Is the Church “Too Political?”

Fr. Frank Pavone (Roman Catholic)
National Director, Priests for Life

Like many Catholics, I’ve been troubled for years at the fear that is so prevalent within the Church about addressing matters of politics. I am very familiar with the legal limitations that the Church chooses to accept under IRS and FEC regulations. But the fear I refer to takes matters further than the government ever dares to take them. This fear literally paralyzes perfectly legitimate activity.

What activity, you ask? Take, for example, the internal legal directive that was sent out a few months ago to dioceses around the country, telling them not to quote the President of the United States speaking about the “Culture of Life,” because after all, this might be interpreted as support for his re-election.
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Michael writes…

A great challenge to state(ing) our ideas in a more positive way (is to) describe positive moral/spiritual praxis rather than just decry moral/spiritual lapses.

Briefly, the Church has always stood for freedom, the healing and restoration of the person, the formation of loving, serving, worshipping communities centered on the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. She has always taught us to practice self-sacrificing love and aceticism. What that has traditionally meant in practice is to help people in their daily lives overcome physical, mental, emotional, and economic challenges in a way that enables people to heal, grow, and stand on their own. We are encouraged to show great compassion and understanding for the sins of others while at the same time examine our own failings without ceasing.

Such practice brings about an unearthly joy, not just for ourselves, but for those with whom we come in contact. That is the ideal.

One note, the freedom is not simply or even primarily the existential freedom to choose between two or more beliefs, attitudes, or actions, but the freedom from the slavery of sin which allows the healing power of the Holy Spirit to be active and effective. We strive to live a sacremental life. Most of us fail miserably, yet most Orthodox that I know truly do have such a life as their goal.

The political culture in the United States despite is purported democracy has become essentially nilist and materialistic in its content whether Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or whatever. No party is able to articulate, much less enact a political vision that uplifts the human person in any but the most material way.

Our challenge as Christians is to witness to the unique vision of man bequeathed to us the Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and all the Saints throughout the ages. In order to accomplish that we must confront all politicians. That being said, right now the Democrats seem to be the focus of the most egregious affronts to the integrity of man in society.

The vision of the Orthodox Church is not one that can be articulated in political terms, but it can and it should have an effect in the political realm since the vision deals with the very essence of who and what man is, how he is to believe and act.

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Bar might tell judges to quit anti-gay groups (including the Boy Scouts)

Orlando Sentinel, Saturday, August 7, 2004, Gina Holland

Atlanta — Judges are on the front line of battles about legal rights for same-sex couples and should never belong to an organization that discriminates against gays, supporters of a proposed change to American Bar Association ethics rules argued Friday.

Judges are already prohibited from joining clubs that discriminate based on race or sex. An ABA panel is debating whether to make groups that discriminate against gays off limits as well.

The ABA, the nation’s largest lawyers’ group, with more than 400,000 members, writes conduct rules for judges and lawyers. States and federal courts generally adopt them, with some changes.
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More Than a “Lifestyle Choice” — Marriage in the 50 States

June 22, 2004

They’ve finally set a date. Senate leaders have announced that members will vote the week of July 12 whether to amend the Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Remember the flap over Vice President Dan Quayle’s criticism of TV’s “Murphy Brown”? Unwed births had reached a new high in the early ’90s, and the vice president lamented the nonchalant way the show’s producers treated single motherhood. Social science research has since vindicated his argument: Decisions about sex, marriage and childbearing aren’t merely personal. They have profound social consequences, particularly for children.

Read the entire article on the Heritage Foundation website.

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