Maybe Democratically Incorrect, But…

obama-prayingBlessed Pope Paul VI, pray for us!

When Pope Paul still bore the name Giovanni Battista Montini, his father played a prominent role in Italian politics. Giorgio Montini tried everything to keep Mussolini out of power, but history ran a different direction. The Fascists won the battle, and innocent people died.

The premier English-language biographer of Pope Paul VI, Peter Hebblethwaite, holds the “official” Catholic theology of the early 20th century to blame. The Church would not officially endorse democracy. Therefore, Hebblethwaite contends, the Fascists won.

To this day, the Church does not ‘endorse’ any particular political arrangement. Now, the teaching of St. John Paul II certainly highlighted reasons why we might say that democracy seems to be the system most reflective of the dignity of the human person. (Which was revealed by Christ.)

Pope Paul VI's father

Pope Paul VI’s father

But: I think the position we American Catholics find ourselves in at this moment, in the late fall of AD 2014–this position, in which we find ourselves, goes a long way to showing why the Church cannot ‘endorse’ any particular political arrangement.

Democracy is a complicated, messy business. Meanwhile, we strive to keep our eyes focused on the crystalline facts of fundamental human rights.

Is it ‘correct’ for us to pray and hope as follows?

A sitting President, duly elected–though hardly a champion of our Catholic principles–arguably intends to subvert the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution, in the interest of accomplishing a goal which we would not hesitate to call the vindication of human rights–namely, that families should not be subject to arbitrary separation, that people of all races enjoy the prerogative of migrating as they think best, and governments cannot interfere with that, failing a good reason– Can we Catholics, who love democracy and America–can we hope and pray that the President will stick to his guns and unilaterally grant legal ‘amnesty’ to as many of our brothers and sisters as possible?

We can hope and pray for this. And we should hope and pray for it.

May the democratically elected President, who says and does a lot of things that we hate–may he stand firm, and subvert the Constitution, and do the right thing!

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