case has landed in the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s earlier decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which granted gays the right to marry, did foresee a religious liberty conflict that stressed respect for "those who adhere to religious doctrines." Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a dissent in Obergefell. "Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage."
Lawyers for the cake shop owner argue "that people who disagree with the redefinition of marriage, should be able to continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and act on those beliefs.” In other words, freedom of religion trumps gay marriage and this newly created right of same sex marriage can be impinged upon when faced with a greater right. Otherwise, the gays have created a situation of reverse discrimination. Let me explain.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental right upon which this country was almost exclusively founded. European settlers initially migrated to the New World because of the religious strife erupting between the Protestants and the Catholics beginning around the year 1520 with the Protestant Reformation and the Counter Reformation. The New world was settled by religious seeking Europeans. Quebec was founded by the French in 1606 by Catholics and Jamestown was founded by the British in 1607 by Protestants. South America and Mexico were conquered by Catholic Spaniards. When our United States Constitution was finally drafted and signed in 1787, the founders of our country insisted upon 10 bill of rights that were not specifically delineated in the Constitution. They include
1. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.
2 Right to keep and bear arms in order to maintain a well-regulated militia.
3 No quartering of soldiers.
4 Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
5 Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, double jeopardy.
6 Rights of accused persons, e.g., right to a speedy and public trial.
7 Right of trial by jury in civil cases.
8 Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments.
9 Other rights of citizens may exist aside from the ones explicitly mentioned.
10 All powers not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution are reserved to the states.
Yet since their drafting, all of these rights under the constitution have some impingements placed upon them. Free speech and the right of association cannot create or lead to violence. Pornography can be regulated. The right to bear arms depends on which firearm one is bearing. The only right not impinged is freedom of religion. For example, the exemption from impingement of the exercise of religious freedom is clearly demonstrated in Leah Remini’s documentary: Scientology and the Aftermath. This so called “Church of Scientology” is granted tax exemption and at the same time believes that they are the prodigy of ancient aliens. Freedom of religion is sacred. A group can put the word church in front of just about any association of people and call itself a religion. Along with the exercise of this right is the avoidance or non-participation in anything which goes against your religion. Otherwise your religious right would no longer be free.
Many people confuse rights delineated in the Declaration of Independence with those delineated in the Constitution. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of “unalienable rights" which the Declaration says has been given to all of humanity by our Creator, and which governments were created to protect. But the Declaration of Independence does not retain legal authority over the citizenry of the United States because it was drafted before our government was ever formed. Thus, pursuit of happiness is not a right.
Just because child pornography may make you happy does not make it a right. Marriage is not a right. Marriage is burdened by many laws. One cannot marry a minor or a first cousin. Supposedly one cannot marry a billy goat. One cannot marry two or more people at the same time because that would be bigamy or polygamy. Voting is not a right. A convicted felon cannot vote and an age limit of 18 is placed on all US citizens before voting. All rights in the Bill of Rights have been burdened with limits except freedom of religion.
These rights in the first 10 amendments to the constitution were drafted as a limit on the federal government. All other conceived rights and their management were reserved to the States. Yet States rights have long since been impinged upon by a hazy concept of equal protection. Equal protection prevents discrimination based on race, religion or age. Generally, business entities and political entities cannot discriminate against a particular class of people based on age, sex or religion. The classes of people based upon sexual discrimination were men versus women, not society versus homosexuals. Therefore this new suit is a type of reverse discrimination. These homosexuals are forcing their depraved lifestyle upon a citizen’s deeply held religious beliefs, beliefs which are completely contrary to their type of dysfunctional lifestyle. These gay men, exercising a right that the Supreme Court only recently manufactured, are attempting to place a burden on a citizen who has been exercising a religious freedom right that has existed at least since the founding of this country. This gay couple could have just as easily gone to the cake shop around the corner, whose owner is an agnostic or atheist or an owner who has no religious beliefs at all. These homosexuals are discriminating against this citizen’s constitutional right to the free exercise of his religion. Religious belief far outweighs a newly orchestrated right of same-sex marriage. If this farce is allowed to continue, rest assured that the Catholic Church will be sued for discrimination for not marrying homosexuals.
The alt-left has finally lost its mind to the devil and its soul in the process. First they use race and ethnicity to attack President Trump and any Republican that is fool enough to fall for this vitriol depravity. Bigotry, racism, neo Nazi, white supremacist are all favorite terms in their vocabulary. Soros uses Antifa and Black Lives Matter to ferment a race war in this country and religious wars between countries. The alt-left has now taken the final step. They are attacking their own religion. We now have heretics calling each other heretics. (All Protestants were declared heretics by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in 1545 A.D.) A conservative group of Protestants recently produced a document entitled the Nashville Statement which denounced homosexuality. A liberal group of pro-gay Protestants, not satisfied with the truths conveyed by the conservatives, issued a counter manifesto, called Christians United, stating that homosexuality and transgender lifestyles are “fully blessed by God.” Just as the racial alt-left attempts to rewrite history, Christians United is trying to rewrite the Bible.
The Nashville Statement reaffirms exactly what the Bible says however. The bible states the following: “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. “Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.” Romans 1:26-27. “We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law, with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching.” 1 timothy 1:8-10. “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, they have committed an abomination; the two of them shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them.” Leviticus 20:13. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22.
Catholics remain united with a clear voice even though the Pope has made statements such as “who am I to judge.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church has made very clear statements on the issue. “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” CCC 2357. “This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” CCC 2358. “Homosexual persons are called to chastity.” CCC 2359.
No matter how much one hates these prescriptions, one cannot change their clear meaning, no matter how you attempt to spin these Bible verses. Christians United has no valid ground to base its arguments, so they rely on the same arguments as the alt-left, racism, bigotry and discrimination. These worn out derogatory terms will never change the truth of the gospel God gave us. These vitriol and divisive terms will never change our history, no matter how much fuse and confusion the alt-left fabricates by using them.
You must know that there cannot be two sets of truths which oppose each other. Only one set of facts can be true. Fire burns. Water freezes at 32 degrees. A child is produced by an egg and a sperm. These are natural truths. One can argue against them but making counter agreements cannot and will not change these truth. The world was involved in two world wars. Slavery existed for thousands of years in the past and still exists today. Slavery existed in the United States and our country fought a civil war over that issue. Racism by both blacks and whites still exist. These are political truths which exist and cannot be changed no matter how much fake news one can generate to dissuade their belief.
Then there are divine truths. These truth are the commandments God issued to humans through the prophets and His son, Jesus Christ and they are written in the Bible. They, like natural and political truths, cannot be changed. But divine truth has a more sinister purpose. A violation results in punishment. The adjudicator, sentencor and executor is God Himself. Justice is not dispensed through nature, public opinion, the Supreme Court, the alt-right or the alt-left. An unbridled violation results in the death penalty. Yes, God loves all but He also dispenses justice. You will find these prerogatives of God, love and justice, to be truths laid out plainly in the Bible, no matter how hard you attempt to convince yourself of their untruth. God does love all but He also dispenses justice. Just because God loves a homosexual does not legitimate his actions. God also loves the murderer but His love does not justify the murderer’s actions. God’s justice can be tough. Are you confused, retain hatred, greed and bigotry within your heart? Are you unhappy with your life and position within society? Just maybe you reject too many truths, natural, political and divine.
John 6:47 “Believe me when I tell you this; the man who has faith in me enjoys eternal life. 48 It is I who am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers, who ate manna in the desert, died none the less; 50 the bread which comes down from heaven is such that he who eats of it never dies. 51 I myself am the living bread that has come down from heaven. 52 If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live for ever. And now, what is this bread which I am to give? It is my flesh, given for the life of the world.”
Christ can be no clearer in his words than this. Christ is the living manna that came down from heaven. He declares openly that His flesh is the living bread. He is the bread of life which has come down from heaven. To have eternal life, you must eat of this bread. Does the word “eat” mean “believe?” Not exactly. Does that mean that belief in Christ is synonymous with eating His body? Absolutely not. One must commune with God. This is done through the Eucharist. Just as the Holy Spirit changes your soul at baptism (surely a depraved human being cannot have any such power to change his own soul) the Holy Spirit can and does change ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Christ accomplished that same feat at the last supper (really the first supper). Christ did not cut off His arm and pass bits of His flesh to His fellow disciples and did not drain His blood from His severed arm into a cup and pass it around for the apostles to drink. Christ with the aid of the Holy Spirit changed ordinary bread and wine into His body and blood. The apostle participated in a living sacrifice which was later confirmed and displayed in His actual death on a cross. So we do have to believe. We must believe that we eat this “living manna” every time we receive the Eucharist.
Out of Darkness
1 John 1:5 “God is light, and no darkness can find any place in him; 6 if we claim fellowship with him, when all the while we live and move in darkness, it is a lie; our whole life is an untruth.” Are you a faker? A faker is someone who pretends to be someone or something he is not. Do you pretend to have concern for your fellow man but within your heart and mind you think you are better? And do you criticize and condemn humanity? You must love your neighbor even if they are members of the KKK or Black Lives Matter. When John speaks of light, he is referring to the truth that God has given humanity. Truth is certain, constant and eternal. Human beings within the world distort truth. Be aware! Evil lurks. Seek God and His commandments to live in the light.
1 John 2:3 “Have we attained the knowledge of him? The test is, whether we keep his commandments; 4 the man who claims knowledge of him without keeping his commandments is a liar; truth does not dwell in such a man as that.” The beginning of this knowledge and attainment of truth is found in the commandments. We must keep God’s commandments first if we are ever to become familiar with the truth. Only then does the Holy Spirit allow us to discern the difference between good and evil, darkness and light and right from wrong. We can then detect these distinctions within ourselves and observe it within others. Then we can begin our journey into the light from the darkness.
Philippians 2:5 “each of you must have the humility to think others better men than himself, 4 and study the welfare of others, not his own. 5 Yours is to be the same mind which Christ Jesus shewed. 6 His nature is, from the first, divine, and yet he did not see, in the rank of Godhead, a prize to be coveted; 7 he dispossessed himself, and took the nature of a slave, fashioned in the likeness of men, and presenting himself to us in human form; 8 and then he lowered his own dignity, accepted an obedience which brought him to death, death on a cross.” God Himself became man and died for His own creation. How humble can one be than to give your life freely for another? But not only that but, He left a position of divinity, of power and prestige, and submitted Himself to service of fellow men (His own creation) and willing subjected Himself to human death for humanity. Those actions demonstrate humility. Those actions confirm a concern for humanity such that humanity’s welfare was placed in the front of God’s own welfare. God placed our wellbeing in a higher rank than His own wellbeing. God showed us His divinity so that we can complete our humanity. That is how we love our neighbor. Our humanity is imperfect. It is based on natural law and we operate in nature, yet we have been shown a perfected life, that of Christ in His divinity. And we must follow His lead, otherwise, His mission, death and resurrection, was for nothing.
Philippians 3:20 “It is to heaven that we look expectantly for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to save us; 21 he will form this humbled body of ours anew, molding it into the image of his glorified body, so effective is his power to make all things obey him.” God through His spirit can change your mind and body to obey and follow His commands and teachings. His yoke is easy but you must learn to carry the load. You have to do the work (give your complete self to neighbor) and God will do His part in molding you to His divinity. These instructions from Paul are not easy to follow. Yet when filled with the Holy Spirit, we are given extraordinary power and they become much easier. The Charlottesville escapade must disgust Christ.
Assumptions are not valid pieces of evidence. They usually make asses of you and me. But I must make some anyway in this case because I will never get the real truth. I can now understand the rage and disgust Martin Luther must have had for the Catholic Church in the early 1500’s because of its corruption. Corruption is still around today but in much subtler forms. I stayed up all night last night tossing and turning, wondering why would the Catholic Church remove me from their permanent diaconate program. I made good grades at Our Lady of the Lake College in our permanent diaconate studies. I go to church every Sunday. I love God and neighbor. So I kept piecing bits of pieces together of what went down yesterday. The following is what I assume happened.
First, these are the known facts. I was called a couple of weeks ago to attend a meeting with Father Jamin, the priest in charge of deacon formation in the Baton Rouge dioceses. We are all humans and naturally I suspected bad things but I put a positive spin on the matter telling myself that they wanted me to help out somewhere. So when I arrived early for the meeting, I noticed Fr. Tom Ranzino was at the chancery. That would not necessarily be unusual since Rev. Tom Ranzino is vicar general for the dioceses. He is also parish priest for St Jean Vianney church. He passed by me the first time without acknowledging me but when he came through again, he looked at me with what I would describe as a devilish grin. (I assume he knew exactly what was going down, being the vicar general and all.) Next I saw my formation director enter the building, Dan Borne’, and we talked about my recent trip to Rome. You must realize that I was never told what this meeting was about or who was going to attend the meeting. So after a few minutes, Father Jamin came and got me from the waiting room and brought me into this room occupied by John Veron, a permanent deacon in charge of the program, deacon Dan Borne’, Father Jamin and another older gentlemen who I do not remember his name.
Father Jamin began the meeting by stating that they had decided to ask me to leave the permanent diaconate program. I immediately asked them for their reasons. Father Jamin said there were several, one being that he was not impressed with my answers to the annual assessment questions. Here are the two questions and answers he raised specifically: “Describe the distinctive role and mission of the laity in the Church and world using your own words. The role of the laity should be the encouragement and formation of their neighbors yet I see that most are distant and confused about their purpose in the church. Most do not know scripture and they could care less that they know so little. Freedom from sin and salvation of souls should be the primary role yet familiarity and use of the sacraments may have to suffice. Is your vision of the Church and the Diaconate shaped and formed by the documents of Vatican II and subsequent ecclesiastical documents? In what ways? No, my vision of the church is shaped by the early documents of the church like the Didache, apostolic constitution and the writings of the church fathers.” He stated the second answer failed to mention the significance of Vatican II reestablishing the position of the permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. After telling me that many Catholics are well versed in the bible, then he stated that I was now a part of that laity. Other reasons given were the fact that I failed to find a new spiritual director after my first year in the program. My first spiritual director was an old retired priest who was very nice and extremely intelligent. But we seemed to have gotten off to a bad start from day one. When I arrived at his house for our first meeting, I immediately detected his surprise that I was not the Kent Mayeux who he knew and with whom he had attended a mission trip. But we persevered and I assumed that we would continue our monthly meetings for the second year. When time came, I called him and he stated that he would not be available for the second year. Classes started and I failed to recruit a new spiritual director for the whole second year. Also mentioned was the fact that my recommendation letter to the program was not from a priest but from a deacon. Another reason was that I had not shown a sufficient intension of service within the Catholic Church. I have been singing in the choir since before 1998 when the new church at St. Jean Vianney was built. I continued to sing at MBS and St Jude. We sang every Sunday and extra holiday Masses and practiced every Wednesday night.
But the reason which was most stressed at the meeting was the issue of my writings, writings made public in self-published books and on my blog. The most significant issue was my mention that baptism after the death of Christ may no longer obviate original sin since Christ’s death achieved that for us. For which sins did Christ die I asked, original, personal or both. Once forgiven, we are always forgiven I argued. First, know that I wrote these statements before I entered the diaconate program. Second, we all know that the Catholic Church teaches that we are born with original sin, even those of us born after the death and resurrection of Christ and we must be baptized to dispense with that sin and then we become members of the church. This last statement was expressed in my book. But this issue is still a legitimate question for which I have still not found a sufficient explanation. Also mentioned was my apologetic quip that Protestants cannot be saved. I now know that anyone can be saved, even the Muslim terrorist.
And now comes the assumptions. But before I make assumptions, I have to give some back ground. I attended Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church (MBS) for years and I sang in the choir. Father Mike Collins, a most blessed soul and now recently deceased, was the pastor. His deacon, Don Musso, wrote the letter of recommendation for me to enter the diaconate. We sold our home that was a mile from MBS and bought a house near St Jude the Apostle Catholic Church. Father Mike, then retired, was living with the pastor of St Jude, Father Trey Nelson. So we decided to attend St Jude, which was our parish church and since we could still attend Mass with Father Mike who was helping with Masses. I began singing in the choir at St Jude. One Sunday at a Mass at St Jude, I noticed one of my homosexual, married neighbors who lived two door down from me in our new neighborhood, acting as a Eucharistic minister. He and his “spouse” would attend Mass together, kiss during Mass to express a sign of peace and then he would proceed to the altar to dispense the Eucharist as a minister. I was now in deacon school and had concerns with such behavior being allowed by Pastor Nelson. Being naïve as I am and instead of speaking with Pastor Nelson first, I wrote a letter to the Bishop explaining what was happening at St Jude. I received a written response from Rev. Tom Ranzino, the vicar general for the dioceses, saying that I should speak to Pastor Nelson. So I called Father Nelson and we set a meeting. When I arrived, I noticed a tension in the air as I checked in with the secretary. After a few minutes wait, he sat me down in his office and began lecturing me about the need to love our neighbor and the chain of command in the Catholic Church. I immediately knew this was not going to be a pleasant meeting because of his displayed anger and malice directed toward me. He made a comment that I should not have gone directly to the bishop but spoken with him first. I apologized for my actions but that was not received well. He commented on the fact that I was in deacon school and that he did not write my letter of recommendation. He very clearly implied that I should not be in deacon school and that he had friends in high places. I was very cordial and pressed him on the issue of the meeting without any response. The openly married homosexual continued to dispense the Eucharist during Mass after our meeting. So I decided to write Archbishop Gregory Aymond in New Orleans about the issue. He wrote back directing me to Bishop Muench. I responded back to Archbishop Aymond’s letter and I carbon copied my letter to Pope Francis and the Chairman of USCCB. Here is the text of my letter. ”Thanks for your response regarding the theological and pastoral issue regarding Eucharistic ministers. Your letter suggests that I speak to Bishop Robert Muench and Father Trey Nelson. I have contacted Bishop Muench by letter and Father Trey in person without any formal decision. This situation however, an openly married homosexual dispensing communion, still exists in our Church. I have attached bible verses, pages 6-7 of the Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia by Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archdiocese of Philadelphia and a response to a question I posited to a cannon law lawyer on cannonlawmadeeasy.com. These documents clearly state that homosexuals are not allowed to become extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. This situation creates a scandal in the church. This situation portrays to our congregation, and to any other congregation that allows this, an acceptance by the Catholic Church of gay marriage. We love our gay brothers but not to the detriment of the whole congregation, especially to the detriment of our vulnerable children. After this couple kisses as a sign of peace, the congregation sees this gay man approach the altar and dispense Holy Communion. I find this situation objectionable and despicable. He should not be offered the sacrament, much less dispense it. Will the Church’s capitulation on this issue eventually lead to the Church performing gay marriages? Please provide your sheep with some much needed guidance.” I never heard anything again from Archbishop Aymond, Pope Francis or the USCCB. We stopped attending St Jude church and now attend another Catholic Church outside of our parish. I can only assume that the homosexual stopped dispensing communion at St Jude, because they have since sold their home in our neighborhood and moved to another civil parish within our diocese. One can find the very well written response to my question by the cannon lawyer on her website, cannonlawmadeeasy.com under “Who is qualified to become an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion? Posted on August 18, 2016 by Cathy Caridi.” These are the background facts.
And finally the assumptions. You may be able to make them yourself after reading this blog post but here goes. I can only assume that I was kicked out of the diaconate program for “political” reasons. I assume that Father Trey Nelson put pressure on his friend, the most Rev. Tom Ranzino, to get rid of me. Rev. Ranzino seems to be running the dioceses because Bishop Muench will soon be writing his request to retire. And if by coincidence, my own formation director, Dan Borne, is the deacon at St Jean Vianney, where Father Ranzino is pastor. I know that Deacon Borne was the facilitator of the process of removal by openly expressing my thoughts on baptism to Father Jamin. I can only assume that he began pushing the idea of removing me through the prodding or command of Ranzino. I cannot assume that Borne or even Father Jamin had evil intentions because they seem to be very good men. I must assume that Nelson and Ranzino had evil intentions. All of these assumptions may be a figment of my depraved imagination. Maybe I was just not deacon material and they simply carried out the will of God. I like this last explanation the best since I know that revenge is for God alone.
I am not knocking the Catholic Church. Hell, they probably would not have been able to make a good deacon out of me anyway. I am too outspoken and still a sinner. But know this, I am 100% convinced that the Catholic Church is the real church that Jesus established 2000 years ago. I have no doubts or assumptions about that question. My visit to Rome confirmed that fact. The thing I am most perturbed about is the politics within the church and the attempt by some to protect homosexuals and even encourage homosexuality. When you put humans in charge of divine things, what can you expect but human results? If these clowns were in charge when St Augustine was writing and if the internet was available then, they would have probably kicked Augustine out of the church for condemning people and the many times he changed his mind about theological issues. I am not angry with anyone. I love my neighbors. I was just so excited that I, a reformed sinner, would be given a chance to tell others about the saving nature of God’s grace. Being a deacon was not God’s will for me. An ordained deacon must devote considerable time in the service of God’s people within his assigned parish, time which is diverted from family. I must find another outlet to express the insight and the fire in my heart that God has given me. God bless.