Don’t Get Fooled Again
By: Deacon Keith A Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution; Take a bow for the new revolution Smile and grin at the change all around; Pick up my guitar and play Just like yesterday; Then I'll get on my knees and pray We don't get fooled again No, no!
I moved to Northern Virginia, in the “beltway” of Washington D.C., in 1997 after serving as the Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice for seven years where I had engaged in public interest law for pro-life, pro-family and religious freedom causes.
I made the move geographically and professionally in order to more directly engage in political activism and bring about lasting social change. My goal was to mobilize Catholic citizens to serve the common good through informing their political participation by the principles derived form their faith and the social teaching of the Church. It is still one of my goals.
Prior to that I was a part of what many who are aware of it call the “Steubenville miracle” for sixteen years. I had moved to the then “College of Steubenville” (now Franciscan University of Steubenville) in Ohio as a transfer student in 1974 upon the invitation of my friend, a giant of the Church, Fr. Michael Scanlan. He took the helm of a small Catholic College that had almost lost its soul and transformed it through the power of the Holy Spirit into a vibrant center of Catholic faith and life.
I moved to Steubenville from a monastery which I entered after I had reaffirmed my Catholic faith as a young man. That reaffirmation occurred after much intellectual, spiritual and physical journeying. It also occurred, oddly enough, while I was a student in a Pentecostal Bible College where I had enrolled shortly after I had made a choice to “rededicate my life to Christ” on a California Beach.
My cross country sojourn had ended on that Beach and my new life began. I was a depressed and disillusioned counter-cultural hippie searching for truth. Truth found me and He had a name, Jesus Christ. Oh, like Augustine of Hippo I would soon come to find He had never left me, I had left Him.
All of this occurred in my life after having been raised in a Catholic home in Massachusetts. I know, it seems an odd journey to some these days. But those were odd days. We were searching for something more in life. My search, and that of many others of my generation, led me to the place where heaven touched earth in the embrace of the Son of God on the Cross, the Hill of Calvary.
Since I had never officially left the Catholic Church, I am a “revert” to Catholicism.
After following my friend Father Michael Scanlan to Steubenville, I married, graduated with a double major in Philosophy and Theology. I went to Law School to become more equipped to fight the “culture war”, with the hopes of being a part of the first class action law suit that I believed would one day be brought on behalf of all children in the first home of their mothers womb who had been killed by abortion since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision of 1976.
My conviction that my faith must inform my politics runs deep.
My tenure in Steubenville lasted sixteen years. It helped to form my deepening conviction that Catholic social teaching was a treasure hidden in a field that had to be shared so as to form the basis of a social, economic and political movement that could actually build a new culture of life and civilization of love. It was there that I also discovered and fell in love with the extraordinary teaching of Pope John Paul II.
I became deeply involved in ecumenical collaboration very early on, before it became “acceptable” and even commendable with the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” Accord, of which I was a signer. I did so because my unique background and relationships with evangelical Christians, my reading of the documents of the Second Vatican Council and my understanding of the ecumenism of Pope John Paul II convinced me that we must work together, especially in our common cultural mission. I was also convinced that Catholics held the missing matter for the emerging movement of evangelicals in political activism because only Catholic Christians have a rich and cohesive body of social teaching.
My hope was to be a part of building a movement of Catholics who truly connected their faith and their citizenship with that teaching - and then worked alongside of other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will. It still is.
As a student of John Paul II and his extraordinary writings, I was convinced that if Catholics (and other Christians) simply understood the wealth and treasure that is the social teaching ...
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