Father George William Rutler Homilies
2020-07-26 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-07-26 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 26, 2020

26 July 2020

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Matthew 13:44-52 + Homily


16 Minutes 35 Seconds


Link to the Readings:



(New American Bible, Revised Edition)


From the parish bulletin of Sunday 26 July 2020:


   As a psychosis, “self-mutilation syndrome” is rooted in self-loathing and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Whole cultures can be afflicted with a similar compulsion to injure themselves.

Nowadays it is called a “cancel culture.” To topple statues and burn churches is a metaphor for self-loathing rather than reason. 

   In their modern aesthetic recklessness, nations begin to disdain what Matthew Arnold called “the best which has been thought and said.” Even people who do not read much still can see much, and they can see that destruction of great buildings is the grammar of self-mutilation. There was a sigh of relief when the French government announced that the cathedral of Paris would be restored exactly as it had been. But you need only look at some recent architectural horrors, like the Centre Pompidou, to appreciate that the preservation of Notre Dame was a close call. Consider the 1925 Plan Voisin of Le Corbusier for replacing central Paris with buildings that looked like refrigerators, to see the fabric of a society without a soul. 

   The burning of the cathedral of Nantes was reported with practically no mention of the winter of 1793-1794, when over 14,000 Catholic counterrevolutionaries were slaughtered in that region. Jean-Baptiste Carrier, the sadistic officer of the Revolution, mocked his own name by drowning more than four thousand priests, nuns, mothers and infants in boats designed for what he called “Revolutionary Baptisms.” At the same time, another Jean-Baptiste, Gobel, was made Archbishop of Paris in place of Antoine de Juigné, provided he “take the knee” to the Revolution. All atheistic revolutionaries kill their fomenters: Just as the architect of the Terror, Robespierre, was guillotined by his Terror, so were Carrier and Gobel. In a kind of cultural doppelganger today, writers for our most “liberal” periodicals are being fired for not being pure enough for the anarchists who have made their moral impurity into a religion. 

   Since the late 1960s, disciples of Le Corbusier among the liturgical “wreckovaters” denuded churches as arrogantly as the cults of theanthropy in the French Revolution. Convents subscribing to ephemeral “renewal” have now become nursing homes for women who once thought that labyrinths could be stairways to Heaven. 

   We are now in a spiritual combat as monumental as World II. In 1944, when the Nazis demanded that the Americans surrender during the Battle of the Bulge, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe replied, “Nuts!” The vernacularism was unfamiliar to the Germans, and so another message was sent: "Du kannst zum Teufel gehen."—You can go to the Devil. 

   No victory is secured by kneeling to the Enemy. Those who do, will be the next in line for the guillotine. The Holy Church has the best translation for “Nuts” when proclaimed in defiance of the Anti-Christ: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty…” 



2020-07-19 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-07-19 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 19, 2020

19 July 2020

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:24-43 + Homily

 19 Minutes 59  Seconds

Link to the Readings:


(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 19 July 2020:

  It may not be long before “Ladies and Gentlemen” ceases to start a speech, as the result of blurring the distinction between man and gentleman, and woman and lady. We may not hear at banquets, “Gentlemen, charge your glasses,” or understand the Victorian-era ballad: “My mother was a lady like yours, you will allow.” 

   Putting aside the grotesquerie of gender confusion, this is simply the consequence of losing the brilliant sense of chivalry, courtesy, and honor. Men and women are biological facts; gentlemen and ladies are crafted by long exposure to natural virtue. In times past this was foolishly ascribed to social privilege. In 1381 the slogan of the Peasants’ Revolt was: “When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” Sherlock Holmes detected that Baron Gruner was an imposter because in respectable society “you remove the band from a cigar before lighting it.” This distorted understanding of courtliness occasionally led to a reaction replacing “Ladies and Gentlemen” with the generic “Comrades,” which may be revived as a protocol by the likes of Antifa and the mayor of New York City. 

   Chivalry, courtesy and honor are as accessible as virtue itself, and are apart from wealth, social status, race and nationality. Their absence can degrade popes and paupers alike if they insult, humiliate and bully others. Charles II was a gentleman, not because he was a king but because he “put those around him at ease.” As wit is in the arsenal of the courtly man, Charles quipped that Presbyterianism was no religion for a gentleman and Anglicanism was no religion for a Christian. He became a Catholic on his deathbed, apologizing to his courtiers for taking so long to die. For Saint John Henry Newman, it is “almost a definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain.” With intuitive elegance, a gentleman “makes light of favours while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring.” 

   I recently came across some accounts in Catholic journals that had lost the meaning of “gentleman” in describing what Sherlock Holmes would have called a “bounder.” One mentioned a “gentleman” intent on killing, and described a “gentleman” on a New York City sidewalk poking an elderly woman in the head. Last week, when a church in Florida was set afire, with worshipers barely escaping, the Diocese of Orlando offered piteous prayers for “the gentleman who caused this damage.” Thugs and arsonists are not gentlemen. 

   We can say without irreverence that the Divine Saviour is the Perfect Gentleman. He inflicted no pain, although he stimulated pain in the consciences of the guilty, and by a singular redeeming act, he took the pain of the whole world on himself. In this he also exemplified that other quality of Newman’s gentleman, by being “merciful to the absurd.”


2020-07-12 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-07-12 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 12, 2020

12 July 2020

The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:1-23 + Homily

17 Minutes 29 Seconds

Link to the Readings:


(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 12 July 2020:

  July waves Old Glory and Le Tricolore. Jacques-Louis David based the French flag on the cockade of the Marquis de Lafayette, who had been urged to help the American colonists by the Duke of Gloucester, in a funk because his brother, King George III, disapproved of his marriage. At least there was no Reign of Terror in Philadelphia.

   Our unofficial “National Hymn” was written by a professor of English literature from Wellesley College after a trip in 1893 to Pike’s Peak, from whose twilight purple summit she could see grain fields hued in amber. An elderly parishioner of mine was a student of Professor Katharine Lee Bates and remembered her reciting the final 1913 draft of “America the Beautiful.” The melody, “Materna,” had been composed in 1882 by a church organist, Samuel Ward, on a ferry from Coney Island to Newark.

   In the “political correctness” and “cancel culture” of recent days, there have been attempts to censor “America the Beautiful” on the grounds that it is unfeeling to make reference to “alabaster cities [that] gleam undimmed by human tears.” En route to Colorado, Bates had visited the World’s Columbian Exposition where crowds were stunned by Nikola Tesla’s incandescent light bulbs. The illuminated “White City” was plaster and not alabaster, but it envisioned a culture enlightened by the Heavenly Jerusalem, just as another lady of letters, Julia Ward Howe, in the Civil War had seen earthly struggle from a divine perspective: “Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel.” No naïf, Professor Bates knew all about the human tears in Chicago slums and had worked with Jane Addams and her Hull House. But souls today, bereft of critical judgment, would decry mention of a “White City” and an exposition honoring Columbus.

   There are also demands to eliminate our National Anthem because the author owned slaves. In fact, Francis Scott Key freed his slaves and pleaded before the Supreme Court for the liberation of 300 African slaves captured off the ship “Antelope” along the Florida coast. He also worked with John Quincy Adams in the “Amistad” case to free 53 slaves.

   Key’s anthem was based on verses he composed in 1805 to celebrate the victory over the Muslim slave-trading pirates on the Barbary coast: “And pale beam’d the Crescent, its splendor obscured / By the light of the star-spangled flag of our nation. …” Although the founder of Islam was a slave trader, the bigoted zeal of contemporary rioters hesitates to menace mosques.

   Some of these petulant Jacobins demand to replace our National Anthem with the pretentious doggerel of the song “Imagine” by John Lennon: “Imagine there's no heaven / It's easy if you try / No hell below us / Above us only sky.”

   That is not quite Francis Scott Key, Julia Ward Howe, or Katharine Lee Bates. When the opioid bubble bursts, heaven and hell remain. Take your choice.

2020-07-05 - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-07-05 - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 5, 2020

5 July 2020

The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 11:25-30 + Homily

14 Minutes 16 Seconds

Link to the Readings:


(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 5 July 2020:

Christians would be slaughtered.

   There are magnificent witnesses in China today, among whose champions is Cardinal Zen, indomitable at the age of eighty-eight. The insouciance with which some timorous Western ecclesiastics have cast a blind eye to the persecution of the Catholics in China, will be remembered as a dark blot on the history of our time.

   Mao killed at least 40 million. His “Cultural Revolution,” which executed upwards of 3 million, excited mobs of youths as agents of government repression. Monuments of ancient culture were destroyed. These included nearly 7,000 priceless works of art in the Temple of Confucius alone as part of the frenzied attack on the Four Olds: Old Customs, Old Habits, Old Culture, and Old Ideas.

   In our own country, the debutantish radicalism of hysterical youths whose misguided idealism makes a venomous brew when mixed with poor education, is exploited by more sinister strategists. James Madison described such mobs as: “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

   Young people eager to condemn the immorality of forebears, while exulting in their own undisciplined lives, recently pulled down a statue of Saint Junípero Serra. It evoked the attack on the Franciscan mission in Alta California on November 4, 1775, when 600 native warriors pierced the friar Father Luis Jayme with eighteen arrows as he called to them: “Love God, my children!”

   Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, the one Iraqi combatant to receive the Medal of Honor, has said that our universities are turning out “Peter Pan” adolescents who would profit better if they joined the Army where they would be taught how to be men and women.

   After the destruction of the statue of Saint Junípero Serra, the wise Archbishop of San Francisco did not engage in polemics. He simply went to the site of the vandalism and said the exorcism prayer of Saint Michael. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).


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