Homily — 6th Sunday Easter MMIX 5/17/09

Homily — 6th Sunday Easter MMIX 5/17/09

I started my day off this week by going to see the new Star Trek movie at Lincoln Mall Cinema Tuesday morning.

As I was leaving to see it, I was coming from teaching a class at the school, and the children were out playing for recess.

Mr. Jones, one of the sixth grade teachers and a huge sci-fi fan was also outside monitoring the kids.

So I said to him, “Mr. Jone’s, I’m going right now to see the new Star Trek Movie.” “You’re going to be disappointed Father” he said; I said “Don’t tell me anything, I want to be surprized.” “You’ll see what I mean” he said.

Well, I wasn’t disappointed at all, the movie was for the most part a very entertaining, well put together film with good character’s lots of action and great special effects. And aside from one brief but very immodest scene, not morally objectionable for teens and over to see.

But I think I knew why a hard core Trekkie like Mr. Jones would be upset at the movie, and a few days later when I was over at the school and ran into Mr. Jones again, I found out I was correct in my assumptions.

Mr. Jones and some other Star Trek fans dislike the new film because it totally revises Star Trek History.

Without spoiling anything for those who haven’t seen it, in the new movie some major, life-changing events happen in the early lives of Kirk and Spock and the gang, events which are totally inconsistent with the original Star Trek series with the same character’s.

And as this new Star Trek is a huge hit, most probably there’ll be sequels made which will further revise Star Trek history.

Now, whether it’s wise or unwise to muddle the history of the fictional crew members of the Starship Enterprise is more a matter of opinion than morality.

But let us leave Cinema #5 where Star Trek is playing and pop our heads into Cinema #6, where Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons” is making it’s weekend debut to a packed audience.

This follow-up to the infamous DaVinci Code also not surprisingly tampers with historical facts, not as blasphemously as the DaVinci Code does, but still enough to warrant calling “Angels and Demons” an anti-Catholic piece of entertainment.

In this new film millions of people will flock to see this weekend, the Catholic Church is portrayed as being so historically opposed to scientific progress that in 1668 the Vatican tortured and killed four scientists as a warning to other scientists not to disagree with the Church.

In the novel which the movie is based on, Dan Brown goes so far as to say that the famous scientist Copernicus was (quote) “murdered by the Church for revealing scientific truths” (endquote).

All of this is baloney. Copernicus was never even criticized by the Church, let alone persecuted. On the contrary, Copernicus and countless other early scientists were encouraged and even funded by the Church hierarchy to further their scientific research.

“Angels and Demons” sadly perpetuates on a mass-media scale the anti-Catholic myth which the Church in America has had to combat since the founding of our country, the myth that Church history is full of scientists like Galileo who were tortured and/or silenced by Church hierarchy.

What history really shows is that Galileo is the one sad exception to an otherwise glowing record of the Catholic Church being one of the foremost patrons of modern science down through the ages.

But let’s leave Tom Hanks and the movie theater altogether and walk out into the real world we live in, and let us take a look at the even more disturbing revision of history going on in around us.

We see court houses and senate chambers throughout New England rashly going where no man has gone before.

Now Judges, Congressmen, and Governors in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts are trying to tell us that all this time, civilized humanity has been bigoted in restricting the institution of marriage to one man and one woman, all this time the pedestal of honor society has put marriage on has been in reality a shameful perpetuating of inequality and homophobia.  The institution of marriage has been all this while an evil institution which, like human slavery, we must progress beyond in this 21st century.

Certainly this is how our children’s history books will spin things in year’s to come if we continue down this path to legal recognition of gay marriage.

Finally, I’d like to leave past history and pseudo-history and conclude with history in the making.

For today is certainly one of the saddest, lowest days in the History of our Church in America, as Notre Dame University, one of the biggest and most prestigious Catholic Universities in our country, bestows an honorary doctorate to our President, a President who in his first 100 days of Office has started using your tax dollars and mine to pay for overseas abortions and to fund the destruction of innocent embryonic human beings in the name of scientific research, a President who is trying to deprive health care workers of their right not to cooperate in abortion or other immoral medical practices. <!– @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>

While we Catholic can and should certainly respect our President, and while a leader with views such as he holds could be invited under certain circumstances to give a talk at Catholic institutions, we Catholics can in no way bestow honors upon people who hold such anti-life views, and for Notre Dame University to bestow an honorary degree and the honor of giving a commencement address on such a pro-abortion figure is a grave scandal.

You know, President Obama right now has the ability to do something no president in the past 35 years has had the ability to do: With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, President Obama has the ability to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion.

Imagine if Mr. Obama said to America at this time “I’m replacing Justice Souter with a Judge who will defend the inalienable, God given rights of all unborn children in this country from the moment of their conception on. In doing so, I’ll be tipping the scales of our Supreme Court in favor of overturning our countries greatest offense against humanity since the Dread Scott decision which upheld human slavery.”

Do that, Mr. President, and every believing Catholic in this country from the bishops on down will give you an honorary degree from every Catholic Institution in America, from Notre Dame to Providence College to Mt. St. Charles to Good Shepherd Catholic Regional.

But after today, what hope do we have for our non-Catholic President Obama to ever change his mind on abortion?  Should he ever in the future get the slightest twinge of conscience on what he’s doing to the least of Christ’s brethren, he can brush it away by saying to himself: “Notre Dame gave me an honorary degree, what could be so wrong about abortion?”

And this is the message we’re sending not only to our President, but to our children and to the young adults of our Church. Is it no wonder why the Catholic Church is shrinking in America?

May we not lose hope however. Jesus has not abandoned us, and Our Lady has not either. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel “If you love me by keeping my commandments, Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.”

Let us pray fervently to them, that our Country and our Church in this great land may, in the words of a famous Vulcan, continue to “live long and prosper,” and not die fast and flounder.

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