It’s as simple as that.
How do Catholic politicians come to the conclusion that it’s A-Ok for them to vote, speak and advocate for abortion?
How do Catholic politicians decide that it’s not a big deal for them to vote for discriminatory laws against whole swaths of humanity?
How do Catholic politicians develop the belief that they can vote and speak for the HHS Mandate and not be attacking their own Church?
How on earth do Catholic politicians come to believe that, even though John Paul II expressly wrote a whole letter telling them flat out that politicians who vote for gay marriage are committing grave sins, that it’s still ok for them to vote for gay marriage and that they can march right up to the front of the church and take communion afterwards?
Where do these elected officials get the gas to denounce a bishop for having the temerity to teach the teachings of the Church? What is the source of the arrogance that allows a member of the Catholic laity to proclaim that a bishop’s teaching, which is based on papal documents and the constant teaching of the Church, is “a tragedy?”
Where do politicians who essentially tell bishops of the Church to “mind your place” when they teach Church teaching acquire their overbearing attitudes towards their religious leaders? Where did the princes and princesses of Western democracies get the nerve to lecture the Church on what constitutes a state of grace and who would be taking communion unworthily?
It has grown past scandal and become a broad cultural reality that dissenting high profile Catholics deliberately and publicly thumb their noses at Church teaching by deciding, with a clear knowledge of what they are doing, to cast votes, make speeches, accept awards and publicly advocate for abortion and gay marriage. These actions have been specifically defined as mortal sins by the popes.
Who brought this beast of arrogant Catholic politicians who oppose and attack their own Church to life? Who feeds it?
While there are multiple factors and causes involved in the exploits of such a large group of people, one thing that stands out in my mind is the actions of the Bishops themselves. I understand that telling a group of people that they may not take communion unless they repent, as in the situation of politicians who cast a certain vote, is a difficult call, primarily for reasons of justice.
Votes can be misleading simply because there are procedural methods of killing a piece of legislation or of working to get at it, which can look one way to the outsider and are really another thing altogether to someone who understands the process. Lawmaking in a democracy is a wild West process where anything that works, goes.
Added to this is the fact that the bishops themselves seem to have little more than a high school political science understanding of how legislating works. A few years ago, I watched an EWTN broadcast of a meeting of the USCCB as they tried to iron out what would have been simple parliamentary procedures for an elected official. It was funny stuff. But it also taught me that these guys don’t understand what politicians do for a living.
That is why these cases have to be taken individually and why a repeated practice of voting a certain way, added to public statements is the best method for a bishop to determine if he is dealing with an elected official who just fell off the horse, or who even may be doing the right thing with a confusing procedural move, or, if the politician in question is a hardened dissenter who is committing mortal sins without compunction.
Even though examples of obvious, high-profile cases of the latter are easily found in American politics, both at the federal and the state level, I do not want to see star chamber Catholics with their desire to use communion as a club to beat people they don’t like to rule the day. I appreciate the caution of good bishops in a matter as serious as telling someone to refrain from taking communion.
But if they want to lead their people, the bishops are going to have to get together and do something. They should have done something a long time back. It needs to be consistent, cohesive and understandable. It also needs to occur in non-election years so that there is no taint of electoral politics to it.
This penchant for openly committing grave sins and then denouncing anyone who says that it is, in fact, a sin, has become a mass revolt in the public at large, and it is being led by large numbers of Catholic politicians.
I know that it is difficult for a bishop to talk to each one of these offending politicians personally and advise them of the gravity of their situation. I also understand that a certain number of the politicians in question will make the whole thing public and milk it for all it’s worth. There will inevitably a public outcry and excoriation of the bishops for their “intolerance” when they advise someone to refrain from taking communion until they repent and go to confession.
But the fact is that the reason there are so many Catholic politicians doing this is that the bishops have failed Catholic elected officials in this matter for a long time.
Elected officials are not just things with power. They are human beings. They are immortal souls. If they are Catholic, their religious leaders are their pastor and their bishop. If both these men do not take note of public dissent against Church teaching in grave matters when it is manifesting and step in to advise the person of the danger to their soul in what they are doing, then that pastor or bishop is failing this person.
It really is as simple as that. Bishops who allow high profile Catholics to run amuk and commit equally high-profile mortal sins without at least making sure that their pastors talk to them about it are failing these people. What’s more, they are failing them in an area which strikes to the core of what a bishop is, which is their role as the shepherd of souls.
If the pastor or bishop allows this behavior to continue unchallenged until it becomes a public scandal — as it will — then they have not only failed this one individual, they have failed all those who observe this politician’s defiance and decide that it must be ok for them to defy the Church in matters of mortal sin, as well.
In this way, the pastor and bishops are training both elected officials and the rest of the laity to defy the Church and ignore its teachings. The bishops are indirectly teaching that mortal sin is not mortal sin and the Eucharist is simply a social rite which may be taken by the force of public approbation and criticism.
We’ve just been given a startling example of this by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of England basically did exactly what I’m talking about in a recent letter in which they made it clear that, insofar as the Church is concerned, the Catholic MPs who voted for gay marriage did not commit a serious sin with that vote.
They didn’t say this explicitly, of course. What they said was that there were no plans to deny communion to those MPs who had voted for gay marriage. So far as the public is concerned, this is the bishops’ imprimatur on the power of Catholic politicians to commit any sin they chose with their offices and not have to count it as sin.
Again, the bishops didn’t explicitly say that, but there is enough past experience here, and they all have to be intelligent well-educated men who are fully aware of the consequences to this sort of thing that I’m certain they know how people will see their actions. They also have to know that the effect of their little letter will be more dissent in the future.
Where do you think dissenting politicians come from? They are empowered and enabled by bishops like these.
LONDON, April 2, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales assured Catholic Members of Parliament this week that there are “no plans” to refuse them Holy Communion after they voted to support the “gay marriage” legislation that came into effect yesterday.
Greg Pope, head of parliamentary relations at the conference and a former Labour Party MP, wrote to MPs assuring them that comments by the bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, on the Church’s Code of Canon Law forbidding Communion to “manifest grave sinners,” would not be applied to them.
Today the media office of the bishops’ conference confirmed with LifeSiteNews that the letter was addressed to the Catholic MPs with the bishops’ full authorization. “Many thanks for your mail. Mr. Greg Pope was speaking as a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales,” a spokesman with the bishops’ Catholic Communications Network said. Greg Pope was chosen as the liaison between the English Catholic bishops and Parliament despite his consistent voting record in opposition to traditional moral teachings. Pope has supported abortion, adoption by homosexual partners, and artificial contraception.
“The statement was approved by the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference after appropriate consultation. ‘There are no plans by any Bishops in England and Wales to deny communion to Catholic MPs who voted in favour of same sex marriage legislation last year,’” the spokesman said.
Pope’s letter came in response to a LifeSiteNews interview with Bishop Philip Egan in which he said that denying Communion to someone engaged publicly in grave sin is an “act of mercy” and a “medicinal” remedy for Catholics.
He said, “When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church … in terms of the teachings of the Church on marriage and family life – they are voting in favour of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion.”
“When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church on such a central thing as the value of life of the unborn child and also in terms of the teachings of the church on marriage and family life – they are voting in favor of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion,” he said.
Bishop Egan refused to be intimidated by the possibility of opposition, saying “Nobody is forced to be Catholic.”
Here is how the discussion began, also from LifeSiteNews:
PORTSMOUTH, UK, April 1, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An openly gay Catholic MP who voted for same-sex “marriage” in Britain has said he “feels unable,” in the words of The Telegraph, to receive Communion after his local bishop said that those who vote for legislation that is contrary to Church teaching on marriage and family make themselves unworthy to receive Holy Communion.
Conservative MP Conors Burns called Portsmouth Bishop Philip Egan’s remarks a “tragedy.”
“I have been a practising Catholic and communicant within the diocese of Portsmouth since I arrived at Southampton university in 1991 before anyone in Portsmouth Diocese had ever heard of Philip Egan,” Burns told The Telegraph.
He voted for the same-sex “marriage” legislation that came into effect last month, even though he had voiced prior reservations to redefining marriage.
“If the arrival of this bishop means that I can no longer be a practising Catholic within the diocese, that is a tragedy,” hetold The Tablet last week.
Burns co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Britain’s relations with the Holy See and is considered to be one of the country’s most senior Roman Catholic MPs.
Despite his high ranking, Burns appears to have missed his bishop’s main message.
Egan made it clear in a video interview last month with LifeSiteNews that denying Holy Communion — which Catholics believe to be the body of Jesus Christ —to Catholic politicians not believing and practicing the faith is not a punitive measure, but “always an act of mercy.”
It is done to “encourage someone to come back to seek communion with the Lord with the truth and say I’m sorry I got lost,” he said. It is done “with the hope and prayer that that person can be wooed back into full communion with the Church.”
Canon 915 of the Church’s Code of Canon Law states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
However, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has responded to Egan’s remarks by assuring Catholic politicians that Canon 915 will not be enforced. The bishops’ head of parliamentary relations, Greg Pope, has written to Catholic MPs that Communion will not be denied to those who supported gay “marriage,” reported The Telegraph.
American Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, has strongly advocated the use of canon 915 in the case of Catholic politicians who publicly support abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
In a recent interview published exclusively in English by LifeSiteNews, Burke said denying these politicians Communion is a “prime act of pastoral charity,” since it helps the person in question to “avoid sacrilege and safeguard[s] the other faithful from scandal.”
I recently posted a statement that if you want to disrespect the Pope, you need to go to another blog.
That post garnered quite a few complaints from would-be Pope dis-respecters, including attempts to get around it by use of innuendo and leading questions. It’s interesting how committed these people are to disrespecting the Holy Father.
Michael Voris of The Church Militant recently put up a YouTube video in which he addresses the same issue. It turns out that he doesn’t disrespect the Pope, either. I don’t agree with everything Mr Voris says, but he’s right-on about this.
Have a look.
Pope Francis has set aside this coming Friday as “24 hours for the Lord.”
He is hoping that local parishes will offer special opportunities for prayer and the sacrament of confession. I’m going to try to take advantage of this call for prayer and reconciliation as best I can. Hopefully, many Public Catholic readers will do the same.
We are living in times where our faith is challenged and attacked by the larger culture. If we are going to stand for Christ and not fail, we need to pray and keep ourselves spiritually clean.
From Catholic News Agency:
Vatican City, Mar 23, 2014 / 06:38 am (CNA).- During his Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis announced that March 29-30 would be “24 hours for the Lord,” during which people can find special opportunities for prayer and the sacrament of confession.
“Next Friday and Saturday we will live a special moment of penance, called ‘24 hours for the Lord.’ It will begin with a (liturgical) Celebration in the Basilica of St. Peter’s (on) Friday afternoon, then in the evening and night some churches in the center of Rome will be open for prayer and confessions,” he explained to the crowds in St. Peter’s square on March 23.
“It will be – we could call it - a celebration of forgiveness, which will happen also in many dioceses and parishes of of the world.”
The Holy Father then noted that “the forgiveness that the Lord gives us” should make us “celebrate like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, who when the son returned home, had a party, forgetting all his sins.”
What is Bill Maher’s problem?
Kevin Sorbo, the star of God is Not Dead, responded in the video below to yet another of Bill Maher’s ugly anti-God rants.
In this particular rant, Mr Maher raises the “God is evil” argument, basing it on the movie Noah. I’m going to write a post discussing the “God is evil” argument. But for now, let’s just look at Mr Sorbo and Mr Maher.
Mr Sorbo’s view of Mr Maher’s behavior is worth thinking about. What is behind all this ranting and raving? Is Mr Maher doing it because it attracts an audience and makes money? Or, does he believe it? Even if he believes it, why all the crazy carrying on?
I have never watched Mr Maher’s show. I have seen a quite a few scenes from it on You Tube. Based on that, I would say that he’s also nasty in his treatment of women. In fact, Bill Maher seems to be thoroughly ugly in the way he expresses himself on a number of topics.
But it seems that God is his special hate. In addition to rants like the one on this video, he also made an entire movie attacking God and people of faith. Again, I never saw — and don’t plan to see — the movie. But I have seen a few scenes from it. The pleasure he takes in attacking people of faith is rather striking.
So, what is Bill Maher’s problem? It would seem that, like the professor in the movie, it isn’t so much that he doesn’t believe in God, as that he hates God. He really goes off in this video. It’s as if he’s talking to God directly instead of his audience. Why all this rage about someone he doesn’t believe exists?
I’m sure Mr Maher makes a lot of money attacking God. But I think he probably means most of it. I think he’s as God-obsessed as he appears. I am guessing, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t also as vicious and unpleasant in person as he appears in these clips.
One connected point Mr Sorbo made is something all of us should consider: He doesn’t subscribe to HBO.
We subscribe to a rather expensive cable television package at our house. I honestly don’t know the particulars of this cable package, since my husband set it up and pays the bill for it. If there’s a way for us to dump HBO, we certainly need to do it. If not, we might ought to consider getting rid of the premium channels altogether.
Watching this clip made me wonder if we’re not unintentionally tithing a good bit of our money to support direct attacks on our faith.
My eleven-year-old son put it better than anyone I have ever heard.
Homeschoolers socialize with other homeschoolers. We took our kids to movies together, enrolled them in activities that ranged from classes at the local science museum to participation in swim teams, homeschool soccer leagues and even a homeschool chess club.
We also had picnics, went to movies and other recreational activities.
It was after a homeschool picnic that my son gave me the best description of God’s viewpoint of us that I’ve ever heard.
We were full of food and feeling mellow and we got into a discussion of the first chapter of Genesis. We were all, including the kids, just kicking it around, expressing our own views. One of the homeschooling mothers took an absolutely literal, and, to me at least, narrow and inaccurate, view of the first chapters of Genesis. She believed that God had created the earth (and presumably the whole universe) in six twenty-four hour solar days.
I kept raising the buts inherent in her argument … but 24 hour days are based on how long it takes the earth to turn on its axis, and there was no earth and no sun “in the beginning,”
… but God created time, so in the beginning there was no time …
… but …
She would have none of it. She couldn’t wrap her mind around the idea that there was once nothing, absolutely nothing, and God created all creation out of this nothingness.
To her, and a lot of other people on both sides of the existence-of-god arguments, the idea of a beginning in which light, time, atoms, the rules of physics — everything, everywhere — simply did not exist was too incomprehensible to bother considering.
My eleven-year-old piped up, “but God created time,” he said. “God is not part of time. When God looks at creation, He doesn’t see a line, going off into the future. He sees a dot.”
My son’s comment didn’t make a ding in our friend’s thinking. It floated past her without engaging one brain cell.
But I was stunned by the simple understanding of an eleven-year-old.
He had said it all.
When scientists taught that the universe always was, they were dodging the obvious. The metaphysical implications in an existence which began from nothing are enormous.
If everything — everything — had a beginning, and that beginning was a sudden something when nothing exploded into all that is, then the question of “What, or Who, did this?” comes shortly after.
I’ve read comments about the discovery of the Big Bang Echo to the effect that the Big Bang Echo debunks the Biblical story of creation once and for all. I assume that by the Biblical story of creation they were referring, not to the Scriptures themselves, but to interpretations of those Scriptures like that of my fellow homeschooler.
The idea that God created the universe in seven 24-hour solar days has so many holes in it, from simple logic, that it won’t stand. If you read the thing literally, really literally, you’ll see that it doesn’t say any such thing. It says “day” and day, used this way, is poetic. It can mean almost any space of time.
The first chapter of Genesis is a poem. Anyone can see that. It’s what it is.
But it also describes, in poetic rather than scientific terms, a reality. God did create the heavens and the earth. He “spoke” existence into existence.
What it does do is let us see it.
As my eleven-year-old son once said, God created time. He is outside time the same way that Henry Ford was outside and not part of the Model T, that I am outside and not part of this blog post. Mr Ford and I both leave our signatures all over our creations. There is an image of us in what we do. But we are not governed by the realities of what we have created. It is governed by us.
God created time just as He created everything else. He is outside of it. I think that when God looks at creation, he sees all of it, all at once, all the time.
When it comes to time, we, who are in it and of it, are like a grasshopper, standing in the middle of an interstate highway. From our vantage point, the highway of time goes on in both directions forever. It has no beginning and no end. But to God, Who is outside of time, the beginning, and the end, are both constantly in view.
That is what it means to be transcendent.
We, who are made in the image and likeness of God, possess the capacity to slowly and painstakingly unravel this mystery of how God did it. From inside our temporal prison, we can, by use of all our wits and by building on one another’s thinking, figure it out.
I believe that’s because we are made for more than this life. Where else did this drive to touch the face of God with our minds come from? What practical purpose does it serve for us to seek and find the echo of the Big Bang from which we came? We are made for more than what we appear to be. Our craving for transcendence is a hunger that we feed but cannot satisfy with the devices of our minds.
What we are hungering for is not the what of existence, but the Who that is behind it.
This Being Who spoke existence into existence, this Word that was there from the beginning, loves us. He left us clues to how He did it scattered throughout creation like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs.
The Big Bang echo is one such crumb. It allows us, for the first time, to see creation as it was created. That is its significance. And its gift.
Science is not the enemy of faith. Ham-handed fools who try to use science to “prove” their personal prejudices can make it seem to be the enemy of faith. Occasional misapprehensions of the partial discoveries we make as we follow the bread crumbs can yield to this hubris and, again, make science seem like the enemy of faith.
But in truth, science is just us, figuring out the creation we’ve been handed.
Science misapplied can be our undoing, both spiritually, and, as we meddle deeper into the building blocks of our existence, physically. We can blow ourselves up or mutate our genes and end ourselves with science. The threat is right in front of us every day we live.
That’s because science is our creation, and as our creation, it is flawed in the ways that we are flawed. It a tool that our tool-making kind has devised to help us understand How He did it. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Son of God is still in the theaters. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to go.
It seems that there is more than one Christian movie coming out this Lent. God is Not Dead opens this weekend. We need to support movies like this with our time and our dollars.
I’m going. I hope you will, too.
According to a poll by NBC/WSJ, 21% of Americans say that religion is “not that important in their lives.”
This isn’t a big surprise. It’s consistent with other polls. The details are pretty much the same as those in previous polls, as well. An NBC news article says that “Less religious Americans are more likely to be men, have an income over $75,000, to live in the northeast” and be under 35.
The only comment I have to make about this is that it’s something to consider as we contemplate how to approach re-converting this culture. Do we start with these “not that importants,” or do we begin elsewhere?
I don’t claim to have a decisive answer. But my personal opinion, based mainly on years of political campaigning, is that we should begin with our own people. I think the first great need for active conversion is to be found in the pews of our own churches.
There are over 1 billion Catholics on this planet, and almost all of us are laity. We are the Church. The need to educate, inspire and lead this laity to an active evangelistic fervor is so obvious that I’m not going to waste the words to substantiate it in this brief post.
I think the place to begin the great work of conversion that is in front of us is our own laity. The question I have is, does the laity have to do the work of converting itself?
We need leadership.