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My wife and I just returned from our first vacation to Rome. What a beautiful city, with so many spectacular churches and historic monuments. On our first day, we set out walking the narrow, winding streets to find our first landmark to visit: the Pantheon. I had looked at a map earlier in the week, and felt my sense of direction was all we needed to find our destination with ease.
Well, after a few wrong turns and a lot of confusion, I realized my instincts and memories of the directions were just not up to the task. Fortunately, my wife had a map in her purse and with that we quickly found our way back and reached our destination.
It occurred to me that my experience — trusting in my own instincts and sense of direction — was really a faith journey metaphor. How often do we rely on our own instincts, interpretations and assumptions rather than simply looking at the map God has given us?
The map I am referring to is the wisdom found in the Holy Bible and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you want to get to your destination, keep your map handy! Most Catholic families have a Bible readily available, and a copy of the Catechism can be purchased through Amazon for less than $10. You may even want to buy a few extra copies for your kids and grandkids.
A comprehensive immigration bill will likely be voted on this June. Comprehensive, means that it will include amnesty for currently undocumented immigrants and presidential waivers and an easy "pathway" to citizenship to buy votes. Republicans promise border security, but that will come later.
Their advertising claims that they will deny health insurance and welfare … for a long time. But, I have worked at a public hospital for 30 years and I know that no one is denied service. And, a look at the statistics shows that 60 percent of the legal immigrants and 70 percent of illegal immigrants are on welfare… mostly, through the children. So, this talk of delaying and denying services are more lies and deception.
Each year we will have 3 million legal immigrants and millions of undocumented coming in … so, we will always have non-citizens among us. Are we going to have an amnesty every 10 years? We need a system to keep track of who is in the country and what they are doing. We need an E-Verify system that not only monitors employment, but also records use of health care, education, welfare and criminal activities. Only people who are making a contribution to society will move on to citizenship.
Priest's honest book
Father Joseph Bradley, a priest in residence at St. Gregory's in San Mateo, has written a memoir, "The Four Gifts." In it he talks about the four gifts that have changed his life.
He was 20 years old when his father died and he left the Church and turned to drugs and alcohol. After a few years he entered the seminary still using. His first two gifts were faith and sobriety. As a priest he had a heart transplant which led to his new life. He doesn't sugar coat or play down his struggles. It is an honest, uplifting book.
Church defense teaching
To respond to Dennis Wasco (Forum, May 6), I would like to say that in addition to prayers, sympathy cards and financial gifts, it is vital that we not let our emotions overcome our good judgment. By its vote April 18, our elected representatives in the Senate illustrated this essential principle. This was both courageous and conscientious of them.
Universal background checks will not work without gun registration, which has always been a prelude to gun confiscation. Also universal background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them.
It is also worth pointing out that only 4 percent of the National Rifle Association's funds come from gun manufacturers and that the NRA has been exemplary in teaching gun safety and researching firearms issues since its founding in 1871.
I also think it is reprehensible that teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School were by law denied the means of defending themselves and the children they were responsible for.
And the Church has always taught the right and sometimes the duty to defend ourselves and others as shown by many Catholic police officers, members of the military and law-abiding gun owners.
Columnist Walt Sears (Forum, May 20) seems to regard a firearm as a frivolous luxury rather than something that can be desperately needed in an emergency. Around 100,000 times a year according to the Cato Institute, a firearm is used by a private citizen to defend him or herself or someone else.
The Constitution guarantees a citizen's right to bear arms shall not be infringed and the right a person to defend themselves has been recognized throughout human history. To water down these rights or argue that they mean something other than the plain meaning of the words used in their text is to invite the moral relativism Sears so rightly criticizes.
Not a shared role
Apparently the misunderstandings regarding my letter (Forum, April 22) have resulted from close-mindedness. The idea of liturgy being a purely masculine function does not mean women are less or inferior. Men and women have different roles, liturgy not being a shared one.
This very un-modern idea does not come from me, but from every other rite of the Catholic Church as well as the Orthodox churches: Byzantine, Alexandrian, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite, Chaldean, Syro-Malabar, etc. The liturgy is fitted only for men because only men can take part in the royal ministerial priesthood of Christ. This has not been a subject up for debate for the past 2,000 years in the Church or previously in the Levitical liturgy.
As for ordinary use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, only consecrated holy hands should be allowed into the Holy of Holies, unless there is grave necessity. "The Sacred Vessels are not to be handled by others than those consecrated to the Lord." (St. Sixtus I, 115 AD)
If you would like to see God Himself being handled carelessly by Tommy dressed up in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, then please don't expect a rise of belief in the Real Presence or the priesthood. As for music, I suggest a visit to an Eastern liturgy. You will not find Marty Haugen or "Amazing Grace" but ancient hymns and chants in distinguished tones that correspond to the celebrated mysteries. Discriminate the liturgy from worldly attractions and the more it will attract.
Abortion in context
It is important to understand the historical context of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in order to formulate an effective strategy opposing abortion. The legalization of abortion did not occur in a historical, psychological and social vacuum.
It came at the end of the war in Vietnam in which this country's strategy was primarily and broadly killing. The overall effects of this war very well could have inured the U.S. population to unnatural death. This war stretched to near the three-quarter mark of a century that witnessed the greatest slaughter of human life in history. Is it any wonder that a country as intimately connected with dealing massive amounts of death would be ready to accept killing the unborn?
I propose this question and refer to this history not only to point out the consequences of war, but to help us understand that the broad strategy of addressing all life issues needs to be the focus of people opposed to abortion. If it is possible that massive bloody conflict set the stage for legalized abortion then it is necessary to work against all factors in our national psyche that are based on our habit of killing as a means of solving problems.
Historically, the United States mentality considering such issues as international relations, the death penalty, euthanasia and abortion is that if something is threatening, uncomfortable or inconvenient, kill it. We must change this attitude on all life issues if we want to change our policy on any of them.
Hope for Pope Francis
Not sure the new Pope can arrest the dramatic slide of trust and confidence in the Western Church. He's a theological hard liner, which means there is no discussion with the modern world, other than to condemn it.
Heard him talk about simplicity, but the world's getting more complex not simpler.
Hispanics in the Americas want a leader who can be courageous and transparent. He might have that but it's too early to tell. I sure hope and pray the Holy Spirit has a hand in his papacy.
Gift to Bishop Barber
Written as a gift to Bishop Barber to honor his ordination and installation and to honor Jesuits. It was inspired by the joy he showed as he walked toward the altar for the evening prayer Vespers service on May 24.
J oy from having a Christ-centered life every day
E mbracing His flock by helping to lead them His way
S trength, simplicity and sharing from a heart filled with love
U nited by the gifts of the Holy Spirit blessed from God above
I nspiring a renewal of evangelization to guide Catholics in this faith-based year
T rusting in the Lord to help us know that the way to eternal life can be near
— Kathleen Mary Sao
Our Lady of the Rosary Church
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