Fr Stephen Smuts

Archive for July 16th, 2011

Statue Destroying Vandals

with one comment

Vandals attack more Catholic churches:

After statues were damaged at Catholic churches in Cherry Hill earlier this week, vandals have struck again, with four Catholic churches in the township and one in Mount Laurel having been hit in all, authorities said Friday.

The spree – costing thousands of dollars in damage – prompted police to upgrade the offense from criminal mischief to a “bias crime.”

It also has caused investigators to redouble their efforts to track down those responsible.

“We’re going to make the maximum effort on this,” Detective Sgt. Joseph Vitarelli, a Cherry Hill police spokesman, said Friday.

St. Thomas More Church in the 1400 block of Springdale Road in Cherry Hill was one of the first churches struck, between 5 p.m. Monday and 7 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

An eight-foot Italian marble statue of Mary was knocked over and broken in three pieces.

Vandals returned to St. Thomas More late Thursday or early Friday to damage more statues, authorities said.

A statue of Mary and the infant Jesus at Queen of Heaven Church, 700 W. Marlton Pike, Cherry Hill, also was shattered late Monday or early Tuesday, police said. The figures stood about five feet tall, police said. The heads were knocked off.

During the same period, vandals hit Holy Eucharist Catholic Church in the 300 block of Kresson Road in Cherry Hill, where they damaged a statue of Mary, authorities said.

They struck again between Thursday and Friday, knocking over a statue of Mary, investigators said.

In another incident over the last two days, a statue of Mary was damaged at the Catholic Church of St. Mary in the 2000 block of Springdale Road in Cherry Hill. The statue’s hands were knocked off, police said.

The vandalism spread during the same period to Mount Laurel in Burlington County, where 33 statues in a grotto were damaged at St. John Neumann Church in the 500 block of Walton Avenue. The hands of some of the figures were knocked off, police said.

The damage appeared to indicate that the statues had been struck by an object, possibly a baseball bat, Vitarelli said.

“This is a bias incident,” Vitarelli said. “It’s crazy.”

“It’s one thing to push over a statue onto the grass. When that happens, you pick it up and put it back,” he said. “But this is blatant.”…

Terrible. I hope the catch the wicked perpetrators very soon.

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 16, 2011 at 22:53

Why Has Britain Turned Into A Giant Rubbish Bin?

with one comment

In Trash and Truth, writes Fr Dwight Longenecker:

Theodore Darymple writes here about modern trashy Britain. Litter, litter everywhere and nary a one to pick it up. The highways and byways of Britain, he says, are like one huge rubbish bin.

Darymple chronicles modern life with a jaundiced eye and is a critic of the left wing intelligentsia who have created an underclass of humanity who are dependent on the state, riddled with STDs, increasingly alcoholic and addicted, immoral and depraved. He’s a retired prison doctor. He’s worked with the people he writes about.

Lest we point the finger at our English cousins too much, America is going rapidly in the same direction. Why do people litter? Because they do not take personal responsibility for their actions. Why do they not take personal responsibility? Because they have been brought up to believe that the state will be their nanny. “I can throw litter. Somebody else employed by the local authority will pick it up.” Why does a person have this attitude? Because their mother taught it to them. I say “Mother” because chances are their father wasn’t on the scene at all.

Mother had a baby when she was fourteen because the state would provide her with an apartment, benefits, a weekly check (so she can buy ciggies and a lottery card) and all the goodies she needs for baby. There will be a social worker who drops by now and again to see that she’s okay and so she has another baby that the state will take care of for her. All this does is breed a dependent underclass who go on to have more kids who are also dependent on the state. Thus the great and cruel irony that Socialism creates poverty. It doesn’t cure it.

All of these are conclusions that Darymple would agree with. What he does not do is take the argument to the next level. Darymple’s an atheist who is sympathetic to the societal benefits of religion. However, the societal benefits of religion are not enough. The reason a person litters and does not take personal responsibility is that his mother didn’t teach him to, but behind that is the breakdown of the family, and behind that is a lack of personal sexual responsibility and behind that is a rejection of Christian morality and behind that is a rejection of Christian anthropology and behind that is a rejection of the notion that man is created in God’s image and behind that is a rejection of the creator himself.

Every argument is a theological argument. It’s simple: while I am not saying every atheist is a litterbug, it is true on a grand scale that disbelief in God leads to lack of personal responsibility which leads to trash. When a society (or an individual) departs from God and his truth eventually all you have is trash.

Litter in the streets is a sort of sacrament of this reality.

That’s why Our Lord’s image of Hell as ‘Gehenna’ is so apt. Gehenna was a huge landfill trash dump outside the city of Jerusalem. The sewers flowed into Gehenna. People dumped their garbage in Gehenna. Corpses of criminals were thrown there. It stank. It was fetid. The burning trash fires never went out. The maggots feasting on the garbage thrived and never died. This is where the trash was thrown and Our Lord (forgetting for a moment his ‘Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild persona’) says that’s what happens to the human trash: they get thrown out into Gehenna.

To deepen the horror further, in Old Testament times the same valley of Gehenna was where children who were the product of the orgiastic worship of Baal and Asherah were sacrificed to Moloch…a society following a religion that worships sex and treats their own children as trash.

So think about that next time you see some litter… (he said cheerfully!)

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 16, 2011 at 15:54

On This Day Our Lady of Mount Carmel

leave a comment »

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 16, 2011 at 15:30

Lead, Kindly Light…

leave a comment »

I’ve been at a 40th anniversary celebration Mass of  Ordination to the Priesthood for most of the morning. What a glorious celebration it was! Now one of the hymns chosen was this one. Penned by John Henry Cardinal Newman, the words are superb:

While tra­vel­ing in Ita­ly as a young priest, John New­man fell ill and stayed at Castle Gi­o­van­ni al­most three weeks. Fi­nal­ly, he was well enough con­tin­ue his jour­ney to Pa­ler­mo:

Before start­ing from my inn, I sat down on my bed and began to sob bit­ter­ly. My ser­vant, who had act­ed as my nurse, asked what ailed me. I could only an­swer, “I have a work to do in En­gland.” I was ach­ing to get home, yet for want of a ves­sel I was kept at Pa­ler­mo for three weeks. I began to vis­it the church­es, and they calmed my im­pa­tience, though I did not at­tend any ser­vices. At last I got off in an orange boat, bound for Mar­seilles. We were be­calmed for whole week in the Straits of Bon­i­fa­cio, and it was there that I wrote the lines, “Lead, Kind­ly Light,” which have since be­come so well known. 

And here are the words:

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

Oh and congratulations Fr Roger Hickley, a splendid morning it was!

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 16, 2011 at 15:25


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 937 other followers