The Wheat and the Weeds

The Citizen has been engaged in a forum discussion that has turned to the debate on ‘rightwing’ Catholics and ‘leftwing’ Catholics. There should be no such thing. There are only orthodox Catholics and heterodox Catholics. Any Catholic espousing positions or supporting politicians who embrace policies contrary to the Magisterium, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the traditions of our Faith are heterodox. Unfortunately for some, the Democratic party strongly supports several issues that place them outside of Catholic teachings. Embryonic stem cell research, abortion, gay marriage – all of these platforms directly contravene Catholic principles.

The Citizen has written any number of essays on intrinsic evils, the discipline of being Catholic, and the need to be compassionate and loving but draw the line on tolerating or supporting behavior that is contrary to the Magisterium. I have hyper-linked to some of these essays if you are interested. Some things simply cannot be supported, even if the party or person in question support any number of worthy causes. With the current Democratic party, those issues – abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research – are non-negotiable.

But isn’t there ‘room’ in Catholicism for all types? Sorry, no. Christ Himself illustrated that this would be a problem in Matthew. In the Parable of wheat and weeds (Matthew 13:24-30), Christ tells a story that reminds the Citizen of the predictment the greater Catholic community in the United States faces.

The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.

The parable tells that the servants tending the fields tell their master of the weeds growing among the wheat. He knows that there is little he can do but to allow the weeds to grow among the wheat, and – when the time was right – to pull out the weeds and harvest the good crop. The enemy? Satan – or those seeking to divide us by misusing our teachings in a heterodox manner.

The weeds are those ‘Catholics’ who espouse heretical and unorthodox teachings who dwell among us and claim that they are like us. The fact is that the weed bears no grain, no sustenance and actually chokes out the healthy and life-giving grain. For some reason or another, the Church in America has allowed these weeds to flourish, weakening and dividing us.

It is time to prune the fields. We will lose the weeds, but we may lose some good grain as well. Better this then to allow the field to run wild with weeds that will never yield comfort to those in need. It is my prayer that this will not be so or that those we may lose will return to us when they see that the wisdom of Matthew 7:13:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

Hopefully, it is clearer that it shouldn’t be a ‘right’ thing or a ‘left’ thing – it should be a Catholic thing. That road is hard and the gate is narrow.  But those who brave that path and suffer through that gate will reap great rewards – not only for themselves but for countless others.

I pray that there are democrats who will take the party back from those who seek to choke the field with weeds. There must be solid democratic candidates who are in Communion with the Holy See. Find them. Support them. And don’t be surprised if other Catholics ignore the letter after their name and vote for them because they are good Catholics and good citizens.

 

May God bless you all.

 

Applying the Catholic Lever

The Citizen has been feeling like Diogenes these past several days. I have been trolling for information on candidates, looking for ones – Catholic or no – that I felt comfortable supporting. For those who have forgotten their Greek philosophers, Diogenes – among his many antics – carried a lantern with him, seeking an ‘honest man’. While the Citizen is not impugning the honesty of any candidate,  there are only a couple that the Citizen feels comfortable seeing move forward.

Second District Race

The Citizen has been following Daria Novak for quite some time. She worked for the State Department under Ronald Reagan, she supports reforming health care so that it compassionate and affordable. She argues for limited government, fiscal restraint, local control over local issues, and is pro-life. She has also run a responsible, issues-driven campaign free of the muck-flinging that has become the standard for many candidates. Mr. Courtney, the incumbent, is a disappointment for the Citizen. A Catholic, Mr. Courtney enjoys a perfect rating from NARAL. His support for a flawed health care bill and his demonstrated belief that he needs to vote the party line instead of representing the interests of the 2nd District, make Mr. Courtney a bad choice for the practical Catholic.

For these reasons, the Citizen is thrilled to support Daria Novak’s candidacy. She has the values, experience, and perspective that we need representing us in Washington. She has campaigned hard, earned the party endorsement, and will be a great representative for eastern Connecticut.

Attorney General Race

This is the only other race where a clear choice quickly emerged.

Martha. Dean has come under attack lately, being accused of advocating the decriminalization of cocaine and heroin use, according to her primary challenger. She also was accused of advocating student gun training in the classroom. The Citizen did some investigating. Ms. Dean argued that the war on drugs was unsustainable – and she has a point. According to some sources, the federal and state cost of this war is some 30 billion dollars – for 2010 alone. Unfortunately, the drug wars along the borders of our southern states clearly demonstrate that this money is a drop in the bucket for an illegal industry that likely makes 30 billion dollars in a matter of weeks – if not days. She isn’t advocating drug use  – rather, she argues that what we are doing is not working.  Her comments about guns and schools were also taken out of context.  Ms. Dean is also pro-life. She has spoken out against the death penalty and abortion. While the Attorney General has little to do with some of the issues she discusses, it is refreshing to see a candidate explain her position on important issues. This is quite  rare this year.  With  deceptive advertisements, coupled with very little information on his position on issues, Mr. Garber is an unattractive choice for the upcoming primary. George Jepsen, the democratic candidate, seems to advocate the same approach to the office that Blumenthal made infamous. We have had quite enough of Blumenthal’s anti-business, self-promoting antics … we don’t need a sequel.

The Citizen is pleased to support Martha Dean for the office of Attorney General.

Senate Race

Unfortunately, the field is littered with bad choices. In the Senate race, there is not one candidate that supports life issues. Mr. Simmons while a member of the House, voted against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. He has consistently voted to support abortion. If elected, it is unlikely that he will change – in fact, he has recently spoken in support of expanding abortion under the president’s so-called health care act. Ms. McMahon is also strongly pro-abortion.  Mr. Blumenthal is an unacceptable choice for a number of reasons. Peter Schiff comes closest – he argues that it is the prerogative of the states and the Federal government should have no role in these issues. While there are more issues than abortion in a political contest, this is – or should be  – the yardstick Catholics use to measure candidates. No clear pro-Catholic choice for the Senate race.

Mr. Schiff is the best of the lot.

Governor Race

We lack pro-life candidates running for governor.  Malloy, Fedele, Foley, Greibel….none of them shine. The Connecticut Catholic Conference sent a questionnaire to candidates. Only Mr. Foley and Mr. Fedele answered. Of the two sets of responses, Mr. Fedele was marginally more favorable to a Catholic perspective – at least on one financial issue. The issue concerned tax credits for private and religious school choice. Conversely, as Lt. Governor, he has been involved in the mishaps and follies of the Rell administration.  On life issues, neither expressed support for abolishing the death penalty. Both advocated requiring parents or guardians to be informed when an underage child seeks an abortion. In Connecticut, the current law allows a minor to have an abortion without notification. Both oppose physician-assisted suicide. Ned Lamont? In his failed run for Congress, he was an ardent supporter of abortion and embryonic stem cell research. In this election? Like many, he chooses not to advertise his position on his website. Take a guess. Dan Malloy? Another cipher – perhaps candidates believe that if they don’t take a position, no one will ask….

Foley? Fedele? Either one is the best in a field of mediocre choices.

Endorsements

For their positions, the Citizen can categorically support only two candidates.

Ms. Novak for the republican nomination – and hopefully – the 2nd District Connecticut seat.

Ms. Dean wins the support of the Citizen for Attorney General.

It is appalling that there are only two candidates that stand out as good choices for Catholics. In a state that is still about 50% Catholic.

Sans Culottes in Birkenstocks

Loyola University Chicago is the latest of universities to play favoritism in the name of fairness. A conservative student group sought to bring Karl Rove to Loyola to lecture on policy issues and the November elections. Loyola refused to permit the appearance in order to preserve their tax exempt status.

Nonsense. Continue reading

The ‘Catholic’ Lever

When the Citizen first gained the franchise – oh so many years ago, now – you could vote for individual candidates or simply pull the ‘party lever’. With one fell swoop, this selection would automatically register all of your votes for the candidates of the chosen party. The lever disappeared a number of years ago…and I still hear the older voters complain of it’s absence.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ‘Catholic Lever’? Without having to read and research, read between the lies (and no, that was not a Freudian slip), and weigh a candidate’s platform against the Magisterium, voting would be painless and easy. Perhaps pulling the Catholic Lever would automatically grant an indulgence! Wouldn’t that be wonderful? No. Not at all.

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Student Prayer – Protected under the Constitution

A young lady graduating from UCLA taped her pre-commencement sentiments recently and was told by a Director of Student Affairs that her reference to Jesus Christ as her inspiration, Lord, and Savior was inappropriate for a public institution and would be deleted. I understand that this faculty member is a professor of biology, but I thought that even Science majors had some courses in American history and government.

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