SAFEGUARDING MY CATHOLIC FAITH

I have been disenchanted with the Catholic faith for a very long time.  I write today to share the origins of my seeds of doubts about a religion that I was raised in and that inspired my mother’s family for generations.  But these were different times, and today’s world has evolved and needs new tools.  I have not renounced my Catholic faith, yet, but staying in it has become a rather difficult task lately.

There are some people who have questioned my bona fides to pen these articles – as I have written over 100 since my retirement.  To address this important question, I go back to a famous quote by an ancient and wise Greek philosopher.  Socrates responded when asked the same question: “The more I learn, the less I realize I know.” It is impossible to become an expert in any subject because of the limitations of the human mind.” 

I don’t write by thinking how well I’m going to be remunerated.  I don’t write to become more well-known – as I’m retired and am not competing for any more promotions or accolades.  At last, I can say what I want to say without worrying about restrictive filters! The reason why I write is to share with the world the issues that have stirred my soul deeply — with the thought that they will complement the views of others who have opined on the same ones.

After a long hiatus from attending Catholic mass — mainly because I was not getting any spiritual lift from the Sunday sermons (while in Burke, Virginia, a priest focused on an upcoming Redskins game, and on another occasion, on the fact that parents should be okay if their kids got a “C” in school! — I’m still not finding any spiritual lift from the priest in my parish in Trinity, Florida. But I’ve decided to continue attending Sunday mass because I need it for my spiritual fortification – at least for the time being.

The February 21, 2021 sermon dealt with the history of the pretzel, and the symbolism of its twisted shape of crossed arms (then a common prayer posture). To say the least, this was not a very spiritual or cerebral sermon.

In my opinion, what the priest should be talking about are more relevant issues like the passage of the Equality Act by the House of Representatives, about Planned Parenthood, about the increase in abortions worldwide, about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and communist countries, and — if he really was a rebel — about the unsuitability of the socialist Papa Che’s doctrinal interpretations. These are dangerous times for our democracy and our Christian faith, and our leaders cannot remain silent about what’s going on! The history of the pretzel bears no relevance to today’s world events!

But the inadequacies of the Sunday sermons kept getting worse – at least for me.

Here is another case in point.  The church’s Deacon charged with giving the February 28, 2021 sermon underscored the importance of The Transfiguration of Christ, and how it represented the culminating point of His public life, as His Baptism is its starting-point, and His Ascension its end.

But then, he traveled to uncharted territory and took a U-turn into the secular world.  By delving into the definition of the word “transfiguration” as coming from the Latin roots trans- (“across”) and figura (“form, shape”), he concluded that it signified a change of form or appearance.  Thus, he offered as examples of other transfigurations, the transcontinental railroad and the transgender community.  He made a huge mistake when he discussed the latter, and it was too much for me to bear quietly!

I took the opportunity at the conclusion of the mass to talk to the priest and the Deacon and expressed my severe disappointment. I pointed out how it was outrageous that the Deacon had mentioned the transgender community in the homily, after considering that the House of Representatives had passed the Equality Act recently – which represented an abomination to all Christian principles. For example, if the Senate approves this bill and Beijing Biden signs it, religious schools, adoption agencies, and other charities would face federal sanction for operating according to basic biology and mainstream Biblical teaching on sex and marriage.

The priest listened attentively to my complaint. The Deacon’s facial expression changed a bit, and he turned to me and said: “God loves all people.” To say the least, I was not pleased at all with these reactions. The Deacon’s rebuttal was just not only nonsensical, but it showed a reluctance to address the issue at hand.  I had no idea what the priest’s reaction meant. Nevertheless, I left the sacristy quietly, but satisfied, as although I did not make a scene, I got my point across to those in the Deacon’s chain of command.

I have learned of recent positive developments in my parish during May of 2021. After expressing my strong disagreement about the Deacon’s impertinence when comparing the transfiguration of Christ with the transgender paradigm, the parish priest placed the Deacon on indefinite probation and banned him from giving any homilies during this time. When thinking of this outcome, I’m reminded of Mahatma Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

These recent incidents augmented my reservations about what the Catholic Church stood for.  

In the past, I had the impression that the Catholic Church was not too concerned with the woes of its faithful.  The celebration of the mass in Latin evinced a concern only for the Latin-proficient elites, and left out the majority congregation.  And it is not a far jump in logic to conclude that these elites were the most well-connected and the filthy rich.  Obviously, I was not the only one with this impression — as the Second Vatican Council in 1964 authorized the celebration of the mass in the vernacular languages.

Today’s Democrats make no excuses about calling themselves “socialists.”  They demand complete loyalty to the Government and treat religion as an enemy of the state and a competitor of its ideology.  Remember what the German philosopher Karl Marx said about this issue: “Religion is the opium of the masses.” Therefore, Christians of all denominations should be united as the last line of defense to fight the atheist devils of socialism and communism.  The Catholic Church should be in the frontlines of this crusade.

I make no excuses for expressing my strong disagreement with Pope Francis (El Papa Che).  When Barack Obama and Cuban Dictator Raúl Castro thanked Pope Francis on December 17, 2014, for his assistance in helping to broker a deal to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, I left the Democratic Party and became a staunch Republican supporter.  Simultaneously, Pope Francis became a religious figure that inspired zero confidence to me.  He betrayed my people! To me, he was no Pope John Paul II – the chief architect for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. 

It was treasonous to me – as an American of Cuban descent – for Barack Obama and Pope Francis, as leaders of the free world, not to have required Dictator Castro to offer a betterment of human and civil rights to a Cuban population that has been oppressed under the communist yoke for over sixty years. 

Moreover, Pope Francis lacks disciples in the conservative camp.  And this worries me enormously, as I embrace conservative values. 

Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea tendered his resignation on February 20. 2021.  The African Cardinal and the Pope shared radically different visions on theological matters.  The Cardinal told the Synod of Bishops that western family values faced “subjective disintegration” through easy divorce, abortion, and euthanasia.

In 2014, former Cardinal and Emeritus Bishop of Hong Kong Joseph Zen asked Pope Francis not to visit Communist China because he would be manipulated by government apparatchiks. In 2018, the Vatican and Communist China signed a provisional agreement whereby Pope Francis readmitted to full ecclesial communion those bishops who had been ordained by the People’s Republic of China without a prior Pontifical mandate.  Cardinal Zen correctly called the deal a “complete surrender” and amounted to Vatican officials “giving the flock into the mouths of wolves.” He went on to say: “You don’t make deals with the devil. You fight the devil and that’s it! The church does not take orders from governments.”

Pope Francis has also called for a new approach to international migration and insisted that people need to view migration as a positive phenomenon rather than a problem.  He stated that immigration is a great way of mixing races and cultures, and that “building walls means condemning yourself to death.” This all sounds like the globalist platform that seeks the abolition of Judeo-Christian values and Western civilization. 

It is hypocritical for Pope Francis to criticize President Trump for securing our nation’s borders after considering that Vatican City has been surrounded by a massive protective wall for centuries.  The Pope ignores the fact that no city and no country can survive without borders.

The United States cannot fix the problems of the world community.  I wish that it could, but it lacks the resources.  Its first responsibility is to address the needs of its citizens.  To do so, it must stop the flow of “illegal” immigrants to our country by all means necessary.  Ours is a nation founded on the respect for the law, and an immigrant who breaks them has no room in our democratic pantheon.  The United States has a rich tradition of having a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” It has no need nor desire to become a government of globalist elites.

And so, I continue my journey to accommodate my Christian faith.  This is a process of exploration and soul-searching that is not easy.  Nevertheless, it is necessary and rewarding in the end.  All along, I have never lost my faith in my Creator, and I pray to Him constantly.  I’m certain that He will guide me and serve as my compass to find a landing zone that I can finally call “home.”

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