Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gentle apostasy

Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God
  - James 4:4b
I believe the Catholic Church is the one founded by Jesus, her Sacraments and her very life flowing from His pierced side. I also believe that the Church in this part of the world and at this point in time is floundering pitifully, having wandered far from her Lord's heart and will.

The wandering away has been a slow regress over the decades, a gradual erosion of fervor, exemplified in a thousand ways. The previous post's question is one example. The Democratic party was at one time nearly synonymous with Catholicism. So now most Catholics and most Catholic clergy want to remain loyal, and find ways to be reconciled with the Democrat's current brand of ungodly socialism. At best, it may timidly be suggested that, perhaps, some principles are important, and maybe we should, you know, study certain matters more carefully. Above all, one must not appear to be rigid or harsh, and one must never alienate anyone, no matter how serious the error.

The typical dumbing down of today's feast (Holy Family) is another example. Permission is granted to use an alternative to the (gasp!) patriarchal Scripture reading about husbands and wives. Of course, the more palatable alternative is nearly always adopted by the local parish.

Besides being a limp-wristed concession to the world, and to our culture's socialist and feminist and egalitarian errors, this meek approach leads away from God. The error that is tolerated out of human respect and a fear of alienation is eventually embraced as one's own belief. You avoid speaking against popular sins and after awhile find nothing sinful except what your culture condemns. This is not the highway to holiness or faithfulness.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is socialized health care good?

Here is a question that has been haunting me of late. And I mean this sincerely, not rhetorically nor as a sarcastic swipe. If anyone can give me an honest reply (for which I may have more questions), I would be grateful. Here it is:

As a young man I was a socialist, believing that government programs were the answer to most of society's problems. It took a personal conversion to Jesus, and, as noted elsewhere, some serious soul searching before I was able to rethink my ideological loyalties. Other, wiser souls were able to help me to see that socialism is inevitably atheistic. I came to see for myself that it also seemed bound up with legalized and tax-funded abortion, and with a host of other moral depravities.

Before long, I had adopted as my own the quote so favored by Dorothy Day,

He who at 20 is not a socialist has no heart.
He who at 30 is a socialist has no head.
I began to appreciate the Church's consistent stand against atheistic socialism. I cheered to see Pope John-Paul's role in the dismantling of the Soviet regime. I understood now that it was the Church and individual Christians, not the government, who could address the maladies of society. Through the centuries, the followers of Jesus have been the ones to build hospitals for the sick, orphanages for the abandoned, who have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and treated the ill and the dying.

But lately the consistent message from U.S. Catholic bishops is that we do well to expect health care from our government, only it just needs to be monitored so as not to violate Christian values. Bishop William F. Murphy, for example, is quoted as saying, "Genuine health care reform that protects the life and dignity of all is a moral imperative and a vital national obligation". This is no isolated quote, but seems to be the consensus among all the clergy.

After all the hard work and sacrifices that have been offered by Christians for the relief and healing of the sick, after building and staffing all those hospitals in Christian charity, after all the religious orders founded upon the apostolate of healing, now we should turn the reins over to government? And - - this government?????

I truly don't understand.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Abortion is Genocide - 2

In response to my May 2007 blog post entitled "Abortion is Genocide", an admiring reader recently left this anonymous note:

You are a lover of words, hmmm?

The Oxford English Dictionary's definition of genocide: "The deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group." There are no alternate definitions.

Abortion is not an act that targets a specific ethnicity or nationality. You reduce your own credibility when you make simple mistakes.

More importantly - you are dogmatic to the point of lunacy. You will never successfully influence government legislation. You are the most toxic kind of intolerant pseudo-intellectual.

The first premise here appears to be that a particular edition of the Oxford English Dictionary must be taken as an absolute and final authority on the true meaning of words. Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether or not this constitutes a dogmatic assertion, 22-week-old aborted baby I would remind my reader that the word "genocide" is a fairly modern one. It seems reasonable to grant significant authority to the word's originator and to the various contexts of its usage in recent times.

In the aforementioned post I did not labor extensively over why the word "genocide" is applicable to the widespread crime of abortion, nor will I do so now. Instead, repeating what I wrote 2+ years ago, I again recommend the "Abortion is Genocide" article by Mick Eugene Hunt and this CBR page as providing good insights into why "Abortion is Genocide" is a fair and accurate statement. It is unclear but doubtful whether my admirer bothered to read either article.

And then there is this sentence:

You will never successfully influence government legislation.

This sentence I will not refute at all. Frequent readers of this blog (if there be any) will know that I have tried for some time to agitate for a tax resistance movement because of the tax funding of abortion - what I call a "Pro-life strike". So much so that early this year I launched the website. The emphasis here, however, is not to influence government. That intent is perhaps a tertiary goal, but certainly not a primary or even a secondary one.

The primary goal of the Pro-life strike is to purify our pro-life prayers, fasts, and efforts. It is simply futile and foolish to continue our other efforts so long as we are willingly cooperating and financially supporting Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion juggernaut via our tax dollars. We pray for life, and then we willingly pay for death!

The secondary goal, if it please the Lord, is to begin to change our culture. We do that by prayer and evangelizing, and also by changing our own lives to reflect our convictions. (For an expansion of this thought, see the "Cultural tsunami" post.) Again, it is of no use to think we can change this culture of death to a culture of life unless we are ready to sacrifice and change our own lives.

Only when we are willing to make sacrificial changes will we be able to change our culture. Only when the underlying culture changes will our representatives in government get the message. Influencing public policy for the better is a noble aspiration, but I believe it is a serious error to place our primary emphasis upon directly influencing government.