June 22, 2013 – Necessary Political Talk

When I decided to become a “blogger” several years ago, I really wasn’t sure what direction I was going.  I did know that I wanted to do something that was sort of “light-hearted,” something that focused on positive things that would perhaps be an escape from the rigors of reality.  As I have gone along, the blog has kind of evolved into an advocate for the issues surrounding the Catholic Church, which I think is needed considering all of the bogus anti-Catholic material that is floating around in cyberspace.  However, I still have purposely tried to make the effort to keep political talk to a minimum.  I do not necessarily subscribe to either political party, and I think the leaders of both sides have plenty of blemishes on their records that deserve an explanation.  However, there were some comments made this past week that were so completely asinine that I couldn’t help but bring them to the forefront here.

In Northern Ireland for the G-8 summit, President Obama made this remark: “If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another, and fear or resentment are allowed to harden — that too encourages division and discourages cooperation.”  On the surface, these remarks were made in Belfast, which has a long history of division. Perhaps he merely meant that any institutions that deepen those divisions will aggravate rather than alleviate the ever-volatile situation in Northern Ireland.  However, looking at this a little closer, what was he really saying?  Was he suggesting that only Catholic schools should be closed?  Or was he implying that both Catholic and Protestant schools should be closed and all of the students should be together in a public school where they can “see themselves in one another.”  Wouldn’t that also be making the suggestion that churches should be closed as well because, well, if Catholics have their own buildings and Protestants have theirs …?

Whatever he meant to say, or what others have meant to say, we as Catholics should be prepared to defend Catholic education against any notion that we’d all be better off if education were purely secularized.  Universal education was invented by the Catholic Church. The Church also invented the university. Before that, education was a privilege for the very few. But during the period from 1200 to 1500, the universities educated hundreds of thousands of students from all walks of life and from all over Europe. That universalizing of education on the upper level was the blueprint and inspiration for the universalizing of education reaching down to the pre-collegiate levels.  Catholics have a right to defend what they’ve invented.

More importantly, however, if we had only secular schools, schools entirely under the arm of the government, our children would learn only what that secular government wants them to learn.  There would be no moral buffer for passing on to children the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Just suppose, for example, that a secular state wants to affirm abortion and “gay marriage” as both legal and moral and uses its public secular schools to teach kids accordingly. There would be no Catholic institutions to contradict the government and teach that abortion is murder and that “gay marriage” is a morally distorted form of God’s true meaning of marriage, marriage between one man and one woman.  Whatever the intentions, we must stress the importance of the availability of Catholic education, even if it does mean we have our own schools and buildings.

The other comments this past week that drew my ire came from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who as you know claims to be a “devout” Catholic.  In reference to her opposition to a bill that passed the House this week which would ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks gestation unless doctors deemed the mother’s life or basic health were deemed to be at risk, a reporter asked her this question: “What is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?” Gosnell is a Philadelphia late-term abortionist who was recently convicted of several counts of first-degree murder for the killing of infants who survived his abortion attempts, among other crimes and health violations.  She did not directly answer the question, saying instead that the bill was an effort to ensure that “there will be no abortion in our country.”

More appallingly, then, she not only rejected the teachings of her faith, but she used her faith to defend abortions when she said that “As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this.  I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics.”  This is either one of the most extreme cases of ignorance or one of the most extreme cases of brashness.  She then invoked her favorite abortion shield, her children, reminding the reporter that she was a mother of 5 whose oldest child was 6 years old when her last was born.  Pelosi brazenly argues that her many children and her motherhood give her license to support abortion.  As one article said, she updated the Mother Goose nursery rhyme about the little old woman who had so many children she didn’t know what to do, so she supported abortion.

Again, politics is not my favorite thing to talk about.  However, when I see statements such as these that are not only inaccurate, but downright brash, then I must stand up and defend the true intentions and teachings of the Catholic faith, particularly during this Fortnight for Freedom.  As I said last week, religious freedom is about more than just our right to go to our own place of worship or to have the ability to pray in our homes as we wish, but to have the ability to use our God-given gifts to contribute to the common good.  This includes putting into question the intentions of our political leaders.  Please keep the Fortnight for Freedom in the forefront of your prayers and focus these 2 weeks.

Well let’s end on a lighter note.  Here’s one more dose of “bulletin bloopers”:

The agenda was adopted … the minutes were approved … the financial secretary gave a grief report.

A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church.  It was given by one of the members in honor of his wife.

The preacher will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth With Joy”.

Have a great week.  Peace.

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