Friday, February 21, 2014

Bulletin for the Week of February 23, 2014 and the Pastor's Corner

The Pastor’s Corner 

Over the last few weeks our Church has been in the news in light of a United Nations report regarding the protection of children. The report was very negative towards the Church, and I think it fair to say that it was a "hit piece" designed to malign the Church and to try to alter Her Faith and teachings. Needless to say, in the past there were wrongs committed by both clergy and lay people in the Church, and for that we as a community have apologized, taken corrective action to make sure it does not happen again, and to the best of our ability helped and supported the victims and their families.

Here at St. Landry, as in all parishes in the Diocese of Lafayette, a Safe Environment Program has been implemented for all clergy, employees and volunteers who work with our children (this same program is also at Opelousas Catholic). The program includes criminal background checks and yearly training regarding proper boundaries, detection and reporting of any potential problem. The program is a "gold standard" of education of clergy, employees, volunteers, parents and our children for the safety and protection of our young people. Despite the existence of serious and systematic abuse problems in our society in general (the problem is not just a Catholic Church problem, but rather a societal problem; just ask any of us who work in this area), other institutions including schools (both public and private) and churches, for the most part, have not implemented such a program. To date, the program has been very effective, albeit no program is perfect.

However, the United Nations report went further than just addressing the protection of children, and addressed matters of our faith that it thinks should be changed, including our teaching on marriage and the dignity of life from conception to natural death. Rather than taking a shot at the United Nations regarding its lack of diligence regarding other serious and, unfortunately, commonplace crimes against children that occur worldwide, including the use of "children soldiers," slave trafficking, child labor, and child prostitution (not to mention the problems of poverty, healthcare and education), or by noting the well documented corruption that the United Nations has had through the years, I think it more fruitful to reflect on what the report teaches us about our world and our role in it as Catholics.

First, we have discussed in homilies over the past year or two the widening of the gap between secular morality (the morality of our society) and our Catholic morality (what the Church teaches us is moral) in the United States, with particular examples being the new health care law (Obamacare) and the recent Supreme Court decisions on marriage. We can now safely say that this widening of the gap is not only in the United States, but also worldwide. Second, we can see that in this widening of the gap that secular governments and authorities will attempt to force Catholics to accept their morality by the use of their power over those they govern, even if it violates legitimate religious beliefs. Third, in the attempt to force secular morality upon us, we will be impugned because of our religious beliefs, whether being called or thought of as bigots (as happened during the debate on marriage) or unenlightened/ignorant as is common in secular media commentary. At some point, if this widening of the gap continues, we may be made to make certain choices between the practice of our faith or submitting to laws that require us to violate our religious beliefs.

Our response as Catholics is simple, but may be difficult. The widening of the morality gap is being caused by changes in secular morality instituted by governments. Our morality is rooted in Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and what He taught us. His teachings have not and will not change, because they are the Truth. We are not at liberty to change God's teachings, nor will we try. Our job is to simply live by them in imitation of Our Savior, not trying to make Jesus into who we want Him to be, but rather letting Him make us into who He wants us to be. Catholics have always been good citizens in just societies, and the less just a society becomes, the more tension increases between governmental authorities and the Church. This is nothing new, as it has occurred repeatedly in societies all over the world since the founding of our Church by Jesus Himself some 2000 years ago, and at times has led to persecution.

For now, our mission remains the same: To know our faith and to live it so that we can be with God in eternity, resisting the temptation to "go along" with societal norms that violate our faith. We must properly educate our young in word and especially in deed so they will also be able to live and be firm in the faith given to us by Jesus. We cannot compromise our faith, because eternal life is the most important and precious gift we have been given by God. We must not be afraid or ashamed of our faith, but rather know it and share it, especially by loving each other as Jesus loved us. As good citizens, we also do what we can to make our society more just and truly good by the changing of hearts and minds. Let us resolve to continue to remain firm in the Truth taught to us by Jesus and His Church!.

     Fr. James Brady

The bulletin for the week of February 23, 2014 has been posted. Click here to see it.

The calendar on the website has been updated with all events for the coming week along with prayer intention information and information on the second collection for all of the masses. Take some time to look at our calendar here.

Updates are also being made to our St. Landry Catholic Church blog. You can get to the blog from the church home page under the Bulletins and News section or you can just click here to go to it.

Don't forget, we're also sending out live updates via Twitter. Our Twitter name is StLandryCath. You can see updates by clicking here.

And we're also on Facebook --- friend us! You can see our updates on our page SaintLandryCatholicChurch.