Out on Appeal
Regarding the results of the presidential election: Our death sentence has been commuted, and now we await the results of our appeal.
Clarity in Words
In a recent homily, Pope Francis said that we are too rigid, not flexible enough. I don’t understand his comment. If the Church in the United States, as represented in far too many parishes, were any more flexible, it would need a steel beam to hold it erect.
At one time in my church, at the intentions, we would say a prayer for the unborn. I haven’t heard that intention mentioned in quite a while. Why?
The Pope constantly implores us to show mercy, as we should. No argument there. But he does not often enough proclaim clearly and unmistakably that abortion and homosexual relations are sinful and wrong. I’m not advocating that we should not forgive those who commit those sins. What I am wondering is: When will the Pope say clearly enough, so as not to be misconstrued, what is morally wrong? If pronouncing that out loud is what he considers as inflexible, then it is no wonder the Church is in the state it is.
Jackson, New Jersey
Pertinent to your coverage on the presidential campaign, specifically your article on Donald Trump’s pro-life stance and the one that stated more Catholics are leaning toward a vote for Hillary Clinton:
King David was a murderer and an adulterer, yet still is treasured within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Sts. Augustine and Francis of Assisi were libertines in their early years but still are revered. Former President Bill Clinton is respected and feted and forgiven by his wife and society, in spite of his many infidelities.
If everyone were judged by their past, these would not be honorable men. God writes straight with crooked lines. We should be thinking about greater issues (abortion) than dredging up old mistakes. The economy, foreign affairs and pro-life issues are more important than name-calling. Mud-slinging leads to avoiding these important topics.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
The editor replies: It turns out that most, if not all, of the pre-election polls were wrong, as President-elect Trump garnered a sizable percentage of the Catholic vote.
On the recent Election Day, the citizens spoke, and to the pro-life population of America, our prayers were answered. Our prayer was that the unborn child be given a chance to live without our government administration actively promoting the most extreme version of their inhuman ideology.
This inexplicable doctrine possessed the full weight of the most powerful office in the world to carry out the lethal program: For the past eight years, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the many powerful pro-abortion lobbying groups have had carte blanche from the administration to push their deadly schedule, which would eliminate all restrictions on abortion, up to and including the day of natural birth, for any reason or no reason at all.
In Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, the same principles and methods were employed in order to eliminate the Jewish population. In that place and time, persons were put to death simply because they were Jewish. In what way is the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision different? That “law” allows persons not yet born to lose their lives with or without reason. To add to this deadly practice, more than $500 million of government taxpayer dollars go to finance such activity. The CEO of Planned Parenthood at the close of Election Day tweeted out her emotions: “Devastated, Angry, Heartbroken, Outraged, Shocked, Sad, Disgusted, Ashamed, Discouraged, Exhausted, Shattered.” These were her exact words. Bizarre as it may seem, these are the same emotions shared by pro-lifers when an unborn child is not allowed to live.
Now, we must keep vigilant watch to make sure our new president takes the promised steps to defend the most defenseless among us and protect the right to life of all U.S. citizens.
I was looking forward to reading Rachel Lu’s commentary “We Have No King but Christ” (In Depth, Oct. 30 issue), but found myself being hit in the stomach. Two statements screamed at me. The first was that “half a century ago, religiosity was still strong in the United States. We exulted in being an exceptional nation”; that was followed by stating that our complacency and expectation for material comfort “has overcommitted itself in terms of pension and entitlement benefits.”
You see, I receive a benefit that did not exist 50 years ago. I do not like it, but I cannot afford the alternative. I am 49 years old and receive SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), which did not exist until 1974. My disability is a genetic condition called Noonan’s syndrome. The effects are not universal. Mine has resulted in chronic lymphedema, along with cognitive-mental issues and other physical related issues. Despite numerous job failures and challenges, I endeavored to pay my own way through life until a health crisis in 2011, which opened the door to SSDI, at my physician’s urging. Otherwise, as he told the social worker, “This guy was going to end up killing himself.”
When I was fortunate to find someone to marry, I went back to full-time work in April 2013, only to end up hospitalized again in December 2013, which was the first of seven times in less than a year. Fortunately, my SSDI never ended because I was in a trial period and was qualified for Medicare. Had I had my previous health insurance, those hospitalizations would have drained all the money I worked hard to save up through 50-hour work weeks and Spartan living. I understand the Church’s teaching on subsidiarity and solidarity and am constantly ashamed of being “on the dole.”
The more I read the Register’s viewpoints, the more I wonder whether or not I have a place in the Catholic Church. If these entitlements were taken away, would the Church be willing and able to step in and assist me, or would it tell me something less than charitable and tell me to leave?
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Editor’s note: The Church will always reach out to you and all in need of her assistance. Catholic outreach assists government in contributing to the common good.
Dialogue and Prayer
Regarding “We Have No King but Christ,” when God, Church and state authority are in harmony, the common good of society is achieved.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1925) says, “The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for and promotion of fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; and the peace and security of the group and of its members.”
However, the Catechism also teaches, “The diversity of political regimes is legitimate, provided they contribute to the good of the community” (1922).
Therefore, the question remains, what political party is the Church? The answer is: neither, of course. Jesus is neither Republican nor Democrat. He is God. He does not fit into categories. Neither does the Church. The real goal for the Church, and each of us as Catholics, is to be pro-life, clear on sexual issues, advocate for the poor, the immigrants, the family and traditional marriage; embrace solidarity; protest violence; be merciful; and fight for religious liberty.
So, although we may align ourselves with one party or another, in the end, Catholicism is neither liberal nor conservative. It is all things to all people. It is love. How do we follow our faith in the wake of this election season’s heightened polarization? Pope Francis, in his encyclical entitled The Joy of Love, (98-101 and 136), provides us with answers. “No warring among ourselves! Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of our fraternal love. Dialogue is essential for experiencing, expressing and fostering love.” His recommended rules for healthy dialogue include:
1. Recognize the real importance and dignity of the other person.
2. Try to understand where the other person is coming from.
3. Put yourself in the other’s shoes.
4. Be ready to listen patiently and attentively.
5. Keep an open mind.
6. Advance the common good.
7. Try not to offend, and don’t vent.
8. Love everyone.
9. Base positions on beliefs and values (not the desire to win).
After this election season, I pray that each of us can get back to doing the work of the Church, to live our lives in the service of God, country and our fellow man. Amen.