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Pastoral writings from the perspective of Traditional Old Roman Catholicism in the Anglican Tradition by Rutherford Cardinal Johnson Count of Sainte Animie

14 June 2016

Statement on the Orlando Mass Shooting

Sub Tuum. 
 
 Sunday the United States saw a major shooting incident in Orlando at the hands of an Islamic militant bent on the destruction of human life. It is not the worst shooting incident in U.S. history, for the incidents at Waco and Wounded Knee, slaughter at the hands of the government, had a higher death toll. However, it is nevertheless a tragic event. It is one that the Holy Land knows on a regular basis as a routine event, though it has thankfully thus far been very rare in the United States. What we are dealing with is not a gun control issue or any other political issue. What we are dealing with is a fundamental lack of respect for the sanctity of life. That is a problem that plagues the United States, Europe, and indeed the world of today as a whole. We cannot point the finger at the Orlando shooter without acknowledging the sickness that plagues modern society as a whole. If we clamor for action over the pointless death of fifty people in Orlando, but stand silently by while crimes against human rights are committed and over 1,000,000 children are murdered legally every year, we as a society have as much blood on our hands as does the Orlando shooter. Nothing will heal what ails the nation until we turn to the love as exemplified by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

12 June 2016

Love & Judgment

Sub Tuum.

These days we hear "Judge not" as the end-all unifying and supreme verse of Bible. Relativism has been promoted as the correct Catholic belief, not to mention the philosophy underlying the modern way of things in society at large. The problem is, like anything relativistic and anything that takes only one slice of the Christian faith as the totality, it leads to contradictions that weaken our individual faith and spirituality. We should love our neighbor with all their imperfections just as Christ loved the world that nailed Him to the Cross. Yet Christ did not hesitate to proclaim the faith and point out the difference between right and wrong. We love the sinner even while hating the sin. The makes sense, for how can we help the sinner if we drive the sinner away through arrogant judgmental action? Still, Scripture tells us that we should fight evil. 
 
So, there is a proper framework in which we must be. First, we must accept and acknowledge taht we are all sinners. When we observe the sin in others, we must consciously recognize the sin that is in us as well. We cannot judge in a way that puts us in a superior positions to those who sin, for that is ignoring our own shortcomings. It is finding fault in others in order to make ourselves feel better. If we condemn others for sin, we condemn ourselves in the process. However, if instead we notice sin in others and also in ourselves at the same time, if we turn the microscope on ourselves, we realize that the other person not only needs help, but needs help in the same way that we do. They not only have issues with which they are straggling, but are straggling with those issues in ways similar to us. In that way we see ourselves in other people. We see our own faults in the faults of others, even if those faults are not the same. It becomes a framework of brother helping brother rather than some sort of Puritanical condemnation of those who fail to keep the standards. We as humans all fail. Puritans tolerate no failure. To be Catholic, though, is to realize that we all fail and that failure is part of our journey.
 
We can only solve our problems through the grace of Jesus Christ and through the efforts in us inspired by faith in Him. Christ hung on the Cross for us all, but remember that we are to take up our own crosses. Doing that unifies us with the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, the only way in which we can obtain forgiveness of our sins and seek true amendment of life. This is the frame of mind in which we must always be if we are to observe the errors of others. When we judge others, if we are to be Christian, we must judge ourselves at the same time and, realizing we are all sinners, join ourselves to our brethren who are in sin and strive through the power of the Cross to bring them up.