Skip to comments.“Where Are The Catholics?”
Posted on 11/27/2012 3:44:22 PM PST by NYer
On the morning after Thanksgiving, I was driving over to Frederick, Maryland with one of my nephews. On the car radio, he was listening to a talk radio program from WMAL in Washington. The host of the program was a man who described himself as a conservative Jew. He was talking of the increasing religious persecution within the United States. Several times throughout the program he pointed out that it was the Catholics who are more and more being singled out and discriminated against. The First Amendment on religious freedom seems almost a dead letter when it comes to Christians in general and Catholics in particular.
The host noted that if any similar criticism is directed toward other religious groups and religions, especially Islam, the whole world knows about it. And in some cases the world is threatened. Churches are burned in Islamic countries, Christians killed, and nothing much is said either by our government or in the press. Almost the only voice that seems systematically to defend a Catholic position, he remarked, is that of Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. The host went on to wonder why this silence is the case. Part of it, he thought, is because Catholics themselves do not seem to care too much, or else they are not aware of the dimensions of the issue. They think it will just go away.
Many writers and voices have pointed out that the present administration is by all odds the most anti-Catholic regime in this country’s history. That did not prevent some 50 percent of Catholics from voting for it. But that may be a clue about the problem. Often the leaders of those measures and decrees most against officially stated Catholic positions are formulated and carried out by those who are Catholics. Several other writers have argued that so long as these high-profile Catholics carry out anti-Catholic policies and remain in apparently good standing in the Church, many Catholics will conclude that, whatever the noise about these issues, it must be all right to be a Catholic and take positions contrary to what the bishops and Church seem to hold.
Why Catholics do not defend themselves against such attacks on their religion and their place in public life has long puzzled many sympathetic citizens. Part of the reason is that the current attackswhich revolve around marriage and family life and the proper order of one’s interior moral lifeare not attacks against the faith as such. They are about what we can and should figure out from reason and natural law. Catholics are involved here not primarily because they are Catholics but because they are human beings. These issues are not what we usually call “religious” issues. It is true that, in many ways, the Church is the last public defender of the natural law and of reason itself in these areas, but that is because revelation does not replace but agrees with and heals reason when it goes wrong in its own order.
Immediately after the recent election, many writers (David Warren was perhaps the most accurate) sensed that a line had been crossed. It was not primarily an election about politics, about good or less good laws. It was an election about approving bad laws and about bad morals being elevated to the status of accepted, settled doctrine. That many Catholics in practice have already joined the opposition is obvious to everyone who cares to look at the evidence.
Much of this confusion has to do with the perennial problem of what was Vatican II’s response to modernity. Was Christianity the measure of modernity or was modernity the measure of Christianity? Many Christians, including Catholics, opted for the latter. The test turns out to be centered on children and families, over what is the proper atmosphere in which children should be begotten and raised. Indeed, the issue is whether most begotten children should exist or not, over whether we have a “right” to dispose of them as we will.
But if we spell out in a coherent fashion the issuesmarriage, contraception, abortion, cloning, same-sex marriage, polygamy, parental authoritywe become aware that what we are seeing before our eyes is the embodiment of earlier ideas now carried into reality. Of course, there are good ideas and bad ideas; this has been clear from the account in Genesis of the Fall. Its essential premisethat man, not God, is the maker of the distinction of good and evilis the quintessence of bad ideas. It is this principle that lies behind all aberrations in family life and what surrounds it.
In this context, I have often wondered why it is that a Jew, the radio host, is the one most concerned over the failure of Catholics ably to defend themselves in the public order. Since, as I have said, these current aberrations in the public order are not about specifically theological issues but about those of natural law and reason, it is perhaps because the believing Jew can see the origin of the issue in one’s view of God’s initial plan of creation.
Many Catholic bishops did seek to point out the problem manifested in the election, in a choice of leadership. They evidently did influence many Catholic citizens to understand the nature of the threat against what the Church stands for. But it was not enough to change the results of the election, as many hoped it would. No doubt they will pay a price for this failure. On the other hand, the principle that something is radically wrong in the polity is at least on the table. When the chance arose to do something about the problem, the effort failed. This means the government has even less need to pay any attention to Catholic positions which are, in any case, seen as part of the problem.
Not a few writers have tried to put a ray of hope before us. All is not lost. Other elections will occur. But undoing what has now been done to family law and the understanding of marriage now involves the deeper issue of habits of disorder in the souls of so many of the population. While it is possible to rid ourselves of bad principles and habits, it is monumentally difficult, even if we want to. But for the most part, as a people, we do not want to. This election was, by most standards, an approval of the direction of the government, an assurance that it was on the rightthat is, popularpath that rejects the central premises of reason about moral life.
The larger matter, if it is larger, is the central government has succeeded in positioning itself as the chief dispenser, not only of jobs, health, and well-being, but also of what is moral and right. Government has established a claim and an agenda that would make all real moral, economic, and political understanding and activity dependent on itself. The country has radically changed its soul from one that insisted the main actors are individuals and their voluntary organizations to one that holds the ungrounded government responsible for all the major (and minor) issues. In this new capacity the government conceives itself as being subject to nothingnot to the Constitution, amendments, reason, or natural law. It will not be put quite this way, but that is the effect. This is what we elected. The Jewish talk-show host was correct. Catholics are the target, the locus of what the government sees as the cause of its own problems. This government will brook no opposition to its plans. Catholics, insofar as they are Catholics, will be more and more singled out as the causes of the failures of public policies. If we are surprised at this turn of events, it can only be because we did not really understand what was at stake in the recent election.
The conclusion hit the nail right on the head.
Because the stats are based on self-identification and half of those self-identifying as Catholics also think that one can be Catholic without being Catholic.
The 50% who did not vote for Zero are Catholic. The others are bundles of contradiction who will scatter like sheep when the wolf gets close.
My family left Germany prior to WWII. Those Jews that remained were increasingly anxious, but as our wealthy relations who hosted my aunt and uncle in the late 30’s thought, it would go just so far and no farther.
Catholics need to be aware that it can, indeed, go much farther than anyone thinks.
It just takes the need for a scapegoat to unite people and the right person to be their messiah.
I think they just elected the messiah.
First They Came for the Jews
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
~Pastor Martin Niemöller
Community and individuality are not opposites. People cannot survive on their own. When the odds are stacked against you, you must rally with the oppressed and hated.
When a growing oppressive regime is taking hold, you must act, otherwise you will soon face your enemy alone and hopeless.
Strength of community is a strength as much as individualism, as long you are willing to face weaknesses in your own community. Ignoring slacking values will mean that you will be rallied against by those you oppress.
Niemöller affirms we must rally against unhealthy organized regimes. We must also stay vigilant with those that appear to be good natured, as all organisation attracts corruption. Niemöller also warns us that if it is you who are corrupt, then you will face a stronger combined force of foe!
The overwhelming majority (if not all) of them, are of the world. They have never been born-again! And sadly, much of the protestant ranks are in the same condition.
Reminds me of Pelosi, who is 100% for killing the unborn, while claiming to be a Catholic.
What a far cry from what America's Founders viewed as the role of government versus that of the "Supreme Judge of the world," or, "Divine Providence."
In the words of George Mason:
"The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth. A legislature must not obstruct our obedience to Him, from whose punishment they cannot protect us. All human laws which contradict His laws we are in conscience bound to disobey."
Yes, and the first steps against Jews in Germany was to deny them the right to own and operate businesses. That is the effect of the HHS “contraception” mandate (contraception includes all pre-implantation procedures, therefore it’s an abortion mandate).
Any genuine Catholic who owns a business that employs more than 50 has been told, in effect, you may not operate a business on your terms, only on ours. He has a choice between his faith and his business.
If they can do it to owners of businesses larger than 50 employees, they can do it to anyone.
Yes, perhaps SCOTUS will overturn it. But that will only be a temporary setback.
The Nazis did not start with concentration camps. They started by outlawing Jewish businesses.
All those Prots and Libertarians who say, what’s the fuss, it’s only about contraception, everyone except those stupid Catholics have long accepted the morality of contraception, need to listen up. You are next and it won’t be about “contraception.” It’ll be about you and YOUR beliefs, not about those crazy stupid Catholics and their beliefs.
But nobody listened in Germany until it was too late. Nobody will listen here until it’s too late. The concentration camps were indeed largely hidden from the people. I have read my uncle’s brother-in-law’s memoirs. He was 19 years old when the war ended, enthsusiastically a memmber of the Waffen SS, from a down-at-the-heels typical German bourgeois family. He truly thought Hitler was a decent guy who only had Germany’s best interests at heart. He truly believed the scapegoat the Jews myths.
Already in November 1942 reports of the Final Solution were in the NYTimes. I just read them in the war report postings here on FR the day before yesterday, I think.
But in Germany, that stuff was either not heard at all or was dismissed as enemy disinformation.
That’s the way it will be here. The opponents of the Regime will be scapegoated and even people in the “middle” will hear reports of penalties and think, yeah, but it’s just those stupid Catholics who are such extremists when it comes to sex stuff.
It’s pretty darn close to being too late now.
She always seems so boastful about her catholicism and proud of the correctness of her understanding and her actions as a catholic leader. Confusing. Rank has its privileges, I guess.
My mother voted for Obama. A cradle Catholic, she learned in the sixties, that old white male bishops had no authority over matters sexual, despite their claims. She learned this from Cardinals like Bernadin and his claim of church hypocrisy and rebellious theologian priests.. She became a cafeteria Catholic and now when called to order by the bishops she does not heed the call. Once disobedient, it becomes the norm. Thus Catholics become the culture.
The very next week he said he had changed his mind, and would NOT be allowing people to sign petitions at the church.
My guess is he chickened out, or was called by some liberal "Catholics" who didn't "like" the church's position.
Regardless, I think that if the Catholic church becomes toothless, and stands for absolutely nothing, then why am I wasting my sunday mornings there?
I go for spiritual guidance, and enlightenment. Not appeals for money, and politically correct garbage.
Actions always speak louder than words. Obama called the bishops' bluff this cycle and we'll now have to see what consequences ensue.
Because the Church today has about 50% that do not genuinely subscribe to even basic, core Church teachings (whether you source them Biblically or in “natural law”)...
The Jews have an even higher internal failure rate, but in both Peoples of God, and in Christian society generally, there are still many good people who understand — and who support — and who try to live in accordance with — these core teachings.
There is a great effort by the Holy Father (Pope) and most of the Bishops to achieve “internal evangelization” — to make genuine Christians out of the 50% who self-identify with, but do not live in accordance with, God/Bible/Church.
There is obviously a very great distance to go yet, before success can be claimed for this effort. Meanwhile, let us pray we, as a society, are granted another 4 years to repair all that’s being rent asunder.
ps: I’ve yet to find a core Biblical or Church value that is not based on Jewish teachings. That a Jew recognizes the assault on the Church — and speaks up for the Church — should come as no surprise, and many other Jewish rabbis or speakers do the same for the Church, regularly. We can all differ on specific theological doctrines, but the two Biblical Peoples of God share a common core value system, a common morality if you will. And any thinking Jew can certainly see the dangers of today’s government trying to dictate its own moral values (or amoral values) by force of law. Heck, anyone with the intelligence of a turnip can see the risk to us all in this.
Keep the faith,
Cleaning house does no good. It all boils down to lack of respect for authority and rules. Every one does what is right in their own eyes now.Nothing can be defined as wrong except for racism, sexism, homophopia and aquiring wealth. These are the only mortal sins now.
Dissenters don’t leave the Church. They remain in order to change and redefine the Church.
I totally agree with you! My step-father and his family were on the last boat to leave Germany prior to WWII. Evenutally, he met and married my mother, then adopted me. He agreed to my being raised a catholic. His family were non-practicing Lutherans; he was never baptized. Growing up, he often attended mass with me and my mom but made no commitment to the Catholic faith. At one point in time, he acknowledged an admiration for a coworker who was also a Baptist minister. Again, no commitment was made. Despite 40+ years of exposure to the Catholic Church, he is a professed agnostic. He is also anti-Semitic. Moreover, he and my mother voted for Obama ... because they view him as the modern day FDR who built up this country after the Depression. They have both turned anti-capitalist and agree with Warren Buffet that the government should increase taxes on the wealthy. Holiday get togethers restrict any discussion of religion or politics. I pray nightly for both of them.
Hard hitting and accurate.
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
John Adams (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31)