The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Real Catholic

John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, has delighted the conservative base of the Republican Party and will likely aid in attracting many of the disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters who were less than enthusiastic by the Obama bin Biden ticket. Catholics especially should rejoice for Palin, a mother of five, appears to be at the very least in communion with the teachings of the Church on life issues. Given the sad history of Catholic politicians such as Rudolf Giuliani, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden, all of whom have created scandal by their decidedly anti-Church positions on a variety of issues, there is a somewhat satisfactory temptation to exclaim:

"At last, a real Christian is running for office."

While the statement seems true it is a bit perilous because it can lead one down the path of pure judgment while neglecting a dire need for love. Christ outlined a due process for dealing with those who have fallen away:

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."
Matthew (RSV) 18:15-17

In the case of the politician, at least two of the three of the steps outlined by Our Lord have been followed. Surely several souls have informed the errant public figures mentioned above that their positions on life issues are sinful. Certainly many have complained to the bishops of their respective diocese. The challenge may very well lie in the listening to the church, which specifically on the local level has been silent.

True, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and several bishops around the country recently issued strong statements against Speaker Pelosi for her misrepresentation of Catholic doctrine, but the correction from the bishop of her diocese, Archbishop George Niederaur has been slow in coming. Rumor has it that he plans to publish a response in the local Catholic newspaper in San Francisco next month.

There has never been any public statement by Cardinal Egan of New York correcting the former Mayor Guiliani whose multiple marriages and public pro-choice stance are indications of his being outside of communion with the Church. And yet when Pope Benedict celebrated mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rudy received communion.

John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have received a lot of flack from many over their pro-abortion stance while still professing to be in full communion with the Church; however, the shepherd in their Boston diocese, Archbishop Sean P O'Malley has kept a safe distance speaking in generalities.

Joe Biden has not been so sheltered. Bishop Michael Saltarelli has publicly stated in direct response to Biden's pro-abortion stand that politicians who promote abortion should refrain from receiving communion. He also forbade Catholic schools in his diocese to allow Biden to speak at their school. Saltarelli submitted his resignation when he turned age 75 as is custom, and one only prays that his successor, the Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly will join with Saltarelli in this cause.

It is not out of judgment that bishops, clergy, and even the laity should dare to correct the wandering politician, but rather out of love. Each of those mentioned above has been given the gift of leadership and thus have become culpable for the example that their public lives display. By taking a position against the Church on such a non-negotiable issue as the sanctity and dignity of human life, one has to genuinely fear for the politician's very soul.

What is more, love of neighbor should inspire a loud hue and cry protesting the misrepresentation by the politician of the Church and her teachings. For if the light of truth does not shine on the lie put forward by the politician, then there will be those who will be led astray by the lie.

Oh how the choirs of angels would rejoice were Pelosi, Guilianai, Kerry, Kennedy, and Biden to publicly state that they have been in error on their support of abortion. As Catholics we must not only stand firm in our correction of these leaders, but pray in earnest for their conversion. Ultimately what is at stake transcends the rhetoric and discourse of the culture. Each and every time a Catholic politician openly defies the Church, one is witnessing a soul that is perishing.

As Christ instructs, they should be regarded as the tax collector or gentile. That is to say, they have by their own actions placed themselves outside of the communion with Christ. To follow them or more bluntly to vote for them cooperates in that stepping outside of unity with the mystical body. Would one give an alcoholic a drink? Would one give a heroine addict money for drugs? Why then would one give his vote to support the continued fallen path of the heretical politician?

Christ's mercy is infinite. Any of the anti-life leaders can repent, convert, and come home at anytime. The door to forgiveness stays ever open. Let all Catholics pray for the return of all leaders who have been lured by power, pride, and a false sense of importance that they may one day leave the culture of death and join in the wedding feast of the Lamb.


Postscript. September 7th, 2008. Here is a link to the letter published, today, by Archbishop George Niederaur. Pray that Ms. Pelosi agrees to meet with her pastor.


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