By Fr. George Welzbacher
April 7, 2013
As we conclude our week-long celebration of Christ's definitive triumph over sin and death, we renew today, on this, The Divine Mercy Sunday, our commitment to choose God first, foremost and always, to the exclusion of any and every counterfeit god. And to the extent that we are genuinely penitent for ALL of our sins without exception we have assurance from Christ our Lord that full forgiveness for those sins will be granted. Christ is in truth the friend of sinners, the Good Shepherd who rejoices at recovering His lost sheep. He has assured us that "there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous who have no need of repentance." But precisely because He IS the friend of sinners He is NOT the friend of SIN. In no way can He be the friend of anything that causes spiritual harm, anything that takes us away from Him, conscience- dulling "Newthink" to the contrary notwithstanding. Wounded human nature being what it is, the statement we so often hear today to the effect that "God loves us JUST the way we are", with no real need to change, is false. Christ's preaching of the Kingdom of God began with the command "REPENT!" Precisely because He loves us as we OUGHT to be, He CANNOT look with indifference on our remaining FAR FROM what we ought to be. But He is eager to give us all the help that we need (and then some!) so that we CAN BECOME that which we ought to be and thus not risk hearing on Judgment Day those fearsome words: "I know you NOT." On Divine Mercy Sunday He offers us that help with abounding generosity.
On Divine Mercy Sunday we can gain a plenary indulgence, that is to say, the full remission of all of the temporal punishment due to our sins, when the following elements are present:
1. Genuine REGRET for EVERY sin we have ever committed, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, together with a humble resolve to strive in the future for a more generous surrender to God's holy will.
2. Reception of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion within a week before or after Divine Mercy Sunday.
3. Participation in the Divine Mercy Devotions.
Here at St. John's the Divine Mercy Devotions will begin at 2 o'clock this Sunday afternoon. The chaplet of Divine Mercy will be recited, together with other prayers. A homily will be given and the ceremony will conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Confessions will be heard throughout the entire observance. I heartily endorse your taking part in these devotions.
In addition to prayer for the forgiveness of our PERSONAL sins we would do well to beg forgiveness for the sins that burden our NATIONAL conscience, and for the guilt thus accruing in which we undeniably share, IF we approve of those sins. Such sins are many indeed and they are appalling: sexual perversion, deadly in itself but now, still worse, ever more widely hailed as worthy of parity before the law with a Sacrament of God; widespread cohabitation WITHOUT commitment; endemic frustration WITHIN the married state of marriage's primary purpose; and most heinous of all, the ongoing systematic murder of millions - fifty-five million and counting - of the innocent and helpless, this last of our nation's sins a crime that cries out to God for SPECIAL vengeance. "There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil , a false witness who breathes out lies, a man who sows discord among brothers, and HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD." (Proverbs 6:16-19) And again: "He who destroys the temple of God, him will God destroy! And that temple you are." (I Corinthians 3:17).
Divine vengeance may not be far off.
* * * * *May I share with you here a sobering appraisal of the danger that, in a world of accelerating proliferation of nuclear weapons, is staring our nation in the face, yet about which for the past several years we have done little or nothing! John Kyl, recently retired after many years of service as Senator from Arizona, his voice long one of the most respected in our nation's capitol, addressed in a recent op-ed essay in the Wall Street Journal our disastrous neglect of effective anti-missile defense.
In the Old Testament era divine vengeance on an apostate people of God took the form of attack and conquest by hostile foreign nations, to wit, the Assyrians and Babylonians. And today?
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America's Nuclear Deterrent - and Defenses - are Eroding Fast
The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2013
Thirty years ago, on March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan changed history by announcing his commitment to developing and deploying a system of missile defense to protect America from Soviet missile attack. He said, "I've become more and more deeply convinced that the human spirit must be capable of rising above dealing with other nations and human beings by threatening their existence."
The result was the Strategic Defense Initiative, an unprecedented, scientific effort to develop the capability to intercept and destroy attacking enemy missiles. The Soviets knew they could not compete with SDI, and Reagan's initiative has been credited with hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Fast forward to today. What is the status of missile defense and the nuclear weapons that remain the foundation of the U.S. strategic deterrent? Sadly, despite great scientific and technological success, both programs are in jeopardy. Neither is likely to fare well under President Obama, who advocates "nuclear zero" and is no fan of missile defense. The president is on course to systematically REDUCE America's capabilities in both areas DESPITE specific commitments he made while securing bipartisan support for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with Russia.
Recent North Korean nuclear and long-range missile tests prompted the administration to add 14 ground-based interceptors in Alaska-where they will be part of a system that uses radar and missiles to destroy incoming enemy warheads-in addition to the 30 already deployed on the West Coast to defend the homeland. Yet this merely gets us back to the numerical level planned during the Bush administration-and WITHOUT the technological improvements in ground-based interceptors, or GBIs, that the Bush administration supported.
As a result, the U.S. national missile defense will continue to rely on OBSOLETE 1980s "kill vehicle" technology involving kinetic energy and small warheads. At 44 GBIs, the system should be effective against the current threat from North Korea, but NOT against an attack from countries like Russia and China with more robust and mature capabilities.
The U.S. has CANCELED the FINAL phase of the Europe-based missle-defease system, which was to have included NATO allies such as Poland as the hosts of sensors and other elements of the system. This will please Russia. But it means that the Aegis system the Navy uses to track enemy missiles and guide American ones will be LESS capable of protecting Europe--from Iran, for instance-and offer even LESS protection for the U.S. The ASSURANCE of deploying the FINAL phase of missile defense IN EUROPE was the Obama administration's PRETEXT FOR CAPPING THE IMPROVEMENT of America's GBI system.
On missile defense, then, the U.S. is now stuck with numbers and technology capable of dealing ONLY WITH LOW-LEVEL threats.
U.S. modernization programs - to extend the life of America's aging ballistic nuclear warheads and modernize its "triad" approach to defense against nuclear attack - are in trouble.
INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILES are the FIRST LEG of the TRIAD. Although Russia is preparing TO FIELD A NEW GENERATION of intercontinental ballistic missiles (one type of which can carry as many as 15 warheads), the Obama administration is still STUDYING WHETHER to develop its own modernized ICBMS.
The planned replacement of the Ohio-class nuclear-ballistic-missile SUBMARINE - the foundation of the SEA-BASED LEG of the triad-has been DELAYED for two years, leaving the force with only 10 boats. As to the third leg, the STRATEGIC-BOMBER FORCE, no DECISION has been made on WHETHER the next generation will even be CAPABLE of delivering nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, a comparison of the 2010 and 2013 budgets submitted by the Energy Department and National Security Agency indicates that the five-year BUDGET for these modernizations has been CUT by some $4.4 billion. That's the SAME amount President Obama had AGREED TO ADD TO SECURE SENATE SUPPORT for the New Start treaty in 2010.
Money wasn't the only promise tied to New Start. The BUILDING of a modern Chemical and Metallurgy Research Replacement facility FOR HANDLING PLUTONIUM was so CRITICAL to senators that it was SPECIFICALLY INCLUDED in the Treaty Resolution of Ratification AND in the president's message to the Senate upon entry of the treaty into force. Yet that facility, so ESSENTIAL FOR MODERNIZATION, HAS BEEN DELAYED AT LEAST FIVE YEARS - tantamount, some say, to KILLING it.
The president cannot be unaware of the implications of such delays. Mr. Obama's own Nuclear Posture Review confirmed that the U.S. cannot reduce warheads under New Start, (or beyond) without completing the infrastructure and the rest of the nuclear modernization program.
The president also risks confrontation with the Senate if he follows through on a reported plan to seek FURTHER REDUCTIONS with Russia BY EXECUTIVE AGREEMENT rather than another treaty. He has already soured relations with some senators who supported New Start on the basis of his now BROKEN budget commitment.
We have come a long way since President Reagan launched SDI. Thirty years ago, we had a very robust nuclear deterrent to make up for the lack of missile defense. President Obama's antipathy to BOTH missile DEFENSE AND our nuclear DETERRENT risks leaving the U.S. and its allies vulnerable not just to attack, but also to nuclear blackmail and proliferation. How much will it cost in the future to make up for the folly of today?
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