Unfortunately, however, it appears that a homily at midnight mass can also be used to bash those of God's children who happen to be Muslim.
Here's a link to the homily that Bishop Thomas John Paprocki--who was installed as shepherd of the Springfield Diocese in Illinois (my diocese) last summer--delivered on December 24, 2010, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield.
The bishop opened his homily by mentioning the execution of a Muslim general three centuries ago, an execution that occurred on Christmas day, and then the bishop proclaimed, "Merry Christmas!" Here's an excerpt from a later section of the homily:
Yes, I know, the TSA's newest routine in airports is problematic at best. And yes, Bishop Paprocki has stated in his homily that "not every Muslim is a terrorist." Nonetheless, the bishop's primary goal in this homily seems to be to instill in his listeners a fear of Muslims, a resentment of Muslims, a view of Muslims as an unpalatable "other." As if there is not already enough of that in the air. I'm reminded of my aged relative who used to tell me, frequently, "Now, I'm not saying that all black people are bad . . ." immediately before he charged full-speed ahead with his prejudice.It doesn't help when our country plays politically correct games such as the security operations at our nation's airports. You can't fight a war if you can't identify the enemy, and if 83-year-old great-grandmothers have to be treated the same way as Muslim Arabs from the Middle East with body scans and "enhanced pat-downs," then we're wasting a lot of time and money for nothing. True, not every Muslim is a terrorist, but most terrorists these days are Muslims, and we ignore that fact at our peril.
As much as I would hope for a higher standard from a bishop, I guess I'm hoping for too much. Oh well, I know I'm a sinner, in need of God's mercy and love; I should not be too surprised to see this evidence of the bishop's sinfulness, too.
Spread the love that Christ came to earth to share, Bishop. Please do not play to the worst prejudices out there. Don't turn Lincoln's admonition to listen to "the better angels of our nature" on its ear by giving the Catholic faithful permission to view Muslims as a monolithic, less-than-human group.