Father George William Rutler Homilies
2019-02-24 - Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-02-24 - Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 24, 2019

24 February 2019

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 6:27-38 + Homily

15 Minutes 52 Seconds

Link to the Readings


(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the Parish Bulletin:

  In art, the Bible scholar Saint Jerome is often depicted as a cardinal, along with a lion that looks like a Cheshire cat because the artist had not seen a real lion. This portrayal alludes to the second-century legend of Androcles, who befriended a lion by extracting a thorn from its paw. Saint Jerome was not really ever a Cardinal. That title and office started in the seventh century as an honorific for what we would call pastors of major Roman parishes and in the eighth century devolved upon men whose assistance the pope wanted as his administrators and electors of his successor. Saint Jerome was symbolized as a cardinal because he was secretary to Pope Saint Damasus I who died in 384, and later on that position was given the rank of cardinal.

   The Holy See has announced that John Henry Newman will be canonized a saint, and Josef Mindszenty will be declared Venerable in the prospect of his canonization. Both were cardinals: Newman was so honored by Pope Leo XIII, although he was not a bishop—that Holy Order having been blocked by jealous hierarchs. Mindszenty gave credence to the meaning of cardinalatial red symbolizing blood ready to be shed for the Sovereign Pontiff and the Faith of the Church, since he suffered persecution by both Nazis and Communists.

   In his “Biglietto Address” thanking the Pope for such an honor, Newman said: “For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. . . Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.” Newman was a prophet, and one hopes that soon he will also be declared a Doctor of the Church.

   Mindszenty was not Newman’s intellectual peer, but his life was the most muscular testimony to doctrine. He was imprisoned and tortured by Nazis and Communists, by a logic easily understood once it is acknowledged that both Nazism and Communism are forms of atheistic socialism, vaunting the power of the collective state over individual dignity. In our times, these malignant social theories are being propounded by culturally illiterate politicians whose eccentricity still has a centric force of persuasion among those who are ignorant of the human experience. May English Newman and Hungarian Mindszenty rise up as specters against such moral malignancy.

2019-02-17 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-02-17 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 17, 2019

17 February 2019

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 6:17, 20-26 + Homily

17 Minutes 12 Seconds

Link to the Readings of the day:


(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

   Like the optimist who sees a glass of water half-full and the pessimist who sees it half-empty, people assess the times in which they live by their personality. Each age has had its crises, but the time in which we live seems especially fit to the description with which Dickens began A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…”

   While other generations have known philosophical and physical conflicts, ours is conspicuous for an evaporation of moral certitudes by which good and bad are judged. Our Lord warned against pessimism (Luke 17:23), but he also cautioned against the deceits of false optimists who would caricature Christ to promote evil (Matthew 24).

   The Catechism is clear: “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth” (CCC 675).

   No cogent veteran of the last century, with its mega-villains, could deny the existence of Satan. But the Lord of Death and Prince of Lies employs his agents to kill babies, shatter families, corrupt priests, and mock the Church. Each modern economic, sexual, and artistic “liberation” has masqueraded as an “angel of Light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

   In the fourteenth century Saint Bridget of Sweden predicted: “During the first part of (the Antichrist’s) reign, he plays more the part of sanctity; but when he gains complete control, he persecutes the Church of God and reveals all his wickedness.”

   During the bicentennial of our own nation, the future St. John Paul II said in Philadelphia to a crowd not altogether paying attention: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, between the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. “

   In dealing with “principalities and powers not of this world” (Ephesians 6:12), human politics and social reforms to fight them are as useless as a pea shooter. Spiritual combat begins and ends with worship of the one true God in His one true Church. The prime Antichrist hates that the most. Around the year 300, Abba Apollo said, “The Devil has no knees, . . . he cannot worship, he cannot adore.”

2019-02-10 - Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-02-10 - Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 10, 2019

10 February 2019

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 5:1-11 + Homily

18 Minutes 29 Seconds

Link to the Readings of the Day:


(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the Parish Bulletin:

   The stepbrother of William the Conqueror, Bishop Odo, was meticulous in observing canon law. Since a cleric was not allowed to “wield the sword,” he used a battle club. In the Bayeux Tapestry under the scene of him forcing his men into a hail of arrows, are the abbreviated Latin words: “Hic Odo Eps [Episcopus] Baculu[m] Tenens Confortat Pueros” which means: “Here, Bishop Odo, holding his club, comforts his boys.” Our altar servers might not find such comfort comforting, but the word—from which we get “fortress”—means to strengthen.

   Thus, the Holy Spirit, sent by God to strengthen us with the seven spiritual gifts intensified in the sacrament of Confirmation, is called the Comforter. The equivalent, Paraclete or Advocate, means “one who stands by the side of another” to plead on his behalf in a court of justice (cf. John 14:16, 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, and 1 John 2:1). Note that this teaching comes from the Beloved Disciple, the object and bestower of singular tenderness. But he was not sentimental, for sentiment is love without sacrifice. John was strong enough to stand with Our Lady when the older apostles had fled the crucifixion.

   Saint John says in his second letter, and reiterates in his third, that those who are not faithful to the truth should be separated from those who are. By so saying, he does not slip into sentimentality, and he foreshadows the dictum of Saint John Paul II in a general audience of 8 November, 1978 that “there is no love without justice.” Bishop Fulton Sheen earlier paraphrased it when he wrote: “Justice without love could become tyranny, and love without justice could become toleration of evil.”

   Few words in all literature match Saint Paul’s hymn to love (1 Corinthians 13). But to cherry-pick Paul’s mailbag to the exclusion of what he says earlier is to caricature his exaltation of sacrificial love: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). Had Paul demurred from telling truth to Caesar in hopes of bringing him to a happier frame of mind and parading with him on days festal, he might not have been beheaded.

   These things came to mind as the Governor of Virginia was attacked from all sides for allegations of racism, an offense against human dignity, while his publicly avowed permission to kill babies born as well as unborn, has been nervously ignored. That governor, who is a pediatric neurologist, spoke with clinical detachment of “comforting” babies who have survived abortion until they are killed. He did not mean to comfort in the sense of Odo comforting his troops. Christians who are reluctant to invoke canonical disciplines against this, would not have happy conversations with the apostles Paul and John.



2019-02-03 - Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-02-03 - Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 3, 2019

3 February 2019

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 4:21-30 + Homily

16 Minutes 7 Seconds

Link to the Readings


(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

(from the parish bulletin)

   The mayor of a French town commissioned a statue of the rationalist Emile Zola and, intent on provocation, he ordered that the bronze for it be from the bells of a church. Similarly, Governor Andrew Cuomo chose to sign into law our nation’s most offensive abortion bill on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, to ecstatic applause in the state capitol. Then he ordered that the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower, and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany be lit in pink. The ancient Caesars dressed in red as the emblem of victory; Cuomo drapes himself in pink. 

   Mark the ironies: The Freedom Tower is at the site of the memorial to the dead of 9/11, and listed on it are eleven “unborn babies” killed with their mothers. And Al Smith would have resigned rather than endorse infanticide.

   In Orwellian “Newspeak,” just as a concentration camp was called a “Joycamp,” the killing of innocent unborn infants is sanctioned by a “Reproductive Health Act.” Now it is legal to destroy a fully formed baby one minute before birth and, should it survive a botched attempt to cut it up, there is no requirement to provide medical help. The abortionist does not even have to be a medical doctor.

   The legislation was deferred over years by politicians who, if not paragons of empathy, were appalled by its excess. It has only passed because the Democrats now control both houses of the New York state legislature. Politics aside, the governor teased a religious question. Not only does he mention that he once was an altar boy, but he concluded the signing celebration by telling the legislators, “God bless you.”

   Perhaps he is succumbing to the temptation that some of the senators of Rome detected as evidence of decadence: the apotheosis, or divinizing of emperors in an Imperial Cult complimentary to the traditional deities. Andrew Cuomo, over the objections of more than 100,000 petitioners, named the Tappan Zee replacement bridge in honor of his father. In the dark ages, there was a superstition that a bridge could only be safe if a sacrificial victim was buried in its foundation. There are many innocent bones that could be buried under the Mario Cuomo Bridge, and his son perpetuates the cult.

   Doctor Edward Peters, one of our nation’s most venerable canon lawyers, has written: "Penal jurisdiction in this matter rests with the bishop of Albany (as the place where some or all of the canonically criminal conduct was committed, per Canon 1412), and/or with the archbishop of New York (as the place where Cuomo apparently has canonical domicile, per Canon 1408)."

   These matters are beyond the ken or jurisdiction of a parish priest, but it is clear that it is not sufficient for Churchmen blithely to suppose that an adequate response to the massacre of innocents by the inversion of reason is nothing more than an expression of “profound sadness.”


Note: A longer version of this article may be found here:

Governor Cuomo's Bridge

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