What Isn’t Schism

Image result for schismOn an unrelated topic, a new commentator offered this criticism:

Typical of liberal Catholic Left-coast group-thought. You hit all the high water marks. Guns, “anti-abortionist”, (shame on you for using that term by the way), and how people who support gun ownership “worship” guns.

I think Mr Martello was referring to this post, so I’m taking a guess that’s as good as I can muster.

First, I think guns are pretty much on people’s minds these days. If it’s a high water mark, it’s more like the crest of a wave, than a high tide. I largely disagree with the notion that it’s untimely to discuss gun safety, control, or freedoms. It’s a perfect time. If there was political movement post-Sandy Hook, I think detractors would have a better case. But the bulldogs of Florida’s teens don’t look to be letting go. Good for them, and especially, good for the country.

Second, I think it is possible to be anti-abortion as something apart from being pro-life or not pro-life. I’d hope I’m anti-abortion. I have and would discourage it in discussions with people I know. I’m also anti-orphan, but as a consequence, the positive side of that is that I’m pro-adoption. Again, that’s something I’ve both practiced, and encouraged in others. I’m opposed to the death penalty, to death panels in health insurance (whether they are staffed by Republicans, Democrats, or insurance agents of either party). I lament the American rates of suicide, death by drug overdoses, violence due to organized crime not only in the US, but in other countries in this hemisphere.

As an example on that last one, I feel privileged to know a “dreamer,” and I know something of her story: her family fled Latin America because of threats of slavery and murder against the younger female members of the family.

Adoption, dreamers, suicide rates–these all illustrate why I embrace a seamless garment approach to being a pro-life person. I am aware that some self-identified pro-life persons have suffered an abortion, don’t know any dreamers, know no elderly or seriously sick persons who are contemplating suicide, and have little regard for capital criminals. I don’t have a problem with such people self-identifying as pro-life. But sometimes, I’ve known people who are rather ineffective at persuading people to oppose abortion, and they have little interest in other life issues, even the “less-important” ones. So they are opposed to abortion, and that’s it for the public stance. Looks like anti-abortion to me. As an isolated stance, there is nothing wrong with that. But when taking the whole person and their associates, that may well be a problem when it comes to being an agent of conversion.

Mr Martello’s last comment:

You make it painfully obvious our Church is in true schism…we just don’t acknowledge what is actually reality.

Schism is determined by theological views, not political ones. Sometimes, uniformity is mistaken as a vital matter. It is not. It is possible to be a good and faithful Catholic and be critical of human aspects of both Church and society. I think there’s a problem with the public witness and the hope for conversion when pro-life Catholics focus exclusively on abortion. But I also know many people who oppose abortion who also espouse mostly Republican talking points, but who also support adoption, and promote life issues as secondary to their main political cause. This is not schism.

Schism is also not Catholics who are active members of the Democratic political party. Schism is about theology. Not ideology.

As for me, I belong to no political party. I espouse political beliefs that are hard to group entirely into either the liberal or conservative orbit. I believe actions are important as a response to personal belief. I am critical of people, both in politics and in the Church, who promote ideas I consider unhelpful, counterproductive, or wrong. I think persuasion is important, and I don’t always succeed at that. But it’s worth a try.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to What Isn’t Schism

  1. Liam says:

    There’s also the interesting fact that you’ve lived all but less than a handful of your years in the Heartland, not the Left (or East Coast), though you were raised on the … North Coast….

    (And I can’t think of an era in which the One, Holy, Roman, and Apostolic(TM) Church would have embraced the ideology of the Second Amendment as currently promoted by the NRA. It’s not Tradition.)

  2. A gun is an inanimate object, which cannot be evil in itself, according to church teaching.

    Therefore, it is not within the church’s jurisdiction to decide for us, whether public ownership of guns will be used more for evil, to murder someone, or for good – to defend the innocent. Certainly Christ did not mention any particular weapons as immoral for a necessary purpose, but neither did He say we have an intrinsic right to them.

    Some people throw the word schism around so loosely, it is as if they are hoping the church will reinstate burning at the stake, for anyone who’s interpretation of moral rules is slightly different than what man always assumed was the correct one.

    Human nature tends to find, label and blame an enemy, rather than go out of its way to find out the truth, wherever it lies, and simply defend the innocent. Personally, I think abortions would decrease dramatically if every time a baby was aborted, the father of the baby’s name was published in the local newspaper. Most women do not want to abort. They want to receive love and be supported.

    • Todd says:

      To your comment on schism, like heresy, it has been twisted to mean “religious thing on which I disagree.” I also agree on the human urge to avoid personal culpability, but also to know love.

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