Can successful politicians still be good Catholics?
However much Marty Walsh (Mayor of Boston,USA) might insist he can keep the two things (his personal Catholic beliefs, and his decisions as mayor) separate, the fact is immoral decisions that clash with one’s Catholic Faith for fear of harsh criticism or even losing one’s position are never legitimate. Walsh claims:
“I’ve had that tension a couple times in my time as a legislator and now as mayor. But again, my relationship with my Church is my spiritual connection with my God. And I think that’s important to keep up front. Not saying the Church is right or wrong, or I’m right or wrong, or people are right or wrong, it’s just that I’m elected to represent people of all different faiths and people of no faith, so I have to keep that into consideration.”
So could this mean that agreeing to legalised abortion, same-sex ‘marriage’, the demands of those imposing a ‘gender ideology’ in schools, businesses, etc., and a long growing list of anti-Christian laws is permissible? Never. Under no circumstances. It is hypocrisy to think you can live your religious life separately from your public life. Catholics engaged in politics are responsible for being the first guarantors of the dignity of life from conception to natural death. Nor may they pretend that sodomitical unions can ever be called ‘marriage’. Such things are pure anathema. As Cardinal Peter Turkson is quoted as saying in the video, it is an “artificial” separation to try to succeed politically at the expense of denying your personal religious beliefs.
However, there are some politicians who will not accept compromises and thus bow to the world. The profound Catholic beliefs and integrity of Spanish Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, 55, would not allow him to continue in politics once the Cabinet failed to greenlight the abortion reform by the deadline he himself had set.
“His announcement [to resign] came just four hours after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy confirmed that the legislation would be shelved, given that it had not found sufficient consensus to be moved ahead. The highly controversial bill created an internal rift in the conservative PP and also attracted significant criticism from the opposition…”
“For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
Catholic politicians, and all public figures with power and influence over large numbers of people, are betraying God’s Divine Law when they flout it to “gain the whole world”. It is understandable that certain un-Christian laws already in place have to be confronted prudently, but if these were to be ignored or condoned, this would be unacceptable from those with the power to abrogate them. When the flagrant breaking of God’s commandments in public speeches and decision-making does not deter Catholic politicians to continue with their Catholic practices in private (like receiving Holy Communion), this may also cause grave scandal.
Bishops and priests, who while not being ‘politicians’, have nonetheless many of the same duties. They should preach the Truth to their flocks always, never denying nor minimising one iota of the Church’s magisterial teaching “for fear of the wolves“. The spineless banalities that we have heard from some of our shepherds in recent times when major decisions were being put to the vote, would surely make the angels weep. Is it any wonder than evil has triumphed in countries that were once strong beacons of Catholic Christian values, when those ‘in charge’ have cowardly refused to speak out loud and clear as knights for Christ and in defense of the teachings of His Church?
“No one is permitted to be idle and lazy while so many evils and dangers impend, and while those who are on the other side are working so hard to destroy the very basis of Catholic religion.”
If these words were apropos in the times of Ven. Pope Pius XII, how much more so are they today when we are witnessing betrayal within and violent attacks without the Holy Catholic Church on a scale seldom seen before. Yet these words from our Pastor Angelicus are directed at each one of us too. We each have a duty to be coherent in our own lives to that which we believe, ‘announcing’ it in such a way that our witness to Our Blessed Lord and His Bride, the Church, illuminates all those who cross our paths. Remember, it was often the most hidden of saints that have contributed the most to the growth of the Church, for the ways of the Lord are inscrutable.
Finally, some timely words of wisdom from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:
“We are at the end of a tradition and a civilisation which believed we could preserve Christianity without Christ, religion without a creed, meditation without sacrifice, family life without moral responsibility, sex without purity, and economics without ethics. We have completed our experiment of living without God and have proven the fallacy of a system of education which calls itself progressive because it finds new excuses for sins.
Our so-called progressiveness, did we but realise it, is like unto the progressive putrefaction of a corpse. The soul is gone, and what we call change is only decay. How stop it except by reversing the process by which we drove God out of the world, namely by relighting the lamp of faith in the souls of men? […] [We must not] abandon creeds, and water down the milk of religion to a point where it would no longer nourish. The Catholic Church for one would never do that, because since its truths are God-made they cannot be man-unmade. We are trustees not creators of faith…To all, may there come the full-visioned understanding of how souls are won to truth by the Cross.”
But again, my relationship with my Church is my spiritual connection with my God. And I think that’s important to keep up front. Not saying the Church is right or wrong, or I’m right or wrong, or people are right or wrong…
This idea that one’s relationship with the Church can be reduced to some vague ‘spiritual connection’ with God, removed from any lived experience of obeying the Church’s teachings or even recognising her authority to teach and make claims on us, is bizarre. I can’t decide whether, in the main, this stems more from poor catechesis or willful embracing of the ‘spirit of the age’.
Also, how can he, as a ‘Catholic’ make the statement that he cannot possibly say that the Church is right or wrong, and how, as a mayor, can he claim not to be able to say that he (or others) is right or wrong – presumably people elected him precisely to make decisions based on the rightness or wrongness of certain ways of behaving, both individually and corporately, and to believe himself right in doing so!
Absolutely, Michael, I agree with you 100%.
If someone would have told me he had said those very relativistic, wishy-washy words, I would have wondered whether they were perhaps exaggerating somewhat. But no, there they are on video, from the lion’s mouth, so to speak!
This picking and choosing of only the ‘bits’ of Catholic Doctrine that suit is one of the greatest difficulties we are facing in the Church these days. How cunningly and successfully Satan has duped millions of souls! So many have become Laodicean Catholics (i.e. neither hot nor cold), having firmly embraced “the spirit of the age”, just as you say. 😦
The way to get elected is to tell people what they want to hear, not necessarily what’s true. If they don’t want to hear Catholicism, or Socialism, Liberalism, or any other “ism,” a politician will not get elected by offering them those.
Best to be a vague as possible on all matters. Keep as many options open as feasible.
…But we all knew that, anyway.
It is one thing to read these words in the comfort of our homes, etc. But we MUST do more! How many are standing up for life in their local 40 Days for Life for example? It is time to stand up and be counted…
Being mayor of Boston doesn’t give one any power to ban abortions, contraception, same-sex marriage or most other things important to serious Christians, except perhaps Sunday shopping. I could happily stand for mayor (if I actually liked people enough to press flesh with them) without fear of compromising my Catholic beliefs. Because of my stand on Sunday shopping, though, I would probably never be elected
No, I’m sure you are right, JH. All such issues would already be written into the law and easily available before the mayor was elected to govern the city. However, it would be a pretty good platform from which to reach the ears of the local citizens to pronounce on the whys and wherefores of the immorality on some of these ungodly ‘rights’, and give a basic Catholic counter-argument, dontcha think? 😉
Announcing and encouraging everyone to take part in the local “40 Days for Life” for instance, as Magdalene suggests, might be a good start in the right direction.
“….betraying God’s Divine Law when they flaunt it to “gain the whole world”. I agree with you completely, but ‘flout’, please, not ‘flaunt’ (a Ted Heathism).
Ah yes, thanks for the correction, leftfooter! Must have been an error engraved into my brain as a child… when old Ted Heath was Prime Minister. 🙂
Kathleen @ 10:10, September 23rd:
Yes, I know – if I hadn’t seen him say the words on camera, I might have suspected them to be a satire of cafeteria Catholicism amongst politicians, taking that position to its absurd conclusions in order to show the ridiculousness of their position.
That a public official, responsible for the maintenance of civic order (a position which involves making decisions and judgements, many of which will be moral in character) actually said those words – which essentially state that to serve a diverse population one must express no belief or hold to no principle whatsoever – is quite extraordinary.
This picking and choosing of only the ‘bits’ of Catholic Doctrine that suit is one of the greatest difficulties we are facing in the Church these days.
It absolutely is – it’s a framework which allows people to persist in the illusion that they are being faithful, even committed, members of the Church, whilst acting and speaking in ways that are fundamentally at odds with what she stands for. No doubt we’ve all heard/read stories about the priest who is ‘dismayed’ at having been (finally) disciplined for publicly supporting women’s ordination, or the layperson who ‘does not recognise the Church of my youth’ when someone points out their support for abortion is irreconcilable with Catholic teaching. These positions are as absurd as that of the mayor’s – we can only hope that even in a culture as mad as ours, people will gradually start to notice the staggering incoherence of such positions.
“…we can only hope that even in a culture as mad as ours, people will gradually start to notice the staggering incoherence of such positions.”
The “culture” is always mad. Always has been. It doesn’t seem any madder than usual to me, these days. What makes you think it is, Michael?
For example, I’d have thought it “staggeringly incoherent” To lock up homosexuals with a lot of men. But it used to happen. Quite recently.
Just because things are different these days, doesn’t mean they are worse.
…Or does it?
Praise for There Is No Truth (and even if there were we wouldn’t be able to tell): A New Assessment of Western Thought and Culture by Toad S. Pittle:
‘An extraordinary achievement – until now I believed the actual facts of history to undermine the claims of relativism, but this is dazzling book has completely changed my mind.’ (Chicago Sparrowhawk)
‘Defenders of truth claims and makers of moral comparisons between cultures and periods – watch out! This powerful new work, by rendering all cultures and periods of history indistinguishable, and by its strong disavowal of any claims to our being able to even assess differences between them, has set a new standard*. A real game changer.’ (Manchester Prendergast)
‘Fed up of being told that it’s ‘all going to the dogs’ or that the world is ‘going to hell in a handcart’? Worry not – a brave new piece of scholarship from the forthright young firebrand Toad S. Pittle is here to ease your frustrations with the news that all times and places are basically as bad and mad as one another! Historians and cultural critics all over the place better make themselves a strong drink – it seems you have just become redundant.’ (Sydney Ear Trumpet)
‘Finally, someone who has as little regard for truth as we do! A must-read.’ (The Guardian)
*The journalist responsible for this review later retracted his use of the word ‘standard’, realising that the book in question rendered all such claims to a position from which we can assess or even judge history to be meaningless.
Michael @ 11:38
This is hilariously funny! I have a stitch in my side from laughing so much. 😆
Mr. Toad S. Pittle, Esq. B.A. (failed) is going to have to get his thinking cap on to work out a way to get out of this one!
Or perhaps he won’t even try. He might even agree with your “praise” for his, er, ‘never-ending book of nonsense’, and the ludicrousness of his befuddled mind. 😉
Fie, Michael! You’ll make plain old Toad even more swollen headed than he normally is.
One caveat: Whilst, say, 16th Century London and 20th Century Moscow were both awful, they were also “distinguishable” one from the other, in their awfulness. I reckon.
And both much worse than now in the UK. So, let’s look on the bright side. Would you rather be living in London today, than in 1940?
Matter of taste, I suppose.
…And – fie also, to Kathleen.
Toad has no “thinking cap – why, he barely has a brain!
But as his function is simply to amuse, he feels a certain warm, fuzzy feeling at stitching you up with joy for once, instead of – as usual – impotent rage at the naughty way Catholics are treated by the loony media.
…So, that is good – no?.
@ Plain old Toad… (may I call you POT for short?)
Hmmm, I see I’m going to need to spell this out to get through to that muddled, befuddled brain of yours. POT! Sorry to disappoint you, but it was our friend Michael who gave me the joy of a great laugh, having been bored to tears 😥 by all the broken record nonsense since the Return of the Prodigal. (Worse than ever, to boot! Zzzzzzzzz ) Thought you might at lease have learnt a new trick or two whilst you were away, POT. 😉
But there is something even more amusing going on here – an invasion from the ‘homosexual lobby’*, modernists (or something of the sort), all very peeved by the article and comments above. So they throw ‘stones’ (give down-votes) and run away again quick in case they get caught!
[* Edit @ 16:50 on 9/25: I have been advised by a commenter called “Jude” that the original word I used for homosexuals was not “admissible”, so ! have decided to change it. Apologies for any offense my original word might have caused.]
Well, I know it was Michael who made you laugh, Kathleen – as he does us all with his shafts of wit. But I’m not saying the world isn’t just as insane these days as ever. Of course it is. It’s just a different form of insanity in the West fight now – more secular, less religious. Not doubt in time it will change back again in time.
The Middle East is, of course, just as religiously mad as it ever was. And that will never change.
There are two quotes on law that are pertinent to the subject of the original article. Human Law is subordinate to Divine Law and Natural Law.
“NATURAL law is that objective, eternal and immutable hierarchy of moral values, which are sources of obligation with regard to man because they have been so ordained by the Creator of nature. This law conforms to the essence of human nature which He has created. It is that aspect of the eternal law which directs the actions of men.’ Although this law is divine in the sense that it does not depend on human will, nevertheless, it is distinguishable from divine positive law, which has been communicated directly from God to men through revelation, for natural law is discoverable by reason alone. Natural law has been promulgated in the intellect. At least as regards its more fundamental principles it is knowable proximately through the conscience.”
(Source: The Natural Law, the Marriage bond, and Divorce by Brendan F. Brown, 1955, in Fordham Law Review)
And this one from St Thomas Aquinas who says that should someone who calls themself a Catholic actually claim that human law supercedes natural law, that person would become a “heretic”!
“Human law is law only by virtue of its accordance with right reason; and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence.”
Kathleen @ 12:19, September 24th:
Thank you – am glad it made you chuckle 🙂 Agreed about the strange number of ‘down’ votes on this thread – I’m not really sure what it is about the comments here that might have caused so much fuss (is this why there is no longer the option to give ‘up’ or ‘down’ votes on the comments; or is this just a glitch on my computer?)
Toad @ 14:06, September 24th (and elsewhere):
Do I have the option of not living in London in any period? If so I’ll take that. In all seriousness though, for me this is not as straightforward a choice as it clearly is for yourself – I’d have to weigh up the increase in material welfare that we enjoy now against the corresponding decline in a shared sense of propriety, common decency, responsibility, etc; on the flip side I’d have to weigh up the greater sense of community and moral clarity of the forties against the fact that we were at war and generally had a lot less. Overall though, given the fact that, if I were around in the forties, I wouldn’t know what I would be missing out on if I lived now, I think I’d probably go for the earlier date on balance.
It’s just a different form of insanity in the West fight now – more secular, less religious. Not doubt in time it will change back again in time.
I still don’t think you’ve grasped the unique nature of the present situation, which is that, rather than our being particularly more or less moral than other ages, this is the first age to not actually recognise any claims upon us whatsoever, and to disavow any sense (no matter how much our consciences might impress this upon us at times) that there is such a thing as objective moral duty.
Other ages, as you have pointed out many times, have plundered, massacred, lied, polluted and denied the moral claims that their civilisation was founded on in many and various ways; but we are the first people to actively seek to deny that any such foundation exists – this is an act of self-destruction that corrodes the culture from within, and has much further reaching consequences.
Sorry to both about the delay in replying by the way – I’ve been sidelined of late with that most dreadful of things…the common cold!
P.S. Kathleen, that quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas really does cut to the heart of the matter! We are in the bizarre situation wherein legislators are increasingly engaging in arbitrary acts – by making law without any reference to a higher moral reference point, they are making decisions which have no real content, being based on subjective preference (often guided by what happens to be popular or carry a lot of political capital), and thus no real force. This raises the question (johnhenry?) of whether a state, in issuing such laws (i.e.; those without any connection to the moral law, and thus without any intrinsic authority) has become despotic, even if those laws are not applied with violence or coercion – is human law emerging from the will of the legislator alone intrinsically despotic?
A very thoughtful and considered answer – cold or not*, Michael, Though I see no evidence that: “… we are the first people to actively seek to deny that any such (moral) foundation exists ..” at least, I’ve never heard anyone assert that.
“..and to disavow any sense … … that there is such a thing as objective moral duty.”
I’ve never head anyone assert that, either.
Of course what “objective moral duty” consists of is debatable. Kathleen’s Muslins, for example, see it rather differently to us.
*Whiskey, Lots of it.
So sorry to hear that the “dreadful” onslaught of the first of the autumn season’s bugs has ‘gotcha’, dear friend! 😉 Keep warm and drink lots of Vitamin C based drinks, and you’ll soon be back with us in fine form.
Re St. Thomas Aquinas’ quote: you have hit the nail on the head. Unless a law is based on the cornerstone of moral, eternal law (i.e. Natural Law and thus Divine Law), any travesty could be passed as a law. This is exactly what has happened in our day with same-sex ‘marriage’ laws (sodomy) and abortion (massacre of innocents) being passed as legitimate by our governments!
As for the question about the voting of comments – yes, in a behind-the-scenes consultation on CP&S we have decided to do away with it (for the time-being at least). It was becoming a bit of a farce and not serving any useful purpose.
Funny thing is, now we no longer have it, I quite miss not being able to give ‘up-votes’ to yours and JH’s great comments… and the occasional ‘down-vote’ to our old rogue, Plain old Toad (a.k.a. POT).
Toad @ 05:54, September 26th:
Well, conversely, I have heard/read those things asserted quite a few times, and for what it’s worth, I don’t see any evidence of any civilisation doing anything like what we’re doing at the moment from my own amateur assessment of the situation either – even the Romans, at the height of their decadence, still behaved badly (and were called out on it publicly by people like Cicero) in contravention of a recognised moral law; never did they decide that such a thing doesn’t exist.
Re the question of objective moral duties, I think you may be (again) confusing the various precepts proclaimed by particular cultures and religions (like Islam for example) which are grounded in either revelation or corporate reflection on law, and natural law itself, which is shared by all cultures and is the foundation to all moral reasoning. I think I may have linked to this before, but if you go to the bottom of this text by C. S. Lewis (your old favourite) there is an appendix which provides illustrations of various aspects of the natural law from different cultures, showing the agreement on ‘fundamentals’ across wide boundaries:
P.S. Yes, whisky, plus honey, cloves and the vitamin C (lemon) that Kathleen mentioned, is an excellent idea – thank you! 🙂
Kathleen @ 08:20, September 26th:
Thank you for the tip, which I have decided to combine with Toad’s suggestion this evening 🙂
I agree re the ‘up’ and ‘down’ votes – it is nice to be able to show one’s agreement (or stern disapproval) of comments, but it has got a little out of hand, and doesn’t really serve much of a purpose as it is still possible to show one’s agreement/disagreement in actual comments! I think I should add a H/T to Tom Fisher here as well, as he has been a longstanding ‘campaigner’ for their removal 🙂