Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Out of the Amazon (in Rome?)


Amazon region in South America

Dear Parishioners,

From its inception, the whole thing seemed extremely peculiar to me.  A synod on the Amazon? Its location was not to be in the Amazon region itself but in the Eternal City.  (As a side note, priests of the Diocese of Camden had previously been sent to Brazil as missionaries.  In fact, one of our priests, Fr. Miguel Pedro Mundo, had even become a bishop for the diocese of Jatai, Brazil.)

The pretext of this meeting was ministry to the indigenous peoples of the Amazon.  However, its various critics held that it was a means being used to change the Catholic Church radically with a globalist agenda, backed, in large part, by the German bishops.  Some saw Marxist liberation theology rearing its head once again.

The synod began with what appeared to many to be various pagan rituals led by a female shaman.  A figure of pachamamamother earth—was carried around Rome, brought into Catholic Churches including St. Peter’s Basilica, and even bowed down to at the opening ceremony in the Vatican gardens.  Paganism and idolatry penetrating our Catholic Church?  What do we make of this as it occurred even in the very presence of the Holy Father?

 Pope Francis receiving pachamama

The synod had its various moments of intrigue.  Several of the pachamama carvings were removed from the Catholic Church in which they were kept and then thrown into the Tiber river.  The pope subsequently apologized for what happened, even mentioning the pachamama by name.

The outcome of the synod was presented in a document recommending the following to the Holy Father for his final say on the matter:
·         The ordination of married men (viri probati) in the Amazon
·         Further study of the issue of female deaconesses
·         The creation of a special Amazonian Rite of the Church

What this would mean for the Church at large is yet to be seen.  However, critics warn that it could lead to optional celibacy, female deacons and a rite within the Church that espouses various pagan elements.

Ultimately, the Holy Father has the final say on matters of faith and morals.  However, he can never deviate from the deposit of faith that has been given to us by Jesus Christ and handed down to us through apostolic tradition.  To do so would put his own salvation in jeopardy.

We need to pray for the Church, for fidelity to the deposit of faith, for clarity in teaching and for the Holy Father himself.  There are a few voices in the hierarchy speaking up for truth but far too many worldwide remain silent on any potentially controversial matters.  When there is abundant uncertainty or confusion, we certainly need clarity and not silence.

Let’s begin here:  Commandment #1 - I am the Lord, Your God.  You shall not have any false gods . . . .

Seems abundantly clear to me.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor 

Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina

Vatican garden ceremony

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The "None" Culture: What Has "Prayer" Morphed Into?



Dear Parishioners,

I have noticed it happening on social media over time.  Some people no longer say that they pray for each other but send other kinds of ambiguous greetings or condolences lacking any mention of God, religion or faith.  Let me give you a few of these taken directly from Facebook.  The comments were sent to a person to express sympathy after the death of a family member:

·         Sending you love and light
·         Sending lots of good vibes your way
·         Sending wishes for comfort and peace
·         Sending you electronic hugs
·         Sending you comfort and light
·         Sending love and strength

At other times I have witnessed people send others good energy or positive thoughts.

I wonder if such people understand the value of prayer?  Or are they afraid to admit that they pray?  Or do they not believe in God?  When we pray for others, we ask for God's help.  We admit that we depend on Almighty God as our Creator since we are His creatures.  We make a profession of faith in God who is all-powerful, all-loving, etc., and Whom we believe can help us in every situation. 

In like manner, when we ask a saint or saints to intercede for us, we are requesting those whom we believe to be already in the presence of Almighty God for all eternity, to petition God on our behalf.  Please pray (to God) for us.

Before I went to interview the Confirmation candidates last Sunday evening, I was watching the news.  A story that struck me reported that in a recent Pew survey the number of Americans who have no religion or religious affiliation is now about 26% of the population.  This is an increase of 9% in the past decade.  Such people are sometimes referred to as nones, since they check the box or answer "none" when asked their religious affiliation.  The alarming trend is that many in younger generations want nothing to do with organized religion.  Sometimes they declare they are spiritual but not religious.  Ever more worrisome are those who say that they no longer believe.  Period.

As one who has close relatives who no longer go to Mass, who find no immediacy in having their children baptized, who are  ignorant of or who simply disregard traditional Church teachings, I worry tremendously.  However, I also pray for them.  I remember them in the Masses I offer.  I beg Almighty God on their behalf because I do not want to see them lost for all eternity.  I care about the condition of their immortal souls as I do the souls of all my spiritual children.  (After all, I am called "Father" for a reason.)

Things cannot continue in the nation and in the Church business as usual.  God sees all, knows all, cares for us all, and will act accordingly as He sees appropriate.  Precisely what He will do, I claim no personal knowledge.  However, I have previously given reasons (see last week's bulletin / blog) why I have hope.  

Jesus continues to love His Bride, the Church. 

Meanwhile,  I pray . . . and pray . . . and pray.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor      

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Why Catholics Continue to Have Hope



Dear Parishioners,

As a Catholic priest I am charged with preaching the Gospel—the Good News.  I can certainly point out all of the things that are confusing or even scandalous in the Catholic Church.  However, there are important reasons why true Catholics do not give up hope in spite of the many obstacles we face.  We do not flee when the wolf attacks the sheep. We do not deny Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  We remain faithful even if everyone calls us ridiculous, stupid or out of touch.  Remember in the Beatitudes we are told that we are actually blessed when we are unjustly persecuted.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Mt. 5:  11-12)
Opposition and persecution have been present from the beginning of the Church and continue to this day.

Let me reflect with you on some of my reasons for ongoing hope within the Catholic Church:

  • Jesus is victorious over sin and death.  Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, rather than being a defeat, was a victory.  Jesus rose from the dead.  Death has no more power over Him.  His Resurrection gives every Christian the hope of eternal life.  While we have not yet seen the culmination of all of God’s plans, we know Who has already won the victory.  Christus Vincit!
  • Jesus promised to remain with His Church.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.  (Mt. 28: 20)  First, Jesus remains with us in the Holy Eucharist.  We believe in His Real Presence on our altars and in our tabernacles.  We also have the Sacred Scriptures to guide and inspire us.  Through the ministerial priesthood Christ still acts in each sacrament.  Christ remains with His Church whenever we gather in His name, but most especially at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 
  • Jesus told us that evil will not prevail.  “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  (Mt. 16: 18)  Through the centuries, there have been bitter battles for the soul of the Church.  We have seen many martyrs.  We have had bad popes, bishops, priests, etc.  Attempts have been made to destroy the Church from within and from without.  Despite all such attempts, the Church remains.  And it will remain.
  • Our Lady continues to intercede for us, her children.  Devotion to Our Blessed Mother is a sine qua non for any believing Catholic.  I have been especially devoted to the apparitions of Fatima (Portugal) and to the other approved apparitions like Lourdes (France), Guadalupe (Mexico), etc.  According to the seer Sr. Lucia, the message given at Fatima from Our Lady was ”In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”  When we pray the Hail Mary, we ask for Our Lady’s intercession now and at the hour of our death.  She was given to us at the foot of the cross to be our spiritual mother.  She continues to intercede for her children and to care about their eternal salvation as any good mother would.

I continue to have hope.  What is going on in the Church still concerns me tremendously.  Yet, we need to remain faithful to the Lord as He is always faithful to us.  If you have any doubts, look at the crucifix. 

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor

     

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

As Clear as Mud


Dear Parishioners,

I must admit that I am more than a bit confused by some of the things going on in the Roman Catholic Church these days.  Besides the horrendous sexual scandal (which is bad enough), the ambiguous teaching coming from Rome seems to be confusing at a minimum, if not outright contradictory to the traditional Deposit of Faith.
 
As a former high school teacher, I desire to be as clear as possible, especially  when it comes to teaching the doctrines of the Holy Catholic Church.  My opinion becomes insignificant when it comes to being completely faithful to what the Lord Jesus handed down to us, from age to age, through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  The specific areas in question include:  the indissolubility of marriage and the reception of Holy Communion by those in irregular unions; permissiveness toward homosexual acts and homosexual unions; acceptance of the diversity of religions as a means to salvation; the ordination of women and priestly celibacy; and the acceptance of various forms of paganism, especially at the current Amazon synod.

Thankfully, there have been some in the hierarchy who have undertaken to provide such desired and needed clarity.  Cardinal Gerhard M├╝ller scripted a Manifesto of Faith affirming key Catholic doctrinal points that have been questioned today.  I encourage you to read it or to watch the free online video that was recently produced illustrating its teaching.  We will provide a link to the film from our parish web site (holyangelsnj.org).
 
In addition, Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have together written a document entitled A Clarification about the Meaning of Fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff.  This writing speaks of respecting the office of the Pope, while disagreeing with or seeking clarity from some of the Holy Father’s apparently confusing or ambiguous comments or from his apparent lack of willingness to provide clarity in certain of his teachings.  Moreover, there is an essay by Cardinal Walter Brandm├╝ller critiquing the working document (Instrumentum Laboris) on the Amazon Synod currently taking place in Rome. I encourage the reading of these documents if you want to keep informed and to be able to navigate through what is happening in the Roman Catholic Church today.  I have provided links to all these documents from my personal web site (www.fr-ed-namiotka.com).

The internet provides us with the opportunity to follow so many matters in real time. Often, news can be obtained on the internet well before it appears on network television. While there are various cautions I give about some internet web sites, many of those who want to be loyal to the Catholic Church and her traditional teaching are providing a valuable tool to see various Church happenings from an up-close and personal perspective. Unfortunately, we are made aware of things that can be unnerving and confusing. Why were there what looked like pagan rituals and pagan symbols recently in the Vatican gardens?

I know I am not alone in questioning what seems so far removed from what should be expected from the Roman Catholic Church. We want answers and clarity and not the mess in which we find ourselves. Right now, some things are as clear as mud.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor



Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Rosary and Our Pro-Life Efforts



Dear Parishioners,

First, I thank all who participated in our 40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration this past week.  As I crossed the street from the rectory to make a visit to the church and the Blessed Sacrament, I was initially concerned that there might not be enough people in the church at certain times, especially late at night.  What a pleasant scene when I observed eight, ten or twelve people during the late hours and eighteen or twenty people regularly in front of the Blessed Sacrament for prayer.  There also were times when the school children and the religious education students were there as well!  Thank you to all!  I pray that God will give many graces to every person and family that participated.  Also, I am sure there will be special blessings for Holy Angels Parish.

Remember that if you found prayer before the Blessed Sacrament something that you wish to continue, we offer an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament every Monday night at 7 PM.  This might be the opportunity to incorporate quality time praying with our Eucharistic Lord into your personal prayer life.

As we begin the month of October, I am reminded of the important connection we need to make joining devotion to the Holy Rosary with our Respect Life efforts.  It is no coincidence that October is both the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary and also to the respect for all human life from the moment of conception until natural death.

Just think of some of joyful mysteries of the Holy Rosary and their connection to various life issues.  The first joyful mystery, the Annunciation (Lk. 1: 26-38), shows us how with Mary’s “yes” to the angel, the Word became flesh in her womb.  God became Incarnate with Jesus’ human life beginning at conception.  After Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb, when Mary greeted Elizabeth [the Visitation (Lk. 1: 39-56)], John the Baptist leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.  Recall how Elizabeth was in advanced years—a situation that today may be too easy an excuse to have an abortion.  When Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem [the Nativity (Lk. 2: 1-7ff.)] with no room for Him anywhere else, I can just imagine someone today saying that “This child is too inconvenient for us at this time!” or “We can’t afford this child!” These are just a few reasons that can be rationalized for terminating an unwanted or inconvenient pregnancy.

I could go on developing this meditation.  However, it is even more important that we take the time to pray the rosary with the intention of fostering a greater respect for all human life.  Please take the time to pray at least five decades of the Holy Rosary each day. 

There is certainly no more important issue facing our world today than the one concerning the sacredness of all human life.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, chose to become one of us.  This is our fundamental belief and this indicates for us the tremendous value that God placed on humanity itself.  Let no one deceive you with false arguments and/or intellectual rationalizations somehow justifying an abortion, infanticide or euthanasia.

The Author of Life became one of us and this speaks volumes of our need, tirelessly, to protect and to defend all human life.  Prayer is the greatest tool and the Holy Rosary is one of the most powerful weapons in any spiritual battle.

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor