16 January 2012

The Usual Treatment

Today is the federal holiday commemorating the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose efforts on behalf of civil rights for African-Americans are certainly worth commemorating.  The decision to make a secular holiday is well within the competence of the secular government.  It has chosen to honor Dr. King, and that's great. 

Yesterday, the Archbishop continued the annual local practice of celebrating Mass in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I have lamented this practice before (here, for example, and here).  I wanted to note the event again this year, but won't beat the dead horse too much.  There is no reason, and it defies logic, to justify the celebration of a Catholic Mass "in honor" of a non-Catholic.  Only saints and blesseds authorized by the Church, the guardian of the sacred liturgy, may be honored by a celebration of Mass.  Note again, this is not a Mass for the repose of the soul of Dr. King, seeking prayers for his soul-- offering him help.  It is to honor him.  This is just wrong, for the reasons I have written before.  But obviously, this practice shows no signs of ending.

Then again, as this op-ed in the St. Louis Review shows, there can be a deaf ear sometimes to concerns about Catholic orthodoxy when there is a liberal social or political agenda to push.  Father Art Cavitt, the Executive Director of the St. Charles Lwanga Center (the group that helps plan the MLK Mass), wrote a piece about addressing the problem of racism by gathering around the Eucharist.  

Great.  But he begins the piece by casually mentioning that he was the guest speaker at a JustFaith program at St. Gabriel the Archangel parish.  Now, JustFaith is a group of community organizers headed by a man with ties to heterodox, anti-Catholic "Catholic" groups that seek the usual agenda of women priests and homosexual privileges at the expense of marriage.  I have blogged before about the tacit approval of JustFaith that the Review's benign coverage gives.  Catholic Charities in St. Louis has shown support for this group.  Apparently this tacit support continues.

Why does it matter?  Well, we have seen the results of divorcing "social justice" from the Church and the Truth that is Christ.  Purporting to serve Christ in the poor and marginalized while rejecting His teachings and His Church is an oxymoron.  When will this problem be addressed in our pulpits?  And even in his op-ed, Fr. Cavitt does not hesitate to mention, among the problems that the legacy of Dr. King addresses-- in the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis-- homophobia.  Yes, that malleable, tired term.  It could mean simply that we treat all people with respect and due process under the law.  Well, of course.  But that term, in today's culture, is loaded with the implication that "gay marriage" is a cause on equivalent moral and legal ground with voting rights for African Americans back in the 1960s.

When will this nonsense stop, or at least not be tolerated in official Archdiocesan publications?

In case you might wonder where the Church stands on the issue of homosexual ersatz-marriage, check out this article in the secular press from last week.

St. Charles Lwanga, pray for us.


michael driscoll said...

Not to needle you too much, Timman, but....we're here, we're queer, get used to it.
Have a good week.

dulac90 said...

I'm here, I'm straight, and I'm a sinner as well. I firmly resolve, with the help of His Grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin.

doughboy said...

We're here, we're persons with SSA, and we're thankful for the teachings of our Holy Mother Church in helping us live lives of chastity and true freedom. And we're in numbers more than you think.

Get used to it.

marlon said...

"there can be a deaf ear sometimes to concerns about Catholic orthodoxy when there is a liberal social or political agenda to push"

My only quibble with this quote is that it is not "sometimes" that this happens, but ALL the time.

Anthony Emmel said...

Well, if I were a bishop, i would probably have a EFM Requiem Mass said for the repose of his soul on the holiday (Monday). :)

Anonymous said...

I'd be mad too. At least I'd go with George Washington as he had a vision of the Blessed Mother and was a deathbed Catholic. At least, the Jesuits say so in the Jesuit Relations.


Anonymous said...

This riles me up to no extent. Couldn't a letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments be sent? Shouldn't the Archbishop follow the rubrics? How can he lead by example if HE isn't evening following the rules?

Riled Up

Anonymous said...

Dan said...

Just to get this quickly out of the way before addressing the substance of the article: Mr Driscoll, you're here, you're queer and when you are rotting away bodily with either AIDS or hepatitus-B I wonder if you will get used to it?

As to the article in question, I never thought I would live to see the day when someone like Mr King would be honored at all, let alone in such a special way. But let's put aside his serial adultery, his generally reprehensible character, his hob-nobbing with some of the shadiest individuals ever to darken the US political scene. The fact of the matter is simple: the man was not (alas) a Catholic, and therefore it is the height of optimism to assume he has saved his soul.

True, we don't know if he managed to see a priest before his death and enter the Church, but it seems quite unlikely given the historical facts that we know. Any effort to have a mass said for him is therefore worse than folly.

It is a good and holy thing to pray for the dead. But that presupposes that the deceased are either Catholics in good standing or somehow embraced the Faith (unknown to us) before death. If they died outside the Church there is no hope whatsoever for their salvation. Yes, I know that our feel-good, namby-pamby Church likes to sweep this doctrine under the carpet these days but that doesn't change the reality.

The best way to honor our African-American friends is to work for their conversion {SLC Note: those that aren't Catholic, I assume} to the true Church, and to stop lioninzing the likes of Martin Luther King.

Peggy IL said...

First responding to Anon at 15:05, FYI, it is acceptable to have a mass said for the repose of the soul of non-Catholics. (Fr Z had a Q&A on that once.) They need our prayers exactly b/c they did not convert in earthly life. I agree w/Timman's other sentiments on this bad idea of "honoring" MLK with a mass. I get angry that some American founders, those who were particularly helpful to assure religious freedom of Catholics, are not considered great. Wash and Jefferson helped fund Cath churches in Virginia. John Adams strikes me as a particularly scrupulous moral man, though not a Catholic.

A couple of points I'd like to add on race and US history. American slavery must be put into perspective in that Africans brought as slaves to the US did not experience a unique suffering in the history of man. Slavery was pretty much the rule of the day in many, many societies from the earliest times we know of. Next, slavery in the US has been over for 150+ years now. No slaves or slaveholders remain alive. As for a debt, what about the few hundred thousand white men who died on behalf of the Union, which had goals of ending slavery and maintaining the union? (Let's not debate the rightness of the war or Lincoln right now,Tim. Let's agree that it did happen and men did die.) Is there gratitude from descendents of slaves for this sacrifice? A last point, while I have no wish to recreate divisions among Americans of various European descent, I dislike this lumping of us all as "white culture" and actually culture-less "whites." We have brought a good many cultures, traditions and beliefs to this country. Latino race propaganda particularly puts down "Anglo" or "gringo" white culture as being empty and inferior. Why have we allowed ourselves into believing in our own inferiority? We don't have to be better, but we must know who we are also and what we bring to the table, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

It's a relief to hear a warning about the JustFaith program. I enrolled in the first JustFaith offering in my city, and remained in the program only to try to dissuade my classmates from taking this Marxist, anti-Christian campaign to the parishes. JustFaith is pure liberation theology and seeks to undermine the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. Please be aware that JustFaith partners include Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, CCHD and Pax Christi. In Christ, Kathy