would like to recall with you the event history cannot dis- pense with: the birth of Jesus. To comply with the Emperor Cesar Augustus' decree that or- dered them to go to their place of origin to be registered, Joseph and Mary went from Nazareth down to Bethlehem. As soon as they ar- rived, they immediately sought lodging since the moment for Mary to give birth was imminent. Unfortunately, they did not find anything. So, Mary was forced to give birth in a stable (cf. Lk. 2:1-7). Let's think: the creator of the universe - He was not given a place to be born! Perhaps this was in anticipation of what the evan- gelist John would say: "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not" (1:11); and what Jesus himself would say: "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head" (Lk 9:58). It was an angel who announced the birth of Jesus, and he did so to some lowly shepherds. And it was a star that showed the Magi the way to Bethlehem (cf. Mt 2:1, 9.10). An angel is a messenger from God. The star reminds us that God created the light (Gn 1:3) and that the baby would be "the light of the world," as he would define himself (cf. Jn 8:12, 46), the "true light that enlightens every man" (Jn 1:9), that "shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (v. 5). The shepherds personify the poor of Israel, lowly people who interiorly live with the awareness of their own want. Precisely for this reason, they trust more than others in God. They were the first to see the Son of God made man, and this encounter changed them deeply. The Gospel notes that they returned "glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen" (Lk 2:20). The Magi are also around the newborn Jesus (cf. Mt 2:1-12). The Gospels do not tell us who the kings might have been, nor how many there were, nor what their names were. The only thing we know for certain is that they came from a distant country in the East (perhaps from Babylonia, or Arabia, or Persia of that time). They set out on a journey seeking the King of the Jews, whom they identified with God in their hearts because they said they wanted to adore him. The Magi represent the pagan peoples, in particular all those who have sought God down through the ages, and who set out on a journey to find Him. They also represent the rich and powerful, but only those who are not slaves to possessions, who are not "possessed" by the things they believe they possess. The message of the Gospels is clear: the birth of Jesus is a uni- versal event that concerns all of humanity. Dear brothers and sisters, hu- mility is the only way that leads us to God. At the same time, specifically because it leads us to him, humility leads us also to the essentials of life, to its truest meaning, to the most trustworthy reason for why life is truly worth living. Humility alone opens us up to the experience of truth, of authen- tic joy, of knowing what matters. Without humility we are "cut off," we are cut off from understand- ing God and from understanding ourselves. Humility is needed to understand ourselves, all the more so to understand God. The Magi may have even been great accord- ing to the world's logic, but they made themselves lowly, humble, and precisely because of this they succeeded in finding Jesus and recognizing him. They accepted the humility of seeking, of setting out on a journey, of asking, of tak- ing a risk, of making a mistake. ... Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to invite every man and woman to the stable of Beth- lehem to adore the Son of God made man. May each one of us draw near to the creche in our own homes or in the church or in another place, and try to make an act of adoration, inside: "I believe you are God, that this baby is God. Please, grant me the grace of hu- mility to be able to understand." In approaching and praying by the crib, I would like to put the poor in the front row, those whom - as St. Paul VI used to exhort - "we must love because in a certain way they are the sacrament of Christ; in them - in the hungry, the thirsty, the exiles, the naked, the ill, prisoners - He wanted to be mystically identified. We must help them, suffer with them, and also follow them because poverty is the securest path to possess the Kingdom of God in its fullness" (Homily, 1 May 1969). For this rea- son, we must ask for the grace of humility: "Lord, that I might not be proud, that I might not be self- sufficient, that I might not believe that I am the center of the uni- verse. Make me humble. Grant me the grace of humility. And with this humility, may I find You." It is the only way; without humility we will never find God: we will find ourselves. The reason is that the person who is not humble has no horizon in front of him or her. They only have a mirror in which to look at themselves. Let us ask the Lord to break this mirror so we can look beyond, to the hori- zon, where he is. But he needs to do this: grant us the grace and the joy of humility to take this path. Then, brothers and sisters, just like the star did with the Magi, I would like to accompany to Bethlehem all those who have no religious restlessness, who do not pose the question of God, or who may even fight against religion, all those who are improperly identified as atheists. I would like to repeat to them the message of the Second Vatican Council: "The Church holds that the recogni- tion of God is in no way hostile to man's dignity, since this dignity is rooted and perfected in God. [-] Above all, the Church knows that her message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the hu- man heart" (Gaudium et Spes, 21). Let's return home with the angel's song: "Peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!"
OFFICIALSS POPE FRANCIS I 4 OPINION
THE CATHOLIC FREE PRESS DECEMBER 31, 2021
Periodicals paid at Worcester, Massachusetts. POSTMASTER: Send Address Changes to The Catholic Free Press, 49 Elm Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609 Home delivery $39/year Free in parishes & on newsstands Address: 49 Elm Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609 Telephone: 508-757-6387 FAX: 508-756-8315 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.catholicfreepress.org Member of International Union of the Catholic Press, Catholic Media Association, Catholic News Service. Material intended for publication either by the news or advertising departments should be received by Monday noon. (ISSN 0008-8056) Established in 1951 and published weekly by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, D.D., S.T.D. Executive Editor: Margaret M. Russell Advertising Director: Robert C. Ballantine
Women of valor and the pro-life cause
first met Erika Bachiochi - then Erika Schubert - in July 1998, when she was my student in the Tertio Mil- lennio Seminar on the Free Society in Cracow. She had graduated from Middlebury College two years before and was doing a master's program in theology at Boston College, which she completed in 1999. Erika received her law degree from Boston University in 2002 and has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard Law School. Married and the mother of seven, she is one of the country's leading exponents of pro-life feminism, and her recent book, The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision, has received considerable and well-deserved attention. In her spare (sic) time, she helped found a classical academy, St. Bene- dict's, in Natick, Massachusetts, and led its board for two years. In addition to her affiliation with the Abigail Ad- ams Institute, Erika is also my colleague at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. On Dec. 7, a date that will live in infamy in the fever swamps of pro-abortion America, Erika Bachiochi had the temerity to publish an op-ed article in the New York Times. In it, she criticized the "individualistic libertarian- ism that characterizes our politics, left and right" and expressed the hope that, with Roe v. Wade out of the way, the "pro-life movement can begin where it left off in 1973, working to convince fellow citizens - that we owe depen- dent and vulnerable unborn children what every human being is due: hospitality, respect, and care." A post-Roe America, she proposed, would be a country that would "need to move beyond its wrongheaded obsession with autonomy" and "bring forth a renewed solidarity instead" - a solidarity in which "support, assistance, and care" are offered to "pregnant women and their children, both born and unborn," and men are "called to task" when they fail to meet their responsi- bilities. It was a well-reasoned, well- written, compassionate, and temperate piece. And it caused thousands of readers of what still imagines itself the coun- try's newspaper of record to come unhinged. An f-bomb in the subject line of an e-mail Erika received set the tone for much of the rest. Several enraged partisans wrote the leaders of the Abigail Adams Institute and the Ethics and Public Policy Center, urging that this heretic be terminated (e.g., "I find it extremely dif- ficult to imagine that anyone would pay her to 'think.'"). One pyromaniacally-inclined correspondent confessed "sur- prise that you didn't burst into flames upon submitting your opinion [piece] as the Times is the godless heathen nest of all things you despise." Several in- dulged in crude anti-Catholicism: "I assume that you are rigidly Catholic which may explain your viewpoint;" "- the Church only cares for the soul, not the living, breath- ing child." None of this vitriol involved serious argument, as most contented themselves with a sheer venting of their disgust (e.g., "I cannot find a single sentence in this pitiful attempt at analysis that contains a shred of truth;" "I would suggest that you get out of your ... ivory tower;" "Your article and opinion are drivel. Full Stop.") Considering the nastiness and vacuity of these non- responses to Erika Bachiochi's article, one suspects that those who regard Roe v. Wade as the linchpin of American democracy are beginning to fear that they've lost the de- bate about abortion. They lost the scientific debate long ago, and now they're losing the constitutional debate. The oral argument over the Dobbs case at the Supreme Court on Dec. 1, in which the defenders of Roe v. Wade were clearly outclassed, could only have intensified those fears. All of which reminded me of a conversation at the end of Roland Emmerich's film Midway, when Admiral Halsey (Dennis Quaid), on learning that the previously demeaned and underrated U.S. Navy had just sank four Japanese aircraft carriers, said to Admiral Nimitz (Woody Harrelson), "God bless those boys. Turns out all they needed was a fair fight." That was all the pro-life cause needed, too - a fair fight. That's what pro-lifers finally got at the Supreme Court on Dec. 1. And by the testimony of just about everyone (including pro-abortion legal com- mentators), the pro-life forces replicated the feats of the Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown pilots on June 4, 1942: they demolished their adversaries (with Justice Sonia So- tomayor in the role of hapless Japanese admiral Chuichi Nagumo). Erika Bachiochi and many other women of valor helped make that possible by decades of legal and moral com- mentary that has eviscerated the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott. By their lives, work, and cour- age, these women falsify the claim that the pro-life cause is anti-woman. And their critics can't stand it.
THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE George Weigel
BY KRIS CORREIRA
SPECIAL TO THE CFP
hile the public hearing is over, the assisted sui- cide bill known as An Act Relative to End of Life Options (End of Life Options Act) is still awaiting action by the Joint Committee on Public Health. Continuing to meet with legislators to inform them of our opposition is crucial to preventing this bill from becom- ing law. Unless extended, the deadline for the committee to report out is Feb. 4. Particularly troubling about this bill is that it contains something other assisted suicide laws do not: the wiping away of conscience protection for Catholic clinicians, hospitals, and anyone else opposed to it. Medicine was once centered on the knowledge, skill, and ethics of clinicians to provide compassionate patient care. As medicine progresses into a system centered on providing services, patient volume and satisfaction become the goods sought by the corporations and regulators running it. In this brave new world, declining a patient's request for a legal ser- vice because of a clinical judgement based on conscience is grounds for termination. Advocates claim this is necessary to prevent discrimination, but, in fact, it aims to end Catho- lic healthcare. Catholic clinicians never refuse to care for a patient. We sometimes refuse to offer or refer for treatments that we view as harmful, such as assisted suicide, even if it is legal and others disagree. And we always offer alternatives that, for some things, may simply be our presence and support. Discrimination is not involved. It is a false claim by those who replace human dignity with human desire and do not tolerate those who think differently. While patient satisfac- tion is important, when government payments and clinician salaries depend on it then conscience objections must go, and any bioethical constraints go as well. The End of Life Options Act is designed to protect doctors willing to hasten the death of their patients. It forces all oth- ers to either get used to it, refer to someone who will do it, or get out of medicine. None of those are acceptable options to those of us who never view someone as better off dead. Even now, this language already exists in recent palliative care laws. These laws mandate that all facilities and clini- cians supply information to patients about palliative care and other "end of life options." It also states that, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a healthcare professional to offer to provide information about assisted suicide or the prescribing of medication to end life." Medical professionals can opt out but must refer to someone willing to discuss all the "end of life options." Why would anti-conscience language be placed in a pallia- tive care law when no one objects to informing patients about it? Keep in mind that the End of Life Options Act, which states that "aid in dying" shall not be considered assisted suicide. If the End of Life Options Act passes, everyone will be required to inform patients that "aid in dying" is an "end of life op- tion." Additionally, every doctor will be mandated to offer the "service" or refer to someone who will. That will be the end of Catholic medicine in Massachusetts. Assisted suicide should never be legalized, and it should never be linked to palliative care. A small number of suicide activists are using palliative care to attack people of faith. Not only must we tell legislators to reject the assisted suicide bill, but also to amend the existing palliative care laws.
Oppose assisted suicide law Catechesis: The birth of Jesus
CNS PHOTO JUNNO AROCHO ESTEVES
Statues of Joseph and Mary are pictured in the Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square during a preview for journalists at the Vatican Dec. 9. The Nativity is from Peru's Huancavelica region. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bishop Robert J. Mc- Manus, announced the following: EFFECTIVE JANUARY 3, 2022 REV. RICHARD F. REIDY , to administrator, St. Paul Parish, Warren, and St. Stanislaus Parish, West Warren, while remaining as vicar general and moderator of the curia, with residence at Christ the King Church, Worcester; REV. EDWARD M. RYAN, to sacramental minister, St. Paul Parish, Warren, and St. Stanislaus Parish, West Warren; EFFECTIVE JANUARY 29, 2022: REV. ALAN J. MARTINEAU , from administrator, St. Paul Parish, Warren, and St. Stanislaus Parish, West Warren, to associate pastor, St. George Parish, Worcester, while remaining defender of the bond.
GUEST COMMENTARY IPrevious Page