End-of-the-Week Round-Up

Bishop Robert F. Vasa, from the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, writes about human dignity and immigration in his latest column in the Catholic Sentinel, “Rights are not derived from law, but from human dignity.”

I do not think the church would propose hiring “coyotes” to help bring people to the United States illegally. Yet, once people are here and in distress then the church will provide comfort, solace and perhaps even sanctuary because that is what the church does. There may be some of this that is technically “illegal,” but splitting up a family or sending a family-wage earner back to Mexico where he can no longer provide for his family is not in accord with what we are to do as members of a church. It is not consistent with the dignity of human persons. As Catholics we must try to look upon every Catholic in the world, indeed every person, as “our brother” and this is a different relationship than a legal / citizenship relationship. Just because something is “legal” does not mean that it is morally correct. There are any number of examples from our own history and the histories of other nations where something “legal” was grossly immoral and needed to be resisted. I am not suggesting that the American “immigration policy” is immoral but there seem to be some elements of injustice that permeate it and it is this injustice, whether legally sanctioned or not, the Church opposes.

Creative Minority Report points us to an article by Raquel Welch, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Pill. It’s likely not what CNN expected from an “aging sex symbol,” as Welch describes herself. The original article is available here. A couple excerpts:

Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.

And as I’ve grown older over the past five decades — from 1960 to 2010 — and lived through this revolutionary period in female sexuality, I’ve seen how it has altered American society — for better or worse. …

During my pregnancy, I came to realize that this process was not about me. I was just a spectator to the metamorphosis that was happening inside my womb so that another life could be born. It came down to an act of self-sacrifice, especially for me, as a woman. But both of us were fully involved, not just for that moment, but for the rest of our lives. And it’s scary. You may think you can skirt around the issue and dodge the decision, but I’ve never known anyone who could.  …

Is marriage still a viable option? I’m ashamed to admit that I myself have been married four times, and yet I still feel that it is the cornerstone of civilization, an essential institution that stabilizes society, provides a sanctuary for children and saves us from anarchy.

A few days ago, our bishop (Most Rev. R. Daniel Conlon) asked that we pray for Michael Beuke, a man on death row who was about to be executed. The bishop, who was one of Beuke’s spiritual advisers, was traveling to be with him at his death. Fr. Z picked up this story from CBS. Please pray for the repose of Beuke’s soul, as well as for the consolation of his victims’ families. From the story:

Michael Beuke, 48, died by lethal injection at 10:53 a.m. EDT at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, about 90 minutes after the Ohio Supreme Court turned down his final appeal.

Beuke was convicted Oct. 5, 1983, of aggravated murder for the death of Robert Craig, 27, of Cincinnati and was sentenced to death. He also was found guilty of the attempted slayings of Gregory Wahoff of Cincinnati and Bruce Graham, then from West Harrison, Ind.

While on the gurney, Beuke looked directly at Craig’s widow, Susan, and at the son and daughter of Wahoff and apologized for all three shootings: “Mrs. Wahoff, I am sorry. Mrs. Craig, I am sorry. Mr. Graham, I am sorry.”

Graham’s family sent no witnesses.

After the apology, he recited the Roman Catholic rosary and other prayers for 17 minutes before he died, choking back tears as he repeatedly said the Hail Mary with rosary beads in one hand. It was the longest final statement by a condemned Ohio inmate in memory. One of his spiritual advisers, Bishop R. Dann Conlon, sniffled and blew his nose throughout.

Finally, this has been making the rounds, and for good reason. Bishop Victor Galeone talks about “The Gift of Mothers.”

I had just sat down to have a light supper with my widowed mother before returning to the rectory. My mother was grieving because in less than a month she would be losing her “bambino.” You see, my archbishop had given me permission to serve as a missionary in Peru for five years, and I would be leaving within a month.

The fact that I was 35 years old and a priest for ten years was trumped by my imminent departure for the Peruvian Andes, where I might meet with an untimely end—or so my mother imagined.

While having our soup, mother continued her complaining to the point that I blurted out an unkind remark. She started to cry.

“Mom, I’m sorry. I don’t know what possessed me. Please forgive me.”—“Oh, I’m not crying about that.”—“Well, why are you crying?”

She continued: “I’m going to tell you something that I’ve told no one except your father”

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