October 16, 2016

Archbishop Chaput, USCCB Condemn "Catholic Spring" Efforts: "Our Beliefs Come to Us from Christ, ...not a Consensus Based on Contemporary Norms."


In the wake of revelations that Democratic political operatives tried to pressure the Catholic Church by instigating a "Catholic Spring" in opposition to its most fundamental beliefs, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, released a statement condemning such activity as a gross infringement of religious liberty in violation of the 1st Amendment:
At this important time in our nation's history, I encourage all of us to take a moment to reflect on one of the founding principles of our republic – the freedom of religion. It ensures the right of faith communities to preserve the integrity of their beliefs and proper self-governance. There have been recent reports that some may have sought to interfere in the internal life of the Church for short-term political gain. If true, this is troubling both for the well-being of faith communities and the good of our country.
In our faith and our Church, Christ has given us a precious gift. As Catholics, we hold onto our beliefs because they come to us from Jesus, not a consensus forged by contemporary norms. The Gospel is offered for all people for all times. It invites us to love our neighbor and live in peace with one another. For this reason, the truth of Christ is never outdated or inaccessible. The Gospel serves the common good, not political agendas. ...
Speaking on behalf of his fellow US bishops, Archbishop Kurtz warns American ideals are at risk, "When faith communities lose this right, (to live one's faith without state interference) the very idea of what it means to be an American is lost. Politicians, their staffs and volunteers should reflect our best aspirations as citizens. Too much of our current political discourse has demeaned women and marginalized people of faith. This must change. True to the best hopes of our founding fathers, we are confident that we can and will do better as a nation."

Such blatant political bigotry is an affront to everything orthodox Catholics hold dear. Commenting on the same, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, of Philadelphia, expresses his dismay with typical thoughtfulness. In "About those unthinking, backward Catholics", he writes:

"The cultural damage done by the current White House has — apparently — made courting America’s bishops unnecessary. But bad can always get worse. I’m thinking, of course, of the contemptuously anti-Catholic emails exchanged among members of the Clinton Democratic presidential campaign team and released this week by WikiLeaks. A sample: Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, emailed John Podesta, now the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to ask about whether 'the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage' could be the tinder for a revolution. 'There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages [sic] dictatorship,' Newman writes.

Of course, Newman added, 'this idea may just reveal my total lack of understanding of the Catholic church, the economic power it can bring to bear against nuns and priests who count on it for their maintenance.' Still, he wondered, how would one 'plant the seeds of a revolution'? John Podesta replied that 'We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this...  likewise Catholics United' (emphasis added)."

Just as our divine Founder, Jesus Christ is a "sign of contradiction" to mankind, His Church, in proclaiming the Good News to every generation, finds herself contradicting the prevailing view of the age. May we, as members of Christ's mystical Body, remain steadfast in countering the selfish hedonism of today that rejects God and undermines the Church's mission of love.

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