Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More politics.

So, I started reading Denver-Archbishop Charles Chaput's, OFM Cap., Render Unto Cæsar near the beginning of the year. I'm still making my way through it - I've got plenty of other things to do before devoting significant amounts of time to reading this book.

But, during my usual Wednesday morning lull between my holy hour and Morning Prayer (which is an hour later on Wednesdays than the rest of the weekdays), I decided to pick up his book once again.

It was a bit, oh how shall we say, off-putting. After proving that there has been significant anti-Catholicism in our nation's history (he proved this with an extensive quote from a Supreme Court Case report in which a justice speaks about previous rulings of the Supreme Court which were anti-Catholic), the good Archbishop continues:

Catholics - and I mean all of us, bishops and laypeople alike - need to admit that we've been too naive, too often, in our past political assumptions. American Catholics have taken part in good faith in a system that sometimes operates in bad faith. The Protestant theologian Stanley Hauerwas once warned that the great weakness of Christian witness in our time is that we preach as though we don't have enemies. But we do. In our legitimate hopes for a role in American life, Catholics have ignored an unpleasant truth: that there are active, motivated groups in modern American society that bitterly resent the Catholic Church and the Christian Gospel, and would like to silence both.
Many Catholics since Vatican II have recoiled almost instinctively from traditional images of the "church militant." But like it or not, that is exactly what we are - or should be. We are in a struggle for the souls of our people and our country. We ignore this at our own peril. We also fail as disciples. (p. 187)

At first I thought, "Wouldn't some of the guys of the house like to read this!" To a certain extent, I've been trained (by what, I'm not exactly sure) to be repulsed by such statements, or at least to disregard them. But, then I stepped back and thought about it for a second. It was then that so very quickly one of my high school friends came to mind.

One of my friends from HS lives in the cities here and he and I hang out once every few months. To put it simply, he is a staunch liberal when it comes to politics, and morality and economics and religion. Every time that we get together, he's always joking about how "we've got to take down the Catholic Church," and by "we" he means America. He also says, "You know, with John Paul II I had some hope for change in the Church and things seemed as though they could have continued to go well. When he died there was a great moment, a great opportunity. But then! Benedict! BENEDICT?! Oh, this will not do. You know, I thought there might be a chance for the Catholic Church to come around, but not anymore. Now, I have no reason to hope for any good to come from the Church. We've just got to destroy it."

Now, sure, to a certain extent he's joking. But his laughter as he says this is primarily arising from the fact that these really are his thoughts, he knows how outlandish they are, how contrary they are to my beliefs, and that he's saying them to my face. He and I can get along, despite our differences, and to a certain extent, I keep in contact with him because I hold out the hope for his conversion.

But getting back to Archbishop Chaput's point: it is true and evident to me that we are the Church militant, that we are in a struggle for the soul of America, and that there are those out there planning the Church's demise. Thanks be to God it'll never happen.


Don said...

Great post. It'll probably be summer before I get around to this book.

"the great weakness of Christian witness in our time is that we preach as though we don't have enemies"

The maintenance mentality. Enemy of missionary zeal.

Michael said...

I really like this post. I think this is a big reason I want to be a priest. I mean among others, but seriously the Church most especially in America needs to kick it into gear. Its like being lukewarm or on fire for something its much easier to get behind those things that are straight forward.

There has been a tendency to try and blur lines which shouldn't be blurred, and that is an evil act.

Jinglebob said...

Great post!

Benedict XVI said...

One of the best books on American politics out there. If you get a chance, read his book 'Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics."

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