Wednesday 7 November 2012

The Church, the US Election and Secularism

Following Barak Obama's re-election early this morning (Nov, 7th), it might be opportune to recall some of the words from a 2012 pastoral letter by American Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois. Bishop Jenky has been attacked in the mass media for his strong stance in the defence of the Church and Her moral teaching. The election (any election) should be viewed from the Church's perspective, which is Christ's perspective. Interesting as they are, the various arguments about economics and foreign policy are a mere side show. The key issues are, and always will be spiritual ones. Yes, economic policy is secondarily spiritual as the ability to live a decent life will impact upon moral choices a man makes; but, direct spiritual issues take  primary consideration: the first being the right of the Church to teach and preach the Gospel without hinderance. The US bishops have spoken authoritatively on this issue and the present US Administration comes up a grave failure. Specifically, Catholics this morning may be disillusioned that the re-elected President will continue to push for his HHS mandate, contrary to the wishes of the Catholic Church. The US regime's proposals bode for an aggressive secularism that Bishop Jenky confronts in his pastoral letter. The bishop concludes in the following manner:

Today, however, loyal believers are called upon not only to defend the Faith but even to defend the very concept of faith in the face of aggressive secularism and increasingly intolerant atheism. It now seems to be the unbelievers who apparently hope to initiate some new kind of inquisition designed to entirely exclude God from the public forum. In the face of growing hostility, practicing Catholics need to recognize that the choices we make and the witness we either offer or withhold will have both temporal and eternal consequences for each one of us. Christ the Lord has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church he founded on the rock of Peter’s faith (Matthew 16:1), but he also warned that at the end of time he will deny those who deny him (cf. Matthew 10:33). Catholicism is filled with enormous spiritual richness, a cohesive intellectual tradition, and a remarkable commitment to charity and service. It is the Faith for which we should be ready and willing to give our hearts and even to offer up our lives. It is also the Faith by which we all certainly will be judged before the throne of Almighty God.

The entire pastoral letter can be downloaded here
The bishop's blog may be read here, including his comments on religious freedom. 

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