Guest Speaker At St. Joseph Church In Newton Asks Event Attendees To Think Before Going To The Polls
Thursday, October 25, 2012 • 9:56am
NEWTON, NJ – Guest speaker Richard Matrisciano addressed a crowd of about 40 people Wednesday October 24, at St. Joseph School, in Newton. Sponsored by the Don Bosco Council 7784 of the Knights of Columbus (Serving the Good Shepherd Parish in Andover Borough, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Branchville, and St. Joseph Parish in Newton), Matrisciano asked the audience to "carefully form their consciences before going to the polls a few weeks from now."
He described himself as well read, and one who closely follows current events. “I became very alarmed, especially as I saw what was happening specifically with the Health and Human Services Mandate. I felt I had to do something.”
Matrisciano told the audience he researches his facts, and bases his opinion on “my faith, and what I see and hear.”
He said, “I check everything, double check and fact check the fact checks.”
During his talk, he referred to ideas as set forth by esteemed leaders from the past, including scripture, George Washington, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.
Matrisciano was invited and introduced by Bob Tiscornia, the Grand Knight of this chapter. The opening prayer was offered by Deacon Al Kuchinski, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
In his opening comments, Matrisciano pointed out that freedom of religion is the very first freedom in the Bill of Rights, even before freedom of speech. He stated that this ideological war against religion is “not just about Catholics.This affects all people of all faiths.”
He commented that as he speaks to different groups, he is seeing people of many faiths coming together. The group present yesterday was also not entirely Catholic.
He said the Progressive Movement has been at work for over 100 years in our country, and is present in both political parties, and promotes doing away with God. He cited the examples of the 2012 Democratic National Convention when it voted to take God out of the platform. “They realized it might be a mistake, and had to do some 'creative counting to put Him back in,' while some in the crowd booed. Some Republicans encourage their candidates to take virtues and values and put them aside, saying that getting elected is the most important thing."
Using material produced by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, Matrisciano reviewed both Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s position on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and marriage. This handout can be viewed at: www.flaccb.org.
Matrisciano condemned the Affordable Care Act, familiarly known as Obamacare. He said, “Aggressive politicians felt safe in passing this mandate. Why? Religious leaders have been cozying up because of social justice issues.”
He illustrated that there is a big difference between the Progressive version of social justice and the Biblical version. According to Matrisciano, in the Progressive version, the government confiscates wealth and redistributes it to social programs that do not support Christian values. In the Biblical version, the faithful are called to respond to “the least of their brethren,” and give help directly.
He said about Obamacare, “I don’t think they expected the big push back from the Catholic Church.”
He implored the group to take immediate action, “or our children will be raised by secular humanists and the government will decide how.”
He explained that his presentation was put together to address those Christians who are apathetic, who vote for people who give them things, or don’t bother to vote.
He described the HHS Mandate as a “wake up call for Christian leaders. Many see the danger facing not only the church, but also the nation. Many don’t want to see. It’s up to us to wake them, rouse them and bring them into an activist role.”
He asked the question, “Should Christians be involved in the political arena?”
Some in the crowd exclaimed, “Yes!”
“Are we willing to accept that any mention of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will be frowned upon?”
“No!” was the response.
He recited quotations from two leaders of the past, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
From Samuel Adams, he quoted, “Let us remember that if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom. Millions of the unborn will be the miserable sharers of the event.”
He then argued that the best way to change the system, was from within. He called upon his listeners to get involved in political action, to pray hard, and to form a vision of how we think the world ought to be.
He quoted from Franklin D. Roosevelt ‘s radio address on the evening of D-Day. “Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.”
After Matrisciano finished, people in attendance had much to say.
Ray Delbury, of Wantage said, “The only way out of this is on our knees.”
A member of the Lafayette Federated Church, he commented, “We don’t have the whip that you Catholics do, I speak of ex-communication. You don’t use it enough.”
Some in the audience then called for Sibelius, Biden and Pelosi to be ex-communicated.
Ray Kochanski of Newton said, “I hear politicians talking about how their parents and grandparents immigrated to this country. Those parents came to an America that was founded on Christian principles, that’s why they were able to thrive. They believed in liberties, freedom and hard work. Those values are slipping away, and we, as a nation, are signing up for it, we’re voting for people who want to take freedoms away. We’re beginning to compromise our values.”
He continued, “It flabbergasts me that we are talking about freedom of religion. It boggles my mind that we even have to have these conversations. It shows that there is a force out there. We have to resist that force or we will lose our freedoms.”
Diane Lowe, of Ogdensburg, said, “It was very educational. I was not aware of the extent of Obamacare.”
Michael Jordan, of West Milford, N.J., came to Newton for the event. He said, “It’s unfortunate that so many of our Catholic brothers and sisters confuse solidarity with having the government assume all the responsibility. Solidarity and subsidiarity are distinctly different. According to Catholic social teaching, all of us have just right to common goods, but at the lowest levels, through the family, local church and the local community. Some are using social teaching as a way to justify the extreme growth of the federal government.”
Fr. Brian Sullivan, Pastor of St. Joseph’s where the meeting was held, said, “I agree that we need to stand up for religious freedom. We need to be pro-life and defend marriage of one man, one woman. It is not accurate that Church leaders aren’t doing anything. The Church continues to proclaim the truth. Many dioceses, Catholic hospitals, schools and church agencies are suing the federal government, trying to push back the HHS Mandate. Guided by the scripture, I, myself, continue to preach the truth the best I can. We as clergy have the responsibility to talk about issues that are affecting people and inform their consciences. Hopefully when properly formed, they will vote with their conscience.”
Louise Crann, president of the Legion of Mary in Newton, said, “Unless we continue to get to our grandchildren and convince them otherwise, we will lose them. When my mom died at age 93, she had 45 grandchildren. She made sure every one of them was baptized and received first communion. If they were not going to church, she lit into them. Now that she’s gone, some of them go, some don’t.”
Crann said she sees people beginning to stand up for religious freedom. On October 13, the group named “America Needs Fatima” organized rosary rallies in public places across the nation, to push back against the notion that worship should be limited to inside churches. There were 2,743 rosary rallies that day, all between noon and 2 p.m.
She continued, “We did ours on the Newton Square. There were about three dozen of us that showed up. We said all 20 mysteries, the Litany of the Blessed Mother, the Divine Praises, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and we sang hymns. Everyone who was going by was waving, honking and holding their rosaries out the window. It was a very positive response. We ended by singing ‘America, the Beautiful.’”
She also added that the Sacred Heart Spirituality Center, Old Swartswood Road, Newton, which is run by the Salesian Sisters, now has nine postulates that are becoming nuns, and five that are just starting out.
“There are good things happening,” she said.