He only shuts up when he is writing!
From the Pastor: Thanksgiving With My Family
Thanksgiving is always celebrated on a Thursday and, like many places, the Friday following it is a day on which the parish office is also closed. Unfortunately, the work that normally gets done during the last couple of weekdays still has to get done, so it means trying to race through all of the paperwork, pay all of the bills, and even print the bulletin before going home to do all of the necessary work preparing the house for guests, fixing the huge feast, and other such relaxing things. So, once again this year, I had to write about my family get-together before we actually got-together or else you would right now be staring at an empty space in the bulletin. Of course, you may have been able to make up a better story than I did!
Thanksgiving morning started out like any normal day. Two morning Masses, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Confessions and Benediction are all standard. The congregations were a bit larger than normal as people came to turn a secual holiday into a Catholic one. But since we are not cloistered monks and monkettes we cannot spend all of our time in church, so eventually everyone departed to get together with family and friends at home. As for me, I went with Fr. Dorvil, Fr. Claude (who is staying with us for a few months as he works to improve his English for his next assignment), and my mom (and her dog) over to my sister Karen’s house, where the family was gathering this year.
The house was packed. Brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors and, of course, pets, were all together eating and drinking and playing and, far too often, yelling at the television whenever one of the Detroit Lions players somehow forgot, right in the middle of a play, that he was supposed to be playing football. Everyone was having a great time but one important member of the family had not yet arrived. Aunt Irma had called to say that she was running late. She also announced that she was bringing some bishops with her, so we had better be on our best behavior. I guess at this point I had better explain a little of the background to the rest of this story. A couple of weeks ago the US bishops were holding a meeting in Baltimore and Aunt Irma was one of the thousands of Catholic Faithful who stood outside greeting them, praying for them, and trying to ask them some rather pointed questions. Aunt Irma is nothing if not creative and she devised a plan which she was sure would get the bishops’ attention. A grocery store chain was advertising a free turkey to anyone who got the flu vaccine at the store’s pharmacy. So she went to AAA and got a Trip Tik which included directions to each store branch within a few miles of her route to Maryland and got a vaccine and a turkey at nearly a dozen different stores. She made little bishop’s outfits for the turkeys and outside of the conference hotel she set out ten big fat butterballs dressed in pink cassocks and zucchettos (I, um, suppose she must have run out of the red color which a bishop usually wears). Above them she placed a large banner stating in bold letters, “Let’s talk turkey, turkeys. Salmonella sickened dozens and we recalled every damned one of them. We ask less than that of you. Demand a recall of your fellow bishops who are poisoning us still! Your silence makes us sick!” I am sure you saw the coverage of that in the news.
So now back to the story. Aunt Irma did not bring any real bishops with her. Instead, she brought the turkeys still dressed up in their clerical attire. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it seems that there are some side effects to receiving so many flu shots in such a short period of time. Or maybe it had something to do with being in such close contact with such a large group of bishops. But for whatever reason, it had never occurred to her that the turkey bishops needed refrigeration. She had simply kept them in her car on display for one and all to see. Oh, and her olfactory nerves were completely disabled, as she never realized that the putrid stench of rotting turkey bishops, “which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness” (Mt 23:27) not only completely saturated her entire car but also her, its driver. Although she was, due to her clever, brazen confrontation, our family hero, we simply could not allow her into the house, for the fetid bishop smell clinging to her would have been unbearable for the rest of us. So we convinced her to stay out back with the younger boys. You all know that for some reason boys seem to be fascinated with stinky, rotting things, and we enticed them further by letting it slip that Aunt Irma had battled the bishops and had been turned into a zombie. They were thrilled to stay, play and eat with her the rest of the day. (You don’t get to smell the zombies while watching them on TV, but I bet you cannot get that stench part out of your mind the next time you sit down to watch another zombie movie!) So, how was your Thanksgiving?
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: What? Me Worry?
Who remembers Alfred E. Neuman and the catchphrase, “What? Me Worry?” which is associated with this fictional character? I haven’t thought about him in years until recently seeing what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Frances of Rome were doing last week. What has come out of the Baltimore meeting could easily have been printed in the pages of Mad Magazine, which was so popular among us smart-alecky boys oh, so many years ago. The Bishops who could not muster any genuine anger at one of their own kind pressuring his seminarians into sleeping with him, who, for the most part, either stayed mum or blatantly lied about being “shocked” and having “no idea” that he was a long-time serial pervert and sorry excuse for a man, let alone for a Catholic Bishop, were absolutely relieved to hear that Rome sent word that they were not to deal with any issues regarding holding themselves accountable for anything. The supposed reason given for this “mandate of silence” was to allow Frances to hold a February 2019 meeting of the heads of every Bishops’ Conference throughout the world where they will supposedly come up with some universal form of justice for wayward, immoral, scandalous and/or incompetent Bishops. Yeah, right. Then, once the relief set in that the can was being kicked down the road and that the one in charge of determining how discipline would be meted out would not be a conservative, moral, Catholic member of their own Conference but rather the one who knew of McCarrick’s exploits and “redeemed” him anyway, they quickly voted down even asking for information about the supposed “investigation” going on in Rome about who knew what and when about McCarrick in the first place. Spy vs Spy Investigation Services at your service, ma’am. The vote was 85-187 to not even ask, pretty please with sugar on top, will you maybe let us see that you are doing something—anything—about Uncle Ted and his enablers? Here is the actual wording of this proposal. Warning, it contains very harsh, bold and manly language as the Bishops demanded action. “Regarding the ongoing investigation of the Holy See into the case of Archbishop McCarrick, be it resolved that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops encourage the Holy See to release soon all of the documentation that can be released consistent with canon and civil law regarding the allegations of misconduct of Archbishop McCarrick.”
What is that, you ask? Where is the demand to see documentation? Where is the manly boldness in that proposal? Well for the Bishops, who are used to writing the most wishy-washy letters possible when it comes to denouncing homosexual sin, this language was evidently just too darn strong so they overwhelmingly rejected it. It was almost as if [sniffle, whimper, whine] whoever wrote this proposal in the first place thought McCarrick did something wrong and that the Holy See might not actually be doing anything but giving lip service to investigating such a fine, upstanding ex-Cardinal Archbishop in order to placate the haters. You know who the haters are: all 85 of the (gasp!) heterosexual Bishops (including our own!) who voted, to the embarrassment of the rest, to request that they might actually see if any real work was being done. Jeez Louise! It’s not like the proposal said something like, “You have refused to answer Archbishop Vigano’s charge that you knew that McCarrick was a homosexual predator and yet you raised him from his relatively obscure ‘penitential’ retirement status to a gloriously powerful position as Bishop king-maker. We don’t trust you to tell us the truth about an ongoing investigation into his prolific and horrific and public deviant sex life but we are open to the possibility that we are wrong. Prove to us that you are actually investigating. Show us why it is taking so long and why you have been so secretive. This is not a request without consequences if it is not fulfilled. If you continue stonewalling and name calling instead of being forthcoming, we, as the United States Conference of Masculine Catholic Bishops (USCMCB), doing what you keep insisting we do and taking unto ourselves magisterial power beyond anything of historical precedence, and looking out for your, our, and our people’s salvation, will instruct all Americans to cancel all vacations and pilgrimages to Rome. Furthermore, no financial contributions or donations will be sent to Rome from the USCMCB, or from any Religious organization or Order within our territory, or from the American Faithful until proper, public and verifiable actions are taken.” All in favor, say aye. Now that’s a resolution worth discussing, arguing about, tweaking, and voting on.
Now, getting back to Alfred E. Neuman, on a (probably) completely unrelated note, (though google search results always seem to eerily know what I am even just thinking about along with what I am researching, talking about, and writing about) while taking a break from writing this article I typed into the search box of my computer “a completely fabricated and fictitious politically correct term for men who show a deficit of masculinity” and got a page pointing to “t***icularly challenged social justice howler monkeys”. That sounds like the headline of an article about the USCCB Conference straight out of Mad Magazine! Of course, that means that nobody but immature boys will find any humor in this article at all. As for the rest of you, just sigh, shake your head, and hope for something better next week. But don’t hold your breath!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Happy Veterans Day
Most of you know that I am active in the Knights of Columbus as the chaplain of our parish Third Degree Council 14495 and as the Faithful Friar of the 4th Degree Assembly 2894 to which we belong. The Fourth Degree is the Patriotic degree and the men work on many local projects, focusing most especially on helping Veterans. With that in mind, I want to share with you an article I recently came across on the defense.gov website when looking for more local Veterans activities in our area. Since this is Veterans Day weekend, the timing is quite nice. Enjoy.
5 Facts to Know About Veterans Day
NOV. 5, 2018 | BY KATIE LANGE
Veterans Day is a well-known American holiday, but there are also a few misconceptions about it — like how it’s spelled or whom exactly it celebrates. To clear some of that up, here are the important facts you should know.
Veterans Day does NOT have an apostrophe.
A lot of people think it’s “Veteran’s Day” or “Veterans’ Day,” but they’re wrong. The holiday is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, which is what an apostrophe implies. It’s a day for honoring all veterans — so no apostrophe needed.
Veterans Day is NOT the Same as Memorial Day.
A lot of Americans get this confused, and we’ll be honest — it can be a little annoying to all of the living veterans out there. Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country, particularly in battle or from wounds they suffered in battle. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.
It was originally called Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I.
World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting ended about seven months before that when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I. But then World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration yet again by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars. For a while, Veterans Day’s date was changed, too, and it confused everybody. Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays — Veterans Day included — would be celebrated on a Monday. Officials hoped it would spur travel and other family activities over a long weekend, which would stimulate the economy.
For some inexplicable reason, the bill set Veterans Day commemorations for the fourth Monday of every October.
On Oct. 25, 1971, the first Veterans Day under this new bill was held. We’re not sure why it took three years to implement, but not surprisingly, there was a lot of confusion about the change, and many states were unhappy, choosing to continue to recognize the day as they previously had — in November. Within a few years, it became pretty apparent that most U.S. citizens wanted to celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, since it was a matter of historic and patriotic significance. So on Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed another law (Public Law 94-97), which returned the annual observance to its original date starting in 1978.
Other countries celebrate it, too, in their own ways.
World War I was a multinational effort, so it makes sense that our allies also wanted to celebrate their veterans on Nov. 11. The name of the day and the types of commemorations differ, however. Canada and Australia both call Nov. 11 “Remembrance Day.” Canada’s observance is pretty similar to our own, except many of its citizens wear red poppy flowers to honor their war dead. In Australia, the day is more akin to our Memorial Day. Great Britain calls it “Remembrance Day,” too, but observes it on the Sunday closest to Nov. 11 with parades, services and two minutes of silence in London to honor those who lost their lives in war.
With prayers for your holiness (especially for you Veterans!),
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: USCCB Solves Refugee Caravans Crisis!
I opened an email from the diocese this week and saw this: “Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the USCCB have released a joint statement about the migrant caravans.” Note the plural number. There was a link to the “joint statement” (which was simply a press release) which I will print in its entirety below so that you can read it for yourself. I encourage you to read it, since it comes from our Bishops’ Conference and, therefore, not only supposedly carries some amount of spiritual weight for every Catholic in the US but is also produced and paid for and distributed with our money. You may come to your own conclusions about it but I will give some small amount of commentary regarding it at the end of this column.
Catholic Agencies Urge Governments to Protect Migrants Seeking Safe Haven
Calling for compassion toward those needing refuge from violence and poverty
BALTIMORE, MD, October 29, 2018 – As thousands of people from Honduras and other Central American countries are making their way toward Mexico and the United States, three major Catholic agencies are urging all people of goodwill to speak and act with compassion towards those seeking refuge from violence and poverty.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Sister Donna Markham OP PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA issued the following statement:
“As Catholic agencies assisting poor and vulnerable migrants in the United States and around the world, we are deeply saddened by the violence, injustice, and deteriorating economic conditions forcing many people to flee their homes in Central America. While nations have the right to protect their borders, this right comes with responsibilities: governments must enforce laws proportionately, treat all people humanely, and provide due process.
We affirm that seeking asylum is not a crime. We urge all governments to abide by international law and existing domestic laws that protect those seeking safe haven and ensure that all those who are returned to their home country are protected and repatriated safely.
Furthermore, we strongly advocate for continued U.S. investments to address the underlying causes of violence and lack of opportunity in Central America. Our presence throughout the Americas has convinced us that migration is a regional issue that requires a comprehensive, regional solution. An enforcement-only approach does not address nor solve the larger root causes that cause people to flee their countries in search of protection.
As Christians, we must answer the call to act with compassion towards those in need and to work together to find humane solutions that honor the rule of law and respect the dignity of human life.”
Catholic Relief Services is working with church partners in Guatemala and Mexico to monitor the situation and provide humanitarian assistance to migrants. Recognizing the need to address the violence and lack of opportunity that drive migration, our programs in Central America create economic opportunity and reduce people’s vulnerability.
Now for my comments. What a bunch of gibberish! We have thousands of “refugees” who illegally entered into Mexico with the express purpose of breaking their immigration laws so that they could illegally pass through that country on their way to purposefully and publicly illegally break into our country. Our own Catholic Relief Services has been subsidizing over 7000 of these “refugees” (with our CRS second collection money) as they travel through Mexico (that information comes from the CRS webpage also linked in the diocesan email). Yet in this statement there is not a single word about what our country can, might, or should do about the “migrant caravans” as would have been thought by reading their headline, which I quoted above in the first sentence. Are we to just open our borders and let them in? Without a doubt, there will be a third (a second caravan has already been reported), fourth, and fiftieth caravan marching in if this one succeeds in entering our country without consequences. How about some actual commentary from the Bishops on the pros and cons of this and other various scenarios or solutions? How about some actual guidance instead of just saying, “Be nice to poor people”? I am sorry, but if this is the best they can do and they think this is actually good enough for publication and distribution, it is no wonder our Church is in the mess She is in today. God help us all. And, yes, I offer that last line as a true prayer.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka