Bulletin (November 25, 2007)

I want to express my gratitude to all those who filled out the Stewardship pledge of Time, Talent and Treasure. I have been signing thank-you letters to those who made a pledge. As I sign the letters, I try to say a prayer for the families represented. I am grateful for your support of Holy Family Parish. We are a diverse community with the mission of bringing Christ’s saving love to others by means of sacraments, religious education and service. We depend on your pledge of your time, abilities and financial resources to achieve that mission.

Although we brought our annual Stewardship Drive to a formal close on Thanksgiving Day, the theme of Stewardship continues throughout the year. For example, this Sunday we celebrate the Kingship of Our Lord. Jesus is ruler of the universe (“through him all things were made”) but he requires our consent in order to govern our individual lives. When Jesus rules in our lives, we have inner peace and sense of purpose. When we try to do things on our own, we experience confusion and disorder. Jesus invites us today to place our lives under his Kingship. As a help to following Jesus, I encourage you to use a Sunday Missal to prepare for and participate in the Eucharist. We still have copies of the 2007-2008 Sunday Missal for only five dollars. You may pick up a copy in the vestibule.

Last Sunday our bulletin contained a “Living Faith” insert entitled Understanding Stem Cell Research. To put Catholic teaching in a nutshell: we support stem cell research, but oppose any method that involves the dismemberment and destruction of a human embryo. By a nice coincidence, this week brought some welcome news regarding stem-cell research. Research teams headed Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and Dr. James Thomson have found a method of using skin cells to obtain pluripotent stem cells. By "reprogramming" the skin cells, the researchers found that they could reproduce the features that scientists find most desirable in embryonic stem cells. The Yamanaka-Thomson research promises a means of obtaining stem cells readily without ethical problems.

Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, stated that the new technique "fully conforms to what we have hoped to see for some time. Such strategies should continue to be pursued and strongly promoted, as they should help to steer the entire field of stem cell research in a more explicitly ethical direction by circumventing the moral quagmire associated with destroying human embryos." These research developments confirm what the Catholic Church has always taught: good medicine makes for good ethics – and good ethics makes for good medicine.

You have probably noticed that the media try to portray the Catholic Church as fearing or opposing science. Nothing could be further from the truth. Modern science emerged from a Christian matrix and many of the greatest scientists were practicing Christians (e.g. Francis Bacon, Johanes Kepler, Louis Pasteur). Heck, some of the most prominent scientists were Catholic priests: e.g. Nicolaus Stenno (founder of modern geology), Gregor Mendel (father of genetics) Georges Lemaitre (first to propose the “big bang” theory) and Nicolaus Copernicus (who is described as “an exceptional mathematician, economist, lawyer, physician and priest”). People keep bringing up Galileo affair as “proof” of the Church’s “persecution of scientists.” The best response is: “OK, that’s one example. Can you give a second example?” Even the Galileo case is more complex that the media present it – and Galileo himself practiced his Catholic faith until the end of his life.

I mention this as a bit of a background to a new assault on the Church. This attack is more insidious because it is directed against our children. A movie is coming in December, which is based on a trilogy written by Philip Pullman – an avowed atheist who has explicitly stated that he wrote “Dark Materials” to discredit belief in God. The first book (The Golden Compass) is subtle in its attack on the Christian faith. The movie itself downplays the book’s anti-Catholicism. In other words, they are presenting the movie in a deceptive manner, hoping that parents will let their children see it and then gradually draw them into world that combines atheism and occultism. To help parents in guiding their children, I have made available some information: a four-page interview entitled “What Every Parent Should Know About The Golden Compass” and single sheet summarizing the “Six Myths of Atheism.” I encourage parents to not be afraid of this attack, but to use it as an opportunity to teach their child. Atheists accuse of us of believing in myths, but atheism has its own myths. By exposing those myths, parents can help their child understand that, while Christianity is ultimately based on faith, it is not unreasonable.

Next Sunday, we are honored to offer a First Anniversary Mass for Deputy Steve Cox. All of you, I am sure, remember that he was dedicated police officer who gave his life in service to the people of White Center. Steve’s family requested the celebration of Holy Mass on December 2, which marks one year since his tragic death. The family also requested that our Children’s Choir sing at the Mass. I am humbled to offer the Mass for a man who is an example to our young people of a life of service, which involved the ultimate sacrifice. The Mass will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception in the Tice Hall. All are welcome to support Steve’s family by attending that Mass in his honor.

Finally, next Sunday I want to invite you to the free breakfast sponsored by St. Martha’s Guild. Also I ask you to pray for the RCIA members who will receive the Rite of Acceptance at the ll a.m. Mass.

Quisiera agradecer a todos que han regresado su tarjeta de compromiso. Ademas de su apoyo en la colecta dominical, les agradezco por el compromiso de oración (por ejemplo, ante en Santisimo Sacracento en la Capilla de Adoracion), tiempo dedicado a la familia y la comunidad – y los diferentes ministerios que hacen posible la obra pastoral de nuestra parroquia.

En la parte de ingles he dado informacion sobre una pelicula promueve ateismo y ataca a la Iglesia Catolica. En diciembre se va a estrenar una superproducción titulada "The Golden Compass" (la brújula dorada) que promete ser un éxito de ventas estas navidades. Contiene todos los ingredientes para el éxito. Pero... contiene un veneno en sus entrañas. El origen de esta película son unas novelas de un británico ateo practicante y ferozmente anticatólico, que ha ideado sus novelas como una respuesta descreida a la serie de novelas de Narnia de C. S. Lewis. La trama, que puede resultar atrayente, señala a "El Magisterio" como el gran poder que, desde la sombra domina el Mundo, que es, sin citarla... la Iglesia Católica. Por ello esta película es pura propaganda envenenada envuelta en precioso papel de regalo.

La Liga Católica norteamericana, que preside Bill Donohue, ha advertido a los creyentes sobre el mensaje ateo y anti cristiano de la próxima película The Golden Compass (La Brújula de Oro). La producción de New Line Cinema y Scholastic Entertainment, protagonizada por Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig y Eva Green, y que se estrena en Estados Unidos el 7 de diciembre, consiste en una fantasía infantil de una niña que, al tratar de salvar a una amiga, termina salvando al mundo. Donahue, sin embargo, advierte que la película es la puesta en escena del primer libro de una trilogía escrita por el ateo militante británico Philip Pullman. “La trilogía fue deliberadamente escrita para promover el ateísmo y denigrar el cristianismo, especialmente el catolicismo”, advierte el Presidente de la Liga Católica. “La audiencia a la que apunta la película es de niños y adolescentes y cada libro es progresivamente más agresivo en su denigración del cristianismo y la promoción del ateísmo: el segundo libro “The Subtle Knife”, es más explícito que “The Golden Compass”; y “The Amber Spyglass”, es el más descarado asalto a las sensibilidades cristianas de los tres volúmenes”. Donahue es tajante: “Ateísmo para niños. Eso es lo que Philip Pullman vende. Él tiene la esperanza que The Golden Compass atraiga a los padres a comprar la trilogía como un regalo de Navidad. Nuestra esperanza es que la película fracase en la taquilla y que sus libros atraigan muy pocos compradores”.

He puesto en la entrada del templo unos articulos para ayudar a los papas en guiar a sus niños: “What Every Parent Should Know About The Golden Compass” (lo que todo papa de saber sobre “la brújula de oro”) “Six Myths of Atheism” (los seis mitos del ateismo). Vale la pena leerlos. No necesitamos tener miedo al ateismo. Los ateos dicen que nosotros creemos en mitos, pero ellos tienen sus propios mitos. Nuestra fe no es irrazonable.