Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Faith, we are constantly told by many prominent 'Catholics' in political life, is an essentially private matter. For at least a thousand years, if not a great deal longer, the public wearing of ashes on the head, given on Ash Wednesday, has indicated a public expression of two things: the fact that one is a sinner in need of repentance and, the commitment to seek reconciliation before the celebration of Easter (according to the General Liturgical Norms and the Ceremonial of Bishops). If you hold a public position against a fundamental teaching of the Church (or several key teachings - abortion, same-sex marriage) and you have no intention of conforming to the solemn teaching of the Church in public or private, in other words, seeking reconciliation, would not the wearing of a public symbol of faith and repentance be, perhaps, hypocritical - something the Lord condemns three times in the Gospel for Ash Wednesday? Maybe the wearing of a public symbol of Catholic faith might perhaps be to do with the Catholic vote? Someone help me out here, I'm just an ignorant "resident alien" with no vote.


Swift said...

Could we hope for real repentance?

Yesterday at the Ash Weds. Mass two older men sat behind us and talked loudly for goodly portions of the Mass. It appears they had arrived early for something which was happening after Mass and hadn't realized they'd ended up at Ash Weds. I found myself in the dilemma of either allowing myself to be irritated by their behavior or praying for the grace of conversion for them. I'll admit I struggled with the irritation, but I did manage the prayers.

I think perhaps we need to offer up prayers for people like the Vice-President. They are not merely scandalizing Catholics and leading vulnerable people in the wrong direction. They are also endangering their own immortal souls. They need to continue to be challenged by pastors and bishops to repent and become something other than Catholics in name only. They also need to be prayed for by all of us. Their conversion would be good not only for the cause, but for their own sake. It's important to recognize that, while these men may have been only too eager to listen to heterodox teaching which made voting as they do seem acceptable, there are priests and theologians who gave them what seemed to be justifiable arguments.

gemoftheocean said...

Give it time -- TWO different TV interviewers, some ditzy woman in the UK and some airhead of a Bob Beckel on Fox referred to "nasty bruises" and then both tried a lame coverup of their ignorance.

I'm not holding my breath, but maybe Biden will get his **** together. Hope springs eternal, but I'm not exactly going to lay down any bets.

I was more irritated that the Daily Mail id'd him as a "devout Catholic" - but then they wouldn't know from bean dip.

Ginny said...

In my lifetime I have known five women who had abortions. Only one (and Orthodox Jew) is still struggling with the idea of what she did and her's, in my opinion was the only medically 'necessary' one (an ectopic pregnancy that would have ruptured and likely have killed both mother and child, a pregnancy, due to location, would not have been able to continue to fruition). The others, believe it or not, were from women who I went to religious college with, one of who's father was a high ranking official in a Fundamentalist Protestant Missions organization, her rationale was "it" couldn't mar her father's reputation so her 'situation' had to be terminated. The others used it as a form of birth control while they were bed hopping with the Protestant religious leaders of the future.

As for same sex marriage. I know three couples who fit this catagory. They are devoted individuals and have been committed to their relationships in each case for over 20 years. Most heterosexual relationships I am privy to have not had the same dedication.

I cannot judge Joe Biden. He worships God in the Catholic church and received ashes on Wednesday. In all dealings with individuals I have seen his devotion and care for those constituents who have asked for his help. Let's not judge him for being compassionate towards those who are in same sex marriages and have opted for abortion (a procedure that has been around long before Roe V. Wade and will be around as long as there are 'unwanted' pregnancies). I don't believe in the procedure myself, but can understand why someone would feel that they have no option. To just say 'don't do it' doesn't solve the problem..a conversion has to take place in the heart of the mother, not in a legislative board room. Let God judge Joe Biden. If he has gone to confession and feels that his heart is right with God, then that is between him and God.

the owl of the remove said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Ginny, but "that's between him and God" is not the solemn teaching of the Church. The teaching of the Church, which speaks in the name of Christ, is that abortion is always and everywhere wrong - and for a "public" Catholic to dissent on fundamental teachings is a very serious matter. If he had gone to Confession while refusing to change his stand on abortion, he would not have fulfilled the conditions for absolution, including a "firm purpose of amendment."

tibotmorfenoo said...

Oh Owl, if only the Catholic understanding of conscience and free will could be so simplistic.
Consider our Magistrium’s own “crystal clear” teaching on the subject found in Gaudium Et Spes:

16. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.


50. But in their manner of acting, spouses should be aware that they cannot proceed arbitrarily, but must always be governed according to a conscience dutifully conformed to the divine law itself, and should be submissive toward the Church's teaching office, which authentically interprets that law in the light of the Gospel.

“If your not confused, your not paying attention.” – Tom Peters

Anyway…this post was classic Owl – you had me a bit worried for a while – I thought you had joined the ranks of the “Kenny G Catholics.” (

Maybe someday I'll have it all figured out and the color of grey will no longer be in my spectrum. Or is it colour? Long live the journey!