We Must Not Retreat: We Need New Thomas Mores For This Age
He was a Christian man who shows us the way to living a unity of life in the midst of the creeping darkness and distractions of our own age
The picture of Justice Scalia in that hat made me reflect on the need for men who embody the courage and coherence of Thomas More. However, we are going over a Moral Cliff which may make the economic maelstrom look mild in comparison.
Justice Scalia in a Thomas More hat at the Inauguration
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - There was a scene in the 1972 Film, the Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which I will never forget. Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, is the godfather at the Baptism of his nephew. During this baptism ceremony, he must respond to questions such as "Do you reject the glamour of evil?" and "Do you reject Satan and all his works?" by saying "I do."
While Michael is verbally renouncing evil in response to the questions posed by the priest in the midst of the administration of a Sacrament, his orders to kill rival gang leaders are being carried out with a brutality which reveals the face of evil. Michael's "I do's" in denouncement of Satan and his simultaneous participation in numerous acts of murder reveal an absolute disconnect.
That scene depicts a blatant example of what the Magisterium, the teaching office of the Catholic Church, has decried as the "greatest error of our age - the "separation between faith and life". Of course, other examples of this separation between faith and life are not so obvious. Yet, in their very subtlety, they may be more dangerous. Partly because we grow comfortable with them as we compartmentalize our lives.
How many times have we heard otherwise sincere Catholics engaged in business use the expression "its business" while they justify a failure to inform their business practices with the teachings of the faith. Perhaps we are numbered among them. Or, how many times have we heard Catholics, either in political life or exercising their vote say "its politics" to somehow justify morally incoherent political activity or a vote contrary to the Natural Moral law. "The Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life" issued in 2002 called upon Catholics to be "morally coherent" in the exercise of their citizenship. Sadly, the trends in our last election cycle reveal continuing incoherence. .
I have a fondness for Richmond, Virginia and keep up with what is happening there. While I was engaged in my PhD coursework in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, my wife and I lived there. I served St. Benedicts Parish in Richmond and commuted to D.C. Among the blogs I read is one written by a fellow lawyer named Kevin Walsh in Richmond called Walshlaw. A January 21, 2013 caught my attention:
"The twitterverse is alive with tweets about Justice Scalia's headgear for today's inauguration. At the risk of putting all the fun speculation to an end . . . The hat is a custom-made replica of the hat depicted in Holbein's famous portrait of St. Thomas More. It was a gift from the St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, Virginia. We presented it to him in November 2010 as a memento of his participation in our 27th annual Red Mass and dinner."
The picture of Justice Scalia in that hat made me reflect on the need for men who embody the courage and coherence of Thomas More. Over the last couple of weeks I have heard from many disillusioned men and women expressing a deep concern over the crisis we face as a Nation. We allegedly avoided the so called fiscal cliff in the United States. However, we are going over a Moral Cliff which may make the economic maelstrom look mild in comparison.
Marriage is under assault as Courts and legislatures are used by cultural revolutionaries who seek to redefine the institution out of existence. The taking of innocent life in the first home of the womb continues unabated. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood which lead the war on the womb are now bragging over their new found clout in the political ruling class.
The Church's outreaches to the sick, the poor and the needy face the boot of a hostile federal government. The HHS regulations through which the Affordable Care Act will be enforced violate religious freedom. Catholic Christians know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ demands a response which goes beyond the walls of our Church buildings. We are our brother and sister's keeper.
We do not reach out to people in need because they are Catholic; we reach out to people in need because we are Catholic. No HHS regulation will compel us to violate our deeply held religious beliefs. No Presidential administration can compel us to stop caring for the poor, the sick and the needy. Clearly, the next few months are leading to an historic Church/State showdown in the United States of America.
On Oct 31, 2000, Blessed John Paul II, responded to petitions from the faithful across the world and issued an apostolic letter, Motu Propio, (on his own authority) proclaiming Thomas More the Patron of Statesmen and ...
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