Christine said it would be alright for me to do a guest post here once in awhile. I thought today would be a good time to do so as I’ve had quite a day of reflection after reading several of the post-election blog posts and commentary. Thanks for letting me share on your platform, sweety. xxxooo.
As a man in formation for the permanent diaconate for most of the next four years, this election has reminded me that I’m heading into the front lines of a cultural battle over the respect for life, religious freedom, and respect for a moral life prescribed by a loving and just God. The coming years will be very difficult for the Catholic Church I hope to represent as a member of its clergy in 2016.
This article by Msgr. Charles Pope in Washington DC clearly states the challenges the church will face in these coming years. Msgr. Pope calls out the Democratic party as our opponent in this war on Christian values and religious freedom, but I don’t think this is entirely fair. I’d go so far to as to say that the Republican party is really not much better in this regard. The GOP simply sings the songs we Catholics want to hear. Eight years of a Republican administration prior to the current administration did little to change the tide of relativism sweeping our country and there’s really no evidence that a Republican administration this time around would have had much of an impact on the challenges we face in the church today.
While the Democratic party’s platform is one that most closely embraces the values of the majority in our current culture of death, it’s simply reflecting the will of the majority of the people. In a culture that places the highest value on personal choice and “freedom,” there’s little regard for the life of our unborn or the religious freedom of those who have “old fashioned” religious beliefs. In the view of today’s culture, we Catholics need to get with the times and see the new “truth” that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Truth today has been redefined by the culture as that which best serves me and my beliefs. Truth is relative and as long as I’m not hurting anyone else in I should be able to do any pleasurable thing I desire, at any time.
To support a hedonistic lifestyle where anything goes and which apologizes for nothing, we’ve conveniently convinced ourselves that unborn babies are not people. They are simply an unfortunate by-product of our right to sexual freedom. This problem of an unwanted pregnancy can be conveniently dealt with with the morning after pill or a trip to Planned Parenthood. Our culture has rationalized that abortion is not murder, it’s a woman’s right. Children are no longer thought of as a gift from God, but as a consequence of failed contraception. (As an aside, it strikes me as bizarre that so many people who are pro-choice are also passionate about animal rights. Think about how twisted the idea is that it’s ok to take the life of an unborn child, but if you purchase a fur coat you are evil.)
I don’t believe we should look to the political parties or their politicians to influence the values of today’s culture. We must understand that politics today is about telling people what they want to hear, not about leading them to the moral high ground. Matthew Warner so eloquently stated this in his blog post today, which is well worth a read.
If it’s not the Republicans or the Democrats who are going to lead us into a better world, who is going to do it? Ready for this? It’s the Church! The Body of Christ. It’s all of us together who have faith and are faithful to the Magisterium of the Church which is guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are the ones who are being called to lead our culture back to God by our example and our teaching. By our compassion and our care for the sick, the elderly, the poor, the imprisoned, those who are marginalized for any number of reasons.
This will happen only by means of prayer and our prayerful actions serving those in need of love and protection. It’s both our faith AND our faithful actions that will bring God’s justice and mercy to the culture of death that is starving for God’s light and doesn’t even know it. By letting God’s light shine through us he will call people back to himself, back to the Church he has entrusted with the full deposit of faith. Through us as members of the Body of Christ he will draw us to himself. This is the focus of the New Evangelization begun in this Year of Faith.
We must each discern and take our call seriously, putting our gifts to work in His service if we expect to effectively defend and advance our faith in these modern times. It’s not the Republicans or the Democrats that are going to do this for us. We as the Body of Christ faithful to the Magisterium of the Church must assume responsibility for this pressing task under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
As I see it, there is a no more exciting time to be called to the front lines of the battle the Church must wage for the hearts and minds of a people who are distracted and deceived by a culture of death and materialism. There is no greater privilege for me than to discern and act upon the call to service of that Church as a deacon. What about you? What’s your call? Will you answer it?
Consider taking time in daily prayer during the coming year to listen to and discern the work God has for you. There are many good resources available to help you do this. In particular our diocese’s Life at 25 blog contains a wealth of information and inspirational material. For me, perhaps the best resource in addition to reading Scripture has been the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This invaluable resource clearly defines our faith and its teachings. I’d strongly encourage you to read a bit of it daily over the next year.
While defending our faith is not going to be easy, you’ll find no greater happiness when you do your best to practice it in the way God intends for you. Each of our vocations is different, but I assure you we each have a call to share the light of our faith with a world that is immersed in darkness. Be faithful to your call and you’ll be amazed by what God will do through you. Forget about politics and the four year election cycles, we serve the King of Kings who reigns eternally! Let us be as passionate about our faith as so many are about their politics.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.