Friday, August 12, 2005

Papist Politicians

At the inception of this country long before the revolution there was a sense that people could come here from the old world to the colonies for the sake of religious freedom. Of course this only applied to those who were not of the Catholic faith. The bias against Catholics caused the foundation of the colony of Maryland. Yet, even then, eventually the Catholics were outsourced from Maryland to other places in the Northeastern part of the future United States. Even until the end of the Civil War there were places where Catholics could not legally live. There was a political party devoted to anti-Catholicism and there were times when being a Catholic separated you from getting a meaningful job or insurance. One of the primary targets of the KKK was all of the insidious papists. Today, after the civil rights movement one would think that something was different.

Unfortunately it seems that when it comes to anti-Catholicism in the United States not too much has changed save there are no signs in store shop windows stating that Catholics need not apply. This can be seen widely in the hype surrounding the appointment of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court. It seems that it is still not considered to be very American to hold a high office and be a faithful Catholic.

Most of us thought that we were past the days when Catholic politicians would have to claim that their faith would not effect their judgment in their capacity as a public servant. However, those days are obviously not behind us. It could be said that it is a direct result of our nation abandoning its governmental system of a Republic for a more democratic form that has brought rise to this problem once again. In a republic we in effect elect our rulers. There is no real direct correlation between what the people necessarily want and what the politicians decide to do. This is because a pure democracy is “mob rule” and the masses are truly not able to rule themselves. Some may find this statement crude and defamatory to the average person, however, when the average person cannot tell you who the Vice President of the US is, then it is a valid point to state that the Republic form of government saves the people from themselves.

In any case, the relation with my point is that as the people feel that it is their right to determine their own course they feel that their freedom is violated by a politician voting for truth over what they desire. However, objectively it is necessary for the ruler to go against the will of the people when it is for the good. This is at root a problem with what is a common error in the United States and that is the confusion between license and freedom. This I will discuss in at a later date but it seems to be the root of most of our problems in the western world.

In effect this problem with individual license and freedom is brought to bare when a Catholic (a faithful Catholic) is elected or appointed to public office because this person knows that his role in the government requires him to go against the will of the people at times when the good is at sake. Due to the fact that some of the political forces of today exploit the modern subjectivism that is found “in the air” there seems to always be a reaction to a faithful Catholic seeking and attaining high office.

Some would argue that this may not be completely so because of some figures in the United States are Catholic such as Justices Thomas and Scalia and the former President Kennedy and the previous presidential candidate Senator Kerry to name a few. However I would contend that the struggle to appoint the two justices to the Supreme Court and their constant criticism is directly related to their Catholicism. President Kennedy and his family were among those Catholic politicians that were the first to, in a sense, renounce their faith in favor of their political office and most modern Catholic politicians like John Kerry et al are perfect examples of “cafeteria Catholics” who pick and choose their beliefs based upon the changing winds of polling data.

It is the hope of faithful Catholics that there will be a number of politicians who are Catholic that stand up for their faith even at the risk of their own careers. Perhaps soon we will find a politician who will stand as a martyr to the faith not in the spilling of their blood but in the loss of political capital. To compromise the faith for the sake of power is a troubling situation that some people find themselves in due to their choices. It is my hope that they will begin to choose the faith or else they may, in the end, find themselves associated not with a donkey or an elephant but with the goats at Christ’s left.


At Monday, August 29, 2005 6:05:00 PM, Blogger Lilliana said...

This topic of Catholic politicians has always been of great interest to me. At first thought the title Catholic politician is an oxymoron. The definition of today's politician is someone who will do and say whatever they can to get into a political office with no real moral convictions. This is of course not true of all politicians but there are a great majority of this type. A Catholic is a person who believes all that the church believes, listens to God as their highest authority, and struggles with issues of the church etc. So in considering these two definitions I find that it really is an contradiction of terms.
I would love to see a politician who was a true Catholic but at this point there is no real go examples. All of the Catholics that I have witnessed or learned of run for office say that they are first an American, politician before they are a Catholic. They are Politicians who happen to be Catholic. Or these "Catholic" politicians (in quotes because this is what they call themselves) are as often called "cafeteria Catholics" they pick and choose the morals and/or ethics that they believe. There is intrinsically a problem with the idea of being a political catholic. To be catholic one must have Catholicism permeate their entire being. This means that they cannot separate their catholic beliefs from their political decisions. I would love to see a Catholic politician actually be a Catholic. I have heard all of the arguments against this and frankly I don't care. There are Politicians who claim to have liberal beliefs and these beliefs permeate their political decisions. So what is the difference, I ask you?
We could take all human beliefs out of politics. Of course we could do this... just take the humans out. I know ...use computers. Lets see where this leads us. Lets have a few more real Catholic Politicians to balance out all of the liberal politicians.


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