Saturday, November 05, 2016

Finding our footing

What can I say?  This week I think I – we, the country, you, and I – face the most appalling dilemma posed our young nation’s citizenry.  There is no good option; there is no happy ending.  In that regard, this is the election least obscured by illusion in modern memory.
We are all obliged to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s – and thus it is no refuge to flee our responsibility and blood-won privilege of voting.  Civic virtue is a Christian virtue, as long as we fulfill it in a Christian and virtuous way.  And while you know I have in past election years exhorted you, both then and now I eschew politics and political speech.  I am not a politician, and not a political leader.  I have no political authority, and little insight.  I have not, cannot, and will not speak to you of politics.  But I have, must, and will speak to you of Jesus Christ.
Therefore for your consolation and encouragement, I remind and entreat you to let your vote be first and foremost a moral act, taken with an eye toward your identity in the sight of God.  Unlike the political ramifications and result of our action, our moral obligation and the criteria by which to judge it are clearly knowable, and in fact known.
No political act or situation, past or present, can transform an immoral act into a moral one.  No dire consequence, perceived, real, or threatened, can justify our abandoning the Way revealed to us by God in Christ.  Good intentions do not mitigate; no promise or possibility of future good fruit from some process, program, or policy will absolve us of complicity if we endorse or even ignore its intrinsic evil.
For the wedding at Cana, Jesus made very good wine, and much, out of water, an intrinsic and universal good, not out of poison.  Shun poisonous policies and those who advance them, and God will bring good out of your act.  Endorse the poison, or even accept the poison as “a price to be paid” or “compromise”, and there is nothing there for God to work with until you offer Him heartfelt repentance.   
No good can come from the extermination of an innocent life to accommodate the wishes of another.  No good can come from the dismemberment of the nurturing organism that is the foundation of all human society, temporal and eternal: the family.  No good can come from imposing immoral imperatives or otherwise obstructing the life of faith.
Many a destructive, malevolent, or illegitimate political order has crashed to splinters against the rock of fidelity to Christ Jesus nurtured in His Body the Church.  Hatred of the Church has been a common characteristic among all the totalitarian and inhuman regimes of every political stripe over the past two millennia.  No human institution is as strong as the divine institution that is the Church, and she will survive even as they crumble under their own unbearable weight.   You and I will survive too, only if we cling to her.
As far as how to exercise civic responsibility this week, I can only point out the lethal traps for everyone to avoid.  Love God, and love His commandments, and let the politics work itself out.  All things work to the good of those who love God. (Rom. 8:28)  Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

Monsignor Smith

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