Monday, May 4, 2009

Bishop Wenski's Homily from Mass or Reparation


From Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski's Mass today of reparation for sins against the dignity of human life. Posted on the Diocese of Orlando website, excerpt:
Today’s Mass is offered in reparation for the sins and transgressions committed against the dignity and sacredness of human life in our world today. We do this at the initiative of Notre-Dame alumni here in Central Florida who, like many other Catholics across the country, are confused and upset that their alma mater would grant an honorary doctorate to President Obama despite his rather extremist views on abortion. In granting this honorary degree, Notre-Dame chose to defy the Bishops of the United States who have said that “the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

The hurt felt by many throughout the United States is real, for Notre-Dame’s actions, despite its protests to the contrary, seem to suggest that it wishes “to justify positions that contradict the faith and teachings of the church; to do so, as Pope Benedict reminded Catholic educators in Washington, DC last year “would obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission.” At the very least, Notre-Dame’s actions suggest that, unlike a beauty queen from California, it lacks the courage of its convictions.

However, our purpose here this evening is not to rail against the insensitivity or thoughtlessness exhibited by Notre-Dame’s president and board. As I told a reporter who asked me last week, why I am celebrating a Mass of Reparation, “I am a bishop; and so I am not going to send upset Catholics to storm Notre-Dame with pitchforks, I am going to tell them to pray.”

Our proper response is prayer – but our prayer should not resemble that of the Pharisee who, in the presence of the remorseful Publican, prayed: “Thank you, God that I am not like the rest of men. In our prayer, we seek to make reparation not just for Notre-Dame’s regrettable decision, but more importantly we seek to make reparations for our own complacency. Yes, we pray for Notre-Dame – for Notre-Dame holds a unique place in the heart of most American Catholics and not just its alumni; but we pray for ourselves as Catholics in America.

We live in a nation where abortion laws are among the most liberal among the Western democracies. We Catholics have become too complacent about the legal killing of unborn children in America and elsewhere. This complacency contributed to the climate that led Notre-Dame’s president to think that it would be no big deal to defy the bishops in granting this honorary degree to President Obama. And, as the world’s lone superpower, with President Obama’s setting aside the Mexico City policy, we as a nation are once again using our wealth and influence to export abortion to nation’s weaker and poorer than ourselves. Before the completion of his first 100 days in office, President Obama has already expanded federal funding for abortion, directed tax payer funded support for embryonic stem cell research which requires the destruction of living human beings, and has challenged conscience protection provisions that allow health care workers and institutions to refuse to participate in abortions and other procedures that violate their ethical or religious views.

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