I’m a few days late, but today I talk about St. Catherine of Siena. In this short talk, I focus on her life of prayer and the interior life, which led Christ to use her in extraordinary ways. She’s often quoted in response to the clergy sex abuse scandals. It’s important for us to remember that God is the one who provides the graces we need to live certain missions. If He is calling us to help renew the priesthood, then we must first be people of prayer and mortification. We must seek His will or we may get in the way of what He’s trying to accomplish. It is a life of profound prayer and union with God that makes any missions He gives to us possible. Prayer must come before action.
Happy Third Sunday of Easter! Today I talk about the next saint in my series: St. Joan of Arc. This one is for my daughter who loves the martyr saints. St. Joan of Arc is a wonderful example to us of how to follow God’s will even when those around us do not understand it fully. She was tasked with doing extraordinary things in the face of extreme odds, but her faithfulness to God, led her to accomplish all that He asked of her. She eventually gave her life for Christ as a martyr when she was burned at the stake. May we all use this time to prayerfully discern where Christ is calling us to serve Him for the salvation of souls.
In moral theology there is a form of hierarchy in which certain acts are considered to hold supremacy over others. This allows for distinguishing between moral acts. Those things that directly violate the dignity of the human person hold pride of place. These include violations against the right to life and the livelihood of a person. Meaning the intentional killing of any human person is egregious and gravely evil, but so is poverty, sex slavery, the intentional killing of civilians, etc.:
The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: “Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator”.
Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 3
Abortion, in being the direct killing of a child at the hands of their own mother, is seen in all of its horror when one considers that it is a mother’s job to love and nurture their child. The unborn are incapable of defending themselves, and yes, it is abortion that is the supreme human rights issue of our day. Any truly intellectually honest Catholic recognizes and submits to this aspect of Church teaching (we are called to submit or assent to all, by the way).
The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears. The unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying him or her in the womb. And yet sometimes it is precisely the mother herself who makes the decision and asks for the child to be eliminated, and who then goes about having it done.
It is true that the decision to have an abortion is often tragic and painful for the mother, insofar as the decision to rid herself of the fruit of conception is not made for purely selfish reasons or out of convenience, but out of a desire to protect certain important values such as her own health or a decent standard of living for the other members of the family. Sometimes it is feared that the child to be born would live in such conditions that it would be better if the birth did not take place. Nevertheless, these reasons and others like them, however serious and tragic, can never justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.
The reason I begin this blog with portions of Evangelium Vitae is merely to point out the obvious evils of abortion and why it is the primary human rights violation of our times. There is no question that abortion is supremely evil. I myself pray before Planned Parenthood through 40 Days for Life and work in the pro-life movement in other capacities. So no one can accuse me of being for abortion.
My concern is the propensity for tunnel vision by some within the movement. This is not only found in those who are openly battling abortion. It is often found in Catholics, to include clergy, who combat poverty or work with refugees or the sick and dying. There is a propensity to become completely focused on our own mission while denying the proper due of other missions.
Each of us is called by God to serve in certain capacities. This is one of the reasons there are so many kinds of religious orders. There is a need for Catholics to focus in various areas in order to work towards the common good. God calls some to be missionaries in poor countries. He calls others to fight abortion. Others are educators, doctors, lawyers, writers, artists, and the list goes on. Without taking away from the gravity of abortion, we must be cognizant that there are other tremendous evils going on around the world on a daily basis. Acknowledging those evils does not lessen the need to fight abortion. I think this was part of Pope Francis’ point when he mentioned pro-lifers a few years ago. I didn’t agree with his approach and I was incensed by his reference, but if we parse his words a bit, we might be able to discover something about ourselves.
If we cannot recognize evil elsewhere without comparing it to the abortion fight, then we have become disordered and obsessed with our mission. There is no reason why we cannot look to the poor, the refugee, or the sick with compassion without thinking of abortion in that moment. We do not contemplate the great suffering of a hungry child while brushing it off and saying, “Well it isn’t as bad as abortion.” We do not confront the great evil, violence, and horror of terrorism and compare it to abortion. Each evil needs to be acknowledged within itself, devoid of our tunnel vision. No orthodox Catholic who is free of this tunnel vision, would argue that abortion is not the greatest tragedy to befall humankind at this point in time. One billion unborn babies have been murdered worldwide. The sheer scope of this evil is breathtaking and horrifying.
We do ourselves a great disservice when we do not look to the other evils of the world and recognize their devastating impacts on countless people made imago Dei. Those people are also worthy of great dignity and charity. The Church’s social teaching does not focus solely on abortion. It may hold it up higher in the hierarchy than other issues, but the Church does not tell us to abandon the poor, displaced, and sick in order to battle abortion. Instead, she recognizes that there are members within the Mystical Body who have the call to go out and fight abortion and that every Catholic should do their part through voting, educating others, and providing for poor mothers. We must all be evangelizing. This a part of our baptismal promises . We are to help in bringing the world into conformation with the Blessed Trinity.
We cannot all perform every mission needed in the world. It is impossible to be dedicated if we are spread too thin. We must be willing to accept and even praise God’s desire to have his Mystical Body working in so many different areas of the world. Our Lord uses us to minister to others. There is so much suffering and Christ uses us to enter into the Crosses of others, where He calls us. Let’s stop comparing everything to abortion and look at each evil for what it is: A grievous violation of the dignity of the human person and God’s call for each individual. We become ideologues when we blind ourselves to the widespread suffering in the world. Yes, abortion is the greatest evil of our times, but there are also a lot of other evils that need to be confronted. We live a more vibrant Culture of Life when we are open to the whole of Catholic Social Teaching.
In the coming weeks, the editor at Catholic Exchange will post a podcast interview we did together that focuses on my life as a graduate theology student and a mom, as well as my increasing interesting in abandoning ideology for the full expansiveness of the authentic Catholic Faith. I will post a link when it is published. It was my first 30 minute interview, so be easy on me. ;o)
The interview did get me thinking about what it is really like being a full-time graduate student of Theology and a mom who is homeschooling her 4 year old. The biggest word that comes to mind is: sacrifice. My husband, daughter, and I are engaged in an extensive period of sacrifice of time together as a family. There are many nights a week when my husband comes home and immediately watches our daughter until bedtime so that I can hit the books or write an essay or term paper. Our daughter spends all day with me, but she still wants my attention as I trudge through St. Augustine’s Confessions one night and Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy the next, as is the case this semester with my full-time school load.
The reality is that something has to give and it does every semester. I do not get to spend Saturdays with my family right now because that is the best day of the week for me to get 6-8 straight hours of studying in. The truth-of-the-matter is that my time is divided and not so evenly. Some weeks my studies suffer and I race through material in order to understand enough to write a paper or engage in the discussion. I then come back to it when I have more time. Other weeks I barely see my family, especially in the last two weeks of the semester when term papers and final exams are due.
I am a mom, 35 years old, and will never be a great scholar. I have dreamed of a PhD or S.T.D since childhood, but there are not any programs available at present which are conducive for my vocation. Three-Five more years of study in another state would come at too much of a cost for my family. The nearest Catholic university to me with doctoral programs is 4.5 hours away: Washington, DC. I married a country boy and I promised him that I had left DC behind for good when we got married, so applying to CUA is out of the question. God has given me a compromise. I had 3 years of Veteran’s Education Benefits left; plenty to cover the cost of my entire Master’s program. He opened up a window for me to pursue my academic dreams, but with the caveat that my vocation as a wife and mother comes first. That means using these gifts in a manner complimentary with my primary vocation. It also means a Master’s will have to be enough for now, or ever.
There are plenty of women who are called to scholarly work outside of the home. If I were younger and not a homeschooling mom, I could see it being a possibility for me and my family. And who knows?! If God does not provide us with anymore children, I may be one of those women who looks at a doctorate in her mid to late forties. For now I will focus on homeschooling my daughter and completing my Master’s degree and seeing where God calls me as a writer and potential speaker. I guess those years as a debater and debate coach might be useful down the line, God willing.
So what is it like being a graduate student theologian and a mom? It’s hard, beautiful, amazing, sacrificial, stressful, and a blessing. As is the case with all major tasks there are big sacrifices being made by my family and me. I try to spend the 3 months a year I have off of school focusing on fun activities with my daughter. My particular program at Catholic Distance University is a year round program with a month off in between every semester. With all of this sacrifice it may not make sense why we do it, but the reality is that God gave me a certain kind of intellect and he wants me to use it for His purposes. Part of that use comes from further formal study. I have no idea what God’s plan is for me after I graduate next year. In the past year alone I have been stunned to become a freelance writer, been on Ave Maria Radio/EWTN Radio twice, and been asked to do my first paid speaking engagement. I am happy with the pace right now and I am excited to see how He will use me in the mission He has set aside for me. Part of that mission is homeschooling our daughter and I am constantly learning, albeit slowly and poorly most days, that my vocation is primary and everything else is icing on the cake.
When I began to research a clear definition of ideology, I came across varied explanations for this word. It can simply mean a set of values (I don’t like this term. It’s Nietzschian. My dad has been teaching me this for years and now I have a grad school class on the topic this semester), beliefs, or ideas shared by a group of people. With this definition one could classify Catholics as ideologues and in fact there are groups of people in our culture who would define any religious person as an ideologue. We know this is not a proper definition, however, even if there are similarities. I knew that this was not a precise enough definition because it implies that all people who share beliefs or ideas with others are ideologues and I am looking for a more pejorative usage. Ideology is often linked with a political understanding. That’s closer to our purposes, but there’s more to be said. The original usage comes from Marx, but has broadened over time. It is the broader definition we seek here. In the pejorative use, ideology is a set of beliefs, ideas, or values held by a group of people which shapes the perspective of individuals who desire either change or the status quo and can foster intolerance of those not in agreement with the group. Now that we have a definition of ideology let’s unpack it a bit within the Church.
Most of us have some political philosophy or understanding as it pertains to our particular country’s mode of government. In the U.S. that means most people are either Republican, Democrat, or Independent (all other types fall under here). There are certain ideas that go with each of these titles. Where Catholics get themselves into trouble is in equating their political ideology with what the Church teaches. The Church’s social teaching supersedes all political philosophies. She transcends, purifies, and makes new all human institutions. The Resurrection has radically changed how we see and act in the world. That isn’t to say that Catholics cannot be associated with a political party. The Church is a full supporter of Catholics transforming the culture through political engagement.
The issue here is when Catholics mistakenly believe that their particular pet politician or philosophy encompasses the totality of Church teaching. In the case of American politics, no candidate or Party fully represents Church social teaching. In fact, the gap is widening between the Church and both major political parties in this country. And, while the dignity of human life, most especially abortion, is the highest in the moral hierarchy of understanding at present, we are not called to turn a blind eye to the immoral choices, stances, and systems proposed by the so-called “Party of Life”. They are far from being the Party to usher in a Culture of Life. It is becoming increasingly clear that Catholics will find it harder and harder to stand by either Party as time goes on. I could write a whole other blog post on how we need to seek virtuous candidates and virtuous lives for ourselves. For now it is important to understand that just because a candidate is “pro-life” does not mean they embody the Catholic worldview. Just like the Church prefers that you and I help the poor not large government bureaucracies. How many of us are doing our part (another blog post)?
The Church’s social teaching is all encompassing. It focuses on the dignity of all human life, including refugees, immigrants, the poor, the unborn, elderly, and the handicapped. It also has plenty to say about our relationship with Creation. So while we may be faced with a moral certitude like abortion it does not mean we should ignore the immoral leanings of our leaders, nor does it mean we get to shun the immigrant because it is politically expedient or our personal preference. Our political philosophy should be shaped by our Catholic Faith and that means discarding mistaken beliefs being presented by our preferred political Party. In supporting a politician, we do not have to agree with every position they present. In fact, in this day-in-age we should probably be disagreeing with them a lot more than agreeing.
The Church does not make specific pronouncements on systems of economics, social services, or policies, but she does condemn certain activities for their gross violations of human dignity. The Church has condemned both Socialism and capitalism in their pure forms. In fact, she prefers a system predicated upon a distributivist model in which we serve and help one another within our means and at the lowest level possible. That sounds pretty close to the Gospel. And while she does not make pronouncements or concise recommendations, she does tell us to consider our positions from the perspective of our Baptismal promises. Political ideology runs amok when it supersedes our Catholic Faith. Our political philosophy must be formed, as with our consciences, by the Light of Tradition and the Good News. We do not bring our political leanings into the Church in a hope of exacting change. If we have placed our political beliefs above Our Lord and the Church then we have fallen into ideology. If we mistakenly believe that it is only the unborn we must defend, then we have fallen into ideology. If we think that we are only to help the poor at the expense of the lives of innocent babies, then we have fallen into ideology.
God calls each one of us to a specific mission of His choosing. Some of us pray at Planned Parenthood, go to Capitol Hill seeking change, serve in soup kitchens, rally for the poor, seek just immigration practices, help the refugee, serve as missionaries, teach, write, study, etc. St. Thomas Aquinas is in the same Order as St. Martin de Porres precisely because missions are varied. The list is endless of where God can call us to bring about change in a Fallen world. In living our mission, we must not become blinded to the plight of other missions different from our own. We are called to work where God wants to us to serve, but we should always keep a full Catholic understanding in the process. Praying at an abortion clinic does not change the need in Haiti, the Congo, or in the gang infested inner cities of America. As long as we don’t get tunnel vision, then we can see with the eyes of Christ and as Catholics. As long as we see world as Christ sees them, we are in no danger of becoming an ideologue. Our mission goes on regardless of political cycle.
There is little doubt that the “spirit of Vatican II” has caused serious damage to the Church. The last 50 years have been marked by confusion, banality, and an overemphasis on the world. Individuals who were not properly formed took their own ideologies and ran with them to the detriment of those of us left to pick up the pieces. I trust in the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI that it will take about 100 years for the Church to recover from Vatican II, or any Ecumenical Council. In fact, in the Church’s history the period following an Ecumenical Council has never gone smoothly.
The problem we face now is competing ideologies have erupted in the Church and based on conversations in social media it is a battle that is particularly virulent and lacks the hallmarks of Christian charity. There are those who believe that Vatican II relegated all liturgies of the past to the dust heap of history, those who believe Vatican II is invalid, and those who believe the Liturgy is a constant that never changes and must always be in Latin, never mind the Eastern rites in the Church.
When one reads the documents of Vatican II it becomes quickly apparent that the Church had no intention of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Chant, sacred music, sacred art, beautiful churches, reverence, incense, etc. still hold their pride of place within the Liturgy. The Mass is always supposed to be a reverent right worship of God through the Holy Sacrifice offered to us by Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. It was never meant to be Protestantized, which has largely happened in my own Diocese and it isn’t a valid argument to claim our Mass should be more Protestant (which I have heard by the way). We have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and they are not even comparable.
By the same token, the Mass was inaccessible to a lot of people who could never fully participate in the offices they share with Christ by virtue of their Baptism. A people who does not understand fully the motions of the Mass cannot offer up the Mass by their common priesthood with the hierarchical priesthood, so Vatican II sought to lessen this gap. Latin is still the language of the Church, but the vernacular allows for individuals to understand the Mass more fully. So the Church gave the option of going to a Mass in the vernacular, in Latin, or in an Eastern rite in communion with Rome. All are valid. I personally like a Mass in the vernacular where the Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Mysterium, etc. are all in Latin.
The point of this examination is to remember that both Masses are valid according to Holy Mother Church and we are called to submit in obedience. The Church is a both/and organism. She prefers to transcend and stand in the middle than be on the fringes. It also means that there needs to be a movement towards the original framers intention which was not to strip our churches in an iconoclastic frenzy and abandon sacred music for Broadway. At every Mass we are entering into the great mystery of our Faith and into the Real Presence of the King of the Universe. He deserves more than “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” or partially heretical renditions borrowed from denominations not in communion with Rome. He deserves our prayerful attention, that means quiet and prayerfulness when we enter the sanctuary. Holy Communion should be received in a spirit of humility, profound gratitude, and reverence. In fact, we should be examining our consciences daily to make sure we are in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion each Sunday. We don’t walk up to receive Holy Communion as if we are purchasing a movie ticket. We bow deeply and reverently or genuflect if able since there aren’t many altar rails these days. We are receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord!
These are two ideologies that I have observed in recent years which have caused me concern. They are creating wide gaps between Catholics and this is destructive to the Mystical Body and our evangelical mission. We must be formed by the Church first and submit to her teachings and then we can form our political philosophies or select which Liturgy we want to attend. Abandoning ideology within the Church does not mean that we cannot aid in ongoing reforms or projects, but it means that we must constantly check our motives, intentions, and ideas. If we are growing in sinful anger towards one group of people then we need to take a step back. If we struggle with the Mass at our parish and it is causing sinful anger, then it may be time to move to a parish in the area that offers a more reverent Mass. Don’t leave because you don’t want to submit to Church teaching on certain matters, however.
As we approach the election in the U.S. this November, remember that no candidate embodies the Catholic Faith. In fact, virtue is no longer considered a necessary trait in a politician. Remember the hierarchy within moral theology, but don’t ignore or disregard those areas where politicians are grossly violating the Catholic understanding of the human person. We are all shaped by ideas. Let’s just make sure that those ideas are grounded and formed by our love of Jesus Christ and under the guidance of Holy Mother Church. We are Catholics first. Pax Christi.
There is a disconcerting trend that I observe daily in social media. It is that many Catholics have mistaken their ideology for authentic Catholic faith. This is most typically combined with a misunderstanding of the ordering of politics in regard to the Faith. Many place their political leanings or personal preferences before the Church. This is greatly anti-Catholic, undermines our ability to communicate effectively, and hampers our ability to evangelize the world.
What is the Church? The Church is the visible sign to the world of the reality of the Blessed Trinity. It is Christ’s body made present through the ordained priesthood and sharing of the worshipping community most realized in the Eucharistic presence. In that sign to the world the internal reality of the life-giving Holy Spirit is at work. When we publicly rebuke Satan and enter into Baptism we are not joining an institution. We are joining a communion of believers who are “one body” due to the physical breaking of Christ’s body on our altars. We agree to enter into the mysteries of Christ’s life and death as we descend into or under the waters of Baptism. We are cleansed of our sins and we put on a new man, or as St. Cyril discusses in Lecture 20 of his catechetical series, we are clothed in a new garment.
What are the implications of our Baptism? First, the Catholic understanding of the Church is greatly anti-individualistic. What many Catholics in our country fail to grasp is that rugged individualism is diametrically opposed to Catholic identity. This is one of the many reasons so many Catholics do not understand Pope Francis. They are viewing the Church with an American lens, rather than through authentic Church teaching and history. We are members of a monarchy and a communion. It isn’t just a community, it is a communion that is connected and conformed to the Blessed Trinity through the glorified, crucified, and risen Christ. That means that nothing we do is done in isolation. It means that our very lives belong to Christ first and our neighbors second. The Church is the realization of Christ’s command to love God above all else and our neighbor’s as ourselves. We literally live that commandment in the life of the Church.
The Church’s understanding of communion, does not take away the unique dignity and gifts of the individual person, however, there is a proper ordering of such gifts. Any gifts or mission that God gives each of us stems from our life within the Church and they are meant to be used to further bring the world to Christ. We are representatives of the Church and Christ’s mission to the world. We never act in isolation or separate from our identity as a Catholic. We belong to the visible structure of the Church by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation. We all partake in Christ’s mission of bring the world in conformity to the Blessed Trinity.
This has far reaching implications for how we interact with the world. All that we do should point towards the eschatological end of all people, namely that we are made for Heaven. When we fall into the trap of ideology, we greatly hamper this call and misinterpret and misrepresent the Church. In fact, it can blur our thinking and proper understanding of good and evil. I saw an article this morning that was so grossly misleading about the situation with Bishop Finn that I saw nothing but ideology. Bishops make mistakes and sin. He made some really bad decisions. We must be able to reason through situations, rather than always assume they oppose our ideology. He did not resign because Pope Francis is on the hunt for “conservatives” (this is ideology in the Church, politics are not theology), rather this Bishop mishandled the sex abuse scandal in his diocese and had to resign. This is reality. We pray for him and those who were harmed in the process. If we cannot see this situation for what it is, then we have fallen into the danger of ideology.
This is an issue throughout the Church and is not reserved to circles who put their “conservative” ideas before the faith. This has been a major issue on the more Left leaning side since they cannot abandon their desire for sexual freedom that is diametrically opposed to both revelation and tradition. People who support the grave evils of abortion, contraception, and attacks on marriage have placed their own preferences and ideology above Christ and the Church. That is why a satirical site can write an article that this ideology seeks to remove Christ from the Blessed Trinity. Satire is always close to the truth.
Heresy is a partial truth that is taken as the whole. This is the danger of ideology. When we connect ourselves to an idea and make it the yardstick for all of our beliefs we very quickly fall into heresy. The Church is the balance between competing extremes. She has always walked a tight-rope in a world that prefers extremes to truth and reality. If we want to walk this tight-rope then we must live our lives with a clear understanding of our Baptism and the communion we are members of.
First, in our lives we are being conformed to the Blessed Trinity. That means our lives are united to the mysteries of Christ’s life and death; meaning the Cross. We are asked to sacrifice and give completely. That means abandoning ourselves to what Christ and the Church teach. It means that we are obedient even when we don’t want to be or a teaching is hard. The great internal mystery of the Cross is that Christ gave himself in total obedience to the Father. This is what we are called to. Our sacrifice is an internal act of obedience to the Holy Trinity through our external actions of charity and sacrifice.
Second, we must place the Church first. The Church is a 2000 year old body and her teachings are vast. We must, in humility, accept that we are not the Magisterium. The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very soul and life of the Church. That means it is God who is acting in her teaching. We do not know better than God. It is crucial that we abandon our ideology if it contradicts the teachings of the Church. Humility is one of the ways we are conformed to the mysteries of Christ.
Third, we must not publicly declare that our ideology is representative of the Church’s teaching. We need to be absolutely sure that we know what we are talking about when we engage in discussions about the Church. Our political leanings, no matter which party, is not fully in line with Catholic social teaching. In fact, both parties in the U.S. contradict social teaching at some level. Of course, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, marriage, etc. supersede certain teachings by virtue of their gravity. The point is that no political party in the U.S. is Catholic and we should not delude ourselves.. In fact, while the American experiment has been a great one, there are many aspects that are in opposition to the Church. I already mentioned that individualism contradicts the idea of communion.
Fourth, we have an obligation to our neighbor. This is what Pope Francis is getting at. By virtue of the communion we are members, we have an obligation to care of the poor, persecuted, and suffering. It is not something that we leave to political powers. It is up to me and you to care for the “least of these”. That means we need to take a good hard look at ourselves and figure out how we should be serving our local community and family.
Fifth, the Church’s moral teaching is clear, concise, and available for all to read. Study it and know it. If you are struggling with a certain teaching then pray about it and seek guidance from an orthodox priest. We are not above the moral law and we must learn that love means obedience, even when it is hard. Christ submitted in obedience to death on a Cross in love of the Father. Do we really think that sexuality or our individualism is greater than that sacrifice?
Sixth, the Church is large and it is much larger than our ideology. Pope Francis’ decisions are complex, as are actions in dioceses, and Magisterial offices. When a Bishop or somebody else resigns it is not always because of whatever ideology you subscribe to. Pray and trust. We must all be mindful that we are not misleading other people by our words and actions.
We are Catholics and that means we are members of something greater than politics or ideology. Politics serve their purpose, but in subordination to our theology. We must live our lives cognizant that how we represent the Church can harm others and ourselves. If we are going to publicly share our faith (we are all called to share the Good News), let’s make sure we know what we are talking about. We have the greatest gift to offer the world: The Holy Eucharist. By virtue of our Baptism, we get to touch the broken and glorified body of Christ. We get to eat his body in order that we may be spiritually in communion with him and united in a physical reality in which God uses our senses to reach us. We must engage the world through the eucharistic communion that we are united in through the Mystical Body. THAT is our center. It is love Himself who is on our altars. We have the answer to the pain of the world. We have the answer to the meaning of life. It is time for Catholics to abandon ideology and return to the mission: Bringing the world to the glory and charity of the Blessed Trinity. We must say “no” to ideology.