Monday, July 25, 2016

Sometimes We Must Preach To the Choir

There is an old expression that says, "You're preaching to the choir." This usually means that what you are saying really doesn't need to be said because the people you are telling already agree with you.  There's no point in wasting your time preaching to the choir. And yet, as the United States finds itself immersed in the presidential election season, proof has been given that sometimes we most definitely need to preach to the choir. I am not delving into politics in this post. I am not preaching to the electorate. I am preaching to the proverbial choir. 

With great fanfare this week Senator Tim Kaine was selected by Hillary Clinton as her running mate. Like every candidate for office, he will have those who vigorously oppose him and those who wholeheartedly support him. Fair enough. I am not commenting on Tim Kaine, the vice-presidential candidate. I am commenting upon Tim Kaine, the public Catholic. In numerous interviews, Tim Kaine has suggested that while he is personally pro-life, there is nothing in his Catholic Faith which would require him to vote in a manner that reflects those personally held pro-life views.  At the same time all of this was going on, I read that Senator Kaine attends Mass each week and that this past weekend, while visiting a church, he sang in the choir. Those statements and that image made me feel compelled to preach to the choir.

My purpose here is not to judge Mr. Kaine's catholicity, or Mrs. Pelosi's, or the plethora of other Catholic politicians throughout the United States who may sing in harmony in the choir loft, but who are most definitely quite discordant when it comes to their public statements concerning the Catholic Faith. I have no doubt that these politicians (and many Catholic voters) arrived at these false notes because of the seriously deficient and, sometimes, outright vicious formation that they received from those who are entrusted with teaching and preaching the Catholic Faith. Some who teach this "personally pro-life but publicly pro-choice" nonsense are perhaps misled themselves. Some, however, are wolves in sheep's clothing. When they lure others away from the clear and unambiguous teaching of the Church on these matters, they are putting their souls and the souls of others at serious risk.

My reason for writing about this is not to make a determination about Mr. Kaine's fitness for office. I simply feel compelled to correct the story line that says Catholics can be pro-abortion as long as they first say, "But personally I am pro-life." It is particularly egregious when a public person makes these false claims because their power, influence and status can lure others along with them. They exercise the power of example. In this case, however, their example is dangerous, vicious, and seductive. It risks leading others far away from Christ and His Gospel, and into the realm of darkness and evil. Abortion is a great evil. Voting for abortion is voting for a great evil. 

I do not know Mr. Kaine. I have no ill will towards him. I hope for his happiness and for the salvation of his soul (as I hope for yours and mine)! I pray for Mr. Kaine. He is my brother in Christ and he and I should help one another live our Catholic life because all of us need help living the Catholic life. 

Mr. Kaine, however, is a public person who has made claims about how his Catholic Faith and his pro-abortion votes are harmonious. Mr. Kaine is seriously wrong about this and he is not alone. There is a whole section of the Catholic Choir that is singing out of tune with the Catholic Faith. No matter how loudly they sing their notes, no matter how many members they lure in to join their section, and no matter how long they are able to sustain it, they will never prevail. They are singing against the eternal truth, the truth that human life is given by God and no human being has the right to kill an innocent person. 

The fact is, Catholic politicians who support abortion are in serious jeopardy. I don't say that with any sort of glee. In fact, it is just the opposite. Wolves in sheep's clothing--and sometimes even in the clothing of shepherds--have done a grave disservice to Catholic people by providing them moral guidance that is contorted and disfigured. The Catholic who professes to be "personally pro-life" but who in every other way advances the agenda of the abortion industry in the destruction of innocent human life is in serious spiritual danger.  Far worse, however, are those who led them there. "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea" (MK 9:42).  

This post is not about supporting one candidate over another. It's about correcting a serious disservice to the Truth. Do not let anyone deceive you or lure you away from the harmony of Truth. Anyone who says that you can be personally pro-life and vote pro-abortion is not singing in tune with the Gospel of Life and they are leading others away from that Gospel. That is very serious stuff. All we can do is to continue to sing the beautiful music of the Gospel and hope to draw those who have been lured away back into harmony with the Truth. We might all be in the choir, but that's not enough. We have to be singing in harmony with the Gospel.

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