Looking back in retrospect over the last 7 years, in some regards, my faith and practice as a Catholic have barely survived the growing threat of fascism in the Church, the mass exodus of young people leaving the Church over this, attacks from me becoming an LGBTQ+ ally, being a supportive Catholic mother of LGBTQ+ kids, the fierce surge of anti-intellectualism and anti-science in the Church, and calling out the Catholic/Religious Right for their support of fascism/Trumpism. To say that the backlash has been brutal is an understatement.
For me to make the journey to where I am today over the last seven years, for my faith and family to survive, I had to make a very needed, painful, yet liberating shift to progressive Catholicism and the Democratic party, away from the Republican party and rad trad fundie Catholicism. The primary supports which helped me survive this shift are and were Pope Francis, the Jesuits, the Paulist priests, other progressive faith leaders, affirming LGBTQ+ mother groups, and other reconciling Christian ministries. Without them, I think I would have walked totally away from my faith after being a life-long Christian who converted to Catholicism in 2015. Most people who convert to Catholicism converted in as ultra-conservatives. I was not the exception in 2015, before all of the above happened. If you have read all of my blog posts in Patheos, it’s hard to believe that I was ever a conservative.
The very needed, painful, yet liberating shift to progressive Catholicism and the Democratic party away from the Republican party and rad trad fundie Catholicism have made me a much better person and Catholic. The peace, joy, and serenity are beyond explanation. I went from living in a fluctuating state of fear, anxiety, depression, and shame to a reformed state of life, a much greater love of all people, joy, and self-acceptance.
If I could choose the largest factor of these shifts, it was me following the direction of the Chair of Peter, the main reason I became Catholic in the first place. Following Pope Francis’ guidance by Catholic Social Teaching not only gave me incredible direction to leave and defeat the Catholic Right in my life, it gave me the ability to fully love God’s creation, all people without exception, animals, and the earth. Catholic Social Teaching was at the core and center of my faith shift, political shift, and triumphing to a full new life in Christ and His Church.
Let’s take a look at Catholic Social Teaching and review it from a previous Patheos of mine. catholic-social-teaching-poster-adults-digital.pdf (usccb.org)
Catholic Social Teaching–roots in the Gospel
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) lists the Seven tenants of Catholic Social Teaching below. The summaries are my own paraphrases through the verbal permission of USCCB. Here is the USCCB link if you wish to read further about Catholic Social Teaching.
Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching | USCCB
I think that Catholic Social Teaching more closely aligns with the Democratic party and the Gospel although some teachings would
not align with the Democratic party, like abortion. Still, we cannot ignore and even dismiss the other 46 life issues which the Church teaches.
Faithful Citizenship – Justice Peace and Human Development | USCCB
Catholic Voter Guide – The Issues
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
The Catholic Church teaches that all human life and human dignity is sacred from conception
to natural death. This teaching is foundational to Catholic Social Teaching.
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
A human being is identified as sacred AND social. The economy and politics in both law and
policy does directly affect human beings and broader society. All people have rights and duties to
seek and participate together for the Common Good of society and well-being of all people,
especially the vulnerable and the poor.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human life and dignity should be protected at all
phases equally, and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected a
nd responsibilities are met for all, not just some. Further, justice for one marginalized group
cannot be pursued at the cost of harming and even exterminating part of another marginalized group.
Therefore, every person at all stages of human life has a fundamental right to life and human decency.
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
This is a basic moral obligation to care for and regularly check on the most vulnerable members in society
regardless of their religious or non-religious affiliations. The Gospel of Matthew 25 instructs us to place the
needs of the marginalized and the poor first.
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
The economy must serve the Common Good of the entire society, not just a portion of it. Work is more
than a way to earn money or a living; it is a participatory form of interacting with God’s creation. Fair or living
wages and respectable working conditions must be implemented, protected, and upheld.
All human beings are part of one human family regardless of their race, creed, or walk of life.
We are all brothers and sisters created in the Imago Dei, the Image of God. Loving our neighbor,
regardless of who he/she may be, is central to the Christian faith. There is also a virtue of SOLIDARITY
rooted in peace and justice. The Beatitudes listed in the Gospel of Matthew Ch. 5 calls us to
be Peacemakers. Pope John Paul VI taught that if we want peace, we must work for justice.
Care for God’s Creation
Stewardship for creation shows respect for God. Care for the earth is required of our faith.
Environmental challenges and the needs of humanity cannot be dismissed but
acknowledged and properly addressed.
As my favorite Evangelical Pastor, Rev. Jim Wallis says in this video below, “to be a
Christian is more than our stance on abortion and same-sex
marriage.” He is now the inaugural Chair in Faith and Justice at
the Catholic Georgetown University Center of Faith and Justice.
And on that note, I fully support the fundamental human rights of LBGTQIA+ people
and their families just as I would for any other marginalized group because it is pro-life to do so.
(25) Why Trump’s Agenda Is Anti-Christ | Opinions | NowThis – YouTube