Today we are hosting a Legislative Issues Seminar, and we are launching a little book with the title: “Catholics in the Public Square.” Why would a bishop write such a book? Because there is a public square, and because Christ expects us to be active there: loving our neighbor, engaging the culture, promoting the common good, and defending the dignity and rights of all. This is part and parcel of being a follower of Christ.Some Catholics wish to obfuscate the fact that there are fundamental issues - they try to group all issues as if they are of equal importance, when this is clearly opposed to right reason. As the Church tells us, there are issues which are always and everywhere to be opposed, issues which are truly "non-negotiable"...Anyone who claims otherwise is a deceiver.
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Not all social issues are of equal importance, either. It is good to recall the words of our late Holy Father John Paul II who wrote, “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination (Christifideles laici, #38).”
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In a similar vein, Pope Benedict, in an address earlier this year to European Politicians, said, “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:· Protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;
· Recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage.
Of course, the Arizona Star has a different take, classifying voters' guides as either "conservative" or "liberal" as if the teaching of the Church fits nicely into some political or ideological camp, while it adds to further confusion of some of the Catholic voters who have yet to learn what being Catholic entails.
...the various voting guides represent varying viewpoints, including if issues such as abortion and gay marriage should be of higher importance than other items meaningful to Catholics, such as immigration and war.The right to life IS the "most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights" despite what some professed Catholics would have us believe.
One of the more conservative guides, "Catholics in the Public Square," was published by Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. The other conservative guide was published by the California-based Catholic apologists' group Catholic Answers. A third conservative guide was published by the New York-based Priests for Life group.
A more liberal guide, published by the Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Alliance for the Common Good, says responsible voting is not best decided with a "litmus test" of selected issues. The guide has been criticized by conservative Catholic groups, which say abortion is always the most important public policy issue for Catholic voters.
"Anything that represents itself as the only Catholic point of view, that says for example that abortion is the most important issue, that is not Catholic," said the Rev. Bartholomew Hutcherson, a Dominican priest who is pastor of the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center at the University of Arizona.How despicable is such a statement coming from a Dominican priest? - Or any priest for that matter? He directly opposes Christifideles laici, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II.
"Ultimately, the decision is left up to each person's conscience," [Hutcherson continued.]As expected, we hear the mantra of "conscience" - without the proper qualifying adjectives of: properly formed, defective, malformed, dead, and so on...But this is to be expected from those who have a flawed understanding ofd their faith.
"I don't think the hierarchy of the church should be involved in politics. They should be ministering to the hungry, to people who have no place to sleep; they should be ministering spiritually," said local Catholic Clementine Caccia-carro, 72. "Personally, abortion has never been an option for me, but I don't think the government has any right putting its nose in it. It is complicated. Faith somewhat forms my conscience, but the older I get, I think I'm getting smarter. I feel I have the right to make those judgments on my own."God will be happy to hear of her "independence", I'm sure...People with malformed or defective consciences use neither reason nor faith to arrive at the truth. The truth is some arbitrary 'principle' which means, in the final analysis, absolutely nothing for them. Pity them. Pray for them. They have imbibed the poison of relativism and are either dead or dying spiritually.
We have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks leading up to the election. How many more will betray Christ and their fellow men by following the wide path of evil and deceit?
Pray the Rosary daily!