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Weekly Message from the Pastor PDF Print E-mail

Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
20 August 2017

The Wages of Sin

Back in the late 1970’s I was working in a research laboratory to help support my graduate school habit. My post graduate studies at the University of Virginia were focused on the religious traditions of the ancient Near East, and I was living in the “Belmont” district of Charlottesville. It was a very diverse part of the town that provided affordable housing for graduate students and townies alike. I could see Monticello from my back yard, and it was only a short bicycle ride to the UVA campus. Charlottesville was a lovely community in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the local population was enormously proud of their history. Although I enjoyed living in Charlottesville, it became clear to me that I would never really be accepted, since my surname was neither Shiflett nor Monroe and certainly not Jefferson or Lee. I recall seeing the statue of Robert E. Lee in the small park not far from the campus and often mused on the rich heritage of past generations who had called the Albemarle Piedmont their home. My brief time in Virginia was a time for me to learn and love another culture that I had no desire to criticize or proclivity to change. Recent events have demonstrated that the years have not been so kind to Charlottesville, and their heritage is not a source of pride, but is rather one of prejudice. History must now be re-written to exclude the memorials of men and events no longer deemed to be politically correct. The mayor and city council of the modern Charlottesville decided that the new “Emancipation Park” should not have a statue of Confederate General as a centerpiece. The removal of the Robert E. Lee statue then sparked the so-called “alternative right” reaction that prompted a counter reaction from the pro-diversity supporters. All of this erupted last week in a violent encounter that left one dead and many others injured. Where did all this hatred and violence come from? What happened to the Charlottesville I experienced back in the 1970’s?

Reading the press accounts of those events leaves the impression that right wing nationalists and other Nazi types invaded a peaceful little town in western Virginia and provoked all manner of violence and mayhem. We have been told that these thugs have been encouraged by the current leadership in Washington and must be condemned in no uncertain terms. But my mama always told me that it takes two to tango. Something is rotten in Denmark about this story and the proof is in the reporting. The politicization of these events in Charlottesville is the one thing that comes across loud and clear in print and on the electronic media. Who stands to gain from this? And who stands to lose? Why is it so important to excise our history and erase these statues and monuments? This is more evocative of England under the Tudors and Cromwell or the iconoclasts of the French Revolution. It was not so very long ago that the world was horrified when the Taliban destroyed the colossal statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. We are doing the same thing right here in our own country with the specific purpose of imposing the right way to think and the right way to act. We are all in favor of diversity just as long as that diversity agrees with what is the correctly diverse position. There is an intentional polarization that is being promoted in order to give a greater position of power to one side or the other. The corruptive nature of power is the one thing that is a certainty. As the energy of this polarization and politicization continues to grow it becomes more destructive of our moral fiber. With the growth of corruption on the left and the right there is only one winner. The evil one seeks for us to be divided and hatred is the best tool he has to promote sin. And the wages of sin…is death.

Fr. Ted 



St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church

10655 Haverstick Rd.
Carmel, IN 46033-3800
Directions: click here 

317.846.3850 (main)
317.846.3710 (fax)

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