If the greatest masquerade is to be invisible, then the second greatest is to falsely identify yourself as a member of a certain body, knowing full well that the arbiters of who are the true members are quite loath to unmask you. As such, you can simultaneously claim membership in this body, reaping all the inherent benefits, while you are trashing nearly everything it stands for.
A case in point would be any of the many self-proclaimed Catholic elected officials, who are ardently pro-abortion. For the most part, Church leaders have been conspicuously silent in criticizing their local politicos who fall into this category, but I am pleased to report that the worm has finally turned. No doubt inspired by a document issued in November, 2002, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, entitled On Some Questions Regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life, bishops have started to kick butt and take names.
The first gauntlet was thrown down in January by Sacramento Bishop William Weigand, who told California Governor Gray Davis to renounce his support for abortion, or “abstain from receiving holy communion until he has a change of heart.” Davis, reliable weasel that he is, mumbled some stupid platitudes about the separation of church and state, to which Weigand replied that
“You can’t be a Catholic in good standing and hold that point of view. You can’t have it both ways.”
Presumably, excommunication would be the next step, but don’t hold your breath. Still, the bishops are moving up the governmental food chain.
Senate minority leader Tom Daschle was sent a letter by Sioux Falls, South Dakota Bishop Robert Carlson, informing the obnoxious legislator that he may no longer call himself a Catholic, for the reason that such a declaration constitutes “a grave public scandal.”
As Joseph Bottum wrote in the Weekly Standard
The Doctrinal Note marks at least the beginning of the end of the Vatican’s toleration of what the pope’s biographer George Weigel has called “Cuomoism” in the American Church: the effort to finesse abortion by declaring oneself personally opposed but politically supportive of laws allowing abortion. Catholics have a “duty to be morally coherent,” the Doctrinal Note declares, and the Catholic fight on the life issues—abortion, euthanasia, and cloning—is not some merely prudential question, to be decided by political give and take. The Catholic Church doesn’t take political positions—except when politics intrudes into something, like the right to life, that ought to be beyond the power of politicians.
Sadly, there are some Catholics, who might be anti-abortion, but nonetheless feel empowered to hold bizarre positions in other doctrinal matters, based on a flawed and cynical interpretation of Vatican II’s Dignitatis humanae, whereby an unlimited “right to freedom of conscience” is created out of whole cloth.
The Congregation correctly observes that
A kind of cultural relativism exists today, evident in the conceptualization and defense of an ethical pluralism, which sanctions the decadence and disintegration of reason and the principles of the natural moral law. Furthermore, it is not unusual to hear the opinion expressed in the public sphere that such ethical pluralism is the very condition for democracy.
As a result, citizens claim complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices, and lawmakers maintain that they are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends, as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value. At the same time, the value of tolerance is disingenuously invoked when a large number of citizens, Catholics among them, are asked not to base their contribution to society and political life—through the legitimate means available to everyone in a democracy—on their particular understanding of the human person and the common good.
Wow! Let me drink all this in, and reflect on some of the things that have happened in the last few months…
- The Church is taking a hard stand on moral relativism
- The US is fighting back against terrorism and its sponsors, with little regard to the bleatings of our former “friends”
- Ultra Lefties such as Sarandon and Burton are suffering at least some minor consequences after 25 years of biting the collective hand that feeds them
If we are witnessing the beginning of a new age, it hasn’t come a moment too soon.