I’m with Him!

In case you’ve been wondering about my absence recently, I’ve been traveling A LOT this summer.   God’s just had me incredibly busy.  Of course, every time I wrap up a school year, I think “Vacation!”, but I might have finally realized after almost 20 years that I’m busier in the summer, so I’m looking forward to my next homeschool stay-cation.

Anyway, I’m trying to jump back into the blog scene.  Many things – wonderful and tragic – have occurred since my writing slowed down.  That said, there’s one thing looming like a big black cloud, and that’s the election.

I’ve spent a great deal of my summer talking to the “famous” people of the Catholic and pro-life world, and the conversation always turns to “Who are you voting for?”  It’s a conversation I’ve come to dread.  I usually get a few words out before I’m told, “You’re judging Trump’s soul!”, “You’re not thinking about the babies!”, “You’re just being prideful!”, “You’re not thinking about the Supreme Court!”, “You’re voting for Hillary!” (I would never advocate that, so don’t break out in hives!), etc.  The proverbial kitchen sink has been thrown at me without one thought that I might just have a thought or two of my own.  I mean, seriously, I’m not thinking about the Supreme Court and I’m not pro-life?  Saving babies and their mothers has been in my brain, just about non-stop, since I was sixteen.  Save it.  I’m in agony here.  “What else are we going to do?!” doesn’t cut it with me.  It’s far more complex.

I felt a sigh of relief when this came across my desk: http://catholicphilly.com/2016/08/think-tank/archbishop-chaput-column/some-personal-thoughts-on-the-months-ahead/.  Rather than casting aspersions on some really great, faithful people, I think this is the way to handle it.  In short, shut up and pray like crazy – every last one of us!  I think the good archbishop realized that the Christian faithful are tearing each other apart over this.  Quite frankly, it’s been rather sickening to see.  Vigorous debates are good!  Keep having them.  Saying good Christian souls of good-will are (crazy, etc., fill in the blank) for voting for whomever is ridiculous and quite pompous, and those engaging in this tactic might need to schedule some plank removing time.

Because links sometimes aren’t followed, let’s break this one down.

Archbishop Chaput’s column

Some personal thoughts on the months ahead

Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

 

Posted August 12, 2016

My column this week is a collection of personal comments.  Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop.

Understood!  That’s pretty much a caveat for the ACLU and the rest of the liberals who are ready to pounce at the slightest.

Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year.  But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics – a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party — both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along.  And meanwhile, both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.

It is possible for someone to say that they are not sure who they will vote for, or even if they will vote, without saying that these two loons are peachy and we’re fine with them being in office.  Don’t believe me?  Read on.

This is depressing and liberating at the same time.  Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become.  Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps.  I’ve been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season.  Both major candidates are – what’s the right word? so problematic – that neither is clearly better than the other.

And this is where I think “Finally!  Somebody gets me who’s not related to me!”  They are BOTH hugely problematic.  Please “Catholic 4 Trump”, stop candy coating him for a win.  Trump is highly problematic.  I don’t care if you pray, fast, think and vote for him anyway, but we have to admit that.  Defending him on his over the top ideas is just downright shilling for him.  If you feel you need to vote for him to stem evil, to save SCOTUS, etc., I can see that argument.  Saying he’s great?  Not so much.  Hillary?  Well, that goes without saying.  Almost all if not all of her policies are plain evil.

As Forbes magazine pointed out some months ago, the Republican candidate is worth roughly $4.5 billion.  The Democratic candidate is worth roughly $45 million.  Compare that with the average American household, which is worth about $144,000.  The median U.S. income is about $56,000.  Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system where most Americans live, work and raise families.  Nonetheless, we’re asked to trust them.

That’s a big ask.  One candidate — in the view of a lot of people — is an eccentric businessman of defective ethics whose bombast and buffoonery make him inconceivable as president.  And the other – in the view of a lot of people – should be under criminal indictment.  The fact that she’s not – again, in the view of a lot of people — proves Orwell’s Animal Farm principle that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

I could have added a little more, but I can live with this, since he left us a nice “Animal Farm” quote. (Please parents, have your kids read.)

So what are we to do this election cycle as Catholic voters?  Note that by “Catholic,” I mean people who take their faith seriously; people who actually believe what the Catholic faith holds to be true; people who place it first in their loyalty, thoughts and actions; people who submit their lives to Jesus Christ, to Scripture and to the guidance of the community of belief we know as the Church.

Anyone else who claims the Catholic label is simply fooling himself or herself — and even more importantly, misleading others

Cough! *Pelosi, Biden, Kaine* Cough!

The American bishops offer valuable counsel in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (available from the USCCB), and this year especially, they ask us to pray before we vote. This is hardly new “news.” Prayer is always important. In a year when each Catholic voter must choose between deeply flawed options, prayer is essential. And prayer involves more than mumbling a Hail Mary before we pull the voting booth lever for someone we see as the lesser of two evils. Prayer is a conversation, an engagement of the soul with God.  It involves listening for God’s voice and educating our consciences. (emphasis mine)

 

So, dear friends who’ve told me I’m doing everything from voting for Hillary to forgetting about the babies killed by abortion, do you honestly think that I’m doing this because I haven’t arrived at the same conclusion you have? This does go both ways my friends.  Do you really believe that people voting for Trump are selling their souls?  If you do, don’t you think that maybe they’ve prayed, fasted and given a lot of thought to their position?  Of course, I will say I’ve heard far more of the former than the latter, but I recognize that it does happen with people not voting for Trump..

It’s absurd – in fact, it’s blasphemous – to assume that God prefers any political party in any election year.  But God, by his nature, is always concerned with good and evil and the choices we make between the two.  For Catholics, no political or social issue stands in isolation.  But neither are all pressing issues equal in foundational importance or gravity.  The right to life undergirds all other rights and all genuine social progress.  It cannot be set aside or contextualized in the name of other “rights” or priorities without prostituting the whole idea of human dignity.

Well, that was a not-so-subtle shout out to Cupich, McElroy, and the rest of the seamless garment crowd.  I’m sure there are a whole lot of Catholics in their dioceses wishing Chaput was their archbishop.

God created us with good brains.  It follows that he will hold us accountable to think deeply and clearly, rightly ordering the factors that guide us, before we act politically.  And yet modern American life, from its pervasive social media that too often resemble a mobocracy, to the relentless catechesis of consumption on our TVs, seems designed to do the opposite.  It seems bent on turning us into opinionated and distracted cattle unable to gain mastery over our own appetites and thoughts.  Thinking and praying require silence, and the only way we can get silence is by deciding to step back and unplug.

Whether or not your final decision matches mine, I trust that faithful Catholics everywhere are attempting to do this in such a tumultuous year.  I also trust that many will do the 54 Day Novena which starts TODAY!  https://www.novenaforournation.com/ If you’re worried about this election at all, you will do this!

This year, a lot of good people will skip voting for president but vote for the “down ticket” names on their party’s ballot; or vote for a third party presidential candidate; or not vote at all; or find some mysterious calculus that will allow them to vote for one or the other of the major candidates.  I don’t yet know which course I’ll personally choose.  It’s a matter properly reserved for every citizen’s informed conscience.

Wait!  That’s just crazy talk!  If you’re voting for someone other than the person I’m voting for or not voting for, etc., you can’t possibly be good!  That was sarcastic in part, but I’ve actually been told that, people!  Can we go over my favorite part of that, one ore time, and kind of where I am at this moment?

or find some mysterious calculus that will allow them to vote for one or the other of the major candidates.

I still haven’t found that calculus, and it looks like I’m in good company.  Are my well meaning friends now going to tell the good archbishop that he’s voting for ‘Killary?’

But I do know a few of the things I’ll be reading between now and November.  The list is not exclusive or comprehensive.  But this year these particular titles seem especially urgent:

Living the Gospel of Life. This 1998 pastoral letter of the U.S. bishops remains the best brief guide to American Catholic political reflection yet produced.

Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society by R.R. Reno (Regnery) and It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies by Mary Eberstadt (HarperCollins). Both of these books are new, important, a key to understanding the current moment in our national life, and deeply engaging.  They need to be discussed and shared widely.

And finally two essays by the late, great Czech writer, Václav Havel, “Politics and Conscience” and “The Power of the Powerless.” Both are collected in Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990 (Vintage Books).  Havel was not (to my knowledge) a religious believer, and he wrote as a dissident during an era of Soviet Bloc repression.  But his commitment to what he called “living in the truth,” and his understanding and critique of the weaknesses in Western societies like our own – not just Marxist ones – were remarkable.  They remain relevant right now, today.

It looks like I’ve got some more reading on my plate!  How about you?

The next few months will determine the next decade and more of our nation’s life.  We need to be awake, we need to clear our heads of media noise, and we need to think quietly and carefully before we vote.  None of us can afford to live the coming weeks on autopilot.

Right!  Autopilot bad.  This is the one thing I don’t think I’ll ever understand.  We, as a nation, took the carrot away from Trump to behave in a manner fitting of, well, almost any position we hold dear.  We said, “Hey!  We’ve got no choice! We’re voting for you!” instead of “We still have a choice to ditch you at any time because we’re not on autopilot and we can course correct if needed!  You better earn our vote!”  It’s not too late.  We can still do that.” We don’t have to be living examples of “Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” I think some of the many “thinkers” already came to that conclusion or were there in the first place.  They need to figure out a way to put Trump on notice and hold his feet to the fire.

In conclusion, I respect most of you who read this blog, whether or not you’re voting for the person I’m voting for come election day.  Save the rhetoric and realize that people can pray, fast, search for answers and come to a totally different conclusion than you and still be a faithful Catholic trying their best to follow God’s will.  Regardless of who ends up as president, there’s A LOT of work we all need to do to clean up this country, and it’s much easier to do if we haven’t taken a sword to each other over this election.  We know who we can’t vote for, and now we need to figure out who God wants us – each, individually – to vote for.  “We don’t have a choice” is not a good reason to vote for someone.  We always have a choice.

 

 

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26 thoughts on “I’m with Him!

    1. It would be useful to see when taking the quiz which candidate lines up more with one’s views and which one lines up less, and secondly, with whatever one perceives is the Church’s position. For example, a person’s personal views may line up with hillary’s, which in many respects are contrary to Church teaching. Do you go with conscience or Church teaching? It is hard to obey and easy to rationalize disobedience.

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  1. Based on prayer and informed Catholic conscience, above all things I vote for life at all stages of life. From the yet to emerge lives of innocent babies forming in the womb to the sick and elderly who need our special help. I vote for candidates that support my position. I do not vote for candidates that do not support my position. Secondly, I do not vote for candidates that promote and perpetuate systemic racism and anti-Catholicism in health and education, and any that wish to chip away at our freedoms guaranteed in the First and Second Amendments. Thirdly, I do not vote for any candidates that promote balkanizing our country into divisive sub-cultures that hate each other and cannot speak to each other. Finally, I do not believe in a seamless garment theory that excuses baby-killing because climate control and other social causes are so much more important, especially when population control advocates believe that over-population is the root cause of all our problems. Care to guess who I think fits the bill?

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        1. It is unclear to me what you actually mean. So what if you’ve heard my arguments before? Are my arguments contrary to Faith and morals and social teaching? Are you asking me to pray so that I will have better discernment of what issues are most important to Catholics, or are you asking me to pray that the candidates will have a change of heart if they hold views contrary to Faith and morals? And if they do not change, exactly what do you think are the “deal-breakers” for Catholics? Do you believe that an ill-formed conscience is sufficient justification to ignore Church teaching on faith and morals on some notions of balance and “nicety”? The Sunday readings were very clear and perhaps troubling for many on the notions of division and truth. Are Catholic made to be nice to all people or made to follow the truth no matter where it leads?

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      1. If you will, my “seamless garment” is the affirmation of life, which mean no baby-killing, no desertion of parents and grandparents as they get sick and elderly and unable to do normal things, no euthanasia, no starvation of patients in comas, no ESCR and IVF, etc. No extorting African countries in need of humanitarian aid in exchange for adopting population control agendas. No ignoring the Christian genocide in Muslim countries. No arms build-up and fermenting tribal war in the ME and Africa. Not in any way the leftist SG adopted by liberal catholics which ranks different kinds of life as more worthy than others based on who-knows-what twisted sense of morality. I like to think its materialism over sacrifice. The enactment of all the aforementioned is the result. And finally, no claiming that you are Catholic regardless of baptism if you continuously and knowingly and materially act in ways contrary to Faith and morals. Goes for all pro-abort catholic politicians, who will never get my vote in life. BTW, all those references to the Catholic bishops’ voting guides, which have been around for years—what good did they do over the last several elections won by pro aborts democrats with HALF the Catholic vote? So much for accepting the guidance of the Holy Spirit in those choices!

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  2. I thoroughly understand what a problematic candidate Trump is. The problem is that in the winner take all, electoral system that exists in the United States skipping the top of the ticket, voting for third party candidates, or not voting at all, actually comes down to a vote against a candidate. In this particular case a candidate which will move the U.S. farther from being a Christian country.
    This is the same thing that was said about the problematic candidacies of McCain and Romney and what has been the result? The supreme court stands on a knife edge. A Democratic win will result in a liberal progressive court for another generation. Law and order is on the verge of collapse. Hyperbole? Take a look at Milwaukee, Dallas, St, Paul and a dozen other cities. Arrests are down because in many places police are “playing it safe” rather than enforcing the law. Same-sex marriage is now legal in all U.S. states. The United States has never been farther from being a Christian nation than it is now. Moreover Christians are very close to actually being in a position to lose their jobs and perhaps even their freedom just for behaving morally. Hyperbole again? Ask the woman who lost her business because she wouldn’t cater a SS wedding.
    Will electing Trump fix that? Probably not. But…electing Clinton will almost certainly make it worse.
    So sit it out. Vote for the Aardvark Party candidate or tell yourself that Trump is just so much worse a person than Clinton. But get ready for the consequences if things keep going this direction.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s like nobody bothered to read! Yeah, AB Chaput nor I have ever thought of any of this. Look, I could throw out a million and one arguments on why I am where I am today. Likely not going to do any good which is why I didn’t bother. Novena starts today! Best use of the next 54 days. God still fits into the equation.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with you 100% Terry. Hillary will absolutely finish what Barack Obama started, and our freedoms will be pretty much completely annihilated, not to speak of enforcing the payment by ALL AMERICANS for abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy. Hillary is on tape for saying back a few years ago, that ‘we need to change the minds of Church’s on abortion and same sex marriage.’ Anyone want to take bets that she won’t wield her heavy hand on that?? A ‘non vote’ or a vote for a third party candidate, no matter how much in line with Catholic values is a vote for Hillary Clinton. It would be wonderful if that WERE NOT the case, but reality is reality. That all said, I’m voting for Trump and so is my spouse. Do either one of of ‘like him’? HECK NO!!!!! Do either one of us think he will be an ‘ideal President’? HARDLY! Are we going to hold our noses upon entering the voting booth? ABSOLUTELY WITH HOWEVER MANY CLOTHES PINS IT TAKES TO PLUG THE SMELL, but………..a vote in any other direction is CERTAIN DEATH for our Country that will absolutely throw the vote to Hillary, the most IMMORAL CANDIDATE ON THE BALLOT. These 3rd party candidates absolutely KNOW they will not make it to the White House. They have only one goal in mind, and that is to get more name recognition for future appointments and elections, and also some of them are in it to throw the election one way or the other. Yes, the Lord God is able to perform some sort of miracle in this election, but counting on that would be presumptive on my part. As for me, I would rather face the Lord God and tell him I did the best I could under the circumstances. By using the reason that was instilled by Him, it was the only conclusion I could come to that would be the lesser of evils. Voting any other way would be absolutely in my reasoning, IMMORAL.

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      1. Care to back up last line with Church teaching?

        These arguments are all quite trite – especially the “If you don’t vote for Donald you are voting for Hillary!” which is factually inaccurate. The vote you cast or don’t cast is the vote you cast or don’t case. The only people responsible for the debacle we are in is the people who nominated Trump in the first place. They knew he would be problematic, they knew he would have a hard time convincing some to vote for him, they knew they would have a hard time convincing some he was anymore moral than Hillary but they did it anyway. No matter how I end up voting (and it will not be for Hillary or Johnson), my conscience will be clear.

        This is why I encourage you to pray the 54 day novena and encouragement which gets completely lost when people are blinded by the fact that some are not on the Trump bandwagon yet. Deal. Your best hope is to pray people make the right decision. That’s what I’m doing and that includes myself. It’s a crap shoot at best with these idiots. I can tell you this, saying people are committing an immoral act isn’t going to help your cause.

        Now, I have some friends who were #nevertrump-ers who are now voting for him. Are they suddenly zombies? Of course not. They actually put forth some compelling arguments and I’m continuing to pray about them. If anyone is going to sway people like me and AB Chaput, it’s going to be them not the people who are telling me “He’s not Hillary!” He’s not Hillary is no reason to vote for anyone. Anyone else could be as equally evil and I have several reason I’m not convinced Trump is not. So, you can keep spewing our rhetoric that I’ve heard no less than 100 times or you can pray that I make the right decision as I am praying we all are!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. One Mad Mom, you said, “So, you can keep spewing our rhetoric that I’ve heard no less than 100 times or you can pray that I make the right decision as I am praying we all are”! So you know, if I vote, I’m going to vote for Trump. I will vote for him, because, I’m USING him. I’m a one issue voter. I’m 65 and recovering from a vicious cancer. Before I die, I want to see a Supreme Court that might vote with, at least, the Natural Law in mind. THEN, Catholics will really need to pray! If the court would ever overturn abortion, etc. then we will find out who is really Catholic. MOST Catholics would never have the guts to post what you posted here, SO, hats off to you! The overwhelming majority of Catholics don’t give a rats ass about the Supreme Court. Jesus Christ is allowing ALL of this to happen. He is the one who will bring about the end. America needs Divine intervention, that’s our only hope. Stay home if you want to.

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    1. We have a winner! We had Reagan and we had Bush 1 & 2 who all looked a whole lot better than The Donald and we still got some horrible judges. Pray! Pray and pray some more! It’s desperately needed no matter who we get!

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      1. I don’t mean any disrespect, I LOVE Jesus Christ and HIS Church. The same thing can be said about our Popes. We have had and still have some really, dare I say, horrible Bishops.
        1 John 5:16
        If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray.

        I throw up a prayer once in a while for our president. BUT, I have NO HOPE in them. “I think” they are all living in terrible deadly sin.

        Trump put out a list of potential Supreme Court nominees, I’ve heard of no one, “THAT I TRUST” who has a problem with the list.

        Trust me MM I don’t have a problem with you position.

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        1. Thanks, John. Nor do I have a problem with yours. My only point is that nobody is moving the needle by casting aspersions. Most Trump supporters and non-supporters are people of faith and goodwill and none will support Clinton in any fashion. Moving the needle to where it needs to go is only going to come from intense prayer and sacrifice at this point.

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    1. And this is one of the arguments I find more compelling than most! I also like my friend’s argument that he’s voting for the evil he can most easily beat. That’s even more compelling. Both are far more sensible than “Trump is not Hillary!” and should be weighed.

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  4. The issues line up pretty clearly, as complex as they are. Noting that Republicans have been in office a great deal since Roe v. Wade and not much has changed suggests an certain apathy and desire to just drop or reinterpret the life issue (“seamlessly”). Prayer is always good but politics, our ability to act politically, is a separate thing. Since there is a lot of allusion to fascism by liberals today it might be helpful to think that there were certainly many good Catholics praying novenas on the resolution of their situation the entire two decades of the slow rise of the most anti-life regime of our day and in the end they were never able to do anything about it. Wrath of God? I don’t know. It sure had a big cost, though, measured in lives.

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  5. Yeah, well I recently commented on another blog that I’d be voting for the Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle because The Donald and Hillary are equally foul and Trump doesn’t fool me.

    Said the owner of this blog in response:

    “You are not merely “throwing your vote away”.
    You are making the work of the devil in an orgy of selfishness, because your vanity comes before the countless abortions, the assault on Christian morality, all the evil Hillary and his own are preparing for the entire West.
    You are a willing agent of all the evil to combat which this blog exists in the first place. The ones like you – the sanctimonious nincompoops preparing the end of the Christian world in order not to touch the vest they believe so white – are the worst enemy.
    I will wait for your answer before I annihilate you.
    And then you will be banned, because the likes of you shouldn’t dare to scrounge on my effort.
    M”

    Pathetic.

    Liked by 1 person

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