Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


Pandemic Passion

03-27-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A few months back as I was becoming increasingly irritated at the Pandemic restrictions and what I saw as the lack of logic in many of those restrictions, I received an e-mail from a parishioner that stopped me dead in my tracks. She and her husband have raised and cared for a disabled child, though now an adult, still very childlike in her needs. She wrote:

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45 > 2300

03-20-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Strange how it’s more of a heavy lift to move 45 miles west, from Tempe to somewhere north of Rt. 303 than it was to move 2300 miles west, from PA to AZ, at least emotionally and psychologically. But when I think about it, you all have done a good job of working your way into my heart. And considering that Mt. Carmel has had a very good track record with Pastors, basically only three since 1955 (Msgr. McCready for 37yrs, Fr. Tim Davern for 10yrs and me for 21yrs), I shouldn't be surprised at my reluctance to leave here.

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The Day the Music Died

03-13-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

“Do you recall what was revealed the day the music died?” American Pie sung by Don McLean

It’s now one year since the curtain came down on the country and most of the world started the “15 Days to Flatten the Curve”. Longest 15 days ever. Since it was one hundred years since the last Pandemic, none of us had any experience with Pandemics or how to respond. So, we all found ourselves as characters in a 21st century version of Camus’s “The Plague”. One of the characters in the novel, when confronted with the question about why God could allow such suffering, simply responds: “It helps men to rise above themselves”.

Looking back over the past year then, did it help us rise above ourselves? The answer seems to be a resounding yes and disheartening no.

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Cultural Chaos

03-06-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

So, who needs women? That’s not a complaint of a misogynist. And specifically, I mean biological women. Researchers are already promising a future where biological women are not needed for reproduction. And phrases like “women who are born female” and “women who are not biological males” are now part of our lexicon. And yes, many of you are getting into trouble because you incorrectly used the wrong pronoun or got philologically tripped up with this new vocabulary.

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Are Your Assets Toxic?

02-27-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Our dear friend norma loquendi says that the term “toxic asset” is an oxymoron that you can bank on! It is amazing at what speed we distort the meaning of words or just outright change the definition of a word to make it seem like it is something it is not. George Orwell would be proud. My favorite current obfuscation is “pre-embryo”. It is a nonsensical and non-scientific redefining of the meaning of embryo to describe an embryo that is not yet implanted in a womb but is rather in a Petri dish. Of course, no matter where the embryo is it is still an embryo. By describing it as a “pre” embryo makes experimenting on it or destroying it a little more palatable. We do the same with baby and fetus. It is easier to stomach “aborting a fetus” than killing a baby in the womb. Confronting the language that empowers the culture of death is the first step in defending equality for all human life.

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Litany of St. Joseph

02-20-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

For those who are making the Consecration to St. Joseph, listen on our Parish App, reprinted is the Litany of St. Joseph so you can pray along.

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Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

02-14-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Roses are red, violets are blue, this is what it looks like when ideology infects all you see and do:

LA Times columnist, Virginia Heffernan, who normally lives in the urban LA area but during the Pandemic decided to live in a more rural area has a big problem on her hands: her Trump-loving neighbors did something nice for her. They plowed her driveway after a snow storm! Very perplexed she writes:

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Critical Theory

02-06-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the drivers that has been framing our country’s current discussion on race is Critical Race Theory (CRT). If you’ve noticed that the talk about racial justice doesn't sound much like Dr. King’s teachings on moving towards a society where content of one’s character is the measure of judgement and that the power of non-violence best disarms oppression, that’s because CRT frames the issue and the solution very differently.

Critical Theory in general can be applied to any number of issues or topics. Marx applied it to class. For Marx, every issue, every cause of discrimination, oppression or injustice was caused by a society’s class structure. You can take the idea of class and substitute race, gender, sexual orientation and you get Gender Theory, Queer Theory and Critical Race Theory. Critical Theory in general can yield some insights into the cause and context of power imbalances in a society or in relationships. Its weakness is that it really doesn't offer much of a lasting solution other than constant struggle.

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Are Your Assets Toxic?

02-27-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Our dear friend norma loquendi says that the term “toxic asset” is an oxymoron that you can bank on! It is amazing at what speed we distort the meaning of words or just outright change the definition of a word to make it seem like it is something it is not. George Orwell would be proud. My favorite current obfuscation is “pre-embryo”. It is a nonsensical and non-scientific redefining of the meaning of embryo to describe an embryo that is not yet implanted in a womb but is rather in a Petri dish. Of course, no matter where the embryo is it is still an embryo. By describing it as a “pre” embryo makes experimenting on it or destroying it a little more palatable. We do the same with baby and fetus. It is easier to stomach “aborting a fetus” than killing a baby in the womb. Confronting the language that empowers the culture of death is the first step in defending equality for all human life.

READ MORE

Litany of St. Joseph

02-20-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

For those who are making the Consecration to St. Joseph, listen on our Parish App, reprinted is the Litany of St. Joseph so you can pray along.

READ MORE

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

02-14-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Roses are red, violets are blue, this is what it looks like when ideology infects all you see and do:

LA Times columnist, Virginia Heffernan, who normally lives in the urban LA area but during the Pandemic decided to live in a more rural area has a big problem on her hands: her Trump-loving neighbors did something nice for her. They plowed her driveway after a snow storm! Very perplexed she writes:

READ MORE

Critical Theory

02-06-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the drivers that has been framing our country’s current discussion on race is Critical Race Theory (CRT). If you’ve noticed that the talk about racial justice doesn't sound much like Dr. King’s teachings on moving towards a society where content of one’s character is the measure of judgement and that the power of non-violence best disarms oppression, that’s because CRT frames the issue and the solution very differently.

Critical Theory in general can be applied to any number of issues or topics. Marx applied it to class. For Marx, every issue, every cause of discrimination, oppression or injustice was caused by a society’s class structure. You can take the idea of class and substitute race, gender, sexual orientation and you get Gender Theory, Queer Theory and Critical Race Theory. Critical Theory in general can yield some insights into the cause and context of power imbalances in a society or in relationships. Its weakness is that it really doesn't offer much of a lasting solution other than constant struggle.

READ MORE

A Harmful Transition

01-30-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of the very first executive orders President Biden issued was on the topic of transgenderism. How is it that this issue has risen to the top of our society so quickly and with such force behind it? Maybe I am misreading the US public but it doesn't seem like an issue that majorities were clamoring to be addressed by the new President in his first hours in office.

The issue of transgenderism or more specifically gender dysphoria affects about .03% of the population. Those who struggle with it deserve our love and care and the best medical sciences can offer them as well as emotional, mental and spiritual support. For some reason the current push is all in one direction: finding ways, medically that enable a person to transition from one sex to the other. This includes the use of hormones and surgeries such as mastectomies and hysterectomies for biological women and removal of the penis for biological men. This is being done despite the clinical and medical evidence that these treatments are physically harmful, have long-term negative health outcomes and based on long term research as well as the experience of those who have undergone such treatments, do not offer long term and lasting solutions.

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I Have a Dream

01-23-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

When the MLK Holiday comes around I always like to read Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It always blows me away. It is one of the greatest speeches in American history, right up there with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. The part of the speech that struck me this year was this:

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

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A Mob by Any Other Name Is Still a Mob

01-16-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Maybe it’s that I have been desensitized to the mob, but watching the events in the Capital Building I was pretty much unfazed. Not that I condone any of it, I don’t and I would not join in or encourage anyone to do so. But I thought, “another group of angry people with grievances acting out in unacceptable ways.” Even as I watched Arizona guy, horned and bare-chested standing in the Speaker’s spot, it seemed to me that he was at least, in all his weirdness, being honest about who he is, unlike so many of the pols that often stand in the same spot.

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Tear down this wall?

01-09-2021Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Recently, while driving, I saw a truck with the words “Tempe Traffic Enforcement”. I thought why do we need that? After all there are traffic signals and signs, yellow and white lines on the road all indicating how we should drive. Isn’t that enough? Why do we put the force of law behind those signals and signs? And why then do we need some form of law enforcement personnel to enforce the driving rules? Can’t we just be allowed to drive and trust that it will all work out just fine?

“It doesn't work that way”, you say. Some people will abuse the system and put us all in jeopardy. Even with the rules and the enforcement of the rules and penalties and fines we still have problems. Accidents which clog up traffic, injuries which use up medical resources and of course the ever-increasing car insurance rates. Speaking of which, Arizona has one of the highest-in-the-country car insurance rates, despite traffic enforcement, which shows you how many people still abuse the driving rules even with enforcement. So no, removing traffic enforcement most likely will not make driving any better or safer or quicker.

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