Justifying death

Posted June 9, 2017 at 12:00 am

The Catholic Commentator’s April 28 editorial continues to distort Catholic teaching on the death penalty. It does this through the gross equating of abortion with the penalty.

The church teaches that all taking of innocent life is immoral as a violation of the fifth commandment. Abortion, being the taking of innocent life, is thus in all circumstances immoral and can never be justified. However, the church also teaches that the legitimate defense of life at times may result in the death of another. This because the church teaches that “… it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow …” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2263-2265). It is this latter

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    Church or Death Valley?

    I would like to express an observation regarding people’s conduct in church.  

    My wife and I were honored to represent our parish and receive the blessed oils from the bishop at the Chrism Mass. We arrived about 30 minutes prior to Mass starting. 

    After we took our seats, to spend time in prayer preparing spiritually was impossible. One would have thought we were in Death Valley on the LSU campus. 

    People were talking out

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    Splitting hairs

    As a member of St. Ann's RCIA team, I was dismayed and confused to read the opinion article by Father Rolheiser in the Jan. 20 issue of The Catholic Commentator.

    At best, I believe Father Rolheiser is splitting hairs and at worst, giving rein to a personal opinion which could negatively influence a reader's behavior to the detriment of their soul. Sections 2180-2183 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are explicit that Mass attendance is obligatory, unless excused for a serious reason and that those who

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    Guadalupe’s miraculous properties

    I’d like to add to your excellent Guadalupe article (Dec. 23). God endowed the Lady of Guadalupe image with miraculous properties because he so wanted its messages embraced in all times, best understood by first reviewing some scientifically established features.

    The image expresses Aztec iconography artfully, but artists find it impossible to reproduce. The cactus fiber bearing the image is porous and rough, lacking the backing essential to applying paint. Regardless, no bleeding between colors occurs. No brush strokes are detected. Spectroscopic analysis cannot detect any

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    The wrong way to make decisions
    The column in the Oct. 14 issue of The Catholic Commentator titled “Pro-life advocates must understand the perspective of the parents” draws extensively from a paper by Paul Swope, published in “First Things” several years ago. Mr. Swope’s paper reports on the results of a study commissioned by the pro-life Caring Foundation on the effectiveness of pro-life outreach to women of child-bearing age who identify themselves as pro-choice. The study did that, and just that.

    The Catholic

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    Not following the faith

    In the Sept. 30 of the The Catholic Commentator the “Question Corner” was disturbing, to say the least. A reader told the priest that their family went to a parish that had recently returned to the traditional ad orientem of Christian worship.

    Their children however preferred a parish that “(…has people go to confession by writing things on pieces of paper to be burnt.)” One would certainly think that the priest columnist would be horrified at this practice and emphatically explain how this was NOT a valid

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    Thanks to the community

    On July 17, 2016 our family was forever changed. We lost our beloved son, Brad. Our hearts are so broken and the hurt is so deep, but we are so proud of our son. On behalf of our daughter-in- law Tonja, the children, Brad’s brothers – Brian and family, and John Brett and family, we would like to say thank you for the love and kindness, prayers, cards and the support that we have gotten, even from total strangers telling us our son is a hero. It

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    Who is St. Sharbel Makhlouf?

    For decades, St. Sharbel has been the focus of many special occurrences and happenings, which have been declared additional miracles or special healings.

    On the 22nd of every month, believers gather to pray and celebrate Mass in the hermitage of St. Sharbel to acknowledge a special healing and miracle which occurred on the night of Jan. 22, 1993. Many priests of the Lebanese Maronite Order continue this tradition, which is currently being done in Baton Rouge (by Father Charbel El-Jamhoury) at St. Agnes Catholic Church at 6

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    Personalizing Communion

    In the July 8 issue of The Catholic Commentator Father Kenneth Doyle responded to a letter from someone who asked if it was appropriate for a priest or eucharastic minister to say the name of the communicant when he gave them Communion. 

    As Catholics we are blessed to be able to receive the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It only takes a moment for a priest to place the host in our hands and for us to receive Jesus into our bodies. In

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    Enjoy the Year of Mercy

    A small group of lay people is meeting bimonthly throughout the Jubilee Year of Mercy at St. Agnes parish to discuss our reading of Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul by St. Faustina.

    The church is now more than halfway into the Year of Mercy, and our group members, strongly affected by the words our Lord spoke to St. Faustina, wish to encourage and appeal to our dear priests to speak out often from

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    Right the wrong

    Excellent article in the May 27 paper by Debbie Shelley, Tracking History. Kudos to that great family for being true to their faith despite their findings about Catholicism and in particular the Jesuits of Georgetown. There is no excuse for what the Jesuits did. I just hope that the current administration at Georgetown does more than  take stock and see what it needs to do. True positive action trumps any words.

    John Schott


    Christ’s courage an example for all

    I was relieved to read in Father (John) Carville’s article “Why was Jesus Crucified?” his words, “To say that God the father had to be satisfied, appeased, by Jesus’ crucifixion for the insult and rejection caused by all our sins makes God some kind of blood thirsty, thin-skinned human potentate.”

    I agree completely. Jesus was silenced by the Jews simply because he was denouncing their church laws – those Mosaic laws that they held as sacred, even though they were burdensome, uncharitable and unjust. Jesus finally had

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    Stories help evangelize

    Thank you for the wonderful faith witness story of the Port Allen family and the glorious photos of Father David Allen performing immersion baptisms of Rhett and Wyatt. The baptism of these children is the realized crescendo of a challenging faith journey of a family walking with God in faith, hope and love. The children’s baptism welcomes and celebrates them within their Catholic community. It is a wonderful story of shared faith experience and teaching.

    Also, the story about Carville is another story about God working in and

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    The mercy of accompaniment

    Thanks to Father Carville for reviewing “Amoris Laetitia” and subjective matter that doesn’t determine practice, but makes interesting reading. Father considers “Amoris Laetitia” in itself. I’ll place it within the church.

    “Amoris Laetitia” is properly interpreted from the church’s heart by faithfulness to pre-existing teaching: Scripture, catechism, canon law and infallible magisterial pronouncements within previous documents (e.g., Familiaris Consortio 84, Veritatis Splendor 52). These treat irregular situations like second marriages without annulment in such depth that no question of objective morality remains unanswered. No result regularizing these

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    Silence is blessed

    I have been following the five responses to Sister Joel Gubler’s letter regarding Catholics being refused the Eucharist (love over law), noting especially in three of them all of the laws cited which our church demands that we obey in order to be saved.

    Well, aren’t we fortunate that Jesus did not obediently uphold the numerous laws of his church. He would never have been branded a blasphemer and rabble-rouser and would have died from natural causes, with private thoughts of how life could be lived in

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    The touch of Christ

    This letter is in response to the letter to the editor from Rick Blackstone, Terry Cormier, Claude Culross, Joe Goodson, Errol Lemoine, and John Stuart Jr. I don’t dispute the fact that Jesus proclaims marriage as a covenantal relationship.

    I do dispute our response as God’s church to those whose marriages have broken for whatever reasons. I think what Sister Joel Gubler meant in her previous letter is that she cannot imagine Jesus denying his touch. Jesus always healed by touch. And the Eucharist is the kiss or touch

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    More than a law

    Recently in the Catholic Commentator, (Jan. 8, 2016) scriptural references are presented to justify the current practice of disallowing reception of Eucharist by divorced and remarried individuals. The authors first cite St. Mark (10: 11-12). I decided to read for myself the entire section in that it deals with “marriage and divorce” (Mk 10:1-12).

    As the authors suggest, Jesus verifies the law forbidding adultery. He references the creation story that from the beginning and clearly indicates ancient law forbids divorce.

    So how

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    Look beyond the jersey

    In a recent issue of The Catholic Commentator the election of John Bel Edwards was presented as a rejection of the current state administration. I disagree. My wife and I voted for Edwards because a very good friend from Amite assured us he is a good man. The only other time we have voted for the democratic candidate was when Edwin Edwards ran against David Duke, but that was following the directive of the bumper stickers that read, “Vote for the crook, it’s important.”

    I am amazed of how

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    Welcome all

    Sister Joel Gubler asks us to imagine divorced and remarried people approaching Jesus and being told “Go back to your pew.” But why imagine? Jesus teaches: “Whoever divorces his wife (her husband) and marries another, commits adultery against her (him)” (Mk 10:11-12). It is Jesus who prohibits divorce and remarriage, not “a group of men years ago.”

     Much as we want communion for someone like physically abused women remarrying for assistance with childrearing, the fact is Jesus’ unconditional teaching covers even that rare, unfortunate circumstance. Any imaginary window

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    A healing process

    This letter is in response to a letter submitted by Sister Joel Gubler OP in The Catholic Commentator Dec. 11 issue. In her letter, Sister Joel espouses, in her words, love over law.

    I would like to address a couple of points she makes. Sister Joel says, “Can we imagine a good person who has had the misfortune of having to divorce and remarry?” Marriage is a choice, a person does not “have to marry.”

    Following divorce, our church offers the healing  process of an annulment. It is

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    Love over law

    Within the Synod of the Family meetings, our pope has tried to encourage compassion for our divorced and remarried who have been denied the Eucharist. Of course, some bishops have opposed any changes, holding firmly to a church law formulated by a group of men years ago.

    Can any of us imagine a good person who has had the misfortune of having to divorce and remarry walking up to Jesus for an encounter and being told by him, “Sorry, but you’re not worthy to receive me. Go

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    Kim Davis’ actions heroic

    We should be exceedingly thankful to, and grateful for heroic citizens and public servants like Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who was willing to stand up for religious freedom and her conscience and go to jail in the face of the blatantly idiotic ruling by five unelected justices to mandate that homosexual marriage (a total oxymoron) be the law of the land. This bare majority ruling, by a too-self-important-to-be-embarrassed Supreme Court of the U.S. included two justices who should have recused themselves based on prior public rulings in similar cases. It was

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    A bad policy

    On Sept. 9, California’s General Assembly approved legislation legalizing the regulation of doctor-assisted suicide. If the Senate follows through as predicted, California will be the fourth state to allow for individuals living with advanced illnesses to take their own life with the direct help of their physician and pharmacist. To some this news may be a welcome sign of progress in this era of patient autonomy and control. However, most Americans, especially physicians, understand that helping someone end their life is incompatible with a doctor’s fundamental role as a healer. It is understandable that

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    Cleaning up an inaccuracy

    When I am interviewed, I am always hopeful that what I’m saying is being captured accurately in the reporter’s ubiquitous notepad. Sometimes, unfortunately, I’m disappointed. Such apparently is the case with the article on page 7 of the Sept. 18 issue of The Catholic Commentator. There are more than a few inaccuracies in the text of the article – I said “conscience” and not “conscious” in the statements I made for your third-to-last paragraph, for example.

    But the worst thing about the article is something I never

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    Heaven’s gates?

    In response to Father Kenneth Doyle’s Question Corner, quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching on those who died before Jesus, I can’t believe that our church is still teaching that billions of souls were just floating around somewhere up there for hundreds of thousands of years, waiting for Jesus to die.

    Seems they were locked out of the “gates of heaven.” Heaven has gates? Why did they have to wait for Jesus to die? Wouldn’t their loving creator have immediately received them when their souls

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    Why the support?

    In one of the recent issues of the Commentator I was reading the advice column of Father Doyle in which someone wanted clarification from him in order to disregard the Vatican’s policy toward the plight of Palestinian Christians. The writer voiced his strong support of Israel. This never fails to shock me. Western Christians, particularly Roman Catholics who support a government who has done its best to expel all native Christians from the Holy Land, while expropriating their land so that they may repopulate it with their own preferred religious followers.

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    Disappointed with column

    (The recent opinion article by Father John Carville has created many and diverse reactions. The Catholic Commentator appreciates the responses which help bring about more clearly the implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling on this matter. The Diocese of Baton Rouge recognizes the complexity of the Supreme Court’s decision and is relying on the guidance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the consequences of this ruling. See page 16 for the recent statement from the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the Supreme

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    One Word

    So, this past weekend, there I was, standing at my assigned station offering Communion during the 9:45 a.m. Mass. Church was packed with people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. It was, as it usually is, a beautiful celebration of church.

    However, in this moment, something was different. I had to consciously take a deep breath and clear my head, because I was really, really tired. I had been “all over creation,” as they say, the day before for various ministry tasks in and out of town.

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    Shepherding the future

    Christ’s Peace! As the rectors of Notre Dame Seminary and St. Joseph Seminary College, we have the privilege of educating and forming men for the priesthood who will serve as spiritual shepherds in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

    It is a blessing that in recent years enrollment has risen to record levels at both Notre Dame Seminary and St. Joseph Seminary College, the two institutions where vocations to the priesthood are nurtured in our archdiocese.

    In the fall, St. Joseph

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