I know many of you may come to Mass hoping to have some respite from politics. But when we see our world, our country, and what we are reduced to as a society, we may very well ask “how did it come to this?” It didn’t happen overnight.
The following excerpts come from a talk Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia gave on Sept. 15, 2016.
“...the task of renewing a society is much more long term than a trip every few years to the voting booth. And it requires a different kind of people. It demands that we be different people.”
“The truth about our sexuality is that infidelity, promiscuity, sexual confusion and mass pornography create human wreckage. Multiply that wreckage by tens of millions of persons over five decades. What you get is what we have now: a dysfunctional culture of frustrated and wounded people increasingly incapable of permanent commitments, self sacrifice and sustained intimacy, and unwilling to face the reality of their own problems.”
“As families and religious faith break down, the power of the state grows. Government fills in the spaces left behind by mediating institutions.... Left to itself, democracy tends toward a kind of soft totalitarianism in which even a person’s most intimate concerns, from his sexual relations to his religious convictions, are swallowed by the political process.”
“We now live in a country where marriage, family and traditional religion all seem to be failing. And – inevitably — support for democracy itself has dropped. Fewer than 30% of U.S. millennials think that it’s vital to live in a nation ruled democratically.”
“...This didn’t happen overnight. And it didn’t happen by accident. We behaved ourselves into this mess by living a collection of lies.”
“Writing for the majority in Casey, Justice Anthony Kennedy claimed that ‘At the heart of liberty is the right to determine one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.’ This is the perfect manifesto of a liberal democratic fantasy: the sovereign, self-creating self. But it’s a lie.
It’s the very opposite of real Christian freedom. And to the degree we excuse or cooperate with it, we make ourselves liars.”
“only the truth, makes us free. We’re fully human and free only when we live under the authority of the truth. And in that light, no issue has made us more dishonest and less free as believers and as a nation than abortion.
“People uncomfortable with the abortion issue argue, quite properly, that Catholic teaching is big- ger than just one issue. Other urgent issues also need our attention. Being pro-birth is not the same as being prolife. And being truly ‘prolife’ doesn’t end with defending the unborn child. But it does and it must begin there.”
“In every abortion, an innocent life always dies. This is why no equivalence can ever exist between the intentional killing involved in abortion, infanticide and euthanasia on the one hand, and issues like homelessness, the death penalty and anti-poverty policy on the other. Again, all of these is- sues are important. But trying to reason or imply them into having the same moral weight is a debasement of Christian thought.
“...the task of renewing the life of our nation requires a different kind of people. It demands that we be different people. The power of the powerless, Václav Havel once wrote, consists not in clever political strategies but in the simple daily discipline of living within the truth and refusing to lie.” END QUOTE
My dear friends, this living within the truth is called humility, and it is the lesson of this week’s readings. Our Gospel teaches us that humility is the recognition that no matter what our accomplish- ments, we still stand in need of the Lord. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
May the Lord hear our prayers, as we cry out to him,
God bless you all,
Father Robert Letona