Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7th, 2016

Every day I find the internet getting, less willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to neighbors on matters where the Church has in its wisdom, indicated, there can be room for disagreement amongst people of good faith.  Every day I see people pounding the drums, “I’m Catholic! I’m Catholic!  I’m Catholic so I can’t vote for Trump or I’m enabling men to objectify women! He’s an evil incompetent bigoted narcissist!” and “I’m Catholic so anyone who votes for Hillary is collaborating with Planned Parenthood and ensuring there will be no respite from the encroachment on Religious liberties.  She’s a corrupt manipulative lying power hungry robot!”
Serious accusations.  Serious subjects, being discussed in a most unserious manner.    
We are busy being cheerleaders for teams we don’t love, but faking it with greater intensity than ever before.  The stakes remain unspeakably high, and they shouldn’t be.   Be less than rapturous about Trump?  You want Hillary to win! Dare not to spend all your energy hating Trump? You MUST LOVE HIM!  Anything less than correct fealty, renders an excommunication.   
I won’t say it’s the worst ever, for if I scroll back to each political season, I see pieces by good thinking, moral people discussing how politics demand we presume all those not in our camp, are either ignorant or not acting in good faith.  Like moral kudzu, the sin of presumption about both where all who aren’t with us will end up after death, and the virtue of our own decisions with respect to eternal consequences runs rampant every four years.    If we would be a united people or a people of hope or even better, both and, we have to stop doing the if you…then you must be a…game. Neither of these candidates nor parties should hold so much sway given their track records, to hold greater loyalty than friendship or family. 
The Catechism hasn’t changed, ergo discernment about which party to vote for, or which candidate still remains a question of trying to become informed, pray, and act.   One can weigh all the priests and bishops on both sides of the discussion and still come up with the reality, we each have to live with whatever decision each of us makes, and face the consequences of whatever moral reasoning we employ.    Voting Trump or Hillary or not voting Trump or Hillary remains not a question of settled moral doctrine. 

The reality is, we have two candidates named Barabbas, and they are always Barabbas, and our whole nation is engaged in the measuring not of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but how much evil we’re willing to overlook in order to not let the other side win.  When Catholics are discussing how much they can ignore, or what morals don’t matter, they aren’t being Catholic, they’re being political animals.   It’s easy to get caught up in the crowd, it’s happened before, it happens all the time.  Jesus even tells us, that there are a lot of us with beams in our eyes, pointing out each other’s splinters.  We know it in Holy Week, when we all say “Crucify him!”  and we know it at every mass when we say, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” 

I don’t know about anyone else, but I look at this election and think, “I need a shower,” mentally, morally and physically.   The phrase, “Put not your trust in princes.” rings over and over again in my head I’d love to say I’m above it but my blood runs as hot as anyone else’s.  When all’s said and done, what we don’t want at the end of any day, regardless of the outcome, is for people to see our discussions, online and in person and think, “Look how they hate each other.  They cannot be Christian.”  

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