AMITE, Louisiana (LifeSiteNews) — Father Mark Beard, pastor at St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite, Louisiana, who died tragically in a car accident on Wednesday, Aug. 2, preached a stirring last homily on the need to unapologetically accept and live by the Catholic faith with a view toward the day we stand before God in judgment.
“You and I have got to stop apologizing for being Catholic. You need to learn your faith … you need to know the truth and I’m gonna tell you, I am not going to stand before Him and say, ‘Well, Lord, I would have pitched it, but, you know, there’s going to be pushback,’ because now that sin’s on me.
“I’ve got my own set, my brother and sister Christ; I’m not going to burn for another. So, it’s important for me to tell you the truth. You can pick and choose what you want and throw the rest away, but nobody’s going to nail my foot to the floor telling me … you just didn’t say what was truthful.
“My job is to pitch it. Whether you want to catch it or not is on you.
Addressing common objections to the Church’s teaching on abortion touted by “Catholic “politicians and voters alike, Fr. Beard said, “Tell me, as a Catholic, are there exceptions to abortion, like rape and incest? Absolutely not, there are no exceptions.”
“You don’t think they had rape and incest in the time of Christ?” Beard challenged. “You don’t think they had that going on?”
“You can’t have it both ways,” he emphasized. “When it comes to abortion, it’s intrinsically evil in and of itself. And the fact of the matter is, when people tell you, as Catholics … ‘I’m sorry Father, I’m just not a one-issue person’ … So, what you’re telling me is, ‘Well, Father, he’s got a good diplomatic policy, he’s got a good economic policy.’
Countering these arguments, Beard said of pro-abortion politicians, “You don’t have a policy; your policy is to kill children. So you think the good Lord’s going to bless your supply and demand, you believe that your economic policy is going to work after you kill His children? So when the good Lord asks you, ‘Father Mark, where are my children?’ my answer is going to be, ‘Well, you know, I got to tell you, the president had a good economic policy, he’s a pretty good diplomat.”
“That’s the point. All things come through Christ,” Beard reminded the faithful.
The priest then challenged his listeners on the typical excuses used to justify contraception. “How many times do I hear people make the argument … we’re just not ready to have children,” he said. “When you start using the pill or some type of contraception, you are putting something between you and your spouse. ‘I told you to go forth and to multiply’ … He is the God of economics; if He wants to be able to support you and your children, then He will. For you and I to step in his shoes and tell Him that this is how it will be, you’re telling Him it’s more important how we do it than how you do it.”
“You can get upset, you can get mad, you can kick your dog; I’m telling you right now, that’s the teachings of the Church. You got to decide whether you’re in or whether you’re out; you can’t walk the fence.”
Addressing the confusion regarding Catholic moral teaching that some feel due to statements made by Pope Francis, Beard said, “It does not matter to me what Francis says or does not say. What matters to me is where you land. All I care about is your soul. Stop worrying about what he says or doesn’t say; stop worrying about what Joe says or doesn’t say. The only thing that matters is your soul.”
Doubling down on the importance of remembering the account the soul must render to God after death, the priest pleaded, “Do you not understand, there is no exception when you’re in front of Him. There’s no arbitration, there’s no mediation … Please, for the love of God, remember this, the nano-second you and I die, the nano-second, before people walk away from your bed, before they leave to get in their cars, you have already been judged, and you’re either in heaven, hell, or purgatory. That’s it; it’s done. And there’s nothing else … And it’s for all eternity.”
“You can’t pick and choose. Either He’s the great ‘I Am’ or He’s not. You can’t go running both ways; you can’t say … I believe in the Church but I don’t, I have exceptions to these rules … You can’t just keep walking down the middle of the road. You can’t say … I know the Commandments. Do you? Because if you don’t, most of them are exclusionary.”
“At the end of the day, you have got to get off that fence you have got to plant your flag … Someday you and I are going to stand in front of him naked and alone. And let me promise you we will hear one of two words come Judgment Day, ‘Man, depart from me’ … or He’s going to say, ‘Welcome to my table … I have waited for you, I bragged on you, I told the saints about you.’”
The full homily can be viewed here. Bishop Michael Duca asks for prayers for Fr. Beard and his family, parishioners, and friends who mourn his loss.