Pastor's Letter - August 6, 2017


It seems that the effect of the secular media in our culture continues to expand. This is becoming more evident in the clamor for “fame”, which is not so much the public recognition of a person because of his virtues or contribution to the common good (as in the case of a states- man whose wisdom and virtue helps to preserve peace and just relations among nations, or the accomplishment of a medical researcher who, by his intelligence and perseverance, discovers a cure for a disease that kills many people), as it is of being well known simply because one is present on all the forms of media. Those qualities which are most worthy of our admiration are usually not visible to us. In fact, very few people are rightly honored in their lifetime for their greatness. (Or, from the Christian perspective, for their holiness. Mother Theresa of Calcutta comes to mind.) More likely than not those who achieve fame or honor during their life- time probably don’t deserve it. And, conversely, I am sure there are many great and holy people whose lives go unnoticed. The Lord Himself was rejected by many people during His life. If He was honored, it was only briefly (on Palm Sunday). The scriptures testify that there was little about Him which would draw peoples’ attention. Perhaps this is an additional reason why He chose to reveal Himself in His glory to Peter, James, and John on the mountain of transfiguration. Though they had been moved by His teaching and miracles, now they were privileged to glimpse His Divinity. Jesus probably would never “go viral” on YouTube or be on “60 Minutes”. He wouldn’t need it. His Divinity isn’t related to His “fame”.

Last week, in this bulletin article and in my homily, I referred to the Church’s teaching in regards to the dignity of Christian marriage. 49 years ago (July 25, 1968) Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, reaffirmed the constant teaching of the Church that the dual purpose of marriage the unitive and procreative must always be respected. Contraception separates these two primary purposes of marriage which by nature are meant to be together. Many American Catholics share the confusion of the rest of our country when it comes to this teaching. Some have been using various forms of contraception, or even selected permanent contraception (sterilization), thinking that it was the morally right thing to do to space or limit the number of children in their family. When a morally good alternative is suggested (natural family planning), they become confused because, after all, “don’t they both have the same goal? That is, don’t they both intend to prevent a pregnancy?” Though the goals may be the same (though that isn’t always the case), the means are quite different. Contraception intentionally makes sterile an act that would otherwise be open to new life (even though it doesn’t always result in a new life). Couples who practice natural family planning abstain from the marital act during times of fertility. The difference could be likened to distinguishing two means of losing weight: either by dieting, that is, not eating so much and abstaining from food during certain times (like snacks between meals); and by bulimia, that is, by eating food then causing oneself to throw it back up. Of course, every analogy falls short. Nevertheless, just as throwing up one’s meal after eating is both unhealthy and morally wrong, so too is contraception unhealthy (for a married couple’s relationship, and oftentimes physically) and morally wrong. And since NFP is based on the knowledge of when a couple is fertile, it can be used to achieve a pregnancy. Try that with a contraceptive! You can find more info on marriage and NFP on these sites: www.diolc.org, www.catholic.com, and www.omsoul.com.

May God bless you! 
Fr. Schaller

From Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (A compilation of wisdom from people of all ages and walks of life.)
“I’ve learned that men don’t know what to do when a woman cries.” (Age 30)
“I’ve learned that my hair always looks good on the day I have an appointment to have it cut.” (Age 25) “I’ve learned that true happiness is when your newborn sleeps through the night.” (Age 30)