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By Matt Abbott
Op/Ed
Catholic Online

"Catholic Men's Quarterly" is a relatively new "one-of-a-kind general interest men's magazine written by Catholic men for Catholic men." (And, no, it isn't anti-woman, so Catholic women needn't worry.)

"We are celebrating our second completed year and have just expanded from 32 to 48 pages," says John Moorehouse, editor and publisher of CMQ, which has "subscribers in all 50 states and a few foreign countries."

Says Moorehouse:

"CMQ is not a devotional or a 'How to be a Christian man in today's world' type magazine, although there is some of that. Rather, it features a wide variety of content including humor, sports, travel, military history, apologetics, reviews, profiles, and so on.

"We have been blessed to have a mix of unknowns like myself and 'well-knowns' such as Mitch Kalpagkian, Dale Ahlquist, Father McCloskey and others. Hopefully, it will play a small role in bringing men back to a more orthodox practice of the Faith."

Moorehouse provided me with the following commentary from a past issue of CMQ (not available on the publication's Web site):

"PROFILES IN COURAGE AND, UHH, WELL..."

"Catholic Politicians: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"

"Catholics, it seems, have always had a somewhat difficult relation to the American body politic. Whether it was dealing with the explicit anti-Catholicism of nativist parties like the Know-Nothings or the more subtle dodge that has enabled opportunistic 'Catholics' to defend their pro-choice voting records by invoking the 'personally opposed but...' line, Catholics have often had difficult roads to hoe in the good, old U.S. of A.

"I was not yet born, but I have heard of JFK's trip to Houston where he assured an assembly of Protestant pastors that he would not let his faith influence his policies were he elected. Presumably, Presbyterians were under no such stricture. That incident tells us as much about JFK's understanding of and commitment to his faith as it does about the ignorance of the assembled pastors regarding the Church of Rome. What could have been a grand teaching opportunity to bridge the gap (in a positive way) between Protestant and Catholic in this country, instead has provided coverage for two generations of 'Catholic' politicians who cast votes that no well-instructed Catholic should cast in good conscience. It has contributed to the Protestantization of the Catholic politician.

"At least I can find something to admire in the Protestant pastors; they were endeavoring to protect what they and their forefathers had built against a perceived threat. They had the courage of their convictions, misled though they were. Reluctant to judge our nation's only Catholic president, at least if I hope to be invited home ever again, one wonders if Kennedy lacked the conviction or the courage when it came to his much-ballyhooed religion. One may hope that he only lacked the knowledge.

"Thoughts such as these crossed my mind while watching the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention back in November. Of course, the main topic up for debate was gay marriage. Specifically at issue was the question of whether an amendment defending marriage would be presented to the people for a vote in order to overrule the actions of the State Supreme Court, which by one vote declared that gay marriage would be legal in the Bay State.

"The proceedings were fairly tedious, remarkable primarily for the predictability of each orator's speech. Generally, minorities would go up and say that they had once felt the sting of prejudice and discriminatory laws and that those things were wrong, and that therefore gays should be allowed to marry. The women, again for the most part, got up there and said that they had once felt the sting of prejudice and discriminatory laws and that those things were wrong, and that therefore gays should be allowed to marry. Fairly unremarkable stuff; not the stuff of future debate society model speeches to say the least.

"(I can see it now. Decades hence, a pimply-faced sophomore will adjust his glasses, look feelingly around at his assembled peers and begin, 'Have you ever been judged? I have...' I think the place of 'Give me liberty or give me death' in the textbooks is fairly secure.)

"Even the con side of the debate left me flat. Nobody, I felt, effectively made the case against gay marriage based solely on rational arguments. Nobody, again as far as what I saw televised, made the distinction between just and unjust discrimination as the Catechism does. (Music lovers have 'discriminating ears,' but nobody is charging them with hate crimes. 'Just' discrimination is nothing more than making a distinction. The state certainly has a compelling interest in distinguishing between married heterosexual couples and all other living arrangements.)

"What I did find curious, however, was the number of 'Catholics' who got up there and somehow used their religion as the reason that they were going to vote for gay marriage or civil unions (again, six of one, half dozen of another). 'Well, you know, we Catholics once felt the sting of prejudice and discriminatory laws, and those things were wrong. Therefore, Mr. President, gays should be allowed to marry.' If I had a dollar for every time I heard a reference to 'No Irish need apply' this journal would cease publication, and I would be on a first name basis with Robin Leach.

"Again, do they lack the conviction of their Faith? Are they not really Catholics? Or is it simply a case of cowardice? Pretty good post, that State House gig, you know. Understandable? Yes. Admirable? No. Usually, though, they wrapped themselves in the mantle of 'separation of church and state.' Let's look at this closely for a moment.

"The way the debate has gone around here, one would think that the Catholic Church has been conducting some type of scorched earth campaign to legislate fish on Fridays. No, that is Catholic practice. That is a discipline of the Church. Of course, non-Catholics need not abstain from meat. Eat up I say and skimp not on the steak sauce!

"No, the Church is earning the critics' wrath for raising Her voice on two fundamental moral laws: the right to life and the legitimate exercise of the sexual faculty, both of which are integrally related to the health of the state. (Furthermore, as an aside, the whole church/state issue is woefully misunderstood by many people. The Constitution simply forbade the federal government from establishing a state religion. More on that later.)

"And yet, Her critics are hysterical. A little honesty on the part of these ostensibly Catholic politicians would solve the problem. Simply admit that you don't believe that the Church is what She claims to be. Why on earth would we want to elect someone who publicly claims to believe something he obviously does not? Does such inconsistency not cast doubts upon the candidates' integrity? Is the Church to be faulted for simply agreeing with the man or woman? 'Yes,' the bishops might very well say, 'you've finally convinced us; we agree with you. You don't hold the Catholic Faith. The charade is at an end.'

"Pope Pius XII and the German bishops have been pilloried for not protesting loudly enough and using every form of discipline in their arsenal to prevent the Holocaust. Though the true story of that unhappy time will be dealt with in a future issue, for our purposes now, the same people that chastise the Church of today for trying to speak loudly and clearly about gross violations of God's law, slam her for not speaking out loudly or clearly enough in times past. I understand that non-Catholics might not agree, but they cannot have it both ways. The principle is that the Church must proclaim the Gospel and instruct Her members at least, if not the whole world, in the faith of Christ. She must be true to Her divine mission.

"And no amount of political pressure, nor any amount of money, nor any worldly consideration whatsoever is worth betraying the great gift we received from our parents in Baptism. For two models of a Catholic politician, we could do far worse than recommend St. Thomas More and Hilaire Belloc. More will grace the cover of the next issue, but Belloc, whose literary career was far more noteworthy and successful than his political endeavors, left a rousing good speech for Catholic politicos to consider.

"When running for a position in the House of Commons as a representative of a political district in England at a time when that country was still virulently anti-Catholic (it still is today though in a different fashion), Belloc provided us with a profile in political courage. Speaking to his potential constituents, he took out a rosary and said, 'Gentlemen, I am a Catholic, and this is a rosary. So far as I am able, I get down on my knees each night and tell these beads. If you choose not to elect me because of my religion, I shall thank God He has spared me the indignity of being your representative.'

"Now that's hardball. I'd like to see Old Hilaire take on Chris Matthews. By the way, he won.

"This installment of The Catholic Watchdog appeared in the Summer 2004 issue of Catholic Men's Quarterly. For subscription information visit www.houseonthemoor.com"

Contact

Matt Abbott
http://www.catholic.org IL, US
Matt Abbott - Author,

Email

mattcabbott@gmail.com

Keywords

Catholic, Abbott

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