Msgr. Schulte’s Homilies, Articles, & Quizzes
Msgr. John Schulte, Pastor
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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (par. 2087-2088):
“Our moral life has its source in faith in God who reveals his love to us. St. Paul speaks of the “obedience of faith” as our first obligation. He shows that “ignorance of God” is the principle and explanation of all moral deviations. Our duty toward God is to believe in him and to bear witness to him. The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it.”
Just today I read that, according to the latest government statistics, the divorce rate in our country is down. It stands at 17.7 per 1,000 married women, down from 22.6 in 1980. This would be good news except that the reason for it is that the marriage rate is also on a steady decline: a 50% drop since 1970! The practice of males and females â€œliving togetherâ€ has become just as common as marriage!
I do not know whether the rates for Catholics are any different from the rates for the general population. I doubt that they are. How did we get to this point? I think that it is safe to say that, at least in part, we got here because people have become quite comfortable with sin â€“ even mortal sin. And that is just what â€œliving togetherâ€ is â€“ mortal sin . And people have become comfortable with living in sin because we â€“ pastors, teachers, and PARENTS have allowed them to! We act as if what our parishioners, children, relatives, or friends are doing in this regard is alright with us. We treat them no differently than we treat people who have made the commitment of marriage and are struggling, perhaps, to live up to it! And we justify this by telling ourselves that Christ said, â€œjudge notâ€. Would we take this kind of attitude if one of our children was using illegal drugs, or supporting him or herself by a life of crime, or habitually driving drunk? Of course not! Then why do we say nothing when they are engaging in activity that is leading them to hell or at the very least leading them to bringing children into the world who will have a very good chance of growing up with only one parent?
Young people come to me and tell me that they have never been told that â€œ living togetherâ€ is wrong. Parents come to me and tell me that even though they do not like the fact that their daughter is living with a boy to whom she is not married, they tolerate it â€œbecause it makes good financial senseâ€. Show me in the Bible or in the Catechism of the Catholic Church were it says that you are allowed to commit mortal sin as long as it will save you rent money! Others tell me that it only makes sense to live with a person before you marry them â€“ otherwise how will you know you really like living with them. God help us if we have begun to think about people as we do used cars (drive it around for a while, kick the tires, and see whether you like it) Catholics often complain that priests no longer give them clear moral direction.
Ok. Here is some clear moral direction: If you are fornicating , stop it! If you are committing adultery , stop it! If you are living with and having sexual relations with someone to whom you are not married, stop it, move out, or have the other â€œguyâ€ move out!
If you have a problem with this, go argue with God. He made the rules , not me!
Nobody expects you to show up for Sunday Mass dressed like these two â€œswellsâ€, but there is such a thing as proper attire for church. Now that summer has come, we are all tempted to â€œdress downâ€ whenever we can. After all, it’s hot, we are among friends, and we are not out to impress anyone, right? Right! But we are out to do something else â€“ to show respect for God, and for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We know it’s hot, but guess what? The church is air-conditioned! It would be such a sign of respect if men and boys from the age of 12 on up would wear long pants, and clean shirts with collars, and if women would wear long slacks, or skirts of a decent length and modest tops that go â€œfar enough up and far enough downâ€.
No Vacation from Sunday Mass
May 8, 2005: Last week we ended another â€œschool yearâ€ for our parish Sunday Morning Religious Instruction Program. (Most of us still call this CCD.) That reminds me to do two things.
First, I need to thank Mr. Andrew Cole, the director of the program, and all our wonderfully generous volunteer teachers and aids who have given so much of their time and talent to help the parents of the children of the parish to pass on the saving truths of our Catholic Faith.
Second. I need to remind the children in the CCD program and their parents that although they now take a vacation from the classroom, there is no vacation from God’s commandment to keep His day holy! The obligation to attend and participate in Sunday Mass is in force in May, June. July, and August just as much as in the other months of the year.
The Power of our Speech
What a difference we can make! No matter how unimportant you may feel sometimes, you can use the time, grace, and talents God has given you to change the world and the people in it for the better. I was thinking this week about how powerful our words can be. We can use our power of speech to encourage someone who may be having a hard time carrying the cross assigned to him, or to give someone that boost she made need to go on trying to be good, or to continue doing a difficult job, or to remind someone who feels friendless or hopeless of the love of God.
The power of speech can also be used to do great harm. I find that people who would never think of insulting or condemning without serious and just cause someone who lives in their neighborhood, or a friend or relative, feel not the least hesitant about engaging in that particular form of destructive behavior when it comes to public officials, public servants, teachers and administrators in schools, and church workers. Criticizing the bishop, for instance, is something that comes very easy to priests, but oh how much harm we can do to the faith of good people and to the Church as a whole when we priests do this! And oh how terribly discouraged the bishop must feel when he finds himself being defamed by the very people he should be able to count on for support!
St. Paul once reminded his disciples that each of them would be held responsible on judgment day for each and every word he uttered! He reminded them that one who wants to be a follower of Christ must resolve to say only the good things that people need to hear â€“ things that will build them up in their resolve to be good people.
Do you say only the things to and about your spouse that will help him or her to be a better person? Do you avoid even necessary criticism of teachers and school administrators in front of children or those who may not understand or really need to hear such things? Are you extremely careful never to repeat gossip â€“ especially malicious gossip? Are you careful to exercise charity in speech as well as in deed? Are you careful never to criticize or condemn anyone until you are sure of the truth of the information upon which you are basing your criticism or condemnation? Do you follow Jesus’ directions always to try first to resolve a problem privately before engaging in public criticism or detraction? In short, do you use your power of speech towards others as you would like them to use theirs toward you?
Epiphany – January 8, 2006
21st Sunday Ordinary Time – August 21, 2005
Homily – 3rd Sunday of Easter – April 10, 2005
Homily – Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3, 2005
Homily – You, too, can do marvelous things
Homily – Political Activity in Church
Homily – 32nd Sunday, Ordinary Time, Nov 7, 2004
Homily – Not Business as Usual – 3
Resources for Not Business as Usual
Homily – Not Business as Usual – 2
Homily – Not Business as Usual – 1
Homily – Corpus Christi Sunday, June 13, 2004
Homily – 4th Sunday, Ordinary Time, 1, 2004
Homily – Baptism of the Lord, January 11, 2004
Homily – 1st Sunday of Advent, November 30, 2003
Homily – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Aug 3, 2003
January 29, 2006 – 4 SOT
April 2, 2006