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Loving Lost Sheep

Dale Price writes what I want to feel, but just don’t.

This is not a call for quietism, as the Church states in the Catechism (2234-2243). Section 2242 sets out in black and white the limits of what any state can command from its Catholic citizenry. However, the Magisterium is equally clear that we have to listen to what Wordsworth memorably called the "Stern Daughter of the Voice of God" -- duty:

It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community (2239).

Please note that the emphasis here is in the original. As you can see, corrosive partisanship is not on the list of duties. As Catholics, we are held to a higher standard, and we need to meet it. Given how polluted the public square is these days, we have no choice.

Finally, if Scripture and Tradition are leaving you particularly unmoved today, let me offer pragmatism: Shrill, bitter, and paranoid is no way to go through life, son. Nor are they a blueprint for a reversal of electoral fortune. Obama did not campaign on a mantra of bitter, vindictive gloom, and there is a simple reason for it: Nobody wants to be in the same room with a guy who spews this kind of talk, let alone vote for him.

Obama is our next president, like it or not. Our marching orders are clear: Pray for him and our country, work with him where possible to achieve the common good, and fight like a Maccabee when he oversteps his bounds -- all the while remembering that November 2010 and 2012 will be here quicker than we think.

In my heart, I know that I should not be bitter or resentful. Yet I don’t even want to open the newspaper or turn on the television because the sight of Barack Obama turns my stomach. His agenda is unspeakably evil and the country I love elected him as our next president. I feel hurt and betrayed. There were not a lot of campaign yard signs in my neighborhood but there was a sprinkling of signs for both McCain and Obama. I haven’t yet spoken with neighbors I know supported Obama. I really do not want to. It feels like a chasm between us. You know I can civilly argue and discuss foreign policy, economic policy, or health care and agree to disagree. On the other hand, my response to the support as a common good the slaughter of unborn children is both visceral and primal. The human person exists at the moment of conception and is entitled to intrinsic dignity and respect from that moment to the moment of natural death. I can’t compromise on this. It is the truth. Period.

If it were up to me and my fallen nature, reconciliation with Obama supporters would be hopeless. The good news is that is not up to me. There is God’s grace. Through prayer and through the Sacraments, I will be able to love my enemies. It is going to take some time. And loving my enemies does not mean I will ever love or accept their actions. But hate will never lead to the conversion of their hearts. For the sake of the vulnerable, I must love. And then maybe, as in today’s Gospel, the lost sheep will be found and all will rejoice.

Comments

Melissa said…
Denise,

I have been talking to my family the last two days and they feel the same way. For me it's different. I've been living in latin countries for many years. Right now, I live in Venezuela. It makes me so proud of the transparency and openness of our system of government when comparing it to the gov't here. I don't want to panic about Obama's presidency unless he really does something bad. As for his abortion stance, I told my kids we have to pray for him to have a change of heart on this. If anyone could "sell" the prolife view to our country, he could. God expects us to pray harder in times like these. But, please don't feel bad; ours is still a republic with an awesome constitution. We have it MUCH better than the Venezuelans, the Argentines, or the Bolivians - just to name a few!
Psalm 2 reminds us that God is always in charge. We can't be in better hands!
Rosemary Bogdan said…
I so understand and share your feelings, Denise.
Tony said…
I remember the words of Jesus as he hung, dying, on the cross:

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do

This is how I feel about my friends and neighbors who voted for Barack Obama.

They are not evil people, they are simply misguided. They don't understand that the unborn at the earliest stages of their development are created in the image and likeness of almighty God. Some of them don't really believe there is an almighty God.

My job is going to be talking to them, frankly and with charity. I also must pray for the conversion of President Obama. This is one of the first cases where I fervently pray that a president will not keep his campaign promises.

But I know that my advocacy for that which will bring about the Kingdom of God has not ended, but has simply hit a speed bump.

In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan after he lost the 1976 election: "We have to get to work".
Anonymous said…
About 6,000 children die each day in Sub-Sarahan Africa alone because of preventable causes (e.g., lack of food or medicine, no access to clean water, etc.). That number, incidentally, is about twice the number of children that are lost to abortion each day in the United States.

You write often about abortion and I congratulate you for that. I too pray for an end to the holocaust that is legalized abortion in America. Having said that, I must ask: Where is your outrage at the millions of African children who die every year because of the inaction of the Bush Administration, because of the indifference of the American people? Why haven't you devoted even one-tenth the space on this blog site to speaking to the issues surrounding the preventable deaths suffered by African children that you do devote to abortion-related and political topics? Is it ignorance on your part? Is racism a factor? Or is it perhaps because you are just really far more interested in advancing a conservative political agenda than you are concerned with the deaths of innocent children?
Catholic Mom said…
Dear Anonymous 2:10 from Neptune, NJ:
I am sorry that you would adopt such an accusatory tone as you throw up your straw man argument. This is not and either/or but a both/and. Discussion of abortion does not preclude the discussion of starving children in Africa. No US administration, Republican or Democrat,is solely responsible for the children in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is made up of sovereign nations. How best to help these nations is a matter of prudential judgment on the part of both individuals and governments. Now you are free to argue that the United States is not providing aid in the most effective manner. I would be interested in a reasonable discussion of what exactly you think the United States should be doing. I would also be interested in knowing what charities you personally support because you find them effective in aiding the Africans. Perhaps I could support them as well. It is you who are throwing around the politically charged terms of racism and conservative agenda. Abortion is not a political issue. It is a matter of an intrinsically evil act that is always morally illicit. It must be vigorously opposed.
ELM said…
Anonymous,

What an absurd argument.

I should ask you where is your outrage for those who died of AIDS? Is homo phobia a factor? Have you no tolerance? And by the way President Bush launched in 2003 the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history... $39B for the global fight against AIDS - which predominately ravages Africa. Is race a factor in your omission?

Where is your outrage that the press gives no recognition to America, the US government, Bush and PEPFAR, or the tax payers for all those hard earned dollars going to disease that could be eradicated though a change in behavior.

Is it ignorance on your part? Or perhaps you are more just really more interested in advancing a liberal or an anti-Bush agenda than concerned with the deaths of AIDS victims?

Or maybe this is a web blog whose focus doesn't quite match yours.

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