Patriarchal Address on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

8 September A.D. 2012
Rutherford Card. Johnson

To the Bishops, regular clergy, and faithful of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, greetings and Apostolic Blessings on this Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Year of Our Lord 2012. We are pleased to report continued growth among the clergy, lay officials, and laity of our Particular Church. This year has thus far seen the joyous consecration of a new Bishop and the installation of a Metropolitan, and there will be another episcopal consecration approximately two months from now. We have also ordained seminarians to the various minor orders. Growth in religious vocations has increased, particularly in our Franciscan order. These clergy and religious are vital for the Church in carrying out her mission. We thank God for this increase and pray that all clerics and religious will continue to receive every grace and the blessing of God in the fulfillment of their vocation. Also, we enthusiastically commend the various lay apostolates that are underway and growing in membership and mission. We pray for their leaders and members, that God may bless them in doing the work of Christ and His Holy Church.

The Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church seeks and promotes peace and the freedom and welfare of all mankind. It is through Christ that all may be truly free. Of particular importance now in history is the state of religious and individual freedom in the United States. We have spoken and written on the issues of faith and morals pertaining to the government and public sector on several occasions, and now the issue is reaching a climax. America was founded on Christian principles and was an overtly Christian nation until very recently, when the modernist, liberal, and secular movements sought to change this. Indeed, it is because America's true nature is as a Christian nation that those of all faiths, or of no faith at all, are welcome here. Now Christ's Holy Church finds herself under attack from the government and from parts of society at large. Religious freedom is severely threatened to a level many could hardly imagine would ever be reached in America. Under the guise of increasing tolerance, the level of intolerance against the doctrine, traditions, beliefs, and practices of the Christian Faith has increased dramatically. Disagreement and debate have been replaced with the idea that anyone who disagrees with the lifestyle of another must necessarily fear or hate that person. As the Venerable Fulton Sheen stated, however, tolerance must be applied to people, never to principles; intolerance must be applied to principles and never to people. The Christian people have a right and a sacred duty to stand up for the principles of their faith. Many in society and the government today seek to suppress and eliminate that right. Yet, we must remember that our rights and our duties as Christians come from God, not from any earthly government or power. We must serve God first.

While we expect and demand our own rights, we must remember always the rights of others and do our best to treat all people with love. Let us remember, though, that we can display tolerance and love towards others while remaining intolerant towards principles. Blessed Paul the Apostle said that we should never fail to admonish our brothers and sisters, lest they fall into temptation. That is our duty. We cannot remain silent simply because modern society may accuse us of acting out of fear or hate. Instead we must always remember the truth and act out of love and compassion. To act with love is to act without self-interest or ulterior motive. This is not easy, but it is a necessary goal.

Acting with love and compassion towards others applies especially to the care for those who cannot care for themselves or are marginalized, including the poor, the sick, and the infirmed. There is a definite need for comprehensive health care reform to make health care accessible and affordable. There is no excuse for the wealthiest nation in the world to have such vast numbers of people without health care. Control of health care must be wrested from those who act out of greed and are motivated by profit and given to those whose primary concern is the welfare of others. Health care is not a right for those who can afford it. Whether one lives or dies should not be decided by how much money one has in the bank.

Also in great need of reform is immigration. A country must be able to control its borders. Yet, humanitarian concerns must always be considered. Borders must be controlled out of justice and mercy. The understandable desire of immigrants for the chance of a better life in America must be balanced against the impact on the existing population. Borders cannot be opened without control, for the result will be chaos. Human interests may not be sidelined for economic interests. Decisions must be made not out of self-interest or partisan politics, but for the common good.

Entering a country against its laws, other than in legitimate refugee cases, is dishonest. However, we must never allow ourselves to speak about or act towards illegal immigrants in a way that relegates them to a sub-human position. Rather, we must think towards immigrants, whether those immigrants are legal or illegal, as brothers and sisters in Christ. The human needs of illegal immigrants must not be denied while they are in the United States, even if they are ultimately deported. Amnesty for current illegal immigrants has been discussed, but such actions can only be legitimate if they are done in a strategic way that will help solve the immigration problem both now and in the future. Such an approach ought not to be used if its most likely outcome will be a temporary solution and a future repetition of exactly the same problem.

Chief among those who cannot care for themselves are the unborn children. The United States as a whole bears the responsibility for the blood of millions of unborn children who were murdered through abortion. It is tragic enough that abortion is currently a form of legal murder, but it is absolutely disastrous that many politicians, activists, and private citizens now promote abortion as a matter of women's health or women's reproductive rights. It is odd indeed that it is generally considered a double case of homicide to murder a pregnant woman, yet it is now considered a woman's right to murder that very same child. A woman simply does not have the right to kill her unborn child. It is not a matter of health or reproductive rights, but a simple matter of right and wrong. Admonishing a woman that she does not have the right to kill her unborn child is not intolerance to the mother, but intolerance to the act of abortion and all the evil that it entails. Anyone procuring or performing an abortion is guilty of murder. Governments permitting abortion are guilty of murder. Anyone in society advocating or voting in favor of abortion or for politicians who openly support abortion are guilty of murder.

When it comes to matters of faith and morals, there can be no wall built between the Church and the public. We as Christians have an absolute duty to act in all things according to the principles of our faith. This includes our jobs, our private associations, our families, and our civic duties, such as voting. We cannot claim to be Christian if we lay aside our principles when we enter the voting booth or take public office.

There is a strong move by the present government in America to replace God with the State. Such would take us down the road of socialism or communism experienced by other great societies in the past century and even today, and it has always led to problems, partial collapse, or even total destruction. Socialism and communism are incompatible with Christianity. Christ must remain on our altars, never to be replaced with the State or money or anything else. America in particular stands at a crossroads. The American nation will soon choose whether to continue to follow the path of evil or to embark on a journey towards restoration of true peace and freedom for all. The Holy Faith cannot be sidelined, for the Faith is at the very root of all the issues being decided. Christians must not cooperate with evil. Christians must vote for life. No matter the outcome, Christians must stand firm in the faith and never give in to tyranny. The many and diverse issues facing America at the moment will never begin to be solved until society as a whole embraces Christ once again and learns to love and respect one another.

  Through the prayers and merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, may Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life. R. Amen.

  The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, + absolution, and remission of all your sins, time for a true and fruitful penance, an always repentant heart and amendment of life, the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit, and final perseverance in good works. R. Amen.

  And the Blessing of Almighty God, + Father, + Son, and Holy + Ghost, be upon you and remain with you always. R. Amen.


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