Posted by: Thomas Richard | August 2, 2016

Catholic Politicians and Public Scandal

Shameless public “Catholic” endorsements of the New Morality take one more bow in the spotlight: our present “Catholic” Vice President, Joe Biden, has now officiated for a “marriage” of a same-sex couple. Yes, Joe Biden “married” two men who are long-time White House aides. The story is HERE.

This, to be heard in the echoes of the recent unveiling of a new insult to the Church and the Faith, new to most of us – the “Catholic” Democrat nominee for our next Vice President, Tim Kaine. Mr. Kaine is solidly in support of the New Morality: pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexual equivalence in matters of marriage and child adoption. Indeed, “the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, hailed Hillary Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine — who has a solid commitment to LGBTQ equality — as her running mate.”

Tim Kaine thinks that his Catholic foundation was laid for him in his “Jesuit education.” There, he believes, he was taught to be a “man for others” in the mold of his Jesuit education. Here is a summary from an article on the Cardinal Newman Society website:

But for Kaine, being Catholic doesn’t prevent him from ignoring his faith to support redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, the use of  birth control and the ordination of women as priests.  Being “for others” doesn’t include protecting the innocent unborn, who are created in the image and likeness of God. His efforts to “battle for social justice” don’t include seeking justice for those killed in the womb.

LifeSiteNews notes that Kaine “has a perfect pro-abortion record in the Senate and supports Planned Parenthood. Kaine is also a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would undermine pro-life laws across the country.” The news service also recently highlighted abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s excitement about Kaine as the Democrat vice presidential nominee, calling Kaine a man who has “dedicated his life to serving others.”

More broadly, Kaine betrays his service “for others” as a Catholic by purposefully causing scandal with his public statements and political positions against Church teaching that could confuse both Catholics and others about the importance of defending innocent life.

Sadly there are many other prominent, well-known figures in our government who are Catholic, and who bring only shame to the Church and confusion to many. Our Church is called to be light in this darkening world! Yet many in the Church seek to aid and further empower the darkness. Many – who are called to be evangelizers for the Faith – instead are sources of grave scandal, leading people away from Truth and into sin.

Scandal is a grave matter – Catholics in prominent, responsible positions of leadership in government – and thus positions of power in society – have a grave responsibility to care for those subject to their authority, their leadership and their example. The Catechism teaches, concerning scandal:

Respect for the souls of others: scandal

2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” [Mt 18:6; Cf. 1 Cor 8:10-13] Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing. [Cf. Mt 7:15]

2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.
Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.” [Pius XII, Discourse, June 1, 1941] This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, [Cf. Eph 6:4; Col. 3:21] or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

2287 Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!” [Lk 17:1]

At least two bishops have spoken out concerning such public scandal:

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Kaine’s home diocese of Richmond, Virginia released a statement regarding Catholics in public office July 22.
“The Catholic Church makes its position very clear as it pertains to the protection of human life, social justice initiatives, and the importance of family life,” he said.
“From the very beginning, Catholic teaching informs us that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death. The right to life is a fundamental, human right for the unborn and any law denying the unborn the right to life is unequivocally unjust.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island also commented on the subject, mentioning Kaine by name and lamenting that “apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.”

Kaine has been described as a devout Catholic and has attended St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Richmond for decades.

Yes, here I go again. The coming election is haunting me – stalking me – tempting me to grief and worry about the horrors that could come upon us. The country is at the brink of crisis, and people are angry. We are left with two major candidates who are both flawed, both provoking fears and uncertainty about what exactly they would do, and not do, as president. I am left with the resolution that if I cannot in confidence advance the good by my vote, at least I can seek to lessen the evil that could come. And with my primary concern being the right to life, my lot is cast with the Republicans.

I’ve written here several blogs on the concern that our Church is asleep, while our country is adrift and in danger. She sleeps while the world is very busy at work, building its city of deceit, and of death. Some examples –
1. Catholics: It is Time to Awaken! 
2. What Time Is It?
3. Acedia: Spiritual Sloth and the Church of Laodicea, U.S.A 
4. Church as Babysitter in a Culture of Death

I’ll close with this quote from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

… Across the centuries, it is the drowsiness of the disciples that opens up possibilities for the power of the evil one. Such drowsiness deadens the soul, so that it remains undisturbed by the power of the evil one at work in the world, and by all the injustice and suffering ravaging the earth. In its state of numbness, the soul prefers not to see all this; it is easily persuaded that all things cannot be so bad, so as to continue in the self-satisfaction of its own comfortable existence. Yet this deadening of souls, this lack of vigilance regarding both God’s closeness and the looming forces of darkness is what gives the evil one power in this world. On beholding the drowsy disciples, so disinclined to rouse themselves the Lord says, “My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death.” (Mk 14:34)
(Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI)


Responses

  1. Thanks, again, Thomas, for sounding a clear call. Too many are still “asleep”, and there is such a need to “Awake” before it is too late.

    Prayer especially to the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus to bring His Church into ALL Truth, is so important, as is each person’s willingness to keep asking, seeking and knocking in order to receive, and find, and have the door opened.

    In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The wise virgins brought oil so when their lamps went out waiting for the Bridegroom they were able to trim their lamps, but the foolish did not bring oil and while they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came. Those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked.

    Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

    Each of us will be held accountable for the Light we have been given, but will we be among the foolish or the wise? Come Holy Spirit!

    • Thank you, Deborah, for this comment – and especially for including the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins, and the crucially important “oil” needed for their lamps. This need, for the oil, seems to proclaim our need for the Holy Spirit in order to bring His light into this dark and darkening world. He is near! He is given to the Church! Yet where IS He? We need to pray, and pray more – and never ignore Him when He does come near.

  2. Thomas you are absolutely correct. When will our Church speak out? How soon the world forgets! Please keep speaking out. Hopefully it is not too late.

    • How good to hear from you, Kent! I hope all is well with you. Yes, when will the Church find her true voice! When will she hear her true vocation, and live it! When will she open her eyes, and see the signs of the times! So many shepherds need shepherding themselves, but do not realize it – or maybe will not acknowledge it. God knows it all.

  3. Your blog is very well written, Thomas, but it saddens me to read it. I did not know that Tim Kaine is Catholic. He, like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, the late Ted Kennedy and many others give the Catholic Church a “black eye”. Their desire for power overshadows their desire for an eternity with Christ in Heaven! How sad is that! These are recognizable names, but what about those Catholics who take up space in the pews of our Churches on Sunday morning, receiving Holy Communion, but still promoting and funding the Democratic platform? Where did they go wrong? I tend to blame our priests and Bishops who fail to preach on the important “issues” of these times. It is time for priests and Bishops to “ruffle some feathers” if necessary to preach the truth! It is time, also, for lay persons to evangelize!
    God help us all if the Church does not wake up soon!

    • It saddens me beyond description to write these things, Theresa. As the Lord Himself said, quoted at the close of Pope Benedict’s words on “drowsy disciples” – “My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death.”

  4. Dear Thomas, your blog is very heartfelt and compelling. Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, but we still must hear it….and do the truth. I pray the leaders of the Church will hear the truth and preach it. Thank you for sharing and being faithful…..Come Holy Spirit!

    • Yes, Susan – “Come Holy Spirit!” He is the power and the light that so many in the Church are lacking.


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