My apologies for missing the last Empire State Hibernian, but the Devil stopped me from writing under the guise of a computer virus. Before I get any further let me wish each of you a Blessed St. Patrick’s Day and a happy Irish Heritage Month.
Mayor of New York City, William DeBlasio, has stated that he will not be marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, because of the alleged bigotry of the organizers of the parade in excluding gays, lesbians and others who have sexual and gender identity issues. In recent years, my head has been throbbing with this type of political correctness gone crazy. The fact is that all of these supposedly liberal and tolerant politicians are the ones who are intolerant, they are intolerant of those of us, who because we follow the dictates of our Faith, or Faiths, or those who have arrived at the same position through the use of Reason, have taken a moral or ethical stand. Of course the most glaring example of this is our own Governor, Andrew Cuomo, who has stated that there is no place in New York for people who do not hold the same views as he does.
Our organization encompasses many different political opinions, from the far left to the far right, and while I may disagree with some brothers on certain points, there are some positions that we can never diverge on if we are to call ourselves Hibernians. First and foremost is the fundamental Right to Life; every other Right is dependent upon this one. When I hear people, poli-ticians and others, especially those who identify themselves as Catholics, saying that this is a women’s health issue, or reproductive rights issue, or most cowardly of all, that they personally oppose abortion, but they have to respect the “law”, I cringe. As Catholics, we cannot, under any circum-stances, support the killing of the unborn; this is not some-thing that is even up for de-bate, the taking of an innocent life is a crime against God. The arguments that have been put forward by the abortionists have all fallen, and the only ground they stand upon is the false foundation of women’s reproductive rights, but when we recognize the Human Em-bryo for what it is, a HUMAN BEING, then there is no justi-fication for taking that LIFE.
Likewise our Holy Father, Pope Francis I, has been taken out of context by many in the media and in secularist organ-izations, when he spoke of not being so caught up in the single issues of Right to Life and Traditional Marriage. What the Pope said was that we cannot be so stern in our positions on these issues, that we forget to be compassionate. I think a great example of this is something that one of my brother priests says to anyone who comes into the confessional with the opening line “Bless me Father, I have sinned, I’m gay.” His response is “No. You are a beloved child of God. Now let’s begin from there.” In my own experience as a priest, and as a human being, I have encountered many men and women, young and old, who struggle with aspects of their sexuality, whether it is homosexuality, addiction to sex or porn, or other challenges to their real-izing God’s plan for them in life. Most of all, they come seeking healing, they come searching for forgiveness. The same is true for the number of people that come to confes-sion seeking healing after abortion; and the greatest proof that Abortion is not vic-timless or that it is merely the discarding of unwanted tissue, is the realization of these women, that they killed their own babies.
We all need to continue to support our local and national Pro-Life groups, such as Life Center and NYS Right to Life Committee. I would like to encourage all of you to focus some attention on Camp Es-ther (checks payable to: New York State Right to Life Committee 41 State Street, Suite M-100, Albany, NY 12207), which trains teenagers to be leaders in the pro-Life movement. Rachel’s Vineyard (www.rachelsvineyard.org) assists women in their journey to spiritual and psychological healing after abortions. While it may seem a little strange to mention it in this way, I would also ask for your support, in whichever way you can, for the Boy Scouts of America. While there has been controversy over this organization’s ban on openly gay leaders, but acceptance of gay scouts, I have to stand by their decision for two reasons. I do not know what causes someone to be gay, but neither do psychologists, researchers or anybody else, but I do know that whether an adolescent or teenage boy is gay or confused, or searching for himself, he benefits greatly from having strong male role models around. In that same way, I believe it would be a lack of Christian charity to turn a child who is that vulnerable, away from possibly the only group of people who can accept him for who he is, and here I mean the full person and not just one aspect of them such as sexual preference, and at the same time encourage him to fulfill his potential. There should be a few of you asking about Girl Scouts, and while I think it is a great organization, I do have problems with their deep rela-tionship to Planned Parenthood.
Since I have already gone be-yond my normal column length, I would like to ask one other favour from all you. If you could send any “Box Tops for Education”, Campbell’s “Labels for Education”, Coke Rewards, Tyson “A+ Project” labels, or Land O’Lakes Milk Caps, to: 20 Washington Ave. Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776, it would be greatly ap-preciated. I realize that many of you already save these for schools and organizations, and I am not asking you to stop, but if those who are not saving for other organizations, there are several groups that can greatly benefit from them. Thank you for your help.
As I opened this letter, I will close it wishing you all a Blessed St. Patrick’s Day and happy Irish Heritage Month; remember to keep the faith on the first, and the cultural for the latter, and to keep Irish and Catholic throughout the year.