In The Presidential Election, There Is The Pain Of Worldliness Versus Spirituality
By Michael H. Brown
Where once it seemed like the debates would be pivotal, with the winner taking the lead in that race for the White House, now it's more the case that John Kerry has to deliver an overwhelming knockout punch. Right now, President Bush is clearly in the lead.
At election time we are reminded of the worldliness. Government is all about money and power. Elections are glitz. Even large segments of the Church have become wrapped-up in it, whether presidential politics (which has become a radio blood sport) or internal Church politics (where there are increasingly vitriolic, unchristian attacks).
Should pro-choice politicians be denied Communion? That's the hot-button issue in Catholicism this election season, and the answer is that pro-abortion politicians should be instructed that they should not receive Communion, just as divorced Catholics are so instructed. Abortion and human cloning are the greatest sins of modern time. They will lead to disaster (the visit to Florida should offer a preview.) Once the Church issues that instruction, it is in the consciences of the individual, just as is the case with any other un-confessed congregant. We do applaud those bishops who have issued public orders to deny Communion; this is a decision for each bishop to make.
Right now the Church has to focus on its own crisis before it can convincingly project morality. That crisis still lingers. An Austrian bishop just resigned over a seminary scandal, and a Massachusetts bishop was indicted (it's hard even to hear these words) for child rape.
Part of the reason for the scandals goes back to worldliness. Our Church has adopted the secular way of education. There is an emphasis on intellectualism (which leads to arrogance) instead of holiness. Brains are filled instead of the spirit.
It is apparently arrogance that then allows a priest to believe his sexual gratification is more relevant than the life of a youngster.
Worldliness has also factored in because it is the immersion in popular culture -- in all the rampant carnality strewn across magazine racks, computer screens, and televisions -- that has caused some priests and seminarians to join in that carnality. (Emphasize the word "some"; there are many good priests.)
Philosophy is a worldly way of viewing the essence of existence and for some reason philosophy has become more important in seminaries than instruction on basic priestly duties. There are priests who don't know how to bless a home but can tell you about Kierkegaard. The question is what Kierkegaard could possibly have known that Jesus (Who spoke much more simply) did not. It seems that when it comes to existence, the view of Christ is all we need.
Meanwhile, seminarians have also been indoctrinated by psychology, which holds that there is no such thing as demons.
The result has been a rampage by those same spirits of dark.
It would be nice if instead of intellectualism (which gets few into Heaven) the seminaries gave courses on devotions, novenas, the Eucharist, healing, deliverance, exorcism, angels, the saints, and miracles. If nothing else, homes would get blessed and homilies would get more interesting.
Just some thoughts at this time when there is such worldliness and when that worldliness has so damaged the Church, which in most cases should stay away from politics and concentrate on spirituality.
When I see a bishop going down the street and exorcising a porn shop or abortion mill or red-light district, when I see a bishop laying on his hands, causing people to rest in the Spirit -- when I see a bishop leading a Scriptural Rosary instead of issuing a press release -- I'll know there is a chance the crisis is ending (and more importantly, won't be repeated).
As for the election, there are many questions. Who is going to rein in Hollywood? Is anyone going to clean up television? Is anyone going to bolster the middle class? Is anyone going to halt corporations and science from dehumanizing us? Is anyone going to stop medical gouging? Is anyone going to improve the environment (God's creation)? Was the war worth it? How many civilians have died? Don't we need to heed the Pope? Can pro-life also be pro-war and pro-capital punishment?
Yet it always comes back to abortion.
Pro-choice is no choice.
We were heartened to see this report of an award-winner who was in the Oval Office with a group to receive an award recently.
"As I shook [the President's] hand one final time...I then did something that surprised even me," this young person recalled of meeting. "I said to him, 'Mr. President, I know you are a busy man and your time is precious. I also know you to be a man of strong faith and have a favor to ask you.' As he shook my hand he looked me in the eye and said, 'Just name it.'
"I told him that my step-mom was at that moment in a hospital having a tumor removed from her skull and it would mean a great deal to me if he would consider adding her to his prayers that day. He grabbed me by the arm and took me back toward his desk as he said, 'So that's it. I could tell that something is weighing heavy on your heart today. I could see it in your eyes. This explains it.' From the top drawer of his desk he retrieved a pen and a note card with his seal on it and asked, 'How do you spell her name?' He then jotted a note to her while discussing the importance of family and the strength of prayer."
Hats off, Mr. Bush. In this case, our Church should pay heed to a politician.
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