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Seek Christ’s peace, justice

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ bring peace to your heart! As our summer continues so pleasantly, it is easy perhaps to think that we need God less. But does it make any sense to turn to God less when he has blessed us more? The joys of this season should bring us closer to God in our gratitude, so that our faith will be the stronger to bear us up in future difficulties. God is always close to us, in every situation, as we know if we have the eyes of faith open to see.

One hundred years ago this month, the nations of Europe were attempting to avoid the outbreak of what would become “the Great War,” now called World War I. Their diplomacy failed in large part because they were not sincere in their desire for peace. Nobody, of course, wanted the war they ended up having, but neither did they expect such a war. They expected something like the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, which saw only a few weeks of active fighting. With such expectations, nations were quite willing to threaten war in order to gain concessions from their rivals. Each thought someone else would back down first. In the end, no one did back down, and threats of war turned into actions of war. Thus most of Europe, along with their global colonies, fell into the surreal slaughter of the next four years.

Recalling these events underscores the wisdom of Pope Paul VI, who, in his 1972 address for the World Day of Peace, paraphrased the great prophet Isaiah in saying, “If you want peace, work for justice” (see Is 32:17). He meant something quite specific by this, a Christ-centered and Scriptural concept of “peace” and “justice” that is not the same as our secular or cultural idea. He said, “[Peace] coincides with the supreme good of man as he makes his way through time….Peace is not treachery (see Job 15:21). Peace is not a lie made into a system (see Jer 6:14). Much less is it pitiless totalitarian tyranny. Nor is it, in any way, violence….[I]f we look for its true source, we find that it is rooted in a sincere feeling for man. A peace that is not the result of true respect for man is not true peace. And what do we call this sincere feeling for man? We call it justice.”

The world today, even our own beloved country, is not closer to this vision of peace and justice than it was four decades ago. The secular idea of justice does not see the individual human person, but only some of the person’s characteristics. Everyone is grouped and categorized, especially according to the criteria of race, class, and gender. “Justice” is reduced to the claim that this group is treated better or worse than that group, and almost any means are acceptable to enforce “equality,” even when doing so actually perpetrates more injustice and inequality. This is why some people cannot see a difference between “contraception” and “abortifacient,” for example, and why the person of the child in the womb who is killed, or the conscience of the person forced to assist, matters nothing to them.

The power of the law is great – and in general good and necessary, tending to peace and justice – but it is not great enough to weld together “justice” with “abortion” or “freedom of religion” with “check your conscience at the door.” Far too few of our friends and neighbors, even those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ, have a concept of “peace” and “justice” informed by the word of God. Self-interest is not a reliable gauge of that “sincere feeling for others” of which Pope Paul VI preached. As citizens, we must not expect others to bend before our own self-interest, while threatening legislative or judicial “violence,” as the promoters of same-sex so-called marriage have done for the past decade. Such attitudes only provoke greater division, inviting retaliation with the same means and leading to more conflict.

Instead, we must truly seek the “supreme good,” as Pope Paul VI said, and do so with a “sincere feeling” for our neighbor which is Christ-like love. The supreme good is union with God in heaven, but even in purely worldly terms, there are universal things and ideas which point to God, helping us in this life to be open to His love and to final union with him. Most of these goods are knowable by reason, and in our traditional Catholic vocabulary we call this “natural law.” The final seven of the Ten Commandments are a worthy summary of the principles of this natural law, and the world would certainly be a much better place if all of us, especially those with power and influence, did a better job of living up to these principles.

As Catholics, we are, or should be, sincerely committed to Christ’s peace and justice. The worldly justice we pursue is only a reflection of perfect divine justice. Therefore, there can be no division between justice and truth, or between justice and the human person. This is why “evil may not be done, even if good may come of it,” and why “law serves the person, not the person the law.”

As we work and pray diligently for Christ’s peace and justice in our homes and our country, let us not neglect also to pray for our own conversion of heart and conformity to the saving passion of our Lord.
Please pray for me, so that I may serve you as your shepherd, just as I pray constantly for all of you and your needs.

Your brother in Christ,

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City

schedule

Bishop Nickless schedule for July 24 to August 24

July 24 – Sioux City Celebration of Mass and visit with residents, 10:30 a.m., Holy Spirit Retirement Home

July 25 – Sioux City Briar Cliff University Board of Trustees meeting, 8 a.m., Stark Student Center
Sioux City Finance Council meeting, 11 a.m., Chancery offices

July 26 – Sioux City Celebration of Mass at the 10th Charismatic Hispanic Congress, 9 a.m.,
Long Lines Family Rec Center

July 27 – Manson Celebration of Mass at Camp Totus Tuus, 11:45 a.m., Twin Lakes Campground

July 31 – Sioux City Priests Pension Board meeting, 11 a.m., Chancery offices

August 3 – Sioux City Celebration of Mass, 5 p.m., Cathedral of the Epiphany

August 4-6 – Lake Okoboji Annual seminarian gathering, Vianney House

August 14 – Sioux City College of Consultors meeting, noon, Chancery Offices

August 17 – Sioux City Celebration of Mass, 5 p.m., Cathedral of the Epiphany

August 18 – Algona Groundbreaking ceremony, 6 p.m., Bishop Garrigan High School

August 19 – Sioux City Celebration of Mass and blessing of new fine arts building, 8:30 a.m.,
Cathedral of the Epiphany and Bishop Heelan High School

August 19-20 – South Sioux City New and reassigned priests meeting, Marina Inn

August 22 – Sioux City Blessing of new chapel and consecration of the altar, 4 p.m., Bishop Heelan High School

August 23 – Sioux City Celebration of Mass and Bishop’s Circle Membership Gathering, 4 p.m.,
St. Joseph Church

August 24 – Ayrshire Celebration of Mass and 125th Anniversary, 10 a.m., Sacred Heart Church

 

 

7-24-14: Seek Christ’s peace, justice

6-26-14: Thanks for priesthood, blessing of freedom

6-12-14: Pentecost offers an opportunity for transformation in our hearts

5-29-14: Holy Spirit does not come to visit us one day a year; he is always present

5-15-14: Celebrating mothers, Mary in May

4-17-14: Lenten pilgrimage reaches its end

4-3-14: Carry the cross: Lenten journey brings sacrifices, but don't sacrifice religious freedom

3-20-14: Live vocations joyfully, faithfully

3-6-14: Beginning the pilgrimage of Lent

2-20-14: Lent a time of preparation, renewal, rededication

2-6-14: Our Super Bowl goal is heaven

1-23-14: Striving to bring light and love of Jesus Christ to all

1-9-14: Ordinary time is anything but ordinary

12-19-13: Behold the saving power of the helpless infant

12-5-13: 'Put on Christ' more thoroughly this Advent

11-21-13: Year of Faith brings many blessings for diocese

11-7-13: No simple answer to complexity of HHS mandate

10-17-13: Preparing for our spiritual winters

10-3-13: Preaching the Gospel with whole lives

9-19-13: Work for peace in our own hearts

9-5-13: Church offers unique vision on subject of immigration

8-22-13:The Blessed Virgin Mary invites us to entrust her with daily concerns

7-25-13:Faith, example of Christ teach us daily duties have important spiritual benefits

7-11-13: Rule of St. Benedict: Vision built on foundation of prayer and work

6-27-13: Bishop says: If you do not witness faith consistently, you may lose it

6-13-13: Bishop encourages: 'Diligently seek Christ'

5-16-13: Spring brings Pentecost and graduations

5-2-13: Christ remains present to us through Catholic Church

4-4-13: Celebrating the Easter octave: Rejoicing in the risen Lord

3-21-13: Easter Blessings: Resurrection can transform the world

3-7-13: Faith and Hope: Pray for College of Cardinals, those entering the church

2-21-13: Lenten season: Time to be shaken out of regular routines

2-7-13: Lenten season: Use time to grow in faith, hope and love

1-24-13: Many special events slated for coming weeks

1-10-13: Year of Faith: Make time for prayer in the new year

12-20-12: The joyful anticipation of Christ’s birth

11-29-12: Preparing internally, externally during Advent

11-1-12: Path to holiness is simple and clear

10-18-12: Be willing to live and die as true followers of Christ

10-4-12: Strengthen and renew relationship with Jesus during Year of Faith

9-20-12: Gospel can heal, unify: divisions in culture and politics

8-23-12: Form consciences according to teachings of Christ

8-9-12: Stay strong in fidelity to vocation

7-26-12: All in need of continuing conversion and closeness to Christ

7-12-12: July closes Fortnight for Freedom, brings pastor changes

6-28-12: Bishop addresses important church and national topics

6-14-12: Give generously to Peter's Pence

5-31-12: Two ordinations and national campaign on agenda

5-17-12: Mary leads us to her son Jesus

4-19-12: Sharing Easter blessings and urging support of religious freedom

4-5-12: Easter Alleluia: Message spreads light, hope and joy

3-22-12: Back from Rome, work continues to stop HHS contraception mandate

3-8-12: Collection to Support Catholic relief agencies

2-23-12: Lenten Message: Turn to Jesus through prayer, fasting, good works

2-9-12: Time to rid life of Catholic compromises and deny temption of the devil

2-9-12: Lent: Time to build solidarity with the poor

1-26-12: Bishop addresses serious topics related to threats on life

1-26-12: Catholic schools teach faith, academics and service

1-12-12: All share common vocation to holiness

12-22-11: Supporting Catholic Charities

12-8-11: Advent: How our preparations poing to Christ

11-24-11: Advent prepares the faithful for the coming of Jesus

11-10-11: Making announcement as Bishop of Sioux City

10-27-11: Giving glory to God, honoring holy men and women

9-29-11: October brings various life issues to forefront

9-15-11: Holy Eucharist: Christ’s entire body, blood, soul, divinity present

9-1-11: Keehe sanctiping tty of marriage at the forefront

8-18-11: May new school year allow youth to grow in wisdom and grace

7-21-11: Reflections on appointment to diocese, generosity of people

6-23-11: Bishop answers questions about recent meeting

6-9-11: Summer brings a time of change, for better or worse

5-12-11: Wishing parishioners a joy-filled Easter season

4-14-11: Journey to Easter: Darkness makes way for new light

3-17-11: The promise of glory provides hope during Lent

3-3-11: Striving to live up to the promises of the Cross

2-3-11: The inestimable gift of the holy sacraments

1-20-11: Bishop celebrates five years of ministry in diocese

1-6-11: Vocations Awareness Week: Everyone has at least on clear vocation from God

12-16-10: Christmas joy: Our Lord among us

12-2-10: Advent season brings hope

11-4-10: November: Celebrating saints, praying for dead and giving thanks

10-21-10: Participate in election with Christ as guide

9-23-10: Catholic Charities Sunday set for Sept. 26

9-9-10: Hold firmly to precious gift of faith

8-12-10: Bishop addresses current issues: Immigration and same-sex marriage

7-15-10: Church can support couples in forming holy, happy marriages

7-1-10: Summer brings chance to rejuvenate body and spirituality

5-20-10: Practicing virtures of humility and modesty

5-6-10: Bishop Nickless reflects on joyous occasions, immigration

4-22-10: Bishop Nickless addresses sacramentals and indulgences

3-25-10: EASTER: The center of God's plan for salvation

3-11-10: Instill hearts with committed foundation for paschal joy

2-25-10: Bishop addresses vocations, marriage life issues and health care

2-11-10: LENT: Special time to wean lives of sin

1-28-10: Grasping meaning of suffering creates source of hope

1-14-10: Bishop addresses social and faith issues

11-20-08: Bishop gives thanks for blessings

11-13-08: Give thanks for God’s blessings

11-6-08: Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran, bishops to meet in Baltimore

10-30-08: Called to die to self, live only in Christ

10-23-08: Belonging to God and what that means

10-16-08: Church continues mission of Christ by rejecting culture of death

10-9-08: October - a busy month

10-2-08: Life is a gift of God's love

9-18-08: The Word of God in life and mission of church

9-11-08: Thoughts on life issues and faith education

9-4-08: VOTING: Understanding the issues at stake

 

 

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