Wednesday, October 31, 2012

America's National Election; What I Believe; and What I Don't

Since there's an American national election coming next week, this 'Bible and Catechism' post focuses on citizenship, politics, and an issue or two.

I'm a Catholic. I take my faith seriously. Among other things, I must:
  • Support religious freedom
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109)
    • For everybody
      (Catechism, 2106)
  • Take an active part in public life
    (Catechism, 1915)
  • Contribute to the good of society
    • In a spirit of
      • Truth
      • Justice
      • Solidarity
      • Freedom
    (Catechism, 2239)
  • Submit to legitimate authorities
    • Refuse obedience to civil authorities
      • When their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience
      (Catechism, 2242)
    (Catechism, 2239)
    (June 1, 2012)

"Far Right-Wing?"

Since I take what the Catholic Church says seriously, some folks may assume that I'm part of the 'far right wing:'
"Catholics United urges 'gay marriage' surrender"
Kevin J. Jones, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (October 26, 2012)

"The group Catholics United, which until now has avoided directly contradicting Catholic teaching in its defense of Democratic political causes, has now denounced Catholic efforts to defend traditional marriage as a 'far right-wing' social issue.

"The shift comes in an Oct. 18 statement criticizing Catholic donations to organizations that support marriage and oppose its redefinition to include same-sex couples. Catholics United called for a halt financial support for 'anti-marriage equality ballot initiatives' in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, states where the issue is on the November ballot...."
I've run into folks who say they're Catholics, and act as if they have very conservative beliefs. I've run into other Catholics who appear to be very liberal in their views.

I've been called a conservative, and understand why that label was applied, but I'm not. For example, I believe that human life is sacred. Because I believe this, I have both "conservative" and "liberal" views. I am against:
  • Abortion
    • A 'conservative' position
  • Capital punishment
    • A 'liberal' position
I'm neither conservative nor liberal; I'm certainly not moderate; and I've been over this before:

Marriage, Hate, and Belief

The notion that seeing marriage as a union of a man and a woman is "far right wing" isn't necessarily true. But I can see how it might seem plausible.

Some folks who are religious at the top of their lungs have views which are extreme, and aren't left-wing. If a person assumes that 'left wing liberal' and 'right wing conservative' are the only two possible philosophical stances, these extreme folks 'must' be conservative.

Maybe that's so. But whatever this lot is, they're not Catholic:

(Reuters photo, via, used w/o permission)

As a practicing Catholic I'm not allowed to hate anybody:
"We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: 'He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.' Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'hell.' "
(Catechism, 1033) [emphasis mine]
Again: that's not a photo of Catholics.

"Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity"

I'm also expected to accept other people with "respect, compassion, and sensitivity:"
"The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."
(Catechism, 2358) [emphasis mine]
I've been over that before, too. (March 13, 2009)

Acceptance, Approval, and Getting a Grip

However, accepting human beings as people is not the same as believing anything people do is okay.

For example, the Church says killing myself is wrong, and has other rules that sometimes get in the way of impulses folks have.

That's not because the Vatican is run by a bunch of killjoys, but because we're expected to love God and love our neighbor.

That's not as narrow a view as it may seem. We're also told that everybody's our neighbor. (Matthew 5:43-44; Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:25-27; Luke 10:29-37; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1822, 1825)

Again, I've been over this before:

Marriage, Catholic Style

As a practicing Catholic, I take Ephesians 5:22 seriously. But I've also read Ephesians 5:21-30, and that's almost another topic. (May 1, 2012)

Basically, the Church says that marriage is between a man and a woman who understand and accept human sexuality, and who agree to be man and wife. (2201-2203, 2333-2391)

Getting back to the question of redefining marriage, I'd hoped that I could take a nice, safe, 'I don't care' approach. I was wrong. (June 23, 2010)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.