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By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/11/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Some of our Bishops are speaking with particular clarity, courage and conviction. They have the bugle in hand and they are sounding it and summoning us all

The truly liberating message of authentic and true human progress which only the Catholic Church offers the world - is just what is needed in this critical hour in human history. It is the only solution for the malady which ails western culture. However, we need strong, courageous, holy and faithful Bishops who can proclaim it in both word and deed. We have many these days and Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap, is one.

Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., of Boston

Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., of Boston


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

5/11/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal newman Society, Boston College, Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, Enda Kenny, Right to Life, Pro-Life, Deacon Keith Fournier

BOSTON, Mass. (Catholic Online) - I was born and raised in Boston. I remember with great fondness the salt of the earth folks who filled my childhood. That is why I was happy to accept an invitation to speak at a Deacons conference for the Archdiocese of Boston several years ago. I also knew Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley would be there and I wanted to meet him.

I have followed his service to the Lord for a long time. It has inspired me in my own. 

Catholic Deacons have a vital role to serve in the New Evangelization of the Church. They are also an important asset in this new missionary age, for a Church which needs all of her assets. We are living in what I prefer to call a PRE-Christian West rather than a post-Christian West. We are all Christian missionaries, no matter what our state in life or vocation.

The Deacons of the Catholic Catholic Church have a distinctive vocation. They are called to live life in the real world- but a life that is not "of this world". (See, e.g. Romans 12:2, 1 John 2: 15 - 17) They are to be an icon of Christ the Servant, in word and deed, as a distinctive order of clergy in the midst of the world.

Deacons are to be a witness of the Church, which is the new world - to use a term loved by the early fathers - a seed of the kingdom to come. They are invited by their ordination, not unto the priesthood but unto ministry - to live as leaven in the loaf of human culture, elevating it from within.

I often say that Deacons go from the altar and the ambo into the street. There, they bring men, women and children to Jesus Christ, helping them to find their home in the heart of the Church, where they can experience the transforming grace of God, and participate in the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ.

However, after seventeen years of service in this vocation, I have really come to understand the importance of the relationship between a Bishop and his priests and deacons. I have seen the impact it has not only on the clergy, but on the faithful whom they serve. I know that the Bishop has the fullness of orders. His role is so critical. that is why we need to pray for our Bishops and call attention to the ones who stand on the front line.  

If the Bishop is distant and detached, the priests and deacons often do not experience the fatherly and brotherly care so integral to their fruitful exercise of ordained ministry. As a result, the faithful do not receive the particular gifts the clergy are ordained to offer them so that they can serve the Church in their vital role.

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we have been given some great Bishops in the United States and beyond. One of them, as I saw so clearly that weekend, is Courageous Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. His obvious relationship with the Risen Jesus Christ comes through in his words, his warmth and his work. This is a man who knows the Lord, undertands his vocation, and lives it. How refreshing! 

The Holy Spirit is at work, re-securing the foundation stones of the Catholic Church in the United States. Lord knows we need it, the culture is under siege from false ideologies which, while promising liberation, lead to slavery. Faithful Catholics and other faithful Christians are the freedom fighters of this age.

The work of rebuilding the Church extends across the beautiful vocational spectrum. We are witnessing an authentic renewal of the priesthood, the episcopacy, the diaconate, the religious and consecrated life, the lay ecclesial movements, and the lay faithful. Oh, I know, some of my readers wonder how I can make such a claim. Where I cause for hope, they see something else. 

However, I make this claim without any reservation.

In fact, the more I have traveled in the last few years, the more convinced I am that there is no vocations problem in the Catholic Church. I use the phrase in the limited way it is often used to refer to men responding the invitation to the priesthood.  After all, there are many vocations within the one call to follow Jesus Christ and to live out the universal call to holiness and mission. 

I suggest that all one has to do to see the truth of my claim is to look at the seminaries where Bishops are being Bishops - and not just administrators. There you will see the Church alive with dynamically orthodox living witnesses of the ancient but ever new Catholic Christian faith. There you will also find vocations to the priesthood increasing. Priestly vocations are a fruit more than a part some strategic plan.   

The Catholic Church is being prepared by the Holy Spirit for a new missionary age. In fact, the historic parallel between the early centuries of the First Millennium and the Third millennium are instructive. I have no doubt of two things; it will be difficult and it will bear the fruit past missionary ages have borne. This is Christ's Church, the gates of hell will not prevail against her, and His loving plan for the whole world will not be thwarted.

The truly liberating message of authentic and true human progress which only the Catholic Church offers the world - is just what is needed in this critical hour in human history. It is the only solution for the malady which ails western culture. However, we need strong, courageous, holy and faithful Bishops who can proclaim it in both word and deed. We have many these days and Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap, is one.

St. Paul wrote to the early Christians, "And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound - who will get ready for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8). The bugle has sounded and it is time for all of us all to be ready for battle. Some of our Bishops are speaking with particular clarity, courage and conviction. They have the bugle in hand and they are sounding it and summoning us all.

These Bishops are inviting us by both word and example to engage in a new Catholic Action, each according to our distinct vocation, state in life, placement in the work and complimentary role. They show us by both their words and their actions that these may be tough times, but they are our times.

They know, as we do, that for our mission to this pre-Christian culture to bear fruit, the Church must be holy and faithful to her head, Jesus Christ. She must witness to the compelling new way of life which is found in Him in a new way of living. They must also be willing to stand up and say No when the situation demands.

As we enter the months of commencement exercises on Catholic College campuses, these Bishops are emerging. Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. just announced he will not attend the commencement exercises at Boston College. He should be commended.

Get ready; the stories concerning commencements at catholic Colleges are just beginning. The finest source, bar none, for following the ongoing struggle on Catholic College Campuses is the Cardinal Newman Society. I strongly recommend their online publication entitled Catholic Education Daily. .

Boston College has defied the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops directive to not invite speakers openly opposing the teaching of the Catholic Church. Boston College invited Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny as their commencement speaker. That is a scandal.

Enda Kenny denies the fundamental human right to life of our first neighbors in the womb. He is Anti-Life and his support of legislation which protects and promotes the crime of procured abortion is reprehensible. 

We need to stop using the Orwellian language of those who oppose the fundamental human Right to life. Every single human person has a fundamental Human Right to life, period. Those civil societies who fail to recognize it deny the truth as revealed by the Natural Law, confirmed by medical science and clear to every conscience. 

In fact, without the Right to Life, there can be no other rights because rights are goods of human persons. Without the recognition of the Right to Life the entire infrastructure of human rights is placed in jeopardy. Those who think they are somehow promoting human rights by denying them to our smallest neighbors are dangerously deluded.   

Here is the complete statement released by courageous Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap.:

Because the Gospel of Life is the centerpiece of the Church's social doctrine and because we consider abortion a crime against humanity, the Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies.

Recently I learned that the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny was slated to receive an honorary degree at Boston College's graduation this year. I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation. 

The Irish Bishops have responded to that development by affirming the Church's teaching that  "the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong" and expressed serious concern that the proposed legislation "represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law." 

Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. It is my ardent hope that Boston College will work to redress the confusion, disappointment and harm caused by not adhering to the Bishops' directives. 

Although I shall not be present to impart the final benediction, I assure the graduates that they are in my prayers on this important day in their lives, and I pray that their studies will prepare them to be heralds of the Church's Social Gospel and "men and women for others," especially for the most vulnerable in our midst. 


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
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