U.S. Election Message to Catholic Bishops: Time to Clean House
The problem is systemic throughout North America and most of Europe
Commentary by Steve Jalsevac
November 10, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The impassioned teaching to the faithful by many US Catholic bishops during the US election was something not seen for many years, and, for millions, not ever in their lifetimes. It was wonderful to behold; but, as we mentioned a few times, it was late, very late. Despite the many statements from bishops exhorting their flocks to vote pro-life, Americans who identify themselves as Catholic voted 54% for the pro-abortion extremist Barack Obama. Why? It's not difficult to figure out.
The US Church is in a huge mess, a mess that cannot be expected to be repaired overnight with any number of bishops’ statements. Indeed, it should be obvious that the message of this election to the Church is that it's time to clean house and repent, renew and rebuild - for the good of all.
When many bishops (still only some 100 out of 300) suddenly began to courageously teach the undiluted truth, apparently no longer afraid of criticism, not nearly enough Catholics were disposed to properly respond. Most current Catholics have been raised in a negligent, divided and often rebellious US Church. The strong teaching especially fell deaf on the ears of those who don't regularly attend church - now a majority of Catholics. They have for too many years been deprived of the continuous formation that would have allowed them to respond to the bishops’ exhortations to put things in an eternal perspective.
The problem is systemic throughout North America and most of Europe. It concerns far more than the lack of sound teaching on abortion and other moral issues. "Catholic" institutions, and those running them, are to a large degree spiritually dead or at best lukewarm and far from being truly Catholic. For too many years the bishops have allowed this to happen. Without the nourishment of a true Catholic identity, these nominally “Catholic” institutions cannot produce good fruit.
What does this mean for non-Catholics? Well, had Catholics voted as Catholics, Barack Obama would not have been elected. More than that, many more principled candidates would have received support to run and would have been elected, Catholic or not. Their religious denomination would not have made much difference, as long as they adhered to core Judeo-Christian principles.
As Rabbi Yehuda Levin has repeatedly indicated, if Catholics got their act together, America would be much better off morally and culturally. As well, people of all traditional faiths, such as Orthodox Jews, would be more protected from persecution.
Many of us saw it coming - what the election of Obama would mean for life, family and freedom of religion and conscience. Already there is strong evidence that our worst fears of an Obama presidency will soon be fulfilled. Barring some special intervention from God, we are in for a very rough time, like nothing we have ever seen in the past in North America. God could be said to have judged His people and found them very wanting. So, we get Obama and all his minions.
Now for the good news. There is significant hope for the US Church in that there are still enough good bishops, priests and faithful laity to make renewal and rebuilding a feasible goal. Hope is never lost for true Christians. In fact it is integral to the faith. A hopeless Christian is an oxymoron.
Furthermore, the current situation is exactly the type of situation that has generated great renewals of faith and heroism in the past. The wheat will be separated from the chaff. Those amazing statements from bishops prior to the election are a precursor to much more heroic shepherding to come. Finally, the bishops are awakening. Christian leaders of other denominations disposed to fidelity to their spiritual roots will do likewise.
This is not a time for pointing fingers and for anger. It is rather a time for repentance and for renewing our commitment to promoting the culture of life. The culture of death reigns because of the persistent failings of Christians and their natural allies. Now we must accept our responsibility and work with God to restore what we have rejected. He will provide all the help needed.
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