I hosted some friends from Ireland last week, a couple I have known for a very long time. They came for a vacation, and wanted to do a tour of civil war battlefields in Maryland and Virginia (don’t ask!). They also happen to be good, decent, faithful and orthodox Catholics– some of the last left in Ireland at this point! And so they went to Mass the Sunday before the election in some church in Virginia, near one of the battlefields, I suppose.
What they witnessed disturbed them deeply, frightened them even. First, the priest giving the homily started extolling the virtues of a nearby US Marines museum, and talked about how great the marines were, and how he would have been a marine if he had not become a priest. He then went on to talk about abortion and to denounce all those who planned to vote for a certain candidate. My friends, who were already disturbed by the propaganda of this museum they had already seen, were absolutely flabbergasted. How can a priest denounce abortion while at the same time glorifing the US military, my friends wanted to know? They simply could not understand it. They had never seen it before.
I sighed and told them that what they had seen was more in tune with a particular variant of American culture– southern, evangelical in origin– than authentic Catholicism.