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Guest Opinion: We Are Our Enemy. Catholics and the Cultural Decline

By Lawrence P. Grayson
October 5th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Catholics have melded into the secular American culture so completely that their views on moral issues and their behaviors are indistinguishable from the population-at-large. Politicians, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, can take the positions they do because they receive support from Catholics, many of whom do not know or willfully ignore basic elements of their faith. When only one in four Catholics attends Mass weekly, it is not surprising that in 2008, and again in 2012, a majority of them voted for a charismatic presidential candidate, even though he advocates abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriage, and the limitation of religious freedom. There is a significant crisis of faith among Catholics.

WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - Catholics must bear a great deal of responsibility for the increasingly anti-Catholic culture in America!

On June 26, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage to mean only "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." The ruling directly contradicts millennia of experience, the view of societies throughout history, common sense, and thousands of years of Catholic and other religious teachings.

Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor -- two of the six professed Catholics on the Supreme Court - helped form the 5-4 majority. In presenting the opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that restricting marriage to persons of opposite genders creates "interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages;" its principal effect is to create inequality and "deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with federal recognition of their marriages."

The majority of justices considered that the limitation on the term "marriage" reflected bias and condemnation, and stigmatized those who enter into same-sex marriages. They stated that DOMA was the result of a "bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group." The court thus characterized those who hold the traditional view of marriage to be the only valid definition -- including the 85 senators and 342 congressmen who approved the legislation and President Clinton who signed it into law -- as bigoted and discriminatory.

The two justices are not the only Catholics to act in direct opposition to definitive Church teaching. Vice President Joe Biden, in May 2012, announced that he is "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex  marriage. In August, he told gay rights advocates that they are "freeing the soul of the American people," stating, "We owe you." Then in October, he stated that transgender discrimination is "the civil rights issue of our time." As a result of his consistency on these societal matters, the Huffington Post referred to him as "a steadfast ally to the LGBT community."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Fr. Frank Pevone, head of Priests for Life, have had an escalating series of exchanges regarding her support for abortion while professing her Catholicism. In a recent discussion about a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, Pelosi stated, "As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don't think it should have anything to do with politics."

In an open letter to Pelosi, Fr. Pavone wrote: "With this statement, you make a mockery of the Catholic faith...Whatever Catholic faith you claim to respect and practice, it is not the faith that the Catholic Church teaches." He continued, "Abortion is not sacred ground; it is sacrilegious ground. To imagine God giving the slightest approval to an act that dismembers a child he created is offensive to both faith and reason. And to say that a question about the difference between a legal medical procedure and murder should not 'have anything to do with politics' reveals a profound failure to understand your own responsibilities, which start with the duty to secure the God-given right to life of every citizen."

In a subsequent interview with ThinkProgress, Pelosi was dismissive of Fr. Pavone, referring to him as arrogant and medieval. She stated: "I grant the Church where they are on abortion. That's where they are, that's where they have to be. But my faith isn't about what their position is." Fr. Pavone responded, "Mrs. Pelosi has clearly rejected it [i.e., the Catholic faith], stating again that her faith is not what the Church teaches.

This is not the first time Mrs. Pelosi and Vice President Biden have publicly presented positions in opposition to Church teaching. In an interview on Meet The Press, a few months before the 2008 presidential election, Pelosi responded to a question about when life begins, stating: "This is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition...We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose."

She distorted Catholic teaching so badly that several bishops publicly corrected her. Shortly thereafter, and despite ecclesiastical clarifications, then- Senator Joe Biden affirmed the same falsehood.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a professed Catholic who was a friend and defender of the late-term abortionist George Tiller, as well as of abortionist Leroy Carhart, stated, "I'm alarmed about restrictions being passed by various legislatures that take out of the control of women, and their partners, and their doctors, and their priests, their own decisions about their healthcare." She also is the chief protagonist for the HHS mandate requiring employers to provide their employees with health insurance that covers contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

Same-sex marriage and abortion are two of several matters that the Catholic Church defines as intrinsic evils, that is, actions that violate fundamental moral principles to such an extent that they cannot be justified under any circumstance or by any motive no matter how laudable. The Church's stance on these issues is clear, immutable, and not open to individual judgment.

Yet, large numbers of Catholics ignore Church teachings. Catholics have melded into the secular American culture so completely that their views on moral issues and their behaviors are indistinguishable from the population-at-large. Politicians, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, can take the positions they do because they receive support from Catholics, many of whom do not know or willfully ignore basic elements of their faith.

When only one in four Catholics attends Mass weekly, it is not surprising that in 2008, and again in 2012, a majority of them voted for a charismatic presidential candidate, even though he advocates abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriage, and the limitation of religious freedom.

There is a significant crisis of faith among Catholics. What is needed is a massive catechization of existing Catholics, followed by an evangelization of the nation. Who will lead it?

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Lawrence P. Grayson he author is a visiting scholar in The School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America. This article was originally published in The Wanderer, August 8, 2013, at p. 5A and is republished with permission. Visit the Wanderer press www.thewandererpress.com 

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