THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH
By Father Richard Perozich
I have a good life: food on the table often prepared by parishioners, decent health, fraternal love expressed openly by my parish family, bills paid, and in general a personal peace. Yet in the dark of the early morning I cannot sleep in my comfortable bed in a newly remodeled rectory. My thoughts and emotions are racing inside me. I sit before the Blessed Sacrament in my chapel for an hour and a half without peace.
What bothers me is my enemy's glee over its continuing victories over me in injustice. The injustices include an outrageous $1.6 million settlement to victims of sexual abuse. They also include the San Diego City Council's participation in an organized effort by practicing homosexuals to use Council influence to destroy marriage and give rights to sexual perversion. In part it is also a movement to silence the Catholic Church in its mission of mercy and truth by the promotion in Congress of a bill which would penalize as a hate crime criticism of sexuality outside the marriage of a man and a woman, and force us to hire sexually immature people with gender identity disorders as if they were normal.
My frustration includes the movement in the political arena to export sexual perversion and killing of babies in the womb to Latin America with funds from the U.S. government. It also includes making rich lawyers, politicians, doctors, nurses, judges who use the political system for personal gain.
I felt like the Psalmist in 39:3-4: 'Dumb and silent before the wicked, I refrained from any speech. But my sorrow increased; my heart smoldered within me. In my thoughts a fire blazed up, and I broke into speech.'
In Psalm 37: 7-10: 'Be still before the LORD; wait for God. Do not be provoked by the prosperous, nor by malicious schemers. Give up your anger, abandon your wrath; do not be provoked; it brings only harm. Those who do evil will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD will possess the land. Wait a little, and the wicked will be no more; look for them and they will not be there.'
Psalm 73 taught me, in 16-27: 'Though I tried to understand all this, it was too difficult for me, Till I entered the sanctuary of God and came to understand their end. You set them, indeed, on a slippery road; you hurl them down to ruin. How suddenly they are devastated; undone by disasters forever! They are like a dream after waking, Lord, dismissed like shadows when you arise. Since my heart was embittered and my soul deeply wounded, I was stupid and could not understand; I was like a brute beast in your presence. Yet I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand. With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor. Whom else have I in the heavens? None beside you delights me on earth. Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever. But those who are far from you perish; you destroy those unfaithful to you.'
How did we get to this point in America, we whose nation was founded by God-fearing men and women escaping oppression of English tyrants of the 16th through 18th centuries? Where did we go wrong? Why did this happen?
Matters of justice concern what is due to the other. The other for us first of all is God. While we never can render Him complete due, we can offer Him what is required by the demands of justice: sacrifice. The one sacrifice which can offer God what is due is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, wherein we imperfect people unite ourselves with the perfect sacrifice, that of Jesus the Savior. In our other affairs, we conduct ourselves with justice by rendering to others what is their due based on God's laws, and not on the others' demands or desires.
In order to render justice, man has to have a certain governance based on God's laws over man's self, his family, and his political world. Some of you tell me, 'I hate politics,' and then you try to avoid it. You do only at your own peril by letting others make decisions for you.
One area of action concerns oneself. A human being is responsible to God, to himself, and to the society in which he lives to act according to the natural law of God. A man is a unity of body and spirit; he must care for both. Bodily care includes nutrition, cleanliness, exercise, proper behavior to defend against disease and harm, and to act for the common good. Spiritual care includes the relationship with God, prayer, developing the intellect, the emotions, and the will.
A second area of concern is the 'domestic' realm — the family in which we live and our particular relationships in that family. Justice means rendering to each family member his due attention, affection, and approval for acting in true charity according to God's natural law.
A third area of life is the political realm wherein we live with others and play our part in the development of a just society based on natural law, and not on a false system which demands we give people whatever they wish.
Regarding the self, humans are tempted to act against the natural law by the devil, worldly manipulation, and human unruly passions. At the same time God speaks in the conscience to each human being where the law is written in his heart. Thus in the privacy of a man's own world he must live according to God's ways to express true justice to himself and the society in which he lives.
In the home, the domestic realm, each person owes the others justice due them by their proper relationships in the family. The father must look out for the needs of wife and children. The wife owes her allegiance to the husband in being the heart of the family. The children owe obedience to the parents.
In the political realm, those in leadership are responsible for the just needs of the citizenry, which is not to say to give to each person or group what they may demand, but to insure opportunity, equal application of the natural law and not invent laws based on whim.
Our difficulties lie in injustice in all three realms. In the personal realm, the false idea of individual rights has usurped the individual's need to do justice. Selfishness expresses itself in sexual licentiousness, in lack of volunteerism to the community, in seeking one's advantage over the other, in power, possessions, prestige.
In the domestic realm, divorce for selfish reasons has divided families, caused adultery, broken relationships, and has destroyed the lives of children. Lack of attention to the natural law of man united with woman has led to fornication, adultery, homosexuality.
In the political realm, the rejection of the natural law in favor of creation of rights based on individual whims has created a dependency and demand on government, weakening the whole society.
In looking for self gain and rights over justice, people have elected politicians who grant them what the people want. The Democratic Party currently has been infiltrated by selfish people who demand that individual rights be created for them where none exist in the natural law. The Republican Party is moving in this direction because they see the gains of their rivals. It was a legislature and a Catholic governor who invented a new law against the Church to permit re-filing of abuse claims. These officials were elected by a large number of Catholics who prostituted their vote for other gains, allowing vocal and powerful groups to push their agenda through these politicians.
Catholics, while not a majority, still remain a large number. Our complacency has permitted pornography, homosexuality, adultery, divorce, fornication, social engineering of our children in schools.
It is time to understand our faith and to rally around Christ with other Christians to bring our faith and the natural law to the political realm. In the domestic realm, Catholics need to live holy married lives with the justice toward the spouse and child above the person's idea of rights. In the personal realm, each needs to confess sin and to put on Christ once again.
Evil never sleeps. It is trying to silence and destroy our Church. Now is the time to cling to Jesus, rally as Church, and live our Catholic beliefs in the personal realm, the family, and all of society. To fail to do so and to insist Catholic politicians do the same is to have a silenced, impotent Church, persecuted by sinners. Catholics, claim the dignity that is yours. Live your faith in every part of your life. Jesus is with you in this struggle.
Father Richard Perozich is pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Escondido, Calif.