Category Archives: Faith & the Public Order

Jesuit priest murdered in Homs Syria

Jesuit Father Alex Bassili, socius to the Provincial of the Jesuits in Middle East Province, reported earlier today, Monday, April 7, 2014, at about 8 am, Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt was been abducted by armed men, who beat him and then murdered with two bullets in the head, in front of the Jesuit residence in Homs, Syria.

Vatican Radio reports

Father Frans van der Lugt (April 10, 1938-April 7, 2014) was born in the Netherlands and entered the Society of Jesus in 1959.

He was missioned to Syria for the last 50 years working in education as a psychologist and in a project for handicapped people. With the Syrian civil war Father wanted to remain with the local population in the Centre of Homs as a man of peace.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace pray for Father Frans van der Lugt.
Saint Ignatiius, pray for us.

Ukrainian Catholics flee Crimea

Archbishop Shevchuk speaks during news conference in RomeThe politics regarding the Crimea are not that complex to comprehend; the history is muddled because there is a severe allergy to facts. There is only so long you can lie about your history. Just as there is a rise in the Muslim world of the notion of a caliphate, so is there a push in many sectors of the Putin government for a “new Tzar.” The mentality of extending and exerting political control supposed Russian lands. There is a not so subtle push by some members of the Russian Orthodox Church to act as the Third Rome (with all the negative aspects of this notion). In recent days the reality of Christian-on-Christian persecution has surfaced in Crimea. What a scandal to the beauty of the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Jonathan Luxmoore of Catholic Herald UK posted his article, “Priest: Ukrainian Catholics flee Crimea to escape threats of arrest.

The Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Byzantine Church Shevchuk has asked priests to dedicate Ukraine to Mary’s protection on April 6, to help calm “hearts filled with anxiety for the future.”

There is a service of prayer scheduled here in CT for Peace and Democracy in Ukraine

Principal Celebrants:
The Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair
His Excellency Bishop Paul Chomnycky

Church of the Sacred Heart
158 Broad Street
New Britain, Connecticut

SUNDAY, APRIL 6, 2014 
6 p.m.

Please join clergy and laity from the Ukrainian, Polish, Greek, Armenian, Lithuanian
and other communities in solidarity and prayer for the future of Ukraine.

Co-sponsored by
The Archdiocese of Hartford
The Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Stamford
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and
The Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation

Assisted Suicide picks up steam in Connecticut

Assisted suicide is gaining a little popularity in Connecticut with Senator Edward Meyer’s bill, S.B. 48, “An Act Concerning Physician-Assisted Suicide.” In the bill it is written that the bill would “…permit a competent person who is suffering from a terminal illness to take his or her life through the self-administration of prescribed medication.”
Senator Meyer is a state senator representing Branford, North Branford, Guilford, Durham, Killingworth and Madison (Connecticut’s 12 district). In 2009, a similar bill was introduced but defeated.

You’ll remember that Massachusetts voters narrowly defeated a proposition in the 2012 elections. The AP is now reporting that a half-dozen states are now proposing bills supporting legalized assisted suicide. Is there an honest shift in thinking in these united States? What is claimed is that there is strong support for such.

In some circles it’s thought that a very small group of people in the USA are in favor of assisted suicide but they are organized, with money, and capable of capitalizing on the fears of the chronically ill, the disabled and the elderly. One group is poised to become the Planned Parenthood of the assisted suicide movement called Compassion and Choices. But what about the opposition?

In the media you’ll hear lots about the Catholic opposition to assisted suicide and you’ll be told that few others are interested in these questions. There is, so to speak, a coalition of peoples with diverse philosophies have organized opposition, namely,
  • medical professionals
  • advocates for the poor
  • disability rights activists
  • mental health professionals
  • pro life peoples (Christians and non Christians)
  • “egalitarian liberals”
The issue is not a Catholic moral matter, it is a human one. Assisted suicide is based on false premises of human dignity and meaning. True that the Catholics in Massachusetts under the leadership of Cardinal Sean O’Malley helped to defeat the “Question 2” but they didn’t do it alone. There was help by the ghost of the late Senator Edward Kennedy divined by his widow who wrote a persuasive-enough OP-ED piece convincing some to vote down the bill proposal. Of course, the Kennedy family is seen by practicing, faithful Catholics as being a left-wing ideological group of politicos, and therefore not a reliable barometer for Catholic thinking and moral life. Nevertheless, Mrs. Kennedy did rally support against the assisted suicide bill.
Jason Negri and Dominican Father Christopher Saliga authored a helpful review/analysis in an essay published by the Catholic Information Service (Knights of Columbus), “Freedom to Flourish: A Catholic Analysis of Doctor -Prescribed Suicide and Euthanasia” (2011).
You may also be interested in a Kindle essay (14 pages) by Christopher Veniamin, “Euthanasia: A Theological Approach.”

The Church outlasts oppression

Catholic Church outlastingI saw this picture the other day and thought: “how clever, how true.” Every form of oppression has collapsed on itself rather than bring true human freedom. Reflecting on the historical legacy of Communism, Cardinal Ratzinger writes,

“No one can any longer seriously deny that what was supposed to be a movement to bring freedom was, along with National Socialism, the greatest system of slavery in modern history: the extent of the cynical destruction of human beings and of the world is very often passed over in shame and silence, but no one can deny it any longer” (Truth and Tolerance, 233).

Stalinism alive and well in the Ukraine: Church faces crisis

Archbishop UkraineReligious Freedom, the freedom to worship, and the freedom to live by a fully formed conscience (all three are not the same things) are not only crucial issues for the citizens of the USA, Egypt, the Sudan, parts of Asia, but also for various places in Europe but further East, in Russia. Religious freedom is the basis of all freedoms.

Joseph Ratzinger wrote an article sometime ago on freedom and truth where he said, “freedom is the theme that most characterizes modernity.” We could also say that Americans most care about, but freedom is not just an American thing, it is a human thing that all people want to enjoy. From the American dream which is the achievement of freedom, human development we to need to sustain a work that helps all peoples, not just Catholics but Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims and the like, be truly free.


Of late, the Christians in the Ukraine are being forced to re-live Stalinist power plays to shout down the Church. The Catholics in the Ukraine, especially the Byzantine Catholics as lived in The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), are facing political fights with the state over the right to pray in public and to pray in public for the good of the nation. Here we have a keen issue of how faith and the public order intersect. Looks like a new John Paul II has risen…

George Weigel outlines the scene in his article in a  National Review (January 14, 2014), “The Exhaust Fumes of Stalinism.” Weigel is good a pointing to the fact that culture, faith and good political order has been the hallmark of the Church: the dignity of the person and the God-given rights were only help up and promoted by the Church. A Church that is not beholding to state pressures and coercion. Metropolitan Shevchuk is articulating the hope and the path forward…

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory