Father George William Rutler Homilies
2019-10-27 - 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-10-27 - 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 27, 2019

27 October 2019

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 18:9-14 + Homily

16 Minutes 56 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102719.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

  If “religio” is translated as being bound to a particular outlook on life, then everyone is religious. The saints simply have bound themselves to true religion. Today that is a socially unacceptable assertion, but “political correctness” is itself a form of religion. Early Christians were condemned as atheists because they refused to worship the gods approved by the government. The term “agnostic,” presumably coined by T.H. Huxley in 1869, is just a lazy form of atheism. But institutionalized atheism, which the Soviets called “gosateizm,” has caused the deaths of hundreds of millions. In our own country, it has created a hollowness of spirit and consequent despair. It is not irrelevant to this case that the most impressionable age group in our society, adolescents, have had a 56% rise in suicides in the last ten years.

   Saint Polycarp could have been spared death by burning had he renounced “Atheism,” which meant Christianity, but he shocked the pagans in the stadium by shouting that they were the real atheists. Around 110 AD, Pliny the Younger, governor in northern Asia Minor, would exonerate Christians if they would worship the emperor Trajan as a god, along with the statues in the state pantheon, “which it is said bona fide Christians cannot be induced to do.” Thus there were even then what we now call “CINOs”—Catholics in Name Only, not “bona fide,” who claim to be Catholic only when politically convenient, or in order to get married in a pretty church.

   “Secularism” is a religion with a non-creedal creed censuring those who do not believe in unbelief. Young people in the United States who claim to have “No Religion”—called “Nones”—now outnumber Catholics, and they have their own prophets, redefining morality and predicting apocalypse by carbon emissions. “Politically incorrect” thinkers are banned from universities as heretics. Attorney General William Barr recently exposed this in an address at the law school of Notre Dame University: The secular project “is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”

   Some church leaders have tried to cajole secularists by avoiding mention of true religion. By contrast, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, whose family suffered under Stalin’s pogroms, has said that a dispirited Catholicism is “an extremely cunning method of Satan to take away the successors of the Apostles and priests from prayer and evangelization—under the pretext of a so-called ‘synodality.’”

   The Founder of what politically correct idolaters in every age have considered heretical atheism warned: “For he that shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of man shall be ashamed, when he shall come in his majesty, and that of his Father, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).

Faithfully yours in Christ, Father George W. Rutler

2019-10-20 - 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-10-20 - 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 20, 2019

20 October 2019

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 18:1-8 + Homily

16 Minutes 35 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102019.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

  Last week’s canonization of Saint John Henry Newman will have universal influences that I trust will include our own parish. It should be remembered that his achievements, for the most part, hardly seemed successful at the time. He might even be called a patron saint of the disappointed.

   Newman was so nervous in his university examinations that he got a “Lower Second Class” degree. He played the violin to relax, but the chords of his mind were taut, and he later suffered a nervous breakdown. He failed to attain a professorship of Moral Philosophy. Many Oxford dons derided his views, and eventually he resigned.

   When Newman became a Catholic, former friends thought he had wasted his talents, and some Catholics questioned his free spirit and innovative genius. Not least among these were bishops. In Ireland, Archbishop Cullen impeded his foundation of a Catholic University there and opposed making Newman a bishop. In England, Cardinal Manning, a great man in some ways but not innocent of envy, regularly thwarted numerous projects. The English-language secretary of Pope Pius IX prejudiced the pope’s opinion of Newman, and with no little subtlety, Manning tried to prevent the new Pope Leo XIII from vindicating him with a Cardinal’s red hat.

   Newman left a legacy of 32 volumes of letters, and in some of them he confided his frustrations. But his amiability and patience won over many. In old age, Newman’s Oxford college made him an honorary Fellow, and at Newman’s death Manning himself said, “The history of our land will hereafter record the name of John Henry Newman among the greatest of our people, as a confessor for the faith, a great teacher of men, a preacher of justice, of piety, and of compassion.”

   Neman kept his balance by a steady faith in the uncompromising truth of Christ. This boldly defied the pastiche of true Christianity that was spreading in his time and which he prophesied would become endemic in our own age:

   "What is the world's religion now? It has taken the brighter side of the gospel, its tidings of comfort, its precepts of love; all darker, deeper views of man's condition and prospects being comparatively forgotten. This is the religion natural to a civilized age and well has Satan dressed and completed it into an idol of the Truth. . . . Our manners are courteous; we avoid giving pain or offence . . . religion is pleasant and easy; benevolence is the chief virtue; intolerance, bigotry, excess of zeal are the first of sins. . . . [I]t includes no true fear of God, no fervent zeal for His honour, no deep hatred of sin, no horror at the sight of sinners, no indignation and compassion at the blasphemy of heretics, no jealous adherence to doctrinal truth . . .—and therefore is neither hot nor cold, but (in Scripture language) lukewarm.” (Sermon 24. Religion of the Day)

   That sort of “Catholic-Lite” does not make saints, and Newman proved that.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Father George W. Rutler

2019-10-13 - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-10-13 - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 13, 2019

 13 October 2019

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Canonization of Saint John Henry Newman

Luke 17:11-19 + Homily

18 Minutes 58 Seconds

Link to the Readings

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101319.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

  Over forty years ago, I told a wise Protestant theologian that I had been reading the Apologia pro Vita Sua of John Henry Newman (1801-1890). He warned me that it is “a dangerous book.” That was just the sort of advice that makes a young thinker all the more eager to read it. And so I did, and so did countless others whose lives were changed by this book, whose passages are some of the most beautiful in the English language, and whose author’s the thoughts considering the psychology of the soul are undying.

   Newman wrote that book in four weeks, standing at his upright desk in Birmingham, England, in response to a personal attack on his integrity: “I have been in perfect peace and contentment; I never have had one doubt. I was not conscious to myself, on my conversion, of any change, intellectual or moral, wrought in my mind . . . but it was like coming into port after a rough sea; and my happiness on that score remains to this day without interruption.”

   Today Newman is to be canonized in Rome, a tribute to his unsurpassed gifts of grace as theologian, historian, writer, poet, preacher and, most of all, a pastor of souls. While preaching and writing immortal words, he also was meticulous in running the Oratory school he founded, even making costumes for school plays, paying coal bills, and playing his fiddle in the school orchestra.

   In his honor and in thanksgiving for the Church’s recognition of his holiness, of which the angels never were in doubt, we shall dedicate today a shrine for him in our church. As with all that we try to do in our church, this sculpture is the work of one of our own parishioners. Newman foresaw with uncanny prescience the various challenges of our own day, and this monument should be a reminder to pray for his intercession on behalf of our local church and the Church Universal in a time of spiritual combat, which is a lot like what he faced in his own age. 

   To Newman’s great surprise, and even “shock,” the newly elected Pope Leo XIII in 1879 created him a cardinal. He had been so attacked and calumniated for his religious views over many years, that he was satisfied that the “cloud” had finally been lifted. In his acceptance speech he said that his entire life had been consecrated to refuting the doctrine of relativism which held that “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.”

   Today we sing Cardinal Newman’s hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light,” which his own life embodied and faith made bold: “I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me.”

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Father George W. Rutler

2019-10-06 - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-10-06 - 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 6, 2019

6 October 2019

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 17:5-10 + Homily

16 Minutes 28 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/100619.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

  At the start of October, life in Manhattan recovers from those late September weeks when the opening of the United Nations General Assembly ties up traffic, even blocking many streets, and takes over many hotels and clubs for expensive receptions—some of the costliest, it seems, being those of some of the poorest countries. With so many heads of state in town, battalions of Secret Service agents and bodyguards eye everyone with suspicion.

   This year there was one bright spot, although largely ignored by much of the media. Representing the United States, our President gave what was perhaps the most forceful address that any of our Chief Executives have spoken there. Denouncing the United Nations’ scheme to promote abortion, first drafted in 1994 at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the President said that “Americans will also never tire of defending innocent life. We are aware that many United Nations projects have attempted to assert a global right to taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, right up until the moment of delivery. Global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life.”

   Such boldness must have shocked many diplomats present, like those in the 1942 film “I Married an Angel” who were aghast when Jeanette MacDonald, as a blessed angel, tells them the truth, upsetting their cocktail party. Our nation has never had an angel for president, and its Constitution in fact prevents that. But Abraham Lincoln invoked “the better angels of our nature” and confounded those who had dismissed him as an untutored vulgarian with ambiguous views on abolition. The first Christians in Jerusalem were suspicious of Paul’s conversion, and theologians like Tertullian and Justin, some years before Constantine, thought it impossible that any emperor would ever defend Christianity.

   Ironically, there are highly placed prelates who have shied away from mentioning these matters in secular forums, hoping that subtlety might be more persuasive. Such naiveté, as in the instance of the Holy See’s diplomats cajoling Communist China by compromise, accomplishes little. In his United Nations speech, the President said: “The world fully expects that the Chinese government will honor its binding treaty, made with the British and registered with the United Nations, in which China commits to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system, and democratic ways of life.” The Holy See has not commented on the popular demonstrations in Hong Kong, which may explain why the youths there struggling for freedom, and inspired by the heroic Cardinal Zen, are waving the Stars and Stripes and not the Vatican flag. 

   “For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26).