Hey, Can I End My Honeymoon, Too?

George Wesolek is back from Hawaii and thinks everybody else who chadded in blue should be, too.

Let me state as a consistent thirty-year third-party voter, I had no undue hopes for the new 2009-2013 administration, whatever it was to be. I think the Republicans were and are still a disaster on several fronts: as the ruling party 2000-06, they showed themselves unable if not unwilling to protect the homeland (Exhibit #1: Katrina), their arrogance and corruption damaged the nation, their policies violated the constitution. If I’m given a choice to vote for an unrepentant representative of a corrupt, opportunistic, and immoral party I must refuse.

I appreciate the handwringing on the alternative, a representative of a political party almost as corrupt and almost as deeply in the pockets of those who are seeking world domination economically. Life issues are almost a wash in my thinking. The previous administration was up to its armpits in immorality, a direct link to murder that is hard to dismiss. The Democrats’ sin is standing by and allowing millions of mothers to opt for abortion. To the best of my knowledge, President Obama and other Democrats on the firing line have never actively cooperated in procuring an abortion for someone, a sin that is worthy of excommunication.

As a cynic, I have little hope of seeing change on the national level in this country. I’ll admit I voted for Senator Obama, and I don’t mind saying I didn’t think I had a third-party alternative this year. I still think that independent, non-party local politics is the way to get things accomplished. I will be active in my local community and in my parish. And to a small degree, on the blogosphere, too.

I can’t really end a honeymoon I never went on to start with. Some people vote (or get married) and they go off the work the next day as if nothing happened when they marked their ballot (or exchanged vows). When I married my wife, to a degree, my feelings didn’t change on the honeymoon in the sense I still loved this woman just as I did the day before and the day before that.

What I’d like to do is say my honeymoon is over with my sister and brother Catholics who continue to embarrass me and the rest of the Church with their self-promotion to ecclesiastical court. But the readers here know I saw through the worst deceptions of the political side of the pro-life movement.

Since the election, we’ve seen some prominent pro-lifers used by political operatives for personal profit and showmanship. Sam Brownback’s name allowed one Republican group to generate cash for its coffers. Archbish0p Burke was used by another public figure for his own gain. FOCA is still missing nine-and-a-half weeks after it was presumably the new president’s number one priority. It’s a tough economy, and I’m sure those poor Republicans were hurting for donations after the double whammy of a crushing political defeat and a self-created economic disaster.

My line from the beginning is to expect little from politicians, either elected or lobbyists, and turn attention, compassion, and resources to the local level to help women with unexpected pregnancies who are considering abortion. Birthright, other organizations, and their volunteers will get more done for real people. The people who will be helped will be our neighbors, friends, and folks who ride our busses, eat in our restaurants, and worship in our churches.

Few people are going to be martyrs, at least not unless the US turns into China with its forced abortions, death squads, and such. The harder work of sainthood is the day-in, day-out tenacity of prayer and serving others. Mother Teresa knew well the darkness of endless hours and years of labor not knowing if God was there to make any kind of difference. It seems as if too many rank-and-file pro-lifers expect some leader (Archbishop Burke, Sarah Palin, or Randall Terry) to come riding in and rescue the world from sin and death.

The defect in this ideology is that Jesus came as Savior and Messiah twenty centuries ago. He put the onus on us, the community of believers. It’s hard and, unlike Archbishop Chaput’s book tours, not very affirming. But the work of ministry, of reaching out to individuals, is essential to the Gospel. If, however, your Gospel is a political manifesto, then, by all means, continue on the same path. It hasn’t really worked in thirty years. But if you shout a little louder, stamp your foot a little harder, scream till you’re a little hoarser, who knows?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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12 Responses to Hey, Can I End My Honeymoon, Too?

  1. Holly Hansne says:

    Psalm 146 v,3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
    Repace princes with politicians, leaders and yes pundits.
    The Catholic right has lost it’s friends in the halls of power. They wanted these friends to fulfill all their neo-con dreams. God had other plans. No, I don’t believe God appointed the president. A dose of humility would do the right a world of good. It’s interesting that Cardinal George has met with the president privately, no protestant leader has been accorded such a meeting. I believe in the God of surprises and this battle over the excercise of conscience could be the starting point of diolague. Obama as a protestant believes in conscience over dogma in fact freedom of conscience is as close to a dogma as his religious tradition gets. Obama has been a member of the United Church of Christ for over 20 years, part of the UCC is the Congregational Church,the church of the pilgims who came to these shores to escape the heavy hand of the Church of England. The UCC is NOT one of the historic black churches such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church or the Church of God In Christ. Another problem for us catholics is our lack of understanding of the religious beliefs of other christians, liberal or conservative.

  2. JC says:

    “President Obama and other Democrats on the firing line have never actively cooperated in procuring an abortion for someone”
    Actually, last time I checked, President Obama had 2 kids. He’s been married since 1992. There is no indication that he and his wife use Natural Family Planning. If she is on the birth control pill, there is a very large chance they have conceived and chemically aborted at least one child in 17 years of marriage. Either way, they’re using contraception, which is just as bad as abortion.
    “It seems as if too many rank-and-file pro-lifers expect some leader (Archbishop Burke, Sarah Palin, or Randall Terry) to come riding in and rescue the world from sin and death.”
    To a certain extent, I agree with your point here. I was just as wary of conservatives going gaga over Bush 8 years ago as I am about liberals and Obama now.

    My main concerns about pro-life issues are:
    1. Insuring that Natural Law is made sacred in all civil law, because when Natural Law is ignored, nature itself rebels.
    2. Insuring my own rights as a disabled person in a society that adopts the views of Plato, Malthus, and Sanger regarding eugenic purity and “population control.” I want ethical cures and treatments. I will not use any treatment derived from intrinsic evil. I am sick of being told I don’t have the right to exist because I’m genetically “defective,” that it would have been better for my mother to abort me rather than have me live of a life of suffering, etc.

    3. I am tired of the Catholic Church being attacked from within by those who desecrate the Eucharist, trash the liturgy, etc. Authentic, traditional Catholicism is the only worldview that makes sense to me, as someone born into suffering and a short life expectancy. No other religion or philosophy offers me a reason to live with my pain.

    That brings me to this point:
    “But the work of ministry, of reaching out to individuals, is essential to the Gospel. ”
    I suggest you read John of the Cross.

    The work of personal salvation is essential to the Gospel. Corporal works of mercy are just one of many ways we achieve the goal of contemplative union. Vita activa and vita contempliva are a false dichotomy, and liberals with their emphasis on “vita activa” are one of the main groups who’ve made me feel completely worthless for being disabled.

    “He put the onus on us, the community of believers”
    What onus?
    What are we supposed to do?
    Go and preach the Gospel to all nations.
    Part of the Gospel is the Commandments. Part of the Gospel is the Natural Law, written on the hearts of the pagans. Part of the Gospel is that anyone who rejects a child rejects Christ.

  3. Patti says:

    “Either way, they’re using contraception…”

    That is a huge and not well reasoned assumption.

    I’m an only child, so does that follow that my parents were using contraception? Actually, after me, my mother had a string of mis-carriages as she and my dad tried to have more children. Without personal knowledge that is really none of your business, you have no way of knowing why a couple has as many or few children as they do.

    Your judgmental attitude does not do you justice here.

  4. Todd says:

    Indeed, Patti.

    My parents were unable to conceive until nearly thirteen years into their marriage, and my wife and I have never been able to conceive.

    JC, not only does your first point, however heartfelt, betray a lack of medical knowledge, they also violate the letter of CCC 2478, the presumption of good faith barring any evidence to the contrary. You seem to be laboring under the falsehood of applying political principles to the assessment of a person’s state of grace. I have to say your approach is not Catholic. Not at all.

    “Your judgmental attitude does not do you justice here.”

    Patti is right. And the association of bishops with such sentiments does not do them credit. In fact, they have the likely consequence of hardening the hearts of fencesitters and ideological adversaries, thus marginalizing their own defense of the unborn. That, unfortunately, in its extreme, is a cooperation of sorts with evil. But for it to become a grave matter, one has to know and identify evil and persist in spite of discernment and knowledge.

    The public face of the pro-life movement gets a D-minus in my book. Randall Terry, Archbishop Burke, and many others have been a catastrophe. They are hamstrung by their near-wholesale buy-in to the American culture: criticism without reflection, win-at-all-costs mentality, the ends justify any means. Totally out of touch with traditional Catholic principles.

  5. Liam says:

    1. The position that oral contraceptives are abortifacient has been cited as factual among some in the pro-life movement in recent years, but I am not aware that it has even reached a consensus position within the prolife movement (except perhaps as a prudential recommendation).

    2. Were one to screen all spouses who have never relied on oral contraceptives from political office, it would be a very sorry handful in the US who might yet remain. You are welcome to that battle, but it’s not one I am aware any current ordinary in the Catholic Church is commending to the faithful.

    3. There are no justices of the US Supreme Court who appear the least bit willing to acknowledge natural law as a foundation for civil law. In fact, the Catholic justices of the court are (with the exception of Kennedy) legal positivists when it comes to constitutional interpretation. Not a one reads the Constitutiona as giving a right to life to the unborn. The folks who are more inclined to natural law readings of the constitution are, strange as it may be for you to understand, the *liberals*. They just have a different understanding of what natural law is than the Catholic Church. So, while as a practical matter, the legal positivists would read the Constitution as silent on abortion and thus permit states to do as they will regarding it (not only to criminalize it but to approve and fund it, too), as a matter of principle some of the liberals are closer to how the Church thinks in terms of the relationship of civil law to inalienable human rights (the problem is they differ about what those rights are).

    4. Randall Terry has become the Michael Moore of the prolife movement.

  6. Fran says:

    “4. Randall Terry has become the Michael Moore of the prolife movement.” That is rich. And very well put.

  7. JC says:

    First, as for CCC 2478, there is no way to give a favorable view of support for intrinsic evil. Anyone ought to be aware the contraception gose against Natural Law. Obama was educated in Muslim and Catholic schools. He should know that. He claims to be a Christian. He claims to have read the Bible. He should know that contraception goes against the Bible.

    I am so sick and tired of the “secondary infertility” smokescreen. Yes, people experience secondary infertility, and it is sad.

    But, again, if it’s secondary infertility, why not say so?
    A person votes in favor of contraception, promotes it, pays for it, speaks in favor of it, calls it “abortion prevention” and condemns those of us who oppose it, and we’re supposed to assume that person is of “good will” in his private life???

    Do you believe that artificial contraception violates Natural law or not?
    Do you agree with the teaching of John Paul II that both abortion and contraception should be illegal or not?
    Do you agree with _Mater et Magistra_ that contraception is the most fundamental social and economic evil facing the world today, or not?

    It’s not about convincing “fence sitters”. It’s about getting Catholics to start acting and believing like Catholics.

  8. Todd says:

    “It’s about getting Catholics to start acting and believing like Catholics.”

    Okay.

    By that standard, how many converts have you managed? And if you (or anyone else) says none, are you willing to stand aside and let others be more effective?

  9. Liam says:

    JC

    Most Protestant denominations don’t have a defined teaching that oral contraception violates biblical teaching – in fact, Biblical literalists could easily say that the Bible does not address the point. So there is no basis to expect Obama as a member of the UCC would hold that it does.

  10. JC says:

    “By that standard, how many converts have you managed? And if you (or anyone else) says none, are you willing to stand aside and let others be more effective?”
    Stand aside from *what*?
    First of all, there are many parts, many roles. Some are called to different things. Some are called to be Daniels, working within the palace of the King. Some are called to be Isaiahs, walking through the streets screaming.

    Again, more effective at *what*?

    Not that it should matter, but I could give numerous stories about conversations I have had with people that have brought them closer to the Catholic Church. And the main thing that triggered the conversation was that they could tell, either over time or very quickly, that I was a Catholic who was actually passionate and knowledgeable about my faith.

    Some people are attracted to the Church by meeting Catholics who are “nice”. Some people are attracted to the Church by meeting Catholics who have convictions.

    I am not going to give, in a combox, a curriculum vitae of people whom I have helped get closer to the Church and/or to Christ, but I know there are many. I also know that it is just as important to “preach to the choir” and “rally the troops” as it is to “win converts” or “sway the undecided.”

    And St. Teresa said, referring to the Protestants, that, when the Church is faced from attacks on all sides (and within), it is more important to bunker down and strengthen the Church from within than to worry about winning battles against the World.

  11. Todd says:

    JC, I’m talking about converts to your point of view. If so many Catholics have the wrong idea on this, how many have you steered from it to the correct point of view?

  12. JPaul says:

    JC is your judgment of others blasphemy?

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