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Norbert Bufka

Author  ·  Historian  ·  Bufka Books

Published Articles, Letters, and Blogs

The meaning of Good Friday

Today Christians all over the world remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago. I was taught that my sins as well as all the others were responsible for his death. I was also taught that Jesus died so that our relationship with God would be restored. Adam and Eve destroyed the original good relationship and someone had to restore it., But that meaning of the Cross misses the mark.

Jesus’ mission was to show us how to live  a life of love, healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation.  The more we live like this, the more we are saved from our sins. In this way, Jesus truly redeemed us. His life was so authentic, it challenged the establishment of his and they decided to kill him.  Jesus was true and faithful to the end. We are called to be the same kind of person.

If Jesus had to die to restore our relationship with God, then Judas was a saint because he was necessary for Jesus to be turned over to the establishment. Yet, Jesus said, “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.””  (Matthew 26:24).

Let’s follow Jesus by doing what he did: love all people and act with mercy and compassion.

 

Prayer during pandemic

Most Merciful God,

We come to You in our weakness.

We come to You in our fear.

We come to You with trust.

For You alone are our hope.

We place before You the disease present in our nation and in our world.

We turn to You in our time of need.

Bring wisdom to doctors.

Give understanding to scientists.

Endow caregivers with compassion and generosity.

Bring healing to those who are ill.

Protect those who are most at risk.

Give comfort to those who have lost a loved one.

Welcome those who have died into Your Eternal Home.

Stabilize our communities.

Unite us in our compassion.

Remove all fear from our hearts.

Fill us with confidence in Your care.

We thank you God for the gift of this day. Amen.   

Amen.

Wanton ignorance is evil and dangerous

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in a sermon, : "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

With the ease in communicating through the social media, far too often messages are sent without regard to the facts or the truth. Each of us must be on guard when we receive forwarded emails that do not have a source citation for the facts presented.  Far too often they are opinions and not facts, but too often readers, including me, accept them as factual and truthful because we want to believe them.

I never forward messages before I have verified their authenticity and I delete all the forwarding address fields in order to protect a person’s idenity. .  I urge you to do the same.

Politics are a particularly dangerous minefield of opinions. I have always said that Democrats are interested in people and Republicans are interested in business. We need both the bisness leaders and the people who are employed by businesses and do all the work. For many decades political parties worked together to arrive at common good solutions.

In recent decades, the differences have become much more polarizing and extreme. On the left is Sen Bernie Sanders who is not reluctant to call himself a socialist. On the other side is Lt. Gov. of Texas, Dan Patrick, who thinks old people will willingly give up their lives for the sake of the economy.  How dare he suggest that the economy is more important than life?

Thoughts during a pandemic

 

 

The pandemic we are fighting is a time for all of us to work together individually and collectively so we can get through the crisis with as little damage as possible. Here are some ideas:

Donate to organizations that are already helping people in need. They will need more resources now than ever.

Support people who are unemployed with whatever assistance you can give. This will depend on your status and the status of the recipient.

My parish is continuing to pay the employees during this crisis. i encourage people to increase their donations to the parish and any other non-profits who are continuing to pay their employees.

Instead of going to the grocer store find out if someone at the store will find your items and have them bagged for pickup.

Call or email your friends and relatives to find out how they are doing. The conversation will give you both comfort and support.

Write notes of support or encouragement to anyone, but perhaps those who maybe forgotten.

Focus on other people or a project to keep your mind off worrying, if you tend to be a worrier.

Share these ideas with others and come up with more ways to combat the crisis.

 

Prayer for a Pandemic

 

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

 

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

 

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

 

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.

 

May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.

 

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

 

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

 

As fear grips our country, let us choose love.

 

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

 

Amen.

Catholic voters: do not be deceived by Trump!

After the 2016 election, I learned that 40% of Catholics cat their vote for Donal Trump. I was sick to my stomach. I could not believe that my fellow Catholics could be so off track. After watching Trump in office for over three years, I thought they would come to their senses, but alas! a poll released by the National Catholic   Register, a subsidiary of the very traditional EWTN network, showed that about 40% or more Catholics still support Trump. Young Catholics tend to be lower than 40% but the older they are the more they support Trump. How is this possible, I wonder?

A Catholic friend candidly told me that he has no respect for the man but Trump has done some good things, so he continues to support him. I asked for details. He said the tax cuts of 2017, deregulation, and enforcement of the immigration laws. I was speechless but grateful to hear his comments. Another acquaintance supports him because she says he is “pro-life”. [NB1]   A third one said he reduced the national debt.

The tax cuts did lower taxes for most people but they totally ignored the needs of our country and the rising annual federal deficits, such as $1,000,000,000,000 (that’s 1 trillion in 2019) . The very wealthy should be paying more taxes, not less.

The immigrants seeking entrance into the United States are doing so at the entrances, trying to go through legal channels. They are doing nothing illegal but seeking asylum. The law does not allow family separation nor caging nor disrespecting their human rights. His anti-humanitarian actions are contrary to the Gospel.

Trump’s “pro-life” stance caters to the Catholic single issue voters, who have been told for decades that abortion must be stopped. Making abortion illegal and women and doctors criminals will not solve the issue of abortion. A real “pro-life” program will reduce abortions substantially, however. This stance includes health care for women and their children, not just the fetus. It includes education and other social programs when children are growing up.

Donald Trump is only interested in one thing: himself. He has harped that over and over again. he fires those who disagree with him. He bullies and shames others. he blames others for anything that he considers wrong. He considers himself the “savior” of the United States. This was precisely Hitler’s attitude in the 1930’s in Germany and look what that got Germany.

Wake up before it is too late.


 [NB1]p

Joe Biden is the best candidate for President

Joe Biden was US Senator for many years and Vice President for eight years. He has experience working with people across the aisle and foreign leaders. He knows how government works.

 

Brian Burch of CatholicVote sent an email blasting Biden for his lack of policy initiatives, supporting abortion and gay marriage. Burch’s opposition stems from a narrow view of what it means to be Catholic. While the Catholic bishops continue to hole abortion as the pre-eminent issue,   they also urge voters to take seriously a candidate’s views on the common good. Biden will do that in a moderate style.

Burch stated correctly the Biden was denied communion but that was by a single bishop, not the Church as a whole.  Burch also predicted that Biden will be “exploiting his Catholic identity”. On the contrary it is people like Burch who will wrongly accuse Biden of actions and views that are not conforming to Burch’s brand of Catholicism.

Biden supports programs, like Planned Parenthood, which helps pregnan women to have a healthy baby and helps with post natal care as well. any abortion they provide does not use government funs.  Evidence shows that when women have health care, abortions go down.

Biden stands for fairness, cooperation, the common good. he recognizes that gays are normal human beings and it is time to stop discriminating against them.

So I urge you to vote for Biden on Tuesday in the Michigan Democratic primary.

Joe Biden is the right man for President

Joe Biden was US Senator for many years and Vice President for eight years. He has experience working with people across the aisle and foreign leaders. He knows how government works.

 

Brian Burch of CatholicVote sent an email blasting Biden for his lack of policy initiatives, supporting abortion and gay marriage. Burch’s opposition stems from a narrow view of what it means to be Catholic. While the Catholic bishops continue to hole abortion as the pre-eminent issue,   they also urge voters to take seriously a candidate’s views on the common good. Biden will do that in a moderate style.

Burch stated correctly the Biden was denied communion but that was by a single bishop, not the Church as a whole.  Burch also predicted that Biden will be “exploiting his Catholic identity”. On the contrary it is people like Burch who will wrongly accuse Biden of actions and views that are not conforming to Burch’s brand of Catholicism.

Biden supports programs, like Planned Parenthood, which helps pregnan women to have a healthy baby and helps with post natal care as well. any abortion they provide does not use government funs.  Evidence shows that when women have health care, abortions go down.

Biden stands for fairness, cooperation, the common good. he recognizes that gays are normal human beings and it is time to stop discriminating against them.

So I urge you to vote for Biden on Tuesday in the Michigan Democratic primary.

The firing of Maguire should motivate voters

 

Ever since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, I was wondering when the Republicans would have enough courage to stand up to him. Each time he did something more offensive, I wondered if this would be the act that spurred them onto courage.

Some advisors did stand up to him only to find themselves ouot of a job. still the Republican Senate refused to raise even an eyebrow over these petty actions. The Democrats in the House gave the Senate Republicans an opportunity to stand en bloc against the President, but instead they bowed down in adoration escept for one courageous and honorable man: Mitt Romney, who voted “guilty” on the First Article of Impeachment.

Now that the impeachment is over, Trump has expanded his nefarious actions  by punishing those who dared to speak out against him in the impeachment process. He has fired long time professional career dipomats and he continues to fire people in his own administration because they or an underling dared to do his duties and in the process make Trump look bad.

Such was the case with the firing of Joe Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence, because a deputy director reported to the Congress in accordance with the law that Russia was again interfering with our election process right now in 2020.

Retired navy admiral William McRaven wrote in a column in the Washington Post

 “As Americans, we should be frightened – deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security – then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”

This is only the beginning of the purges. Trump hired 23 year old James Bacon to ferret out disloaylists in the administration, especially in the State and Defense Departments.  

Let this be the final motivation for all citizens to make sure they vote in the primaries and especially the general election in November to ensure we have a person of integrity in the Oval Office. If Trump wins in November, God only knows how much havoc and devastation he can do to our democracy. And if you don’t believe me, then you have not been paying much attenction to what he has been doing since his election in 2016.

 

We are living in the “best” and “worst” of times

Charles Dickins began A Tale of Two Cities with, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” This is a good way to describe our current political life in the United States. Democracy is alive and well in this ongoing experiment in self-government begun in 1776. Women are gathering in protest and rallies not seen for nearly 100 years. Voters have been coming out in record numbers in the special elections that have taken place since the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016. Record numbers voted in the 2018 elections and brought about many changes in leaders and governance. In Michigan voters approved a non-partisan approach to redistricting.

Donald Trump is the worst President in my lifetime. I wrote before the election on October 2, 2016 that he was unfit for office because he is a bully, lacks intellectual curiosity and knowledge, cannot maintain attention to anything more than a fewm minutes, and has total disregard for the meaning of words. He lies constantly. His time in office has proven beyond a doubt the truth of my words in 2016.

The House of Representatives impeached him in 2019 but the Republican controlled Senate voted him not guilty on both Articles: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Only Republican Senator Mitt Romney had the courage and integrity to vote guilty on Article 1.

Now President Trump is wasting no time in punishing those in government who testified against him in the House hearings on impeachment, adding more weight to the argument that he is inept for office. Then he began using his constitutional power to pardon by granting pardons to white collar crminals, many of whom have been associated with Trump.  He is constantly telling us by word and example that he is supreme ruler of this country without any restraints or accountability.

He must be stopped. Let’s keep the momentum going through the elections in November and elect responsible people who are concerned about the Constitution, our form of government, and the common good of our country.

 

Benedict XVI is retired and not the Pope

Pope Benedict XVI retired in 2013, the first time a pope did such in over 600 years. There are no guidelines for him to follow. But it seems to me that once he left the papal office, he should keep his mouth shut or make only general comments about issues in the Church. To do otherwise is disruptive, especially when we consider the deep division in the Roman Catholic Church and many traditionalists support him. He is the co-author of a book in which he says the Church must not allow married men to be priests, although after the book was announced, he said he wanted his name off as an author. He still claims however that the Church must retain the celibate model of priestbood, even though priests were allowed to marry for nearly the first 1200 years of Christianity.  Why then did he allow Anglican married priests to become Catholic and continue their ministry? Why then is a priests allowed to be married in the Eastern rite of the Catholic Church?

Did Pope Benedict’s statement invluence Pope Francis in his just released letter on the Amazon (Querida Amazonia)? In this letter he did not open the door to married men being ordained priests in the Amazon as the Synod on Amazon wanted. On the other hand he did not close the door on married priests nor women deacons.

The Church needs to be open to possibilities, not boxed in by worn out tradition and human precepts.  In keeping with Pope Francis’ teaching, he wants the whole church to engage in discernment regarding ordained ministry and not make a decision for one area of the Church.

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