The Catholic Church in America appears to be a schizophrenic entity, possessed of a deep-seated death wish — exactly like all the other mainstream churches and most institutions in our western culture. This week, the Church is celebrating Freedom of Religion week. You’ll see the little flags if you walk past one of the churches.
I have absolutely clue zero — and in fact am a little afraid to consider — what other parishes and sermons might make of this, but our priest segued incoherently from telling us that like St. John the Baptist confronted Herod we are supposed to confront and oppose a president who “has had more than one wife” and who “mistreats the least powerful and smallest of our people” to enjoining us to come to church a great deal and have daily mass for the week, to celebrate Freedom of Religion Week.
I didn’t actually facepalm too hard, because I might have knocked myself out and people might have stared.
But it is a sad documentary on the state of the Church.
Look, as far as I can tell Trump isn’t Catholic. Besides, let’s be very clear on this, the Catholic Church itself has become very odd on the subject of divorce, as you can’t get a divorce, but you can get an annulment, and while the difference — pardon the cynicism, but I’ve seen a few of these cases play out — should be how informed the consent was of the person entering the sacrament, in practical fact, it seems to depend on how much money the person who wants to be divorced has and is willing to spend on the process.
But let’s pretend for the sake of argument, and because the church at this point makes my head hurt — particularly since Pope Che Francis has made several overtures to divorced people, anyway — that the church still stands by the no-divorce rule that once cost the religion an entire country.
Good. So what? Is the current president of the U.S. Catholic? No? Then why would we go bother him about having had multiple wives? My next door neighbor is divorced and as far as I know not religious. Am I supposed to go bother him on this too?
What part of this honors the freedom of religion we have in this country?
This makes it sound like the proclamation of Religious Freedom Week is akin to pig farmers of America celebrating kosher food. “We have the freedom to be religiously distasteful all over you.”
As for the “least powerful and smallest of our people”: dear Father, I thought the documents you were supposed to read were eternal, not the passing eructations of the media.
I’ll grant you the “our people,” as many incoming illegal immigrants are at least nominally Catholic — and so our people in a way. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not enjoin us to break the law or give aid and help to those who do. Not unless the law goes against the ten commandments, which this doesn’t.
If the Church is so hot about confronting rulers oppressing believers, it can confront the corrupt government of Mexico and other Latin American governments and render help to the oppressed there, not aid them in breaking the law to come here. (And by the way, “helping” in South America by providing guns and comfort to the communists and socialists is part of the reason the Church is losing ground there also. It might be a good idea to stop.)
There are several things that come from this type of action that are very bad indeed, and in fact, resulted in a lot of countries kicking the Church out. It also justifies, retrospectively, all the Catholic-phobia of my husband’s ancestors.
It is the opposite in fact of religious freedom and freedom of conscience. It is the freedom of the Church to act like a worldly potentate and stick its nose where it never belonged: in national affairs and international politics. It is particularly galling that the Church is doing this in the service of what it thinks is its own growth. The fact that it’s wrong and that the incoming migrants are more likely to worship at folk religion shrines than Catholic churches is just icing on the cake.
You know what we should do, during Religious Freedom Week, instead of spending our time worrying about imaginary children separated from their imaginary parents at the border?
We should pray for and give aid to real refugees who are being exterminated for their faith, such as Middle Eastern Yazidis and Christians. We should take the time to not bother our neighbors who happen to not be Catholic because they don’t behave like Catholics and instead show by our example the joy of a moral life. We should endorse the ability of our fellow Christians of a more fundamentalist faith to not violate that faith by participating in gay weddings. (Yes, I think they’re loony – since gay weddings aren’t being performed in their church, they’re not sacraments, but civil contracts — but then I think most faiths including mine are loony. Freedom of religion means they have the right to be loony. Faith is not a thing of reason, but a thing of the heart and the heart is often irrational.)
Mostly what the Church should stop doing is stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to grow its congregation in all the wrong ways, while at the same time running off its more devout members.
As I said, this is a lunacy it shares with other mainstream churches, and it’s part of the same lunacy that infects publishing. It’s a “we’re not here to serve the people but to change them.” And while the churches have a little more claim to being entitled to preaching than the publishers, say, it’s still a piece of crazy to think they can preach to us on things that are political and in which they have no jurisdiction, besides being naïve and ill-informed as churchmen tend to be. (With exceptions, of course. I’m casting no aspersions on John Paul II.) Or of course, outright political and insane as the American Council of Bishops tends to be.
I beg you with tears in my eyes: Stop driving away the devout by pushing a philosophy of state absolutism and open borders which cannot but end in massacres and mass graves. Give to Rome that which is Rome’s and leave it outside the church.
I walked away from the Church once already, over a priest spending an hour talking about how Sarah Palin’s use of target graphics had totally caused the Giffords shooting. I know a devout – and really devout — Catholic who has walked out and can’t force himself to go back over his parish’s continuous pounding of “gun control.”
And not only is none of this germane to the mission of the Church, but I can prove with very little effort that the Church’s stand is counterproductive and causes objective evil. For instance, encouraging illegal immigrants to come to the U.S. and stay not only makes it so that entire families live outside the law and in precarious conditions but — because of that and the ripping apart of the traditional structure of their cultures — makes the children more susceptible to fall into criminal behavior and drug use. We have statistics on this.
It also economically injures the land to which they migrate (yes, we have data on how it hurts wages for the least skilled) and throws any number of people on welfare, which unlike private charity is inherently corrupting of morals and work ethic.
And encouraging Catholics to “confront” and “oppose” a many-times married president only results in Catholics voting for… whom? Would you prefer abettor of adulterous husband Clinton? Or atheist Bernie Sanders? Or Nancy Pelosi, whose Catholicism stops at Planned Parenthood doors? Or any number of other people who would remove that religious freedom you just praised?
I do understand the Church is a little lost under Pope Che, whose friends are heretics and who is a perfect South American Political Idiot. Theology is after all supposed to come from the Bible and Tradition, and all of a sudden, in the pronouncements coming out of Rome, the Little Red Book has precedence over both.
I walked away from the Church once and returned because I needed the sacraments.
But how long can one take sacraments when everything – everything – that comes from the pulpit is, if not the exact opposite of what is supposed to be preached, at least not far from it?
Are there not passages in the Bible about salt that loses its flavor and light that doesn’t illuminate? You’re corrupting, destroying and losing souls. All for the sake of what you imagine will be temporal power. This will not end well.
Dear Catholic Church, we already have a DNC. Your mission is not to propagate the message of socialism but the message of Christ.
Otherwise, what good are you?