Malforming Consciences For Faithless Citizenship
By REY FLORES
September 27th, 2012, issue
With the exception of a few bishops and a few recent moments of courage, most U.S. bishops have shown a lack of courage in fighting the ongoing attacks against our Catholic faith by the U.S. government.
It is one thing for the mainstream media outlets to be carrying buckets of tainted water for our current president, but it’s an entirely different thing for the U.S. Catholic bishops to be leading the faithful down the wrong path.
In a better place, our bishops would be flooding the streets with holy water. In a better place, our bishops would be ringing the bells of our church towers. In a better place, the sweet scent of holy incense would fill the air, but instead the stench of liberalism permeates our own churches.
While our current U.S. president has visibly demonstrated his hostility against Catholics, here we have the USCCB once again delivering its canned and predictable voters guide now known as the laughableForming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
The bishops’ guide has a section titled “Applying Catholic Teaching to Major Issues: A Summary of Policy Positions of the UnitedStates Conference of Catholic Bishops,” and, of course, starts off with the infamous topic of “Social Justice.”
There’s not much talk about the root causes of our moral decline here, but there’s enough liberation theology ideals here to make any Catholic who enjoys guitar Masses happy. The bishops solemnly tell us, “Economic decisions and institutions should be accessed according to whether they protect or undermine the dignity of the human person. Social and economic policies should foster the creation of jobs for all who can work with decent working conditions and just wages.”
I believe most of us agree that people should be treated with dignity in all cases. At the workplace, in schools, at the circus, at the local Walmart, wherever. How about the dignity of each of the nearly60 million babies that have been aborted since Roe v. Wade in 1973? These babies never had a shot at the human dignity the bishops are crying about constantly. These babies have had their human dignity ripped apart in pieces.
The bishops want us to put an end to the “barriers to equal pay and employment for women and those facing unjust discrimination. Catholic social teaching supports the right of workers to choose whether to organize, join a union, and bargain collectively, and to exercise these rights without reprisal.” Doesn’t this sound a lot like union propaganda?
The bishops add that Catholic social teaching also affirms that “workers, owners, employers, and unions should work together to create decent jobs, build a more just economy, and advance the common good.” There they go again, with their “ common good.” But just what is so “ commonly good” about the destruction of human life at a clip of well over 3,000 abortions a day!
As a labor and community organizer in Chicago, I became very frustrated with other institutions, the unions and the false prophets and organizers, I worked alongside. Initially, I had it in my head that these people really cared and wanted to make a difference. I know I did, because I had grown up being taught about some of these so- called social disparities, but ultimately I knew that the only way to improve my lot in life was for me to take responsibility for myself.
Why is it that our dear bishops continue to sing the praises of dependency on government? Why is it that many of the USCCB’s social justice programs and the secular organizations they network with enable, rather than truly empower, people? I worked in a couple of community organizations, some funded by the bishops, that talked a lot about “empowering” the poor, but instead the goal was to teach people how to apply for food stamps, rental assistance, and daycare services.
I didn’t last long at these organizations because if I brought up the idea that we should instead be helping these people to get jobs, I was told that I would be jeopardizing the organizations’ grants and other funding opportunities. In essence, these organizations were perpetuating poverty, practicing the racism of low expectations, and denying people that “human dignity” that they spoke about so much.
Where is the justice in all of this? There was absolutely no justice to be had anywhere, but despair and dependency were in abundance and we got to keep ourjobs. It never made any sense to me how these organizations were so determined to help these poor families get day care for the children while the moms were at home, anyway.
The welfare “ safety nets” that these community organizations continue to build are nothing other than a web of lies that destroys initiative and the human spirit. Those lies are the number- one destroyer of human dignity.
To cut the bishops a little break, I will say that at least they address traditional marriage and family in an eloquent way: “ The family based on marriage between a man and a woman is the first and fundamental unit of society and is a sanctuary for the creation and nurturing of children. It should be defended and strengthened, not redefined or undermined by permitting same- sex unions or other distortions of marriage. Respect for the family should be reflected in every policy and program. It is important to uphold parents’ rights and responsibilities to care for their children, including the right to choose their children’s education.”
OK, they had me cheering them on at first, but then they go back to the talk about “ policy and programs” and this stuff about “ the right to choose” their children’s education. Notice how they use language that seems innocuous at first, but that nevertheless, in my opinion, runs the risk of reinforcing messages in people’s minds. “ Right to choose,” indeed.
Speaking of language and messages, the USCCB voters guide tells us: “ How we organize our society — in economics and politics, in law and policy — directly affects the common good and the capacity of individuals to develop their full potential. Every person and association has a right and a duty to participate actively inshaping society and to promote the well- being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”
They go on to say: “ The principle of subsidiarity reminds us that larger institutions in society should not overwhelm or interfere with smaller or local institutions,” etc., etc.
In those last two messages, we read “ organize,” “ common good,” “ association,” and “ right to.” I don’t mean to nitpick, but after reading the 13,688 words here, I at some points thought the bishops had just read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals!
I could go on and on reading, analyzing and nitpicking this document over and over again, but the reality of it all is this. If the bishops cared so much for the environment and “ God’s creation,” I ask just this: Why in God’s creation would you kill so many trees by printing so many copies of this, year after year?
True justice only comes from those words God has written on our hearts as Catholics. We know this because if you are reading this, your mother chose life as God intended it. We have been given the greatest gift by God Himself. He has also given us the true human dignity that only comes from His graces and the sacraments of His one Holy Roman Catholic Church.
The onlyvoters guides we’ll ever need as Catholics are our Bible, our rosary, the Holy Mass, eucharistic adoration, constant prayer, and the Holy Spirit.
God be with us all this election season!