Author Topic: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.  (Read 1248 times)

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 19808
    • View Profile
Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« on: June 24, 2020, 09:22:27 PM »
My brothers and sisters in Christ,

It pains me not to be able to preach at a time like this [because of the pandemic]. The Gospel says one thing, and everyone else is saying partial truths, at most. George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and shouldn’t have been. He had not lived a virtuous life. He was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery, which he seems to have committed to feed his drug habit. And he was high on drugs at the time of his arrest. But we do not kill such people. He committed sins, but we root for sinners to change their lives and convert to the Gospel. Catholics want all life protected from conception until natural death. The police officer who knelt on his neck until he died acted wrongly. I do not know what he was thinking. The charges filed against him allege dangerous negligence, but say nothing about his state of mind. He might have killed George Floyd intentionally, or not. He hasn’t told us. But he showed disregard for his life, and we cannot accept that in our law enforcement officers. It is right that he has been arrested and will be prosecuted.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don’t think we know that. Many people have claimed that racism is major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that. Police officers deal with dangerous and bad people all the time, and that often hardens them. They do this so that the rest of us can live in peace, but sometimes at a cost to their souls. Some of them certainly develop attitudes towards the people they investigate and arrest that are unjust and sinful. We should pray that never happens, but we can see how it does. Many parts of our country have been experiencing a five-year crime wave, providing some context for why the police are trained in aggressive tactics. In 2019, 150 police officers were killed in the line of duty by the violent men they were trying to arrest. That number should be zero, we can all agree. But that context does not justify being overly aggressive — their public trust requires that they exercise great restraint. Criminals have human dignity, too. That’s why we Catholics are asked to work to abolish the death penalty in this country.

Today tensions are high, with charges of racism flying over social media, and countercharges of agreeing with domestic terrorists flying back. People are unfriending and cancelling each other. I hate this. Racism is a sin, as the Catechism says (#1937). So is rash judgment (#2478). Solidarity with our fellow human beings is “a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood… sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity.” (#1939). Our solidarity with one another is deeply frayed now. Everything we say (or don’t say) is treated with suspicion, rather than charity.  I hate this too. I’ve talked to multiple people in the Boston area who want the protests here to stop because they are afraid of more riots and looting. I’ve talked to others who want everyone to join the protests, but are uneasy about having police present. One group says that, of course racism is bad, but the riots are really bad — 18 people have been killed, including one police officer. Others say racism is what’s really bad — look at all the victims of police aggression — and to bring up the riots is to distract from the good the protests are trying to achieve. Still others are upset that all this talk about racism has pushed violence against women, institutionalized sexism, and other types of injustice out of the national consciousness. Everyone’s mind is made up, everyone’s angry with each other — even though everyone says they’re opposed to injustices and sins. In a different moment, people strongly opposed to public violence, racism, and sexism would admire each other, despite their different emphases.

Cardinal Sean has released two statements, one a week ago and one on Friday. I wrote something that, were we able to celebrate Mass together, might have been my homily for this week, a week which saw the feast of the Ugandan martyrs bookended by the Solemnities of Pentecost and The Holy Trinity. Members of the TCC have decided to append the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to the weekly Zoom rosary on Fridays, to pray for God’s “mercy on us and on the whole world.” The problems we face are the result of sin, as I said above. And the only way to conquer sin is with prayer, grace, and holiness, by which the Holy Spirit brings us more deeply into Christ’s New Covenant with the Father.

Blessed are the peacemakers, our Lord tells us. May we all be counted among them.

James_Gale

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4117
    • View Profile
Re: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2020, 09:31:48 PM »
It certainly appears as if the archdiocese participated in pressuring the chaplain to resign.

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 19808
    • View Profile
Re: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 09:43:37 PM »
It certainly appears as if the archdiocese participated in pressuring the chaplain to resign.
I wouldn't doubt it. Boston is the last place the church needs to be on the wrong side of the crowd. But the fact remains that the words above cost him his position. I think he went overboard in pointing out that Floyd wasn't a saintly guy, but as far as I know everything he sad was true. And it wasn't as though he was preaching at Floyd's funeral of offering grief counseling to his relatives. He was seeking to help a Catholic, academic community think through a time a national confusion guided by Catholic theology. That's a different pastoral mission.

It would be one thing if the bishop wrote a pastoral response and told the chaplain to share it as well. But to pressure him to resign over it seems to pure fear of the mob.

Jeremy_Loesch

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 219
    • View Profile
Re: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2020, 09:54:07 PM »
I can't really find anything wrong in that sermon. As Peter said, he may have lingered too long on George Floyd's life but I do appreciate the pastor's words on Ofc. Chauvin's disregard for life, which a police officer cannot have.

I do not like that the university chaplain was pressured to resign (f that is the case), but I can understand how it could happen.

Jeremy

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4337
    • View Profile
Re: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 09:54:45 PM »
The Chaplain referenced the red Martyrs of Uganda....oblivious, or perhaps fully conscious that he would soon attain white Martyrdom.

Kyrie eleison.

+ + +

In these irrational times, it is probably necessary to explain that "red" and "white" (and yes, blue Martyrdom) have nothing to do with skin pigmentation or political leanings.  Red martyrdom is the shedding of one's lifeblood for the faith.  White martyrdom generally means the suffering of economic or other persecutions short of death.  Blue martyrdom generally means the mortification of the flesh through extreme asceticism, such as experienced by St. Mary of Egypt, among many others.

I wish that such explanations were not needed.
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

James_Gale

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4117
    • View Profile
Re: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2020, 10:05:17 PM »
I can't really find anything wrong in that sermon. As Peter said, he may have lingered too long on George Floyd's life but I do appreciate the pastor's words on Ofc. Chauvin's disregard for life, which a police officer cannot have.

I do not like that the university chaplain was pressured to resign (f that is the case), but I can understand how it could happen.

Jeremy


News reports make clear that he was forced to resign.

Jeremy_Loesch

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 219
    • View Profile
Re: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 10:24:49 PM »
Thank you for letting me know. Hadn't seen more than what I read here. Dinner, fishing, devotions, bedtime for the kids, forum reading is how I spend my evenings.

Jeremy

(I always look forward to your posts. They are intelligently written, plus they come from a DC perspective, which is not that common on the forum. I grew up in Prince William Co VA. Dad was pastor at Grace, Woodbridge and my brother still lives in that area.)

MEKoch

  • ALPB Forum Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2020, 02:11:08 PM »
Very sad that media mob and social media immediately seeks to silence anyone who does not toe the line with their narrative.  "You are a racist, shut up."  Such statements do not invite dialog, learning about the other person, listening carefully and learning about our own self. 

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13566
    • View Profile
Re: Catholic homily that got Catholic chaplain fired by M.I.T.
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2020, 02:28:04 PM »
Unfortunately, and this seems to be characteristic from all points on whatever socio/political spectrum you choose, initiations to dialog are actually commands to shut up and listen to me, then you may express your agreement. Calls for listening likewise are commands to shut up and listen to me and my side, you have nothing that I need or want to hear.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS