Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Same road

The Catholic teaching (meaning the real one) looks pretty much straightforward, so it comes as a huge disappointment that 86 Catholic (?) legislators (h/t CMR) voted in favor of the bill (the final vote: 219-212), despite strong opposition by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It seems the 2002 CDF pronouncement fell on deaf ears.

In November 24, 2002 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a DOCTRINAL NOTE on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life.

Its introduction states:

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, having received the opinion of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, has decided that it would be appropriate to publish the present Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life. This Note is directed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church and, in a particular way, to Catholic politicians and all lay members of the faithful called to participate in the political life of democratic societies.

In the light of recent developments, the Doctrinal Note is worth reiterating, and is exemplified by some excerpts from section 4 (emphasis mine).

[4]...John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a «grave and clear obligation to oppose» any law that attacks human life. (Evangelium Vitae) For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.

In this context, it must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. Nor can a Catholic think of delegating his Christian responsibility to others; rather, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives him this task, so that the truth about man and the world might be proclaimed and put into action.

When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility. In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands, Christians must recognize that what is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of the human person. This is the case with laws concerning abortion...

What is it with this Vatican note that Catholics find very difficult to understand? With respect to declining fidelity to the Magisterium, there is an alarming trend that indicates the word 'Catholic' is now taken for granted. The outstanding thing is that there appears to be very strong state-of-denials, as each one is wont to have a personal brand of 'Catholicism'. I recently asked one US-based friend who celebrated the passage of the bill: What about the prolife concerns? He responded rather firmly (and quite indignantly, I felt) that the health care bill IS prolife, and that he IS prolife for supporting it. I guess that puts him in common ground with those LCWR nuns. House Speaker Pelosi, it can also be remembered, once said she was "an ardent, practicing Catholic".
Here in the supposedly more conservative Philippines, I believe the signs are already there. Same road.

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