November 9, 2012 – Keeping Perspective

Well of course the focus of the past week was on the little matter of the election.  I won’t go into the results or why the results came out how they did – that’s been done enough by the cable news shows, political commentators. etc.  What we as Catholic Christians need to be focused on now is how the results will affect us in the years ahead.  On the surface the prospects of us influencing policy-making seem pretty gloomy. We have two polarized political parties who have demonstrated repeatedly that their main concern is not in serving the best interests of their constituents, but is in battling one another. Will we be able to continue with our many ministries which serve the poor, provide health care, and educate children and adults without jumping through the hoops of government bureaucracy?  Will we be able to speak about our faith openly without being subject to harassments and penalties?  The HHS Mandate was a bold move into the territory of government control of religion.  What will be next?  Four states passed measures supporting same-sex marriage this past Tuesday.  Will the true, God-given definition of marriage be pushed even farther into the background?  And there are many other questions as well.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, in an article he wrote this past week, brought up another concern for the future.  He believes that we will reach a point where Catholics will not be able to comfortably support the candidate of either party.  “Serious Catholics” who believe in the Church’s teaching on social and life  issues “can’t settle comfortably in either political party,” he remarked.  The political tensions that Catholics are experiencing today flow from the  cultural problems of individualism and a lack of virtue, he said. “In feeding  the sovereignty of the individual, our public leaders fuel consumer  self-absorption, moral confusion, and—ultimately, as mediating institutions like  the family and churches wither—the power of the state.”

Read more:

So do we as Catholics resign ourselves to the fact that laws which favor things such as abortion, euthanasia, same-sex unions, etc. will not be overturned?  If we do, then we are not living up to the challenge that Jesus gave us – that we are His witnesses and that we should have the courage to stand up for our beliefs.  We must not abandon our voice on behalf of the dignity of all people, including the unborn, the poor, the dying, the prisoner, and the undocumented.  As Christian witnesses, we must continue to do the things that are expected of us.  We must come together and pray for our President and our lawmakers that they can work together for the good of others.  We must continue to be active Catholics and be involved in our parishes.  And we must always remember that there is hope in the Lord, now and forever.

The results of this election will have these probable implications for the Catholic Church:  1) The strained relationship between the Catholic Church and politicians, particularly those who are pro-choice and favor policies that threaten our religious freedom, will continue and the strain will likely grow. We cannot shy away from those who are increasingly aligning themselves with positions that are in direct conflict with Catholic teaching.  2) Largely unrestricted abortion will continue unabated, as will funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the chief provider of abortion in this country. Possible Supreme Court nominations will also feature pro-choice jurists. Likewise many Circuit and other Federal District Court judges will continue to be appointed who favor largely unrestricted abortion.  3) The homosexual agenda will continue to grow and receive increasing legal recognition and protection. This includes not only same-sex “marriage”, but also other issues such as adoption, and the general insistence that the homosexual lifestyle be promoted in schools and other public settings. This will require Church opposition and probably embroil us in many public disputes. This may have continued no matter who won, but certainly now there will be fewer political hurdles for such agendas and the pace will be quicker.  4)  The HHS mandate moves forward, untouched. Our religious liberty is in greater jeopardy. We’ll have to meet the administration in court.  And while the legal basis for our grievance seems strong, recent experience in the courts has demonstrated that nothing is certain. Civil disobedience may be in our future.  5) Extreme debt seems likely to pile up.  This issue may not have received the attention in Catholic circles as other social issues, but it remains a fact that we spend money we do not have, and this has moral implications.  Little change in a very divided Congress means there will likely be little progress in putting a stop to runaway debt. This will become an increasing moral problem that the Church will likely have to address at some level.

The key question then for us as Catholics is how will the Church be able to articulate her positions while continuing to be at odds with lawmakers. There are difficult days ahead for the Church.  Let us pray for great courage and prudence in these days and months ahead.

This weekend we celebrate Veterans Day.  No words can express the gratitude we have for all of those who served to protect our freedom, particularly those who died or were injured in the line of duty.  We also keep in our prayers those who currently are serving in our armed forces.  We appreciate your service, and hope that you remain safe until you return home.  An organization called “Frontline Faith Project” is requesting that at 12:00PM on Sunday (November 11), we observe a moment of silence in order to pray for and thank our troops.  Here is a short video that explains more about this solemn event:

Enjoy what may be our last mild weekend of the year, and have a great week.  Peace.



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