Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sometimes The Most Insidious Enemy Lies Within

How false ecumenism hurts everyone

I did a quick web search using this search string, 'protestant, muslim and jewish defend catholic church, hhs mandate'. The result? 186,000 links popped up in my browser. One of the interesting things about the resulting links was that, the top links did not lead to Catholic publications. Reading news stories, watching the secular media, and observing who attended the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies across the nation - and in other countries in solidarity with 'us' - also illustrates that more than a few citizens feel drawn to say 'we are all Catholics now'! From Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, and Jewish and Mormon leaders to the many Protestants who participated as early as the 'I have a say...' campaign of January/February, our non-Catholic brethren have leaped to their feet in defense of the Catholic Church. It appears to be a simple connect-the-dots conclusion to see that, what the HHS Mandate means to Catholics now, affects the rest of the nation in the near future.

Sad then, that there is a faction of Catholics who are so cautiously Catholic that they shrink from those who are judged 'too Catholic' in their actions, words, or thoughts. This Catholic is a Catholic all day - every day. It's not something I can 'take off' and 'put on again' like John F Kennedy did during his infamous speech to the Protestant ministers in his campaign days. I like to think more along the lines of those whose Catholicity is deeply woven into the fabric of who they are - down to their very core. I can extricate my Catholicity no more than I can extricate my German heritage. Both are vital in  making up who I am.

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI said it best:
[T]he Church is Catholic from her first moment, her universality is not the fruit of the successive inclusion of various communities. From the first instant, in fact, the Holy Spirit created her as the Church of all peoples; she embraces the entire world, she transcends all limits of race, class, nation; she breaks down every obstacle and brings all men together in the profession of the One and Triune God. From the beginning, the Church is One, Catholic, and Apostolic: this is her true nature and as such it must be recognized. She is Holy, not thanks to the ability of her members, but because God Himself, with His Spirit, creates, purifies, and sanctifies her always.                                                                                                   
                                                                                              Benedict XVI
                                                                                              Homily (Pentecost)
                                                                                              June 12, 2011
The Rev. Augustine Di Noia, undersecretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has also reaffirmed that the issue of Church primacy does not alter the Vatican's commitment to ecumenical dialogue but is aimed at asserting Catholic identity in those talks.

"As you know," he told Vatican Radio, "it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be."
As a Catholic, I hold these beliefs as well. I will not diminish my Faith in order to soften the issue for others. While I have never been an 'in your face - you're wrong, I'm right - kind of Catholic, my faith is firm and unmistakable. My Protestant friends understand and even admire this. There are many such friends who regularly comment and agree with what I post. This gives me a healthy dose of reinforcement to continue to live out my faith boldly while knowing I am being a good spokesman for the Church. My mission on this earth is to win heaven for myself - yes - but also to bring the Light to others. I can best do this by being authentically faithful to the Church founded by Christ himself.

So what is it about false ecumenism that propels those suffering from it to such blatantly prejudicial actions? Fairness is a word that is bandied about quite a bit these days. Yet it has become a sadly a misused word. Much like 'judgmental', the connotation is that someone has strayed out of the bounds of 'loving your neighbor as yourself'. But whether the government seeks 'fairness' by taking our hard-earned wages to give to those who do not labor or if sincerely charitable fraternal correction is called judgmental, these definitions are simply false. 'Fair' isn't always 'just'...especially since, by today's standards, 'fair' is in the eye of the beholder.

It has become quite 'politically correct' to attack the Catholic Church. From comedians and 'art' to the government, we Catholics seem to be the victims de jour. When this injustice is being perpetuated by fellow Catholics, the cut is felt even more deeply. Sometimes this is done quite unintentially - yet the result is the same. A manufactured ecumenism will not stand the test of time, for it stifles identity. True ecumenism, then, is something to be admired. It means that there is cooperation between individuals of differing faiths (or no faith at all) for a common good, while each remains true to their authentic identity. There is nothing artificial or contrived in true ecumenism. It thrives exactly because it is the natural outpouring of Grace to each individual as he goes about the business of God. Amen to those who know its value...

But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.                                    Revelation 3:16

'protestant, muslim and jewish defend catholic church, hhs 
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,

there was no one left to speak out.

~ Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niem̦ller (1892 Р1984) was a Protestant pastor and social activist.

Here are a few relevant links that I found interesting:
  • The Becket Fund -  At the Becket Fund we like to say we’ve defended the religious rights of people from “A to Z,” from Anglicans to Zoroastrians.
  • The Manila Times -  President Barack Obama has done something that no one has done before in the United States: he has united mainstream religious leaders to act as a force together in opposing his government’s Health and Human Services department’s mandate that infringes on religious freedom and the individual consciences of Americans who are against contraceptives and sterilization.
  • You Tell Me Texas -  I’m not Catholic. With an estimated 70 million Catholics living in the United States out of a population of 310 million, statistically speaking, there’s about a 78 percent chance that you’re not Catholic either. But as a result of the arrogance of an administration that believes that there is no aspect of American life into which it does not have the unlimited right to intrude, we are all Catholics now.
  • Religion Dispatches -  Last week at CPAC, Mike Huckabee, who has previously identified as a "Bapti-costal," spread his religious wings a little further by declaring, "we are all Catholics now." (Translation: this Southern Baptist pastor backs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in opposing the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act as a mortal threat to religious freedom.)
  • The Hill - Huckabee facetiously thanked Obama for stirring the issue. "You have done more than any person in the entire GOP field, any candidate, has done to bring this party to unity and energize this party as a result of your attack on religious liberty," he said Friday morning. "Thanks to President Obama, we are all Catholics now," he said to cheers at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
  • The Blaze -  Now, Glenn Beck is coming forward with a new movement called “We Are All Catholics Now.” The main goal of the initiative is to ask Americans to reach out to Congressional leaders (at the moment, Senators) to encourage the passage of legislation that would protect religious groups’ conscience rights.
  • Fox News - We are all Catholics now: How long would it take you to change your mind about a core conviction, something you believe in the very fiber of your being? What if it was written into law and you were forced to betray your conviction? For many Catholics and others, it is a reality happening this very moment. It’s a sad day when the resounding cry among Americans is “How dare he?!”
  • Washington Post - I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but today, I call myself a Catholic. Why? Because the state is telling the Catholic Church to violate its principles and teachings. So if you are a person of faith, you must call yourself a Catholic.