Fr. John's Letter Archives

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


Giving

11-25-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Coming into the Holiday season, I know we’ve all been a bit stretched with giving and I thank you for your sacrificial giving in the Together Let Us Go Forth Capital Campaign, (if you haven’t yet pledged, I eagerly await your pledge!) so I want to remind you of ways you can still give but at no cost to your budget.

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America & the Hand of Providence

11-18-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Pope Paul III, not Paul VI of Humanae Vitae fame, now St. Pope Paul VI, but Pope Paul III of Sublimus Deus fame, is who we should thank on this Thanksgiving Day holiday. Sublimus Deus (The Sublime God), an encyclical letter issued in 1537, some 45 years after Columbus came to America, stated that, “Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved…” It also called for the evangelization of the native Americans who wished to receive the Christian faith.

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An Unexpected Journey

11-14-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The scheduled meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops started off with a sniper attack from the Vatican. As you may have read, the Vatican insisted the US Bishops NOT vote on their proposals to deal with Bishop Accountability and the Investigation of the McCarrick Affair. Some have said that the Vatican pulled the rug out from under the Bishops. But that is way too kind. The Vatican bureaucratically castrated the US Bishops, at least those who still had some. And amazingly it seemed like many Bishops were ready to plow full steam ahead until the Vatican pulled a trump card. But was it really?

The US Bishops, or any country’s Bishops Conference does have its own jurisdiction and the right to make particular law. Obviously, an individual Bishop’s Conference can’t make universal law. But the Vatican insisted it wanted to wait until the February meeting of all the world’s head of Bishop’s Conferences to deal with the issue of clerical sexual abuse in a uniform way. But if the Vatican was concerned that what the US Bishops were legislating would conflict with universal norms or law they could easily have sent the Vatican’s top Canon Lawyers to advise the Bishops and make sure there would be no conflict or after the February Meeting they could always amend what the US enacted. What’s even more cynical is that the Vatican waited until Sunday afternoon to let Cardinal DiNardo, the USCCB President know of this directive.

Strange how in 2002 when the US Bishops legislated the Dallas Charter which deals with priests who abuse, the Vatican went right along and even was amenable to changes in the Code of Canon Law based on what the US Bishops had done. But when it came to the accountability of Bishops the Vatican clearly put the brakes on. At least now we know that the source of corruption is the Vatican officials. It seems like they have a lot to hide when it comes to protecting the malfeasance of Bishops and the appointment of McCarrick’s partners in crime who are currently Bishops of Dioceses.

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Do you inspire others to give?

11-11-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

On a visit to the city of Rome, some years ago, a person I was with had never been before and upon seeing the hundreds of churches, he remarked, “these people must really love God.” So many generations of believers gave of their time, talent and treasure to build some of the most magnificent Catholic Churches in the world. I often wonder when people visit our country what impression are they left with? Obviously, the buildings that stand out the most are the tallest skyscrapers and most of them are used to house financial institutions, banks, investment firms, and insurance providers. I guess someone could walk away, after seeing all that and conclude that we really love our financial security. It raises the question, that ironically is found on our currency, In God We Trust, do we really?

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Together, Let Us Go Forth

11-04-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Our records indicate that the first baptisms at our parish took place in July of 1870. Ever since then the Catholic community in Tempe has been alive and well. The first Church, a small adobe building, built by hand by the parishioners was located where now stands the ASU Sun Devil Stadium ticket office. By 1912 the parish moved to roomier space at College and University avenues, the current location of the All Saints Catholic Newman Center. By 1957, through the stewardship of the Hughes family, the ten-acre campus on Rural Road had its beginnings.

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Propositions, Meth Labs and AZ

10-28-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A relief break, from looking into the sad goings-on in the ecclesiastical world is certainly in order. Then again looking at the outside landscape isn’t so uplifting either. One of the candidates running for US Senate in AZ was quoted as saying, “These women who act like staying at home, leeching off their husbands or boyfriends, and just cashing the checks is some sort of feminism because they’re choosing to live that life,” she told Scottsdale nightlife magazine 944. “That’s bulls***. I mean, what the f*** are we really talking about here.” Well, I for one want to stand up for those women who “stay at home” since we have lots of them in our community.

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Not About You

10-21-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Over the last several weeks I’ve heard from many survivors of abuse, both at the hands of priests and others. The scope of how many people sexual abuse in general touches is really mind-numbing. But I tell those who were abused that the first step out of the damage of abuse is to realize that it was not about you. It was never about you, it was always about the abuser and his or her sickness and sin.

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Vatican vs Trump-Putin?

10-14-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The Viganò-Vatican vitriolic verbiage is starting to sound like something worthy of a Dan Brown novel. In a second published letter, Archbishop Viganò challenges several Vatican officials by name to reveal what they knew about the behavior of former Cardinal, McCarrick. One of them, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the head of the Vatican Congregation that assists the Pope in appointing Bishops, responded with a long and acerbic public letter.

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Poisonous By Nature

10-07-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The sagas of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominee for the US Supreme Court and Dr. Kermitt Gosnell, convicted killer, both intersect over abortion and the mistreatment of women. Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist was convicted of the homicide of women on whom he performed abortions and the death of multiple infants, who were born alive. The fierce opposition to Kavanaugh is at its bottom line over abortion, specifically whether or not he represents the deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Once again, we see how abortion poisons everything.

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The Award Goes to...

09-30-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The First-Place award for how NOT to handle an allegation of sexual assault goes to: Sen. Diane Feinstein of CA. Congratulations Senator for demonstrating extreme self-centeredness in using an alleged victim of sexual assault as a political prop. Someone in her leadership position is required by law, when they receive an allegation of this nature that includes the name of the alleged victim, alleged perpetrator and approximate location and time frame, to report the allegation to law enforcement, in this case to the Montgomery County, Maryland Police. By not reporting it she is probably guilty of the crime of failure to report (and so is the counselor to whom this allegation was first made in 2012 if it included the same information). Every one of you who have completed our Safe Environment Training knows this is the procedure to report an allegation. How is it that a lawmaker who helped make the law for mandatory reporting doesn't herself follow it? If the Senator loses her upcoming re-election bid she could always try her hand a being a Bishop.

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Picking Real Winners

09-23-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite novelists, Graham Greene wrote a short novel entitled, Monsignor Quixote. It's a humorous story of the adventures of a Spanish Priest from a small town who through a fluke is named a Monsignor by the Vatican much to the chagrin of his Bishop. The Bishop eventually suspends him as it’s just too much for the Bishop to have this lowly, unimportant, small-town priest to wear the robes of a monsignor. The irony is that Quixote is a very delightful, humorous man who is very well versed in Catholicism and ultimately is mortally wounded trying to save a statue of the Virgin Mary from being desecrated. The story is an ecclesiastical version of The Man of La Mancha in many ways.

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Necessary Clarifications

09-16-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In 2017 there were 1,207 allegations of child abuse by Pennsylvania public school employees. There were 280 reports alone in Philadelphia. In 2017, in the Catholic Church in all 50 US States and its territories, there were 24 allegations of abuse by Catholic priests. Six of the twenty-four allegations were determined to be substantiated and of those six, four were against the same priest. It would seem that child abuse by a priest is a thing of the past. But what about child abuse by Public School teachers?

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Who will be strong and stand with me?

09-09-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Do you hear the people sing,
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.

Will you join in our crusade
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see
?

Les Misérables: Final Lyrics

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Double Standards?

09-02-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The sworn memorandum by Archbishop Carlo Viganó, confirms things I wrote in my previous letter, albeit on a much larger scale. The media’s reporting on his testimony is quite curious. While this is potentially one of the biggest scandals in Church history, and we have had a few doosies over the centuries, the media is being very restrained in a lot of its coverage. (Of course, I realize that no story, no matter how big can compete with Trump-amania.) In the Reuters reporting, while they stated Viganó’s allegations they were quick to add that “no evidence was presented”. Other outlets stated that the document lacked proof or documentation to back up the claims. Fair enough. The same for the Archbishop’s recalling of a private conversation with Pope Francis in which he said he informed him that McCarrick had a very substantial file on him that the Pope should review, the media called that conversation “unsubstantiated”. Strange that the same media took as Gospel truth James Comey’s account of the private conversation he had with the President.

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