Sunday, August 30, 2015



Yesterday I sat, horrified, through a supposed homily that was, instead, a comment on modern politics, in particular REPUBLICAN politics, and a complaint by this priest that the moderator for the recent Republican debates overstepped her role by leading the questions in a direction that the priest thought should not have been done.

Although he did not specifically reference Megyn Kelly's pointed questions to Donald Trump about his frequent and many instances in which he called women disgusting names, I got the point, loud and clear.  He is a Republican, thinks that our God is a Republican, thinks that Catholics are automatically Republican, and probably approves of Donald Trump's misogynistic attitudes, or at least feels that they aren't important enough to call him on his actions during the debates, which is even worse when I think about it.

There is an insidious disease in the Catholic Church in America.  A great number of Catholics have become obsessed with politics, including our priests, which makes me very sad.  Instead of looking at the world through the eyes of Christ, they are looking at the world through Republican eyes and, in doing so, are perverting the faith.  Over and over again, I see "Catholics" posting in social media and all over the internet and being interviewed on television programs whose faith is being twisted to accommodate those aspects of the Republican platform that are the antithesis of the Catholic faith.  Hardly anyone talks about the words of Jesus any more, even when, as in the case of priests, they really ought to be focusing on Him.  It is unquestionably an aspect of their function to do so.

Catholic values have to be applied to our entire lives, of course.  This includes how we vote, no doubt, but a political party should not define us.  For some people, however, it does.  I call these people "Republicatholics."  They are all over social media and in our churches, peddling a philosophy that is not Catholicism.  Hell, it isn't even Christian.  It is a political orientation.  Look at some of the Facebook pages of priests and laity and you will find nothing but political memes, cartoons, blog links and articles.  Some of these offerings are broadly vulgar and offensive.  Many of them are obviously intended to start rumors.  Some are just nasty comments about Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama.  Many cite "facts" that are not facts at all.  It is, for the most part, low brow stuff.

It isn't just that we are nearing an election year.  This situation has been building for at least 6 years.  It has gotten worse and worse over time.

Jesus was not accepted by most Jews as the promised Messiah because he did not come as an earthly King.  Jews were expecting him to come and conquer their overlords.  They'd been under the tyrannical rule of so many despotic regimes in their history that they'd had just about enough of that, and their idea of a King was someone who would change the government.  He disappointed them by coming into our world as a poor person with no political clout whatsoever.  He didn't advocate the overthrow of the Roman government.  He mostly talked about love and taking care of the poor.

The Republican political platform, with the exception of their supposed "pro-life" plank, is in direct opposition to the Christian faith.  The Democratic platform is likewise in direct opposition to the Christian faith in the matters of morality and abortion.  This is the classic "no win" situation for the Christian.  We just have to do the best we can in that arena and then move on.

Political action is not going to save us and should not define us.  It didn't define Jesus, and we need to follow Him and be faithful to Him.  Jesus did not identify with any earthly power structure.  He was a man of the people...the poor...the sick...the needy.  He didn't stand on a box in the town square and advocate a change in government.

Before the steam starts coming out of your ears and you pounce on the keyboard to write me an hysterical note to the effect of "WHAT ABOUT ABORTION?" I will simply say that, had we done what Jesus told us to do, no one would be wanting an abortion.  Abortion is legal because a great number of people want it, and, although I favor making it illegal, I have the suspicion that it will never be illegal until the hearts of Americans are changed.  Jesus left us with instructions on how to do that.

When we have helped to transform the hearts of Americans into loving, generous, grace-filled Christian hearts, the government will naturally follow.  How this has escaped the notice of so many is a mystery to me, except that it is a heck of a lot easier to campaign against something with righteous indignation than it is to follow the commands of Jesus.

As for me, I will no longer have to endure civics and politics classes masquerading as homilies.  My physical condition has become so severe that I am no longer able to sit through mass and, unless something changes, I will not be able to attend.  Fortunately, no matter how far off the beam the priest becomes, his ability to confect the Eucharist is not affected.  A friend will bring me the body of Christ, and I am very grateful for that.  In the meantime, I pray for our priests and for all Christians who have become enamored of the political circus instead of their faith.  I pray they return to a Christian focus instead of a political one.

God bless us all.
Copyright (c) 2015, Silver Rose Parnell
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