By Judie Brown
This past Tuesday was an opportunity for Catholics to publicly show their faith and determination to ensure that this country head forward in a manner consistent with the dignity of life for all people. While many did, it was not enough. But the fight is not over and we should never take defeat in stride. Today’s commentary examines what we need to do and how we can proceed, even when faced with this difficult journey.
There has been so much analysis presented on why and how the re-election of Obama occurred that it is not in anyone’s best interest for another commentator to weigh in. But as a Catholic I believe I have a bit of a different twist on these matters—or perhaps I should say vision.
For example, what about the alleged “Catholic vote”? The Huffington Post examined how Catholics broke out in their votes for Obama versus Romney. If we break down the difference between the “white” Catholic vote and the “Hispanic” Catholic vote, we can see that more white Catholics supported Romney than did those of Hispanic origin. If this is supposed to provide a level of solace, I cannot see where it would be found. Even the Pew Research Center data broke down Catholics and Evangelicals by ethnicity which, one can presume, is a way of being more objective about the outcome. But one glaring fact is missing from all this because polls are always about numbers and categories, not indisputable facts.
For Catholics, the question is not about one candidate or another, nor is it about their ethnicity. It’s about how to best defend one’s religious freedom and faith from the onslaught of barbarians who would be gratified beyond belief if we all simply slumped away into the nooks and crannies of our church buildings. In fact, when heroic bishops did speak out prior to the recent election and did demand that Catholics pay attention to how they cast their vote based on Catholic teaching, the result was a request to the IRS for a probe of Catholic bishops.
A Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) spokesman suggested that if Catholic bishops want to continue to receive tax breaks, they should butt out of politics! In other words, if a bishop is bold enough to preach truth from the pulpit and share the fundamental doctrines of Catholic magisterial teaching with his flock in the context of how they should vote, then all of a sudden he is violating the IRS regulations? Poppycock!
The Thomas More Law Center called the effort nothing more than a scare tactic, and we agree! But interestingly enough, the threat only applied to bishops who appeared to have an ethical problem with casting a vote for the most pro-abortion president in the nation’s history.
Further, this past election was never about the lesser of two evils, the third party candidate as the greater evil, or about sitting at home and choosing not to vote at all. This past election was a referendum on properly formed consciences. That is why we now know beyond the shadow of a doubt that greed and hedonism trump the Ten Commandments, the defense of religious freedom, and the restoration of moral sanity.
It’s just that simple and nothing more need be said about it.
This is why I loved the article, “Election Reflection for Warrior Catholics” in which Father John Hollowell so brilliantly explained: “The Catholic Church in the United States is a cage that needs rattling, and the coming battle will provide just such a shake-up. The days of bishops and cardinals yucking it up with anti-Catholic politicians will soon be at an end. The days of bishops and cardinals wagging fingers at anti-Catholic “catholic” politicians and telling them not to cross this line again . . . and then redrawing the line further back . . . those days will soon be at an end.”
We agree with his analysis and we are ready for the battle ahead. We know that this struggle has never been about partisan politics; it has always been about the eternal struggle between the angel of darkness and the Lord, our King.
We end on the words of my dear friend, Father James Farfaglia, who authored Get Serious: A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics. In an e-mail to his e-parish, Father wrote:
This country will not turn around through political action; it will be changed by the holiness of your life.
We all need to get out of our spiritual kindergartens and really live truly holy lives rooted in a serious, daily and profound life of prayer. The lazy and the complacent will not survive the onslaught of secularism, relativism and materialism.
May God help us if we don’t heed his words.
Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League and a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life.