Good Evening, stillbelieve, good to hear from you again.
Your dilemma sounds similar to mine, though we came to it by different paths.
Through a long, convoluted path that starts somewhere in the mid 80’s, I learned about the virtues and vices of the Kennedy clan, other Catholic politicians, politicians from other faith traditions, and how they all formed their votes. Weirdly, the Church seemed to say abortion was unequivocally wrong; most Catholic politicians seemed to say abortion was right. Well, not RIGHT, exactly, but..what? Wrong, but not wrong enough? Oddly enough, many Protestant politicians voted against abortion. In these cases, the Catholics were pretty equivocal and dodgy, while the Protestants were quite firm and straightforward. How could our Catholics, having the one, true faith, vote the wrong way, while the Protestants, lacking the full faith, vote the right way?
On this and many other issues, from war to economics to social concerns, it ran the same: Everyone “voted their conscience”, but the Catholics routinely voted for permissive law and large government, while the Protestants voted for strict(er) law and small(er) government. Considering what I’d learned about the philosophical underpinnings within the Constitution, I began to truly wonder why the Catholic politicians seemed so willing to overrule or undermine both Church and State ideals.
Eventually, where could this problem lead, but to the bishops’ doorsteps? SOMEBODY surely had some means of “enforcing” Catholic doctrine..didn’t they? Considering that Bishop Bruskewitz formally announced the excommunications of Masons and others in Lincoln, surely those same measures would apply to politicians…wouldn’t they?
Well, all the way along, at one time or another, Catholic clerics have implied—and Catholic politicians have professed to a fair degree—that every Catholic has/had a moral obligation to advocate for socialistic policies. That whole thing about being one’s brother’s keeper, right? Only problem is, as I’ve grown older and thought these puzzling, I’ve learned that..well, um, actually..the Church’s catechism partially CONDEMNS socialism and communism, while giving a reluctant agreement to capitalism!
Then along comes the past few years where I’ve learned that the USCCB has spent much time and energy working with Democratic party officials to instill a healthy dose of socialism into law. They don’t say it that way, sure, but that’s pretty much where it comes down. Then, with the health care debate, the bishops endorsed the imposition wholeheartedly, then condemned it because of concerns with abortion funding.
I must say, I’m not the LEAST bit happy with this!
For one thing, I’d got the general notion through my teens that one took serious risks with hell by embracing capitalistic ideas. Discerning on my own that such risks exist, but are nowhere near as serious as had been portrayed? Let’s just say I’ve been VERY unhappy!
Then again, I wouldn’t mind if the bishops would provoke a more thorough discussion of economics and economic systems. Given how much influence money tends to have on our lives, I would think such a discussion quite helpful.
But what happened instead? Instead of actively challenging all of us to learn our faith’s tenets, then work together to institute these ideas into law…instead of using normal citizens to accomplish the works of the Church like I thought Vatican II requested…the bishops choose to declare that they CAN and DO speak for ME to my elected Congressmen and President! And then declare what a great good they’ve done for me!
Talk about arrogance!
Lucky for them, I actually believe in what the Church teaches, so I won’t be leaving Christ’s Church, but this DOES make it very difficult for me to take them seriously.