Solemnity of St. Joseph, Betrothed of the BVM

[Solemnity of St. Joseph is observed by the Catholic Church March 19, 2018; notably, he is Patron of Canada]. As we approach the April 2nd observation of John Paul II Day in Canada (3rd nationally, 4th in Ontario), I would like to draw your attention to some of his insightful comments in papal documents.

Firstly, in regard to his prophetic perception of the circumstances that have developed in Canada recently. Governments at both the federal and provincial levels are becoming increasing totalitarian (an Ottawa resident, who is an advocate for the rights and freedoms accorded by a genuine democracy, terms this as “creeping totalitarianism”). Consider the following examples:

  1. The concern over conscience protection for health care workers which was exacerbated by the Ontario Court decision of January 31, 2018 (for the June 2017 court hearing; notably, the Ontario government intervened in favor of the CPSO policy) that upheld the March 2015 College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s policy, which unconscionably forces Ontario doctors to make effective referrals for physician-abetted suicide requests.
  2. Sex “education” curriculum of September 2015—the Ontario government’s imposition of its homosexual agenda, which is grossly (in the dual sense of the word) misleading our young people.
  3. Ontario’s Bill 163 —prohibiting free speech within the “bubble zone” areas around abortuaries (infringing on the Charterrights for freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly).
  4. On the federal level, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s infringement of Charterrights (e.g., freedom of conscience and religionfreedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression) in conjunction with the summer student job grants criterion—imposing acceptance of abortion, same-sex “marriage”, and transgenderism as per the Liberal government’s ideology and social agenda.

Accordingly, I invite you to reflect on the explanation that Pope St. John Paul II offers for these developments (from an August 6, 1993 encyclical):

“Totalitarianism arises out of a denial of truth in the objective sense. If there is no transcendent truth, in obedience to which man achieves his full identity, then there is no sure principle for guaranteeing just relations between people. Their self-interest as a class, group or nation would inevitably set them in opposition to one another. If one does not acknowledge transcendent truth, then the force of power takes over, and each person tends to make full use of the means at his disposal in order to impose his own interests or his own opinion, with no regard for the rights of others…. Thus, the root of modern totalitarianism is to be found in the denial of the transcendent dignity of the human person who, as the visible image of the invisible God, is therefore by his very nature the subject of rights which no one may violate — no individual, group, class, nation or State. Not even the majority of a social body may violate these rights, by going against the minority, by isolating, oppressing, or exploiting it, or by attempting to annihilate it”.

(Note of clarification for this e-mail message: from the Gospel of Life, Pope St. John Paul II makes it clear that the enwombed child is inherently included as being a subject of the said rights.)

[The Splendor of Truth, No. 99]

Indeed, “if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism”.

[The Splendor of Truth, No. 101]

As bad as the future looks for Canada and our provinces, Pope St. John Paul II has pointed out that all is not lost: God is rich in mercy.

Ephesians 2.4 [New American Bible—Revised Edition (NABRE)]:

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us,…

[Crediting https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+2%3A4&version=NABRE for the text]

However, there is a barrier that seems to exist as he points out in an associated encyclical letter (from November 13, 1980):

The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of “mercy” seem to cause uneasiness in man, who, thanks to the enormous development of science and technology, never before known in history, has become the master of the earth and has subdued and dominated it. This dominion over the earth, sometimes understood in a one – sided and superficial way, seems to have no room for mercy. However, in this regard we can profitably refer to the picture of “man’s situation in the world today” as described at the beginning of the Constitution Gaudium et spes. Here we read the following sentences: “In the light of the foregoing factors there appears the dichotomy of a world that is at once powerful and weak, capable of doing what is noble and what is base, disposed to freedom and slavery, progress and decline, brotherhood and hatred. Man is growing conscious that the forces he has unleashed are in his own hands and that it is up to him to control them or be enslaved by them.”

[Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia), No. 2 (Gaudium et spes is Latin for Joy and hope)]

Hence, I reiterate this important question in regard to the modern dilemma described above: will you respond to control them or be enslaved by them? In connection with the observation made in the preceding quotation, to whom shall we honour (give glory to) for the benefits and conveniences of modern technology (particularly—in view of the present prominence of the issue of physician-abetted suicide—the advances of modern medicine)? Clearly, God our Creator has endowed human beings with the ingenuity and associated capability through His creative genius; accordingly, we rightly give all the glory to God—along with our thanksgiving, which should be accompanied by actions to manifest this (cf. NABRE wording for Psalm 118:1-4,29 and Psalm 136 that express the gratitude of the Israelites for God’s mercy in being freed from their slavery in Egypt, which serves as a prefigurement for us today in being freed from the slavery of sin by the sacrificial death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ)! I invite you to examine the text in the attachment for further reflection.

Pope St. John Paul II had a deep concern for our society:

The Church, having before her eyes the picture of the generation to which we belong, shares the uneasiness of so many of the people of our time. Moreover, one cannot fail to be worried by the decline of many fundamental values, which constitute an unquestionable good not only for Christian morality but simply for human morality, for moral culture: these values include respect for human life from the moment of conception, respect for marriage in its indissoluble unity, and respect for the stability of the family. Moral permissiveness strikes especially at this most sensitive sphere of life and society. Hand in hand with this go the crisis of truth in human relationships, lack of responsibility for what one says, the purely utilitarian relationship between individual and individual, the loss of a sense of the authentic common good and the ease with which this good is alienated. Finally, there is the “desacralization” that often turns into “dehumanization”: the individual and the society for whom nothing is “sacred” suffer moral decay, in spite of appearances.

[Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia), No. 12]

In view of the foregoing, consider the forewarning in Scripture (cf. Malachi 3:6-7; Hebrews 1:10-12, 13:8; James 1:17):

2Maccabees 6:14a [New American Bible—Revised Edition (NABRE)]:

Thus, in dealing with other nations [i.e., other than the Jewish nation], the Sovereign Lord patiently waits until they reach the full measure of their sins before punishing them; …

[From, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Macc+6%3A12-17&version=NABRE ]

In directing you to an on-line Bible for examining the passages of Scripture cited, I concurrently make the suggestion of taking care to pray before reading the Holy Bible since the true meaning of Scripture is veiled and can only be discerned by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit [cf. Isaiah 6:9-10 (it is particularly profitable to examine the textual note for this passage in the NABRE); 2Corinthians 3:14-16; 4:3-4—in contrast with Romans 12:1-2].

Thus, to receive God’s mercy instead of punishment, Pope St. John Paul II appropriately advised us:

It is urgent then that Christians should rediscover the newness of the faith … 

It is urgent to rediscover and to set forth once more the authentic reality of the Christian faith, which is not simply a set of propositions to be accepted with intellectual assent. Rather, faith is a lived knowledge of Christ, a living remembrance of his commandments, and a truth to be lived out.

[The Splendor of Truth, No. 88 (underlined words are in italics in document)]

May the Holy Spirit convict us of sin—the sense of which has been considerably weakened in the modern world(as observed by our beloved Pope)—and enlighten our vision [cf. Ephesians 1:18-19, 4:22-24 (NAB, 1970)].

— Vito Norejko

P.S. The eloquent wording of the Scripture cited in the ending paragraph is as follows.

Ephesians 1:18-19 (NAB, 1970):

May he enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which he has called you, the wealth of his glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the church, and the immeasurable scope of his power in us who believe.

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NAB, 1970):

… you must lay aside your former way of life and the old self which deteriorates through illusion and desire, and acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness are born of truth. 

 

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