Reading over this essay, I feel the need to provide a cynicism alert. If you are trying to be positive during Lent, perhaps come back later.
I see the USCCB is gearing up for another Fortnight for Freedom. I haven’t seen much press on this year’s third installment. The plight of Christians in real persecution continues to draw attention. When Christians are forced into exile, when their churches are torched and destroyed, or when killing mobs go on rampages against believers–this seems rather significant when compared to the political infighting in a wealthy country that struggles mightily to provide affordable health care to a fair chunk of its citizenry.
At any rate, what do you think of this year’s thrust?
The theme of this year’s Fortnight will focus on the freedom to serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with human dignity and the Church’s teaching.
The Francis Effect, do you think?
The Religious Liberty page elaborates a bit more:
If religious liberty is not properly understood, all people suffer and are deprived of the essential contribution to the common good, be it in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that individuals make every day, both here at home and overseas. We encourage you to stay informed and to insist upon what belongs to you by right as Catholics and Americans.
I’m still skeptical on this perspective. I’m reminded of Thomas Aquinas’ famous quote, a personal favorite:
To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.
I get that many Catholics are self-centered and focused on their own comfort and ease. Some bishops and clergy set the tone, after all. Lay leaders who gather and hoard wealth contribute also.
Our mission is not, or should not be primarily about the small harms done to us or perceived to be inflicted. Our leaders come off as whiners, especially in light of events in India, Pakistan, Saharan Africa, or even in the Americas. The nine percent hem and haw about contraceptives. But in our own cities and in the unseen rural landscapes real people suffer real privation. That is where the real mission exists. Not to take marching orders from people who want to dismantle a rather wussie attempt at developing a Republican health insurance model for the nation.
Pastors fuss about funding contraception for the 91%? What about hundreds of billions poured into unjust, corrupt, profiteering, and blundered wars? Our money was funneled into significantly serious sin in southwest Asia over the past decade or two. What is our responsibility as Christians to speak out on inconvenient issues, and not just the ones we have support from Evangelical Protestant ethics committees?
As for this web site, I’m considering another Two Weeks of Worthy Women as an alternative. Maybe we need the example of persecuted women to give a little perspective on just who has been on the front lines feeding the poor and tending the ill and making peace–sometimes despite opposition from men who had a badly skewed sense of the Gospel.
Did you notice the picture posted on the USCCB sites? A woman religious holding a baby. Nice touch. Clearly the war on women religious is in full-scale retreat. Time to pull together for a better cause.
Catholics can always serve the poor and the vulnerable–there are no lack of opportunities right under our noses. If people feel adoption services are being shut down, no problem. Really. We just swamp the secular and government services and line up to adopt some of the half-million American girls and boys in foster care. Nobody prevents Catholics from completing home studies and adding needy children to families that already exist. Adoption is not about providing babies to childless parents. Adoption is not a cure for the inability to conceive. Adoption is a Gospel imperative, and it matters little that children are without parents because of death, addiction, or gross incompetence.