View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pro-life Mass thoughts

I went down to the Focus Pregnancy Center - just a heartbeat away from the local headquarters of the billion-dollar abortion business, Planned Parenthood - for a pro-life Mass today. The Mass was a good way to prepare for next Saturday's pro-life march.

Father Joe Cantanise, Pastor of St. Leo's in Hilton and a strong supporter of life and the Secular Franciscans, was the celebrant.

In his homily, he noted that as he was trying to think of what to say in his homily, the words popped into his head "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb." The words were fitting for a day - Saturday - on which we honor Mary. But he noted that it suddenly hit him that this is also a pro-life statement. Every time we pray the Hail Mary we are praying for life.

He also noted that in a number of countries Catholic institutions are coming under attack, being forced to provide for or support things which go against Catholic teachings - like abortion and gay marriage - and suggesting that we might face similar pressures in the U.S.

"We've had it too easy," he said. But even if there is persecution, "We will come out stronger."

He also observed that as angry and frustrated as we might be at some of the things Obama, Pelosi and Biden are doing and saying, we should be praying for them and praying that they will change.

"We are not going to get discouraged. We are not going to give up hope."

I got to thinking about his second point - about our having it too easy.

For so long we coasted along, comfortable in compromising and accommodating so that Catholics often can be barely distinguished from the rest of our secular society.

I wondered what would have happened if the Church - priests, bishops, deacons, religious and lay people - had remained strong and firm in our beliefs all along.

Would we have gotten to this point where the government and society feel free to try to force Catholic institutions and individuals to choose between going against Church teachings or possible legal and financial consequences?

Would we have gotten to the point in which politicians who identify themselves as Catholics openly disagree with and vote against the teachings of the Church?

Would we have as many violations of Church norms in parish life and celebrations?

Would we have as many lay people openly breaking rules of faith and morality?

Would so many Catholics have voted unthinkingly for Obama and other pro-choice politicians?

Or would have been a true counter-cultural witness to the world?

Even if we have failed to this point, there's nothing to stop us from being that witness now and henceforth.


Blogger GrandmaK said...

It is so exciting to have again another saint proclaimed from the United States. As A child, living in Colorado, my family took frequent pilgrimages to Mother Cabrini's Shrine Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini) at the foot of the Rockies. In 2006, we were privileged to be invited to the canonization Mass for St. Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods here in Indiana. Your heart swells with pride and the soul if filled by the grace of the experience. Thanks be to God. This is so exciting.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I am looking forward to the days when Fr. Solanus Casey - a good Franciscan! - who is already on track, and Dorothy Day, who has a lot of support, are declared saints.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Too much whining, Lee, about the supposed decay in morality. And life presents more than enough persecution without Christians going out to pick am artificial fight.

There's nothing to suggest that the Church is any more or less faithful today, than yesterday, forty years ago, or 2000 years ago.

As for your question about unthinking voters, give that one a rest, my friend. In essence, you're echoing the line that poor dumb Catholics were duped--a line that the Right finds convenient to criticize when it comes to some topics.

Millions of American Catholic voters knew full well that who they elected president wasn't going to budge the political stalemate on abortion one bit. What we rejected on Election Day was eight years of incompetence and immorality of the Republican party. The only candidate who would have stood a chance against either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton was a third party person untainted by the GOP. The R's could and probably should have been totally marginalized--it's the only way a political pro-life stance would have had a chance.

As a pro-life Catholic, I'm certainly aware that this stance is not "easy," but neither I nor the rest of the pro-life Catholic Left needs this kind of claptrap repeated. By hitching their wagon to a political party, many good pro-lifers got their collective butts kicked this past November. I feel badly for many good friends who feel embittered, frustrated, and angry. So do something constructive about it.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I don't appreciate the "whining" comment.

As for the unthinking voters, there were, and are likely to continue to be unless they open their eyes.

But I suspect they will do it again - whether the offending politician be Republican or Democratic. I'm not a big fan of either party, for they both have their blind spots.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

I apologize for the "whining" comment. But the hand-wringing about moral decay does you no credit.

As for the voters, more likely is that some on both sides of the ideological divide thought seriously about their vote, and some hardly at all, and a lot were in between. Senator McCain lost so badly, one wouldn't be far off suggesting a vite for him was a vote for Obama, in that third party candidates were left hanging.

6:39 PM  

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