The Riddle that is Me

Not for the first time, a reader writes in honest bafflement to say:

You confuse me. And that’s the problem. Hi, Mark. I’m a cradle Catholic, and I read your excellent book about discovering Catholic Tradition in the late 90’s. It’s one of the things that led me to the University of Dallas for graduate school in Theology. So, thank you.

You’re welcome. Good to meet you.

Now, I read your blog from time to time. I admit I’m not an avid reader of it, and so I may be mistaken, but it seems to me that you criticize conservatives quite a bit more than liberals.

I criticize both.

If you are trying to steer people toward voting in more abortion and gay “marriage” cheerleaders, then I think you are doing a decent job of it. Is this your intention?

No. My intent is to persuade people to be Catholic first, party members second. I have never once suggested that abortion or gay “Marriage” should be supported.

Yes, I realize that Bush, Cheney, Gringrich, etc. have their flaws, but flawed as they are, they are a better choice in almost every situation each November.

I have abandoned the game of supporting candidates who advertise themselves as “30% less evil than the other leading brand.” I will not support candidates of any stripe who ask me to support intrinsic grave evil. Please don’t tell me that’s expecting perfection. It’s not. It’s a bare minimum request for least common denominator civic decency. I don’t ask perfection of either GOP or Dem. I simply ask that they stop telling me I have to support policies which Catholic moral teaching describes as “worthy of the fires of hell”. Both parties do this in various ways, therefore I will not support any candidate from either party that does. Conversely, if any candidate from either party tells me he will not be supporting grave and intrinsic evil, I will at least consider voting for him. So far, the pickings are slim.

If you’d like to boot the social liberals from power so that those of us who are pro-life and pro-marriage can make some headway, then I suggest a change in the tone of your rhetoric. I suggest that you criticize conservatives constructively rather than in a way that makes them seem like the scum of the earth.

I don’t think conservatives (real ones, I mean) are the scum of the earth. I don’t think our Faith allows us to think of people that way, even really scummy people like child molestors, terrorist, and what not, much less mere fellow citizens of a different political persuasion. As to conservatives, I consider myself one. However, much thinking that calls itself conservative today is not about conserving anything. It is about sucking the economy dry on nation-building experiments, radical expansions of power for Caesar, salvation through leviathan by any means necessary and, last but not least, exploitation of sincere and well-meaning social conservatives via the continual false promise that, eventually, our “conservative” pols will do something about abortion. When serious effort is made to raise the US above sub-Carthaginian levels of respect for the unborn, I will take the GOP seriously. But in fact, the GOP leadership has no real interest in the problem and they never will until social conservative get off the reservation and make it clear we are serious. So, for now, I vote for third party candidates who do not ask me to support grave sin and pray for the day when mainstream conservatism actually stops spending money like drunken sailors, anointing Talk Show hosts who care nothing about gay “marriage” as their de facto leaders, and enthusiastically endorsing war crimes as the means of saving America. I expect this sort of relativistic nonsense from lefties who have no principles to betray. But for conservative to talk about faith and family while treating a dirtbag like Newt Gingrich as a serious leader? Not for me.

In short, I care about being a Catholic a lot more than I care about party loyalty. The illusion that I’m somehow more in favor of the Left than I am of conservatives is due to the simple fact that there aren’t many lefties on my blog attempting to excuse their love of the sacrament of abortion (the only core value of the Left). But there are plenty of conservatives making excuses for ignoring Catholic teaching in the service of their ideology. I’m opposed to embryonic stem cell research, not only when Obama approves of it, but when McCain does too. I won’t be party to it by supporting either man in his quest to cannibalize babies.

Hope that clarifies my position.

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