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Christian Citizenship

by Fr. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem.

 

St. Paul admonishes the Thessalonians today with the words: “[Know] brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.”  We were chosen without any merit on our part.  We were loved first.  Something similar happened to Cyrus to whom God said: “Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I grasp…For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel, my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.”  So for each one of us, there was a choosing, an election.  And God voted for us.  He voted to give us life, to guard us, to share his life with us.

The only appropriate response is to choose God in our turn.  We do that by fulfilling the two great commandments: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Speaking of elections, our nation is once again faced with choices.  And those choices once again boil down simply to following those two commandments of love.  But the enemy of our race, the Devil, is always on the prowl to sow seeds of discord error and doubt into the hearts of the Faithful.

Many Catholics have been deceived into believing that their faith has no place in the public forum.  We have been told that we cannot be good citizens and faithful Catholics, that our beliefs have no place in the life of our nation, that we do not count.  Though Catholics comprise one quarter of this nations citizens, though we have contributed greatly to the common good of our country through Catholic schools, hospitals, social services, though we have honestly paid our taxes, all because of our Catholic Faith, yet we are told to keep our faith quiet and private when it comes time to vote.  Apparently, this injunction applies only to Catholics, as if only Catholic beliefs are illegitimate.  [But I would like to point out that a system of government where each person has a right to vote according to his beliefs has a name: it’s called a democracy].

These people are like new Pharisees, who want to trick Catholics into remaining silent in the public forum.  They tell us not to vote or even speak publicly in defense of the unborn or of marriage and family.  They say that we are being political, when we ought to keep those ideas to ourselves.  How are we today to distinguish between the things of Caesar and the things of God?  The principle that the Lord laid down then holds true today.  If today someone came to Jesus and asked Him, should we obey civil authority when it protects the taking or manipulation of innocent human life, when it sanctions unnatural substitutes for the human family?  I suppose that Jesus would say to them: You hypocrites!  Bring me a child, bring me the human family.  Whose image do you find there, and whose inscription?  Then He would quote for us the words of Genesis: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.”  Therefore, render unto God the things of God! 

Jesus said that Christians are the light of the world, a city on a hill.  He commanded us to teach all nations the saving truths of the Gospel.  We cannot be private disciples of Christ: this is itself contrary to the Gospel since we must love our neighbor enough to share with him the good news of salvation. 

Nearly all of the martyrs died because they would not keep silent in the face of injustice contrary to the law of God.  John the Baptist died for defending the sanctity of marriage.  He was told by Herod to be quiet, to keep his faith to himself.  Most of the early Roman martyrs died in witness to the truth that there is only one God: idols are not gods, Caesar was not God.  Countless martyrs died under the Communist and Nazi regimes because they would not remain silent about injustice.  Will we ally ourselves with those noble witnesses who throughout the ages shed their blood in the ultimate testimony to Christ, or will we disown them?  How can we claim we are Christians when the weakest, most innocent members of our society, the unborn children, are being systematically destroyed, and we refuse to use our power to vote as citizens to stop this unspeakable crime against humanity? 

As the national elections draw near, once again we are presented with a choice between life and death.  Some of the candidates have pledged to defend life from conception to natural death, others to defend a right to abortion on demand.  Most do so unapologetically.  Where once abortion was supposed to be rare and tolerated as a lesser evil, now it is proclaimed as a right necessary to make women equal to men.  [aside about feminism and respect of men for women]   

It is true that some will try to justify abortion as a necessary evil to preserve a greater good.  “We must defend the right to choose” they claim.  That is a lie.  They are not even pro-choice.  How can someone claim to defend choice by snuffing out a whole lifetime of choices, millions of beautiful, peaceful choices by a single brutal, ugly choice?  When they won’t give a little child even the choice to live or die? 

Others will say “we are helping women who are in difficult situations.”  That is a lie.  We do not help women by teaching them to take the easy way out, to use violence to get what they want.  [Mother Theresa: Abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace in the world…]  If you love someone, don’t help them destroy their children, help them to raise their children.  St. Paul once wrote: “Love does no harm to the neighbor, hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.”  And who is more the neighbor of a woman than her unborn child who rests nestled in her womb depending completely upon her for life and safety?  By abortion, women are not helped to love in difficult circumstances, and so they are not helped to become happy. 

There is a more subtle deception by which the devil hopes to persuade believers into perpetuating the holocaust of abortion.  He tries to confuse them by placing abortion side by side with other problems like healthcare and poverty and the environment.  The devil tries to convince the Christian that it is OK to vote for a pro-abortion candidate because they are better about healthcare, poverty or the environment, or some other social issue.  Sadly, even bishops have been deceived by such fallacious reasoning.  This too is a lie.  The most fundamental good upon which all other goods rest is life itself.  Without life there is no health, without life there is no economy.  If each child alive in the womb today could cast a vote in the next election, you can be sure that their primary concern would not be healthcare or the economy or the environment.  Their primary concern would be that more than one-third of them will die by abortion before they see the light of day.  You can be sure that unborn children would vote 100 percent pro-life.  We Catholics must be the voice for these silent ones, we must cast our vote on their behalf.  If I locked the doors of the church and told you that 1/3 of you will be violently killed unless abortion ends in our country, I think I know how you would vote!  So it really comes down to this:  You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself!  Do you really love your neighbor as yourself?  Do you love the unborn child in the womb as yourself?   

The first duty of a ruler is to defend the lives of his citizens: our children are our country’s greatest natural resource.  If a person will not defend the right to life, how serious can he be about those other rights?  A person who believes that it is acceptable to take the life of an innocent, helpless child is not even fit to be a citizen, much less a ruler of a civilized nation. 

Since abortion was legalized in our nation over 60 million innocent lives have been taken by abortion.  In comparison, fewer than 3 million Americans have died combined in all the wars since the founding of our nation.   Jesus suffered terribly and died for each and every one of those innocent children, and they didn’t even have the chance to be baptized.  Those are God’s children, and do you think that their blood does not cry from the earth for justice?  Vote for who you like, it is a free country, but I for one do not want to stand before God and those 60 million souls to render an account of my pro-abortion vote on judgment day, that last election, when God will cast the final ballot on my soul. 

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