I've been wishing for liberal Catholics to disprove my notion that they hold their political beliefs more dearly than their Catholic beliefs. It seems I shall continue to wish on.
I'm about 20 minutes removed from a Catholicism class session in which the instructor asked how Ted Kennedy could still be considered Catholic despite his condonement and even support of abortion--which the Catholic Church explicitly states is wrong in all instances since it is the taking of an innocent human life. A communications major piped up in response saying that it was Kennedy's duty, as senator, to serve the wants of the entire U.S. population. She then assumed that most Americans wanted abortion legalized¹ and that legalization was best for the country. Therefore, she said, Kennedy was obliged to support abortion. She also gave the impression that political and Christian thought must never influence each other, as if a person must be so schizophrenic as to leave his religious/moral convictions on the steps of government buildings before entering. She might as well have said "Purge your Catholic convictions when you enter government, or, at least those that conflict with the "greater good" (ie. Democrat party agenda).
Some Catholics, because of the influence of their hierarchical church leadership structure, seem very given to hero worship. For instance, many revere the Pope, calling him "papa," while others look up to Bishops, Saints, Mother Theresa, etc. They carry this reverence into political life as well. Par example, there is something of a shrine to J.F.K. at my own Catholic college.
The question is: Why do many Catholics lionize their political overlords above church leadership?
In most of the Novus Ordo Masses I have attended, the priest's homily goes like this: "We are gathered here to celebrate our gathering here today. We must realize that we are here to support one another......" This speech is usually followed by some insignificant anecdote and a coy joke. Most Catholic priests fail to give a message beyond such meaningless talk.² They almost seem to intentionally emasculate the gospel message--aside from completely ignoring the verses involving judgment, justice, and condemnation. Moreover, the music of many Novus Ordo Masses similarly seems intentionally banal and cheezy. Conservative Catholic William F. Buckley goes as far to say that the new Mass seems like it was drawn up by atheists to intentionally drive parishioners away. He also said the most unmusical men on the planet must have been selected to compose its "vernacularized" music.³
With regard to the banal new mass and flaccid church leaders, is it any wonder that liberal Catholics gravitate to their boisterous secular leaders whom speak with conviction rather than timidity? And, for that matter, Is it any great mystery why liberal Catholics hold their political beliefs above their spiritual beliefs?
Tendential arguments that one should shed Catholicism when one enters government will not cut it with me; being Catholic is a full time calling. Wishful irrationalizations that Obama will somehow reduce the number of abortions⁴ further reveal liberal Catholics feeble attempts to justify their politics.
Perhaps it's time for Catholics to jump off the progressive bandwagon. Maybe new political parties centered on the poor could be founded that reflect don't undermine Church teaching so much.
Meantime, many older Catholics have become relatively conservative just by not adopting new "progressive" ideology. For instance, my father, once a labor union rep., is now a staunch conservative and Rush Limbaugh fan--without having changed significantly.
But until Catholic priests in America begin preaching meaningful messages, I believe the deviation away from Christianity among Catholics will only worsen. Moreover, if Catholics are never taught the gospel message, how can they be expected to act in accordance with it?
¹She is wrong on her own grounds since before Roe v. Wade there was no grassroots upheaval for abortion "rights" outside of feminists and eugenicists in academia and several abortion doctors. It is my impression that when Roe v. Wade went to trial the general populace was largely ignorant of abortion. (They had better things to think about.) Even if she were right in her statement, her argument still reeks of the bandwagon fallacy.
²I admit this is an overgeneralization.
⁴After just three days in office, Obama removed the ban on Federally funded abortion abroad. (Now our tax dollars can be used to fund overseas abortions.)