Skip to comments.Letter to my Bishop on Faithful Citizenship
Posted on 10/01/2012 10:04:20 AM PDT by pgyanke
I went to confession over the weekend. One of the things I confessed is my hubris and pride in believing I know better than my bishop how to form the consciences of his flock. I admit to being passionate about my work and I try to do so in the spirt of St Ignatius who is quoted by some to have said, "work as if everything depended on you, pray as if everything depended on God." I've also found that quote reversed so I admit to not knowing which is accurate. I would have to describe my own effort as "work as if everything depends on me. Pray because it doesn't." The priest who heard my confession gave me hope and told me to be patient because what was coming in our bulletins will be what I have been seeking from you--clear conscience formation. Sadly, I (and others of like mind) are dismayed at what we read yesterday.
In this election, we have a very stark choice. With only two major political parties among which to choose (we may vote for anyone but one of these two will win power and authority), it should be obvious which party deserves condemnation from the bishops. Should we expect cheerleading for the other party? No. Both parties should be warned to not transgress the precepts of the Church if they expect Catholic votes. However, before us is a party which supports three of the five non-negotiable matters of life openly in their platform... and they escape direct challenge from our Church. Why should any party respect the Catholic vote if we don't recognize its power ourselves?
- Why do we have legal abortion in this country? The Democratic Party.Rather than taking these issues on directly over the coming weeks leading up to one of the most important elections in history, you intend to discuss 1) Fundamental Human Life Issues, 2) Poverty, Work and Human Dignity, 3) Immigration and Human Dignity, and 4) Religious Liberty and Human Dignity. Although at least two out of the four sound like what I'm discussing above... the other two out of the four will likely water down the message.
- Why is homosexual marriage gaining a foothold? The Democratic Party.
- Why are tax dollars being used to support immoral fetal sciences? The Democratic Party.
- Against whom is the Church fighting for religious freedom after the disastrous HHS mandate of Obamacare? The Democratic Party (and President Obama's administration, specifically).
- Why was Terri Schiavo starved to death and why will this become commonplace once Obamacare is fully implemented? The Democratic Party has given us a financially unsustainable health program which will have to decide matters of life and death in order to control the budget.
Unless you plan to point out that $6 trillion in spending over the last 3.5 years has put this nation in a position of servitude and weakened our ability to care for the poor, you will still be playing directly into the hands of the Democrats and their mouthpiece, the media. How can we discuss poverty and work in the context of elections without acknowledging a lie--that these depend on government solutions? How can we even begin to talk about poverty and work in the context of elections when we are faced with a culture of death sponsored by one of the major political parties? To do so simply conflates the issues and will confuse your diocese. I hope it hasn't gone beyond your notice that we are a house divided in this diocese due to messages which seem to obfuscate the issues rather than clarify.
How can we discuss immigration in the context of the current debate? Certainly, you don't plan to point out that Mexico has much stricter immigration policies than our own country, do you? Why is our country the only one on the planet where the borders are not worthy of respect? We are a nation of immigrants... legal immigrants. Our laws should be respected by a Church which respects lawful authority. What is there to discuss with one month to the election that hasn't already been said before... unless it's just a way to sidestep the elephant in the room.
I pray for you and your ministry. I don't want to see you fail. If you have ever perceived an air of condemnation in my messages to you, it was unintended. I wish you no harm in prayer or deed. I merely wish to be of service to God and to you. In that spirit, I offer myself to you for conversation and debate to work on the issues which cause great consternation among many of your most faithful diocesan members (I know many of them). The last month before the election is not the time for great philosophical studies, it is a time for a direct and repeated message... the Democratic Party supports evil openly in their platform and agenda and no Catholic should give them their vote. To give them Catholic votes is to gain Catholic participation in the culture of death. Catholics deserve to be warned in the spirit of Ezekiel 33:8.
If I am in error in anything I have written here (or any other message over the last six years), I pray you would correct me. Please don't let a man who wants to follow God remain in error and sin. If I am not in error, please reconsider how you can directly combat the culture of death... time is very short.
I offer the following link to see how others are approaching the subject with boldness: Bishop E.W. Jackson Message to Black Christians
May God bless you.
For reference, here is my "Voting Guide for Serious Catholics".
I don’t look to the bishops for much anyway. They seem to have always missed the train on a lot of issues. The Catholic hierarchy jumps and screams after the show is done and over. They are not a pro-active bunch. They are not a pre-emptive bunch. many (not all) are still in 1969-1970 Kumbaya mode.
I’m trying to change that. Half of their flocks are listening to the Democratic propaganda machine in forming their consciences. Either the Bishops get a handle on this or they will eventually lose their congregations (and those poor souls).
For your ping lists.
Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger.
I am disgusted with the whole mess in the catholic Church. I still go because I feel it is the religion set up by Christ and I should go, but the latter day Bishops and Cardinals don’t show me much.
As for confession that has more or less become a joke to many catholics.
I see them all get up and go to Communion every Sunday, but I know only 10% of them are anywhere near a State of Grace, many haven’t been to confession in years.
I don’t see the crowds that get up to go to Communion at Confession on Saturday.
I try to confess on Saturday and got to Communion on Sunday because there is no way in hell I can stay pure for a week, so I take Communion a couple of times a year. Reading Free Republic and getting angry at the Muslim takes the pure out of me fast.
I’m not sure the American Bishops can condemn a particular political party, at least not by name, without putting the tax exempt status of the Church in America in jeopardy. I don’t know though; I could be wrong.
No Church in America has ever lost its tax exempt status for stating the truth. The proscription on this comes from the 1954 tax code which set up 501(c)3. In truth, the Church escaped taxation long before this law simply because the state has no authority to demand anything of the Church.
Besides, even if the tax-exempt status is jeopardized, to keep silent for this reason in the face of encroaching evil shows a real problem of priorities. Please follow the link in my first post to my voting guide where I touch on this issue.
There is a major misunderstanding here. The Catholic Church is not opposed to abortion. If they were hundreds, perhaps thousands of ‘Catholic’ politicians would be publically excommunicated.
That’s a good letter. I said a Memorare for your intentions.
Terri is dead because the state agreed with the proposition that her state of life was one not worth living.
I am in the financial services field. It used to be that people filed "living wills" to tell the state when it could change the default and allow them to die. Terri's case changed that. Now, people file living wills to tell the court when it is not allowed to end their lives. It's a shift brought to you by the culture of death through the court appointments and government sponsorship of the Democratic Party.
Thank you very much.
I watched this case unfold in FL. The problem wasn’t an outmoded legal doctrine... that was the foil to give the semblance of fealty to the law. The problem was a judge which allowed a hearsay request to die from an estranged husband with a monetary conflict of interest.
You still haven’t answerd my question. If Schiavo’s parents had remained her primary next of kin even after she married, her husband, estranged or not, nice or evil, would have had NO say in her care. Which is as it should be.
Absolutely not! Like it or not, our system of government is rooted in Judaeo-Christian tradition. A wife and husband leave their parents and cleave together as one. This unity of the nuclear family is foundational to our civilization.
In the case of divorce or abandonment, however, this should revert. Not that an adult is under the authority of the parents again but rather that the next of kin reverts when spouses are abandoned and unable to make decisions for themselves. The parents made a credible case to impeach Michael's role as caregiver to Terri. It was rejected despite the obvious evidence of the new family relationship and monetary conflict of interest. The judge reasoned that there had been no divorce therefore there was still a marriage. The parents pointed out that Terri was unable to divorce in her condition and Michael was unwilling because it would sever the financial ties.
It does revert in case of divorce. After all, once divorce is finalized, there is no more marriage! But there are cases where one spouse has hostile intent towards another even if there is no apparent abandonment. And the whole “cleave together” bit is mere ceremonial boilerplate, conceived, like I said, at a time when parents did not usually last long after their children married. And what stronger union is there than that between parent and child?
Husband and wife.
Does a spouse carry another spouse in its womb for 9 months? Does a spouse nurse another spouse, watch it say its first words, take its first steps etc.?
Does a spouse give you away after 18 years to go start a new life? This argument is ridiculous!
I think your letter is well written and not disrespectful at all. Alot of these Bishops need to get off the “social justice” issues, which are insignificant compared to the intrinsic evils being forced upon us by the current administration. My parish priest has spoken out avidly these past weeks about what is at stake in this election (he has a spine)!
Glad to hear it!
If I hear one more bishop speak about the "poor", I will scream. If you live in Obama's version of the US, there is no need to be poor. The handouts are flowing to everyone, including "Obama" phones (I don't even have a cell phone but am paying for those of the "poor"). Despite all the give aways, We've all seen the abuse of these gifts, paid for with our hard earned taxes - people cashing in food stamps for facials, alcohol, stereos and even elective surgery. What will it take to wake up these bishops?!
I don't know. I may be wrong, but this oversolicitous attitude seems more involved with vanity than sympathy.
No criticism of you, NYer. I agree with your post.
Why do we have altar girls when the Vatican GIRM states firmly “acolytes?” Democrats and the liberals and feminazzis
Here’s the link:
This election cycle the US bishops did more than they ordinarily do: there was a firm stand taken on the HHS mandate.
However, you and I know that roughly 50% of US Catholics will vote Democrat. A swing has historically been about %5 either way; there is no reason to expect a swing for Romney this season; in fact, we should probably expect a swing for Obama, given Romney’s inability to voice social concerns.
The real question is not “Why don’t the bishops tell the Catholics to support the GOP candidates?” The questions are:
- Why are at least 45% voting against basic Catholic teaching on the value of human life? This is where the responsibility of the bishops is, and they failed it decades ago, when this electorate was formed.
- What is exactly, the basis for believing that Romney — or in fact the bulk of GOP establishment candidates — will do anything about stopping abortion (or any other social issue) in America? The most GOP candidates that survived the primary season all have bent over and grabbed their ankles to AVOID social issues, and Romney is the chief weasel-master; those Republicans that took a firm pro-life positions are under attack ...from the GOP. To attract Catholics to conservative ideas was the responsibility of the so-called conservatives in the GOP and they failed it.
What we have now is shaking the fists after the fight is over. A more realistic goal today is to rebuild a conservative base somewhere for years, and perhaps for the next generation, to come. There is nothing good that will come of this generation of conservative leaders, no matter what happens in November. The Tea Party had a better year in 2010, but that is where the future lies. If this system is to have a future, let’s grow the Tea Party and count the establishment GOP among the problems.
After six years of emails and encouragements, I received my first email response from my bishop:
“I am grateful for your assurance of prayerful support as we work together to bring our holy faith and the teachings of Jesus into the world in which we live. Above all else, we must surrender to God and entrust our lives, work and endeavors to His divine assistance.”
It doesn’t acknowledge my work nor address the issues... but it’s a start. I will endeavor to make this a conversation.
The tea party won’t help. It’s primary concerns are economic and fiscal. And most Catholics have used birth control some time in their lives, so they’re not going to get too upset if a Catholic pharmacist is forced to dispense birth control or even Plan B, or if a church-owned hospital or university (and most of the latter are Catholic in name only) has to pay indirectly for health insurance that pays for birth control. So maybe this ship already sailed?
Tea Party consists of people. The upcoming Romney fiasco with his fiscal-economic campaign hopefully will serve the T-Party a lesson: value conservatism is the cornerstone of all conservatism.
If that lesson gets learned, then the transformation of the political culture started in 2008 mostly on fiscal grounds will become permanent. Otherwise, yeah, the ship has sailed.