Sunday, February 19, 2017

Catholic Divisions

Immigration laws are not from the Antichrist. From The Stream:
That said, the election of a populist whose program is based in the kind of hard-headed prudence that guided Catholic statesmen over two millennia has provoked an intense fight within church circles. Those Catholics who have privileged their own statist approach to “social justice” over traditional moral teaching, liturgy, and evangelization, are throwing a public tantrum. Some of them are using the institutional power which they are gaining under Pope Francis to tar the policies Donald Trump is proposing as “un-Christian,” in the hope of rallying millions of Catholic voters against the president.

Last week, in two separate pieces at The Stream, Jason Jones and I dissected the case made by prominent Jesuit Rev. James Martin that Trump’s attempts to enforce U.S. immigration law are contrary to the Gospel. We showed that Trump’s position is actually closer to the official church teaching on immigration than is Fr. Martin’s (or Pope Francis’).


The question of solidarity within the Body of Christ aside, this high-minded sounding statement willfully ignores the fact that Middle Eastern Christians are the deliberate target of religious genocide, and that (unlike Sunni Muslims) they have absolutely no safe place to go in the region — while vast and wealthy Sunni Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia accept zero refugees, preferring to build mosques for refugees (staffed with Wahhabi Islamists) in Germany, France and Sweden.

Deal Hudson at Newsmax reports that one theologian, Prof. Charlie Camosy of (Jesuit) Fordham University in New York, has actually declared Donald Trump’s “America First” policy orientation a heresy, amounting to idolatry of our country over Christ. (Read more.)
More commentary on the political and religious divisions from The Christian Review. By the way, traditional Catholics have been marginalized for a long time. It is nothing new. To quote:
In Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel Catch 22, a character complains, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”  Conservative Catholics have long felt pushed to the sidelines of the Church, but since the election of Donald Trump there has been a considerable uptick in the abuse heaped on Catholics who cling to the legacy of Saint John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict XVI.

A prime example of this concerted effort was last week when a column by an Associate Professor at Fordham, Dr. Charlie Camosy, called for the Holy Father to declare “Trumpism” a heresy. This type of hyperbole alienates at least half of self-identified Catholics who actually voted for him.

There is obviously a concerted effort by members of the progressive leaders of the Church to marginalize orthodox, politically conservative Catholics. My concern also stems from the fact that during the general election, we learned from WikiLeaks that John Podesta, the head of the Clinton campaign was conspiring with Democrat operatives to influence the Bishops of the United States and others within the Church to take a more aggressive and disruptive social justice approach.

Sometimes this initiative pays dividends in the hostility towards pro-life, pro-traditional marriage Catholics by liberal clergy and the social justice warriors in the Church. This has always been the case, but in the so-called “Age of Trump,” it’s intensifying at a disturbing rate.

Since the outset of the Trump presidency, main stream media outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post are providing leftist groups the platform to attack Cardinal Burke. His Eminence has become the de facto leader of the the conservative, traditional branch of Catholicism that are growing dissatisfied with Pope Francis while largely supporting the policies of the Trump administration.

Cardinal Burke, one of the four cardinals submitting the dubia to Pope Francis, is now being dragged through the headlines for handling of a leadership scandal within the Knights of Malta. As the appointed patron of the Knights, Cardinal Burke did not approve of a decision that used the Order’s charitable donations to fund condom distribution in Africa. When Burke acted to remove the person responsible, Pope Francis objected.

Cardinal Burke, however, has grown used to controversy: He has been a target of the liberals within the Church since 2004 when he said publicly that he would not give communion to that then Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry. Kerry was a “Catholic” candidate and a highly vocal supporter of abortion rights.

It has been well documented that Pope Francis is not fond of “rigid members of the Church and now is taking more jabs at Trump and his supporters among practicing Catholics. As he said a year ago about Donald Trump, “A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

Leftist media outlets and activist groups have also become obsessed with Trump advisor Steve Bannon since he traveled to the Vatican and met with Cardinal Burke.  Bannon, the chief strategist in the Trump administration, is now portrayed as being in league with conservative Catholics who want to thwart the Holy Father’s initiatives on climate change and immigration. That demonization of Bannon and Burke is making its way into the minds of Catholics who still view the main stream media as having credibility.

Whether or not many Catholics will start seeing Catholic Trump supporters as “Trumpist” heretics remains to be seen.  What is clear, however, is that President Trump, his White House staff, and Cabinet secretaries are getting an historically rough ride not only in the secular media but also in much of the Catholic media as well. (Read more.)

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