Monday, May 20, 2013

A Foreign-Born Priest’s Perspective on Current Events

We have an excellent priest available to us, and I thought I’d share what he said in his homily-after-the homily last night – in other words, he gave us a second excellent homily at the end of Mass! I won’t mention his name because he gets a little upset about that; I’ll just call him Father in this post.

Last night, Father read a letter from the bishop, as requested by the bishop. Here it is – a good solid letter about the challenges facing us:

To the Faithful of the Diocese of Baker:

Bishop Cary
In this Year of Faith, the U.S. Catholic bishops have called for a focused time of prayer until the feast of Christ the King (November 24, 2013) for the sake of renewing a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty in our country. The well-being of society requires that life, marriage, and religious liberty are promoted and protected. Serious threats to each of these goods, however, have raised unprecedented challenges to the Church and to the nation. Two immediate flashpoints take precedence:

• First is the HHS Mandate, which requires almost all employers, including Catholic employers, to pay for employees' contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs regardless of conscientious objections. This is a clear affront to America's first freedom, religious liberty, as well as to the inherent dignity of every human person.

• Second, current trends in both government and culture are moving toward redefining marriage as the union of any two persons, ignoring marriage's fundamental meaning and purpose as the universal institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and with the children born from their union.

These challenges call for increased awareness and formation, as well as spiritual stamina and fortitude among the faithful, so that we may all be effective and joyful witnesses of faith, hope and charity.

Information has been sent to each parish in our diocese on four ways we can participate in the bishops’ Call to Prayer:

• monthly Holy Hours,
• a daily rosary,
• special Prayers of the Faithful,
• and abstinence from meat and fasting on Fridays.

Please consider how you, your family and friends can participate in the bishops' Call to Prayer, and encourage others to do the same. It is an opportunity to respond in solidarity as the Body of Christ to the threats we face. It is a chance to deepen our faith and to help others to understand the false and empty promises of happiness being promoted. It is a time to stand together.

As we do our part by participating in this Call to Prayer, may the Lord increase our faith and help us spread it.
In Christ Jesus,

Most Reverend Liam Cary
Bishop of Baker

** ** ** ** ** **

Father’s homily focused on the Holy Spirit and Pentecost, of course, but at the end of Mass, after the letter was read, he had a few comments to make. Now, Father is very passionate about the faith, and he’s pretty darn orthodox, too – which is what I love about him, and which makes me less irritated with any liturgical abuses that happen under his watch. Those abuses don’t happen because Father is lukewarm in his faith! Sometimes he’s just not aware of them. Sometimes he is…and sometimes he listens to my complaints – something no other priest has done!

Here’s a little more background on him: Father is not a US-born priest; he is from Nigeria, as are many of the priests in our diocese. He taught himself to say the EF Mass, and did so for almost a full year, every Sunday, for a very small group of us. The pressures of a parish with several “mission” churches combined with the loss of an associate pastor led him to discontinue the EF Mass, but I hope his experience in saying it, which he said made him a better priest, “calls” to him constantly, and that one of these days he will abruptly decide to reinstate it.

At any rate, after the letter was read, Father proceeded to give us a lesson in “politics” and history. He said he had emailed the bishop to ask if civil disobedience was an option for us, because his understanding of canon law is that when the government “pushes against” the Church, we are allowed to disobey the unjust laws. And Father encouraged us to do just that.

Father also noted that he has been doing some reading, and he has learned that no other president in US history has ever taken the steps taken by Obama to issue orders and laws that went against the teachings of the Church. No other president has required Catholics to violate their consciences. Father is of the opinion that our bishops should go to Washington, D.C., and sit on the floor of the Senate until the senators agree to stop these outrageous and egregious actions against the Church! Yay Father! Lead the way!

Father does not speak idly. As I understand it, he himself has been arrested (in Nigeria) for taking actions that upheld the Church but went against the government’s rules. He told me that he has baptized the children of Muslim parents who so desired it, but who were afraid to officially convert to Catholicism for fear of the reprisals that would face them from the Muslim side. He was not supposed to baptize those children, but the parents desired it, and he did so. Bravo! Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Father concluded his remarks – his very, very passionate remarks – by saying that, yes, there is “terrorism”; that yes, there are bombs and killing and violence. But the real terrorism, he said, is the attack from within. It’s the attack by our own government on our Constitutional rights. The real attack is coming from our own government against our Catholic morality, which is really universal morality. He acknowledged that these comments were on the political side, and he said that on the spiritual side, we need to pray and do penance.

Basically, Father was saying we need to wake up.

Father is not even an American citizen. He has been in this country for about 7 years, I think. And yet he sees very clearly the danger at hand.

I hope people are listening to him.


  1. People better WAKE UP and get real with all this .
    Don't close your eyes to what is descending upon us .
    PRAY AND PENANCE is a MUST my dear friends...the ATTACK is within and it is our own government ....
    YES Our Bishops and clergy need to SPEAK LOUD and Clear on this moral outrage and this HHS mandate ...God have mercy on us all .
    BRAVO to you Father let us do exactly what you have said: PRAY and do PENANCE

  2. A real priest! I hope others will also follow his example. The people in the pew must also wake up.



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