Friday, May 29th

Good morning, Good morning,

We have delightful news. Deacon Candidate John Paul Heisler has been informed that he will be staying with us an extra week while the diocesan housing arrangements are modified.  Not a problem for those of us at the rectory.  He has been a wonderful guest during the pandemic.

Fr. John No Deer is My Master Heisler has been working on his new garden next to the rectory.  Many well-wishers have stopped by to encourage him and tell him his fence isn’t high enough.  The Mother Teresa farm club in the parish should find no competition in the Green Acres of the Rectory.    We shall see.  For now we live this dedication to the honor of Fr. Heisler.

Somewhere in the future some academics will discuss the dynamics of “Yellow Journalism” in the latter part of the Twentieth century.  Where did it all start?  In the secular world it may have started with the restrictions of the message in World War I and World War II.  It was a time where the media was controlled by the government.  That would change with the techniques of Yellow Journalism that flared against the famed communist hunter, Joseph McCarthy.  It was the beginning where the media reached in to usurp the power of the government.  And it did it quite affectively in the decades that followed the McCarthy Hearings in the 1950’s.

The Church herself would not escape unscathed from the style of Yellow Journalism that followed upon the Second Vatican Council.  Periodicals such as the National Catholic Reporter (started in 1964) came into play.   America magazine, periodical of the Jesuits, also weighed in to form editorials hostile to the statements from either the Vatican or Conference of Catholic Bishops in America.  And the final pillar of the progressive thought for American Catholics is found in Commonweal.  All would have their political agendas and political bias.

What the media controllers never anticipated was the internet.  The internet has rendered the controlling media ineffective.   Can anyone name a single writer or publisher for the three media outlets mentioned above?  Sorry.   The tool of Yellow Journalism, popular to the progressive media, has been replaced with a form of journalistic anarchy/chaos so prevalent on the internet.  The internet media world has become much like the Wild West in Faith and Morals.  I leave you two examples:  Fr. James Altman.  “Courageous Priest Admonishes Bishops for Abandoning their Flocks.”  Fr. Michael Pfleger dealing with the greed of politicians in America.

The first Pope to take the broadside hits from the media was Pope Paul VI, who’s FEASTDAY we honor today.  How ironic, the stone rejected by the progressive media in the 60’s has become a cornerstone for the Life of the Church,  “St. Paul VI.”

The story of Pope Paul VI doesn’t simply originate in the 1960’s when he followed the lead of Pope John XXIII with his work on the Second Vatican Council.  Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, born September 26, 1897 arrived in the fresh air with a family that was established both politically and financially.  He had two brothers, one became a doctor and the other an attorney.  He was Jesuit trained and spent four years in the seminary before being ordained at the age of 25.  He was immediately accepted into the Vatican Offices and was never assigned as a parish priest.  He was special assistant to Pope Pius XII, spending a short stint in Poland… an assignment he appreciated but did not much like.  He thought the Poles were rather xenophobic, mistrusting of those from beyond their boundaries.

The great Montini, made his name in World War II, serving the needy of Italy, suffering from the traumas of war.  He had quite a network of assistants taking care of displaced Italians as well Jews and American and British combatants on the run from the Nazis.  Some of his work was noted in a later novel called, “The Assisi Underground.”

One of my favorite features of the Assisi Underground was work done by Gino Bartoli, Italian winner of the Tour de France… twice.  The Germans admired his athletic prowess and left him unchecked, not realizing the frame of his bicycle was filled with false documents that were baptismal records for the Jews in hiding.  Upon completion of the War both men, Martini and Bartoli, received the highest award from the State of Israel for protecting the Jews in Italy.  Bartoli offered his bicycle to Pope Pius XII as a gift.

The war experience not only  defined the life of Monsignor Montini but would provide him with the character strength that would serve him well in his Papacy.  His papacy would prove to be the great compliment of the papacy of Pope Pius X in the early 20th century.  As Pius X called for caution with the rising problem of “Modernism” Paul VI would meet it in a more liberated culture.

Pope Paul VI, was originally concerned when Pope John XXIII called for the Vatican Council.  He thought his predecessor was stirring up a hornets nest.  And he was right.  In 1963 with the re-opening the Vatican Council, after the death of John XXIII, Pope Paul had four agendas to focus on:

  • A better understanding of the Catholic Church
  • Church reforms
  • Advancing the unity of Christianity
  • Dialogue with the world

Please remember, “Pope Paul VI made extensive contributions to Mariology (theological teaching and devotions) during his pontificate. He attempted to present the Marian teachings of the Church in view of her new ecumenical orientation. In his inaugural encyclical Ecclesiam suam (section below), the pope called Mary the ideal of Christian perfection. He regards “devotion to the Mother of God as of paramount importance in living the life of the Gospel.”

He wrote seven encyclicals.  I leave you with three of them.  Please know that Humanae Vitae was his final document.  The Western media was so very critical of Humanae Vitae, isolating the Pope with few supporters.  He never wrote another encyclical.

“Populorum progressio
Main article: Populorum progressio

Populorum progressio, released on 26 March 1967, dealt with the topic of “the development of peoples” and that the economy of the world should serve mankind and not just the few. It touches on a variety of traditional principles of Catholic social teaching: the right to a just wage; the right to security of employment; the right to fair and reasonable working conditions; the right to join a union and strike as a last resort; and the universal destination of resources and goods.

In addition, Populorum progressio opines that real peace in the world is conditional on justice. He repeats his demands expressed in Bombay in 1964 for a large-scale World Development Organization, as a matter of international justice and peace. He rejected notions to instigate revolution and force in changing economic conditions.[100]

Sacerdotalis caelibatus

This was a very interesting encyclical in reference to its timing.  During this time the American seminarians were being assured that it was only a matter of time before celibacy became optional for priests in the West.  That failed expectation with this encyclical found many seminarians and recently ordained leaving the ranks anticipating priesthood.

Pope Paul did move to initiate programs for the laicization of priests.  Pope John Paul II would suppress that initiative in his papacy.

Main article: Sacerdotalis caelibatus

Sacerdotalis caelibatus (Latin for “Of the celibate priesthood”), promulgated on 24 June 1967, defends the Catholic Church’s tradition of priestly celibacy in the West. This encyclical was written in the wake of Vatican II, when the Catholic Church was questioning and revising many long-held practices. Priestly celibacy is considered a discipline rather than dogma, and some had expected that it might be relaxed. In response to these questions, the Pope reaffirms the discipline as a long-held practice with special importance in the Catholic Church. The encyclical Sacerdotalis caelibatus from 24 June 1967, confirms the traditional Church teaching, that celibacy is an ideal state and continues to be mandatory for Catholic priests. Celibacy symbolises the reality of the kingdom of God amid modern society. The priestly celibacy is closely linked to the sacramental priesthood.[65] However, during his pontificate Paul VI was permissive in allowing bishops to grant laicisation of priests who wanted to leave the sacerdotal state. John Paul II changed this policy in 1980 and the 1983 Code of Canon Law made it explicit that only the pope can in exceptional circumstances grant laicisation.

Humanae vitae

Main article: Humanae vitae

Of his seven encyclicals, Pope Paul VI is best known for his encyclical Humanae vitae (Of Human Life, subtitled On the Regulation of Birth), published on 25 July 1968. In this encyclical he reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s traditional view of marriage and marital relations and its condemnation of artificial birth control. There were two Papal committees and numerous independent experts looking into the latest advancement of science and medicine on the question of artificial birth control,  which were noted by the Pope in his encyclical. The expressed views of Paul VI reflected the teachings of his predecessors, especially Pius XI,  and John XXIII and never changed, as he repeatedly stated them in the first few years of his Pontificate.

To the pope as to all his predecessors, marital relations are much more than a union of two people. They constitute a union of the loving couple with a loving God, in which the two persons create a new person materially, while God completes the creation by adding the soul. For this reason, Paul VI teaches in the first sentence of Humanae vitae that the transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. This divine partnership, according to Paul VI, does not allow for arbitrary human decisions, which may limit divine providence. The Pope does not paint an overly romantic picture of marriage: marital relations are a source of great joy, but also of difficulties and hardships.  The question of human procreation exceeds in the view of Paul VI specific disciplines such as biology, psychology, demography or sociology.  The reason for this, according to Paul VI, is that married love takes its origin from God, who “is love”. From this basic dignity, he defines his position:

Love is total—that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner’s own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.[110]

The reaction to the encyclical’s continued prohibitions of artificial birth control was very mixed. In Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland, the encyclical was welcomed.   In Latin America, much support developed for the Pope and his encyclical. As World Bank President Robert McNamara declared at the 1968 Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group that countries permitting birth control practices would get preferential access to resources, doctors in La Paz, Bolivia called it insulting that money should be exchanged for the conscience of a Catholic nation. In Colombia, Cardinal archbishop Aníbal Muñoz Duque declared, if American conditionality undermines Papal teachings, we prefer not to receive one cent. The Senate of Bolivia passed a resolution stating that Humanae vitae could be discussed in its implications for individual consciences, but was of greatest significance because the papal document defended the rights of developing nations to determine their own population policies. The Jesuit Journal Sic dedicated one edition to the encyclical with supportive contributions.

Paul VI was concerned but not surprised by the negative reaction in Western Europe and the United States. He fully anticipated this reaction to be a temporary one: “Don’t be afraid”, he reportedly told Edouard Gagnon on the eve of the encyclical, “in twenty years time they’ll call me a prophet.” His biography on the Vatican’s website notes his reaffirmations of priestly celibacy and the traditional teaching on contraception that ” the controversies over these two pronouncements tended to overshadow the last years of his pontificate”.  Pope John Paul II later reaffirmed and expanded upon Humanae vitae with the encyclical Evangelium vitae.

Completing the Vatican Council in 1965 Pope Paul had set the building blocks for the future engagements of the Church in the Modern World.”

Let us pray for one another.

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