Happy All Hallows Eve! also known as Hallowe’en! Today is the first of three days (triduum) that the Church observes, followed by All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The three-fold observance commemorates the reality of heaven and hell, the communion of saints, and our obligation to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. (Morning Offering from the Catholic Company)
Today is also the 501st anniversary of what is generally called the Protestant Reformation, but sometimes referred to as the “Protestant Revolt.” One of the issues that Fr. Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, had with the Roman Catholic Church was the doctrine of Purgatory. It seems he never denied it, but disagreed with some points regarding it.
Great news comes out of Pakistan today. Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi who was condemned to death in 2010 for blasphemy. A wife and mother of five children, she has been on death row for eight years awaiting her execution for allegedly having blasphemed the prophet Mohammed. Both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis had appealed for her release. This is a major victory for Asia Bibi, and potentially for others who have been accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. However, it is hard to predict as riots broke out in that country after the ruling.
The Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act would allow adults who received a prognosis of less than six months to live access to prescription medication that would end their lives. (News 12 New Jersey) There is strong support for this bill in the New Jersey legislature and it is likely to pass the Assembly. In previous attempts the Senate never took it up because then Governor Chris Christie guaranteed his veto. Current Governor Phil Murphy supports the bill, and so unless the populace expresses its opposition to the bill it will likely become law, making New Jersey the sixth state, plus the District of Columbia to allow doctors to prescribe medication to end someone’s life. Seventy percent of New Jerseyans support the bill becoming law. Last Sunday I heard a very good presentation from Monsignor Louis Marucci of St. Andrew the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. Read his letter to the New Jersey Assembly in the church bulletin for October 28, 2018 here.
November brings us the mid-term elections. There are plenty of reasons to be praying and to vote. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be meeting in Baltimore during the second week of November. They have a lot to process in light of all the disturbing and distressing news that has become public since the revelations concerning ex-Cardinal McCarrick on June 20. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to get with family. I’m looking forward to joining my wife, my sister and her husband in Florida to spend time with my dad and stepmother. We certainly have so much to be thankful for.