Father Bob Writes for February 16, 2014

Our readings for Mass this weekend contrast the so-called wisdom of the world with the wisdom of God.  You will not see a more vivid illustration of the difference between the two kinds of wisdom, than in the recent attack by a UN Commission on the Catholic Church’s teachings.  The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child grilled Vatican officials for eight hours last month and told the Catholic Church that it had to get over its opposition to adolescents having sex and that it needs to change its teachings on abortion and homosexuality.

Here are a few of the demands made by the UN committee in its report:

(1) The committee specifically told the Church “to review its position on abortion which places obvious risks on the life and health of pregnant girls and to amend Canon law 1398 relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted” (This by the way from a committee supposedly set up to protect the rights of the child!!)

(2) The Committee lamented “the negative consequences of the Holy See’s position and practices of denying access to contraception, as well as to sexual and reproductive health and information.”  The Committee directed the Church “to access the serious implications of its position on adolescent’s enjoyment of highest attainable standard of health and overcome all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality” – (so “adolescent” meaning what exactly: 11, 12, 13 years of age ? And “all barriers and taboos” presumably means incest and bestiality as well?)

(3) The Committee is also displeased with the Church for not recognizing same-sex families: “The Committee recommends that the Holy See ensure that Canon Law provisions recognize the diversity of family settings and do not discriminate against children based on the type of family they live in.  The Holy See’s past statements and declarations on homosexuality  contribute to the social stigmatization of and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents and children raised by same-sex couples” (No evidence is produced to back up this accusation, by the way)

Thankfully, the UN Committee has no authority to enforce any of its recommendations.  However, the report will just add fuel to the fire critics direct against the Church on a continuous basis these days. The committee’s recommendations are a clear manifestation of the wisdom of the world.  However, we as Catholic Christians follow,  not the wisdom of the world, but “God’s wisdom…which God decreed before the ages for our glory…(and which) none of the rulers of this age understood” (from second reading today)  but which is present to us through the teachings of Jesus, who says in the gospel this Sunday over and over again “You have heard it said …But I say to you ….”

St. Philip’s PFC Issues 2013 Year-End Report to Parishioners

The St. Philip’s Parish Finance Council issued its report for the year ending December 31, 2013 on February 8, 2014. The one page report was attached to the weekend’s parish bulletin.

To view the report, click here or visit the St. Philip’s PFC page and look for it under the heading, “PFC Reports to Parishioners and Other Publications.” Parishioners will also find links to previous PFC reports to the parish.

Fr Bob Writes – February 9, 2014

You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13)

Although in the middle of a Canadian winter, we might thank of salt as an agent for melting ice on roads and sidewalks, its primary historical uses have been as a preservative and for flavoring food. Anyone who has ever been on a salt-free diet  knows how tasteless things can be without salt. Although we now have a bank of other preservatives, salt was essential in past ages to keep meat for a long period of time.

In the Old Testament, God made an inviolable covenant, literally a “covenant of salt” with Aaron and his descendants (Numbers 18:19). In 2 Chronicles 13:5, the bestowal of lands by God as a promise to David and his descendants is referred to as a “covenant made in salt “. It is believed that eating a bit of salt together was a sign of agreement by the parties in any covenant. It used to be (prior to 1960) a part of the Catholic baptismal ritual to place a pinch of salt on the tongue of the newly baptized to symbolize the permanency of the relationship established and prayer that God would help the newly baptized persevere in the commitment.

“You are the light of the world ” (Matthew 5:15)

The Bible is filled with the imagery of light in darkness, but the phrase “light of the world” appears only a few times. In the Gospel of John, Jesus states “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Here in this text from Matthew, Jesus says “You are the light of the world”. This interesting combination of texts calls us to let Christ be the light shining in and through our lives.

As salt of the earth we are called to preserve all that is true and good as well as add flavor that brings out the good for people around us. As the light of the world we are to let Jesus shine in and through us as we give light to others by our words and example.