Jakubczyk on Common Sense

Applying faith and reason to ideas, issues and events in today's world

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John J. Jakubczyk has been active in the Pro-Life Movement since 1975.  He served as President of Arizona Right to Life, Arizona's largest, oldest and strongest pro-life organization.  He was on the board of AzRTL for many years and now acts as the Arizona delegate to the National Right to Life Committee.  As the founder and president of Southwest Life & Law Center, he continues to use his legal skills to assist in advising, counseling and defending women, children, pro-life activists, organizations, as well as victims of abortion. A national speaker, motivator and adviser since the 1980s, he is very familiar with the history of the movement at the national level.   A founder and past president of Ville de Marie Academy, he served as a trustee for 15 years.  He has been an attorney in private practice for 35 years, is active in his church, married, the father of 11 children, and a proud grandfather.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We have a pope. - Francis

Few of us really understand the life of St. Francis, the young man who renounced everything for the kingdom - in a sense redeeming the life of the rich young man in the Gospel story who just could not bear to leave all to follow Christ. We think of Francis as someone who had this affinity to animals, who was kind and gentle, who had a preference for the poor. And all of this is true. But Francis had a side in him that was steel, a deeply held belief in the power and mercy of God that made him fearless and bold. For this Francis was the same man who went to the Middle East to converse with and hopefully convert the sultan in n effort to end the bloody violence between Christian and Moor. While unsuccessful, he nevertheless revealed a tenacity that would serve the order he was in the process of forming. Such a strength was needed as he set about to be God's instrument to reform and rebuild God's Church.

Such were my thoughts upon the election of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Here one finds a truly humble recipient of God's grace in action. Here one finds a man of courage and conviction,who lives his vocation in the very simplicity of the Gospel - by example - all the while exhorting us to come, follow Jesus.

He reminds me of the Bishop of Digne, the character in Victor Hugo's classic, Les Miserables. The bishop was a humble man, yet one of tremendous courage. He arrived in town and eschewed the huge bishop's palace and instead chose the humble building next door. He gave the palace to the hospital so it could serve the poor, the sick and the elderly. The chapter goes into great detail on the bishop's pastoral approach, his sense of prayer, his generosity to the poor, and his loyalty to the truth of the Gospel.  Thus the reader fully appreciates the charity of the bishop toward Jean Valjean in the momentous scene when he claims Valjean's soul for God.

Perhaps this Successor of St. Peter can do the same for this forsaken and lost world. Perhaps the broken and forgotten, the sick and the outcast will see the gentle and healing touch of Christ in our new Peter. Perhaps the emptiness and the broken promises of the world's temptations will be rejected for the living and merciful embrace of the one true Church. We can only hope.

In Francis one will find a champion for the poor, the forgotten, the oppressed, the unborn, the elderly and the marginalized. Francis will defend the right to life and the dignity of marriage as found in nature and revealed by God. He will support the rights of conscience and the rights of parents to raise and educate their children consistent with their duty as parents. There will be no equivocation with teaching the truth. for only the truth can set us free.

Only in Christ will my soul be at rest. In Him is my hope and salvation.  If all those who are so worried about everything will think - first, I must be reconciled to God and to His perfect will, then God can act through us in a mighty way.   And just as Valjean was transformed by the grace of God through the gentle but honest counsel of the bishop, so each of us, together, can be instruments of God's grace and mercy to a broken and hurting world.

Let us pray for our pope. May God watch over Francis and give him all the grace needed to be a sign of Christ's redemptive love. Amen.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

A Response to Paul Elie and his opinion piece in the New York Times

It can be frustrating at times, reading the opinions of so-called intellectuals who attempt to impress the reader with their weighty opinions, when the truth is, their thoughts are so much rubbish. Don't get me wrong: there is much that is impressive in that heady world of academia. But lately I have read a lot of nonsense. Paul Elie's Op Ed article in the New York Times is just such a piece. 

Elie comments on Benedict XVI's decision to resign or step down as pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Citing health reasons, the Holy Father ended his pontificate on February 28, 2013. Though not unprecedented, it is extremely rare for a pope to resign (the last one did over 500 years ago).  Elie uses the event to suggest that Catholics "resign" from being Catholics - if only for a time. He then goes on to explain that instead of attending mass this Sunday, he will go somewhere else. He writes
That is why this Sunday, I won’t be at the Oratory Church of St. Boniface in Downtown Brooklyn, even though I love it there — a welcoming, open-minded, authentically religious place.
Instead, I’ll be at the Brooklyn Meeting of the Quakers, who have long invited volunteers from our church to serve food to the poor.
Or I’ll be at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, an Episcopal congregation that hosted the Occupy movement’s relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy.
Or I’ll go to the Zen Mountain Monastery at Mount Tremper, in the Catskills.
When I think of the martyrs who died rather than forsake the holy mass, or people in various lands who travel hours on foot so they can attend the sacred liturgy, I wonder what is this guy about and does he even have a clue as to what he is suggesting?  Can he be serious? Exchange the chance to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to make a point?

To suggest that serious Catholics forgo the worship of Our Lord in the most perfect prayer of the Church in order to send a message is not only wrong but insulting to the Truth who is Jesus Christ.

To be fair, he explains that he will be back the following week. However, he speaks to this "resignation" that Catholics feel about their Faith, a frustration that the Church will not "change." 

Change - so suit whose agenda?
Change - perhaps it is we who should change.
Change - perhaps the better word would be conversion.

Now I do not argue that there are problems in the administration of the church from the Vatican down to the local parish. Put a group of human beings together and ask them to organize, administer and operate something and one will find all sorts of issues that will need to be addressed.  But the Catholic Church is not just some organization run solely be some guys in Rome.  It is the mystical body of Christ. She is the Bride of Christ. She is protected by the Holy Spirit in a profound and mysterious way. The consistency of her message for 2000 yeas has confounded the modern world, especially frustrating those who think that they can get her to "change" to meet their particular opinions of how things should be. And for the record, the church will not be changing her teachings on matters involving human sexuality. Her teachings are the only sanity when exploring the subject. The world's approach has brought death, disease, and heartache to men and women for the last 50 years.

So Paul, my brother in Christ, you who are perhaps too brilliant for your own good, please do not suggest that we not attend holy mass. Instead encourage us to attend mass daily and receive the graces that come from a personal encounter with the Living God.   Do not speak to us of the current difficulties in the church. Heaven knows that the mainstream media never misses a chance to attack the Church for those who have failed her and her people. Speak to us of the mystery of truth, goodness and beauty that is found in this liturgical encounter with Christ. Suggest that we accept the mercy of God found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Remind us that God calls us to holiness and to serve our brothers and sisters in the ordinary dealings of our lives. Speak to the reality that as members of the one Body of Christ, we are to evangelize, to spread the Good News - that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that He conquered death and that in Him we have eternal life.

During this time of transition in the life of the leadership in the Church, encourage us to transition from our worldly ways to the those of heaven.

That means during this holy season of Lent, embracing the cross of Christ, accepting the call to prayer, fasting and alms-giving, and looking forward to the glory of the Resurrection.

Finally it means praying for the cardinals during the conclave that they be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that their selection of a new pope will help guide the Church as she continues to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.