The Mercy of Christ and His Love For Norma McCorvey

Norma McCorvey, right, with the lawyer Gloria Allred at a rally in support of abortion rights in Washington in 1989.

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States, reshaping the nation’s social and political landscapes and inflaming one of the most divisive controversies of the past half-century, died on Saturday in Katy, Tex. She was 69.

Her death, at an assisted-living home, was confirmed by Joshua Prager, a New York journalist who is writing a book about the Roe v. Wade decision and had interviewed her extensively. He said the cause was heart failure.

Since the ruling, perhaps 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States, although later court decisions and new state and federal laws have imposed restrictions, and abortions have declined with the wide use of contraceptives. Theological, ethical and legal debates about abortion continue in religious circles, governing bodies and political campaigns, and they have influenced elections, legislation and the lives of ordinary people through films, books, periodicals, the internet and other forums.

At the heart of it all, Ms. McCorvey — known as Jane Roe in the court papers — became an almost mythological figure to millions of Americans, more a symbol of what they believed in than who she was: a young Dallas woman lifted by chance into a national spotlight she never sought and tried for years to avoid, then pulled by the forces of politics to one side of the abortion conflict, then by religion to the other.

Her early life had been a Dickensian nightmare. By her own account, she was the unwanted child of a broken home, a ninth-grade dropout who was raped repeatedly by a relative, and a homeless runaway and thief consigned to reform school. She was married at 16, divorced and left pregnant three times by different men. She had bouts of suicidal depression, she said.

Ms. McCorvey gave up her children at birth and was a cleaning woman, waitress and carnival worker. Bisexual but primarily lesbian, she sought refuge from poverty and dead-end jobs in alcohol and drugs.

She was 22 and pregnant when she joined the abortion rights struggle, claiming later that she had not really understood what it was all about. When she emerged from anonymity a decade later, strangers shrieked “baby killer” and spat at her. There were death threats. One night, shotgun blasts shattered the windows of her home.

 Ms. McCorvey with the Rev. Robert L. Schenck of National Clergy Council, left, and the Rev. Phillip Benham of Operation Rescue in Washington in 1996 before the annual march protesting the Roe v. Wade decision.
But she attended rallies and protest marches in support of abortion rights, worked in women’s clinics, spoke to crowds, wrote two autobiographies and was the subject of a documentary and an avalanche of newspaper and magazine articles. She became a national celebrity of sorts.

She also switched sides, from abortion rights advocate to anti-abortion campaigner. She underwent two religious conversions, as a born-again Christian and as a Roman Catholic, and became in her last decades a staunch foe of abortion, vowing to undo Roe v. Wade, testifying in Congress and bitterly attacking Barack Obama when he ran for president and then re-election.

She was never the idealized Jane Roe crusader many Americans visualized. Some observers said she became a pawn used by both sides in the maelstrom of the abortion wars as her public views shifted from one side to the other. In her first book, “I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice” (1994, with Andy Meisler), she offered what was perhaps her own most objective self-assessment.

“I wasn’t the wrong person to become Jane Roe,” she said. “I wasn’t the right person to become Jane Roe. I was just the person who became Jane Roe, of Roe v. Wade. And my life story, warts and all, was a little piece of history.”

Plucked from obscurity in 1970 by Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, two young Dallas lawyers who wanted to challenge Texas laws that prohibited abortions except to save a mother’s life, Ms. McCorvey, five months pregnant with her third child, signed an affidavit she claimed she did not read. She just wanted a quick abortion and had no inkling that the case would become a cause célèbre.

Four months later, she gave birth to a daughter and surrendered her for adoption. (Her second child had also been given up for adoption, and her first was being raised by her mother.) She had little contact with her lawyers, never went to court or was asked to testify, and was uninvolved in proceedings that took three years to reach the Supreme Court.

On Jan. 22, 1973, the court ruled 7-2 in Roe v. Wade (Henry Wade, the Dallas County district attorney, was the defendant in the class-action suit) that privacy rights under the due process and equal rights clauses of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion in a pregnancy’s first trimester “free of interference by the state,” in the words of Justice Harry A. Blackmun, who wrote the opinion.

Photo

 Norma McCorvey in 1998.

The majority rejected the view, pressed by opponents of liberalized abortion, that a fetus becomes a “person” upon conception and is thus entitled to the due process and equal protection guarantees.

“The word ‘person,’ as used in the 14th Amendment, does not include the unborn,” Justice Blackmun wrote, although states may acquire “at some point in time” of a pregnancy an interest in the “potential human life” that the fetus represents, to permit regulation. It is that interest, the court said, that permits states to prohibit abortion after the fetus has developed the capacity to survive.

The state’s “compelling interest” in protecting the fetus increased progressively in the second and third trimesters, the decision said. But it and a companion ruling in a Georgia case on the same day nullified abortion laws in 46 states and effectively legalized the procedure across the United States.

Ms. McCorvey learned of the decision in a newspaper. As jubilant women’s and civil liberties groups hailed it as a milestone and foes denounced it as a travesty, Ms. McCorvey stayed on the sidelines, out of touch with her lawyers, who had preserved her anonymity throughout the case. She remained largely unknown for nearly a decade, living in Dallas with her partner, Connie Gonzalez.

In the 1980s, emerging from her cocoon, she counseled patients at a women’s clinic in Dallas, joined abortion rights rallies and began talking to the news media. She made headlines in 1987 when she told the columnist Carl T. Rowan that she had lied when she told reporters in 1970 that her pregnancy had been the result of a gang rape. She said she had thought that the lie would help her get an abortion. Her lawyers did not mention the allegation, and it played no part in the lawsuit.

But it was a bombshell in the abortion debate as Ms. McCorvey became an emotional touchstone. To anti-abortion groups, she was an agent of murder in the womb and a liar who made up a rape story to get an abortion. To abortion rights proponents, she stood for all pregnant women harmed by restrictive laws.

In 1989, NBC explored the case in a television movie, “Roe v. Wade,” starring Holly Hunter, who won an Emmy in the role of Jane Roe. Critics called the film powerful and moving, despite a strained effort to balance views on abortion.

 Ms. McCorvey, center, at an anti-abortion protest in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in 2009.

Ms. McCorvey also joined a Washington abortion rights rally that included 300,000 people, appearing on a speakers’ platform with Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Cybill Shepherd and Glenn Close. “I looked out at all those people, men and women, and so many people brought their children, and they were all there because of me and I started to cry,” Ms. McCorvey told The New York Times.

For anyone taken in by the myth of Jane Roe as a courageous feminist who had fought for abortion rights in the Supreme Court, her 1994 autobiography was a dose of reality. She confessed a bystander’s role in Roe v. Wade.

“Because of her ignorance and her lack of self-respect, Norma McCorvey has been more at the mercy of circumstances than many women,” Susan Cheever wrote in The New York Times Book Review.

Ms. McCorvey’s life turned sharply again in 1995. She was working in a Dallas women’s clinic, A Choice for Women, when the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue provocatively opened an office next door. “She couldn’t stand us, she hated us,” the Rev. Phillip Benham, an Evangelical minister and national director of Operation Rescue, told CNN.

But he and Ms. McCorvey met across protest lines and started talking about themselves, Christianity and abortion. She attended his church and within months was baptized by Mr. Benham as a born-again Christian.

Ms. McCorvey disowned her past and began speaking for her newly adopted cause. She blamed abortion rights advocates for violence at abortion clinics.

“I personally think it’s the pro-abortion people who are doing this to collect on their insurance, so they can go out and build bigger and better killing centers,” she told CNN in 1997.

 Anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States. 

Her second autobiography, “Won by Love” (1997, with Gary Thomas), and a 1998 documentary, “Roe vs. Roe: Baptism by Fire,” detailed her conversion. In 1998, she underwent another conversion, to Roman Catholicism, after talks with the Rev. Frank Pavone, the anti-abortion crusader and director of Priests for Life.

Father Pavone, in a statement, called Ms. McCorvey a friend for more than 20 years. “She was victimized and exploited by abortion ideologues when she was a young woman but she came to be genuinely sorry that a decision named for her has led to the deaths of more than 58 million children. Norma’s conversion to Christianity, then to Catholicism, was sincere and I was honored to be part of that journey.”

Ms. McCorvey, in testimony for a Senate subcommittee in 1998, made her reversal explicit: “I am dedicated,” she said, “to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name.”

She was born Norma Leah Nelson in Simmesport, La., on Sept. 22, 1947, to Olin and Mildred Nelson. Her father was a television repairman, who left the family, and Norma and a brother, James, were raised by their mother, who was an alcoholic, in Texas.

By her own account, Norma stole money from a gas station at age 10, ran away and was sent to a reform school. Later, she was sent to live with a relative, who raped her for weeks, she said. At 16, she married Elwood McCorvey, known as Woody, a steelworker who she said beat her. She returned pregnant to live with her mother, gave birth to a daughter, Melissa, and was divorced.

With drug and alcohol problems, she left her baby with her mother and took a trip. When she returned, she was arrested by the police for abandoning the child. Later, at her mother’s behest, she signed documents that she said she had not read. They were adoption papers, and her mother took legal custody. She gave birth to another child and gave the baby up for adoption in 1967. She became pregnant a third time in 1969.

After trying unsuccessfully to obtain an illegal abortion, she was sent by a lawyer to Ms. Weddington and Ms. Coffee, who began Roe v. Wade.

In 2005, Ms. McCorvey petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, claiming abortions harmed women. The court called the issue moot and denied the petition.

Active in anti-abortion demonstrations, she was arrested in 2009 at a Senate confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court justice. She also campaigned against Mr. Obama. “Do not vote for Barack Obama,” Ms. McCorvey said in a 2012 Florida television advertisement. “He murders babies.”

In 2016, “Roe,” a play by Lisa Loomer, featuring Ms. McCorvey and Ms. Weddington as protagonists, opened at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The playwright told The Times: “Sarah Weddington, when she approaches the subject of Roe v. Wade, it’s about the law. It’s about choice. It’s about doing something to impact the lives of all women. For Norma McCorvey, Roe is about her. It’s utterly personal.”

Correction: February 19, 2017
An earlier version of this obituary misattributed a series of quotations to Justice Harry A. Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Justice Blackmun did not write, “At the heart of the controversy in these cases are those recurring pregnancies that pose no danger whatsoever to the life or health of the mother but are nevertheless unwanted for any one or more of a variety of reasons — convenience, family planning, economics, dislike of children, the embarrassment of illegitimacy, etc. The common claim before us is that for any one of such reasons, or for no reason at all, and without asserting or claiming any threat to life or health, any woman is entitled to an abortion at her request if she is able to find a medical adviser willing to undertake the procedure. The Court for the most part sustains this position: during the period prior to the time the fetus becomes viable, the Constitution of the United States values the convenience, whim or caprice of the putative mother more than life or potential life of the fetus.” Those words were written by Justice Byron White, dissenting in Doe v. Bolton, a companion Supreme Court ruling that, together with Roe v. Wade, effectively legalized abortion across the United States.

Amid challenges, Council of Cardinals publicly expresses support of Pope Francis

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, left, coordinator of the Council of Cardinals, publicly expressed his support for Pope Francis who has met with a handful of challenges to his authority in recent months.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, left, coordinator of the Council of Cardinals, publicly expressed his support for Pope Francis who has met with a handful of challenges to his authority in recent months.CNS photo/Paul Haring

BY 
  • February 13, 2017
   Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the council, began the meeting Feb. 13 assuring the Pope of the cardinals’ “full support for his person and his magisterium,” according to a statement published by the Vatican press office.
The statement said the cardinals’ support was offered “in relation to recent events.”

No specific events were mentioned, but the statement came just a few days after a fake version of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, was emailed to Vatican officials and a week after posters were put up around Rome questioning the Pope’s mercy in dealing with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and other groups over which the Pope had placed special delegates. It also came several months after U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke and three retired cardinals publicly questioned Pope Francis on the teaching in his document on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, speaking on behalf of the Council of Cardinals, also thanked Pope Francis for the way he explained the council’s work on the reform of the Roman Curia to Vatican officials.

Meeting with members of the Curia just before Christmas, Pope Francis said the reform was motivated by a desire to ensure the central offices of the church are focused on sharing the Gospel, better meet people’s needs and assist the Pope in his ministry of service to the church and the world.

“We cannot be content simply with changing personnel; we need to encourage spiritual, human and professional renewal among the members of the Curia,” the Pope had said. “The reform of the Curia is in no way implemented with a change of personnel – something that certainly is happening and will continue to happen – but with a conversion in persons. Continuing formation is not enough; what we need also and above all is continuing conversion and purification. Without a change of mentality, efforts at practical improvement will be in vain.”

In addition to Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, the council members are: Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Sean P. O’Malley of Boston; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile; Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo; George Pell, head of the Secretariat of the Economy; and Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State.

Christ: Center of the Created Cosmos: Colossians 1, 15-20.

 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created:things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

 

 

St. Ambrose: Explanations of the Psalms – 6th week in ordinary time (Feb. 16, 2017)

 

“It is also written: Open your lips, and let God’s word be heard. God’s word is uttered by those who repeat Christ’s teaching and meditate on his sayings. Let us always speak this word. When we speak about wisdom, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about virtue, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about justice, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about peace, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about truth and life and redemption, we are speaking of Christ.

 

  Open your lips, says Scripture, and let God’s word be heard. It is for you to open, it is for him to be heard. So David said: I shall hear what the Lord says in me. The very Son of God says: Open your lips, and I will fill them. Not all can attain to the perfection of wisdom as Solomon or Daniel did, but the spirit of wisdom is poured out on all according to their capacity, that is, on all the faithful. If you believe, you have the spirit of wisdom….

 

  When you get up or rise again, speak of Christ, so as to fulfill what you are commanded. Listen and learn how Christ is to awaken you from sleep. Your soul says: I hear my brother knocking at the door. Then Christ says to you: Open the door to me, my sister, my spouse. Listen and learn how you are to awaken Christ. Your soul says: I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, awaken or reawaken the love of my heart. Christ is that love.

 

Background Notes for Talk on Freedom

The Dignity and Freedom of the Human Person

 “If you abide in my word, you will be my disciple indeed; you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8, 32).

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn. 14, 1-7).       

“The Crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; he lives it fully in the total gift of himself and calls his disciples to share in his freedom” (Veritatis Splendor #85).

  The first question that must be asked concerning freedom, is “what is man?,” or, more profoundly, what do we mean by Person? And accepting the Judeo-Christian revelation of the Creating God, we must ask what does it mean to be Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Joseph Ratzinger, in his “Introduction to Christianity” (Ignatius (1990) 131-132 writes: “The First Person does not beget the Son in the sense of the act of begetting coming on top of the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of giving. Only as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving… In this idea of relativity in word and love, independent of the concept of substance and not to be classified among the ‘accidents,’ Christian thought discovered the kernel of the concept of person, which describes something other and infinitely more than the mere idea of the ‘individual.’ (…) Therein lies concealed a revolution in man’s view of the world: the undivided sway of thinking in terms of substance is ended; relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality. It becomes possible to surmount what we call today ‘objectifying thought;’ a new plane of being comes into view. It is probably true to say that the task imposed on philosophy as a result of these facts is far from being complete   – so much does modern thought depend on the possibilities thus disclosed, but for which it would be inconceivable.”

That being so, consider the description of the human person – made in the image and likeness of the above: “Indeed, the Lord Jesus… implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God’s sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only earthly creature God has   willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself” (Gaudium et spes #24).

Conclusion: if God is the meaning of “to be” and a triple relation to Himself as Father, Son and Spirit, and man is made in His image after His likeness; and if God is free as totally Himself in this triple giftedness, then man is free only in making the gift of himself to God and others. 

   In Christian Revelation, only God is free. Ratzinger writes: “In the light of the Christian experience of God it becomes clear that the unrestricted ability to do anything and everything one wants has as its model an idol and not God. The real God is bound to himself in threefold love and is thus pure freedom. Man’s vocation is to be this image of God, to become like him. He or she must say yes to his or her need, yes to the other person, yes to creation, yes to the limitation and direction of his or her own nature. The person who can merely choose between arbitrary options is not yet free. The free person is only someone who takes the criteria for his or her action from within and needs to obey no external compulsion. For this reason the person who has become at one with his or her essential nature, at one with truth itself, is free. The person who is at one with the truth no longer acts according to external necessities and compulsions; in him or her nature, desire and action have come to coincide. In this way man within the finite can come into contact with the infinite, bind himself or herself to it and and thus, precisely by recognizing his or her limits, himself or herself become infinite. Thus at the end it becomes visible once again that the Christian doctrine of freedom is not some petty moralism. It is guided by a comprehensive vision of man: it sees man in a historical perspective that at the same transcends all history. The Instruction on Christian freedom and liberation was meant to be an aide to rediscovering this perspective in order to make it effective with all its strength in our contemporary world” J. Ratzinger, “Church, Ecumenism and Politics” Crossroad (1987) 274-275.  

The experience of the loss or absence of freedom as self-gift:

One woman’s examination of conscience:

  • I am consumed with self
  • I am lazy
  • I procrastinate
  • I am vain
  • I worry constantly what others will think
  • I pigeon hole people in categories, and don’t let them out
  • I complain
  • I am resentful
  • I cheat when no one is watching
  • I build myself up by negative concersations
  • I am afraid of not being up to “it”
  • I become defensive or aggressive (even shy) because of that lack of self-confidence
  •  I lie/I hide from God/I cheat God
  •  I am self righteous
  •  I condemn/I slander/I judge
  •  I criticize/I mock, ridicule and grumble
  •  I lament/ I seek self pity and praise
  • I want from others what I will not give to others
  • I want to be loved unconditionally without loving t he o thers unconditionally
  •  I am rash with others
  • I run from mortification
  • I am controlling and manipulative’
  • I take and do not give
  • I harbor resentments and grudges
  • I do not accept others as Christ does
  • I fail to see Christ in the others
  • I persecute others
  • I do not let go
  • Ii supersede God and usurp His authority y with my pride
  • I am selfish
  • I want  my way because I think it is the best and only way
  • I react instead of listening
  • I react instead of thinking and contemplating
  • I want the last word
  • I put down others to appear superior
  • I never publicly admit to being wrong
  • I yearn for recognition
  • I am disloyal
  • I want center stage – and control
  • I put off the hard thing and do the easy first
  • I am attached

   

In the revealed vision of God and man, we can ask, what is freedom? We can’t define freedom because freedom is the fundamental condition of the human person as image of God. To ask what is freedom is to ask what is the human person. Freedom is the primordial experience of man. The provocation to sin in the Garden was the “insinuation” that Adam and Eve were not to eat of a certain tree. As Ratzinger commented: “Temptation does not begin with the denial of God and with a fall into outright atheism. The serpent does not deny God; it starts out rather with an apparently … reasonable request for information, which in reality… contains an insinuation that provokes the human being and that lures him or her from trust to mistrust: ‘Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” (Genesis 3, 1). The first thing is not the denial of God but rather doubt about his covenant…”[1] Man was created and the Covenant had been established that man was to till the Garden and name the animals (work). Since He (Adam) was fashioned from the slime of the earth, he had to subdue himself in order to exercise the freedom of self-determination – a true freedom of autonomy – to obey the command of the Creator to work. And it is in this exercise of determining himself to obey – to be in reciprocal relation to the Creator, that he comes to the experience of being alone i.e. unique in the physical world.[2] And the experience of being alone (“The Original Solitude”) is the experience of being Person as the Creator is Person, and therefore  “free.” And so, we can say that man is a self-determining freedom. God is free in that He is in total possession of Himself as Being. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father,  is free in that His divine “I” masters the human will that he assumed from the Virgin (explain) – and that had been loaded down with the burden of sin as turning toward self and non-relation – and subdues that contradiction by His obedience to death on the Cross. We can say that man is free as Jesus Christ is free. Jesus Christ is free as divine Person in total self-gift to the Father (obedience). The Father is free as  being nothing but the action of engendering the Son. His freedom is the action of being Father.

Prime statement of Christian Anthropology (Vatican II):

  • [Made in the image and likeness of the Three Divine Persons] “Man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of himself”[3] (1965).
  • The originating source of that statement can be found in Wojtyla’s “Love and Responsibility”[4] There he states: “By giving man an intelligent and free nature, he has thereby ordained that each man alone will decide for himself the ends of his activity, and not be a blind tool of someone else’s ends. Therefore, if God intends to direct man towards certain goals, he allows him to know those goals, so that he may make them his own and strive towards them independently.”[5]

Therefore, although created, the human person is autonomous (in his own hands) as a subject and must master self to seek self or to master self to make the sincere gift of self. Since man is created in the image and likeness of the divine Persons, and only God is “good,”[6] one becomes “good” when determining self to be gift, and bad when determining to seek self. Therefore, The moral values of “good” and “evil” depend on the ontological “attitude” of going out self or seeking self. Moral value, then, is grounded in the being of the person.[7]

Modern Culture has developed in opposition to any objective ontological ground of moral value, to wit: “ought” cannot be derived from “is;” moral obligation is purely subjective    

The Christian understanding of freedom: Ratzinger goes further when he directly says that the revealed concept of person “was quite foreign in its inner disposition to the Greek and Latin mind. It is not conceived in substantialist, but… in existential terms. In this light, Boethius’s concept of person, which prevailed in Western philosophy, must be criticized as entirely insufficient. Remaining on the level of the Greek mind, Boethius defined `person’ as naturae rationalis individua substantia, as the individual substance of a rational nature. One sees that the concept of person stands entirely on the level of substance. This cannot clarify anything about the Trinity or about Christology; it is an affirmation that remains on the level of the

Freedom understood as plethora of choices. 

Greek mind which thinks in substantialist terms.”[8] That is, the pre-Christian mind, understanding man to be a substance dealing with substances, experiences freedom as indetermination to do this or that concrete act or choose this or that concrete thing. Thus freedom at most was freedom of choice, and enhanced freedom would consist in a plethora of choices. Such a notion of freedom has dominated our present culture today such that we are awash in choices and stymied by it

Since the prototypical meaning of Being in Christian faith-experience is person-in-relation, and freedom takes its meaning from Being, then one “becomes” free to the extent that he/she enters the relationality of self-gift as the Origin of our being is the triple Self-gift. The more one gives self, the freer one is, the more self one becomes, the more God one becomes, the freer one becomes. The more one lives the obedience of faith, the more Christ one becomes, the freer one is. Hence, “If you abide in my word, you will be my disciple indeed; you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8, 32); and “The Crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; he lives it fully in the total gift of himself and calls his disciples to share in his freedom;” (VS #85).

* * * * * * * * * * *

Since the human person, imaging the Son of the Father, Jesus Christ, is constitutively relational, before he/she can make the gift, she must received. In fact, as primarily created and redeemed, the human person is receptive (as in female to God). The contrary is the heresy of Pelagianism which situates man as protagonist of being and act. Before he/she has identity as “I,” she must be created and affirmed (and ongoingly). This is a countercultural sea-change in the present cultural perception of the human being.

Affirmation to activate freedom: the metaphysics of relation

 Ratzinger: “The First Person does not beget the Son in the sense of the act of begetting coming on top of the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of giving. Only as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving… In this idea of relativity in word and love, independent of the concept of substance and not to be classified among the ‘accidents,’ Christian thought discovered the kernel of the concept of person, which describes something other and infinitely more than the mere idea of the ‘individual.’ Therein lies concealed a revolution in man’s view of the world: the undivided sway of thinking in terms of substance is ended; relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality. It becomes possible to surmount what we call today ‘objectifying thought;’ a new plane of being comes into view.”[9]

 Joseph Pieper (Sociologically): In Sartre’s experience, “every human being is in principle alien to every other, who by looking at him threatens to steal the world from him; everyone is a danger to everyone else’s existence, a potential executioner. But fortunately, the creative artist in Sartre, or simply the brilliant observer and describer of human reality, repeatedly rises up against merely intellectual theses. And the artist in him, altogether unconcerned about his own ‘philosophy,’ will then say things like this: ‘This is the basis for the joy of love…: we feel that our existence is justified.’ As may be seen, that is not so very far from the above-mentioned notions of ‘giving existence’ and ‘conferring the right to exist.’ Here, however, the matter is seen not from the lover’s point of view, but from that of the beloved. Obviously, then, it does not suffice us simply to exist; we can do that ‘anyhow.’ What matters to us, beyond mere existence, is the explicit confirmation: It is good that you exist; how wonderful that you are! In other words, what we need over and above sheer existence is: to be loved by another person. That is an astonishing fact when we consider it closely. Being created by God actually does not suffice, it would seem; the fact of creation needs continuation and perfection by the creative power of human love.

             “But this seemingly astonishing fact is repeatedly confirmed [Sociologically] by the most palpable experience, of the kind that everyone has day after day. We say that a person ‘blossoms’ when undergoing the experience of being loved; that he becomes wholly himself for the first time; that a ‘new life’ is beginning for him – and so forth. For a child, and to all appearances even for the still unborn child, being loved by the mother is literally the precondition of its own thriving. This material love need not necessarily be ‘materialized’ in specific acts of beneficence. What is at any rate more decisive is that concern and approval which are given from the very core of existence – we need not hesitate to say, which  come from the heart – and which are directed toward the core of existence, the heart, of the child. Only such concern and approval do we call real ‘love.’ The observations of Rene Spitz have become fairly well known. He studied children born in prison and brought up in scarcely comfortable outward conditions by their imprisoned mother. These he compared with other children raised without their mothers, but in well-equipped, hygienically impeccable American infants’ and children’s homes by excellently trained nurses. The result of the comparison is scarcely surprising: in regard to illness, morality and susceptibility to neuroses, the children raised in prison were far better off. Not that the nurses had performed their tasks in a merely routine manner and with ‘cold objectivity.’ But it is simply not enough to able to eat to satiation, not to freeze, to have a roof overhead and everything else that is essential to life. The institutionalized children had all such needs satisfied. They received plenty of ‘milk;’ what was lacking was – the ‘honey.’”[10]

 Psychological Confirmation:

Conrad Baars, M.D.: Emotional Deprivation Disorder: Characteristics: “feelings of inferiority and inadequacy, inability to establish normal rapport with one’s peers and form lasting friendships, feelings of loneliness and insecurity, doubts about one’s self-worth and identity, fear of the adult world, and often deep depressions. Although the energetic among them are able to succeed in business or profession, they fail in their personal lives. If married, they find it impossible to relate in a spontaneous and emotionally satisfying way with spouse and children. In matters of faith, dullness prevails as their feelings cannot participate in their spiritual life. Their religious experience is neither ‘a burden that is light,’ nor ‘a yoke that is sweet.’ Their psychosexual immaturity may express itself in various ways, for instance, in masturbation, pornography, homosexuality, sexual impotence or frigidity…

 Cause of EDD: an inadequate feeling of self-worth. And this is the key to it all: “The source of the feeling of self-worth is always another person – the ‘significant other’ – who can either give or withhold it. The process whereby a person receives his or her feeling of self-worth from the ‘significant other’ is for every human being a bonum fundamentale. In a very special relationship with the significant other, the person is seen and experienced by the other as good, worthwhile and lovable. The pleasure of the approving and loving other is perceived in such a manner that the person literally feels this through his or her entire being.[11][12]

Persons Related to by Affirmation: “can be said to have received the gift of themselves. They feel worthwhile, significant and lovable. They possess themselves as man or woman. They know who they are. They are certain of their identity. They love themselves unselfishly. They are open to all that is good and find joy in the same. They are able to affirm all of creation, and as affirmers of all beings are capable o f making others happy and joyful, too. They are largely other-directed. They find joy in being and doing for others. The find joy in their love relationship with their Creator. They can share and give of themselves, be a true friend to others, and feel at ease with persons of both sexes. They are capable of finding happiness in marinate of the freely chosen celibate state of life. They are free from psycho-pathological factors which hamper one’s free will and are therefore sully responsible – morally and legally – for their actions.”[13]

 Unaffirmed Persons: “can be said to have been born only once; their second or psychological birth never took place (or, since it is a protracted process, was never complete). They were not made to know and feel their own goodness, worth and identity. They have been thrown back upon themselves by denial on the part of significant others in their life. They are like prisoners – locked in, lonely, and self-centered – waiting fort someone to come and open the door of their prison, waiting to be opened to their own goodness and that of others. No measure of success in business, profession or otherwise can adequately compensate for their feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, uncertainty and insecurity. Both the married life and the celibate life accentuate the fundamental loneliness of these persons and their inability to relate to others as equals. Their spiritual life suffers as time goes on, and their basically joyless way of life changes more and more to a state of depression until death seems the only way out.

            “Most importantly, unaffirmed persons have only one concern and need: to become affirmed, to be loved for who they are and not for what they do. They are literally driven to find someone who truly, unequivocally loves them. This is in marked contrast to affirmed individuals who look for someone with whom they can share their love, who can give love as well as receive, who can wait and are not hurried, driven, or compelled to find someone who will love them. If affirmation by a significant other is not forthcoming, many unaffirmed persons wells use their talents, intelligence and energy to try to convince themselves and the world in a variety of ways that they are worthwhile, important and significant, even though they don’t feel that they are. The most common ways of doing this are by the acquisition, display and use of material goods, wealth, power, fame, honor, status symbols, or sex.”[14]

       Conscience

 [You think the way you live: if you live as gift, you will know yourself as true[15]]

 The Christian Understanding of Conscience: (Joseph Ratzinger in his “Conscience and Truth:”[16] We know right and wrong, good and bad, by experiencing oneself as created being imaging the divine Persons Who alone are “good.” Goodness or badness is not intrinsic to this or that act but only in that the person doing it becomes “like God” or “unlike God” by doing it or omitting it.

“I first became aware of the question with all its urgency in the beginning of my academic teaching. In the course of a dispute, a senior colleague, who was keenly aware of the plight to being Christian in our times, expressed the opinion that one should actually be grateful to God that He allows there to be so many unbelievers in good conscience. For if their eyes were opened and they became believers, they would not be capable, in this world of ours, of bearing the burden of faith with all its moral obligations. But as it is, since they can go another way in good conscience, they can reach salvation. What shocked me about this assertion was not in the first place the idea of an erroneous conscience given by God Himself in order to save men by means of such artfulness—the idea, so to speak, of a blindness sent by God for the salvation of those in question. What disturbed me was the notion that it harbored, that faith is a burden which can hardly be borne and which no doubt was intended only for stronger natures—faith almost as a kind of punishment, in any case, an imposition not easily coped with. According to this view, faith would not make salvation easier but harder. Being happy would mean not being burdened with having to believe or having to submit to the moral yoke of the faith of the Catholic Church. The erroneous conscience, which makes life easier and marks a more human course, would then be a real grace, the normal way to salvation. Untruth, keeping truth at bay, would be better for man than truth. It would not be the truth that would set him free, but rather he would have to be freed from the truth. Man would be more at home in the dark than in the light. Faith would not be the good gift of the good God but instead an affliction. If this were the state of affairs, how could faith give rise to joy? Who would have the courage to pass faith on to others? Would it not be better to spare them the truth or even keep them from it? In the last few decades, notions of this sort have discernibly crippled the disposition to evangelize. The one who sees the faith as a heavy burden or as a moral imposition is unable to invite others to believe. Rather he lets them be, in the putative freedom of their good consciences.

The one who spoke in this manner was a sincere believer, and, I would say, a strict Catholic who performed his moral duty with care and conviction. But he expressed a form of experience of faith which is disquieting. Its propagation could only be fatal to the faith. The almost traumatic aversion many have to what they hold to be “pre-conciliar” Catholicism is rooted, I am convinced, in the encounter with such a faith seen only as encumbrance. In this regard, to be sure, some very basic questions arise. Can such a faith actually be an encounter with truth? Is the truth about God and man so sad and difficult, or does truth not lie in the overcoming of such legalism? Does it not lie in freedom? But where does freedom lead? What course does it chart for us? At the conclusion , we shall come back to these fundamental problems of Christian existence today but before we do that, we must return to the core of our topic, namely, the matter of conscience. As I said, what unsettled me in the argument just recounted was first of all the caricature of faith I perceived in it. In a second course of reflection, it occurred to me further that the concept of conscience which it implied must also be wrong. The erroneous conscience, by sheltering the person from the exacting demands of truth, saves him …—thus went the argument. Conscience appeared here not as a window through which one can see outward to that common truth which founds and sustains us all, and so makes possible through the common recognition of truth, the community of needs and responsibilities. Conscience here does not mean man’s openness to the ground of his being, the power of perception for what is highest and most essential. Rather, it appears as subjectivity’s protective shell into which man can escape and there hide from reality. Liberalism’s idea of conscience was in fact presupposed here. Conscience does not open the way to the redemptive road to truth which either does not exist or, if it does, is too demanding. It is the faculty which dispenses from truth. It thereby becomes the justification for subjectivity, which should not like to have itself called into question. Similarly, it becomes the justification for social conformity. As mediating value between the different subjectivities, social conformity is intended to make living together possible. The obligation to seek the truth ceases, as do any doubts about the general inclination of society and what it has become accustomed to. Being convinced of oneself, as well as conforming to others, are sufficient. Man is reduced to his superficial conviction and the less depth he has, the better for him.

“What I was only dimly aware of in this conversation became glaringly clear a little later in a dispute among colleagues about the justifying power of the erroneous conscience. Objecting to this thesis, someone countered that if this were so then the Nazi SS would be justified and we should seek them in heaven since they carried out all their atrocities with fanatic conviction and complete certainty of conscience. Another responded with utmost assurance that of course this was indeed the case. There is no doubting the fact that Hitler and his accomplices who were deeply convinced of their cause, could not have acted otherwise. Therefore, the objective terribleness of their deeds notwithstanding, they acted morally, subjectively speaking. Since they followed their albeit mistaken consciences, one would have to recognize their conduct as moral and, as a result, should not doubt their eternal salvation. Since that conversation, I knew with complete certainty that something was wrong with the theory of justifying power of the subjective conscience, that, in other words, a concept of conscience which leads to such conclusions must be false. For, subjective conviction and the lack of doubts and scruples which follow therefrom do not justify man. Some thirty years later, in the terse words of the psychologist, Albert Gorres, I found summarized the perceptions I was trying to articulate.”[17]

Me: Why does subjective ignorance not exculpate? Because the way one lives is the cause of the way one knows. If one lives erroneously, one knows erroneously. If one is self-gift, one knows the good as image of Him who is total self-gift . If one does not make the self-gift, he does not know the good. The “good” is the ontological self as imaging God Who alone is “good.”. Therefore, it is not simply conceptual ignorance but “existential” error and conscious ignorance.

Therefore, conscience is not simply a practical conclusion (a concept) of syllogisms derived from practical principles, but a consciousness concomitant with the experience of the self as going out of self, or not going out of self.

The question then will be: What is conscience? Ratzinger’s answer: “the first so-called ontological level of the phenomenon conscience consists in the fact that something like an original memory of the good and true (both are identical) has been implanted in us, that there is an inner ontological tendency within man, who is created in the likeness of God, toward the divine. From its origin, man’s being resonates with some things and clashes with others. This anamnesis of the origin, which results from the godlike constitution of our being is not a conceptually articulated knowing, a store of retrievable contents. It is so to speak an inner sense, a capacity to recall, so that the one whom it addresses, if he is not turned in on himself, hears its echo from within. He sees: “That’s it! That is what my nature points to and seeks

           Cristina Napolitano’s personal experiences with families in Family Enrichment

  • We can’t forget that children are not possessions.
  • I see children as the souls that God put into the hands of a mother and a father, so they may train these souls to Love Him, do good and be able to live with Him forever in Heaven. HUGE RESPONSIBILITY!!
  • We could understand families as small “training agencies” responsible of forming their “workers” so they may run the business, on their own, as expected and that they may be able to train the next generation with the same values and objectives. SHOW AND LET GO!!
  • It’s KNOW, SHOW and TELL time!! Parents need to knowthe answers to the many questions children are going to come up with during their growth, and they should have deep arguments in how human virtues should be lived. Then, parents need to be a good example and show those virtues in their everyday life. Finally, they need to tell the reasons of why to live this way (it is not enough to just show with example).

 

[I interject: I would prefer the word “reasons” instead of “arguments” since we are trying to convey the deep logic of human life since iti  is already divine, and “divine” because it is a divine Person Who lived this life and continues living it in me/you. As St. Josemaria says it: I only have one heart, and with that I love God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit  – and my mother and father – and you. You can’t be too human because the truly human has been lived by a divine Person. And the truly human will always be relational, for the other.]

  • When a parent is able to proudly execute a SHOW and TELL, with the submission of his/her intellect and will to God, then he/she just needs prayer and abandonment.
  • A parent can’t ever control the world his child lives in, but he CAN give enough tools to his own child so he may defend himself in the world.

[Another interjection: before and with defense, I would form them to be positive  and rebellious

  • If the messages from the parents are not truthful and firm, children feel insecure.
  • To give in, let go, or let a child take his way, means to give up in his success as human being and child of God.
  • Firm words need to be followed by firm actions. A parent who knows the truth, needs to always show the struggle to live it with all the sacrifices that entails.* * * * * * * * * *

 

  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

[1] J. Ratzinger, “ ‘In the Beginning…’” Eerdmans (1990) 66-67.

[2] “The fact that man ‘is alone’ in the midst of the visible world and, in particular, among living beings, has a negative significance in this search, since it expresses what he ‘is not’ … Man is alone because he is ‘different’ from the visible world of living beings [animalia] with his first act of self consciousness, and of how he reveals himself to himself. At the same time, he asserts himself as a ‘person’ in the visible world;” John Paul II, “The Theology of the Body,” DSP (1997) October 10, 1979 (37). In a word, in experiencing himself  “alone” in the visible world is to experience the uniqueness of being a free being in a universe of necessary causes and results

[3] Gaudium et Spes #24. “Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, “that all may be one. . . as we are one” (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God’s sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.(2)

[4] Karol Wojtyla, “Love and Responsibility,” Ignatius (1990)

[5] 27.

[6] Mark 10, 19: “No one is good, but only God.”

[7] “Ought” cannot be derived from “is” and moral obligation cannot come from the “thisness” of facts. Behold the grounding conviction of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant who perceived no threads of universality and permanence in the external empirical world.  Hence, Kant proclaimed that “ought” had to be grounded in universal imperatives – “a priori” – in the human mind. And since the thought of the human mind is not ontologically real, moral obligation is purely subjective and relativist.

[8] J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion Parson in Theology,” Communio 17 (Fall, 1990) 448.

[9] Benedict XVI “Introduction to Christianity” Ignatius (1990) 131-132.

[10] Joseph Pieper, “An Anthology,” Ignatius (1989) 30-31.

[11] Note that John Paul II, writing to Teresa Heydel, remarked: “Everyone… lives, above all, for love. The ability to love authentically, not great intellectual capacity, constitutes the deepest part of a personality. It is no accident that the greatest commandment is to love. Authentic love leads us outside ourselves to affirming others.”  A month later, he wrote: “After many experiences and a lot of thinking, I am convinced that the (objective) starting point of love is the realization that I am needed by another. The person who objectively needs me most is also, for me, objectively, the person I most need. This is a fragment of life’s deep logic… The great achievement is always to see values that others don’t see and to affirm them. The even greater achievement is to bring out of people the values that would perish without us. IN the same way, we bring our values out in ourselves” (G. Weigel, “Witness to Hope” Cliffside Books [1999] 101-102].

[12] C. Baars, “I Will Give Themn a New Heart” St Pauls (2008) 12.

[13] Ibid 190.

[14] Ibid190-191.

[15] “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye,” Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “The Little Prince” XXI, Harcourt Brace (1943) 70-71. The fox continued: “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” ‘It is the time I have wasted for my rose –‘ said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember. “Men have forgotten this truth,’ said the fox. ‘But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…’ “I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.”

[16] J. Ratzinger, “On Conscience” Ignatius (2007)

[17] J. Ratzinger “Conscience and Truth,” Presented at the 10th Workshop for Bishops February 1991 Dallas, Texas

The Human Person is Constitutively Relational. He/She is Relational Either as Donation (male) or Reception (female). This is the Metaphysics of Imaging the Trinitarian God Who Has Revealed Divinity as Three Persons Who Are One [Communio]

 

* * * * * * *

‘You Are Born a Girl or a Boy, Period’

Medical organization says the conditioning of children through drugs and surgery is child abuse

by Deirdre Reilly | 

Since Donald Trump attained the White House, the LGBTQ community has been in a panic over their rights, fearing the new administration will not embrace them without question, as former President Obama did. They’ve now been pushing hard to attain state and federal “gender-affirming” documentation such as passports, as CNN reported recently.

While the trans community hones in on this legal status, many doctors remain very concerned about mental and physical health issues — particularly related to children struggling with gender identity issues. There is increasing evidence that gender dysphoria is an issue of the mind, not the body — and should be treated as such.

“Cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks, including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and cancer.”

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPEDS) has asserted that “conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.”

This was part of a strongly worded position statement entitled, “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” which the group issued last spring and updated last month.

“There are permanent effects on children when you treat them for transgenderism,” pediatric endocrinologist and vice president of ACPEDS, Dr. Quentin Van Meter, told LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham on “The Laura Ingraham Show” on Tuesday. “You are either born a girl or boy, period. This transgender concept is simply a social and cultural feeling.”

Meanwhile, the trans agenda is being pushed in public schools, local and state government, and the federal government. The agenda dismisses wholesale the rates of suicide among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex change reassignment surgery. Rates of suicide in the trans community are a staggering 40 percent — even in such trans-friendly places as Sweden.

The updated ACPEDS statement points out that gender confusion should be treated as a psychological disorder called “gender dysphoria.” It says that it is a “recognized mental disorder in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.”

ACPEDS is most concerned about the regimen of puberty-blocking drugs given to children who are suffering gender dysphoria. “Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence,” the organization affirmed in its 2016 statement. “Cross-sex hormones [testosterone and estrogen] are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer.”

ACPEDS notes in the statement, “Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: ‘XY’ and ‘XX’ are genetic markers of health — not genetic markers of a disorder.”

Van Meter told Ingraham that, significantly, there are actually very few stories of transgender children who have a normal functioning family. Most of the time, there is a history of disruption or fragmentation.

As many as 98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after passing through puberty naturally.

Doctors who have children’s best interests at heart are often dismissed if they don’t robustly accept and endorse the current transgender trend in America, Van Meter explained.

“The reason they get rid of doctors is because we don’t fit the [current] social themes or political correctness,” said Van Meter. “But we are either male or female … what nature has given us.”

ACPEDS also stated, “The exceedingly rare disorders of sex development (DSDs), including but not limited to testicular feminization and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs do not constitute a third sex.”

The organization also said that as many as 98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after passing through puberty naturally.

February 14th, 2017

This feast, which is the anniversary of the founding of the priestly society of the Holy Cross in which numerary priests are incardinated in the Prelature of Opus Dei as secular, is a significant day for the universal Church. It transformed the Church from within from a clerical power pyramid into a truly secular people of God in which all are radically equal (as other Christs) and functionally diverse.

The pristine People of God (Jewish families with Melchizedek as type of father) lost the priesthood of Adam [subduing the earth and naming the animals] when they worshiped the golden calf. It (the priesthood) was transferred to the Levites in toto as a single tribe. Their cultic mission was the slaughter of the animals in the Temple. Find Scott Hahn for the development of this.

Benedict’s homily of June 4, 2010 can be very enlightening here to understand how the priesthood of Christ is a revolution vis a vis the the cultic Jewish priesthood. I copy:

“The priesthood of the New Testament is closely bound to the Eucharist. Because of this, today, on the solemnity of Corpus Domini and almost at the end of the Year for Priests, we are invited to meditate on the relationship between the Eucharist and the priesthood of Christ. Oriented in this direction also are the first reading and the responsorial psalm, which present the figure of Melchizedek.

The brief passage from the Book of Genesis (cf. 14:18-20) states that Melchizedek, king of Salem, was “priest of God Most High,” and because of this “offered bread and wine” and “blessed Abram,” returning from a victory in battle; Abram himself gave him a tenth of everything. The Psalm, in turn, contains in the last verse a solemn expression, an oath of God himself, who declares to the King Messiah: “You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4); thus the Messiah is not only proclaimed king, but also priest.

From this passage the author of the Letter to the Hebrews takes the cue for his ample and articulated exposition. And we re-echoed it in the refrain: “You are a priest for ever, Lord Christ”: virtually a profession of faith, which acquires a particular meaning in today’s feast. It is the joy of the community, the joy of the whole Church that, contemplating and adoring the Most Blessed Sacrament, recognizes in it the real and permanent presence of Jesus as High and Eternal Priest.
 
The second reading and the Gospel, instead, draw attention to the Eucharistic mystery. The First Letter to the Corinthians (cf. 11:23-26) treats the fundamental passage in which St. Paul recalls to that community the meaning and value of the “Lord’s Supper,” which the Apostle had transmitted and taught, but which risked being lost. The Gospel is the account of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, according to St. Luke: a sign attested by all the Evangelists, which announces beforehand the gift that Christ will make of himself, to give humanity eternal life.

Both of these texts highlight Christ’s prayer, in the act of breaking the bread. Of course there is a clear difference between the two moments: When he multiplies the loaves and fishes for the crowd, Jesus thanks the heavenly Father for his Providence, confident that he will not have food lacking for all those people. In the Last Supper, instead, Jesus transforms the bread and wine into his own Body and Blood, so that the disciples can nourish themselves from him and live in profound and real communion with him.
 
The first thing that one must remember is that Jesus was not a priest according to the Jewish tradition. His was not a priestly family. He did not belong to the lineage of Aaron, but rather to that of Judah; hence, legally, he was precluded from the way of the priesthood. The person and activity of Jesus of Nazareth were not placed in the line of the ancient priests, but rather in that of the prophets.

And in this line, Jesus distanced himself from a ritual conception of religion, criticizing the approach that valued human precepts linked to ritual purity rather than the observance of God’s Commandments, that is, love of God and of one’s neighbor, which, as the Gospel says, “is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Mark 12:33). Even inside the Temple of Jerusalem, sacred place par excellence, Jesus carries out an exquisitely prophetic gesture, when he chases the money changers and animal vendors, all things that served for the offering of traditional sacrifices. Hence, Jesus was not recognized as a priestly Messiah, but as prophetic and royal. Also his death, which we Christians rightly call “sacrifice,” had nothing of the ancient sacrifices; rather, it was completely the opposite: the execution of a death penalty by crucifixion, the most infamous, which took place outside the walls of Jerusalem” (Vatican City, June 4, 2010).

Conclusion: The pristine priesthood of man was Adam’s imaging the relationality of the divine Persons as relations, and therefore One God. His obedience was the gift of himself to the Creator in work. But that is still a “type.” Jesus Christ, the God-Man Who as divine “I” masters Himself (human will laden with all sin [2 Cor. 5, 21] and obeys as divine Person with His human will to death on the Cross is the prototype of priest. Thus, healing the human will and the total man.

Because of the sin of the Jews – the whole people, the fathers of families – worshiping the golden calf (consider our own [perhaps] unconscious adoration of same today) were stripped of the pristine priesthood of being the people of God whereby it was given to the Levites whose cultic mission was the slaughter of the animals in the temple. Becoming Himself sin, Christ destroys it in Himself, in His own human will, and restores the human person to the wholeness of the image of God, and by Baptism and Orders, incorporates a new people of God into Himself as common and ministerial priests, according to His own heart.

Hence, the Church is the priestly people of God in which all share in the one priesthood of Christ whereby all are called to live the priestly life of self-gift which is given to them as the supernatural action of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that is lived out in the street and ordinary family life.

The feast of February 14, 1943 was the anniversary of this development where laymen and ministerial priests are all priests of Jesus Christ by the sacraments of Baptism and Orders and related to one another ministerial priest at the service of common priesthood all in the context of secularity where the world is the occasion of the exercise both forms of priesthood. They are essentially and irreducibly different in that the priesthood of the laity is oriented to the secular world of work and family, whereas the ministerial priesthood is oriented to the laity enabling them to activate their priesthood there.

This is a beautiful reality, priestly and secular as Christ in Nazareth for 30 years.