In light of the fact that concerns have been expressed about my inclusion of comments related to political issues I feel it appropriate to reply.
First thank you to each of you for your insights and convictions. They are deeply valued and important. It is not my intent to devalue or offend anyone. It is always my intent that we all are challenged to pray and consider what is shared…and GROW in the faith and our walk with Christ. As those of you who have shared in the Bible studies at St. John’s and St. Peter’s know dealing with issues, however controversial, with courteous, sincere and prayerful discussion in the light of Scripture and the Catechesis of our Church is something I believe to be essential. My reflections hold those same convictions. As for concerns that what I share my offend some and result in less ‘followers’ that is a dynamic I have been well aware of from the earliest days of my ministry. But it has not and cannot be the basis of my sharing. I freely recognize what I share is but simple insights and that I am no theologian or Bible scholar. I recognize and respect the higher offices of the priests and bishops, the whole people of God. I also recognize their humanity that is shared with us all. To simplify, I am only a very simple servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. I seek to share that which I believe He asks me to share. That I share imperfectly and fail to share all He would ask I also, sadly recognize and ask His and your forgiveness. I seek only to be the simple faithful servant I am.
Now about including political issues: As a teacher I strongly believe we must face the issues in our world in the full light of Truth, Who is Jesus Christ. That means we need to recognize issues such as the pandemic, the fires and political issues. In my reflections leading up to the election I sought to do so but especially to foster a mature discernment of the broad picture of what is occurring. What I said in the reflection on Sunday was perhaps political but it was also my honest observation of what I see as a man who is sadly mentally unwell. I meant no disrespect to anyone. I shared only from my experiences of working with and for those who struggle with mental health problems. That this sad dynamic is having an immense impact on the Constitutional well being of our country I would think is seen by most. I see it as a preeminent reality as we are called to celebrate and honor Christ our King.
For everyone and especially for those troubled by those few words please read and reflect on the entire message I shared. No it wasn’t about abortion, politics or the pandemic. Those are but relevant points leading to what I believe is so urgent and needed. Christ is our King. And we need to serve Him with all our hearts as He enables and guides each of us through these intense trials.
But about abortion and the political battles in our country and world. First I would hope all would know I am opposed, passionately, to abortion. I see the sacredness of life of the unborn to be an indisputable truth. However I believe in what some may call: “Consistent Whole Life”. I see each human soul, whether unborn, devoutly faithful to God and Church, poor ,homeless person , extraordinarily wealthy, Republican or Democrat, in prison or even on death row, an immigrant, legal or illegal, each man, woman, girl or boy to be as sacred as the unborn child. I believe also that the majority of those who procure or support or even perform abortions do so without the full truth, compassion and support they need to realize there is a better way. So as a result I cannot agree that abortion is the preeminent matter. (Please understand the words of the USCCB were NOT ex cathedra and neither is their agreement among the Bishops on this).
This leads me to a long held conviction of the battle for the unborn. I feel it has become far too political. It is a matter of moral values, faith values, values of the heart. Values that politics and politicians are not known to excel in. It saddens me that other matters of respect life are of lesser importance to so many pro-life causes. Euthanasia is recognized as wrong but rarely addressed with matching concern. Health care, providing care for the sacred life of these already BORN is often seen by some pro-life folks as a socialist cause. Response to refugees and immigrants that sees no value to those struggling to escape oppression or of families with their children worthy only to be caged and sent away seems, to me cruel and brutal.
I know this may strike many as naive and absurd but I believe that prayerfully we CAN listen, dialogue and work together on common values of LIFE. For traditional pro-life voters to listen, learn and realize WITH those who may embrace pro-abortion, pro-choice stances that common ground can be discovered. And from that common ground bridges built to overcome these evils. In other words I do not have much faith in the political approaches in dealing with these matters. I do have faith that Christ our King will, through His Holy Spirit lead all who are willing to grow in their realization of the sacredness of all life, unborn or aged, holy and pious or struggling and broken.
This discussion is much like those shared in our Bible studies. Hopefully we may soon return to those blessings. But the sharing of our hearts and our seeking of our King for grace and guidance will only grow, regardless of the topic or times.
God be with you all as we seek to protect and cherish all life as a sacred gift.