Majorem Dei Gloriam links to a Pastoral
Letter by Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Baker in Oregon which was
issued in April. This refers to an Affirmation of Personal faith that is required
to be signed by those in ministry ( Catechist , Reader, Extraordinary Minister
of Holy Communion, etc).
The summary statements which I have collected in the Affirmation of Personal
Faith are all taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They represent
the authentic and authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church and acceptance
of these tenets is expected of every Catholic. While it is sufficient for me
to ‘presume’ that Catholics who attend Mass and receive communion
adhere to these teachings (unless the contrary is clearly evident) such a presumption
is not sufficient for those whom I commission to teach and act in some official
The whole thing is excellent and is kind of a mandatum for those in ministry.
He will probably be labeled a grand inquisitor for this, but I think this is
just great. On the Diocese site there is also a letter in the Bishop’s Corner dated June 25, 2004 that says in part.
…It seems to me that the most effective way to end abortion is to vote
for Pro-Life candidates. This is not a function of the Bishops, we have only
vote each, but rather a function of the laity who must be convinced of the
power of their own vote and of their ability through the ballot box to effect
a good or to perpetuate an evil. Unfortunately that vote has always been split
between a multiplicity of ‘goods’, and with good reason, there are many ‘goods’
for our society which need to be politically pursued. We see such things as
care for the poor, adequate housing, healthcare, education, economic prosperity,
foreign policy and we hear the various political promises of how effectively
these things are going to be managed by the members of one party or the other.
These are tremendously significant human rights and human dignity issues about
which we must certainly be conscientious. It would be evil and wrong to omit
or to significantly neglect them. The persons who are the recipients of this
assistance, however, already have that right upon which the other inalienable
rights, liberty and pursuit of happiness, are based. They already have life.
The quality of that life certainly needs to be upgraded and improved and as
Christians we have a responsibility to work for those improvements. It seems
there are many in our society, religious and non-religious alike, Democrat
and Republican, who work and act on behalf of these persons. To some extent,
however limited, these persons are even able to vote and speak and seek assistance
for themselves. This is not true of the pre-born. They have no voice but yours
and mine, they have no vote but yours and mine. If we do not vote for those
who will act on their behalf, they have no other recourse. The Courts routinely
recognize those who suffer but the Courts have refused to even recognize the
existence of these most vulnerable of the neglected in our society. We need
legislators who will propose and confirm justices who recognize with us the
inviolable dignity of the pre-born human person. These have no voice but ours,
they have no vote but ours. I, for one, will speak on behalf of all the needy
and especially the pre-born for I have access to many words, but I will always
vote for those who pledge to defend pre-born human life because I have only
one vote and I need to cast it for those who have no vote but mine.
When my father was diagnosed with cancer he also needed open heart surgery.
The question arose, which do we treat, the heart or the cancer. The doctors
assured him that the cancer was slow growing and that he would die of lots
of other things before he died of cancer. Thus the heart surgery was done and
he was allowed a goodly number of years of extended life, all the while living
with cancer. He could have chosen to treat the cancer but then he would have
died many years earlier. He would have died cancer free but he would have died
much earlier. Hardly a consolation for him or the family. He chose an immediate
life saving operation and recognized that the cancer would still be there to
be treated later.
In our society we have both a heart problem and a cancer problem. The heart
problem continues to allow innocent human persons to be killed at will. The
cancer problem continues to put the poor and needy at risk. I think we need,
as in my father’s case, to focus on the heart problem for it concerns life
itself and not only the quality of that life. You have one vote. Use it for
the greatest good.
Update: I had sent an email to Bishop Vasa thanking him for the clarity of his writing and I have already received a reply. Bpvasa@dioceseofbaker.org
Jeff: Thank you for taking the time to comment on “Giving Testimony”. Isn’t it remarkable that it is considered remarkable when a Bishop upholds the simple truth. Thank you +RFV