July 30, 2012
On July 27, 2012, one of my favorite bishops, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, gave a talk to the Napa Institute, a fairly new Catholic organization whose mission is:
To equip Catholic leaders to defend and advance the Catholic Faith in “the Next America” – today’s emerging secular society.
You can read the entire speech, which I highly recommend, here. A couple of paragraphs had me wanting to jump up and applaud.
…We can start by changing the way we habitually think. Democracy is not an end in itself. Majority opinion does not determine what is good and true. Like every other form of social organization and power, democracy can become a form of repression and idolatry. The problems we now face in our country didn’t happen overnight. They’ve been growing for decades, and they have moral roots. America’s bishops named the exile of God from public consciousness as “the root of the world’s travail today” nearly 65 years ago. [And then far too many of their successors gave in to the spirit of the age, causing widespread apostasy from the Faith in many dioceses.] And they accurately predicted the effects of a life without God on the individual, the family, education, economic activity and the international community. Obviously, too few people listened.
We also need to change the way we act. We need to understand that we can’t “quick fix” our way out of problems we behaved ourselves into. Catholics have done very well in the United States. As I said earlier, most of us have a deep love for our country, its freedoms and its best ideals. But this is not our final home. There is no automatic harmony between Christian faith and American democracy. The eagerness of Catholics to push their way into our country’s mainstream over the past half century, to climb the ladder of social and economic success, has done very little to Christianize American culture. But it’s done a great deal to weaken the power of our Catholic witness. [Because in the process we have sold out to earthly concerns, having taken our eye off accomplishing God’s will for us and looking away from Christ crucified.]
To put it another way: The right to pursue happiness does not include a right to excuse or ignore evil in ourselves or anyone else. When we divorce our politics from a grounding in virtue and truth, we transform our country from a living moral organism into a kind of golem of legal machinery without a soul.This is why working for good laws is so important. This is why getting involved politically is so urgent. This is why every one of our votes matters. We need to elect the best public leaders, who then create the best policies and appoint the best judges. This has a huge impact on the kind of nation we become. Democracies depend for their survival on people of conviction fighting for what they believe in the public square — legally and peacefully, but zealously and without apologies. That includes you and me.
We have no room for wimpiness or political correctness in the battle for the soul of our nation and for the souls of its inhabitants. We are at a turning point this year. Those of us who cannot physically take part in campaigning can offer our continuing prayers that America will once again return to being a God-fearing nation.
And now… A particular Father Andrew gives the invocation at the 2012 Colorado Republican State Assembly and Convention recently. Spare him five minutes and hear some real gems.
“The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism.'” – Catechism of the Catholic Church #2425
P.S. I claim no political affiliation. I am a fiercely independent voter who has had to hold her nose for all the elections since Ronald Reagan left office. Precisely because of the things Archbishop Chaput and Father Andrew are talking about.
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