Thursday, October 23, 2014

U.S. District Court Judge Rules in Favor of Natural #Marriage

Brethren, Peace be with you.

This, according to LifeSiteNews. I quote the whole thing:
U.S. District Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez
In a rare court victory for supporters of true marriage, a U.S. District Judge this week upheld the legality of Puerto Rico’s marriage protection law, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. 

In his 21-page decision, Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez passionately defended true marriage and delivered a scathing rebuke to his colleagues across the nation who have overwhelmingly ruled to overturn state bans on same-sex “marriage” in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2013 ruling striking down key portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 

“Because no right to same-gender marriage emanates from the Constitution, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico should not be compelled to recognize such unions,” Perez-Gimenez wrote.

“Recent affirmances of same-gender marriage seem to suffer from a peculiar inability to recall the principles embodied in existing marriage law,” wrote Perez-Gimenez. “Traditional marriage is the fundamental unit of the political order.  And ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage.” 

“Those are the well-tested, well-proven principles on which we have relied for centuries,” added the judge. “The question now is whether judicial ‘wisdom’ may contrive methods by which those solid principles can be circumvented or even discarded.”

Lambda Legal staff attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, who represented the gay plaintiffs in the case, told the Washington Blade that Tuesday’s ruling “flies in the face of the blizzard of rulings of the last year … and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the rulings striking down five bans similar to Puerto Rico’s.”

Added Gonzalez-Pagan, “One struggles to understand how this judge came to a different conclusion.”

In his ruling, Judge Perez-Gimenez acknowledged he is in the minority of judges willing to defend true marriage.  But he had harsh words for the activist courts that have now redefined marriage to include same-sex couples in 32 states.

“A clear majority of courts have struck down statutes that affirm opposite-gender marriage only,” Perez-Gimenez wrote. “In their ingenuity and imagination they have constructed a seemingly comprehensive legal structure for this new form of marriage. And yet what is lacking and unaccounted for remains: are laws barring polygamy, or, say the marriage of fathers and daughters, now of doubtful validity? Is ‘minimal marriage,’ where ‘individuals can have legal marital relationships with more than one person, reciprocally or asymmetrically, themselves determining the sex and number of parties’ the blueprint for their design?”

The Supreme Court’s decision regarding DOMA, “does not – cannot – change things,” wrote Perez-Gimenez.  “[The Supreme Court] struck down Section 3 of DOMA which imposed a federal definition of marriage, as an impermissible federal intrusion on state power. [The court’s] opinion did not create a fundamental right to same-gender marriage nor did it establish that state opposite-gender marriage regulations are amendable to federal constitutional challenges.  If anything, [the decision] stands for the opposite proposition: it reaffirms the States’ authority over marriage.”

“It takes inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance … to interpret [the Supreme Court’s] endorsement of the state control of marriage as eliminating the state control of marriage,” Perez-Gimenez added.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, praised the judge for his ruling, calling him, “a model of judicial restraint.”

Lamenting an “epidemic of federal judges legislating from the bench on the issue of marriage,” Perkins said, “it is time for other courts to follow his example, and the Supreme Court shouldn't allow activist lower courts to redefine states' marriage laws.”

"Judge Pérez-Giménez not only rejected the constitutional arguments for redefining marriage, but succinctly made the case for natural marriage,” Perkins said.  “He is correct in saying that this is among the 'principles of logic and law that cannot be forgotten.'”

"In my recent Fox News Sunday debate with [pro-same-sex “marriage”] attorney Ted Olson, I challenged him to articulate what boundaries may be placed if 'love' is the only criteria for marriage. He refused to do so,” added Perkins. “Judge Pérez-Giménez offered the same challenge … .”

Concluded Perkins, “Every judge considering a marriage case-and every public official charged with administering or enforcing his or her state's laws on marriage-should read and take guidance from this ruling.”
Commentary. What Judge Pérez Giménez did took guts. He took the legal bull by the horns and twisted it into submission. This is how a Federal Judge is supposed to judge on this matter, the intense propaganda and agitation to the contrary notwithstanding. Continental judges should stop and notice: it took an American citizen from Puerto Rico to arrive at the right decision on this matter and come up with the courage to vindicate it from the bench. 
- Download and read U.S. District Judge Pérez Giménez's decision from here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Houston Mayor @AnniseParker Has Abused Her Power And She Must Resign

Brethren: Peace be with you.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker
As you may be aware from numerous newsfeeds, Ms. Annise Parker (@AnniseParker) is using her powers as a mayor to intimidate and burden Christian pastors and their communities who, in their exercise of First Amendment freedoms, challenged an ordinance passed to guaranteed so-called "equal rights" to gay and transgendered people, including an order to allow people of one sex access to public restrooms designated for the opposite sex under certain circumstances. The citizens of Houston collected enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot but the city refused to recognize their signatures. When the citizens sued to overturn the city's decision, Mayor Parker leveled subpoenas against five Houston-area pastors, demanding access to their sermons, records, and other private information related to their activism.

Whose death allowed Mayor Parker to become Queen of Houston? Inquiring minds want to know.

Since when the city government, or any other level of government for that matter, has the power to violate a citizen's private correspondence in order to ascertain a notional violation of some city ordinance - short of treason?

The subpoenas Ms. Annise Parker authorized are outrageous. They are morally wrong and illegal, as I understand the Constitution of the United States and our form of government and founding ideals. These misguided subpoenas aim to chill discussion and freedom of expression and of conscience, aimed at those whom Ms. Parker may consider political enemies. The subpoenas smack of royal power, they stink of despotism and tyranny.

J'accuse Ms. Annise Parker of abuse of power and malfeasance in this affair. I hope the citizens of Houston and their City Council see it my way, and sanction Ms. Parker appropriately. If I had a choice in the matter, I would demand her resignation.

Today we remember Pope St. John Paul the Great

Charles Joseph Wotjtyła was born in 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. After his ordination to the priesthood and theological studies in Rome, he returned to his homeland and resumed various pastoral and academic tasks. He became first auxiliary bishop and, in 1964, Archbishop of Krakow and took part in the Second Vatican Council. On 16 October 1978 he was elected pope and took the name John Paul II. His exceptional apostolic zeal, particularly for families, young people and the sick, led him to numerous pastoral visits throughout the world. Among the many fruits which he has left as a heritage to the Church are above all his rich Magisterium and the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church and for the Eastern Churches. In Rome on 2 April 2005, the eve of the Second Sunday of Easter (or of Divine Mercy), he departed peacefully in the Lord.

On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed Venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to him, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease. A second miracle, attributed to the late pope, was approved on 2 July 2013 and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later. John Paul II was canonized on 27 April 2014, alongside Pope John XXIII. Like John XXIII, his feast day is not celebrated on the date of his death as is usual, but on the anniversary of his papal inauguration, 22 October 1978. (Source).

Let us pray:
O God,
who are rich in mercy
and who willed that
the blessed John Paul the Second
should preside as Pope over your universal Church,
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,
the sole Redeemer of mankind.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Synodal Document Released

Brethren, Peace be with you.

The relatio synodi or synodal document of the XIV Extraordinary Synod of Bishops was released today, as this first phase of the Synod on the Family came to an end today.

The Holy See has not released an official English version yet, but you may read a Google-translated version here.

Like I said before: the Holy Spirit is in the details. He always was, and always will be.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Don't criticize or judge other people..."

Brethren, Peace be with you.

Today, I will will share with you a thought by the late Russian Orthodox hieromonk Seraphim Rose (1934-1982). His advice is good and plenty compatible with Catholic practice, but hard to practice. With God's grace we'll be able to accomplish it. Please, treasure this meme.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

If the Council of Jerusalem in 50 A.D. had been covered by our Mainstream Media (#MSM)...

Brethren, Peace be with you. Observing the media coverage of the ongoing Synod of Bishops in Rome, I wondered how the media would have covered that first "synod" or gathering of Christians in Jerusalem in 50 A.D. Please join me in this imaginative tour as we accompany a Roman journalist in his investigation and reporting.

Conflict in Jerusalem: Conservative Palestinian Jews and Liberal Jews from the Diaspora Battle for the Soul of the Christos' Way.

Jerusalem, Saturday, eve before the XVI kalends of November, DCCCIII a. U. C. 

Representatives of the Christos' movement from Judea, Syria, and elsewhere in the empire are meeting today at their gathering place in Jerusalem's City of David, to discuss several issues affecting the very identity of their movement. I, Sergius Catullus Agrippa, make this report for the Imperial Clarion.

The Christos Movement, referred to as "Christian" by the people of Antioch in Syria and as "The Way" locally, originated in Galilee during the governorship of Pontius Pilate. It draws many of its strange doctrines from the teachings of one Yeshua bar Joseph, a man from the inconsequential hamlet of Nazareth, who became an itinerant rabbi and reputed miracle worker. Condemned by his own religious leaders as a blasphemer and executed for sedition by Pilate, his core disciples announced that their rabbi had risen from the dead and that his presence was still felt amongst them. Acclaimed as "Mashiach" which means "christos" ("anointed one") in the common tongue, his cult has persisted for 17 years until the present day.

Yet today, the Christos Movement is at a crossroads.

"We can no longer afford being a Jewish sect", affirmed Sha'ul of Tarsus, an influential leader of the Christo's movement abroad. "The Christos hinted many times at welcoming the Goyim into the assembly he gathered about himself. The Goyim will find traditional Jewish requirements such as circumcision and kosher eating as unbearable and repugnant. I believe the Christos himself would have excused the Goyim from the external requirements of our Torah", he emphasized.

"Goyim", he explained, are the rest of us, the hoi polloi, the non-Jews. It's not always a term of endearment but not for Sha'ul, who is also known as Paulos. He says even the Goyim  have a share in the "inheritance" obtained by the Christos "through his death and resurrection."

"The people gathered around Mashiach Yeshua must remember who we are", sentenced Ya'kov ha'Tzadik, whom many consider the local leader of the Christos' movement here in Jerusalem. Speaking in heavily accented Greek, ha'Tzadik (translated "the Just" in the common tongue) explained "that Mashiach Yeshua came first and foremost to rescue what he called 'the lost sheep of Yis'rael'. I know he said that because I was there. I heard him say it. Whatever we decide in this meeting will have profound consequences not only in the assembly called by Yeshua, but also for the people of the Eretz Israel now and in the future."

"Get real!" a man identifying himself as Joseph Barnabas interjected. "I used to be the mohel at the synagogue in Damascus before I became a follower of the Christos. Circumcising a baby may be cute, but not so much when you do it to a grown man. Oy! The Way of the Christos makes circumcision superfluous for Gentile believers."  They walked away arguing between themselves.

Shimon Bar Jonah's Leadership Criticized

"The reason we find ourselves in crisis mode is due to weak leadership at the top," confessed a "diákonos" or "servant" of the The Way who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He continued on: "Shimon Bar Jonah was supposed to be the foundation rock upon which Mashiach Yeshua was to build us. Would such 'foundation rock' call a meeting of heads to discuss the issue instead of deciding the matter by himself, as befits his rank? Instead, he has called this, this knesset of lunatics which surely will end in disorder and chaos. He is no rock, he is a straw, blown by the wind. He's always been that way." he muttered, as he walked away shaking his head.

My source may be on to something. My investigation reveals that this Shimon Bar Jonah, who is also known as "The Rock" - "Petros" in the common tongue - is the head of the Christos movement across the oikumené. Sources speaking on background describe him as a rude fisherman from Galilee, impetuous, speaking the first thing that comes into his head, always wearing his emotions on his sleeves. Most astonishingly, he denied and cursed away any knowledge of the Christos after his arrest by Jewish authorities when confronted by a simple maid. Ever since the Christos alleged "resurrection from the dead" and the Pentecost feast that followed it - a Jewish holiday taking place 50 days after their Passover - and after the Christos supposed "ascension to heaven", this "Petros" became the acknowledged leader of The Way. Since then, the sources whisper he has become a quieter,  more retiring person, preferring to shepherd his fledgeling flock by consensus, not by dictatorial commands. He is humored also to be a world traveler, at times rumored to have been in Antioch, Babylon, even Rome itself. An "encyclical" or "circular" letter addressed to followers of the Christos is attributed to him, but its grammar and style points to someone else as the author, and not to an ignorant, illiterate Galilean fisherman. He is here too, but he may not make any difference at a moment in time when the Christos' followers may need a firmer, authoritarian guiding hand.

An uncertain future for the Christos Movement

The self-described "Way" faces now a fork on the road. Deep divisions regarding how Jewish a Jewish sect ought to be; different interpretations of Jewish Torah-Law suffused with thick Hebrew jargon; and a weak, erratic, temperamental top leader lacking basic religion education, bodes ill for the Christos Movement. Separation from its Jewish trunk will make this "Way" but another mystery sect of the kind that proliferate throughout the eastern Mediterranean, with its own guiding myths and secret rituals. The branch will wither for lack of attention. It would become but another straw in the hay stack of religions. However, a conservative solution to their identity problem will make the followers of the Christos Jews in everything but with the added, peculiar belief that their Mashiach has come, was rejected by his very people, and put to death for blasphemy and sedition on a Roman cross. That has got to be hard to explain to the mass of Jewish believers without recurring to their founding myths.

Given the choices they face, whatever this council of elders leading the followers of "The Way" of the Christos will result in the slow, inexorable extinction of their movement. Whether local conservatives or liberals from the Diaspora prevail, will be inconsequencial. In another 20 years the Christos' Movement will be but a memory.

I, Sergius Catullus Agrippa, make this report for the Imperial Clarion.
- Go here and read what happened at the Council of Jerusalem.

- Go here and read the first encyclical or "circular" letter attributed to Simon Bar Jonah, a.k.a. "Petros". 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Six things you need to know about the Synod of Bishops' interim report

Brethren, Peace be with you in Jesus Christ our Lord.

View of the Synod of Bishops in Rome
There's been a lot of misunderstanding regarding the interim report issued by the Synod of Bishops this last weekend. Much of the misunderstanding is due to a New York Times (NYT) article formerly titled Vatican Signals More Tolerance Toward Gays and Remarriage since renamed At the Vatican, a Shift in Tone Toward Gays and Divorce - probably because they were so far off the mark in the first place. (George Weigel's take on the NYT article dispatches the MSM approach clearly and efficiently).

Brethren, these are things you need to know about the Synod's stance regarding same-sex activity and people suffering from same-sex attractions, over and against the views reported in the MSM:
1. The Bishops have not changed Catholic doctrine regarding the moral admissibility of same-sex activity, nor will they change it, nor can they change it. Any expectations formulated and fostered by the MSM that such a change is possible or forthcoming or even desirable are false. (If you want to know or want to remember the Church's unchangeable stance, read it here).

2. The issue is one of pastoral approach to people suffering  from same-sex attractions. You can call this a "change in tone" if you like, but I've said the same thing in writing 9 years ago and then again 5 years ago (here and here). I didn't invent my own conclusions from thin air, but from reading the official Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality and chastity. If I did so, any person of good will can and must understand that all persons suffering from same-sex attractions must be treated with love and respect, and that avoiding all signs of unjust discrimination against them is our duty as faithful Catholics. The doctrine says what it means and means what it says.
3. There was no "Vatican backtracking" in the face of "conservative bishops" regarding this issue, as CNN reports. Check the Synod's working document against the official Catholic doctrine and you'll see they don't contradict each other. CNN, NYT, and other media simply failed to understand both Catholic doctrine and the Synod's working process with their reporting or worse, willfully distorted their reporting to support another agenda.

4. I'm all for "gradualism" - the Synod's "byword" - if by it we mean to say that discipleship and growth are a process, and that sinful patterns of life acquired by repeated action - we call those "bad habits" or "vices"- be they cohabitation, divorce, or same-sex activity, are not broken overnight barring a luminous miracle; and that prayer and sacramental help, as well as true friendship, mentoring, and companionship, are needed to guide others to the fullness of life in Jesus Christ our Lord. But with "gradualism" there's the temptation to compromise with mediocrity, to say "I've progressed enough, I'll stay here, I can't do no more" while the mentor, already identifying with the pilgrim, will tend to acquiesce. Many are those who hope to catch such a "break", the moral demands of the Gospel notwithstanding. If that's what "gradualism" means, we have the obligation as Catholics to reject it.

5. Righteous gradualism works. Just ask the people who work in the Courage Apostolate. Non-sexual friendship and long-term mutual companionship and support between people suffering from same-sex attraction is possible with God's grace. These men and women who have chosen to live according to the Gospel in the context of their same-sex attraction need our special support, love, and respect. All this is implicit in the official Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality and chastity.

6. The interim report issued by the Synod of Bishops is just that, interim and therefore, temporary, malleable, and unfinished. It is more a summary of the bishops' views expressed the prior week - if it is even that, which I doubt. The document is just a milestone and reference point in a larger process.
Don't lose your peace before the distortions and misinformation pervading the MSM about the Synod. All is going the way it is supposed to go. The Holy Spirit is in the details. Let us continue to pray for the success of this first phase of the Synod of Bishops.