Catholic Perspectives – Guided Tour of This Week’s Election News

December 9Roundup

In this edition of Wisdom Wednesday, we explore how to be pro-life and Catholic in a secular nation, and we discuss the political and social forces uniting – and dividing – the Catholic church.


Pope Francis leads his general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Nov. 25. (CNS/Vatican Media)

As our politically divided nation transitions to a new administration led by a committed and practicing Catholic, our Church faces similar division marked by opposition to only the second Catholic president-elect ever over one issue: abortion. Dual-citizen Canadian Catholic Sister, minister, and physician Dr. Nuala Kenny addresses that threat to the common good of both church and nation. With “pain and anxiety” she reflects on the way Church leadership “inflamed” our divisions by a “corrupted understanding of being ‘pro-life’”. She laments the way our USCCB worries more about confusion than healing. She concludes that “Unless there is a more serious reflection on what it means to bepro-life today, no Catholic will be able to enter politics in our secular world.”

Michael Sean Winters invites us to consider Pope Francis’ “concern about Catholic groups that chart their own path.” He is challenging those on left and right to think with the Church, coming together synodally in the Holy Spirit through dialogue, prayer, love and Eucharist.

Who in fact is sowing confusion? Catholic President-elect Joe Biden, or our bishops together with single issue anti-abortion pro-lifers? Rather than seeking healing and the common good through promotion of Catholic Social Teaching, our USCCB leaders have formed a kind of watch-dog group to meddle in Biden’s leadership rather than to clarify for “confused” Catholics the full meaning of being pro-life in a secular nation.

A report from NCR shares laity’s thoughts regarding abortion, Biden, and our Bishops. Many are not confused.

President Donald Trump’s supporters in Alpharetta, Georgia, attend a Dec. 2 news conference about election results. (CNS/Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage)

If you are still looking for more provocative thinking, you should check out Michael Sean Winters’ examination of the end of the Trump administration as a Shakespearian play. But Winters finds it to be not a tragedy, but a farce.

Shakespearean tragedy ends on a moral note: Hamlet is given an honorable soldier’s burial, the Capulets and Montagues make peace, defeated Brutus is given a tribute because his intentions were noble. The end of the Trump presidency has its tragic aspect, but it is not a tragedy. It is a farce. There will be no moral recalibration in the last few lines of this play, no denouement that seeks to satisfy justice or mercy. The bit players are heading for the exits while the principals flail.”

In an opinion piece published by Religion News Service, Robert K. Vischer, dean of the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis, writes about the challenges posed by evangelicals and others who have drifted toward conspiracy theories.

The gospel speaks to the heart and the mind. If wild conspiracy theories find fertile ground among Christians, we shouldn’t just be scandalized; we should be motivated to reclaim the intellectual rigor of our faith.”

Finally, Pope Francis also reflected on the separate paths that take some Catholics away from unity. Catholic News Service provides the story.

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