Thursday, October 30, 2008

Into the Home Stretch

The Faithful Citizenship Fire Sale continues -- 96 hours and all statements must go... and, boy, are they dropping at a quick clip.

First, from the Kentucky heartland, Bishop Ron Gainer of Lexington asked that "in view of the distortions of Catholic teaching on the national and local levels," his pastors read a letter on formation of conscience -- with an exposition of "THE paramount issue of our time" -- at all Masses this weekend and "mail" it in the parish bulletins....

As it's in .pdf, here's the original text as transmitted to the diocese earlier today:

...and from KCMO, the third strong intervention of recent weeks from Bishop Robert Finn, titled "Warriors with Our Eyes Fixed on Heaven":
I am sometimes amazed at the casual manner with which Christians, Catholics included, take up our life within what Pope John Paul II rightly called the "culture of death." The Church, by comparison, reminds us that we are engaged - by reason of our Baptism and Confirmation - in a battle, "not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities and powers, with the rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in heaven." (Eph 6:12) Jesus Christ has won the ultimate battle, but we, in the course of our human life must make our choice, determining on whose side we will live and die. Whose side will you choose?!

What is at stake in this battle is our immortal soul, our salvation. My responsibility as bishop is with the eternal destiny of those entrusted to my care. My total energies must be directed to the well being of those who otherwise may come under the spell of a radically flawed and fundamentally distorted moral sense, at odds with what our Mother the Church teaches. There are objective and transcendent truths. There is such a thing as right and wrong. There is a legitimate hierarchy of moral evils, and the direct willful destruction of human life can never be justified; it can never be supported. Do you believe this firm teaching of the Church?

Did you know that in Canada priests and Christian ministers have already been brought before tribunals for preaching and teaching in support of marriage? They are charged with "hate speech" against homosexuality. In light of the tyranny of choice growing each day in our own beloved country, we ought to be ready for similar attacks on religious freedom. We must not fail to preach the Gospel. We can not withhold the truth of our faith. That is why I will never be silent about human life. It is why I am proud of so many others - bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity - who are not afraid to speak out about the values that matter most. What about you?!

Our Lord told His apostles that they would be hated by the world, just as He was. Nearly all of them died a martyr's death. As warriors in the Church militant, we must never resort to violence. But we must stand up fearlessly against the agents of death, the enemies of human life. Human beings are not Satan, but we know too well that they can come under his spell. They can become willing agents of death, numbed and poisoned in this culture of death. What about you?!
A former editor of his hometown St Louis Review before being sent to NCR's home-base in 2004, Finn's made the shortlist for the chairmanship of the US bishops' Committee for Communications, whose next holder will be decided at the coming November Meeting.

The Missouri prelate's competition: Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles.

Suffice it to say, it'd be a little difficult to mistake one for the other.

SVILUPPO: ...and another -- from Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice in Florida, "mailed" in all bulletins over last weekend.

Fulltext; emphases original:
October 25, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As you are all aware, next week our country will conduct its political elections and in so doing, choose its public officials. Many of you have spoken and written to me on this matter, sometimes requesting that I endorse a political party or candidate: that is something I cannot do.

However, as Bishop, it is my responsibility to instruct the faithful regarding the Church’s teaching on moral issues, the most important being the right to life and dignity of every person, from conception till natural death. These issues are fundamental to the health of any society and should therefore, be carefully considered when voting for a particular candidate. After all, in voting we are making moral choices.

The Second Vatican Council has taught that the laity are not to relinquish their participation in ‘public life’, but instead fulfill their proper task of infusing the temporal order with Christian values. This teaching would apply for instance, to the act of voting for a political candidate or public official, which I encourage you to do.

In assisting you in properly forming your conscience before voting, I would recommend that you consult with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. These two works highlight the Church’s teaching on our moral responsibility to promote the common good.

As Catholics, we are called upon to respect and protect the rights of all, especially, the unborn child, the weakest and most vulnerable among us. At the same time, the family, the basic unit of society, must be safeguarded, promoted, and protected based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman.

In affirming these rights of natural law, it is often argued that Catholics are promoting their own “personal values” which do not apply to other citizens. This accusation is false inasmuch as rights, such as the right to life and dignity of ever person are common to all people, regardless of their personal belief. These fundamental rights cannot be denied by any individual or group as they are intrinsic God-given rights which we must affirm, and above all, protect.

As you discern your choices of public officials, be assured of my prayers for you and your families.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J. Dewane
Bishop of Venice in Florida