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Since the third century, the Catholic Church has celebrated on Sept. 14 the finding of the true Cross used to crucify our Lord. The feast commemorates how, in the course of excavations done in Jerusalem during the third century, St. Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine, discovered three buried wooden crosses. And almost immediately after these three crosses were excavated, one of the crosses was recognized as having miraculous powers for those who venerated it.
The authentication of the true Cross was made by Patriarch Macarius of Jerusalem in 326, who verified its authenticity — that it really was the Cross on which Our Lord died. One proof that convinced him was the cure of a dying woman who had touched the Cross and immediately regained her health.
The date of Sept. 13 recalls the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 335. The church was built by Constantine over the spot from which the true Cross was excavated. The following day, Sept. 14, marks the first procession and elevation of the true Cross in Jerusalem (also in 335) where the true Cross was processed outside of the new basilica and carried through the streets of Jerusalem in triumph.
And all these centuries later, these two mid-September dates, the 13th and the 14th, mark solemn commemorations and processions throughout the Christian World, wherein the faithful remember how it was on the wood of our Lord's Cross that our Lord's Passion, death and Resurrection redeemed humanity.
Tragically, of all symbols of our Christian faith, the Cross (like other Christian symbols) has been misused by various sects and people to promote certain agendas and other things that run counter to the true Faith. Recall how just a century ago Hitler appropriated a cross symbol and made it his own to push and promote the Third Reich. The swastika, a hooked cross, was a symbol common in Europe's medieval churches and was even embroidered into medieval vestments. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Hitler's swastika became infamous and is now synonymous with the Holocaust and hate crimes in general. It's generally disavowed by Christians as being any sort of a cross at all, although medieval Churches in Europe still display this cross in their ancient stonework.
In retrospect, the appropriation of Christian symbols and rituals by bad people is nothing new. It's a common ruse used by individuals and groups to get people on board with their agenda through the use of powerful symbols of the Faith. Recall how on Sept. 9, Joe Biden used the trappings of his Catholic faith to end his spiel strong-arming a third of the nation to get the jab.
Biden's speech ended with a final blessing, not much different from a priest's, at the end of Mass (just missing the triune formula that would be offensive to Jews). He said: "God bless you all, and all those who continue to serve on the frontlines of this pandemic. And may God protect our troops!"
Many had a gut reaction to this dismissal invoking the Almighty (as if his blessing meant something). At the end of Biden's spiel forcing Americans to get the jab or suffer the consequences of fines and reduced civil liberties, his blessing, far from calling on God's presence and graces for our country, was only lip service to the Almighty, and fundamentally just a mockery of Him. Oh yeah, Mr. Biden, now you ask God to protect our troops, when you let more than a dozen die just a few weeks ago in Afghanistan!
Bad men and women have nefariously used the Holy Cross (and other precious religious symbols of our Faith) over the years to bring unsuspecting men and women of faith into their way of thinking. In the spring of 2019, in of all places, Poland, we saw LGBTQ activists dress up as Our Lady of Częstochowa with a rainbow halo to promote sodomy. As reported in DW Akademie in 2019:
In late April, posters of the Black Madonna adorned with a rainbow-colored halo appeared in public in the town of Płock just north of Warsaw. The posters hung on public toilets and trash cans near a church that had attracted criticism around Easter when small cardboard boxes listing words such as "betrayal," "greed" and "contempt" appeared next to a grave. Some cards also had "gender" and "LGBT" on them as well as the saying "protect us from the flames of faithlessness."
In March 2021, a Polish court acquitted the three principal perpetrators of desecration of the icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa in Płock. As reported in AP News, the court ruled it "did not see evidence of a crime and found that the activists were not motivated by a desire to offend anyone's religious feelings, but rather wanted to defend those facing discrimination, according to Polish media."
The desecration of Our Lady of Częstochowa and the subsequent trial that resulted in Poland bring to mind events (as reported by Church Militant extensively at the end of the "summer of shame") that played out in Chicago at Resurrection Parish in September 2018. That September, Fr. Paul Kalchik permitted a group of parishioners at his parish to destroy a banner that had a lavender cross superimposed over a rainbow. The banner had been placed over the crucifixion scene of the reredos in the sanctuary of the parish church by a former pastor, Fr. Daniel Montalbano, who was notorious for promoting sodomy, and ended up dying in a gruesome way.
A small group of parishioners chose the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Sept. 14, to destroy Fr. Montalbano's LGBTQ propaganda banner. This was accomplished by first having Fr. Kalchik say prayers of deliverance over the old banner. Subsequently, they burned it piece by piece to destroy it.
At the time, the alderman of the Chicago ward in which the parish sat was Deborah Mell. And in the aftermath of the banner's destruction, she went on the offensive and salaciously posted on her Facebook account that Fr. Kalchik had burned a gay flag, was a bigot and worse! Via her rabid use of social media, she orchestrated, from the city alderman's office, a war to have Fr. Kalchik removed as pastor of the parish. And in the days that followed the destruction of Fr. Montalbano's banner, numerous public protests ensued.
On Sept. 20, 2018, Lori Lightfoot — a mayoral candidate at the time (a non-Catholic and a lesbian) — weighed in by writing a letter to Cdl. Cupich demanding that he remove Kalchik from his longtime pastorate at the parish for "his hateful act and speech."
Tragically, as Church Militant's readers know, Cdl. Cupich complied with Deb Mell, Lori Lightfoot and hundreds of other Chicago LGBTQ activists and removed Fr. Kalchik from his pastorate at Resurrection Parish. Father Kalchik, in the fall of 2018, challenged Cdl. Cupich's actions and sought relief from the Congregation for Clerics in Rome. In 2020, the congregation ruled in favor of Fr. Kalchik; but despite the ruling in Kalchik's favor, Cupich has not reinstated his pastorate at the parish. And on June 30, 2021, Cdl. Cupich permanently closed Resurrection Parish and made the church an oratory under the supervision of a neighboring parish, Our Lady of Mercy.
So this September, remember fondly our Lord's redemptive Passion and His death on the Cross. And remember that this most sacred, central symbol of our Christian faith needs to be cherished and venerated — not maligned or hijacked, as has become commonplace in recent years, to promote various nefarious agendas. The Cross with the corpus of Our Lord on it, a crucifix, is a stark reminder of His sacrifice, giving His very lifeblood to redeem the fallen human race. The Cross, without a corpus on it, remains a poignant symbol of Our Lord's passion, but with a white cloth draped on it, it is a moving symbol of Our Lord's Resurrection from the dead.
Here in the United States, the LGBTQ mob is present with us for the foreseeable future. They are legion in almost all of the cities of our nation. However, if by chance some LGBTQ activist should drape a rainbow sash over a cross, hoping by so doing to garner the faithful's favor, he would be mistaken. No faithful Catholic is going to be taken in by a sinner's ruse of misappropriating the most central and sacred symbol of our Faith to promote sin. We are no longer naïve to our enemy's plan and cause, and we will not let God be mocked!