The post-election landscape is at the same time a garden of hope or a scorched earth, depending on a sensibility of merged Catholic outlooks.
The presidential candidates have been gracious at campaign’s end, a leadership worthy of emulation. Indeed, if Catholics are to have a serious hope of repairing their own wounded communities, that approach, hardly a quiet one, will need to be attempted.
When Matthew recounts Jesus sending the Twelve, he quotes:
I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves …
The disciples were not sent to build political majorities to bend a world to the Father’s will. They were sent as seeds and as leaven to start something they had no hope of finishing. More than that, many of them didn’t see past the short-term. How many of them, really, would imagine that within two generations the Gospel would be spread from India to Spain?
This is why the ends do not justify the means. God has a deeper view of human history and our job is to be faithful to all the basic principles, not just the number one on the list, or to just our favorites.
I was still feeling wired from yesterday’s experience at 5AM when I rolled out of bed, unable to get back to sleep. So I took a hint to take a stab at what post-election life might hold in terms of some oipportunities.
What could the flip side of Matthew 10:16:
… so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
… look like for us? Some quick thoughts:
Blogging is not enough. A few bloggers are outstanding writers, and rather than wait for the world (and our cadres of like-thinkers) to come to us, perhaps we could put pen to paper more often in communicating with people who don’t surf to our sites daily. Now if I can only find that pack of stationery I packed away last June …
Pastors could give their parishioners a few weeks of breathing room. December wouldn’t be too early to gather a panel to discuss parish apostolates for writing letters, a committee to take a five to ten percent slice off the parish income to send to Birthright, a speaker or two on adoption information. Real pro-life pastors and real pro-life parishes will keep at it even if only a few people show up. Jesus found two a sufficient number for an important mission. If we in parish ministry think a full hall is needed to notch a success, then maybe we’re in it more for the glam, not so much the glory of God.
I think it’s time for bishops to lead less from the front on political issues. Ever since Cardinal O’Connor refused boarding in the same hotel as his brother bishops, the Catholic episcopacy has been caught up in grandstanding. Politics and government are the realm of the laity. It should go without saying that human conduct may be sinful or not. What bishops can do more effectively is promote the lay apostolate and steer a more effective witness. Merging pro-life and peace & justice efforts would be a start, preferably with a pastor’s guiding hand. Building the pro-life witness by including better promotion efforts for adopting would help. Big deals are made of the annual Red Masses held in dioceses around the country, especially the one in Washington. What about Masses for medical caregivers? Pro-life advocates? Parents of adopted children? Most bishops need a new outlook, and looking to these groups who are possibly more in need of a spiritual pep talk would be a start. More thoughtfulness and innovation, please, from the bishops.
I’ve been thinking I’ve let my pro-life cred sag. Adoption is a serious enough issue that I could be blogging weekly or more often on it. It doesn’t have to be big or involved. Just a few suggestions and observations.
While on that thread, my web site could use some tightening up and writing discipline. A couple of thousand posts on Vatican II and post-conciliar liturgy has been a good start. I can keep up a near-daily stream of this for years. A designated day each week could also be devoted to important topics like peacemaking or adoption or reconciliation. Neil has been a fantastic addition to this site, and other writers, perhaps those unwilling to strike out on their own blogs, could be included when my voice is inadequate for the job. If you have a proposal, e-mail me or call me and we can chat about it.
Today is the first day of an era of new opportunity. Of course, I’d say that about any day. But there’s nothing wrong with saying it about today, even if one sees it as a cloudy and dreary overcast. But a luminous inner life is independent of what’s happening on the outside. Not dependent on success, failure, or the perception of either, it is based on Christ.
What do you say?