Friday, October 14, 2016

The Presidential Election--A Lay Catholic's Call to Action

Tom Frederick, Pro-life Advocate

Do we have the epic battle between good and evil playing out on the U.S. Stage? How about we call it the SIN vs VIRTUE battle? That brings it a little closer to home if one really thinks about it. There is also a biblical element to the election and I would posit it may be more important than the political element with the choices we make.

As the world enters a very dark time, I’ve been told to stay close to the Church (a.k.a. the teachings) and close to the sacraments. That will help us with the introspection we all need to undergo during the darkness, the darkness that is revisiting us from centuries ago. The Light will come in due time and our HOPE must rely upon it.

So, let’s look at the presidential candidates with the above in mind.

Only the pro-abortion cohorts, big government advocates, Alinskyites, government dependents, homosexual activists of all stripes, illegal immigrants having been given illegal status, Marxists, Communists and atheists are happy with their candidate for the presidency. The rest of us find the two candidates way below our “comfort level,” as if comfort should be the defining method of how we vote.

To us practicing Catholics, the Church gives us guidelines on how to vote. Our Church teaches that there are “5 non-negotiable” issues to guide us in voting for a candidate: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning and same-sex “marriage.” These are not political issues, rather they are moral issues at the core of our Catholic faith. All of these issues are intrinsically evil because they are attacks on life and without support for life all other issues are mute. They have the highest hierarchical value assigned to them by the Catholic Church. If a candidate supports any individual issue or all of these issues, we cannot vote for that candidate by virtue of Church teaching. If we cast that aside and vote anyway for this candidate then one commits the capital sin of Pride. For others, an excuse like “I didn’t know”, or “our priest didn’t tell me” or “the other issues of importance are more important to me” is a matter of supine ignorance because the Church for years has been telling Catholics why these excuses are not valid. That person commits the capital sin of Sloth. These sets of persons will have to answer to God.

There is one candidate and party platform that supports all of these intrinsically evil issues, not to also mention those issues of a lessor hierarchical moral value to Catholics. Enough said for this candidate. Disqualified. The Church makes this easy for Catholics.

While claiming to be a pro-life convert, the other candidate has so many flaws and horrible adjectives thrown at him that one can’t keep track--the latest of which surfaced days ago and the most damaging. Calls to resign his candidacy are coming from all directions. Do we possibly have Biblical theater here? I say we do and, not surprisingly, we are all part of the cast.

Recall in John’s Gospel, Chapter 8, regarding the woman caught in adultery. When questioned about stoning her Jesus said, ‘“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And millions sit here with self-righteousness while jumping on the pile pummeling this candidate. Where is our own introspection? What would it be like if our past and present sins were made public to millions of individuals? Why is this not the perfect time for the Church through its individual bishops and priests to call all of us to account for our sins using this candidate as an example standing before Christ awaiting stoning. How can we cast the first stone, including our prelates and clergy? 64 million abortions by women with men coercing them, millions of divorces, contraception, murders, rampant pornography destroying the family, infidelities, homosexual unions, the downward cascade of church attendance, lack of catechization,  no concept or reality of sin--and on and on it goes....

When we pray the rosary, the second of the first three beads is a Hail Mary for the gift of HOPE. So where is our hope? Could it be possible that God has his eye on this mightily flawed person and candidate? Who knows? The play is not over yet. But let’s take a look at history.

With his wife in advanced years, Abraham did not believe God that he would have heirs so he took it into his own hands and had relations with his wife’s maid and she bore a son, Ishmael, who became a violent, evil man. Regardless, God stuck with His choice and Abraham became the “father of all peoples.” Call it God’s unbounding mercy and love for us.

Moving on to Moses, he complained of being incapable of leading the Israelites out of Egypt for he felt he had no skills to do so (being a stutterer). He also was a murderer. His shortcomings would have been known to the people. If we lived in that encampment, would we believe this to be a good choice by God to lead us?

And what about David? A womanizer has an affair with a beautiful woman; she becomes pregnant, and he kills her husband to cover it up. A little similarity here? If we lived at the time, what would we think of God’s choice? From David we have the Psalms and the Messiah.

Moving to the New Testament, there is Peter, a simple fisherman. He runs away, denies Christ three times, and yet winds up the first Pope, crucified upside down.

Oh, and Paul, a persecutor responsible for beatings, stonings and death sentences against Christians, including St. Stephen.   Yet he converted after being knocked off his horse to become a humble, fiery evangelist to the Gentiles. Who would have thought?

And the Apostle Matthew--a tax collector by trade and by association known to be a cheater chosen by Jesus to be an Apostle.

And consider the many saints down through the ages who have lived checkered lives before their conversions. Could we begin with St. Augustine, a doctor of the Church?

So, you get the point: My only hope is to vote for this flawed candidate and see what happens. We deserve the choices we have. Our country deserves it. We’ve sat for years on the bench as Catholic laity and clergy, for the most part not voting our faith, not being pro-active in the public square with our significant multitude to change this culture and politic. 70 million Catholics vote no different than the population at large. Why? We need to put that in our introspection bucket while suffering in these coming dark times.

There is another angle to consider that involves us. Despite the critical nature of this election regarding our nation’s future, many want nothing to do with any discussion from the pulpit having to do with politics. Why not? The bible, the Word of God, is also a political book with example after example. There was politics even among the apostles. Recall the request to sit at Jesus’ right hand in paradise. How about the politics among the scribes and Pharisees. And Pilot, a politician of the first order, preventing an uprising that would get back to Caesar jeopardizing his career by allowing the Jews to crucify Jesus.

Aristotle calls the human person a political being by nature.  What are the implications of this?  What are the implications of denying some people their political nature?

Priests and bishops are reluctant to talk about politics because it might affect the collection. Some don’t pay attention to the hierarchy of moral values. Others claim they would lose their non-taxable status if they speak out to the dismay of many of us. There is no record of this anywhere.

So, we hang on, hoping for the day the Light will come.  PRAY!