It has been a Christian world-view and anthropology that have helped to advance true human liberation. It will again be the Church that leads the world to a future of real progress. She is its champion. We do not need a "conservative" revolution. We need a Christian revolution. With all of this in mind, I once again contend with Sean Hannity.I respect Sean Hannity. Especially, in the arid wasteland of the propaganda media, I am glad there is a Fox News, as well as what is called conservative talk radio. However, I am first, last and all in between, a Catholic Christian.
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/17/2014 (10 months ago)
Published in U.S.
Keywords: Sean Hannity, Fox News, Pope Francis, United Nations, sustainable development goals, liberal, conservative, neo-conservative, religious right, progressive, Catholic Action, religious right, Deacon Keith Fournier
WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - The moment Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency of the United States, Radio/TV commentator Sean Hannity began a steady drumbeat of calls for a conservative revolution.
I was certainly as concerned as Sean Hannity was over the dangerous implications of the election of a candidate who rejected the fundamental Human Right to Life of our youngest neighbors in the womb - perhaps even more so.
I was well aware of the potential, on many other fronts, of this becoming a disastrous Presidency. I knew of so many other positions espoused by the candidate Barack Obama and his track record in public office.
I had written clearly and repeatedly regarding those concerns. I actively worked to prevent his election and tangled with many people publicly, including fellow Catholics and other Christians, concerning the entire matter.
However, I did not share the solutions offered by Sean Hannity, because I believe that political conservatism is not enough.
As a veteran of efforts to enlist faithful Christians into political, social, and cultural efforts to build a new culture of life and civilization of love, I am almost as leery of efforts to enlist us in some versions of political conservatism as I am in the efforts to justify what is called progressivism these days.
For example, the false dichotomy of separating fiscal and social issues, common in much of the conservative political discourse these days, is antithetical to a Christian worldview. Just as we cannot separate body and soul when discussing the integrated human person, the body politic should not be separated between fiscal and social issues. There is a moral basis to a free society.
Only a moral people can ensure that a market economy remains free. Freedom is a good of the human person. The division between social thought and economic application is a false one. The market was made for man and not man for the market.
Make no mistake, I am NOT a liberal. Nor am I what is calling itself progressive these days. I would welcome a debate over whether the so called "right" to reach into wombs and kill our youngest neighbors and to give homosexual practice equal legal status to marriage is really progressive at all.
I regularly contend that those claiming the label progressive are actually regressive.
However, I will leave that debate for another day. I do not want to get distracted in the conspiratorial theories which are the mainstay of some radio personalities who seem to relish the effort to somehow reveal the hidden progressive agenda as if this is something new.
Though some of these efforts are valuable, I fear they distract us from the real work of offering an alternative vision of progress - as the Christian Church has always done.
I will turn 60 this year. Most of my friends and foes would characterize me as theologically orthodox and politically conservative. However, I am an aging "former hippie" whose rejection of the misguided values of a consumerist, secularist culture led me to re-embrace the Catholic Christian faith.
I am regularly reminded of the words to a song by one of my favorite old rock groups, the Who, entitled, We donīt get Fooled Again, when I hear the steady siren song calling for political conservatism as a solution to the collapse of Western Culture.
The collapse of Western civilization will not be remedied by political conservativism. It is inadequate for the task. Crippled by the culture of death and indoctrinated by what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI rightly properly called a "Dictatorship of Relativism", we need so much more to slow the rot at the root of the decay of western culture.
We do not need a conservative revolution, we need a Christian revolution.
It was the Christian Church which gave us the understanding of the dignity of every human person created in the Image of God. From that foundation, core convictions such as the fact that we all possess fundamental human rights which were endowed upon us by the God who created us, arose and took root.
These rights are not given by any Civil Government; they must be recognized by Civil Government or it devolves into an unjust government.
The American founders carried such a robust vision into the experiment in ordered liberty called the United States of America. However, they did not come up with this ennobling and enabling vision on their own. They received it from the treasury of Western civilization which is found in Christendom.
It is the Jewish and Christian vision of the human person, the primacy of marriage and the family and social order founded upon it, and the acknowledgement of the existence of normative, fundamental moral truths, which guarantees the future of Western civilization.
These truths are revealed by the Natural Moral Law and knowable through the exercise of right reason. They have fueled our determined efforts to build truly just societies. They have ensured our survival against totalitarianism of every ilk and every political persuasion. When embraced and welcomed, these principles can properly govern our lives together and help us to form genuinely free societies.
However, once again, freedom is a good of the human person - not some ethereal disconnected concept. Freedom brings with it obligations to do what is right and true. For example, we have an obligation in solidarity to care for one another and, in particular, to care for the poor. We truly are our brother/sisterīs keeper.
This effort must be informed by a social ordering principle called subsidiarity. This principle insists that governance must be exercised at the lowest practicable level, beginning with the family. Larger governing entities must never usurp the rightful role of families and other mediating structures.
Stat-ism, whether of the rightist, leftist or corporatist political version, squelches freedom, creativity, initiative and genuine human compassion. Not because government is somehow intrinsically evil, it is NOT. The growing distrust of governance reflects a weakness in the emerging conservative/libertarian coalition.
The conservative/libertarian rhetoric needs to be carefully examined by classical Christians. We are not traditional libertarians. I know that libertarianism, like so many politically based ideologies, is morphing these days. However, many are using the label without care.
Christians should remember that freedom cannot be found in its fullness with only a reference to the isolated individual. It is found in the family. Freedom is a relational reality. We are, by both nature and grace, social by design. We will never reach the fullness of our human freedom and flourishing outside of relationships, beginning with family.
The real questions concerning whether any government is ever any "good" is who does the governing, where it happens and whether such governance reflects truly moral values. Such an analysis does not begin with the isolated individual.
In the words of the first book of the Bible we read "it is not good for man to be alone". It all begins with the family. We can only be fully human - and experience human flourishing and freedom - in relationship with one another. We are by nature - and by grace - social creatures.
We need a movement for true freedom. We need men and women who can champion this new freedom philosophy in a way that inspires people to sacrifice for it. It must present an authentic vision of human freedom - not a libertine worldview masquerading as liberty or a selfish individualism which forgets our obligation to one another.
It should insist upon the moral foundation of any exercise of freedom. For example, we may be free to choose, but some choices are always and everywhere wrong. We ALL know this is true because it is written on the human heart.
It does not require religion to reveal this or make it obligatory. It is a part of our common morality. Only when we choose what is true, good and beautiful do we progress in freedom and find authentic happiness, as individuals, families - and as a free society.
For example, the shared knowledge of what is right is the basis of our criminal justice system. For example, we all know it is always wrong to kill an innocent neighbor. That is not a proper exercise of human freedom.
This is true even if that neighbor lives in the first home of the whole human race, their mother's womb. We may hide voluntary abortion behind Orwellian language such as "choice" and "abortion rights" in a failed attempt to make it sound noble, but it is still barbarism. It does not free us; it enslaves us as we continue to kill our own neighbors.
I have written about the two step of the new censors of religious speech and practice. It is a threat to freedom. The secularist censors seek to relegate our truth claims concerning the dignity of every human life and our defense of marriage and the family founded upon it as being only religious positions.
They then insist that these positions are not an appropriate subject for public policy or political discourse. They want our talk concerning these truth claims to be confined within our Church Walls. They even now try to use the Police power of the State to silence us.
This is not freedom it quickly devolves into tyranny.
There is a difference between a secular State, a State which welcomes all religious expressions, or none at all; a State which is not identified with one religious institution - and secular- ism, an oppressive anti-religious regime which seeks to censor out of the public forum the contributions of the Church, people of faith, and of the great ideas informed by faith.
There are two conflicting visions of the human person, human freedom, the good society, human flourishing and marriage and the family founded upon it as the first cell of a truly just society contending for the future of the West. The collapse of the West can be averted; but through the influence of the Christian Church.
It is the classical but ever fresh Christian vision of the person, the family and the common good which will pave the way for our true and genuine liberation. It is the Church which is the vehicle of true progress. Christianity is the antidote to the descent into barbarism which regularly emerges in human history.
It is the contributions of Christianity throughout modern history, such as itsī insistence on the inherent and inviolable dignity and worth of every human person - that set people - and cultures- free from the bondage of totalitarianism and produced true human progress.
It is the truth proclaimed by the Christian Church that has exposed and brought down errant philosophies which enslaved whole Nations.
It has been a Christian world-view and anthropology that have helped to advance true human liberation. It will again be the Church that leads the world to a future of real progress. She is its champion.
We do not need a "conservative" revolution. We need a Christian revolution.
With all of this in mind, I once again contend with Sean Hannity.I respect Sean Hannity. Especially, in the arid wasteland of the propaganda media, I am glad there is a Fox News, as well as what is called conservative talk radio. However, I am first, last and all in between, a Catholic Christian.
Last week, I found myself fighting traffic to return from Washington, DC after standing on behalf of the many heroic people who refuse to bend the figurative knee to the new Caesar, the Obama Administration, and its most recent abuse of freedom, the HHS mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
To pass the time and calm my frustration while driving, I listened to talk radio. I heard Sean Hannity making a claim which was not only in error, but disturbingly so.
Sean Hannity is a Catholic Christian. Yet, he sometimes fails to read what Pope Francis says before he goes off the rails on his daily talk show! This seems to have been the case in his rant against what Francis said on May 9, 2014, when he met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and other leaders of the UN.
The Pope was invited to address this global body on what they have labeled as sustainable development goals.
Francis spoke to these secular leaders of the dangers of a throwaway culture, a term which he has added to our pro-life lexicon. He sounded themes from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, concerning our obligations in solidarity to all the poor - in all of their manifestations.
His words reflected nothing new. They were contemporary expressions of Gospel teaching and in a clear continuity with the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church to which Sean Hannity belongs.
Yet, Sean Hannity chose to promote the narrative of much of the the secularist Press and assume that Francis was somehow parroting left wing economics and "liberal" politics. What I am obliged to do is give my readers what Pope Francis really said.
By the way, if you want to know what Pope Francis REALLY says, do not expect to find it in any of the propaganda Press - which does indeed have a bias.
However, and sadly, do not presume that you can hear it on Sean Hannity or coming from other public Catholics who have embraced the label conservative as a noun and not an adjective.
Do your own homework. Go right to the source.
You can the words of Pope Francis on Vatican News, the official Vatican News Service. PLEASE, bookmark the site.
An essential principle of management is the refusal to be satisfied with current results and to press forward, in the conviction that those gains are only consolidated by working to achieve even more. In the case of global political and economic organization, much more needs to be achieved, since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens.
Future Sustainable Development Goals must therefore be formulated and carried out with generosity and courage, so that they can have a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family, which is an essential element in sustainable human and social development.
Specifically, this involves challenging all forms of injustice and resisting the "economy of exclusion", the "throwaway culture" and the "culture of death" which nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted.
With this in mind, I would like to remind you, as representatives of the chief agencies of global cooperation, of an incident which took place two thousand years ago and is recounted in the Gospel of Saint Luke (19:1-10). It is the encounter between Jesus Christ and the rich tax collector Zacchaeus, as a result of which Zacchaeus made a radical decision of sharing and justice, because his conscience had been awakened by the gaze of Jesus.
This same spirit should be at the beginning and end of all political and economic activity. The gaze, often silent, of that part of the human family which is cast off, left behind, ought to awaken the conscience of political and economic agents and lead them to generous and courageous decisions with immediate results, like the decision of Zacchaeus. Does this spirit of solidarity and sharing guide all our thoughts and actions?
Today, in concrete terms, an awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death must lead us to share with complete freedom the goods which God's providence has placed in our hands, material goods but also intellectual and spiritual ones, and to give back generously and lavishly whatever we may have earlier unjustly refused to others.
The account of Jesus and Zacchaeus teaches us that above and beyond economic and social systems and theories, there will always be a need to promote generous, effective and practical openness to the needs of others. Jesus does not ask Zacchaeus to change jobs nor does he condemn his financial activity; he simply inspires him to put everything, freely yet immediately and indisputably, at the service of others.
Consequently, I do not hesitate to state, as did my predecessors (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42-43; Centesimus Annus, 43; BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 6; 24-40), that equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level.
A contribution to this equitable development will also be made both by international activity aimed at the integral human development of all the world's peoples and by the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.
Consequently, while encouraging you in your continuing efforts to coordinate the activity of the international agencies, which represents a service to all humanity, I urge you to work together in promoting a true, worldwide ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and those most excluded.
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