Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thoughts on a Snow Day

In Kyro’s post, “Media related thoughts...” he states, “I’ve been thinking about how horrible the Churches and other advocates of traditional living have been at entering the mainstream debate.” There are several reasons for this the first and primary reason is that they are not invited to the debate in that gated community. Whenever the media wants the Church’s view they contact someone from the Jesus Seminar or at best an x-priest with an axe to grind. Truly, when was the last time you saw a Bishop on the Meet the Press or even someone like Scott Hahn or Carl Olson. (For that matter when was the last time you saw an orthodox Catholic as a commentator on the History channel’s Bible series). Imagine a debate with Father Corapi and Bill Maher it won’t happen.

No, they bring in Nancy Pelosi to tell us what the Church believes:

MR. BROKAW: Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his
pay grade, whether you're looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, "Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?" what would you tell him?

REP. PELOSI: I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator--St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose. Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child--first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester. There's very clear distinctions. This isn't about abortion on demand, it's about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and--to--that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god. And so I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who've decided...

MR. BROKAW: The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it...

REP. PELOSI: I understand that.

MR. BROKAW: ...begins at the point of conception.

REP. PELOSI: I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy. But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions.

(I don’t think she knows the reality and gravity of that last statement)
Then there is Joe Biden on Meet The Press:
SEN. BIDEN: No, what I voted against curtailing the right, criminalizing abortion. I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view that it’s a moment of conception. There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that’s existed. Back in “Summa Theologia,” when Thomas Aquinas wrote “Summa Theologia,” he said there was no–it didn’t occur until quickening, 40 days after conception. How am I going out and tell you, if you or anyone else that you must insist upon my view that is based on a matter of faith? And that’s the reason I haven’t. But then again, I also don’t support a lot of other things. I don’t support public, public funding. I don’t, because that flips the burden. That’s then telling me I have to accept a different view. This is a matter between a person’s God, however they believe in God, their doctor and themselves in what is always a–and what we’re going to be spending our time doing is making sure that we reduce considerably the amount of abortions that take place by providing the care, the assistance and the encouragement for people to be able to carry to term and to raise their children.

(This contradicts what the Democratic platform says - but who reads that anyway?)
What’s the bet ol’ Joe never really read “Summa Theologia” and was just given this handy quote to “teach” the flock that the Church is confused anyway so do what you want. But of course Biden also says Christ like things like this: “The next Republican that tells me I'm not religious, I'm going to shove my rosary beads down their throat."

Yes, Edward Cardinal Egan and at least two dozen other Bishops came out strongly against what Pelosi and Biden said. But outside of Catholic publications the news was either buried or put in the religious section of the paper which most don’t read.

Also note the blatant disregard for the separation of Church and State in both Pelosi and Biden. They can teach what the Church says but when a Bishop does it they are harangued. Pelosi and Biden talked to millions of people where the Bishops were only able to reach thousands.

The second and probably the greatest factor in our inability to be effective in the media is fear. Far too many priests and bishops are afraid of what the media can do to them in the form of persecutions. The beating the Church took in the wake of the priest sex scandal has made many to afraid to speak or do anything that might be considered going against Caesar. Even outside the media this fear is taking a toll.

In the elderly community this fear of going a foul of the law is heart breaking. As you know if an old couple wants to marry, one of them will lose their social security payments. So in order to unite them and allow them to still eat Priests were performing clandestine marriages. Where the sacrament was administered but the state was not notified. This is an old tradition dating back to Medieval times (remember the marriages in Braveheart and Romeo and Juliet.) So these good people are faced with a choice, live in sin or turn to Protestant ministers to marry them. Several denominations in the latter are now doing these under the radar marriages.

Martyrdom is something very few have sought freely. The traditional forms of martyrdom are a red and or white martyrdom. Red martyrdom occurs when a person sheds their blood for Christ. A white martyr willingly gives up worldly concerns and makes his or her life a perpetual pilgrimage. A white martyr lives a life of heroic devotion for Him alone, eagerly uniting that devotion with Christ’s sufferings. In the west Governments have forsaken the making of red martyrs (mostly) because their witness in the face of death is impossible to ignore. The white martyr of today, although a small thorn in the side, can become marginalized as a media darling. John Paul II and Mother Teresa are cases in point.

Now there is a new Martyrdom called Green Martyrs. These martyrs lose jobs and promotions for standing up for their Faith. Dawn Eden lost her job because of her Catholicism. There are now people in California losing theirs because they had the audacity to give money to support the ban on Gay marriage. This, “stop the Christians” often borders on the silly. I was recently negotiating an art show for my students at a local gallery/coffee shop and soon into the talk the lady in charge asked if I was the same Alan that prints those prolife letters in the paper? I said yes and she said. "Well I don’t think I can work with you!" And then she hung up the phone. The absurdity of this was I was not hurt but my kids were. I have since found another venue for them.

The Church is afraid of becoming a Green Martyr in losing its Tax-Exempt status. Sometimes I think that might not be such a bad thing.

As always Chesterton gives us the answer to this dilemma and the answer is what it always has been - infiltrate.
He tells us the fall of the Viking culture was not the result on some field of mortal battle but that when the Vikings went on raids they brought back women, Catholic women, who raised their children Catholic and soon the Vikings were no more. Soon is a relative term here It took the early Christians 300 years to topple the Roman empire but less than 100 to stop the wild fire of the Vikings.

In both of those cases those who changed the world began on the lowest rung of the social ladder and influenced the ones above and so on. It also bears repeating it really was the women who did the changing. Look at the infiltration work of Barbara, Nicolosi.

We must encourage strong Christians to enter the field of journalism and then continue to confirm them in their faith. I am confidently hopeful in this by something I heard a while ago, ‘The first millennium belonged to Bishops, the second millennium belonged to the Popes and the third will belong to the laity.’

My daughter just looked out the window and realized there is enough snow on the ground to make a snowman or go sledding. “Please oh please papa let’s go outside!!!”

So I’ll talk to you later.

And one last thought: “Don’t let bastards get you down."

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