Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.


The Politics of Waxing

07-28-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the ideas that underpins Identity Politics is that rights, rather than being located in the individual are located in an identity group. And an Identity Group is a group that has some history of oppression or disenfranchisement. So, whether that is based on race/ethnicity, sexual preference, biological or non-biological gender identity, the identity group by virtue of being an identity group can claim to merit special favor from the government and society at large.

A problem that often arises is that the various groups can clash or compete for that favored status position. To avoid that, the groups have to learn to practice ‘intersectionality’. That is finding common ground and supporting each other’s right to overcome grievances. This often leads to a conflict with individuals and their rights. So, for instance, we have already seen the case of Jack Phillips, the baker who declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. In the world of Identity Politics, Phillips as an individual has no right to refuse service to a member of an identity group. In other words, their rights trump his. But, according to the rules of Identity Politics, he could refuse to make a cake with the words Jesus is Lord written on it, since people from Jesusland are not part of a recognized aggrieved identity group.

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A Space Oddity

07-21-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I remember it as if it were last night. Watching Apollo 11 blast off from Planet Earth to head to the Moon. Everybody’s first thought was, “will they make it to the surface of the Moon?”. A few days later the spaceship entered the Moon’s orbit and then out popped the Lunar Module with the two astronauts aboard. We watched with great anticipation as the Module made its way down to the surface of the Moon and heard those immortal words: “the Eagle has landed”! It would be several hours before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would step out of the Lunar Module onto the surface of the moon, earning the right to the best bragging rights ever.

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How to Get a Gold Star!

07-14-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Consider this a Public Service announcement. After October 1, 2020 a valid AZ Driver's License or I.D will no longer be a valid form of I.D for Federal identification purposes. Which means you will not be able to use it as a form of identification to board an airplane in the US, enter a military installation, nuclear power plants or a Federal prison (as a visitor; for inmates fingerprints and mugshot will do!). However, you will still be able to use a valid Passport, DHS Trusted Traveler card, or permanent resident card at TSA checkpoints at airports. If you desire you can obtain a new AZ Traveler I.D. (driver's license or I.D. card) but there is no obligation to do so and your current valid AZ driver's license will still be fine to use for driving and other non-federal I.D. purposes. The reason for this is that AZ has to comply with the Real I.D Act passed by the US Congress in 2005. (AZ was granted some extensions but that will end in October 2020.)

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Contradictions & Truth

07-07-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When we let go of objective truth or moral absolutes, well anything can happen. Two cases that demonstrate the point. This year marks the 25th Anniversary since the Rwandan Genocide. The UN had Peace Keepers, troops on the ground and when the killing broke out the commander contacted the UN Headquarters and the UN President told him to stand down, “we don't take sides”. Which was in effect taking a side. You can never be neutral when it comes to evil. You either fight it or are complicit in it.

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America, Reparations and Racism

06-30-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As we head into the July 4th Holiday, the US Congress held a hearing to decide whether or not to form a Committee to study Reparations for Slavery. I heard someone say that “the US has never dealt with racism”. I would disagree with that as our history shows we have dealt plenty with racism, even if there is still more to deal with.

Many of our Founders did not want the new country to include slavery. But they soon realized that in order to get all the colonies on board they had to comprise. But many of them stated that the issue of chattel slavery sowed the seeds of future discord and division for the new nation. And so it did. A Civil War engulfed the country, in which it was the US Government that fought on the side to abolish slavery. So over 150 years ago slavery ended. But what did not end was the government’s ability to force segregation by law upon its citizens. Having “black only” sections for restaurants or restrooms was not the choice of the proprietors, it was a legal requirement.

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The Mau-mauing of the Mayor

06-23-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum, or actually the campaign for the highest seat in the land. Pete Buttigieg, the onetime mayor of South Bend announced his candidacy for the Presidential nomination alongside his same sex spouse. And everybody pretty much yawned. I am not sure if he was hoping to get extra points for having a same sex spouse but it didn't register too much. Still, he wasn't deterred in trying to use his same-sex marriage to bolster his campaign image. So he decided to attack Vice President Pence because of his support for traditional, man-woman marriage. Except that didn't garner him much sympathy either. The Vice President simply stated that while he was Governor of Indiana and Buttigieg was a Mayor in the state they got along very well. In fact, in his book, Buttigieg pretty much said the same. It's hard to win a fight when the other person won't attack you, darn Pence. THUMP. DUD!

Our society has become like the frog in the kettle, as time goes on, we don't even notice the temperature rising or the changes that have made the once unthinkable become the debatable and then the justifiable and finally the unexceptional. Same-sex marriage is pretty much now the unexceptionable. The media and Hollywood have normalized it to the point, as Buttigieg found out, gay is no longer radical chic. Come to think of it, wasn't normalization what they were aiming for all along?

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Prayer of Padre Pio After Communion

06-16-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Here is one of my favorite prayers from St. Pio:

Prayer of Padre Pio After Communion

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.

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Abortion: the End Game

06-09-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles at Pentecost the results were incredible. The Spirit would not only change hearts and minds but cultures. For the Jew that meant leaving behind a way of life that had been practiced for generations. The Acts of the Apostles narrates the struggle they had with leaving behind the practice of circumcision, the Kosher dietary laws, the Jewish Ritual Purity practices and finally animal sacrifices. But for the Gentile convert the change was no less dramatic as it entailed leaving behind the practice of polygamy, same-sex behaviors, abortion and child sacrifice. Over the next 300 years the Holy Spirit-swept world would convert the Roman Empire from a Pagan culture to a Christian one that ascribed to Biblical values and norms.

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What to do about Heart Disease

06-02-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The month of June we traditionally remember the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The image of the Sacred Heart came into sharp focus during the period that Europe experienced the Black Plague and other natural disasters and hardships that took their toll on human life. In a way it was a reminder of the merciful love of Jesus and that despite present troubles we are not abandoned. The Sacred Heart reminds us even though God does not shield us from suffering and the troubles of life, He is always there to help us through and strengthen our broken hearts.

It also reminds us that, as the Scriptures repeat over and over again, that what afflicts humanity is a "hardness of heart" and only with hearts supple and open can we connect with the love of God through Jesus. That's why it's good for us to have an image of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary on display in our homes. When we are tempted to hardness of heart or the things that make our hearts hard, like resentment, unforgiveness, anger, lack of gratitude, the image of the Heart of Jesus can call us back and remind us to soak our hearts in the love of Jesus.

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A House in Order

05-26-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Mt 5:14). Our Lord Jesus Christ calls every believer to be a shining example of virtue, integrity and holiness. All of us, in fact, are called to give concrete witness of faith in Christ in our lives and, in particular, in our relationship with others.

Above is the opening line of the Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis in which he issued procedures for dealing with Bishops or Superiors of Religious Orders who are accused of abuse of a minor or failure to deal with reported abuse cases. The new document establishes a clearer set of universal procedures for reporting suspected abuse, carrying out initial investigations and protecting victims and whistle-blowers. The directives specify that a report on a Bishop's or Superior of a Religious Order malfeasance or abuse is made to the local Metropolitan Archbishop, in our case it would be the Archbishop of Santa Fe or directedly to the Apostolic Nuncio in each country.

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Yuma to Phoenix

05-19-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I recently attended a Board Meeting where many of the members are from Mid-west and far northern states and they asked me about the immigration situation on the ground in the southwest. From their perches they don't hear much except the usual political wrangling about immigration. So, I told them this:

When the Dept. of Homeland Security announces that there were 100,000 people who crossed into the country in March and that most of them turned themselves in to Border Patrol and requested asylum, no one ever asks where exactly are these people? For most people they are just numbers unless you live in places like Yuma or Nogales, Arizona or McCallum or El Paso, Texas or across from Tijuana. The Border Patrol, by court order, can hold adults with children for no more than 20days, process them and give them a date to appear before an Asylum Judge, sometime years in the future. And then they are free to go anywhere in the US. DHS does not have the structure, funds or mandate to provide housing, medical care, and transportation for these people. So as a result, they are released into the local communities and the local communities are overwhelmed trying to assist them. Recently the Mayor of Yuma declared a State of Emergency in his city. The social services, the homeless shelters, food kitchens are completely overwhelmed in Yuma, which is seeing over 300 people a day cross the border.

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Birds of a Feather

05-12-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

I was going to write something that would raise your blood pressure but I came across this and found it too rich to resist. Being the owner of a parrot, or let me rephrase that, a person who has a companion bird, this headline from the Daily Wire caught my eye:

Police Detained A Parrot For Warning Its Owner About A Drug Raid. Yes, A Parrot.

A parrot was detained by police in Brazil after the feathered fiend warned its drug-dealing owners that police were approaching. The parrot started yelling as the police approached its home Monday afternoon, The Guardian reported. The bird shouted "Mama, police!" authorities said.

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Jew-hate Junction

05-05-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Jew-hatred is the oldest bigotry on the books. As one author said, "all bigotries meet at Jew-hate Junction". The NY Times recently published a neo-Nazi cartoon in its international edition and the editors want you to believe that there would be peace in the Middle East if it weren't for the Jews. Likewise, the media outlet, Politico wants you to believe that Trump would be in jail if it weren't for the Jews who control him. Congresswoman IIhan Omar cast aspersions upon the Jews with one of the oldest Jew-hate tropes, "for Jews", she said, "it's all about the Benjamins". And when the House of Representatives tried to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, it couldn't muster the votes and instead just condemned all forms of hatred and bigotry. One thing is for sure: when the alt-right with its neo-Nazi obsessions and its anti-Semitism and the alt-left with its penchant for defending Islamo-fascists and its anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism, are on the rise, Jews die.

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