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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Can Freedom Survive without Virtue?

Michael Novak, Stonehill College alumnus and Templeton Awardee, and his assistant Mitch Boersma, wrote an article entitled "Can Freedom Survive without Virtue?" They quote Founding Father Dr. Benjamin Rush as follows: "The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without it there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments."

If the agents of secularism succeed in privatizing religion, removing it from the public scquare and civil discourse, the future of liberty is jeopardized. There are forces in this country that campaign to separate all religion from public life. Yet the Founders asserted that the republic needed good citizens to survive and prosper; good citizens must by definition be virtuous; religion is the principal agent in shaping a virtuous man or woman. Therefore, the suppression of religion and/or its banishment from public life and discourse, leads inevitably to the destruction of the republic. It seems the Founders understood the necessity of religion for a good society, when they declared that "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that mong these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." These God-given rights derive not from the largesse of government and can be safegaurded only by the rearing of virtuous children who grow to become good citizens. 

The second major threat to the survival of the Republic is the weakeninig of family life. For Liberty to prosper in the breasts of citizens, the family must be favored and strengthened by society, government and especially churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious communities. Failing this social support, the family disintegrates. Without family life, not even the force of religion can supply the basic building blocks of personal formation into virtuous men and women, the only source we can draw on to raise up good citizens.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts about this important issue of freedom and liberty.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sad Day in Malta for America

Today, Palm Sunday, news is circulating that the American Ambassador to Malta is resigning effective August 2011. Ambassador Kmiec taught at the Notre Dame Law School and at Pepperdine before being appointed our chief representative to Malta by President Obama. Kmiec suffered serious injuries last year when a car he was driving accidentally crashed and resulted in the death of his beloved friend and spiritual mentor, Monsignor John Sheridan, and a religious Sister named Mary. While visiting Matla in October on Some other business, I visited the Ambassador at his residence. The Archbishop of Malta, the local pastor Father Michael and others all agreed that Ambassador Kmiec was loved and respected by the people of Malta. It seems he is leaving after the Inspector General took him to task for being serious about his faith and promoting understanding among diverse religious groups.
For me and Bishop Lumen Monteiro,CSC, it was a privilege to meet with the ambassador.  I am only sorry we do not have more like him. He will be a big loss to our diplomatic community and the good people of Malta. May God bless you Ambassador Kmiec.

Paradoxes of Faith Media Today

Paradoxes of Faith Media Today

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Anatomy of Forgiveness

Saint John Vianney spent 16 hours a day hearing confessions and through him Christ the Risen Lord healed hundreds of thousands.
Sundance this year, 2011, offered a number of films with faith and religion themes like the Redemption of General Butt Naked and Kinyranda as well as the experimental and beautiful film the Mill and the Cross. My favorite is the Redemption of General Butt Naked. This film about a Liberian Warlord who committed heinous crimes while recruiting child soldiers and later morphed into an evangelical preacher is for me a shocker.

It is shocking because the Warlord, General Butt Naked, recruited young men with his powerful and charismatic personality, convinced them that entering into battle naked protected them from bullets and was resposnbile by his own testimony for at least 20,000 civilians deaths.

One day, a visitor came to his barracks to tell him that he could be saved and forgiven. His guards claimed that they did not see the visitor come in or go out of the General's office. He began the long process of conversion, changing his heart by God's grace, leaving the civil war and renouncing violence, going before the truth and reconciliation tribuanl and confessing his crimes, going personally to as many victims and survivors as he could and asking forgiveness, and making satisfaction wherever he was able to. 

As a priest who is blessed to celebrate the sacrament of mercy and forgiveness with many members of the Body of Christ weekly I am always honored and moved by the way in which God himself brings people to sorrow and contrition for their sins, to forgiveness and confession, to taking up a penance and make satisfaction for sins, to healing and reconcilation with a firm commitment not to enter into these sins again. The whole anatomy of forgiveness which we encounter in the Prodigal Son of Luke 15 seems to be present in the lives of the penitents who have the humility to come before a priest who acts in teh person of Christ and allows the Risen Lord to forgive, heal and strengthen the person. What a gift. 

Some people questioned the sincerity of General Butt Naked's Redemption while we were at Sundance.  I may be gullible but I believe that God's mercy extends even to such a man. Praise God!

Fr. Willy

To Life, All of it!

To Life, All of it!