Patrick Buchanan: Papal Neutrality In The Culture War? – OpEd

Patrick Buchanan: Papal Neutrality In The Culture War? – OpEd

POPE FRANCIS

By Patrick J Buchanan — (November 14, 2013)

“Pope Francis doesn’t want cultural warriors; he doesn’t want ideologues,” said Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash.:

“The nuncio said the Holy Father wants bishops with pastoral sensitivity, shepherds who know the smell of the sheep.”

Bishop Cupich was conveying instructions the papal nuncio had delivered from Rome to guide U.S. bishops in choosing a new leader.

They chose Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., who has a master’s degree in social work, to succeed Archbishop Timothy Dolan whom Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times describes thus:

“[A] garrulous evangelist comfortable in front of a camera, [who] led the bishops in their high-profile confrontation with the Obama administration over a provision in the health care mandate that requires most employers to have insurance that covers contraceptives for employees.”

That mandate also requires employers to cover abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations.

Yet here is further confirmation His Holiness seeks to move the Catholic Church to a stance of non-belligerence, if not neutrality, in the culture war for the soul of the West.

There is a small problem with neutrality. As Trotsky observed, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” For the church to absent itself from the culture war is to not to end that war, but to lose it.

What would that entail? Can we not already see?

In America, the family has disintegrated. Forty percent of working-class white children are born out of wedlock, as are 53 percent of Hispanic children, and 73 percent of black children. Kids from broken homes are many times more likely to drop out of school, take drugs, join gangs, commit crimes, end up in prison, lose their souls, and produce yet another generation of lost souls.

Goodstein quotes the Holy Father as listing among the “most serious of the evils” today “youth unemployment.” And he calls upon Catholics not to be “obsessed” with abortion or same-sex marriage.

But is teenage unemployment really a graver moral evil than the slaughter of 3,500 unborn every day in a land we used to call “God’s Country”?

Papal encyclicals like Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno have much to teach about social justice in an industrial society.

But what is the special expertise of the church in coping with teenage unemployment? Has the Curia done good scholarly work on the economic impact of the minimum wage?

The cultural revolution preached by Marxist Antonio Gramsci is continuing its “long march” through the institutions of the West and succeeding where the violent revolutions of Lenin and Mao failed.

It is effecting a transvaluation of all values. And it is not interested in a truce with the church of Pope Francis, but a triumph over that church which it reviles as the great enemy in its struggle.

Indeed, after decades of culture war waged against Christianity, the Vatican might consider the state of the Faith.

Our civilization is being de-Christianized. Popular culture is a running sewer. Promiscuity and pornography are pandemic. In Europe, the churches empty out as the mosques fill up. In America, Bible reading and prayer are outlawed in schools, as Christian displays are purged from public squares. Officially, Christmas and Easter do not exist.

The pope, says Goodstein, refers to proselytizing as “solemn nonsense.” But to proselytize is to convert nonbelievers.

And when Christ admonished his apostles, “Go forth and teach all nations,” and ten of his twelve were martyred doing so, were they not engaged in the Church’s true commission — to bring souls to Christ.

Pope Francis comes out of the Jesuits.

Hence, one wonders: Did those legendary Jesuits like St. Isaac Jogues and the North American Martyrs make a mistake proselytizing and baptizing, when they could have been working on youth unemployment among the Mohawks?

An Italian atheist quotes the pope as saying, “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil,” and everyone should “follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.”

Does this not reflect the moral relativism of Prince Hamlet when he said to Rosencrantz, “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so?” Yet, is it not the church’s mission to differentiate good and evil and condemn the latter?

“Who am I to judge,” Pope Francis says of homosexuals.

Well, he is pope. And even the lowliest parish priest has to deliver moral judgments in a confessional.

“[S]ince he became pope,” writes Goodstein, Francis’ “approval numbers are skyrocketing. Even atheists are applauding.”

Especially the atheists, one imagines.

While Pope Francis has not altered any Catholic doctrines in his interviews and disquisitions, he is sowing seeds of confusion among the faithful, a high price to pay, even for “skyrocketing” poll numbers.

If memory serves, the Lord said, “Feed my sheep,” not “get the smell of the sheep.” And he did not mean soup kitchens, but more importantly the spiritual food essential for eternal life.

But then those were different Jesuits. And that was long ago.

via Patrick Buchanan: Papal Neutrality In The Culture War? – OpEd.

Year of Faith or Year of Fluff? What Will it Be? – Truth and Charity Forum

If the new evangelization means in part trying to bring the lax and the “no-shows” at Mass and Holy Communion back to their senses and practice their faith, it will take a lot more than speeches, programs, and homilies by the hierarchy. It takes exceptional efforts at prayer and penance on the part of the few to save the many.

Before one tries to restore truth to the blind of mind and the dull of heart, we must remember that exceptional graces for others require more than ordinary efforts. We know from our faith that no one can merit grace for others from the perspective of justice but only by appealing to God’s mercy in friendship.

When St. Catherine of Siena wanted to save several of her friends from dying unrepentant, she would beg God to send her the punishments due to their sins so long as he would grant her wish that they repent. After accepting much suffering often for many months, she would “win” back their souls, something some of us can admire but not imitate since it would be based on a great deal of false motives, especially presumption.

Read more . . .

Does the Catholic Church Tell You How to Vote? – Truth and Charity Forum

By Adolfo Castañeda, S.T.L. and Felipe E. Vizcarrondo, M.D.

The mission of Christ entrusted to the Church is of a supernatural order. It is not primarily political, economic or social. From this mission, however, derive teachings for all aspects of human life. This is why the Church rightly claims “the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls” (CCC 2032).

Read more . . . Does the Catholic Church Tell You How to Vote? – Truth and Charity Forum.

Were Early Christians Socialists, Marxists or Communists?

In Acts 4:32-35 we see the early Christians experiment with a form of community that greatly resembles socialism or communism: selling their land and possessions and laying the proceeds at the feet of the apostles for distribution among the people. One might easily surmise that this is proof that the Church favors this type of government and finds that private property and private ownership is opposed to Christian values. It is the furthest thing from the truth.

However, it seems much more akin to the structure of many modern monasteries or convents where the people abandon their worldly goods and take a vow of poverty, receiving from their superiors and stewards of the goods, only what is needed. It is a way to free one from the concerns of the world so that one might have complete focus on the real purpose of life: serving God.

Though the text does not state it, I would imagine that the state of mind of these followers was not much different than those who take religious vows of poverty; seeing all worldly possessions and gains as gifts from God and therefore the real ownership belonged to God alone. Their possessions then become no more than things that were entrusted to their safe-keeping so that God’s chosen leaders might best utilize these gifts to care for the community without them becoming focused on the worldly. It is a way to heed the warning that we cannot serve two masters (Mt. 6:24, Lk. 16:13). Obviously, this idea would not work well for an entire country as everyone would have to be of the same mind. Therefore this idea was abandoned rather quickly as a general way of life but preserved in religious orders where nuns and monks take vows of poverty to serve God and man. They leave far behind their ambitions to acquire worldly fame, power, riches or honor.

If this is true, then the belief that all goods come from God and are His to distribute is very distinct from the ideals of Socialism, Marxism or Communism. Beside the completely sectarian, and might I say obvious disdain for religion that these ideologies bear in common, they also have a differing view of who owns the fruit of their labors.

In socialism, one believes that the government owns our production and can redistribute these goods or money to those who need it. The ‘takers’ live off the ‘makers’. Many feel entitled to these benefits and have no shame in taking whatever they can get. In fact, they continually push for more and more goods that they feel are owed them and eventually comes a day of reckoning when there is not enough money from the working people to support their increasing greed for handouts. The system collapses on itself.

In Marxism as notably expressed through the National Socialist (the Nazis), the government desires to take over all industries deigned to be essential to the well being of the collective; banks, armaments, steel production, food production, health care, education and the like. They would likewise distribute goods to those who were loyal party members and those who produced the most good for their state.

Communism, on the other hand, regarded all production and wealth as owned equally by all (though the elites would always get a bit more). When you are no longer producing, you are no longer a valuable member of society and would be considered expendable.

All three systems strive for strong government controls and have a vested interest in eliminating all opposing viewpoints from the arena of ideas. Free speech is destroyed and controlled by the state to further their agenda.

So the difference between a system that considers that God is the source of all good and of all the fruit of our labor is diametrically opposed to a Godless system that views everything as the bounty of the state or collective. These systems are into exercising control of everyone and everything. There is a huge philosophical and theological difference between the voluntary surrender of goods for love of God and man and the abolishing of private property rites and the confiscation of wealth. These forms of government see always to rely on taking from the haves by the government and distributing these goods in any way they see fit – especially for the benefit of the collective. A religious vow of poverty is founded upon the sound virtues of love of God and neighbor while the other secular ideologies are founded upon the sins of power, envy and greed. The Church views people with true compassion while these ideologies view their subjects as faceless masses to be controlled and cajoled into producing what the state needs or wants. The collective always seems more important than the individual or personal freedom.

It is no wonder then that the Catholic Church’s Popes have a long history of opposing these socialist style doctrines: Encyclical Nostis et Nobiscum by Pius IX, Encyclicals Diuturnum, Humanum Genus, Quod Apostolici Muneris, Libertas Praestantissimum and Graves de Communi Re by Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique Mandate by Saint Pius X, Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum by Benedict XV, Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, by Pius XI, Encyclical Summi Pontificatis, by Pius XII, Encyclicals Mater et Magistra, by John XXIII, Centessimus Annus, by John Paul II, Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, by Benedict XVI. All of these decry the dangers of socialism and these other ideological systems. I find it very disturbing that even among Catholics, socialism is now being viewed as a benign and perhaps even a social good that we should embrace. They somehow find it a very caring system and think that they are in agreement with the Social Justice teachings of the Church. However, social justice in the Catholic Church respects private property and stresses charity for the poor and disadvantaged but makes it a personal and Christian endeavor to take care of our poor and does not find it necessary to relegate charity to an all powerful government.

Before we let our emotions trump common sense and before we start idealizing socialist systems we should take time to read some of the above wisdom from our popes, past and present, and realize the dangers these forms of government pose to personal freedom and especially to religious liberty.

Once you do, you may want to get involved in the Fortnight for Freedom effort by our Church leaders in the US by visiting the USCCB website and seeing what you can do to preserve religious liberty in America. It is a fight worth your effort.