Friday, November 23, 2012

A Catholic's Gratitude for Barack Obama

Yesterday, November 22, was Thanksgiving Day in America.  This a day that has been set aside for all Americans to pause and give thanks for the blessings in our lives.  Originally it was to give thanks to our Creator, but since it is now basically against the law to mention Divinity in public, I guess we're suppose to just sort of thank each other.  But in recent years even giving thanks on this day has become moot.  Thanksgiving has become a time to watch football and/or go to to the mall and stand in line for Black Friday so we can get an iPad or flat screen TV really cheap.

Shoppers camping out at mall on Thanksgiving Day
The point of this post is not to lament the loss of the meaning of Thanksgiving and what that says about the sad state of our culture. That's for another time.  Notwithstanding what much of the rest of the nation does, I still like to use this day as originally intended and thank my Creator for all the many, many blessings I have received.  I thank Him for my faith, for my family and friends, for the fact that I still have a job in this economy, for the fact that we did not suffer the ravages of Hurricane Sandy as so many did here in the Northeast.  And I also thank God for the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Oh yes, you read that correctly.  I, a serious Catholic who loves my faith above all else in my life, am grateful for President Barack Obama, an avowed enemy of the Catholic Church and everything that is holy and sacred.   I am saying that the re-election of Barack Obama, while not a good thing for Catholics, was absolutely necessary if any part of our Church is going to survive in this once great nation.

Before you decide that I have completely lost my mind and move to something else, read on a bit.  Up until the election of Barack Obama, most Catholics, and specifically our bishops and priests, sort of sat back and let things happen.  Our nation legalized the killing of our babies in 1973.  There has been outrage here and there, and admittedly many good Catholic groups were raised up to fight this terrible evil such as the Priests for Life and the Sisters of Life, but for the most part we rarely heard about this holocaust from our pulpits.  The vast, vast majority of Catholics (well over 90%) used birth control, yet next to nothing was said about this.  Millions of Catholics were living together without benefit of marriage, but silence pretty much reigned supreme on this subject as well.  

Militant homosexuals were gaining ground and making themselves accepted by general society, and not only was little being said, but to the contrary, a fair number of Catholic Churches were proudly proclaiming themselves "inclusive" and welcoming sexually active homosexuals into their parishes.  The Church did get what should have been a wake-up call when the sexual abuse crisis hit.  She was forced to admit that there were renegade clergy in her ranks, but nothing much changed in her message to the faithful and the rest of the world.  The vast majority in the Church quietly continued along on what seemed to be a path of self destruction.

Father Frank Pavone
Then came Barack Obama, put into office by the Catholic vote in 2008.  There were most definitely voices from the Church warning us of the danger in doing so.  I remember a Youtube video from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life the day after the 2008 election in which he gave us a very dire warning:
Barack Obama has been elected the new president of the United States, and this is one of the biggest mistakes that the American people have made in the entire history of our nation.
And the many reasons why that's true, will come to light as the months go on. But the biggest reason why that's true, is that here, we have a president elect who cannot tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public.
He is, as you know, the most ardent supporter of the so called 'Right to Abortion', in an unrestricted way, throughout all nine months of pregnancy for any reason, or no reason at all. This is the man who said, 'I don't know when human rights are attached to a baby.' Well if you don't know when human rights begin, you're in no position to govern a country that was founded on the principle of human rights.
We saw how prophetic Father Pavone was when newly sworn-in President Obama's first executive order was to overturn the Mexico City policy put into effect by President Ronald Reagan, and allow funding for overseas abortion.  This was only the first of hundreds of actions on the part of the Obama administration in promoting abortion and other intrinsic evils.  The crowning achievement of the Obama administration is Obamacare, which allows, nay enforces federal funding of contraception, sterilization and abortion.  Of course this bill also requires all employers to provide, via insurance coverage, free contraception and morning after pills to their employees regardless of the employer's personal beliefs.  We must not forget that Obama is also our first president to openly support homosexual rights and same sex marriage.

We have seen the bishops come fully awake under President Barack Obama.  They have had no choice but to acknowledge to the world that the Catholic Church is under siege from the government.  Unlike the 2008 election, bishop after bishop has been announcing from the pulpit that Catholics cannot vote for politicians who openly support abortion and other intrinsically evil practices.  Because of the HHS Mandate, the bishops have been forced to talk about birth control, some for the first time in their ministries.  They have to tell the faithful and the rest of the world that the Catholic church views birth control as evil and that use of it endangers the salvation of souls.

Here is a screenshot from pewsitter.com from just before the election, showing several headlines about bishops warning of voting for Barack Obama:


Bishop John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois
Our bishops are now talking about salvation and sin and even hell, subjects that seemed to have been taboo and forgotten by large portions of the Church for the last decades.  We are hearing about the need to make our faith and our Savior the central point of our lives.  Bishops are taking responsibility for the grave crisis we have seen in the Church in the last decades.  In a response to the HHS Mandate back in April 2012, Timothy Cardinal Dolan made a huge admission:
In a frank interview with the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and is increasingly being billed as America’s leading Catholic cleric, says the Church has failed to communicate its moral teachings in the area of sexuality. He says further that the fault lies with Church leaders.

“I’m not afraid to admit that we have an internal catechetical challenge—a towering one—in convincing our own people of the moral beauty and coherence of what we teach. That’s a biggie,” said Dolan.
“We have gotten gun-shy . . . in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality,” he added.
The Church’s own failure to communicate its teachings on contraception has been one of the leading tools used against it in its fight against Obama’s mandate, with critics repeatedly pointing out that the majority of Catholic women are using some form of contraception.
Cardinal Dolan
There is the recent speech given at the Bishops' Conference by Cardinal Dolan in which he did not specifically mention the war being waged by President Obama against the church, but Cardinal Dolan did say that in response to these times in which there are so many lapsed Catholics, we need to once again emphasize the Sacrament of Penance, starting with the Bishops themselves, as a pathway to reconversion. As he said at the end of his speech:
With this as my presidential address, I know I risk the criticism. I can hear it now: "With all the controversies and urgent matters for the Church, Dolan spoke of conversion of heart through the Sacrament of Penance. Can you believe it?"
To which I reply, "You better believe it!"
First things first!
This theme was very much echoed by Cardinal Charles Chaput of Philadelphia in which he said that "Being a Saint is the Only Thing that Matters".  As the Cardinal stated:
“More than 70 million Americans describe themselves as Catholics. But for all practical purposes, they’re no different from everybody else in their views, their appetites and their behaviors.”
Cardinal Chaput went on to say that Catholics need to get back to basics:
“So we need to ask ourselves: What do I want my life to mean? If I claim to be a Catholic, can I prove it with the patterns of my life? When do I pray? How often do I seek out the Sacrament of Penance? What am I doing for the poor? How am I serving the needy? Do I really know Jesus Christ?”

“Who am I leading to the Church? How many young people have I asked to consider a vocation? How much time do I spend sharing about God with my spouse, my children and my friends? How well and how often do I listen for God’s will in my own life?”
One of the most important results of Barack Obama's re-election as president is that more and more Catholics are realizing that our salvation, both physical and spiritual, is not in politics, as shown in this editorial from catholicculture.org entitled "The End of Pro Life Politics.  As Dr. Jeff Mirus writes:
Have we as pro-life Catholics been wrong to invest the lion’s share of our time, talent and energy in the political battle against abortion over the past forty years? Or even if we have not been wrong the whole time, are we wrong now? Perhaps it is obvious that I believe the answer is yes. It ought to be clear by now that Western culture is insufficiently healthy to sustain a political solution to abortion. Therefore, it is counter-productive to pour our resources into the effort to achieve such a solution. We must use our resources far more wisely than that.
Dr. Mirus writes:
The time has come to admit the obvious and, in consequence, to speak the unspeakable. Is it not clear now that the social order as we know it in the West is utterly incapable of sustaining successful pro-life politics? The evidence is overwhelming. First, there is again the remarkable lack of success over the past forty years despite the staggering resources expended in the cause. Second, in the United States at least, this lack of success seems to conflict with polls that repeatedly show a majority of voters to prefer restrictions on abortion—which proves that such voters do not regard abortion as significant enough to influence their votes. Third, as indicated at the outset, the number of other serious social and political challenges which have so rapidly emerged in recent years are clear signs that our mainstream culture has problems far deeper than a disagreement about how to handle the question of legal abortion.
It is no longer satisfactory—in fact I would say it is disingenuous—to stress (for example, in response to the Obama juggernaut) that we simply need to go back to the trenches and mobilize more people and more resources in the same political effort next time around. Twenty-five years ago this seemed to make sense. Ten years ago people were reluctant to suggest that it did not. Today, anybody who thinks this is a reasonable response to the problems we face either has his head in the sand or possesses a vested interest in the economic viability of one or more of the many pro-life organizations which—almost certainly through no great fault of their own—simply cannot succeed.
What does Dr. Mirus see as the proper response to the evil surrounding us and the persecution of the Catholic Church?
Personally, I do not see this as cause for alarm, just as I do not see it as anything new. I think, rather, that we are just beginning to see our situation as it really is, after a generation and more of intense confusion over the signs of the times. This misreading of the signs has unfortunately caused us to waste enormous amounts of energy fighting not so much for Christ as for political outcomes which cannot be sustained without Christ. This does not mean that we must despair, though we are very likely in for a rough time. Nor does it mean, obviously, that we are absolved from voting morally. But it does mean that we ought to expend our greatest energies elsewhere, in widespread efforts to strengthen the Church, to develop our own Christian subculture complete with vibrant intermediary institutions, to evangelize our neighbors, and to offer practical service to any and all who, increasingly ill-served by a bureaucratic pagan State, may turn to us in their need.
This is, in fact, exactly what Christians had to do in the early centuries of the Church (and what they must never fail to do at any time, even when things happen to be going better politically). In other words, the answer to the disturbing question with which I opened this essay is clear. This is not the time to place the emphasis on politics, any more than it was time for politics when Karol Wojtyla was growing up in Poland. This is the time for Faith and family, evangelization and the formation of Christian culture.
This is not the time to waste immense resources and energies on political efforts which our larger Western culture cannot possibly sustain. It is rather a time to grow in Faith, evangelize those around us, and form vibrant local cultures which draw our neighbors into the light of Christ.
The re-election of Barack Obama has forced the Catholic Church to face reality with no place to hide.  Our enemy is firmly in control.  The GOP has made it it quite clear that they are no longer going to fight, if they ever did. The war started by Barack Obama against the Catholic Church will continue unabated and for all intents and purposes, unopposed by the Republicans.  As Politico told us two days after the election:
House Speaker John Boehner made it official Thursday: Obamacare isn’t going anywhere.
In an interview with ABC News, Boehner seemed to suggest the election ended any efforts to wipe out the whole law. When “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer asked if there would be any more votes to repeal the law, Boehner said “the election changes that” and “Obamacare is the law of the land.
If Mitt Romney had defeated Barack Obama, many Catholics would have heaved a sigh of relief with the belief that we will live to see another day.  We would have comforted ourselves with the thought that Romney would appoint the right judges to the Supreme Court who would make everything right.  God would come back into the public square.  The HHS Mandate would be lifted, and the Catholic Church could once again go about her business unimpeded.  In other words, we could put the blinders back on as to the real condition of the nation and our Church.

An Obama administration leave us with nowhere to hide and forces us to face our own spiritual nakedness.  We need to acknowledge and repent of the fact that the problems we as a Church face in 2012 are largely the result of both our own actions and inactions of the last 50 years   Catholics are realizing that while Barack Obama is the face of our enemy, our real fight is not against him.  Our fight is against our own disbelief and rejection of Church teachings, our lack of dependence upon and faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our indifference to the sin in our lives and our lack of repentance for it.  The solutions to our problems are spiritual, not political.

The message we are getting from our bishops and other leading voices in the Church is that the answer to the spiritual crisis in which we find ourselves is to rediscover our Catholic roots. We need to become Catholics again.

The best days of the United States are behind us.  We are headed for very dark and troubling times. The Culture of Death is firmly ensconced in our nation and our entire world, and all those who oppose it will be persecuted.  The Obama administration is not the cause of the great evil that we face but the symbol of it. As the Apostle Paul told us 2000 years ago:
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.  (Ephesians 6:12)
Barack Obama has galvanized the Church in a way no one and nothing else has been able to do and made us realize that we are in the fight of our lives, both physically and spiritually.  And that is why I as a Catholic am thankful for Barack Obama.

Pray for our bishops and priests that they will have the courage and fortitude to stand up to the evil that we all face, and pray for your own soul as well.  St. Paul gave us our marching orders in Ephesians 6:13-18:
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

¡Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!



4 comments:

  1. Be careful what you're grateful for. God permitted the Babylonian captivity in order to teach and chastise the Jews and how long did that last? Did your priest work the Sunday, November 25th reading about that from the Book of Daniel into his homily and warn that a similar oppression could soon be in store for Christians because so many have turned their backs to Jesus and his teachings?

    The Catholic laity who took up the struggle against abortion in the U.S. resorted to political efforts because they couldn't boot out indifferent or heretical priests and bishops. Today there are somewhat greater opportunities for the laity to take action because, in part due to some of the laity working in the political arena, apostolates that are alternatives or work-arounds to inactive bishops now exist.

    Bottom line: I blame the bishops. Too many were thrilled to hang out with Kennedys, pander to Better Red than Dead soviet fronts, and demand an ever bigger Welfare State than to do the tasks only they are empowered by God to do.

    Even after our bishops realized that Obama had been telling them bald-faced lies about Obamacare and the mandates of Obama's HHS, our most prominent U.S. bishops were still licking Obama's hands - figuratively speaking - during the 2012 election year.

    Suppose Dr. Mirus's advice is heeded, what then? When bishops return to their teaching role and their priests begin to thunder against cohabitation, contraception, abortion and divorce just you watch females flee the pews. That will be followed by a round of parish consolications and church closings like you've never seen. Bishops will be under intense pressure (though their bretheren overseas - viz. China - have it much, much worse) to turn aside. Some will likely be threatened with imprisonment. Recall the Babylonian Captivity. Most of the tribes of Israel never returned from it.

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    Replies
    1. I understand what you are saying. But the reality is there are no more political solutions to the evil we face. The reason the country is now ruled by the Culture of Death is because the majority of the Catholic Church rejected Humanae Vitae. The bishops have their part in this, but we can't put all the blame on them. They most certainly should have preached much more about the evils in society, but the truth is, this is what the laity wanted.

      I most definitely do not want to go through the coming persecution. But there are millions of souls right now who are being lost, and this is the only hope of saving their souls. The persecution started by Obama has served to awaken the bishops, they are now starting to preach what they should have been preaching all along. That is why I'm grateful to Obama.

      We are in the path of a spiritual tsunami that is going to be devastating to this country and to the world. There is nothing we can do to stop it.

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  2. I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    Creator of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, his only Son,
    our Lord,
    who was conceived
    by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died and was buried;
    he descended into hell;
    on the third day he rose again
    from the dead;
    he ascended into heaven,
    and is seated at the right hand
    of God the Father almighty;
    from there he will come to judge
    the living and the dead.
    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting. Amen.

    ReplyDelete

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