UPDATE: Apparently in response to a request from Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the video of Fr. Lawrence’s homily has been removed. A request to the parish and to the video owner for information about its removal have gone unanswered.
It is sad indeed not only that the archbishop would make such a request inhibiting the free discussion of ideas so that Catholics can make well-informed decisions when entering the voting booth, but also that those responsible for the video’s removal would succumb to such pressure. Fortunately, the audio of the homily remains available on the website of St. Vincent de Paul where Fr. Lawrence serves as pastor. Homily of Fr. Richard Lawrence, October 28, 2012 (parish website).
And, in case the audio is eventually removed, a copy of the mp3 file may also be found here: Homily of Fr. Richard Lawrence, October 28, 2012.
As any churchgoer can tell you, it’s the rare homily that is met with applause. I don’t remember one of my own homilies ever receiving an ovation, though I suspect if it ever happens in the future, it will be out of thankfulness that I’ve stopped talking!
This homily, however, is definitely worth the applause it receives. We need more Catholic priests and pastors to do what Fr. Richard Lawrence, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish (his parish website “bio” is worth reading!), did this past weekend in Baltimore. With respect and balance and intellectual honesty, he does what a pastor should do when it comes to helping parishioners form their consciences in matters of public import. Unlike Archbishop Lori, whose letter he reads at the beginning, Fr. Lawrence does not tell his parishioners how to vote on Ballot Question 6: The Civil Marriage Protection Act. Rather, he encourages them to continue to form their consciences faithfully, as best they can, and to vote accordingly.