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Bishop Slattery's homily in DC: What does disobedience look like?

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In the news today is Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Okla. This Saturday he celebrated a traditionalist, Latin language Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Slattery's homily focused on his understanding of suffering and obedience in the light of the current sex abuse crisis. In the past Slattery has taken courageous stands regarding the individual's obligation to be obedient.

Facing the passage by the Oklahoma legislature of strict anti-immigrant legislation in 2006, Slattery publicly announced that he could not support the legislation and would continue his ministry to undocumented immigrants.

As Catholic News Service reported at the time, Slattery said that, if a law were to be passed criminalizing the act of aiding illegal immigrants, "then I will become a criminal."

Bishop Slattery's homily in DC: What does obedience look like?

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Calling obedience "that movement which the heart makes when it leaps in joy having once discovered the truth," Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Okla. in a homily this Saturday called on Catholics dealing with the sex abuse crisis to accept their suffering as a sign of obedience to Christ.

"Suffering...is at the heart of personal holiness," said Slattery. "Because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory."

Slattery's homily came during a traditionalist, Latin language Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. As NCR reported, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos was to be the main celebrant for the Mass but agreed to step aside following objections from sex abuse survivors and others. Slattery stepped in at the last minute to take his place.

Without mentioning the sex abuse crisis by name, Slattery's homily focused almost exclusively on one way to respond to the recent uproar: through the acceptance of all suffering in the name of obedience to Jesus and the church.

Just enough

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This Sunday, my 16-year old daughter Daniella celebrated her Confirmation. It was a beautiful ceremony; the local bishop was there, gave a funny and warm homily about growing up and becoming mature in faith.

It was supposed to be a key rite-of-passage for my family, steeped in tradition and ritual, tracing its roots -- I'd always imagined -- to bar and bat-mitzvahs in the Jewish tradition, marking the transition to adulthood. But, actually, it all kind of slipped by me.

Report: Pope to launch 'Pontifical Council for New Evangelization'

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According to a report from a well-connected Italian Vatican writer, Pope Benedict XVI will shortly announce the creation of a “Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization,” to be presided over by Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella. The office will be dedicated to rekindling the faith in the developed West, above all Europe and North America.

Assuming that report is correct, it’s striking for at least three reasons:

What's the Matter with Arizona?

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My colleagues Demetria Martinez and Mario Garcia have done a fine job calling attention to the racist and immoral anti-immigrant legislation currently awaiting the signature of the state of Arizona. I second all that they have written about this horrid act.

But, that is not the only egregious and racist act of the Arizona legislature in recent days. The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a law requiring future candidates for President to present a copy of their birth certificates to the Secretary of State before they have their names put on the ballot. The law is the outgrowth of the “birther” movement, those people who question whether or not President Barack Obama was born in the United States and, therefore, eligible for election as President.

Arizona's anti-immigration bill

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A few days ago, Cardinal Roger Mahony denounced in the strongest terms the retrograde and dangerous anti-immigration bill passed by the Arizona state legislature. The bill if signed into law by the governor would allow local police in that state to stop anyone they suspect of being undocumented.

Cardinal Mahony joined with the Catholic bishops of Arizona and other state religious leaders in a letter urging the governor to veto the legislation.

As they noted, the proposed law could lead to widespread discrimination against Mexican Americans and other Latinos who can be stopped and asked to prove their citizenship or legal residence.

But when you think of it, what can anyone show that they are citizens or that they are legal? Few of us walk around with our passports and a driver’s license is not proof of citizenship or legal status. This clearly is an issue that can be abused by the police.

Cardinal Mahony also criticized other aspects of the bill such as outlawing day workers from congregating to look for work. The right to work should not be forbidden especially since these workers have so little.

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August 1-14, 2014

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