Monthly Archives: July 2013


Congratulations to all royal couples and to their baby princes or princesses of wherever.

I must admit that I watched all the trappings of the birth of Prince George of Cambridge with joyful enthusiasm. It is exciting to witness when a married couple is celebrated by pretty much the entire civilized world for being in love, being married, and having a baby. It’s good news, and it’s been big news since the first day we heard about it—the first day we heard of Kate’s pregnancy. There was scuttlebutt all around, from that first day, concerning the future king or queen of England. Almost immediately, press reports poured forth with the news that Queen Elizabeth herself had changed the laws regarding succession to the Throne, and this child was going to be the first to enjoy those new rights—especially if the child to be born would be female. From the beginning of his life in the womb of his mother, Prince George was acknowledged as a person—acknowledged as the heir to the Throne of England—by the whole world—from the beginning of his life!

Of course, it is not so astonishing in a world where there are no absolutes, no objective truths, no common sense of morality, that a child in the womb of a “royal” would be considered a person, given a title, be celebrated and anticipated well in advance of his or her birth. While a child in the womb of lady whomever may be considered a fetus, a mass of cells, a product of conception, whose growth would be timed and calculated in order that it could be violently wrenched from a very similar womb if somebody—most likely his or her mother— chose to do so. Strangely enough, I don’t think this double standard poses such a conundrum to many other people, but it should.

The world did not view Kate as a woman only, but recognized her as Will’s wife. They were seen as a unit. The baby was their baby—from the start—and the baby of Cambridge had two parents. Kate was not alone, and baby Cambridge’s future existence was not solely a matter of Kate’s freedom to determine. The significance of a husband and wife having a child together is obviously still a cause for wonderment. We believe that this is part of God interacting with men and women. This is how creation is meant to continue—in unique and singular love.

The birth of this royal prince should remind us of more than just the fact that he was born with a heck of a lot more of this world’s goods than any of us could ever dream of having. Every child is a gift and no one of us is an accident. We are each created by God in love. The unique love of a man and a woman made holy and sacred in the sacrament of matrimony allows God’s creativity to be manifested in the way that God intends. Children are not just objects—little vessels of entitlement—tax write-offs—or pieces of property that we can have just because we want to—but rather the supreme gift given by God.

So, congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son. Congratulations to all mothers and fathers whose children are truly royal heirs, the sons and daughters of God, the King of Kings! We are all part of a royal family.

Come celebrate the royal banquet at Sunday Mass.


The world prepares for one of the great gatherings of humanity in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next week: the twenty-eighth World Youth Day. This gathering is a triumph for the Catholic Church and a major event for young people from around the world. Since 2002, WYD has been held every three years. The event this year has been moved up due to the fact that Rio is hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2016. World Youth Day is expected to be larger than both of those events put together.

The history of WYD is something of a modern miracle itself and continues to underscore the significance of not only the papacy of Pope John Paul II, but also the incredible Christ-like modeling of the man himself. At the end of the year 1983-1984, the Holy Year of the Redemption, Pope John Paul entrusted the Jubilee Cross, a simple wooden cross, to the youth of the world. (The cross had been placed near the papal altar in Saint Peter’s at the Pope’s request.) He asked the youth to take it on pilgrimage around the world.

“My dear young people, at the conclusion of the Holy Year, I entrust to you the sign of this Jubilee Year: the Cross of Christ! Carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ’s love for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption.” (Rome, 22nd April 1984).

The following year, 1985, was declared by the United Nations as the International Youth Year. Pope John Paul II took the UN idea and ran with it like no other world leader did, or has since. Mass was celebrated again in Saint Peter’s Square with approximately a half-million young people present with the Pope and the Jubilee Cross. 1986 saw the first proclaimed World Youth Day again in Rome. 1987 World Youth Day was launched in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the tradition was firmly established and has been growing stronger every time the youth of the world gather with the Pope. The ongoing pilgrimage of the WYD Cross is truly a source of immense grace. So many people have found consolation and peace for their suffering as they approached the Cross. So many have been touched by the mystery of God revealed in Christ as they came into contact with this Cross. This year WYD is from 23—28 July in Rio. Pope Francis, a native of neighboring Argentina, will be present as the Vicar of Christ and the Successor of Peter, leading the world youth, including fifty young people from the Diocese of La Crosse.

Last September as the current Year of Faith was beginning, each parish and institution of the Diocese received a handmade simple cross. It is a sign, much the same as it is for WYD, of the symbol of our Redemption. Those crosses are lovingly making their way on pilgrimage throughout the homes of our Diocese. This week, during World Youth Day, let us be mindful to pray for our young people and the future of Christ’s Church, which is in their hands.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You; because by Your most Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world!

Pray with me at Sunday Mass.


In March of 1775, Patrick Henry, a delegate of the Second Virginia Convention, addressed the Convention with a speech that stirred the minds and hearts of all who heard it. The final words: “Give me liberty or give me death” are part of the fabric of America and the courageous hallmark of a valiant patriot.

Henry spoke as the inevitability of war with England loomed as an ever more dreary and unfortunate menace.  Henry, like others of his time, was filled with a love of freedom and an understanding of personal liberty that could be achieved in a “United States” truly independent from the tyranny of the King of England.

“For my own part,” Henry said, “I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”

The question of “freedom or slavery” we face today is every bit as consequential as is was for Patrick Henry. Our country, founded on the self-evident truths of our creation as free human beings, now faces a new subjugation by the repudiation and foreswearing of the basis of human liberty enshrined in our founding documents.

The bishops of the United States, driven by a sense of divine justice and patriotism, have accepted the challenge thrust upon us by a government that seeks to abandon the reasonableness of law, limit legitimate freedoms, and deny constitutional liberty, by imposing restrictions such as the HHS mandate and other unbearable burdens thus limiting the free exercise of our religious freedoms.

At the end of last week, the Administration offered an extension to the deadline of 1 August 2013, when the HHS mandate was to become law for everyone. Indeed, there is still hope and there is cause for diligent prayer. The Fortnight for Freedom continues to produce saints and patriots (not just football players…) who are eager to stand for liberty and promote justice. Stay with us, folks. Keep on praying and supporting the cause for justice and freedom. Saints and patriots continue to walk among us desiring the liberty and protection of law and the guarantee of freedom of conscience. Liberty is always a cause worth fighting for. Happy Independence Day!

Celebrate freedom by attending Sunday Mass.