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Oh How Foolish You Are!

By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2005

Several years ago, I appeared on a local (Boston) talk show on WBZ-AM and discussed the abuse crisis with the the Late David Brudnoy and the 300,000+ audience. One of the messages that I felt was important to get out was that God was still in charge of his Church and that we cannot neglect the fact that this crisis happened as a way of God purifying his Church. I still stand by that statement.

We approach that reality in faith. This is also the message of gospel passage about the "Road to Emmaus" Do not miss one line in today's passage. "Oh how foolish you are!"

Note the scene! Jesus died on the cross on Friday. All the disciples' hopes are dashed. It is over; Jesus is dead. They followed the wrong man. They backed the wrong horse. They have now been humiliated. They may be in danger and the high priests have won. Oppression wins, legalism wins, arrogance wins and sin wins. Now the word is out that God has played a trump card. The impossible has happened. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. Now what does this all mean?

It is into this scenario that we enter this gospel on the road to Emmaus. Yet, listen again to those words. "Oh how foolish you are!" Jesus is chiding them. Did they not believe he was in control all along? The high priests have lost. God in his patience did not strike them dead and prevent his own son's crucifixion. He will give the people more time to repent. Meanwhile, Jesus, the resurrected Lord, proclaims the truth. God was in charge all the time. This is all part of God's plans from the moment that Eve and Adam ate of the apple.


This week I was listening to various radio programs and the theme that keeps coming up is the case of Cardinal Law saying mass at the Vatican and Cardinal Law engaged in voting for the new pope. Several years ago, I appeared on various news programs on CNN, MSNBC and other venues. I spoke as one against Cardinal Law's resignation. This week, one news host, a man I feel is not objective in his coverage of the Catholic Church and leans against the Catholic Church, had a lawyer for abuse victims on his program. The lawyer, I understand, was unopposed on the program and radio talk show host Howie Carr on WRKO-AM in Boston indicated that this meant that many had been called and each declined to defend the Cardinal's role in voting for the new pope and celebrating mass at the Vatican. May I say it was an innaccurate statement because I was never called. I already stated that I was known to the media as the priest who was willing to speak publically against the Cardinal's resignation. I stand by my reasoning and my position.

If people feel Cardinal Law should not have a vote, then what would they say about the Apostles from whom he descended. Matthew worked against his own people and for the occupying force in his country. He was as despised as any traitor would be. Simon the Zealot was once was a terrorist who supported the killing of people like Matthew. Peter considered himself such a sinner that he told Jesus to leave him the minute he realized whom he was. Two had such a problem with anger they were called the Sons of Thunder. One was only fourteen when he met Jesus. He was only seventeen when he stood at the foot of his cross. Finally, the later apostle Paul was an accessory to murder.

One of the programs on which I appeared was the Bill O'Reilly radio program where I told the host that we also need to leave room for the action of the Holy Spirit. I say the same to you. We are at a critical time in our church. We are also in a critical time in our world. As we speak, the Massachusetts Legislature is trying to pass a stem cell research bill, to be followed by a health care bill. You can rest assured that abortion will be a key part of this bill. I have stated earlier that gay marriage is really about providing the biological structures to bring forth the fruit of embryonic stem cell research. If you read the newspaper accounts of this action, you will see that the key here is the large amount of windfall profit local universities and our government expect to make in this biological research industry. Never forget that the Roman Catholic Church, in the eyes of these people, stands between them and billions of dollars.

Every society that walks down the path of seeking the fruits of human wisdom to the exclusion of the wisdom of God, ends up walking into its own destruction. One of the last major governments that walked down this path and along the path of biological enterprise was no other than the German Government of 1933-1945.


God will not be mocked. The current stress the Church suffers is indeed making it stronger. There will come a time when we will be the life boat to a nation suffering from the disaster of seeking human wisdom to the exclusion of the Divine. Forty years after the beginning of Jesus' ministry the nation of Israel was wiped off the face of the map by the Romans, never to exist again until 1946. Yet, the truth and wisdom of God continued in the new Christian Church that began with Jesus announcing the coming of the Kingdom. God knew what was coming and he knew he needed to supply a life boat. To this day, the Christian faith and indeed the Jewish faith still continue despite the best efforts of the Roman Empire and others. The Romans however, no longer exist.

Those around us mock us and warn us that we have backed the wrong horse. We have evolved to the point, they will tell you, that we no longer need God. Although, I believe in evolution, I truly believe as did Teilhard de Chardin that evolution proves Christ and does not disprove our faith at all. I believe with Pope Pius XII that evolution does not discount genesis and that Genesis is an essential element to our own human understanding. I have argued this with various members of our academic community and have not been proven wrong yet.


However, our society has bought the falsehood of a humanity without God--hook, line and sinker. Its future based on pride, arrogance and falsehood looks quite bleak, much to their own spiritual blindness. Such spiritual blindness yields tyrany and oppression. You have to realize, however, what your future is, it is hardly as bleak.

The Gospel reminds the apostles to study the scriptures and they will learn that everything that happened was predicted. We must do the same. Yet, we are not awaiting the first coming of the Messiah, but the second. We too must study the scriptures, but our scriptures will warn us of a world in chaos because it has turned from Christ. We have been warned over and over again not to walk down this path and yet our world continues to ignore the warnings. The Titanic was a warning. The seagoing version of the Tower of Babel, an unsinkable ship, sunk by a natural reality--icebergs in a calm sea at night. The high tech version of the Tower of Babel the Challenger accident, destroyed by cold temperatures on rubber O ring seals. What is our next disaster as arranged by the geniuses who decide that they are smarter than God? Who knows, but if you study the scriptures you will see it will be of biblical proportions by default. Yet, the scriptures warn people of faith not to worry, we are being saved. So our role today continues as we are in the midst of a double focus view of our Church: One celebrates the pomp and circumstance of Papal Succession and the life of a great Pope. The other attacks our church over and over again while remaining silent, by the way on the imprisonment, torture and murder of innocent priests and bishops and indeed people of all faiths in China, Vietnam and other nations. Indeed, speaking of the papacy the silence of our media on this issue is the exact silence that they accuse falsely our own Pope Pius XII of committing against the Jews during World War II.


A recent e-mail I received from St. Gabriel Communications, a Catholic organization in Australia has already begun calls to people of faith to boycott the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In light of this torture and imprisonment horror in China, it may be time for Christians of all faiths to consider boycotting participating, attending and watching the Olympics in 2008 unless China changes its policy and frees its political prisoners of faith.

Yet, in the midst of all this, we need to heed Jesus' words. "Oh how foolish you are!" Our Church is being purified and strengthened for a rather difficult time for those in our world ahead, trust in God's providence. We need to trust, to know our faith and to be strong people of prayer and holiness. For the real problem is not that we live in a Church under attack called to repentance and holiness, but that we live in a world, particularly in this city of Boston, that has chosen to walk a path to its own ruin. However, we should not be surprised, we find this predicted in the scriptures over and over again. We need only trust in the saving power of our Lord and be ready to be the rock to save those repentant few who realize they built their hopes on the sand of economic and scientific utopia. Otherwise we too are being foolish.


Catholicism Anew MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - parochial vicar, 617 625-0029



Emmaus, Cardinal Law, protest, salvation

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