Viewpoints

Homily: The genocide of abortion

This homily was given during a Mass Oct. 25 by Father Kevin Schroeder at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

Before I begin this homily, I want to mention that I am preaching on a topic that is a hot-button issue in our nation. And while the morality of this matter is quite clear, it is astonishing how many Catholics remain defiant or at least indifferent to the issue. For many priests, this topic is frightening, so much so that they hesitate to preach on it. Others, when they do so, are surprised at the number of people who walk out of church during the homily. With all of this in mind, as I preach on the topic at hand, I would ask all of you to listen respectfully, not so much to me, but to the words of life given to us by God himself, through the Church. And if you feel like walking out, try your best to stick around until I get to the back of church and then you can confront me face to face about what you disagree or dislike about the Church's unchanged teaching on this topic.

Have Gen X and Y lost their faith?

According to a few recent polls, we can safely say that in the future there will be fewer folks frying fish on Friday and organizing parish picnics than there were in the past.

According to the Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey, released in June, as many as one-fourth of Americans ages 18 to 29 say they are atheists, agnostics or have no religion. Only 7 percent of those over the age of 65 describe themselves that way. Among those ages 30 to 49, 13 percent claim to be atheists, agnostics or reject religion.

If that’s not depressing enough, the American Religious Identification Survey, conducted by Trinity College of Hartford, Conn., and published in March, shows that the percentage of Americans who define themselves as Christians has dropped from 86 percent in 1990 to 76 percent in 2008. And finally, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, conducted by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam, published in May, indicates that the number of young Americans who say they have no religious affiliation has jumped from between 5 percent to 10 percent in past years to between 30 percent and 40 percent today.

Why are we Catholic? ‘Why’ doesn’t matter

Books, baseball, family, love and my Catholic faith — all these came together at an intersection of time in Michigan this summer.

My lakeshore reading at the rental place where the Z’s — 36 of us — “reunioned” for a week was “Battle Creek,” a little-known novel by an author you probably never heard of, Scott Lasser.

The story takes readers through a season with a fictional amateur baseball team. The baseball-lover in me enjoyed its sufficient doses of game action and the inside-baseball thinking that Lasser has down pat, but really, the tale was more about the players and coaches and the choices they make both on and off the field than about balls and strikes.

At one point in the book, a veteran player dates a woman who knows nothing about baseball. Baseball is all the guy ever thinks about; he just loves baseball, and, when the woman discovers this, she asks him why.

We must stand on the front line for life

The front lines are always dangerous. Standing up for a just cause in the face of injustice is uncomfortable at best and deadly at worst. Jim Pouillon knew that.

According to LifeNews.com, almost every weekday for over 10 years in Owosso, Mich., Pouillon publicly witnessed to the humanity of unborn life by holding a large picture of an unborn baby. With his oxygen tank and leg braces, he prayerfully endured verbal insults and projectiles.

But on Sept. 11, 2009, he paid the ultimate price. While holding a picture of an unborn baby on a public sidewalk in front of Owosso High School, Jim Pouillon was shot to death.

Scant media coverage has kept most Americans in the dark concerning Pouillon’s murder. But when an abortionist who makes his or her living killing innocent unborn babies is murdered, it’s breaking news. Federal marshals are sent to abortion mills to ensure continued access to these killing centers.

Killing is not the way of the nonviolent Jesus. Killing an abortionist is gravely immoral. But the killing of unborn babies is also gravely immoral — arguably more immoral.

Faith in God will stop our worries

Worry is like a rocking chair: It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere. Worry is an exercise in futility. Many of us are such veteran worriers that we could be personal trainers for this futile exercise.

I purposely placed a card on my windowsill just above the kitchen sink so that I could read it often. On it is written the saying, “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.” Worry never accomplished anything, except to furrow our brows and create unnecessary tension.

Worry is the child of fear. When we are afraid or unable to control situations, our fear gives birth to worry. The phrase “fear not” is in the Holy Scriptures 365 times, that is one for each day of the year. God tells us so often not to fear, but we take our fear and wrap it up in a big fat bundle of worry.

“Wait a minute,” you say. “Don’t tell me not to worry. I have three kids, no job and heaps of bills that need to be paid. What about that couple who could not sell their house and ended up in foreclosure, the grandson addicted to drugs, the student who is failing courses, the spouse who has cancer?”

Good coaches build character

There’s a special place in heaven for good coaches. They shape character. They build spirit. They teach success. And they do all this in the goofiest ways imaginable.

Good coaches are usually a little crazy. They are one-of-a-kinds. They all preach similar messages — hard work, sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline. But the best coaches have a way of making their lessons stick.

I had a wrestling coach in high school, for example, who told us there were two reasons people made mistakes. Either a) you were “acting like a banana” or b) you “didn’t have the guts.” According to Coach Camp, acting like a banana meant you weren’t thinking. Maybe you were impulsive or perhaps you were getting too caught up in emotions. In any case, your decision making was flawed because you weren’t using your brain. Not having enough guts, on the other hand, implied you knew what was right but you didn’t have the courage to act on it. 

One day in my sophomore year I got into a row with a history teacher. As I stormed through the hallway, Coach Camp pulled me aside and asked to hear my woeful tale. He listened, grimaced and then asked, “Do you know what your problem is?”

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