Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Moral Correctness vs. Political Correctness

Dear Parishioners,

Unfortunately, we live in a politically correct world. The legacy news media and advertising often drives it. We have become so cautious not to offend anyone. We do not want to be cancelled. As a result, we may wind up compromising what we truly believe in the name of tolerance. There are rumblings among the populus, however, and ever-more people are becoming fed-up with what is going on.

What if the early Christians acted in the same manner? Would they have been so cautious not to proclaim Jesus is Lord in the face of torture and death? I think about how the early Apostles were willing to die rather than compromise their beliefs. How easy it would have been to acknowledge that Caesar was divine (as was demanded at the time), and go on living. Couldn’t Jesus just be acknowledged as one god among many other gods? After all, the Greeks and Romans were polytheistic cultures and would more than likely tolerate one more god. It would be the politically correct thing to do at that time. Instead, the early Christians bravely faced torture and death in their unwavering proclamation that Jesus is the Risen Son of God. For them, there was no other option.

Today, we may not say certain things are objectively wrong for fear of offending someone: 

  • Abortion is not killing an innocent human being—dare I say murder?—but a woman’s choice.
  • Marriage (the permanentexclusiveopen-to children union between a man and a woman) is redefined not according to timeless, divine principles but as we enlightened humans currently see fit.
  • We don’t call co-habitation fornication, but a trial-marriage.
  • Euthanasia (killing the elderly) is mercy-killing.
  • Adulterers are swingers.
  • The difference between partial-birth abortion and Infanticide is negligible.
  • Homosexual acts fall into the category of an alternate lifestyle.
  • Artificial contraception is never wrong or sinful in many people’s mind.
  • There is no longer a proper understanding that we have a moral obligation to God to attend Mass weekly  

Wrong becomes right. Right is no longer right. The world is horribly confused. And this confusion does have serious, eternal consequences.

God in timeless wisdom and with apparently incredible patience looks at us and, I suspect, desires that we would listen and obey. There is a law written in your hearts. I sent you the prophetsI even gave you my only Son as my definitive Word. You have centuries of saints and martyrs witnessing to the truth by their lives. My gift of the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church. Please listen. Don’t delay.

I trust that God is all-merciful. There is frequently an emphasis on His mercy. I also believe that God is all-just. God’s justice is tempered by His mercy. (See James 2: 12-13) Mercy is offered to us so that we admit our sinfulness, desire to change our erring ways and completely conform our lives to the teachings of Christ. Mercy is not like a get out of jail free card. We can’t just continue with our sinful ways assuming God to be some pushover—some lenient parent—who will continually let us do whatever we want without consequences. We are all going to Heaven despite what we do here on earthNot really. Why would Jesus have suffered and died in such a horrible manner if we all just go to Heaven no matter what we think, say or do? No, if we refuse mercy, if we refuse to listen, if we fail to change, then God remains all-just. We will get what we actually deserve. And it wasn’t because God did not try to get through to us time and time again.

If political correctness blurs our moral correctness then I would suggest that we make the necessary adjustments to our thinking and acting. We need to realize that the truth—the objective moral teachings given by Jesus Christ and faithfully proclaimed by His Church—are the means given us for our eternal salvation.

 And eternal does mean forever.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time "B" - Fr. Edward Namiotka


When the Entire World is Upside Down

Dear Parishioners,

I know that Jesus would use a type of hyperbolean intentional exaggeration for effect—at various times in the Gospels. Did he really want us literally to tear our eyes out and throw them away (see Mt. 5:29) or to cut our hands off and throw them away (see Mt. 5:30) as stated in the Sacred Scriptures? I don’t think so. He most likely said things in this manner to wake people up and have them pay attention to what he had to say.  He needed people to recognize his legitimate, definitive authority.

Much was the same with Jesus’ miracles. His miracles were often meant to attract people to His message and to show His true authority: “’But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth’–he said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.’” (Mk. 2:10-11)  I suppose in Jesus’ time, just as in ours, people wondered who to listen to, who is telling the truth and what authority is legitimate. Many people, then and now, have various things to say, but they certainly don’t all carry the same weight. My utmost loyalty and attention goes to the Son of God—hands down!

In today’s conversations we too may say some things emphatically to get a point across: “That weighs a ton!” “I’m so hungry that I could eat a horse!” and “I’ve told you a million times already!”

I guess that there are times when our current culture has become so de-sensitized or may even have become so calloused to current societal issues that we may need to say something in an unusual or extreme manner to get people’s attention once again. Society nowadays is also so careful to be politically correct on almost every matter for fear of offending someone and being cancelled.

So how do we make people realize that the breakup of the traditional family is tragic for society, how [according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) website] there are 73 million abortions worldwide per year, how co-habitation outside of marriage can have detrimental effects on relationships, how homosexual sexual acts are always sterile and empty acts, and how our addiction-prone society (alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, shopping, etc.) can destroy moral character and ultimately lead to self-destruction, just to name a few contemporary societal concerns?

What do I say or do to make people pay attention? Perhaps I need to quote Jesus again:


Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. (Mt. 7: 13-14)


Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. (Mt. 24: 42-44)


But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Lk. 18:8)

I often wonder just who is listening to and following Him?

I express my frustration like this: The entire world is upside down!  And, in my humble opinion, this seems to be no exaggeration!

 Fr. Ed Namiotka


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Harvest is Abundant . . .

Dear Parishioners,

In today’s Scripture readings we hear the “call” to ministry/service of Samuel (1 Sam. 3) and of the two fishermen Andrew and Simon Peter (Jn. 1). These readings should remind us to reflect on the call to ministry (particularly as priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers) in our Catholic Church today.

For some time now, more priests die and retire each year than we see ordained for our diocese. Regrettably, for the past two years, the Diocese of Camden had no priesthood ordinations. We were blessed for many years to have a fairly large number of priests to supply the needs of the people. Many rectories had two or more priests living in them. Things, however, have changed regarding the number of active priests. Fortunately, many retired priests in our diocese continue to supply some of our needs—especially Mass on the weekends.

Various Gospels (e.g., Luke 10: 1-12. 17-20 and Mt. 9: 32-38) contain the words of Jesus:  The harvest is abundant, but laborers are few. . . .  He tells us to askto pray—to the master of the harvest for workers. Do we? Everyday? Do we pray for and encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life in our own families?

I have heard it suggested to me on numerous occasions what the church needs is married priests or women priests. I know a married Orthodox priest who once told me, “Don’t let them tell you that married priests is the solution to the vocation crisis. Our priests can marry, and we still have a shortage.” Protestant ministers, who are usually married, tell me much of the same. They still see a decline in clergy (as well as church attendance). By the way, the option of women priests in the Roman Catholic Church was officially closed by St. John Paul II when he wrote the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and stated:

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.

For me, the crux of the problem is multi-faceted. Our society does not revolve around God or the importance of faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is minimized or seen as irrelevant. Many, if not most, Catholic families do not go to Mass each week, if they indeed go at all. Our cultural values teach the young to be successful and wealthy, but not necessary to do what God wants you to do. Priests, at times, have been ostracized (dare I say demonized?) and are seen as “suspect” by the media and others for the horrible and most-regrettable sins of a few. The moral authority of the Church is undermined, mocked and seen as extraneous to daily life. People are no longer taught or are willing to make sacrifices in life, as evidenced by a lack of those responding to a priestly or religious vocation (and even to the many demands required by married life).

I give tremendous credit to those men and women who answer the “call” today and attempt to follow the Lord’s invitation to be a priest, deacon, religious sister or brother. The world needs them now more than ever to be bold, counter-cultural disciples in a world of confusion, doubt and even hatred towards all things Christian.   

The rest of us must continue to pray most fervently.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Dear Parishioners,

From the time when I was young, they always seemed like strange gifts to bring a newborn baby: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Today we would think of things like diapers, toys, blankets, formula, socks, pajamas, etc. to bring to an infant. Obviously, there is more to the gifts of the magi than meets the eye.

Gold is meant as a tribute to a king. Gold as a precious, valuable metal was prized by many cultures and worn by kings, present in the worship of gods, and used as currency. Jesus is indeed a king—the King of the Universe. 

Frankincense is offered to a deity. When we occasionally burn incense in church (and the parishioners begin to cough automatically) it is meant to be a symbol of our prayers rising up to God.  Psalm 141: 2 states: Let my prayer be incense before you . . . and the Book of Revelation (5:8) speaks of the elders who held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. The Hebrews had an altar of incense where a pleasing fragrance burned before the Holy of Holies. Some other cultures, like the ancient Romans, burned incense before their various statues as a sign of divinity.  Jesus is divine—the Son of God.  He is also the Great High Priest who is mediator between God and man. 

Myrrh has various uses in perfumes, incense and medicine. The ancient Egyptians used it for embalming of mummies. When it is presented to Jesus it can be symbolic of his healing ability or an anticipation of his death and burial. Jesus was offered myrrh mixed with wine on the wood of the cross.  Nicodemus brought myrrh to the tomb for Jesus’ burial.

Gift-giving has become such a part of the Christmas season, often overshadowing the true spiritual meaning of the Incarnation. What is so astounding is that God became man! Our Creator became a creature. God in all His power became a powerless, vulnerable infant who needed his mother and foster-father to feed, clothe and provide for Him. Timelessness entered into time, the Immortal, Eternal One became subject to death, and the All-Knowing God had to grow in “wisdom, age and favor.” (Lk. 2:52)

When we celebrate the Epiphany (manifestation or showing) of the Lord to the magi (astrologers representative of non-Jews or gentiles) we realize that salvation is open to all peoples and we are directed to Christ as the one and only Messiah and Savior of the World.

Our fitting gift to Jesus should be a humble and contrite heart, as the psalm relates. (See Ps. 51:19) He does not need material “things” to make Him happy. Instead He desires us and our willingness to do His will.  He desires obedience to His commands.
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just;
More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold,
Sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb.
By them your servant is warned; obeying them brings much reward.
(Ps. 19: 8-12)

Fr. Ed Namiotka