Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

Sunday, June 3, AD 2012

 I would like some help in identifying the most active, passionate, orthodox American Catholic Bishops currently serving. It is a cultural thing that we seem to love rating everything- not a bad thing- and I have a personal interest in this topic because I want to offer my services to a Bishop who needs someone who gets the following Big Three Realities that I have been focusing on in my last three postings here at American Catholic.

 

1. The Obama Administration is threat #1 to the continuance of our Hierarchical Catholic Church- here in America and since we are a Superpower in worldly terms this could damage a big chunk of Christendom. I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican. My realization about the Obama threat emerged slowly after being absorbed in a national Catholic Democrats listserve with some of the real heavyweights- like FOB (Friend of Barack) Vicki Kennedy. It was clear to me that Kennedy with her fellow travelers in Catholic universities, and liberal Catholic political organizations, have been intent on much much more than just getting more traction in American policies and legislation for a few political issues often neglected by the conservative-Right. There is blood in the water for the Church Hierarchy due to the notorious Minor Abuse Scandals. These prominent Catholic Dems seem intent on using whatever power they can muster to force changes in the Church to cut the Hierarchydown to size- replace the Teaching Authority with liberal Catholic college professors and liberal political activists who will “save” the Church from irrelevance among the youth. We have seen that President Obama has been systematically assisting in this process- not openly- but consider his choice of Joe Biden as VP with his pro-choice, pro-gay marriage beliefs, and Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary who is pushing contraceptives down everyone’s throats, and I suspect we’ll see that Justice Sotomayor is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage eventually. The threat to religious liberties will hit the Catholic Church Hierarchy first, with the contraceptives mandates and then gay marriage will turn the Catholic Church Catechism into Hate Literature and every orthodox Catholic into a bigot along the lines of the old school racists back in the 60’s. No one wants to be a racist- so I’m sure that Vicki Kennedy et al are counting on most American Catholics to simply abandon their Bishops’ leadership and embrace her brand of progressive Catholicism which is Obama-cool. So- me thinks the Bishops need a few folks around who see this danger and are willing to stand with the Bishops and the Catechism. I’m here to help.  Here’s a link to my piece on the Catholic Dems/Obama “conspiracy”-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/31/obama-working-willfully-to-undermine-hierarchical-catholic-church/

 

2. Having this information about the Obama-Catholic Dem elite battleplan is useful- but I am also interested in assisting a good Bishop at the parish level with practical steps- all perfectly legal- for assisting the process of cultivating a new breed of orthodox Catholic political leaders. Pope B teaches us to free ourselves from ideologies in his last encyclical- the social doctrine of the Church is the stuff we need more of in America- the reason we keep swinging wildly from Republican to Democrat in the races for political power is that at the gut level most people get that each Party has got some things right and some things wrong. There is no Party of God- even if right now the mainstream Democratic Party represents the greater threat to the Church/Christ- we are still talking about lesser evils. The Catholic social doctrine is about building civilizations of love- this is the positive vision that is the corrective of narrow ideologies which feed on anger for the most part. The way to bring Christ’s Way into the marketplace of ideas in American political thought and debate is for more fully informed and inspired Catholic voices to emerge and assume the responsibilities of leadership at every level of our society. There is so much that we could do in every parish and school-  here is my POA (Plan of Action) which I would love to bring into a parish in a diocese where the Bishop is aware and involved to guide the development- I’m not interested in being a lone ranger or riding against the wishes of the local Bishop.  Here’s the Plan-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/10/wanted-orthodox-catholic-political-leaders-time-to-get-serious/

 

3.  Finally, my long experience in the trenches of Catholic high schools has left me with many thoughts on how to inculcate a genuine Catholic identity which has a chance of being transmitted to our very distracted youth. I would love to be part of an orthodox Bishop’s team to help select passionately orthodox Catholic administrators/teachers/staff to be in place to give life witness, along with instructional guidance, to budding disciples of Christ. You can’t give what you don’t have- so if we want Catholic students to come out the other side in love, or more in love with Christ and His Church- then you don’t load up the schools with adults who are full of dissenting views from the Catechetical teachings of the Church. I’m not saying everyone has to be some kind of a stepford-wife cheerleader type of Catholic- we all have our personalities- but if you are an adult working in a Catholic school you should be someone who is thirsty to know what the Church teaches and why- especially if it pertains to your particular discipline or area of responsibility. I get into a lot more detail beyond just the staffing issue in my article below.  I am open to returning to the teaching field or entering new territory in administration under the right Bishop in a diocese that really wants to play it straight-up as a passionately Catholic institution -without being satisfied with a PR-level Catholic Identity which produces nice dog and pony shows for visiting bishops and parents- but scratch the surface and where is the love for the Church? If you fall in love with the Church you will just want to know more and more and to share more and more with the youth and everyone you meet- am I right?  Here’s the last link-  http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/04/16/a-vision-of-catholic-education-from-the-front-lines/

 

OK- if you are still with me- here is how you can help- write out up to 10 names(and email addresses if you have them!) of Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops here in America- with the name of their Diocese.  You can order them according to your own rating system. I want to follow the science here and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line- I want to begin a new mission in using whatever talents I possess for the sake of Christ and His Church- I have tried to use these talents to produce something helpful to preserve and protect the Hierarchical nature of our Catholic Church- If Christ didn’t desire a Hierarchy why bother with Apostles- He could have just had disciples with no leadership inherent in the Church- but He didn’t- evidence from Scripture, history and logic all persuaded me in my Truth Quest. I don’t want to just apply for jobs blind to the leadership in a given Diocese. Leadership matters, that’s why leaders get targeted all the time, and why assassinations are so unfortunately common throughout human history. I want a meaningful mission within the Church and short of that I will do whatever I can do to provide for my wife and four young children- this is my story and why I need our Reader’s Input. Brother (Sister) can you spare a moment and share what you know? God Bless you.

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22 Responses to Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

  • Perhaps we should remember the wise words of Abbé Henri Brémond, whose life (1865-1933) spanned the Jules Ferry laws of 1882 and 1886 laicising public education, the law of 1901 suppressing many religious orders and the law of 1905 on the separation of Church and State, which vested all church buildings and other property in the nation.

    “No law can affect those who believe, those who pray; prayer is silent, prayer offends no one, prayer attacks no one.” – [La prière est silencieuse, la prière n’offense personne, la prière n’agresse personne]

    His response to the Anti-Clericalism of his time were his essays, “Prière et Poésie”[ Prayer and Poetry] and “Introduction a la Philosophie de la Prière”[Introduction to the Philosophy of Prayer] His monumental work “Histoire litteraire du sentiment religieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu’a nos jours” [A Literary History of Religious Sentiment in France from the end of the Wars of Rekigion to our own day] published between 1913 and 1936 in 11 volumes, was based on his unrivalled knowledge of mystical writings and devotional works. His writings on poetry, symbolism and romanticism earned him election to the Académie française in 1923 and a eulogy from the French Symbolist poet, Paul Valéry.

    His influence was incalculable.

  • The current head of the USCCB, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of NY and his I-95 brother (my Archbishop) in Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles J Chaput. (Lori of Baltimore and Aquila of Denver deserve mention as well in my VERY short list.)

  • My only input is cautionary; the plan of action is a good idea, BUT I’d give it about a week before it’s taken over by the same folks who use “social justice” to promote abortion, theft, etc. At the absolute least, it would claim binding teachings where they don’t exist. (I recall one discussion I was having with another Catholic, who pulled the death penalty vs abortion thing– even offering a letter from the man who would become Pope saying there was a valid variety of views didn’t sway him.)

    I do love the idea of equipping people to find out what the Church teaches for themselves, and enthusiastically endorse the answer-religious-questions-kids-as/thirsty-for-theology thing. That would have made my youth a lot more interesting, and might have kept several friends from falling away from the Church. (it would also have meant I could find a babysitter from the Parish– but that’s another rant!)

    If there was a group for something like “Catholic Q&A- Last Wednesday Of The Month Snack and Chat” I’d do it. If I thought I could pull it off, I’d start one myself. (Wed because it’s the middle of the week; schedule it about 6pm. It would have to be sort of small to start with, and a computer with one of those books-on-CD collection EWTN sells would be wise; has soup to nuts of decrees, etc.)

    … Dang it, now I’ve got a post bubbling in my head for designing theology groups. Thank you.

  • Bishop Ronald Gainer of Lexington KY: not as high profile as Dolan etc, but methodically rebuilding an orthodox and dynamic diocese. Yesterday ordained 23 deacons: 3 transtional and 20 permanent.

  • Bruskewitz, Finn, Olmstead, Morlino, Aquila, Sample, Cordlione, Nienstadt, Slattery, Chaput

  • My only input is cautionary; the plan of action is a good idea, BUT I’d give it about a week before it’s taken over by the same folks who use “social justice” to promote abortion, theft, etc. At the absolute least, it would claim binding teachings where they don’t exist.

    I would go a step further Foxfier – or backward actually. I think the other side has already been doing this for many decades. The chanceries and USCCB were chock full dissenting activists with a socialist agenda who were either supported or tolerated by their bishop. I would venture to guess that even with ascension of a large number of orthodox bishops, there are still a large number of these folks in important and influential positions. Even when an orthodox bishop takes over a troubled see, he doesn’t do a housecleaning so to speak. He pushes his agenda of reform with the people he has and tries to lead the chancery operatives to fulfill his mission. The bishops have to lead, but that doesn’t mean all will follow – and many of those people still have power and influence enough to do damage.

  • Sounds good, Tim. I would echo both MichaelP71’s and Jim’s lists, adding only three more solid bishops with whom I’ve had contact: 1) Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, CA (and formerly of Baker, Oregon); 2) Bishop Kevin Vann of Ft. Worth, TX; and 3) Arch-bishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta. There are undoubtedly many other good, solid bishops and auxiliaries around in the US, but they simply don’t have as high of a public profile as do these aforementioned bishops.

  • Oops! One glaring omission did just come to mind (how could we forget?) Cardinal George of Chicago, of course!

  • First of all I think Masculinity has been beat down passive aggressively both in the American Church as well as society, so if we are not willing to reject bad laws and smash the Serpents head to mush than we are bound to lose with the communist attitudes of Obama and other democratic leaders.

  • The dioceses of Wilmington Delaware seam to be getting somewhat more Orthodox but still need improving and the general public of Delaware seems very secular and the cops tend to act like gangsters in their attitudes.

  • By lose I meant lose temporarily.

  • Possibly the most important philosophical law is that because God is all knowing, all powerful, and all good we should take what he tells us seriously rather than throwing his words around like protestants who use his words to justify whatever they fancy.

  • If worst comes to worst there is just war but it would be much better if it did not have to come down to that.

  • One. I’m curious, why did it have to come to your being a Democrat “insider” before you realized your choice of political party clashed with your Catholic religion? I knew it for me when the Democrat Party officially supported and acted to make abortion-on-demand the law-of-the-land.

    Two. When are people like you going to start showing some “love” your talking about to those of us who have been battling people you have been electing to keep abortion-on-demand the law-of-the-land? And, now, thanks to Catholics like you, we have to fight to keep marriage the institution it has always been since God enacted it at the beginning of man-kind. And thanks to the 54% of Catholics like you, the U.S. bishops (equally responsible for what has continued for almost 4 decades) have to sue the President and his Administration they helped put in office just to keep our First Amendment Rights. How about showing some love to Catholics like me for realizing straight on that any organization that supports and defends the murder of innocent human beings, especially infants in the protection of their mother’s womb, could never be serious about “caring for others,” especially the “little guy?”

    Three. How about finding out why almost all the U.S. bishops adopted Cardinal Bernardin’s proposal to change the definition of “prolife,” a word coined by prolifers to counter the pro-aborts calling themselves “pro-choice?” And then, contacting those bishops still alive who voted against that change, to get their recommendations on who should be on that list of bishops you want to put together. While doing that, you ought to read the 1989 favorable biography called “Cardinal Bernardin – Easing conflicts -and battling for the soul of American Catholicism” by the cardinal’s long time friend (30 years) Eugene Kennedy. You’ll learn that that name change was a lot more political than it was spiritual. This is a quote of Bernardin’s motivation for expanding the definition to include prudential judgment issues so-call “social justice.” Page 243,244: “Not only would this move gain greater support from Catholics and others but it would keep the prolife movement from falling completely under the control of the right wing conservatives who were becoming it dominant sponsors.” How about that?! I don’t know where in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the “good” cardinal found that some how being a “right wing conservative” was evil. Maybe you know where that is?

    Anyway – how about showing some “love” for the millions of us who have removed ourselves from the sin of being in the Democrat Party, the main organization responsible for denying the right to life of God’s greatest creation – a human right by the way; and maybe perhaps an apology as well for making people like us have to fight people like you for so long?

  • Stilbelieve:

    Hold on, friend. There’s a parable about that. “Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you.” (Mt 20:14)

  • Stilbelieve:

    I’m with you!

    Nd, those people need to stop employing presumed moral superiority to advance evil and to start supporting Church teachings.

  • My own Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo should be on that list. He is the bishop who conducted the recent investigation of the women religious. He is an outstanding and holy and orthodox bishop, and I am shocked, frankly, that he hasn’t been picked in the last few years to lead a higher-profile diocese. The fact that he was chosen to lead the investigation of the women religious indicates that he is at least on someone’s radar in the Vatican.

    Were it not for the fact that Bishop Blair was the Bishop of Toledo, I doubt I would have moved my family to this part of Ohio almost 7 years ago.

  • @Escolonn

    “Hold on, friend. There’s a parable about that. ‘Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you.’ (Mt 20:14)” The text in bible has the last sentence of 20:14 reading: “What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?”

    First of all, I’m not looking for “reward.” I’m looking for evidence that this author has obtained wisdom from his experience to be of help to any bishop. The question was raised in my mind soon into reading his article. He says this in the 4th sentence:
    “I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican.”

    Talking in a dismissive way about the only major organization that has been trying to save the babies, protect our country militarily and economically, fight for our right to pick our own doctors and make our own decisions on our medical care, defend marriage as God created it, and now have to save our First Amendment Rights to freedom of religion isn’t being a “Obama-baser” using “Republican talking point tie-ins.” It’s being an American who has “eyes to see and ears to here.”

    Second, you would think that someone who contributed with their decision-making and votes all this time to prolonging the evil of abortion-on-demand remaining the law-of-the-land, and to these newer attacks on our safety and freedoms, would be a little more contrite and humble towards those who were wise enough to see the sin of remaining in the Democrat Party much sooner in their lives then he did.

    Third, I think the verse you chose is a parable better suited for the rights of ownership to do with one’s property as one chooses and pay the wages as agreed. Verse 15 completes that thought saying: “[Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?”

  • Jay, it just so happens that my own bishop, Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. is assisting with that investigation as well. He too is known for his orthodoxy and has been on the Vatican-watchers’ radar for some time, so he probably won’t be here forever!

  • Stillbelieve- I can defend my previous Democratic party membership on the grounds that I was quite active as a pro-life candidate and leader in Dems for Life- the fact is that until the 80’s the Dems were more pro-life than the Repubs- I was a Democrat long before I was Catholic- being drawn into politics at the age of 13 by the first Jimmy Carter campaign- and then basically became a believing secular liberal in my 20’s. My introduction and conversion to Catholicism came as I neared 30- in becoming Catholic I gave up previous beliefs on abortion et al- but there has always been two thoughts in my mind- first- the Republican establishment has always been like shifting sand on the issue of abortion since Reagan – lukewarm belief is never attractive as Jesus indicated in Revelation- and second- there has long been the hope that Catholic pro-life Democrats could lead the charge within the Democratic party to restore traditional moral beliefs on social issues- I took up that challenge since I figured I was well-placed as a lifelong Dem who became a Catholic convert- but identified more or less along the FDR-Democratic coalition lines- recall that American Catholics as a community tended the Democratic party way before social issues and the sexual revolution began destroying the Dems from within. Reagan was an FDR Democrat but said that the party moved away from him not the other way around.

    So- in any case- I never publicly supported any pro-choice candidates- and typically voted for third party/populist no-bodies to get around my conscience- and our hierarchy instructed us that we could not vote for a candidate because of his/her pro-choice position on abortion- but it was left open to conscience if there were other compelling reasons to vote for someone who was unfortunately pro-choice- since we are not to be single-issue voters. So- if one supposed that voting for a Republican candidate would bring on potentially nation-ending war or economic ruin and thus render the legal abortion question (in effect) moot in such an environment since no movement focused on a social issue would gain any traction during crisis times- well that would be a paradigm of thought whereupon someone with a Catholic conscience may have voted for a Democrat in some paticular national office like president.

    My own experience with being exposed to the really influential Catholic Democrats was one where I tried my best to evangelize for the orthodox teachings of the Church- to follow the Magisterium and the Bishops on all fronts and not to continue in a heterodox direction- but alas I was confronted by the truly powerful forces that drive those who have actual weight in Democratic party power politics these days- and I was asked to depart from my place of opinion sharing- and at that stage I openly left the Party and my role as a leader for florida Dems for Life- and became a NPA- non-party-affiliation- as Archbishop Chaput did according to what I read in his great book- Render Unto Caesar. So- stillbelieve- I don’t know what to apologize to you about- I think my personal history explains why I chose the paths I took- if the Church had clearly indicated that working from within the Democratic party to try to reform the party on social issues was an immoral choice- then I would have abandoned the effort years ago- I have given up on that front- but I have many good Catholic and Christian friends who are still battling from within and taking the abuse from the dominant sexual revolutionaries – I’m not of a mind to join you in heaping more abuse their way- but if this is how you interpret WWJD in your time on stage blogging then it is something that Jesus Christ will have to determine at the time of our personal judgments- and I look forward to my time with Him so that I can see where I missed His cues and promptings, or just was blind- so that I can apologize to anyone or any group of persons that I did wrong by. I am trying to “live clean” and I have been trying to follow the orthodox directives from Christ’s Church- my wish now is that the American Bishops will now make perfectly clear to all of us that taking public positions opposed to granting the right to life for the unborn, and protecting traditional marriage definitions, and respecting religious liberties- all make any candidate unfit for any Catholic to vote for or support in any capacity- and political leaders who call themselves Catholics who vote for any of the Big Three will have to forego reception of Holy Communion due to the scandal they are producing among law-abiding American citizens. That, I think, would clear up any confusion about the morality of our political choices- given the unusual extremity of our times. I still hope to be of service to our Church and to serve a strong Bishop and take guidance from him- but if you are correct and the Holy Spirit agrees then I will accept another role in my life’s work- at the end of the day I just want to be one of those ‘unprofitable servants’ in the eyes of the Lord- if digging ditches is my true talent then so be it- I will carry a shovel for Christ- that’s my heart-that is something I can know even if many who know little about me doubt it- those in my home know me and from them I draw the human consolation that helps keep one’s spirit from being taken away by the naysayers always to be found.

  • It is important to realise that, for professional politicians, party labels are largely a sham.

    In any democracy, they inevitably group themselves into two parties (or coalitions), the friends of corruption and the sowers of sedition; those who seek to profit from existing abuses and those who seek to profit from the disaffection those abuses naturally produce.

    The policies either faction espouses, primarily to attract funding, but also as a sop to the rabble, is a matter of chance and circumstance.

  • I don’t have much experience with bishops, but I would suggest two: Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, CO and Archbishop Charles Chaput, currently Archbishop of Philadelphia (formerly of Denver, CO). Both have been a strong voice for authentic Catholic teaching and activism.

Wanted: Orthodox Catholic Political Leaders (Time To Get Serious)

Thursday, May 10, AD 2012

My adult conversion to Catholicism came about through many converging spiritual streams, but one of the things I remember that had perhaps, the biggest positive impact, was my introduction to the Papal Social Encyclicals. I was immediately impressed by the non-ideological, Biblically-consistent worldview expressed by the Catholic Magisterium. As my initial conversion led to graduate Theological studies, teaching in Catholic high schools around the world, and a run for Florida State House; I have remained an ardent admirer of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

It is one of my lifetime goals to find ways to promote the social teachings of our Catholic Magisterium, and to find practical ways to cultivate Catholic political leaders who are similarly dedicated to the work of building civilizations of love founded upon the principles of our complete corpus of social doctrine teachings. As a candidate I discovered that most parishes are ill-equipped to nurture future Catholic leaders or even assist in the process of educating and informing the laity of how they can better influence elections on the basis of the many important moral issues (which have specific Magisterial guidance). It is great to pray for Christian Justice in our world, and it is necessary to take up the responsibility of voting when given that opportunity. But grace builds upon nature, and there is so much more that we could be doing as Catholics to better organize ourselves to have more positive collective impact on our communities and American society.

I urge that we work on two fronts simultaneously-1. Educating the Catholic laity to the Catholic social teachings and the guidance given by our Pope and Bishops’ 2. Use our religious freedoms more effectively at the parish level. I often make use of the story of William Wilberforce, a Christian politician who fought tirelessly to stop the slave trade in Great Britain- he was eventually successful utilizing organizational tools which we could use today (as the Civil Rights Movement here in America demonstrated). I hope my practical advice will be of some use for all those interested in maximizing our public Catholic witness in the social (temporal) realm.

Here are some specific practical proposals:

1. Every parish should organize “Social Doctrine Nights” where specific issues are discussed in the context of the social doctrine, as taught in official sources like Papal Encyclicals, the Compendium of Social Doctrine, the Catechism, US Bishop Pastoral Letters, and so forth. The parish priest should be front and center publicizing the Nights from the pulpit and being present for the meetings to put teeth into the promotion.

2. It would also be good if every parish started a “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church book club”. This would help to locate a core group of lay persons who are truly interested in fulfilling their responsibility to the Temporal Order, to reform the world according to Christ’s teachings and will, as revealed by our Church’s authoritative documents. These hardy souls will go far in sharing their knowledge on those Social Doctrine Nights. At the least, we will give the laity many chances to inform their consciences on public policy matters.

3. As the election cycle nears, every parish should start scheduling town hall meetings and Candidate Forum events. Political candidates should be held accountable before the election takes place. They need to go on record with their thoughts on the issues that our parishioners deem important. The only requirement for such forums is that all candidates are invited with no
obvious bias during the event. Town hall meetings should be convened on singular issues of great importance, and local leaders and potential leaders should be invited to participate or attend.

4. Documents from the U.S. Bishops’ Conferences should be distributed widely in every parish. These documents can easily be inserted into every Sunday Bulletin.

5. Questionnaires for candidates from Catholic Conferences and reputable Catholic Pro-Life organizations should be distributed with information on the issues providing the reader with a clear idea of what the official Church is advising/teaching on the political issue being raised. These questionnaire results should be widely distributed well in advance of the actual Election Day.

6. Potential Catholic political leaders need to be groomed and supported by the Church by all legal means. We cannot be hamstrung by laws that seem bent on keeping an artificial (and false) wall of separation between Church and State. Both the Church and State have particular functions in society, they are not the same, but they are not to be pitted against one another. One way to cope with the reality here, in the United States, is to help private Catholic action groups and organizations, to form apart from the official dioceses and Catholic conferences. These private Catholic organizations could form PACS and contribute directly to Catholic individuals who are seeking to serve the common good first and foremost. They should be committed to serving the official Church social doctrine.

7. Catholic schools should also do more to promote the social doctrine among the youth. I once organized a debate for all congressional candidates in the Catholic high school where I was teaching. The students wrote the questions and had a chance to mingle with the candidates afterwards. It was the only such debate for those candidates in the entire election cycle and many students were positively impacted by the experience. Another area of improvement would be in the development of textbooks with a Catholic perspective, and that covered such areas as Literature, History, Media, Social Studies and so forth. The Catholic worldview and social doctrine have been confined to religion classes, and this has contributed to the compartmentalization of Catholic understanding and expression. Catholic students, with rare exceptions, are not graduating and moving the public debate beyond the narrow partisan/ideological confines of Political Left/Right.

I offer these suggestions because I believe that, as Catholics, we have the blueprint for building a civilization of love at every level of human society. The blueprint is our social doctrine and the gift of our Magisterium in guiding the principles and teachings of Christ into our complex world. As a candidate for public office I discovered a huge void in our Catholic parishes for offering a

place of contact between budding political leaders and the Catholic laity. Nurturing orthodox Catholics to become political leaders in our society is something that also seems missing from the average parish. Having a unique Blueprint (our Social Doctrine) but not having sound organization to carry out the plan is a terrible waste of potential. It is time to go from the drawing phase to building and implementing- to make visible this civilization of love our beloved popes write about with such strong conviction. This is our potential, this is an essential part of our Catholic evangelization. There are a lot of Catholic groups and organizations who lobby politicians after the fact of their election, but we should be intervening in the process from the beginning- nurturing leaders, educating every generation of voter, and providing candidate forums and town hall meetings in our churches (all perfectly legal!).

Once again, these strategies involve the following precepts:

– social doctrine promotion
– town hall meetings
– candidate forums
– encouragement of private Catholic PACS
– Catholic youth mentoring

Pope John Paul II insisted that was necessary for Catholics “to seek the Kingdom of God in dealing with temporal realities and in ordering them in accordance with the divine will.” And he urged us to be courageous in giving witness to our faith in the public arena.

Quoting from “Lumen Gentium”, No.36, Pope John Paul II said that lay men and women, after receiving a sound catechesis and continuing formation, have a clear mission “to extend the Kingdom of God in and through their secular activity, so that ‘the world will be imbued with the Spirit of Christ and more effectively attain its purpose in justice, in love and in peace” (No.3). Hence, the faithful need to receive clear instructions on their duties as Christians, and on their obligation to act in accordance with the Church’s authoritative teachings, the Pope added. And to those who object that such instruction has overly political tones John Paul II stated clearly: “While fully respecting the legitimate separation of Church and state in American life, such a catechesis must also make clear that for the faithful Christian there can be no separation between the faith which is to be believed and put into practice and a commitment to full and responsible participation in professional, political and cultural life” (No.3).

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10 Responses to Wanted: Orthodox Catholic Political Leaders (Time To Get Serious)

  • Good thoughtful post Tim; definitely good considerations to ponder. All who seek to be faithful to the magisterium should have the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, along wth the Catechism, and work to be familiar with both in their entirety; not cherry picking a favorite section here or there. For most of us their will be plenty that will challenge our political orientation. What I we should encourage others to work for is building The Faith, as a secure foundation first, with politrical involvement and activism following. Building that foundation is a must, and can seem tedious. It is indispensable for any social activism which follows to bear fruit for Christ. Your ideas are a good start.

  • I have emailed this to our St. Philip Neri Oratorio ministry chair (whose name is also Tim, so he should be pretty receptive.)

    This is exactly the kind of thing that we should be doing, as Americans, as Christians, as Catholics and as free men & women. Excellent on all fronts, Tim.

  • I would love to tack this article to the doors of all the churches in my Deanery…hmmmm…perhaps I will…:)

  • Thanks for the feedback and follow-ups- this is my companion piece to the Catholic Education Vision- http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/04/16/a-vision-of-catholic-education-from-the-front-lines/ I would like to see faithful Catholic make a deeper impact than we are currently- we have schools and parishes- why not maximize their potential for good? What are we afraid of?

  • Thank you– that is well thought out and should be do-able for many many parishes and parish clusters.

  • The problem with the USCCB when it comes to socio-economics is that their approach is often more ideological than pastoral. Their leftist tilt on issues like economics, immigration, capital punishment and the like often does more to distort an authentic Catholic understanding of how the faithful are to form their consciences on these matters than it does to inform.

    Catholic teaching on these matters admits of a much greater diversity than the USCCB often portrays them. In so far as they function in their official capacity they need to remain neutral, thus allowing them to hold both sides accountable to Catholic moral principles. their taking sides leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by one side and needlessly alienates the other. A recent example was the unjust USCCB attack on Paul Ryan’s budget. I am not saying they should endorse it, but they should defend it as legitimate from a Catholic point of view.

    Instead of inserting USCCB letters into parish bulletins, excerpts from papal encyclicals that stress the importance of the principles of subsidiarity as it pertains to economic issues as one example.

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  • I Love You!!! Yes, yes, yes!!! As a religious education instructor for over eighteen years I thought I would lose my mind trying to deal with other teachers and administrators who threw all knowledge of the faith out the door, and some who had NO knowledge of the faith to throw but just made it something up as they went along and that sufficed as educating our children. One of my main pleas was to “educate the educators”. We cannot pass on the true faith when the “flock” has such little knowledge of it. This is why I feel we have such a crisis of faith today. Big shock. Anyway we all could use on going education of the truths of the faith. Then if you don’t want to be a Catholic you shouldn’t be one.

  • Here’s one easy way I have helped strengthen the Church in my state:

    Donate subscriptions to the Knights of Columbus magazine Columbia to every Catholic high school & college library and to every Catholic student center on secular campuses.

    If you’re a knight in a good council, you should organize this project and propose that the council fund the subscriptions.

    Work to get it into the public libraries in Catholic parts of town, too.

    It was fantastic to see the Columbia issue on the HHS mandate at my lukewarm local Catholic college’s periodicals section.

    I am working on taking this project nationally, more will be forthcoming.

  • I realized today: All Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine.

    While hearing the readings at Sunday Mass today (May 13, 2012), I realized that ALL of Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine! Social Doctrine is not some off-to-side sub-specialty of interest only to a few. It is all there is! Listen to some verses from today’s Mass readings:

    Reading 2 1 Jn 4:7-10:
    Beloved, let us love one another,
    because love is of God;
    everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
    Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
    In this way the love of God was revealed to us….

    Gospel Jn 15:9-17:
    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
    Remain in my love.
    If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
    just as I have kept my Father”s commandments
    and remain in his love.”
    “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
    and your joy might be complete.
    This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
    No one has greater love than this,
    to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
    You are my friends if you do what I command you….
    It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
    and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,….
    This I command you: love one another.”

    So, why do I think that ALL Catholic Doctrine is Social Doctrine?

    Because all Doctrine has but one purpose: To lead and guide and help and inspire and attract us to fulfill this from Jesus: “This I command you: love one another.” (Jn. 15:17).

    Learning or holding or adhering to doctrine for its own sake is not the end or purpose of the Catholic life on earth.

    Rather, the end and purpose of life on earth is to fulfill that from Jesus: “This I command you: love one another.” (Jn. 15:17).

    Even the Catholic Doctrine about the Holy Trinity is Social Doctrine, since the Trinity is a unity of three divine Persons who love each other. Even the Catholic Doctrine about the Holy Eucharist is Social Doctrine, for reasons that are all too obvious.

    Consider this from America magazine: “As Pope Benedict made clear in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, life issues are social justice issues and social justice issues are life issues.” See https://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?id=74835840-3048-741E-7052836844684028

    But I would go much further. Yes, Life Issues are Social Justice Issues. But there are nothing but Social Issues, ultimately, if you define “Social” as embracing all the relationships that pertain to Life on Earth and Eternal Life: The Holy Trinity; The Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints; The Works of Mercy; The Unity of Humankind; The “Greatest Commandment” according to Jesus, having two parts, love God with all of your mind, heart, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself; loving strangers; loving enemies; loving your spouse and remain faithful to him or her for life; and so on.

    In sum, Social Doctrine is all that the Church has.

    The fact that people don’t think of things this way shows, I respectfully propose, how far we are from where God wants us to be.