I don’t really like to say this, but, “I told you so.”
About six months ago, I was invited to write an opinion piece for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about what seemed to be an emergence of anti-Catholic prejudice. At the time, statements made by Donald Trump and his campaign, in reaction to Pope Francis’ comments about building walls, smacked of “nativism” and a demeaning of the Catholic faith.
At that time, I took the opportunity to quote noted historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. who called anti-Catholicism the deepest held bias in the history of the American people.
Many felt that any reaction to the statements made by political candidates would be an overreaction to the contentious childish statements reflected in a political climate that has presented the worst in our culture.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” That might be true, but if it’s the thinking of those who will lead a country then perhaps there is more to the words of leaders or their organization that will cause hurt in the policies that might be enacted.
Anti-Catholic prejudice is not the position of one side over the other but apparently is an equal opportunity prejudice which we now know is shared by the other campaign as well.
However, no one was beating down my door six months later to react to the disclosed emails. Recent revelations presented by “WikiLeaks” indicate how high-ranking members of the Clinton campaign view the Catholic Church. These are close advisors who think that Catholics are unthinking and backward.
Advisory members of the campaign courted and supported groups that seek to bring about “a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship,” as Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, wrote to John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign. The subtlety is that Catholic leadership is out of touch and keeping its flock back from embracing this new social reconstruction.
They call for a Christian democracy where decisions are made in an environment which respects all individualistic thinking. Some of the campaign leadership dismissed the revelations by stating they were Catholic. But they did not state if they were committed Catholics or just Catholics in name only, picking and choosing what they decided to accept rather than what the church teaches.
Archbishops and bishops do read. In his blog, “First Things,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia shared a comment by a nationally respected non-Catholic attorney who told him, “I was deeply offended by the emails, which are some of the worst bigotry by a political machine I have seen. A church has an absolute right to protect itself when under attack as a faith and a church by civil political forces. That certainly applies here… These bigots are actively strategizing how to shape Catholicism not to be Catholic or consistent with Jesus’ teachings but to be the religion they want. They are at the very core, trying to turn religion to their secular view of right and wrong consistent with their politics.”
Yes, Catholics are a dangerous group in need of drastic suppression and radical change. And for some in the political arena, it seems to take precedence over the national debt which is over 19.4 trillion dollars and will affect our children’s children, or terrorist groups in the United States and around the world who are indiscriminately beheading individuals, or jobs for the American public that has been suffering in the worst economic recovery in the United States since the Great Depression.
But it is Catholics that demand attention, labeled as dangerous, because they are pro-life and want to stem the destruction of the millions of babies lost to the Roe vs. Wade decision. They promote traditional marriage and families, which is embedded in the teachings of the Scripture and the church ensuring the stability of the basic unit of our society.
They support religious freedom as guaranteed by the Founding Fathers in the United States Constitution. They demand respect for life from womb to tomb,, upholding the dignity of the person until their natural death.
They champion the rights of parents to be the first educators of their children, a right which cannot be abrogated. Yes, we Catholics are a dangerous group — dangerous to those who seek social reconstruction at the expense of personal dignity and religious freedom.
The Founding Fathers in their wisdom stated in Article Three of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”
There is a subtle religion being established by the political forces in this country and that is the religion of “secularism.” It critiques organized religion by assessing whether or not the church conforms to its social progressive thought. Its high priests and prophets are the theorists that put forth what they believe — and I emphasize “what they believe” — to be right for the society.
There is no objective truth as their standard of measurement. There is no higher source or power for which they are responsible. It feeds itself on a steady diet of power.
One might think that I am pessimistic, but I am not. Why? Because simply speaking, I am a believer. Jesus is Our Savior. He established his church to lead us to our salvation. He warned us that his message would be rejected, but we must remain faithful to the end.
So I am not “naïve” as the archbishop; I want us to have our eyes wide open in order to know what we must confront. We must realize that Jesus won the war and we are just involved in battles with evil forces.
Consider yourself blessed to be able to fight for Christ and his church: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.”