It has been my experience that lots of coincidences take place when one is a teacher. So often it happens that you pick up a newspaper or magazine and find there an article on JUST what you were talking about in class the day before, and you hope that your students see it, or you bring it to class to point out to them how timely that topic is.
In this case, we have the coincidence between today’s readings at Mass and a very recent pronouncement by Pope Benedict. The passage from the book of Deuteronomy presents Moses telling his people: “Observe (God’s commandments) carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’”
In the recent papal pronouncement, our Holy Father reiterates the constant teaching of the Church: divorce followed by an invalid remarriage is sinful, and those in that condition cannot receive the sacraments unless they agree to live celibately. And he likewise condemns again the homosexual marriages now being sanctioned legally here and there. It always tickles me when I read secular accounts of papal statements. They always seem surprised that the Pope is saying the same thing that has been said before by himself or his predecessors. They always seem to want and expect a change in dogma or in moral principles. But in matters of faith and morals, there will be no changes. I can imagine how our Episcopalian brothers and sisters whose understanding of doctrinal and moral truth is the same as ours, must agonize over the ordination of a practicing homosexual as bishop of their diocese in New Hampshire.
After reading the words of Moses in Deuteronomy, we listened to Our Lord in the gospel: “I have not come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill.”
Nowadays, outside the Church, doctrine and morals seem as subject to passing fads as clothing styles and hair-do’s. Can you imagine what might have happened to anyone who, a century ago, seriously advocated same-sex marriage? He or she would have been locked up — either in jail or in a mental hospital. Yet now, it is being legalized by some state legislatures. There are those who rejoice at this kind of thing, calling it “liberation” and “enlightenment.” They can call it what they like: Our Divine Lord calls it sin. And his words do not change, nor will they. And we have the tremendous gift of a Church guided by the Spirit in obedience to Our Lord; thus we are shepherded by our Popes, the vicars of Christ, who says of himself: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.