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Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

September 14, 2023 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

The USCCB is rightly concerned about racism, as they should be about any sin. In the 2018 statement Open Wide Our Hearts, they affirm the dignity of every human person: “But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and it corrupts the souls of those who harbor racist or prejudicial thoughts. The persistence of the evil of racism is why we are writing this letter now.
The fight against racism in the Church, however, overlaps with an abuse of concerns about racial interrelations in society by means of malevolent political movements such as BLM. The color politics that do not promote equality and justice, but serve only to fan the flames of the injustices they claim to oppose, roil the Church and society as a distraction from, and an obstacle to, faith. For we of faith nothing replaces the Gospel.
Thank the Lord many people today are, as they should be, colorblind. Is it possible that some may harbor tendencies to discriminate based on appearances? Most likely more people than we may ever know struggle daily to overcome their unjust reactions to race, creed, sex, or other factors that make others different from themselves.
The reason for discrimination of any kind, however, is sin. Yes, racism is a sin. Discrimination of any kind is unjust because a violation of the dignity that belongs to every human person, simply because they are human and thus bear God’s image and likeness. It is a faith-informed truth that charity excludes no creature from its Godly embrace. To get to the root of racism or any form of discrimination we have to go to the source, which is sin. Politics cannot help us. Politics too often uses racism to increase division. Only God’s love has the power to combat injustices.
Faith is the practice of God’s love. The conversion to the ways of faith is the means of rooting out any and all injustice or discrimination. Pastors who focus on God’s love first, seeking first the Kingdom, can effectively combat all forms of injustice to include racism.
Why do some pastors and religious leaders focus on racism, however? Why do they headline it with banners on church grounds and regular comments about it in homilies and writings? And when they do, why don’t we hear any disparaging comments about the fact that it is inappropriate to focus continuously on one sin, potentially making any group which is being addressed feel, perhaps unfairly, that they are being unjustly accused? If it were any other moral issue I believe that would be the reaction as experience has shown.
Let’s try a thought experiment. Certain subjects have been labeled as “culture wars” issues by the left, to include abortion. I believe that the reason for this is to signal that such persons are willing to negotiate these moral issues away for what they believe are more important matters.
Let’s say a priest has a habit of working abortion, or contraception which can be abortifacient, into his homilies. Every time. Let’s also say that he works it into his comments to individuals, perhaps in the confessional as well. Would not the individuals to whom he is speaking feel justified in assuming that he is targeting them as suspected sinners? Would not such individuals reasonably conclude that the priest is pretending to knowledge he couldn’t possibly possess or is probing into their conscience in an inappropriate manner? Certainly.
Why isn’t the continual drumbeat on the issue of racism treated in the same way?
The “culture wars” issues, such as abortion, which divide the bishops today, were long ago relegated by many of their number to the status of negotiable by the rolling up of all life issues together into the so-called “consistent ethic of life” or “seamless garment.” No doubt this was not directly intended by some of those bishops. Cardinal Bernardin, for example, while a principal architect of the “consistent ethic,” was firm and steadfast in proclaiming the Church’s absolute rejection of abortion as the intentional taking of an innocent human life.
The usefulness of this concept is limited by the fact that it can all too easily become a checklist. The politician who gets more checks in the box for opposition to capital punishment, hunger, homelessness, or the environment while supporting abortion would be canonized by the consistent ethic. This while a practicing Catholic candidate who rightly opposes abortion, while at the same time exercising a right to disagree with the left on other issues of self-defense such as capital punishment which are in fact negotiable, would get a flunking grade.
The bottom-line analysis, after the passing of years and the observation of the inner workings of the USCCB, tells us that the “seamless garment” has not served the life issues well. The bishops themselves have been rent into a divided tunic by their inability to agree that abortion is the “pre-eminent” moral issue in the world today.
Benedict XVI attempted to reassert the Church’s respect for the sacredness of life through an intervention that was deviously deep-sixed by Cardinal McCarrick.
“The ‘seamless garment’ approach was also criticized by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger while he was serving as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In a July 2004 letter written to now former-Cardinal McCarrick and to the United States bishops as a whole, Cardinal Ratzinger makes it clear that the Church does not treat capital punishment with the same moral weight that it does abortion and euthanasia: “‘Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father [the Pope] on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion…. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia’” (Source: Wikipedia).
The truth will set us free. Divisions among Christians needlessly exist because of ignorance about moral teachings that in some cases have been enabled by confusion. Lumping all the life issues together in a “seamless garment” has all too often enabled such confusion and division, rending the Body of Christ.
The growing war on Christianity from many sources in society is an attack on the very means of rooting out all injustice. We must join forces to decry and turn back the injustice of the Christianophobic trend in our world if we are to ever have any hope of ending injustices of any other sort. Any fight for justice must begin with Christ, in faith.
To be saved we must be in the charity of the Lord. He commands, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” Our bishops have reminded us of, and called us to, that love which recognizes in truth that everyone is our neighbor, the unborn and those rejected after they are born for any reason whatsoever.”
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. @TruthSocialPadre

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