21 June 2012

Fortnight for Freedom in Baltimore

Majority of People Participate in Mass

I just came back from the Basilica in Baltimore from where the fortnight for freedom kicked-off. It was a packed church, and it seemed like every person participated in the singing and prayers. Not since the Oratory in Pittsburgh during my undergrad days has a mass been so invigorating, even though the air itself was stifling (Archbisop Lori had to have many cups of water handed to him throughout the liturgy).

I wonder if I was on camera since my feet stood on the ground in about the sixth row in front of the Archbishop's chair (literally, the Cathedral). Cardinal O'Brien was looking directly in my direction on the other side of the alter underneath the pulpit. If you saw/see the EWTN broadcast (the camera was pretty much right in front of me), I am the tall guy with the blue shirt with white stripes and glasses.

The procession was long with many priests and deacons from the Archdiocese of Baltimore. My parish pastor was not there, but the pastor from a nearby parish was: St. Agnes.

The only thing that I did not particularly like was all the clapping for everything. There seemed to be to much horizontal pomp and clericalism for such a reverent setting. I love my Archbishop, but he doesn't need to be drowned in misplaced recognition. (Before mass, people gave a standing O for him when he passed by. Really?)

His homily had two aspects that I would like to mention.

Inherent or Inalienable?

First, he said that we have from God (our Creator) an inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is a curious change from inalienable to inherent. First Things had a very interesting take on "Rights You Can't Give Away" that analyzed the meaning of inalienable from a property point of view. Simply put, Austen's Darcy cannot just give his estate away, he has responsibilities to pass it on in the family.

However, is inherent more or less strong than inalienable? Legally, something has an inherent property if all instances of the thing or concept has that property; it simply cannot be called the thing without said property. Logically it's a necessary condition (to have a given property for that thing). So, any human inherently has a right to life, etc.

Perhaps the distinction is that inalienable rights are given by a creator, while inherent rights are defined as an integral part of the thing itself. In theory, couldn't God take away natural rights? However, if rights are inherent, the thing itself possesses rights internally which would make them not that thing if they didn't have it.

God couldn't change a human into a duck if God desired it so (or could it be?). However, God could take away rights since he endowed the rights (sort of like life can be taken or given by God according to His will).

Well, since both seem pretty indisputable (God hasn't changed a person into a duck and He can give and take life as he wills), either do seem to be equally fine. (Please let me know if I went somewhere wrong, it's late.)

Conscience Theme

Over and over he mentioned conscience as a driving principal in society. This is obviously important to a major degree since the Church's conscience is being trampled upon in it's charity toward Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

However, I wish he would have mentioned something either along the lines of developing a thrust towards "a well-formed conscience" or one formed by natural law principals (see Dr. Kings use of St. Aquinas here).

A Pelosi or Biden could easily say that they are following their conscience for pushing the HHS mandate, but a more explicit handling could have been useful.

Overall, the homily was very good, especially when he talked about St. More and Fischer. (He even plainly said that King Henry's Act of Supremacy caused St. More and Fischer to loose their lives for their conscience's sake.)

May God bless Archbishop Lori.


Oh yes, BTW, local channel 11 (NBC) was there besides EWTN.


  1. Gerry:
    1) Life is inherent in the human being, in human existence.
    2) Rights are endowed by “their Creator” and are called unalienable or inalienable.
    3) If God changed His mind, No. God does not change His mind nor does God contradict Himself. God is unchangeable and cannot contradict Himself. Otherwise God would cease to be God. Not possible.
    4) Conscience is forfeited along with one’s rational, immortal soul, as conscience is integral to the soul, when one consents to violate God’s law. Abortionists, women bishops and heretics have literally sold their souls to the devil, and the devil does not take kindly to them.
    5) Bishop Malooly wrote against Biden and was published in the News Journal and the Dialog.
    6) The Pope and the Bishop write, very few read a) the bishops did nothing b) we were not informed. One must will to be Catholic.
    7) Thank God you were able to attend the Mass for Fortnight for Religious Liberty. Bishop Malooly said the Mass at Holy Cross in Dover, Delaware for the Diocese of Wilmington.

  2. Mary, thank you very much for your comments.

    I would like to address your comments in order:
    1. Life is inherent for living human beings, however, I was addressing the term "inherent rights".
    2. The relatively new idea of rights seems to denote a bestowed right, however, God has the will to take or give life. God's will is somehow missing from the rights equation.
    3. God does change His mind. Moses and Abraham asked God to subdue His wrath. Jesus (God) asked for the cup to pass, but accepted the Father's will instead (God is a personal God). I do agree that God does not change His nature.
    4. Could conscience be instead be viewed as valid/invalid or formed/malformed instead. The idea of forfitting (sp) ones conscience seems to be a dangerous idea. It could become valid at some point if malformed now.
    5. I was analyzing the homily as an isolated thing. Thank you for pointing out the others (links?).
    6. Yes, Catholics need to stay informed. This blog is part of that process (at least for me).
    7. Thank you. Mass is always a blessing (esp. after reading Dr. Hahn's Supper of the Lamb book on the Mass).

    God bless you.


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