In his terrific letter Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis perceptively diagnoses the disease now raging through the Christianist Freak Show of “prolife” zeal for cruelty to children at the border and racist targeting of the poor, brown, and desperate that so passionately animates the Greatest Catholics of All Time as they march in the MAGA hats:
The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.
102. We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him (cf. Mt 25:35)? Saint Benedict did so readily, and though it might have “complicated” the life of his monks, he ordered that all guests who knocked at the monastery door be welcomed “like Christ”, with a gesture of veneration; the poor and pilgrims were to be met with “the greatest care and solicitude”.
103. A similar approach is found in the Old Testament: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you yourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex 22:21). “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Lev 19:33-34). This is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad. In today’s world too, we are called to follow the path of spiritual wisdom proposed by the prophet Isaiah to show what is pleasing to God. “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn” (58:7-8).
The use of the unborn as human shields for defending everything Trump and his Party do, no matter how gravely immoral, is the single most disgusting tactic of the Christianist “prolife” enemy of the Church. The bishops are quite clear about his policy of kidnapping children and using them as hostages to get funding for his wall, and as hostages to extort agreements to leave from their parents.
And yet, the super-Catholics who pretended that a footnote in Amoris Laetitia was world-ending and who spent months insinuating that the Holy Father was a heretical enemy of the family and servant of the devil because of it are totally AWOL as actual families are being torn apart by Donald Trump, whom they promote to the gullible as the New Constantine. As a self-described “Trump prayer warrior”, the aptly named Fr. Richard Heilman, pauses briefly from hawking his Roman Catholic Man “Spiritual Ammo Kits” to declare to us the revelation that Trump is God’s Anointed and Constantine Redivivus in his prophetic utterance: “Yes, I believe Trump was an Answer to Prayers”
Monica Crowley, at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2017 Restoration Weekend (Nov. 16th-19th), gives a stirring speech that identifies all of the forces President Donald Trump has faced and is facing. It’s mind-boggling when one sees it all laid out like this. As Monica lays out so clearly, the seemingly invincible ruling class has met up with a formidable opponent in Donald Trump, and they are scared to death. Could it be that we may be freed from the stranglehold of “Secular Satanism” by way of President Donald Trump?I am not working for the cause for President Trump’s canonization, but I do believe, through the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people of faith, we may have been delivered a Constantine.
Fr. Heilman is big on “spiritual warfare”. But he confuses, as does the Cult of Trump, spiritual warfare with culture war. He makes war, not on principalities and powers, but on the Church’s clear teaching, supporting without question the agenda of a man who is overseeing the torture of children and parents by traumatically tearing them apart and shipping them God knows where. This is warfare against God, the Church, and the least of these, not against the devil. Indeed, it is hire and salary for the devil.
Fr. Heilman loves to hawk his “spiritual ammo” stuff and bluster about being a Real Man. Here he is, bragging about how he used the still cooling bodies of the victims at Parkland to hawk his wares:
“My friends, as we entered Lent this year, we were shaken by a terrible tragedy. On Ash Wednesday, we faced the horrific news of the shooting deaths of 17 (mostly teenagers) at a high school in Florida. As the events unfolded, we were additionally horrified to discover that four armed officers stayed outside of the high school, behind their cars in the school parking lot, as they listened to the shots fired inside; each of which meant another life taken by the shooter.
“I was scheduled to give a talk the next day, on spiritual warfare, to a men’s conference. I made the decision to reframe my talk, based on that recent terrible event. As I recounted the event to the men, I then said, ‘You see?’ (I told the men) . . . ‘those four officers, cowering behind their cars in the school parking lot, as they listened to the gunman kill one child after another, could not encapsulate more effectively what has gone on in our culture, especially in the past half century.’
“‘My brothers,’ I said, ‘this was under our watch. Why did this happen? Because we allowed it. We crouched behind our proverbial cars in our proverbial school parking lots, while we allowed souls to be lost.'”
A horrified reader remarks:
ARE YOU KIDDING ME, FATHER?! There were seventeen dead people, adults and children, murdered the day before, all of them undoubtedly still being processed by the coroner’s office, and you were busy exploiting their deaths in the service of your “spiritual warrior” schtick?!
St. Michael the Archangel is not impressed.
The irony, of course, is that the demographic to which he appeals sees itself as engaged in “spiritual warfare” not with the people who champion making guns freely available to the shooter in Parkland, or with the freaks who call the parents of Sandy Hook part of a hoax so that Obama could take all our guns and put us in concentration camps, or with the gun nuts who threatened to kill the victims in Vegas, but with David Hogg, and Emma Gonzalez and the Parkland kids who have spoken out against our gun regime. These are the Damn Libruls. These are the enemies Fr. Heilman’s merry band of Spiritual Warriors are asking God to smite.
And, of course, now that Trump has begun ginning up his bogus War on Refugees by stoking the fires of panic about the Aliens Among Us, they too will become the feared Other in the Spiritual War. Don’t look for Trump’s Prayer Warriors to be asking the faithful to pray that Trump end his war on due process and the 14th Amendment (which applies to any person on US soil, not just citizens). The great thing about being God’s Anointed is that what he does is God’s will and the law need not apply to him.