Take Seriously Our Royal Baptism
The best, holiest, most practical, most biblical, and most orthodox thing Catholics could do in the coming years is remember the instruction of St. Paul:
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:6-8)
The central problem of American Catholics on both the Left and the Right is that we donít take seriously Christís kingship and are more or less constantly seeking to accommodate the teaching of the Church to the needs of political machines that regard us as digestible ingredients in a demographic bloc. The result is plain to see: on the Left, Catholics wink in servility at the abortionist zeal of Obama and Co. and whisper soothing things about how they will ride the tiger to a new era of social justice and peace.
Result: Now that Obama has used them, there is a very good chance, judging from Obamaís cabinet picks, that he will discard them and enact extremely radical abortion legislation.
On the Right, Catholics winked in servility at war crimes and ESCR and whispered soothing things about how they would ride the tiger to a new era of democracy and prosperity, and (this time for sure!) the GOP will stop phoning it in each Roe v. Wade Day and raise American abortion jurisprudence to Carthaginian levels of respect for life.
Result: Looming depression, a disastrous and unnecessary war in Iraq, a disgraceful record of court prophet excuses for war crimes, electoral catastrophe and, last but not least, a GOP which is, following by the nomination (and defeat) of a candidate who was not especially eager to touch Christians with a barge pole, somehow managing to convince itself that the smart thing to do is spit on believers.
Moral: Those to whom much is given, much will be required. We Catholics have been given the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness can no longer afford to trim it and thereby trade our birthright for a pot of message. We should hold fast to the fullness of the gospel and put it before our tribal allegiances to either left or right. Jesus said that to those who do not have even what they have will be taken from them. Our political exploiters have cheerfully shown us the practical political truth of this. Now is the time to remember our Lord much more hopeful promise: Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all else will be added as well.
Copyright 2009 - Mark P. Shea