October 25, 2014

Catholic Politicians Who Attack Church Should Remember God’s Judgment

With stern words Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois warned Catholic politcians last Friday that any collaboration with “assaults against the faith” would one day face the judgment of God. Orthodox bishops should take notice.

The report states:

When asked specifically about recent actions of Democratic Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Kathleen Sebelius and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Bishop Jenky replied “I am utterly scandalized.”

“The Lord once said ‘if you deny me at the end, I will deny you,’ this from our most merciful, good Savior. And so if it is a choice between Jesus Christ and political power or getting favorable editorials in leftist papers, well, that’s simply not a choice.”

Some leaders in the Catholic Church compromised with secular politicians for many decades, just as Orthodox leaders have done. The difference is that the Catholic Church remained clear about the moral precepts protecting innocent life while in some (fortunately rare) cases Orthodox leadership muddied the tradition to curry favor with the politicians. The cost has been incalculable. Today resistance is the only option says Bp. Jenky:

Determined secularists see the Catholic Church as the largest institutional block to a completely secularized society and not for the first, and probably not for the last time, we’re under assault,” he said drawing parallels with the anti-Catholic “Kulturkampf” in late 19th century Germany or the anti-clerical laws in France in the early 20th century.

He’s right. If the Catholic Church can be silenced, then the largest impediment to the secular advance is removed. Christians of other communions will also be silenced under the rubric of tolerance, open-mindedness, and more recently public health (Obamacare). When the voice is silenced, then the precepts the Christian moral tradition can be erased from the historical memory. Western Christendom will slip into unimaginable darkness, worse than the catastrophe from which East Christendom is emerging.

The Manhattan Declaration anticipated conflicts of the type we see today between the Obama Administration and the Catholic Church. It warned all Christians that a time was coming when the denial of God at the heart of secular ideologies would force the Christian into a choice: either abandon the Christian faith or resist the ideology.

That time has come. All Christians who know that Christ has indeed risen from the dead and that death has been overthrown, become brothers against the ideas that exalt death as a tool of social progress. The Catholic is my brother, as is the Baptist, Lutheran, Anglican, Pentecostal, Methodist, Jew, and anyone else who chooses life over barbarism.

Note too that some Orthodox bishops signed the Manhattan Declaration. They understand what the Christian religion gives the culture, and what a culture without Christianity would be like.

God bless and protect the Catholic Church. God bless and protect us.

Related articles:
Senators Sarbanes and Snowe Betray the Moral Heritage of the Orthodox Christian Faith
A patriarch who ‘generally speaking, respects human life’

Source CNA/EWTN News

Politicians who consider themselves Catholic but collaborate in “the assault against their faith” should remember they will one day have to give account for their acts before God, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois said Feb 10.

“There is a last judgment. There is a particular judgment. May they change their minds and may God have mercy on them,” he told CNA during his visit to Rome.

When asked specifically about recent actions of Democratic Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Kathleen Sebelius and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Bishop Jenky replied “I am utterly scandalized.”

“The Lord once said ‘if you deny me at the end, I will deny you,’ this from our most merciful, good Savior. And so if it is a choice between Jesus Christ and political power or getting favorable editorials in leftist papers, well, that’s simply not a choice.”

Both Sebelius and Rep. Pelosi have been at the forefront of attempts to force Catholic institutions to cover contraception, sterilizations and abortifacients as part of their staff’s health insurance plans.

Bishop Jenky said there are too many Catholic politicians in the U.S. who “like to wear green sweaters on St. Patrick’s Day and march” or “have their pictures taken with the hierarchy” or “have conspicuous crosses on their forehead with ashes” but who then “not only do not live their faith they collaborate in the assault against their faith.”

The 64-year-old Chicago native is currently making his “ad limina” visit to Rome to discuss the state of his diocese with the Pope and the Vatican. He is part of a larger episcopal delegation from the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Bishop Jenky said the issue of religious freedom in the United States has featured in all their meetings so far, including their audience with Pope Benedict XVI Feb. 9.

 “Determined secularists see the Catholic Church as the largest institutional block to a completely secularized society and not for the first, and probably not for the last time, we’re under assault,” he said drawing parallels with the anti-Catholic “Kulturkampf” in late 19th century Germany or the anti-clerical laws in France in the early 20th century.

“I am a Holy Cross religious and my own community had six colleges in France and they turned our mother house chapel into a stable,” he said. As for the United States in 2012, “it is always difficult to predict the future but the intensity of hatred against Catholic Christianity in elements of our culture is just astounding.”
 
He believes the present White House administration is also motivated by a “determined secularism,” while Communist dictator Joseph Stalin would “admire the uniformity of the American press, with some exceptions.”

In 2010 the Illinois legislature voted to legalize same-sex civil unions, a move which led to the closure of Catholic foster care services. This, said the bishop, took the Church “entirely out of the work that we started when the State of Illinois could not have cared less about beggar kids running up and down the streets.”

Bishop Jenky is very conscious of this patrimony of Catholic schools, hospitals and other social services “built by the sacrifice of Catholic believers” in previous generations of Illinois Catholics. “There weren’t a lot of multi-millionaires who built the churches, opened those orphanages or built those schools,” he said. 

The bishop fears that socially liberal elites ultimately want to secularize such institutions by stealth. “I assume that is the underlying goal,” he suggested, “so that is robbing Christ but it is also robbing the heritage of generations of believers. So we would try to resist this in every way possible. It would be an incredible injustice.”

In conversation, he quoted the stark 2010 prediction of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, “I will die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” So is Bishop Jenky prepared for prison or worse?

“I hope I would always prefer Christ to anything so, if it came to it, yes but I would be one of the trembling martyrs.”

He recalled how in ancient Rome some Christians would run towards their martyrdom. He, on the other hand, would “probably be walking down the Forum with eyes downcast a little.”

“I think most of the bishops of our Church, though, would be faithful to Christ above anything, including our own personal freedom.”

Comments

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    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

    “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)

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    Anil Wang says:

    The key problem is that Hell just isn’t talked about in homilies. God is love, but the love spoken of is more often is affection and “niceness” rather than self-sacrifice or total self-donation for the sake of the other. As a result, Catholic politicians aren’t worried about judgment since “God’s a nice guy and makes no demands on us”.

    The following cartoon highlights the problem:
    http://swordofpeter.blogspot.com/2012/01/st-francis-true-story.html

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    Father Hans, thank you for writing the truth. My fervent hope and prayer is that our Orthodox bishops *do* take notice. We have so many genuine, well-intentioned hierarchs, and I hope those “who have ears to hear” will listen! Prolifers knew from the start what was coming from any administration so devoted to killing preborn children (even already *born* children, literally, as IL Sen. Obama championed the murder of any innocent child who survived an attempted abortion). Too many of our Orthodox faithful, however, were “duped” (as Fr Peter Preble put it) by the world, the flesh and the Devil that they could not (or would not) see the signs of the times. And too many remain so.

    To be sure, we have enemies; there are wolves among the sheep. But I like to think that the vast majority of those who, for instance, vote for any so-called “prochoice” politician, are well-intentioned, just weak in the Faith (including the Ecumenical Patriarch). And I like to think this weakness is not all their fault, but the cumulative product of decades of worldly lies. (So in a sense it is all our faults for the shameful degree we have all become worldly.) What we need to focus on then, in reaching our own who have been “duped,” including our clergy and hierarchs, is helping them see the modern disconnect between what we profess we believe is God’s revealed goodness for all mankind, and what we’re actually doing (or not doing) / saying (or not saying) about it, out of that same love for mankind (and ourselves). Our actions prove what our beliefs *really* are. So, for example, if we profess the Church’s teaching that abortion is murder and harms the mother & father as well as kills the child, irreparably harms society and destroys the souls of those involved, we would speak and act and vote according to the gravity of the issue, if we genuinely believe and if we genuinely love our neighbor.

    But so many of our beloved brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Church have been brought up in mindsets that are either no longer true or no longer applicable in the modern context. Any political party, for instance, that supports killing the most innocent and vulnerable citizens, is no longer “the people’s party.” How can a politician be considered someone defending “the little guy” if s/he fights to slaughter the littlest? But for so many, what our parents taught us is difficult to go against, even in the face of modern facts.

    I take heart that many Orthodox have finally made a healthy disassociation between their nationality and their Christianity. It took decades too long, and some are still trapped in phyletism (still promoting Hellenism as the salvation of the world), but many have come to appreciate their ethnicity while not enshrining it as Co-Redemptrix. The same thing now must happen with political loyalties and ideologies. Our allegiance must be with Christ and His Church, following His teachings, and conforming our thinking to His Word and His Direction, over and above anything else.

    So I think it is equally true for the faithful vis-a-vis others *within* the Church as well as without it, that “The Enlightened are called to Enlighten.” This we must do, of course, both by personal example and by speaking out. And we must keep in mind the admonition of St Paul, that in correcting our brother we be humbly ready to be corrected for our own sins as well!

    As for the wolves among the sheep, we cannot expect our words to fall on anything except deaf ears. All we can do is pray for them personally –because the root of their being wolves is a deep internal struggle which they are currently losing– pray for Jesus to soften their hearts. They are not open to our words or example or even to Christian reason. As St Paul says, “There have to be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” May Christ have mercy on them and bring them (and us) to repentance!

    Fr Mark Hodges
    +

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    Fr. Peter says:

    Historically speaking, every government that has become Socialist or Communist has removed the church from the equation. The Church is the moral compass of a society and if that is removed then the government can do what it wants. Just ask the Christians in Eastern Europe!

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    cynthia curran says:

    Well, the Republican polticians are not perfect either which makes it easier for someone to vote for Obama with his hardline on abortion. Reading Gore Vidal recently the left has a hatred for rich people that isn’t rational which is another reason to opposed the Democratic party even if the Republicans like Grover Norquist like to keep the tax credits to support the Agri-business that some people like be close. Personality, you could rise taxes by closing loopholes on people like Buffett without directly rising taxes.

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    cynthia curran says:

    Well, I think Basil’s Law Code in the 9th century address that abortion can be done if the mother’s life is endanger. In fact, I have never seen any orthodox discuss either the Theodosian Code, or Justinian Code or Basil’s code in regard to abortion mainly Protestants.

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    cynthia curran says:

    I mean if only her life is endanger.

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  1. [...] an immediate cultural context. In our case the defense of human life is that context (Mark Hodges stated it beautifully) since the defense of life is at the heart of all our problems. Put in theological terms it means [...]

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