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Ep. 270 Dr. Edward Sri on Eucharistic Congress & Jewish Students Take UCLA to Court!

Episode Description

With the National Eucharistic Congress just one month away, Dr. Edward Sri joins us to discuss the ongoing historic pilgrimage in light of his new book, What Do You Seek? His latest work aims to help followers of Christ move from a factual to a personal relationship with Jesus and the Gospel.

Becket attorney Laura Wolk Slavis shares a glimpse into the case revolving around campus encampments and three Jewish UCLA students who are finally getting their day in court after months of violence and discrimination. They argue that UCLA officials didn’t stop anti-semitic student activists from creating what was effectively a “Jew Exclusion Zone” in the heart of the campus.

Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. He is currently continuing his landmark journey along the Seton Route of the Eucharistic Pilgrimage.


Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, author, and well-known Catholic spokesperson. He has several bestselling books including The Art of Living, No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk through Christ’s Passion, Walking with Mary, Who Am I to Judge? – Responding to Relativism with Logic and Love, and Into His Likeness: Be Transformed as a Disciple. His latest work, What Do You Seek: Encountering the Heart of the Gospel, was released in May by Ignatius Press. Dr. Sri is also the presenter of several Ascension Press faith formation film series and a founding leader of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), where he currently serves as Sr. Vice President of Apostolic Outreach.

Laura Wolk Slavis is an attorney at Becket, a non-profit public interest legal and educational institute dedicated to protecting free expression of faith. Prior to joining Becket, Laura worked as an associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, focusing on complex commercial litigation, administrative law, constitutional law and religious liberty issues. Laura has clerked for the Honorable Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court of the United States, the Honorable Thomas M. Hardiman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Honorable Janice Rogers Brown on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She earned her JD from Notre Dame Law School and her BA in Psychology from Swarthmore College.

Father Roger Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. He writes for numerous publications, speaks on radio and TV, and is the author of the book, Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God. A graduate of Harvard and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, he served as Attaché to the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the UN in New York. Father Landry continues his journey along the full 1500-mile Eucharist Pilgrimage this summer en route to its culmination in Indianapolis next month.

The following transcript is machine generated.

Episode 270 Transcript

GrazieHello friends, and welcome to Conversations with Consequences. We are the radio show and podcast of the Catholic Association where we aim to change the culture one conversation at a time. You can listen to conversations with Consequences on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network. We are also on Sirius XM Channel 130. Of course, our radio show is always podcast.
Go to the Catholic Association, Dawgs podcasts, or directly to wherever you listen to your podcast. Welcome to Conversations with Consequences. I'm your host is Dr. Gracie Christie. Thank you for joining us over the summer when you have so many fun things calling your attention. I hope that this summer brings you rest and leisure and time with your family.
Thank you for joining us. Week after week and being are valued and very appreciated listeners that conversations with consequences. Joining us today is Dr. Edward three. He's a theologian, author and well known Catholic speaker who presents to tens of thousands of people from around the world each year. He has a doctorate from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and he is an adjunct professor at the Augustine Institute.
Dr. Three is a founding leader of Focus, one of my favorite groups where he currently serves as senior vice president of Apostolic Outreach. I can tell you he must be doing a really good job because our 20 year old, our fourth child, has been wonderfully affected by focus at his college. It's been a remarkable experience watching him be part of that focus group.
Dr. Three has a new book out called What Do You Seek Encountering the Heart of the Gospel. We welcome him to the show to tell us about his new book. Welcome to the show.
Dr. Edward SriDr. Three Thanks for having me.
GrazieSo your new book is called What Do You Seek Encountering the Heart of the Gospel. I understand that in the book you emphasize the good news of the gospel, also known as the charisma, and you work that out in detail. So tell us about your book and why this emphasis on the gospel. Why is this important?
Dr. Edward SriYou know, in our day and age, we all have loved ones, friends, family members who are away from the church. Either they've walked away from the church or they've never really encountered Christ. How do we reach them? How do we bring them back? How do we inspire them? Well, the first thing we need to do is interior eyes, that beautiful gospel message that St Paul and the early church fathers proclaimed.
And and it transformed a pagan Roman culture into a Christian culture. That basic core message isn't known by many Catholics today, even many devout Catholics that go to mass every Sunday. They may read Catholic books listening to Catholic radio, but do they really know the gospel message? If I go to the average Catholic that I meet at conferences that I'm speaking at around the country and ask them what the gospel they don't know?
They know truths about the faith like that. There's 12 apostles. Ten Commandments is seven sacraments, but they don't know that core message of God's love, the story of that amazing love. And I wanted to write a book that would be helpful for ordinary Catholic to interior eyes, that beautiful gospel message. So it's not so much a tool that you used.
You know, proclaim the charisma, the gospel on a street corner. That's not what this is. This is much more about how can I, as a Catholic, live not just knowing the facts of my faith, but live in deep relationship with Jesus through that beautiful core gospel message, the story of his amazing love of salvation. So it's a book we can pray through and reflect on so that I can live deeply with it in my own heart.
GrazieIf that's my experience to Dr. Story, that there's a there's a great ignorance about that basic core, that basic idea that very, very central idea that the entire relationship, the entire history of mankind has to do with God's purposes for us and his love of us in the salvation history that extends over the whole history of man. And at the center of that is love.
It's his, his he, his, the primacy of his love. The the way that he interacts with us is starts with him. It's not us seeking God, but him creating us into beings, into being these creatures that flourish in his love right. And become the people that that he envisioned when he first made man.
Dr. Edward SriYeah. When I break down the core gospel message into five parts and you could break it down many different ways, but you see these five parts all throughout Scripture and in the Catholic tradition. I divide them into what I call 5 hours, and this is what we use in focus. But the first hour is relationship that were made out of love from the God who is love, who created us to share his love with us.
And I know that sounds like a really basic message. I remember as a kid hearing that God loves me, okay? You know, God loves everybody. I'm a part of everybody, so I guess that's fine. But can we get to more interesting things? You know, let's talk about the Eucharist and transubstantiation or so I wanted to, like really get into the death of theology.
And I didn't realize that that is the depths that I will never really appreciate the Eucharist in my life if I don't really only encounter God in his message of his creating me. So, you know.
GrazieDr. three, can you blame young people if they've been they've been raised on a steady diet of the Big Bang and evolution and sort of the coincidence that life is just this endless mad coincidence on a on a strange planet? This is how they've been taught, this.
Dr. Edward SriIs how they've been taught, and they're constantly distracted from thinking about what is their purpose in life and where do they come from and where they're going. You know, there's so much anxiety in people today, not just young people that I'm talking to, people in their forties, 5060s, lots of anxiety, lots of depression, lots of loneliness. And this message is so profound.
And to help us in this, you know, so I was just teaching our focused missionaries at our training this summer, and I had them do a little exercise and I just said, okay, I know you all know the basic truths. I know you recite the Creed every Sunday. I believe in God, the Father, mighty creator of heaven and earth.
We can't just mumble through these lines, but we should be astonished like the Saints were over this point. So I said, Here's why. What you watch, you close your eyes and imagine the vast universe which you imagine the depths of the Milky Way galaxy, the peak of Mount Everest, the depths of the ocean, just the beauty of all of God's creation.
And in all of the things and all the animals and all the planets and all the people that God has created, He chose to bring you into existence. And then I say, Keep your eyes closed and ponder this, this, this frightening thought. God did not have to create you. He's free to do whatever he wanted. He didn't have to bring you into existence.
You don't have to exist. That's a very terrifying thought. But but the beautiful message is that God did choose freely out of love. That's the first point of the catechism, out of a sheer planet of God's goodness, God chose to bring you into existence.
GrazieWell, then you place and you place the individual, this tiny, tiny individual in this giant, eternal enormity that we can't even fathom. Right. And then and yet he's creating this one person, each of these people sitting in the audience listening to you.
Dr. Edward SriJust because he wanted a relationship with you, he wanted to fill you with his life, fill you with his love. He delighted in you. This is this is something that the Saints marveled over. Mother Teresa would would often be in all over this. Thank God that you're so big. I get that. But then I'm so small and you want a relationship with me.
You thirst for me. You thirst for my love. I don't understand it. She was then all over this thing. Catherine of Siena says, God, this is crazy. You're drunk. You are drunk with love. That's what she said. And what do we Catholics do? We bumble through the sun creating, I believe in God. The Father Almighty, Creator of Earth.
No. Again, if we're true disciples today, this is something I know the basic truth, but only if we go to over and over again in marble heaven. Thank God for because that gives me my identity, it gives me my purpose, and it is the foundation for everything. That's just one example.
GrazieAnd she's and Jesus. Plus Jesus speaks about God wanting to delight in his creation, to delight in in each man and woman that he creates. Which is a beautiful word, right? Delight.
Dr. Edward SriExactly. Yeah. In fact, you see that in the creation account where he's after, he finishes creating everything in the climax of creation as man and woman, he creates us. And then it says, it is very good.
GrazieBecause that relation ship, you could have a relationship with someone that you barely tolerate, right? Or someone that annoys you all the time or someone you want to maybe, I don't know, punch in the eye next time you see him. These are real relationships, but the relationship that God seeks is a relationship of mutual delight.
Dr. Edward SriYeah, mutual delight. Deep unity, Intimacy in great love. And this is this is the great news. Now, the second hour that I deal with at the book is the Fall. It's I call it rebellion. So you have a great relationship. But Satan and his angels rebelled against God and he enticed us to join his rebellion. And this is the fact that is not often talked about in the modern world, even among many Christians.
We like to kind of downplay this part of the gospel and we need, if we're going to really appreciate what Jesus comes to offer us, we need to really proclaim the fall today because we live in a world secular age that doesn't want to admit that we don't see things clearly. They don't want to admit the limits of the human mind.
They don't want to admit that we were weak or fallen. And we don't always choose the good. We like to think we're a little immaculate conception in our modern world. Dr. C Do you.
GrazieThink modern people even believe in sin as a concept?
Dr. Edward SriNot really. I mean, we might say things like, yeah, I make mistakes, or I have to tell you I'm not perfect, but that we are deeply wounded, that that aspect is not known. And we need we need to really, I.
GrazieThink, really think even well-formed Catholics reject that. They really have this therapeutic idea of of personality, of people just have these you know, they've had hard upbringings, they make mistakes. But there's no real sense, even in well-formed Catholics. I know, because I inquire about these things and I and I and I personally don't because I agree with you that if we don't have a sense of sin and a sense of our weakness, our internal that original sin that that that dysfunction that exists in all of us, then we can't appreciate God's love because I.
Dr. Edward SriThink you.
GrazieAre so beautiful and so perfect. Of course God loves us.
Dr. Edward SriNo, you see this all the time. You see it a lot of Catholic social media, you know, there's this real therapeutic sense of the gospel that, you know, things like when we hear things like, you know, you know, follow your dreams, you know, we are just God wants you to fill fulfill the desires of your heart. Well, let's be careful out there, because not every desire I have, not every dream I have is from God.
I'm a fallen human being. So just because I desire something and I want this doesn't mean that I should get it. And I think people have a therapeutic view of God, that God is just there is like my divine therapist is there to help you solve my problems.
GrazieAnd he's a therapist in the sky. Right when he wants you to do is feel good all the time about whatever you're doing.
Dr. Edward SriAnd we have to realize is that we're fallen. And maybe some of the reasons why I'm not happy isn't because of problems out there in the world. Don't get me wrong, there's serious wounds that people receive from relationships, family work, disordered work situations. Those are serious issues and we need to address them. But I always I bring out in the book that when we're looking at our problems, that our life, our first response should be like G.K. Chesterton.
So someone asked G.K. Chesterton, What's the biggest problem in the world? And without hesitation, he gave a one word answer. He said, Me and I don't think most of us would say most of us, we are the biggest problem. You know, it's, you know, the environment or it's corporations or it's the government, it's Washington, you know, or it is my parents, it's my boss.
That's my coach. We need to look internally and realize we're really seriously broken. We are under the reign of the devil. Without Jesus Christ, we are. Minds are not clear. We can't always see the truth clearly. We need his revelation. My weak, my will is weak. I need his grace to heal me, to heal my desires, to heal my emotions and not live by my emotions and desires all the time like that.
This is the fundamental point we have to proclaim, and it is what brings unhappiness in the world and brings suffering in my own soul is our is the wound of original sin.
GrazieBut people really do reject the idea that that God loves us the way we are. So we say God loves us the way we are. Right? And then but God wants better for us, right? So He want He loves us the way we are. It's like I love my my toddler who can't who can't eat properly with a spoon, but I want him one day to eat with a spoon properly without someone having to feed him.
Right. I love my toddler the way he is, but I want him to grow into a man.
Dr. Edward SriYeah, this is the balance of the full gospel message. Like sometimes Christianity is presented as just harsh in a bunch of rules and you didn't follow the rules. You're you're just a mess. And that's and then you don't hear the message of God's grace. But we're also living, as you've described in this therapeutic era today, we're oftentimes it's just, God loves you, you're special, and he just wants to help you with all your problems that make you feel happy.
It's like, well, that's not the full story either. There's there's a story of the fall and that we're we do have disorder desires. We have emotions that need to be healed and redirected. And and God wants to do that for us. So I love this line from John Paul. The second I quoted in here is I'm presenting the reality of the second are this rebellion, the reality of the fall.
It's from JP to and I'm paraphrasing here. He says, You know, we're not the sum total of our weaknesses and faults. We do have weaknesses and we do have serious faults. We do have serious sin in our lives. But yet even in the midst of that, we're really the sum total of the father's love for us. That in the midst of all of our weakness and all of our sin to God does really love us.
But He wants to heal us. And that's really what gets to the next couple. Are as reconciliation and recreation are the two the next 2 hours they talk about. So we're wounded, we're fallen, we're in a broken relationship with God. How does God solve the problem? Well, he sends his son to die for us. We know that basic message.
And I walk through a meditation on that. But I think maybe for our purposes, I'd like to focus on the fourth. Ah, recreation, because this is one that's not talked about. You don't see many Protestants mention this aspect, but it's absolutely essential for a Catholic understanding of salvation. And many Catholics missed this point. It's the idea that God doesn't want to just forgive us.
He wants to heal us. He doesn't want to just pardon us like a judge. okay, you're sinner, but I'll let you into heaven. I'll forgive you. You know, he wants to heal us like a physician. He wants to get to the roots of our sins and changes. So all of those things I keep bringing to confession. God wants to heal me of those my pride, my selfishness, my anger, all these things that God wants to He wants to heal God.
He wants to heal the wounds from my past. He wants to get to the roots of all that, that that's not hole in my soul. And and the good news is he really can do this. He sends his spirit into our hearts to the Saint Paul says he makes us a new creation. And he does this through the sacraments, through prayer, through the teachings of the church.
These are our guides to help of transform our souls. I'll share one less analogy here. This is I mentioned this in the book, but the beautiful analogy that the early Christians used the church fathers to describe this reality of our salvation that God doesn't just forget about us and pardon us, He transforms us. So the analogy is that of an iron rod put in fire.
You put that iron rod in fire, it starts to glow. It. It becomes hot, it emits smoke, it changes, color becomes red and orange. It takes on the properties of fire. It's still an iron rod, but it's taking on those characteristics of fire. And the church father says that that's what happens with our souls when we're in the furnace of the Holy Spirit through the sacraments, through the life of prayer, our iron rod of our human nature, our broken, wounded, weak, sinful human nature becomes changed.
It becomes it begins to take on the properties of God himself. We begin to love like Jesus, to forgive, like Jesus, to be patient, like Jesus, to be pure of heart, like Jesus. And if we long for change, we long for that transformation. We longed to be better husbands and wives and mothers and fathers and the love like Jesus loves.
And we want to interior rise this gospel message to live our Catholic faith deeply. Because if I just know the facts of my faith and I just begin Catholic content all the time, that's not going to change my heart. It ultimately is through a personal encounter with that gospel message that we have to encounter over and over and over again, not just once.
When we were in high school and not just once when we had a conversion in our adult years, but as the church is calling us to renew over and over again our encounter with Jesus in the Gospel. That's why I wrote this book is to help people take that gospel message and take it in a personal way so that they can experience freedom and transformation.
GrazieThe Art of Recreation. This sounds like a very painful process. It sounds like you have to see, as Lewis said, this first. But people, people want God to help them, but they want God to tinker around the edges and fix the small things that they know are broken. But God's what God wants to do is recreate us anew.
That's that's quite a process. That's that people reject. That is painful, right?
Dr. Edward SriYeah. I think about Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ. You remember that?
GrazieOf course.
Dr. Edward SriTens it exhibits where Jesus was suffering. He went through for us. But there's that line. And he says, you know, in the midst of it, I make all things new. I think he's looking at his mother. I make all things news from Revelation. It is that idea of that new creation. But think about how much pain and suffering he went through.
And it was like our transformation isn't just like, cool, I'm going to get some nice cosmetics and get some makeup on my face and I'll look nicer for Jesus. No, no, no, no. It's going to be an open heart surgery, and that's not easy. It can be really painful and.
GrazieVery disorienting and, you know, when you start to change, everyone around you resists. Have you noticed?
Dr. Edward SriYeah. Well, that that could happen. Yeah. When you're in the people in your life, they start noticing you being, you know, you don't gossip as much as they do or you're not watching those same shows that have you know, that images on the screen that that you used to with them. And they feel a little bit, you know, threatened by that, a little judged by that.
But maybe I'll go back to your point about the painful ness of it. It's a theme with the purpose. You know, the analogy Jesus uses in John 16 is he's describing what he's going to go through on the cross, which is the pattern that we're all going to go through. You know, he uses his that of childbirth. He says, a woman in travail, you know, she's going through all the pains and suffering, you know, as she's delivering this child.
But yet once the child is born, she holds the child and no one could take their joy away from her.
GrazieAnd she forgets she forgets all the pain. She's ready to do it again that day.
Dr. Edward SriYeah. And I think that's the analogy for Christ is describing him going through on the cross. But it's also the analogy for us is that there's always going to be a good Friday, a new Good Friday. God is inviting us to over and over again in our interior life like a certain area. He wants us to change. He wants us to give up, he wants us to or to attach to something.
So he's inviting us to stop the certain behavior. Maybe he wants us to forgive someone sometimes that that deeper Good Friday experience in the spiritual life involves, you know, going back and maybe it was going to therapy and dealing with things from our past in our upbringing. Sometimes it involves with things on the cross called the Dark Night of the Soul.
There's real darkness on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. But but it's a darkness. It's a suffering, It's a pain with a purpose that brings about greater freedom on the other side and greater transformation. And again, I just did in another class for our focus missionaries that it's called the second conversion, the first conversions. Okay, I'm going to follow Jesus the to pray and get my life together.
I got better friends and you notice a lot of benefits right away when you live a Christian life as opposed to a secular pagan life, especially.
GrazieIf you're a young person, right? You're not waking up with a horrible hangover on Saturday morning.
Dr. Edward SriExactly. Things like that. Or you just have better friendships. You just you're living a more holistic life. You know, there's a lot of benefits to it, but God is calling us to something deeper. That's a good first step, but there's a deeper conversion he's inviting us to. And again, this is the depth of the gospel that we need to re encounter over and over again.
But it's good like that. The pain of of letting go, of something you've been attached to for your whole life, or the pain of going through some dark wounds in your life or the pain of just persevering in prayer in times of great dryness. These things actually draw out the deepest desires in our soul, which are for God himself.
Which brings us back to that. First, are that of relationship. So I think again, the book that I wrote, what you what do you seek is really meant to walk through the gospel message, but in a prayerful way to help the average Catholic not just know the facts of their faith and be orthodox, which is absolutely essential. We need to do all that.
But how do I take those truths and have them written on my heart so that I can experience Jesus healing me, freeing me from those sins, from those weaknesses, those faults, those weak, those those wounds in my life that prevent me from receiving his love and prevent me from being an instrument of passing on his love, whether it's to my spouse, to my children, to my friends, to my coworkers.
I want Christ to radiate through me. But that can only happen if I have. I'm living from a deep interior life, renewing my encounter with the gospel, and Catholics need to know the gospel. Every Catholic needs to know this gospel message that I wrote the book.
GrazieDoctor three I personally am a person. I'm a very orthodox person because it's it's not. It's my personality. I like rules and form and order and I like challenges, right? So all that works great for me is to be orthodox. But I so agree with you that I've noticed in my life that it's in it's in deepening my my relationship with the gospel has to be a daily one.
I have to read the gospel every day and meditate on it. And that has informed my orthodoxy with with that relationship, as you say. Right. The relationship and my desire to be recreated and to be transformed. And that leads me to another thing, which is the Eucharistic revival, which I know that that that you're part of. One of the things that hasn't made a huge difference in my life is adoration.
Time before the Blessed Sacrament, where what I'm fostering there is in that silence is my relationship with Jesus. And it's something that that personal relationship where I'm not just talking to him, but I, I want to hear him speak to me. And I'm actually making the time to be there and silencing everything else so that I can have that relationship with him.
Is that how you see the you because the Eucharistic revival, or is that a huge part of it? Is this relationship with Jesus that we can have through, through the Eucharist?
Dr. Edward SriYeah, I think the revival, I've been blessed to be a part of some of those initial committees and thinking through it. And you know, it's involves many things. Yeah, I think that what you're saying is at the heart of it, there is a renewal in catechesis on the Eucharist, and I think that's one of the efforts over the last couple of years.
Every dioceses, every parish doing more catechesis on the Eucharist because a lot of Catholics don't even know the basics, that the bread and wine is changing, The actual.
GrazieBody will stand as a.
Dr. Edward SriSymbol.
GrazieA scandalous number of Catholics. Yes.
Dr. Edward Sriyeah. But. But what hasn't been as talked about, is that the vast majority of Catholics, I would argue, even many orthodox Catholics, don't understand the sacrifice of the mass that Christ sacrificed on the cross has made present to us that every mass and that is made present to us so that we can enter into it, so we can unite our lives with Christ's suffering on the cross, unite it with his offering of love to the Father, to the Christ, Perfect act of love on Good Friday can be rewritten in our hearts so that I can then share that perfect love of Christ on the cross in the world around me like that.
That I mean, most people don't know the real presence, but I would say like 90% of Catholics could not explain to me the sacrifice of the mass. And that's another catechetical crisis. But but I think what you're getting at then is when we come to know the sacrifice, the mass and participate in, and we come to know the real presence of Jesus, the Eucharist, we come to understand the reality of the profound union we have in Holy Communion.
Now we're prepared. I think we're better prepared to really appreciate adoring the Christ in Eucharistic devotion outside of the Eucharistic liturgy, and that's in adoration, whether it's visiting a church, the Tabernacle, or with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrous and the adoration chapels around the world. I think that's that's what really the time we spend with Jesus in the Eucharist outside of the liturgy is what's going to strengthen my ability to enter into the Eucharistic liturgy itself.
The two really go together. I think it's really important, like in a marriage, that, you know, your spouse's heart and this is great. I think it ties back to again, looking at what the gospel message is. You know, I know facts about my wife. I know when she was born, I know her parents. I know what her major was in college.
I know the color of her hair. I know all these facts about her. And I may do certain good, you know, pious practices, so to speak. You know, my relation with birth. I can ask her, and how was your day? I could take out the trash. I could help do the dishes and I could help take care of the kids.
And I can do I go through all the motions? I think that's what many Catholics do. They know facts about God and the Catholic faith and they go through the motions and all the right place practices. They say the right prayers, do the right things. But my wife longs for me not to just know facts about her. And she's longing for me not just to go through the motions and do all the right things.
She wants me to know her heart. She wants me to be in relationship with her. And and I think that's that we need to go back to the gospel message, the charisma, to know that. So when I wrote this book, actually, I wrote it thinking, this is this is a book. I ideally can picture somebody in an adoration chapel praying with it.
So I think this brings the two themes together. Here is before the Blessed Sacrament, before his real presence, I'm pondering the marvelous mystery of his creation that he brought me into existence, that he wants a relationship with me that should bring me to tears. That should be the father, my niece and I moved by that. And to go to Adoration Chapel and think about that relationship he wants with me.
And then he's right there at a beautiful place to pray through the creek and then to ponder the sad reality of my rebellion that I've been selfish, that I've not said yes to Jesus, that I've been allowed by fears to control me and not surrender my life to him. Like all those things, I like to pray in from the Blessed Sacrament until Jesus, I'm sorry.
He'll me Jesus like that. That's a beautiful place to pray through the Gospel and then to ponder like, Thank you Jesus for dying for me and thank you for for wanting to recreate me, to transform you, to make me a new creation, to make me into your likeness from one degree of glory to another is name, Paul says, and then ask him for the grace to bring about that change to help me cooperate with the spirit in my heart that is transforming my iron rod of my soul into his fire, the fire of the Holy Spirit.
These are the Adoration Chapel is the number one place I can picture somebody pondering that gospel message, which is then Pope Francis says we need to do over and over and over again. If we get bored with these truths. This is not like go back to math class and learn that two plus two is four. That's not what this is.
These are the most profound truths of our Catholic faith. These are the truths at the bedrock of the foundation of the universe. And if I'm bored with that, that's a sign of something being broken with me. I wrote this book for helping Catholics to really encounter that message that you and I, I pray that they'll they'll, they'll use it a Eucharistic chapel.
You can read it at home or wherever, but a Eucharistic adoration chapel, I think, is the number one place to begin to rekindle that relationship with Jesus in the charisma in the gospel.
GrazieWell, that's what that's where I'll bring my book. Doctor. Dr. Edward three. He is the author of What Do You Seek Encountering the Heart of the Gospel. You can buy the book at Ignatius Press or on your website, I think. Dr. Sweet I think it's Dr. Edward three I'm sorry. Edward Yeah, sorry. Edward three TOR.COM And it's called What Do You Seek?
So thank you so much. Doctor three It was a delight to have you.
Dr. Edward SriThanks for having me.
GrazieGather Welcome back to Conversations with Consequences. I'm your host is Dr. Gracie Christi. The next topic is one that interests me very much. It's about the takeover of college campuses by anti-Semitic Hamas supporting mobs, which figured all over the United States very strongly in my own alma mater of Columbia University, in a way that shocked me very much.
So. We've invited Laura Wolcott, slavers of the Becket Fund, to come and talk to us. She clerked for Clarence Thomas, and she joined Beckett as counsel in 2022. Her work at Becket has included federal litigation at both the trial and the appellate levels. And this she's going to tell us about an important case in which Jewish students are taking the UCLA to court over an anti-Semitic encampment that was that was established at their university, making life unbearable for them.
The case is called. FRENKEL versus regents of the University of California. And here to talk to us about this case is Laura Wolk Slovis. Welcome to the show, Laura.
Laura Wolk SlavisThanks so much for having me.
GrazieWell, I, I have been very concerned about, like many Americans, about what has been happening on college campuses. I am a I'm an alumna of Columbia University, where things have been extremely egregious as far as the demonstrators on campus and and the ugliness there. But perhaps UCLA was just as bad.
Laura Wolk SlavisAs what we think. What happened at UCLA is, as you said, very egregious. What the encampment amounted to at UCLA is a Jew exclusion zone. In order to cross through the encampment, students were required to say that Israel did not have a right to exist and that it was committing genocide and apartheid. Another terrible acts. And for our plaintiffs and many, many others, to forswear Israel in that way is a direct violation of their religious beliefs.
They all believe that they have a religious duty to support Israel and that Israel does have a right to exist and to occupy the land that has has belonged to the Jewish people for millennia. So we think that the fact that UCLA allowed this encampment, knowing what was going on, knowing the exclusive, the exclusionary effect it had on these students, is completely unconstitutional and they need to be held account for it.
GrazieWell, let me ask you, you you went to you're using a religious liberty defense. Wouldn't the case be just as compelling if there was a vegan encampment and students in order to access her classes, had to disavow the use of their eating of meat?
Laura Wolk SlavisWell, that certainly would raise other concerns. But here we're dealing with constitutionally and statutorily protected activity. First, the First Amendment right to free exercise is our first freedom. It cuts to the core of who we are as Americans. And these Jewish students were being asked to disavow their very identity as Jews in order to access critical education facilities on campus.
This affected the main undergraduate library. It affected one of the main classroom buildings and also just a general area of campus that is used by students and faculty and other members of the public to congregate and to socialize. So the fact that in order to access those facilities these students were asked to to to disavow their religious identity is is just completely not in keeping with our constitutional structure.
GrazieDid the UCLA administration try to protect the students, maybe send officers with them to shepherd them through the crowd?
Laura Wolk SlavisThey did the exact opposite. They were aware of what was going on. They sent emails to the campus saying they recognized that students had been prevented from accessing class and that Jewish students felt threatened and bullied. But in response to that, they hired security, and that security directed Jewish students, including our clients, to leave the area, to leave the encampment area.
So instead of helping them, instead of directing the encampment to be dismantled, UCLA actually hired security to help facilitate it.
GrazieThat's truly amazing that they would allow allow that to happen to one group of their students. Is it is it because the administration. Well, how can you what do you what do you imagine was going through the administration's minds where they scared of the the demonstrators abilities to. Well, I don't know what ability to do what.
Laura Wolk SlavisYou know, we can't speak to the motivations of of the administration. But what we can say is that they did know what was going on and they chose not to take any action. And I cannot imagine that response being directed toward any other vulnerable group of students.
GrazieMaybe they don't see the they didn't see the Jewish students as particularly vulnerable or especially vulnerable.
Laura Wolk SlavisWell, our goal in this case is to hold UCLA account, to account for the constitutional and statutory violations that they did allow to go on under their watch.
GrazieWhat would you say to the argument that not all Jews and I and I've heard Jews disavow Israel, not all Jews, that even though their religions may not support the state of Israel as as a state, as a nation.
Laura Wolk SlavisWhat's the fact to them is, is that it is no secret that the bulk of this exclusionary criteria fell on Jews with religious obligations, to that they could not enter the encampment. You don't need a 1 to 1 ratio. We people from other faith traditions have different ways of living out their faith traditions. It happens in Christianity, Catholicism and Islam.
But the fact of the matter is, is that everyone knew that the crux of what was happening here was falling off on the Jewish students who could not in good conscience stay, that Israel not have a right to exist.
GrazieWhat about the chance that. Sorry, go ahead.
Laura Wolk SlavisI didn't say This is echoed in the chants that were heard from the camp staff to Israel. Right. The stars of David painted on the ground with the words Step here chocked next to them. Right. This was this wasn't. Yeah, this was not this was not covered. Right. This was very open and obvious activity directed toward Jewish students.
GrazieWell, that's that's the other little details that I hear from different campuses. They they shock me. They truly they truly shock me, America.
Laura Wolk SlavisYeah, They are very shocking.
GrazieWe are known across the country, I mean, across the world and for good reason as a tolerant and pluralistic society. And this kind of intolerance is so un-American. It's so it seems to go against. Well, as you say, our first foundational freedom, which is the right to hold one's religious opinions and express them without fear. Right.
Laura Wolk SlavisThat's right. And these students are paying tuition. They are simply trying to access public parts of a public campus on the same terms as all of the other students on that campus. And that very basic freedom is was denied to them by UCLA.
GrazieDoes the does the lawsuit speak to their their fear, their the the terrible discomfort that was that that was communicated to all the Jewish students on campus by these by these encampments?
Laura Wolk SlavisAbsolutely. One of the yes, some of our clients stopped attending class because of the fear that they felt from the encampment. One of our clients specifically emailed to ask to have one of her final exams moved because this is happening. Imagine trying to study for your final exams as a Jewish student while you're hearing Death to Israel and to our revolution, chanted in your face.
And so she had asked to have one of her final exams moved, and the administration did not respond and said she could not move her exam. So, yes, the fear is understandable and well-documented.
GrazieAnd so did some of the students where they actually were. Some of them actually harassed directly, Personally.
Laura Wolk SlavisYes. One of our clients, Mr. Frankel, he had students come up to him holding a sign with an inverted red triangle on it and sort of stood in front of him and mocking him in that way. One of our clients was repeatedly stopped at the encampment and not allowed to pass through. He was trying to access the library to study for midterm exams.
So, yes, they they all experienced harassment either from security or from the members of the encampment themselves because of their beliefs about Israel.
GrazieOne of the things that that I found when I when I spoken to young people who are learning about all of this on TikTok and on Instagram and what what they what they would communicate to me, even young adults that should be better informed. What they communicate to me is that the encampment and the protesters are political statements.
They're not anti-religious, they're not anti-Semitic. They're entirely about the actions that they find egregious of one state on an on a on a substate within within their borders. What do you say to that?
Laura Wolk SlavisWell, first, we disagree with that premise. As I was explaining earlier, that there's just no no one can plausibly say that they don't understand that the majority of folks affected by this blatant exclusionary criteria are religious Jews. But the second thing is that even if that were true, it's just another constitutional violation. And political speech is also a core protected First Amendment value.
We see this over and over again, as the Supreme Court has said. So to say, no, we weren't discriminating against you because of your religion. We were discriminating against you because of your political views and denying you access to campus for that reason. I mean, it's just walking. It's choosing your constitutional poison. And they they it's just saying we're not committing this constitutional violation.
We're committing another one.
GrazieHow long did the administrators of UCLA allow this situation to continue?
Laura Wolk SlavisThe encampment lasted for a full week before it was taken down.
GrazieThat's a week is a long time when you are trying.
Laura Wolk SlavisBut when you're a college student. Yes.
GrazieAnd especially around finals time, as you said, about this one student. my gosh. And how did they finally take it down? Was it a violent exercise as it in some other campuses?
Laura Wolk SlavisThey they gave the protest, the activists in the encampment repeated warnings. They gave them repeated opportunities to disperse. And then they did eventually use police to remove the remaining activists who did not did not leave the encampment.
GrazieOne thing I've seen in all the videos that I've watched and I've watched too many, I do some doomscrolling sometimes in the middle of the night, like so many people do, is that the activists and the the violent demonstrators, they all cover their faces and they they they're definitely ashamed of what they're doing. They must be because otherwise they wouldn't cover their faces.
And and the students, the other students who are trying to go about their lives like these Jewish students don't cover their faces. I wonder I wonder what that means as far as the the integrity of what what each group is is trying to accomplish at school.
Laura Wolk SlavisYeah, well, I think the idea of being masked, it harkens back to another era in our in our history where folks who wore masks were engaging in segregationist activities. And Congress responded back in the late 1800s by passing a series of laws specific meant to protect against such horrible behavior. And we have brought some of those claims under in this lawsuit for that reason, because it is eerily similar to behavior we have seen in the past that we universally recognized as deplorable.
GrazieWere the were the encampment demonstrators, Were they basically setting up a segregationist space there in college?
Laura Wolk SlavisWe definitely think so. I mean, we think that this was an exclusion zone against Jews and it had the effect of segregating them from being able to access certain parts of campus.
GrazieIt's amazing that this is raising its head again. Right. And in the 2020s in the United States.
Laura Wolk SlavisYeah, that's right. I mean, this is 2024 in the United States. It's not the late 1800s. It's not 1939. In Germany. This should not be happening anywhere, let alone on a publicly funded government run campus.
GrazieMy mother and father were Cuban. My mother still she's still alive. And she tells that when she used to come from to visit the United States in the sixties, in the late fifties and during the sixties she would be just horribly shocked. I guess it would have been the early sixties, very shocked at the separated facilities that that were then real in Miami where she would come to visit.
And she she brought up to me the other day that she she felt that some of this was returning to United States. And she found it she found it very disturbing because even even at the worst times in Cuba, there wasn't that kind of racial segregation or ethnic segregation. Do you think this is really in the cards for us going forward unless these lawsuits fight like these lawsuits take place?
Laura Wolk SlavisWell, we feel very we feel very confident that that this lawsuit will succeed and that that it will prevent this kind of behavior from happening again and will set precedent not just in the Los Angeles area, but that it will set precedent across the country that this is not acceptable behavior. It is it is unconstitutional and it can't be tolerated.
GrazieThe students, I think most of them are students. Yeah, they're all students.
Laura Wolk SlavisAll three? Yes, all three students.
GrazieThe students that are bringing this lawsuit, are they not afraid of blowback, of being blacklisted, of not being not to having professional opportunities in the future because they brought this lawsuit?
Laura Wolk SlavisWell, I can say that the Baca Fund, we think they are very courageous. We admire their willingness to stand up. And I think it just speaks to how strongly they believe in what was wrong, what was happening there was so wrong, and that someone has to stand up and say, this is wrong and enough is enough. And so we are glad and very humbled to represent them in that fight.
GrazieTell us how the how it works. The lawsuit has been brought, what kind of time frame are we are we looking at while we see this shake out?
Laura Wolk SlavisYeah. So that that depends on what type of filings are filed now that the complaint has hasn't been filed. So it's it's a little hard to say at this point in time. But we are going to be working to try to get a ruling from the court as quickly as possible to protect these students.
GrazieBecause the sooner protection is extended at that level, I think the sooner Jewish students across the entire United States can breathe a sigh of relief, right?
Laura Wolk SlavisThat that's correct.
GrazieWow. So this is a really interesting case that we need to keep an eye on. And how can we keep an eye on this? Where can where can we go to watch this?
Laura Wolk SlavisYes, that's a great question. I think the best place to look is on the Becket Funds website. We have a dedicated case page for this for this case. So if you just search the Becket Fund and then Frankl, the UCLA, you'll be directed to our case page. And that is a great opportunity to learn about any case developments, any interviews we might post or other case related materials.
GrazieLaura Wilks, LAVIS, thank you for joining us. And just tell us, you must be very proud to work at a place like Becket.
Laura Wolk SlavisI am extremely proud to work for Becket. We we all of us believe in religious liberty for all and think these clients in this particular case really encapsulate what that means. And I am just so proud to stand with them and to support their right to freely be Jewish Americans in 2024.
GrazieWell, we'll be we'll be watching along at Becket Lord and praying along to to in our hopes that that this kind of scourge will be well is not what the future of America looks like. So thank you.
Laura Wolk SlavisThanks very much.
GrazieEvery morning, the Catholic Association reviews all the latest news and sends our subscribers a carefully curated collection of the most important news of the day. Items are specifically selected for a smart Catholic audience like you don't let the world take you by surprise. Subscribe to our daily media roundup at the Catholic Association dot org. And now Father Roger offers us, as is customary, a short and inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday's gospel.
Fr. Roger LandryThis is Father Roger. Eleanor. It's a privilege for me to be with you as we enter into the consequential conversation. The result, which is what's up with each of us this Sunday. Last week, we recall Jesus gave us two parables about the growth of faith. This Sunday, he puts the disciples in a boot camp experience in the Sea of Galilee to test their faith and help it grow.
The Gospel of Jesus calming of the winds in the seas is much more than a demonstration of the Lord's power over the force of nature. He, with a word, created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all they contain with a word could calm them. As we see in this Sunday's Gospel. He did. Neither is the scene a manifestation of the failure of the apostles to believe in this power of Jesus.
They knew that he had the power, which is why they woke him in the first place. The days immediately preceding this miracle, they had already seen him cast out. Demons. Cure. Simon Peters, mother in law and others who are ill heal lepers forgive sins and the paralysis of a crippled man and straighten a man's withered hand. There were no doubts about Jesus omnipotence.
The point of Sunday's gospel is that even though they knew Jesus had the power to calm the seas in the wind, they began to doubt with whether he would do so, to display their failure to believe in Jesus love for them. We see this in the question they asked as soon as they startled Jesus from what must have been a very deep and long overdue sleep on an uncomfortable and rocky boat master.
They said, Do you not care that we are perishing? They've begun to doubt whether Jesus gave a hoot whether they drowned in the lake. They'd begun to question whether he was indifferent to their plight. Teacher Do you not care that we are about to die? They were asking Jesus whole life, of course, as an answer to that question.
He did care that we were about to die and that was the reason why the Son of God, the second person of Blessed Trinity, took our human nature on and was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He cared enough that he spent himself to the point of exhaustion, teaching, healing the sick and comforting the afflicted. He cared enough, ultimately to take our place on death row, giving his life so that we might survive.
Yes, he did care. Like the prophet, Jonah was tossed into the sea in order to calm the ferocious maritime storm. So Jesus Christ himself overboard to quell the tempests that were causing us to die as he hurled himself the abyss from the cross, he called the storm of sin so that we might reach the eternal shore. He absolutely cared.
The problem was that the apostles doubted his love and concern. In this, the 12 were like the 12 tribes of Israel. 1300 years before, after they had witnessed God's hand in the ten plagues of Egypt, seen in part the Red Sea, watchtowers, horsemen and chariots, Parish witnessed Moses strike the rock to provide them with water, been fed miraculously with man in the morning and quails at night, seeing the thunder and lightning of Moses conversation with God at the top of Mount Sinai.
All of this after all of it. The Jews continue to doubt in God's love for them. Their obviously knew God had the power. He had already shown them this power on all these occasions, but they doubted whether he would continue to use that power to help them. Was it because there were no graves in Egypt? They complained to Moses that you have taken us away to die in the desert.
Whenever anything got difficult, they grumbled. They doubt it. They began to question whether God's solicitude and expiration date. All of his past actions didn't factor into their equation. The same thing was happening with their descendants in the boat. They'd witnessed Jesus power and his goodness on so many occasions, but they'd begun to wonder whether his love, not his power, had a limit.
They begin to question whether he was indifferent to their pleasant predicament was, simply put, a lack of faith in who he was based on a failure to grasp the meaning of all he had done up until then. That's why Jesus, as soon as he had awakened and calm the seas in the wind, turned to those soaked followers and said, Why are you afraid?
Do you still have no faith? The same lack of faith that happened to the Jews in the desert and to the apostles in the Sea of Galilee. Can happen to all of us generally. Few of us who believe in God. Question whether the Almighty has the power to work a miracle. But very often we begin to wonder whether he has the will.
We too can start to think that he's indifferent to our plight when we're assailed by the storms of sorrow, the downpours of doubt, the twisters of uncertainty, the hail of anxiety and the drought of loneliness. We can start to imagine that he is having sweet dreams, but we're experiencing nightmares. We can reckon that he's snoring, but we're screaming for help.
This happens when we like the 12 tribes and 12 apostles begin to forget all that the Lord has done for us happen till now. And what that shows about who He is and how we how loved we are by him is what Pope Francis reminded us on March 27, 2020, when he prayed for the world suffering from COVID 19, from an empty St Peter's Square.
He preached on this Sunday's very gospel and said, Like the disciples in the gospel, we were caught off guard by an unexpected turbulent storm, meaning the pandemic. We've realized that we were on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented. He then said we needed to learn from the disciples lack of faith and a grasp that more than anyone, Jesus cares about us.
And that quote with him on board, there will be no shipwreck, unquote. The apostles were anxious because they were paying more attention to the waves and to the winds around them too, than to the presence of Jesus with them. We, like the apostles, need focus more on Christ than on our problems. To believe in Him means not just to trust in his power, but to have faith in his ever present goodness and love.
I'd like to make two applications of these truths. The first is to the Eucharist. This morning, I'm in Steubenville, Ohio, on day 37 of the 65 day national Eucharistic pilgrimage, a seat enroute on our way to Indianapolis for next month's National Eucharistic Congress. The Eucharist is the greatest reminder of God's perpetual love and care. Here, the Christians, as soon as they started to build churches, used call the body of the church the nave.
From the Latin word novice for ship and the bar were that ship. We place the tabernacle which is abides. This illustrates that just like 2000 years ago, Jesus is in the boat, symbolic of the church, even if at times he's quiet and seemingly asleep every day. He wishes to do more for us than he did even for his disciples in the Sea of Galilee.
Not only speaks a word to call the sea, calm the seas around us, but says, This is my body, This is the chalice of my blood taken, eat, take and drink so that from the inside he can feed us to calm the storms within. During this Eucharistic revival, we are all called to grow in our awareness, not just of Jesus presence with us, but to grasp how that presence witnesses to his everlasting, merciful love.
To paraphrase Saint Paul of God, the Father didn't spare his own son if he didn't just hand in a more hand him over for all of us on Calvary, but gives him to us every day as our spiritual food on the altar. Will he not give us everything else besides the second application as to the priesthood and more personally to me, as this Wednesday, June 26, they'll be celebrating the 25th anniversary of my priestly ordination.
Though I'm a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, because of the national Eucharistic pilgrimage, I will be celebrating my Silver Jubilee in North Pickerington, Ohio, at the parish of Saint Elizabeth Seton at 6 p.m.. If you happen to live in the Diocese of Columbus, would like to come, please know you're most welcome. Throughout these last two and a half decades.
God has shown me time and again His faithfulness and care as He summoned me like He does every priest, to be an image of God's solicitude. As we help the church, Jesus mystical body and bride care for all those weathering storms, as well as strengthen those experiencing favorable winds. I ask you to please pray for me and for the 404,000 brother priests across the globe that we may be men of great faith, not little faith trusting in the Lord full time and helping all of Christ beloved trust in Him more as we prepare to receive Jesus this Sunday in Holy Communion.
Jesus was the fullest response to our prayer to the Father to give us what we really need. We ask God to take away all our fears and to increase our faith so that we may rejoice in the gift of his abiding presence in the vote of the Church. Believe in his power, trust in his love, and with other members of the church, be strengthened to continue his rescue mission as a spiritual Coast Guard all the way until we disembarked triumphant and joyful at the eternal dock.
God bless you all.
GrazieThank you so much, Father Landry. To hear more of Father Landry's homily, please visit Catholic preaching income and to follow him on the Eucharist pilgrimage route dedicated to Saint Elizabeth Seton, please visit Seton Pilgrimage Lord and without review for our prayers for a wonderful week for you and your families.