Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vatican II and our vocation within the political community

Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council reminds us that, "All Christians must be aware of their own specific vocation within the political community. It is for them to give an example by their sense of responsibility and their service of the common good. In this way they are to demonstrate concretely how authority can be compatible with freedom, personal initiative with the solidarity of the whole social organism, and the advantages of unity with fruitful diversity." (No. 75).

In an interview with The National Catholic Register back in 2004, I defended Bishop John B. McCormack who came under attack from a Manchester, New Hampshire newspaper (The Hippo) for circulating some 40,000 voter guides based upon a document entitled "Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility" provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I said that "The Gospel has political implications for those who follow Christ and who have a role to play in the political process...Bishop McCormack's voting resource represents an attempt by him to to care for the spiritual needs of his community."

The Hippo (and this a favorite tactic of the mainstream media), was attempting to intimidate faithful Catholics in an effort to silence opposition to a liberal, pro-abortion agenda. But Catholics (and other Christians) who are called upon by the Council Fathers to be aware of "their own specific vocation within the political community," cannot in good conscience ignore that vocation or betray it by supporting candidates or political agendas which are not consistent with Catholic moral teaching and principles.

There are even those within the local Church who would like to silence faithful Catholics who are committed to their vocation within the political community. For example, I can remember leaving a voter's guide on a bulletin board at St. Joseph's Parish in Gardner. The purpose of this guide was not to endorse a particular political party or candidate but merely to show how the various candidates (both Democratic and Republican) had voted with respect to the issue of abortion.

This voter's guide was torn down and I was instructed by the pastor not to leave anything else in the parish as he didn't want it to become "a literature factory." While this pastor had a problem with my voter's guide, he apparently had absolutely no problem with one of his Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist being an ardent supporter of abortion-on-demand. This woman was very public in her support of Congressman John Olver and flat out told me (in a letter) that my opposition to abortion was "wrong, wrong, wrong."

If you're a Catholic (or Christian of any denomination) and you are reading this, do not be intimidated into silence. When you cast your vote in the coming elections, remember your vocation as a Christian. And remember that we will all have to give answer to Christ for what we stood for.


Anonymous said...

Catholics committed to the teaching of the Magisterium and to political action can expect to be villified and ostracized by those who have succumbed to secular humanism. There are many pro-abortion "Catholics" (Catholic in name only) who are in positions of power throughout society - and yes even in the Church.

That you were barred from leaving a voters guide at a Catholic Church while a pro-abortion "Catholic" was given free reign and even allowed to distribute Eucharist is just demonic.

Leon Bernotas said...

At the very Best Vatican II was an utter Aberration.

Anonymous said...

Congressman Olver, a native of Amherst, will be seeking his tenth term representing a district which is comprised of 107cities and towns. If he wins against challenger for the Democratic nomination, Robet Feuer of Stockbridge, he will face a challenge from Republican candidate Nathan Bech of West Springfield.

Congressman Olver is a long-time supporter of abortion. Now we have a chance to unseat him this November.

Vote for Nathan Bech this November.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Mr. Bernotas, it is important for Catholics to understand [and to acknowledge] that the Magisterium can and does teach infallibly on matters of faith and morals in the ordinary day-to-day execution of its pastoral mission provided that some very specific conditions are fulfilled. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church [Lumen Gentium] of the Second Vatican Council clearly described these conditions:

"Although the Bishops, taken individually, do not enjoy the privilege of infallibility, they do, however, proclaim the doctrine of Christ infallibly on the following conditions: namely, when, even though dispersed throughout the entire world but preserving for all that amongst themselves and with Peter's successor the bond of communion, in their authoritative teaching concerning matters of faith or morals, they are in agreement that a particular teaching is to be held definitively and absolutely." (LG, No. 25).

And what the Fathers of Vatican II add to this passage is also of critical importance:

"This is still more clearly the case when, assembled in an ecumenical council, they are, for the universal Church, teachers of and judges in matters of faith and morals, whose judgments must be adhered to with the loyal and obedient assent of faith."

I challenge you to explain your thesis.

Anonymous said...

We have to show fortitude and explain to other Catholics why we cannot in good conscience vote for pro-abortion politicians. I was talking with several seniors after Mass and they didn't know why they shouldn't vote for Obama or Biden. I told them where they stood on abortion and they were genuinely shocked. We need to educate voters in the Church. Don't take it for granted that the person sitting next to you at Church or at work etc knows where the candidates stand on the issues. Many do not.

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