Daily Archives: November 4, 2012
Imagine a friend of yours, or a politician, or a colleague would tell you “I am personally opposed to the Ku Klux Klan, but I do not want to impose my views on others”. No doubt, the person so speaking would feel very “democratic” and ” tolerant”, whilst at the same time donning the white robe of “goodness”, or even Catholic ” orthodoxy”.
Still, you would probably feel compelled to tell him that am intrinsic evil cannot be so easily set aside by remaining “personally opposed” to it whilst looking on as the evil spreads.
Everyone understands this, and no one would ever dream of approving of a politician who expressed himself as ” personally opposed” to the Holocaust, racial discrimination at work, or the killing of babies….
… how was that?….
The killing of babies?
Actually, the excuse of being “personally opposed” to the killing of babies whilst looking on as a Holocaust of babies takes place is used every day, not only in old Europe but, more importantly for us, in the old U S of A, the hen and – alas – protector of us all.
It does not happen very often that a citizen is allowed to let his vote speak. But every couple of years or so, an US citizen has the possibility of sending a clear message. this time the possibility is massive, with President, the entire House, one-third of the Senate, several Governors and countless state assembly members to be elected.
It would be good if every US Catholic (or Christian, come to that) would examine all the options on his table and decide he will not, under any circumstance, vote for a candidate who supports abortion, so – called Gay marriages or is even vaguely favourable to euthanasia ” in certain circumstances” (it always begins with “certain circumstances”, but extreme cases make bad laws). Not-on-any-account.
I am not only thinking of the Presidential race here, but also of the countless other members of the US political personnel to be selected. A President is mot am Emperor, and politics is made – and the centre of gravity of politics is shifted – at a local level too; in fact, it can be said no President can avoid taking account of what happens on the local level, if he has his reelection dear.
Therefore, please look at next week’s election as a big picture of which the presidential race is merely the bigger component. If the message starts spreading that pro-choice and pro-pervert politicians have a hard life building their careers in the first place, you’ll see how fast the issues disappear from the political scene.
Cut the evil at the root. Start punishing your evil politician at every level.
A short twitter exchange (I generally don’t do that as I do not believe in back-and-forth that does not persuade anyone; but this was one of the rare exceptions) made me think of how many people have lost sight of the truly important things in life.
The most important – and after logical reflection, the only important – thing in life is Salvation.
Salvation is to do with infinity, and everything that is linked to this world is finite. The mathematical and logical consequence of this is that whether we like it or not, every earthly matter is infinitely small compared to Salvation. Easier to think than to practice perhaps, but still an irrefutable truth.
When we start to put ourselves – difficult as this may initially be – in the right perspective, we start to understand a couple of things better than we used to. Once again, whether we like it or not injustices, inequalities, abuses of all sorts are, in the very great scheme of things, almost utterly insignificant in themselves. Yes, they are! Better said, their true significance – that is, their relevance in the Great Scheme of Things – is of infinitely small significance. They are only important – nay, infinitely important – in what we make of them.
If injustices lead me to hate to the point of mortal sin, I have paid an infinitely great price for a matter which was, in itself, infinitely small in the infinite scheme of things. If I get through the injustices of this world using them as a means to obtain, one day, paradise, all the injustices of this world will, again, be one day infinitely small in comparison to the infinitely great prize they helped me to achieve. I know this is unpleasant to hear, and we want things to be put right in this life, possibly now. But that’s how it is.
This does mot mean, of course, that injustice and abuse must be accepted, or that – say – it is on the end irrelevant whether one dies a free man or gets to live in slavery. To strive for justice is highly commendable, and the beautiful Latin motto dulce et decorum est pro patria mori has through the ages lost nothing of his beautiful and powerfully consoling relevance.
What this means, though, is that a) the injustices and abuses of this world must never allow us to lose sight of the Infinitely Important Goal, and that b) every reasoning aimed at inverting the priorities (as in: it’s difficult to believe in Jesus when you are downtrodden, or I will believe in God only when I see the end of injustice/inequalities/gender discrimination/your favourite peeve) is illogical besides being self-defeating and potentially deadly for the soul.
The contrary is, I think, true. Injustices of all sorts allow us – at time, they force us – to see things sub specie aeternitatis, “under the aspect of eternity”; an exercise which, if we are honest with ourselves, we might never have started under less problematic life conditions.
If I think of my own life journey, the abuses and injustices I have gone through, and more in general the periods of crisis and affliction, were without the shadow of a doubt the periods of more marked spiritual growth; the moments where a spontaneous and utterly natural “why” makes place for more reflected, big-picture ” because”; a “because” I found utterly unsavoury at the moment, but which might in the end help me to reach a prize compared to which every suffering pales into distant insignificance; unless, of course, for the fact that it helped me to put an end to every suffering, and substitute it with eternal joy.
Like everyone else, I tend to lose sight of these in my eyes self-evident truths; and like everyone else I get so entangled in the darkness of this world that I struggle to see the light around the corner of this short and very impermanent existence. Other do probably even worse, and allow their rage or their grief to compromise or even destroy their faith, because… they are downtrodden, or other people are, or they have suffered a terrible bereavement or a huge injustice. And then they might well go to hell, and the spineless priest who tells them they are more or less justified in doing so might well keep them company.
What an infinitely expensive price to pay for something which – considered sub specie aeternitatis – can only be considered as utterly irrelevant.
No one wants to be oppressed. But it is important not to lose the perspective, and in the end the only perspective that counts is the eternal one.
A Pope’s role is traditionally twofold. On the one hand, the Pope is there to give an example. On the other, he is the one responsible for correcting abuse, and paying attention the shop remains orderly and tidy.
In order to do the first, there’s no need of flexing any hierarchical muscle: a Pope will make clear through his actions what the main points of his pontificate will be, and the others – from the cardinals and bishops down – will take notice of this. This is the easy part.
Where the problems begin is in the second aspect, the normative or prescriptive one. Assuming most Popes – at least most Popes of the modern era – are sincere believers in good faith and sincerely want the best for the Church, this is where the best of men can prove deficient in his role as Pope.
Put it in a…
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