This post is for “Catholics” all 23 rites. Those who think you are liberal, conservative, progressive, traditional, fallen away, or in-between. Have we tainted our faith with political ideology? Do we understand the universality of the word “catholic”? How often do we find near-heresies and a few real heresies on all social media posts? Do we pick and choose what part of Jesus’ teachings and the Church we like and what part(s) we will ignore? Are we, as a community, especially in the US, at fault for the single issue voters who claim one ‘mortal sin’ is worse than all other mortal sins combined? Do we understand what Jesus meant by the “kingdom” of God here and now? It is not someplace we go to after death. The law of Christ, then, is to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. As Augustine suggested, we should love the sinner and hate sin. If you reflect on the Gospels, I think we will all see what Jesus taught us: how to care for one another first and foremost. Jesus is calling us for our concrete acts of love. If we take seriously Mt 5-6-7 & 25 what are we doing that demonstrates that seriousness?
I will make a recommendation for the New Year. And it will be difficult for me; let’s separate partisan politics from our universal catholicism and focus on the politics of Jesus (Mt 5-6-7 & 25). We often forget Jesus was very political, just not a partisan person. And secondly, when we talk about the Church, let’s talk about the “universal” Church and not just the Latin Rite in the US, especially when we drift off into traditions and practices that flourished in European culture in the mid-1500s. Let’s try to understand our cultural history and, most importantly, come to understand what the early followers understood who were closer to the source than what has evolved over the centuries. Spend some time understanding the councils and the Sitz im Leben of the time. Try to understand our universality. I am sure a handful of bishops in the US would struggle with this idea, but maybe if we understand who we are, we will bring the kingdom into reality here and now.