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  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Letter to the Editor: By Their Fruits You Will Know Them…

Letter to the Editor
May 15, 1992

I perceive that some of you may be discouraged or disheartened by the so-called march for pro-choice or abortion that occurred here in Washington a few weeks ago. Numbers do not make right, even if correctly reported. Take a look at what the media gave little or no coverage to:

At one point in the march a lesbian, self-proclaimed, asked the marchers how many of you are lesbians? The video tape shows nearly half of the marchers in view raised their hands. Their leader has gone on record as saying that if she ever by chance became pregnant and found her “child” male, she would kill it because she hates all males.

In the crowd of marchers there were those who accused the Church of murdering Pope John Paul I. Others portrayed Pope John Paul II in drag. This is a reminder of the ones who in St. Patrick’s Cathedral spit in the face of Cardinal O’Connor at Communion time and desecrated the Blessed Sacrament.

Others would prohibit the husband being told by the wife that she intended to have an abortion thereby denigrating the role of fatherhood and reducing him to a stud. So much for family life!

There were the strange people, by most standards, the Jane Fondas and the Mayor Kellys and the Jesse Jacksons chose to march with. As Ms. Tyler said so descriptively they were the sexual masochists, transvestites and trans-sexuals, etc. and the cry was today join together as one.

Then there was our shadow senator who said on one occasion “what happens to the mind of a person and to the moral fabric of a nation that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without pain of conscience? What kind of person – what kind of society will we have twenty years hence if life can be taken so casually?” Jesse Jackson 1977. Today he could answer that question for he is pro-abortion and marched with the crowd at the April 5 rally.

We were all shocked at the beating of a man captured on film at Los Angeles. In that same city thousands of unborn children are mutilated every day in the pay-as-you-go abortion clinics. The politicians looking for votes wring their hands at the Los Angeles beating but vote yes for the million-plus killed in our “society” each year.

The CRISIS Magazine, May 1992, page 10, reports that The Washington Post (mirabile dictu) polled 881 marchers and compared the answers to the views of the rest of the nation. The differences were as large as 80% to 5%. They were rich, young, white, childless, left-wing, non-Catholics, Northeastern activists.

The pro-abortion crowd in the game of numbers had 500,000 marching in April in the world’s capital. The Question is the one posed by the new abortion convert, Jesse Jackson, what kind of people are doing the marching and who were supporting them by their presence and their words. By their fruits you will know them.

Letter to the Editor: Gag Rule

September 12, 1991
The Catholic Standard

Once again the media has coined a phrase in trying to justify abortion which does not tell the whole story. “Pro-choice” has been canonized without the object of the choice which is to choose to kill human life. Now it is the “gag rule” referring to the right of a doctor to advocate and counsel abortion and refer a patient to a clinic for that purpose.

But there is such a thing as self-gagging. Does a doctor explain “the procedure” for abortion much like a surgeon perhaps to a bypass patient? Would the doctor allow the patient to hear the child’s heartbeat and explain that we are going to stop that, you realize?

Would a doctor in explaining that no pain would be felt by the woman also explain the pain that the unborn child will experience? Would the doctor explain that the unborn is human, a fact which no scientist can disprove? Would the doctor explain that many women down through the years have severe psychological problems, if not guilt (cf. Rebecca Society)?

Would the doctor refer the woman to a clinic in which he has no self-interest, or instead to one where he has invested money earned by his terminating of human life? Would he refer her to a competitor’s clinic to ensure no conflict of interest? Would he suggest that in such a drastic procedure the baby always dies and sometimes the woman, despite modern technology?

What doctor would struggle to save a woman’s life when he has no regard for the baby’s life? Would the doctor suggest a second opinion and thus split his fee?

Where is the law that says the doctor has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? When is the media going to insist that the doctor not gag himself but instead educate his patient about what is actually and exactly going on in an abortion?

There is “gagging” and there is “gagging.” Let’s tell the whole truth in counseling patients.

Msgr. William J. Awalt
Pastor, St. Ann Parish
Washington

Letters to the Editor on Abortion

Msgr. William Awalt loved to write letters to the various editors of newspapers.  When he found that they limited him to one every three months or so, he would get around the restrictions by having others apply their names to his words.  The first letter here he wrote under his own name.  The second was under his brother’s name, Deacon James Awalt.

April 6, 1995
Letter to the Editor

In seeking reactions to Pope John Paul II’s new encyclical, “The Gospel of Life,” CBS interviewed students at Catholic University for an hour and a half hoping to find some criticism and rejection of the Holy Father’s teaching. In speaking to one student, she said she agreed with the Holy Father’s teaching especially on contraception and abortion. She was asked why? She said, “Because I am a biology major, in addition to my belief, and I have seen what has happened to women’s bodies because of the rejection of these teachings.” The interviewer changed subjects immediately. Nothing of this hour and a half dialogue appeared on television. Who got the attention? It was the ever-present Frances Kissling, who represents nobody by her own admission on national TV, but who can always be relied on to criticize the Church and Pope John Paul. So the media continues to show its bias and censorship. As long as they hate us, we are doing okay.

Rev. Msgr. William J. Awalt

Date Unknown
Title:  Abortion

There is no consistency in the principles of the pro-abortion advocates vis-à-vis government and the pregnant mother. When the legality of abortion was argued in the last session of the legislature in Annapolis, the pro-abortion advocates argued that abortion was a private matter between the mother and her physician. Their cry was “Government should stay out of the womb.” They won the fight for legal abortion.

This year the abortion advocates want to add an amendment to the welfare bill now pending in the legislature that would provide state funding for abortions for the poor. Now it seems they want government to enter the womb with funding.

No longer is the decision an individual affair of the mother and her physician, but the taxpayer is to be forced to defray the expenses of the mother’s choice. Thus, I, who believe that the termination of a pregnancy on demand is immoral and unethical, am forced into the decision without any choice.

My appeal to all lawmakers is “be consistent” and “be fair.” If an individual chooses the elective surgery, let that person or their sponsors find the funds outside the public treasury.

James Awalt
Millersville

Letter to the Editor: National Stud Day

When in concurrence, good parishioners like Bernie Saffell would put their names to Msgr. William Awalt’s letters so that they might be published.  Here is one that was sent to The Catholic Standard.  Bernie was a dear friend to us all.  As I recall, he died back in the 1990’s due to an infection from a heart procedure with angioplasty.

Letter to the Editor of the Catholic Standard

With tongue in cheek, but I do believe with a little bit of logic, it might be better to change Father’s Day to National Stud Day in view of recent developments in National life.

Listen to people as they gather around a crib of a newborn child and say he has his father’s eyes, or nose, etc.  Now “lawmakers” who fine and/or imprison those who don’t support “their” child tell us a father doesn’t even have to be told when his child is tortured and destroyed through abortion.  Paid butchers now for fear of malpractice suits have to make sure they destroy and mutilate a child in the womb during an abortion lest by accident the child live and they could be sued.  This they do to the father’s child without even having to tell him.  Talk about withholding information “until the next of kin is notified.”  One doesn’t have to be a lawyer or a genius to know that abortion is the killing of human life.

One of our justices doesn’t believe in overturning prior Supreme Court decisions if proven incorrect.  We’d still have slavery if that were the case.  Someone else says you can kill a child if conception came about through incest or rape.  Why does the tragedy of that conception allow an innocent child to be killed for his father’s sin?  What did the baby do wrong?  Does one tragedy justify another?  Someone else is running around with semen looking for a place to implant it.  Doesn’t that make a “father” a stud?  We are responsible for all our choices.  Why are we not responsible for “pro-choice” deciding to kill a child?  Certainly we are free to choose but morally responsible for the results of that choice.

Radical feminists claim that their body is their own, but so is the baby’.  The child is housed by the mother, but not her body.  Potential fathers are killed in the womb by a sex-choice decision that causes them to be aborted.

When are good and wonderful fathers going to rise up and say enough is enough?  You can’t do this to my daughter and son.  I am not a stud but a father, and trying to be an image of our heavenly Father who loves all life, especially that made in His image and likeness.

Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.  The road to madness in abortion is paved with illogic, sentiment run amuck.  The Constitutional fathers are spinning in their graves as they are accused of being the authors of a constitution that supposedly allows the killing of unborn babies.

Bernard Saffell

Washington, DC

 

 

Letter to the Editor: The Gender of Priests

Msgr. William Awalt would often become frustrated with articles in The Washington Post.  When they refused to print his letters to the editor he would seek to have them printed in The Catholic Standard.

June 5, 1994

Since The Washington Post doesn’t generally print rebuttals to their articles that show egg on their face, our only resort is our own paper.

On Sunday (Outlook, June 5, C-1) a Gary Wills, whom they say is Catholic – he may be, a logician he is not, tries to take exception to Pope John Paul’s letter to the priesthood, calling for men only to be priests. Taking only one sentence from the whole letter as being the reason why John Paul is wrong he tries to establish a principle that doesn’t apply to John Paul’s teaching. Wills says since all the twelve apostles were Jewish, only Jews should be ordained priests. Gary, the Pope is talking about genders IN PERSONA CHRISTI, not nationalities. By Wills’ “logic,” since only Jews were the chosen people that would leave Greeks, Indonesians, Chinese, as non-qualifiers. Wills is mixing apples and oranges.

The insulting cartoon in The Post accompanying Wills’ letter doesn’t save the irrationality of the article.

Rev. Msgr. William J. Awalt
Pastor, St. Ann’s Parish
Washington, DC

Letter to the Editor: Why No Catholic Chaplain?

Letter to the Editor
January 24, 1995

Is the United States Congress moving partly toward the establishment of religion? Another Presbyterian has been appointed Chaplain of the Senate “in the long line of Presbyterians” (New York Times, 1/23/95).

Congress has existed for 218 years, give or take a year or so. There has been a Chaplain in the House and another in the Senate for 205 years (New York Times, Ibid.) In that time there has been only one Catholic as Chaplain and that in the mid-1800’s for nine months.

Catholics are the largest single religious body in the United States. There are more Catholics elected to Congress than members from any other religious body.

What’s wrong with our Faith, pray tell? One of the Houses of Congress was called the House of Representatives. Is this an anomaly? Could one of the Congress persons tell me please why Catholics are not acceptable?

William J. Awalt
Pastor, St. Ann’s Parish

Former Pastor of St. Joseph’s (Senate side)
Former Pastor St. Peter’s (House side of Capitol Hill)

Letter to the Editor: Celibacy is Misunderstood & a Handy Scapegoat

Letter to the Editor
The Catholic Standard, October 25, 1990

It’s interesting to note that whenever there is a lament about the lack of vocations to the priesthood or when a priest falls from grace (there but for the grace of God…) the cause is attributed to celibacy. The subtle meaning given to celibacy is that it is a negative promise not to do something.

On the contrary, celibacy is a gift, God’s invitation to give oneself as much as possible to God and His work by sacrificing some joys of married life to which God invites others.

But if celibacy is the solution to the problems, a recent study and book by Lloyd Rediger, who is an experienced Presbyterian minister and counselor for 19years, should give pause to the one with the quick solution to the problem.

Focusing on Protestant clergy who are married, he notes that 75 percent of them function “well”; 10 percent of the clergy are guilty of misconduct; 15 percent are on the verge – this, for various reasons: lack of discipline, theology in disarray and the milieu of society in which they have to work.

It is also estimated that between 10 percent and 12 percent of the caring professions, medicine, social work, psychology, etc., are guilty of sexual misconduct.

Deplorably, anywhere from 50 percent to 54 percent of marriages today end in divorce despite all our efforts, and 84 percent of second-time-around marriages are failures. I know of one seminary head who is dealing with 60 priests who thought that attempted marriage was the answer for them but now wish to return to the priestly ministry.
Please pray for vocations and for those who are asked to make the sacrifice it takes to answer the Lord’s call.

 Msgr. William J. Awalt
Pastor, St. Ann’s Parish
Washington

God is One

Deuteronomy 32:39

“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”

Isaiah 43:10

“You are my witnesses,” says the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.”

Isaiah 44:6-8

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it, let him declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

Isaiah 45:5

“I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me . . .”

Hosea 13:4

“I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.”

Malachi 2:10

0 have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?

1 Corinthians 8:6

Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Ephesians 4:6

. . . one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

A Courageous or Timid Church?

Msgr. Pope touches a cord on the Archdiocesan Blog that is very dear to my heart, the fact that a “timid” Church is in contradiction to its very nature as a sign of contradiction in the world.

Msgr. Pope speaks of the new secularized faith as “Sad, pathetic, wrong, and cowardly—hardly the revolutionary faith that got Paul arrested. . . . We have got to rediscover how revolutionary our Catholic faith truly is to this world gone mad. And as we proclaim healing and an allegiance to something other than this world, we will become increasingly obnoxious to the world around us. . . . No tame, domesticated Christianity will threaten or change this world. When Paul preached, the people rioted. Modern preaching too often incites only yawns and indifference.”

St. Paul and the other apostles did not qualify the Gospel and so they faced arrest, torture and martyrdom. The early Church was persecuted precisely because the truths of Christ allowed for no compromise or tolerance for participation in false worship. Even a pinch of incense to the Roman gods or to the so-called divine emperor was too much. Today’s world misconstrues the incident of the Roman coin and the likeness of the emperor. When Jesus said give to God what belongs to God and to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, he was avoiding a trick to have him either arrested by the authorities or to be rejected by the crowds as a traitor. Ours is a jealous God. What belongs to him? The answer is everything, even Caesar! Many in contemporary society play games with their Christianity. They create a false image of Christ to follow, one that would have fit in nicely with the pantheon of ancient pagan deities. Indeed, the battle over religious liberty is a symptom of this— as if believers could restrict their faith and values to the inside walls of churches and during Mass. And yet, the dismissal at the end of Mass echoes our commission to take the Good News out into the world. The ideal is not co-existence with the world or evil but rather to plant the seeds for repentance and conversion. Today many Catholics are silent upon important issues. A candidate for the office of governor in Maryland is a “practicing Catholic” and yet he is on the record as pro-abortion, yes even for allowing partial-birth infanticide. How can we reconcile this with the faith? The issues continue to mount: no fault divorce and remarriage, same-sex marriages, lack of support for parochial schools, contraception giveaways in public schools, free contraception, abortion on demand and growing sympathies for euthanasia. Sins are counted as rights and Catholics and their Church are expected to fall in line. Wimpish silence satisfied in the past, and that was bad enough, but today complicity is demanded.

St. Paul would exorcize the demonic, not try to accommodate it. Too often we hear from churchmen that we do not want to alienate politicians on “other issues” that are important to us, like the status of immigrants, or just employment, or the dismissal of capital punishment, or tax breaks for churches, etc. We cower to the power of the secular world when we should bring the authority of Christ to bear on the challenges of our day.

Christianity was persecuted by the Roman Empire precisely because it was viewed as intolerant. Today, much of the faith has lost its teeth. The enablers for the murder of children are invited without sanction to take Holy Communion. Even high level shepherds hypothesize ways to get around or to turn a blind eye to homosexuality, adultery and fornication. We are urged to find a new language, removed from that used in Scripture, so that no one might get their feelings hurt. The fact that these activities might cost people the kingdom and their share in everlasting life does not seem to measure up anymore. Who are we to judge? We are the people given the gift of the Holy Spirit and who follow the Light of the World, dispelling the darkness. What is saving faith? It is courageous obedience to God, qualified by charity. That’s who we are and what we are about!