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#390096 - 01/23/13 05:43 PM Keeping Politics Out of Church?
Paul B Offline

Registered: 11/11/01
Posts: 1755
Loc: PA
In this time of difficulty for Christianity in the United States, a representative of the USCCB (US Conference of Catholic Bishops) sent a letter which is available here

My impression is that the posters of this forum are split on this subject. Indeed, the real question is "Is the Church truly entering politics?" or is it expressing a real ownership in the spiritual and morally temporal interest of each Christian?

Here is an excerpt from this letter: Rather, political forces have injected themselves into the lives of Catholics and Church organizations, substituting their own secular ideology for the Church's values. Some will say the Church should leave politics alone and concentrate on teaching the Catechism and serving the needy but what if a political initiative says the Church may not follow the Catechism, even in its own institutions?

This is a timely subject as we mourn the 40th anniversary of the infamous Roe v Wade decision which resulted in millions of Catholic and Orthodox men and women encouraging, participating in and financing the death of their pre-born babies. This bold government action has been re-inforced with the current Congress and President entering into an argument of questioning "legal theology."

The letter addresses pastoral questions on this issue and indeed IS important "Church News, " as opposed to "politics," which the header of this forum topic forbids.

#390101 - 01/23/13 08:43 PM Re: Keeping Politics Out of Church? [Re: Paul B]
8IronBob Offline

Registered: 08/15/12
Posts: 844
Loc: Parma, Ohio, USA
Yeah, I've heard plenty of homilies on stuff like this. Like at a Heritage Day Festival Divine Liturgy, I heard the deacon's homily, like, "The same government that our parents, and grandparents had to deal with before they immigrated to this country, that destroyed churches and the like, etc... That's the government that we are soon going to be having here." That was a pretty darn scary homily, to be truthful with you. Let's hope we can do everything possible that we still will be able to worship freely and with conscience, and that we won't have "big brother" government telling us how we can and can't live our lives.

There's a fine line difference between leaving politics out of church, and having a government that wants to ruin religion in a way that we have to fight back against. Although there are those that say that "fighting back in terms of what we believe in will only make the problem worse before it gets better." While that might be true, at least someone will hear us and demand the action that we do to make sure that we can worship with good conscience.

Edited by 8IronBob (01/23/13 08:57 PM)

#390103 - 01/23/13 09:49 PM Re: Keeping Politics Out of Church? [Re: Paul B]
lmier Offline

Registered: 08/06/12
Posts: 57
Loc: Detroit, MI
I think the problem is the church does nothing to teach the catechism. The leading Roman Catholic University invites a pro abortion president to give a commencement address, and only a few blink an eye. There is a Roman Catholic secretary of HHS that is forcing catholic hospitals and other church organizations to provide so called "health services" that run contrary to all true Christian teachings. All the Democratic representatives and senators that are catholic voted for Omaba care which calls for abortion on demand.

We as a church have failed and now are forced into using a political forum that is troubling to most believers. If we had politicians who were truly catholic there wouldn't be this problem. The church needs to distance themselves from so called "catholics" that are not catholic except for their own political carrier. If we practice our true catholic belief we would not be having this discussion.

The second issue is that what is preached in America is quasi politics in churches. As a church we walk a fine line between being tax exempt and not entering the full political spectrum. Or we can speak and preach true political right from wrong and risk losing or tax exempt status. I know for fact that one Roman Catholic parish was sent a letter from the IRS threatening their tax exempt status, because a parishioner felt that the pastor crossed this line when he said from the pulpit, abortion is a horrendous sin that cries our for justice. The reason given by the IRS was, "You were coercing them to vote against the pro abortion candidate based on a fictional punishment based on ones church based beliefs" thus they felt they were endorsing the pro life candidate which is not allowed under IRS rules.

#390124 - 01/24/13 08:39 PM Re: Keeping Politics Out of Church? [Re: Paul B]
8IronBob Offline

Registered: 08/15/12
Posts: 844
Loc: Parma, Ohio, USA
This is true, the Church, CAN, however legally, explain history of when stuff like this happened before, especially Eastern Europe/Soviet regimes, which was another example of how morality in the Christian world went south. We need some way to prevent that from happening here, obviously, but I don't see how easy it'll be.

#390132 - 01/24/13 10:54 PM Re: Keeping Politics Out of Church? [Re: Paul B]
Epiphanius Offline
Za myr z'wysot ...

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 1125
Loc: Florida
One problem is that *a lot* of Catholics are dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, and would not vote Republican if their life depended on it. They will often point out the fact that most "pro-life" Republicans only hold that stance because it is politically expedient for them, and often fail to actually vote pro-life on the House or Senate floor.

However, the *real* problem is that people will typically adopt a political stance on public issues (because it feels comfortable and they *think* they understand the political process), whereas we are called to take a faith-based stance on every issue.

The "Gay Rights" issue is a good example: politically speaking, there is a certain collection of issues that come under the umbrella of Gay Rights, and you're either "for" them or "against" them--the lines are clearly drawn. Faith, however, nearly always requires us to take a more subtle approach, and reject the black-and-white positions of politics. Therefore, we continue to oppose "Gay Rights," while at the same time strongly insisting that "gay" people do have rights.

In some ways, the subtleties of the abortion issue, such as opposing vandalism to abortion facilities and violence to abortion workers, are more clear-cut. However, there are issues here that don't even come up on the political radar: for example, the fact that simply being a parent is *significantly* more difficult than it was 50 years ago. A lot of the reasons for this are socio-economic, rather than political, so people don't notice them as much. Just to give one example (and there are lots more), back in my parents' day, it was still relatively normal for a middle-class family to have more than one child sharing a bedroom. Nowadays, it's almost expected to have one *bathroom* for each child, as well as one bedroom.

When limiting family size is accepted as a universal norm, birth control becomes the socially obligatory standard, and right behind it is abortion, serving as a necessary back-up.

What's evident, then, is that it's simply harder to live by faith than it is to live by any political ideology, and people will almost always find themselves drifting--even unawares--from the former to the latter. The challenge for the Church is to help people to "swim against the political tides," and keep embracing faith over ideology.

Deacon Richard


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