Monsignor Charles Pope posts a terrific article to the blog at the Archdiocese of Washington’s site. Titled “To What Political Party Does the Catholic Church Belong?”, the piece neatly summarizes the views of some of us here at Vox Nova (or “Vomitus Nova,” as we were recently called by a partisan bomb thrower commenting at Catholic and Enjoying It).
Some of Msgr. Pope’s choicest observations:
What political party is the Catholic Church? Neither of course. But depending on what is in the news you can count on labels being applied. If the issue is abortion, embryonic stem cell research, or homosexual “marriage” detractors will say the Church and bishops are “in bed” with the Republicans. But if the issue is immigration reform, capital punishment, concerns about war, or care for the poor, then they’re all “just a bunch of Democrats …”
The fact is that the real goal for the Church is to be Catholic, across the board: vigorously pro-life and clear on the sexual and life issues, working to strengthen marriage and the family, vigorously advocating for the poor and immigrants, aware of and advocating all the social teachings, fully embracing subsidiarity, solidarity and justice, standing four-square against the violence that so permeates our culture, generous, merciful and forgiving; and willing to work in communion with those who authentically advocate these Catholic Principles, even if they focus on some of them in particular. Pro-life Catholics should rejoice that others work for and advocate for the poor, and advocates for the poor should rejoice that some fight for life and to end abortion. Together we can cover all the bases …
Is the Catholic Church Republican? Democrat? And what are you? As for me:
- I’m against abortion, and they call me a Republican
- I want greater justice for immigrants, and they call me a Democrat
- I stand against “Gay” “Marriage,” and they call me a Republican
- I work for affordable housing, and stand with unemployed in DC, and they call me a Democrat
- I talk of subsidiarity and they say: “Republican, for sure.”
- I mention the common good, and solidarity and they say, “Not only a Democrat, but a Socialist for sure.”
- Embryonic Stem cell research should end, “See, he’s Republican!”
- Not a supporter of the death penalty, standing with the Bishops and the Popes against it…”Ah, told you! He’s really a Democrat!… dyed in the wool and Yellow Dog to boot!”
Hmm, and all this time I just thought I was trying to be a Catholic Christian. I just don’t seem to fit in. And, frankly, no Catholic should. We cannot be encompassed by any Party as currently defined …
In the end we are called to be those who are “simply Catholic.” Every other party affiliation, membership, alliance, or connection must yield to the Faith and be judged by it. No worldly thought should ever trump the Faith which God has revealed through the Church. And, even in some matters (e.g. how best to care for the poor) that are prudential in nature, our alliance to the Church founded by Jesus Christ ought to win the day when it comes giving the benefit of any doubt. And while staying in a dialogue with our Bishops, we must also accept their leadership and respect their insights as those designated to teach, govern and sanctify. In the end we should be simply, plainly and essentially Catholic.