Sunday, October 5, 2008

What Would St. Thomas More Do?

This really touches home for me. Believe it or not, my heart is with the Democratic Party. But, alas, the party took that heart and pierced it like the are doing to so many unborn babies. I realized I didn't leave the Democratic Party, they left me. So now I am in looking for pro-life Democratics like my Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather. Except on the local level it is very hard to find one. The following is the story of St. Thomas More and his struggles in similar chalenges we face today.

'By the age of fifty-five, as a lawyer, officer of the realm, husband, father, popular citizen, speaker, and writer, he had achieved as much fame, wealth, professional success, and genuine affection as any person could desire.'

'Nevertheless, for what most called a foolish scruple of conscience, he threw all that away and died three years later -- alone -- in broken health. His closest political colleagues abandoned him; he was condemned as a traitor, beheaded, and his head placed on a spike on a bridge.'

Thomas Moore

These days, faithful Catholics
lose elections; in Thomas More's
day, they lost their lives.
Thomas More knew that.
He knew that the lustful Henry VIII
might kill him for his fidelity to the Church.
. . . which is why More constantly asked,
'How much evil can I tolerate?
Where must I take my stand?'
Those were dangerous questions
in a dangerous time, yet as a politician
--- a Catholic politician ---
fear never caused Thomas More to waver:

'In a storm,' he said,
'you don't abandon ship
just because you
can't control the wind.'

Today, winds of a fierce new anti-Catholicism buffet us. Just two days ago, the most powerful political party in America declared the following:

'The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.'

That's you and me they oppose
. . . and any Catholic politician who agrees
with the Church that abortion is murder.
When that threatening clause was debated,
did a new Thomas More risk his life by rising to denounce it?
Did even one major Catholic Democrat
risk the displeasure of his party
by staying faithful to the Church?
Far from it!
Indeed, the Party's nominee for Vice-President
(a position equivalent in power to Thomas More's)
is a Mass-going Catholic whose support for so-called 'abortion rights' was just declared 'seriously wrong' by the Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput.
So wrong, says the Archbishop, that
'I presume his integrity will lead him
to refrain from presenting himself
for Communion.'

Henry VIII was also once
a Mass-going Catholic . . .

. . . a politician with faith so strong he wrote A Defense of the Seven Sacraments, one of the most successful works of Catholic apologetics that had yet been produced.

Indeed, Pope Leo X personally bestowed on Henry the title, Defender of the Faith, never guessing that a short decade later, Henry would be the mortal enemy of the Faith he had just so ably defended.
Our fathers' generation also saw
Catholic politicians repudiate
the Faith they once held dear.

Before World War II, in the pews, pubs, and union halls of America's cities, millions of poor European immigrants and their children pledged allegiance to the Church of Rome and the party of FDR: the blue-collar, pro-family, pro-life Democratic Party that strongly identified itself with Catholic social teachings.
Born in among these people was Catholic author David Carlin, who grew up in working-class Rhode Island in that time when Catholic Faith and the Democratic Party seemed almost synonymous.
For four decades Carlin faithfully served the party he loved --- twelve years as a state senator and once as the Democratic candidate for Congress.
chopping block
Then the betrayal!

As Thomas More watched helplessly as Henry abandoned his wife and took up with enemies of the Church, so David Carlin watched helplessly as his Party's leaders abandoned their blue-collar, pro-life, and religious constituencies and took up with NOW, Hollywood and the abortion lobby.

You know, Thomas More was a Catholic,
not a partisan. With the ax that would kill him hovering near, his last words saluted the very politician who had condemned him to death: 'I die the King's good servant, but God's first.'
Like Thomas More, David Carlin
is a Catholic, not a partisan
--- a 21st Century Catholic who yearns
to be his Party's good servant,
but God's first.

Which is why three years ago, his anguish drove him to determine which principles and policies you and I as Catholics are bound in conscience to support, and which we cannot abide if we choose to remain Catholic.
Armed with that knowledge, and proceeding with the patience and clear-sightedness of a lifelong Catholic knowing that he may soon be called to account by God, Carlin then evaluated the many policies of his Party that trouble him (policies that some would now have the Republican Party embrace, too). The result is Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?, the most lucid, informative, even-handed Catholic evaluation of the Democratic Party available today.

With great sorrow, Carlin concludes that, on issues concerned with human life, sex, faith, morality, suffering --- and the public policies that stem from them --- his once beloved Democratic Party has become, like Henry VIII, the enemy of the Catholic Faith.

As did St. Thomas More before him,
Carlin then asks,

'As a believing Catholic,
how much can I tolerate?'
'Where must I take my stand?'
What about you?

As politicians in both Parties embrace ever more positions that attack central teachings of our Church, can you stay silent . . . or even vote for them? And if you do, will you, at the end of the day, be able to face God and say, 'I die my Party's good servant, but God's first'?

'In a storm,' Thomas More said, 'don't abandon ship just because you can't control the wind.' You and I can't control the anti-Catholic winds blowing through the major political parties today, but, with David Carlin's help, we can learn what, as Catholics, we can do --- nay, must do --- if, as did St. Thomas More, we are to stay engaged in politics and faithful to God and His Church.
Can a Catholic Be a Democrat? will:
  • Clarify your understanding of the issues in this election, and help you see just what is (and is not) at stake;
  • Show you which political positions you as a Catholic can live with, and which require you, like Thomas More, finally to take a stand;
  • Help you explain even non-negotiable Catholic positions to your friends, relatives, and fellow party members;
  • Equip you to make your own party less hostile to your Catholic Faith;
  • And, as you vote in November, ensure that the choices you make there will leave you able finally to say, 'I was my Party's good servant, but God's first.'

May St. Thomas More pray for us,
and for all Catholic politicians!
John Barger


Paul Hargadon said...

There are some misspellings of St. Thomas' surname... his last name is "More", not Moore.
Inspiring entry. We should be requesting his intercession on behalf of all Catholics who hold political office.

John Michael said...

Corrected! Thanks Paul.

St. More, pray for us.