Personal, but Not Private (C19O5)
The Church is in Crisis for the last year of 2018, but it has been taking place for the last 5, 10, 30, 70 years, but we are experiencing it in a pronounced way now. Who will still be in our churches in 20 years, not just a priest problem, but a whole problem.
Fr. Fish from Washington DC says, “Said it before, and I’ll say it again: working for the Catholic Church in America in 2019 feels something like working for Blockbuster Movies in 2005. We’re still arguing about how we should display the DVDs, and meanwhile our current model and customer base is about to collapse.” Here is a link to more of his comments.
But there is hope. The church started with its founder being killed and the disciples being scared locked in a room, yet here we are. What went wrong. Some want to blame our history, teaching, morals, but I would say it is not because of our tradition, but because we haven’t lived it out.
Governor Cuomo, a Catholic, signed the Reproductive Health Act that is an aggressive expansion of Abortion law in New York that allows abortion up to the moment of birth for the ambiguous health of the mother. The Catholic Church strongly against this measure has come out against it with no avail. Cardinal Dolan and Governor Cuomo have been at odds and fighting. Here is an article on the back and forth.
Governor Cuomo in a published Op Ed on Wednesday stated. “As a Roman Catholic, I am intimately familiar with the strongly held views of the church. Still, I do not believe that religious values should drive political positions.” However what does drive political position if not religious values? Polls? Personal whims? Political ambition? Selfishness? Convenience?
Cardinal Dolan properly responded “The civil rights of the helpless, innocent, baby in the womb, as liberal Democrat Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey once remarked is not about ‘right versus left, but right versus wrong.’ … Governor Casey again: ‘I didn’t get my pro-life belief from my religion class in a Catholic school, but from my biology and U.S. Constitution classes.'”
Governor Cuomo also said in the published Op Ed on Wednesday “I was educated in religious schools, and I am a former altar boy. My Roman Catholic values are my personal values. The decisions I choose to make in my life, or in counseling my daughters, are based on my personal moral and religious beliefs.”
Cardinal Dolan properly responded “Yes, religion is personal; it’s hardly private, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and struggle for civil rights so eloquently showed. Governor Cuomo’s professed faith teaches discrimination against immigrants is immoral, too. Does that mean he cannot let that moral principle guide his public policy? Clearly not.”
In other comments Governor Cuomo said, “I have my own Catholic beliefs, how I live my life. … That is my business as a Catholic,” Cuomo said. “I don’t govern as a Catholic. I don’t legislate as a Catholic.” I would also venture to say that he doesn’t live as a Catholic and no one will become Catholic or continue to be Catholic because of his “personal faith”
We learned our faith from what was passed onto us. How do we pass on our faith? Through one person’s radical living of the faith can change the world. St. Peter’s response to Jesus to cast into the deep and leave all to become a fisher of men changed the world and we are still talking about it today. St. Paul persecuted Christian, then became Christian and became one of the greatest evangelizers of the Church. Mother Teresa helped change the world, and Dorothy Day changed the way the US responds to the poor all because there faith was personal and informed everything they did.
The Lord asks “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Will we respond “Here I am!” and Cast into the deep?
A little bonus at the end from GK Chesterton that I quoted in the Saturday evening Mass and then took out because it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
“Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.” Chesterton goes on to say: “Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.” from Orthodoxy chapter 4