An Expanding Readership?
Anyone who writes for publication wonders from time to time whether anyone is reading their work. It was with some interest, then, that I noticed that the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, quoted a post from DotCommonweal in a recent address he made on the subject of “Religious Freedom, Persecution, and Martyrdom.”
To be sure, the Archbishop was not entirely pleased with the post in question–which was penned by our own Eduardo Peñalver–as can be gleaned from the following paragraphs:
Cardinal Dolan has recently exhorted the Catholic faithful to confront the challenges which the faith faces today. His brother bishops in this country and around the world have taken similar action. It is a desperate day when well-educated persons label these efforts as attempts by the hierarchy to control the activities of Catholics in public life. Some have even criticized publicly Cardinal Dolan’s call to the faithful to defend the Catholic contribution to political debate in this fashion: “Dolan to Lay Catholics: Be Our ‘Attractive, Articulate’, (and Unpaid) Flacks.” I pray that the authors meant well in saying this, in spite of the statement’s disparaging tone, but these persons fail to recall the nature of the Church as explained by the Second Vatican Council and reiterated by Blessed John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (1988).
In this exhortation, the Pope urged the lay faithful to be mindful of their crucial role in temporal affairs as disciples of Christ rather than as elements of some political or secular ideology that bases its platform on an indecipherable formula established on the ambiguous foundation that unsuccessfully relies on the cure of “social justice.” It is the proper function of bishops to be teachers of the faith, but it is also true that the laity exercise a major role in implementing this same faith in the affairs of the world. This is why John Paul repeatedly encouraged the faithful with the words of Jesus: “You go into my vineyard, too” (Mt 20:4).
In order to respond affirmatively to this call, religious freedom is essential. We are still a far cry from fully embracing the Holy Father’s encouraging exhortation when we witness in an unprecedented way a platform being assumed by a major political party, having intrinsic evils among its basic principles, and Catholic faithful publicly supporting it. There is a divisive strategy at work here, an intentional dividing of the Church; through this strategy, the body of the Church is weakened, and thus the Church can be more easily persecuted.
I’m tempted to post some thoughts on the Archbishops’ remarks, but to be honest I am growing rather exhausted with this whole debate. In any case, my hat is off to Eduardo for gaining the attention of such a distinguished reader…:-)