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Catholic and Concerned: Politics in 2016

9

August 18, 2016 by eneubauer

vote2I have been interested in politics since I was a kid and if asked, my friends would label me as “passionate.”  Every election year poses its unique set of circumstances that challenge voters to make the best possible choice among the candidates.  In addition, many will volunteer for local, state and national races – I did years ago and it was quite fun.

Since becoming a Christian I have allowed my faith coupled with reason to assist me in making sound choices regarding those I have voted for.  Hindsight being 20/20, I have not always been happy with the decisions my candidate made while in office.  A frustrating truth that happens with regularity – there is a distinct chasm between campaign promises and actions taken after elected and in office.  This fact, along with other motivating factors, have always challenged me to stay involved and be informed so I can make the best possible choice in every election.

Until now:

I have to admit, this Presidential election year and the news mania surrounding the main party candidates as well as the media isolation of the minor party candidates has me very concerned.  For a variety of reasons, I find myself checking out more often then checking in.  Our polarized politics and society in general along with the discontent in the air has led me to a decision.  I am purposefully disconnecting from the “crazy talk” on all sides to spend more time in silence / solitude to cast my cares “upon the Lord” in search for true clarity, wisdom and a way forward among what seems to be unacceptable choices.

Choices I have made:

  1. Increasing time spent in personal devotion.  If our faith is a guide as we make important decisions then I want to be connected, at a deeper level, to the source of wisdom.  I am spending more time in purposeful prayer using the Liturgy of the Hours routine of morning, midday, evening and night prayer.  It has added a new dimension to my prayer life.
  2. Increasing time spent in my own catechetical development.  I opened up my Catechism the other day and found a flyer for the “Year of Faith” called by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012-13.  It reminded me of the importance of catechesis – learning the faith the Church protects and proclaims.  There is often a clear difference between what people say the Catholic Church teaches and what the Church actually says about herself.  It would be a tremendous benefit to begin a movement of lay people committed to rediscovering their faith.  Pick up a Catechism, a Catholic Bible and find a group of others willing to do the same.  Start a discussion group and see for yourself what the Church says about the most pressing issues of our day.
  3. Increasing time spent in reflection.  Think about it…everyone is vying for your time (space in your head).  Unconsciously, we are allowing ourselves to be “catechized” by the culture, the constant messaging we receive through the internet, radio and TV.  I realized that part of my growing discontent with politicians and political discourse was connected to the fact that I was spending more time listening to secular media (etc.) and the vision they were promoting and not enough on the message God promotes through His Church, the Church Fathers, Religious, Holy Scriptures, and prayer.  Therefore, I am creating a new rhythm.  I am gaining more time for personal reflection by shutting down the secular message machine and using time saved to read, reflect and pray.
  4. Increasing time spent serving others.  I find that when I focus on others and stop focusing on myself, the current political environment, etc. etc. etc., God gives me perspective.  He usually reminds me of what is really important.  The Church reminds us that we can be most effective and create lasting change when we act individually / communally at the local level especially for the sake of the common good – an idea behind Subsidiarity.  The other day I was at our parish food pantry and Bill (a resident in need) asked for a ride home.  I said yes and we had an amazing conversation.  Say yes today – find someone struggling and in need and lend a helping hand.  It will shape you and remind you what is most important in life.  I am committing to spending more time in local, practical service to others in need.

Finally, let me say that change, lasting impact, the making of a movement begins with us.  We become agents of change when we embrace true self-reflection, personal conversion and spiritual / intellectual development.

It’s a hard lesson because some don’t want to admit that we have areas within that are inadequately developed or lacking maturity.  I am here to say that we are on this pilgrimage together and by keeping our eyes on Jesus we can gain that which we lack and develop a mature, wise and rock-solid faith.

I am not always right nor do I always make the best decisions.  However, I do hold onto this promise from scripture.  The Holy Spirit’s job is to lead and guide each of us into all TRUTH.  In light of this promise, I am attempting to go to the Source to find that wisdom so woefully lacking in our current political discourse and in society.

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Catholic and Concerned: Politics in 2016

  1. Bryan Donovan says:

    Totally agree with you Eric. There is no salvation in a political party, any political party. What is more important than salvation? Nothing.
    I also believe that so much in the world today is used to divide and conquer. Republican/Democrat, conservative/liberal, Catholic/Protestant. Who benefits from such division and why is it so important to them?
    You want to defeat your political foe, develop your Catholic faith and live it to the fullest. Be a light and encouragement to others to do the same and eventually, with unity in Christ the world would be at peace.

    • eneubauer says:

      Brian,

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. First, let me say that you used a word in your reply that I have been meditating on for a while – “division.” Division leads to defeat and this is one reason why the Apostles in the early Church constantly talked about unity. Now, that being said unity does not mean we don’t debate and disagree but it is debate and disagreement without the vitriol…which just leads to polarization. See, as we develop a mature faith we become clear headed, mindful of the truth and its place in our lives. The truth not only sets us free but it gives us a solid foundation from which we can build a house that will last – generations. So many, politicians for sure, are playing an extremely short game. We need to think long-term. What is really important? Why? What to do about it? How to stand firm in the face of opposition…even opposition from people I know and respect. Our best days are ahead when we humbly, joyfully, passionately walk into the will of God. Not always easy and I don’t always get it right but I am constantly trying to make the right adjustments to stay as close to God as possible.

    • jbg says:

      It’s only important if Truth is important to you. You sound like one who has succumbed to the dictatorship of relativism as Pope Benedict XVI warned of.

      I’m amazed when I hear Catholics like you talk like this. Who do you follow? The One who said…..I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. That’s pretty exclusive…..no ambiguity there. And He founded a Church, the Catholic Church, giving as it’s mission the salvation of souls. I’m not sure how you get from that that Catholics and protestants are the same.

  2. Raylene Juneau says:

    Division and game playing tear us apart, not only as a group but as individuals. We become angry. We become depressed. We strike out, hurting others and ourselves. Who profits from this? Evil!
    The discussions in my own home had gotten so bad and the overall feeling of hopelessness and anger were too much to stand. Thankfully, we recognized this and have stopped the news overkill and discussion and like you, are putting our faith in prayer and in God, in what we know He asks us to do. If we don’t, we are lost. In good times and in bad it has to be, “Trust in God”.

  3. jbg says:

    It’s actually pretty simple. It’s easy to know who to vote for by following the teachings of Jesus and His Church, the Catholic Church. It starts at respect for new life. Obviously the liberals political ideology is laying waste to life issues from A to Z but it starts at it’s support of contraception and the killing of the unborn.

    “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away”. – Pope Francis

    We have an anti Catholic, pro contraception, pro abortion, redefining marriage, supporter of the Planned Parenthood that you’ve seen in the latest videos government with a liberal political ideology that is laying waste to life issues A to Z and as a side hobby laughing at the idea of religious liberty. If Clinton gets elected times that by 10. You think the Little Sisters of the Poor have problems now?

    I’m not sure how a Catholic doesn’t vote for Trump in this situation unless they are placing more importance on liberal political ideology than on the teachings of Jesus.

  4. Nicolas Carnogursky says:

    A Catholic in good conscience will vote for Trump. Because his party is pro-life.

  5. kolyacarn says:

    A Catholic in good conscience would vote for Trump. Because his party is Pro-Life

  6. The last two “comments” notwithstanding (literally, thanks so much for articulating a frustration/resolution many of us have come to independently eneubauer. Attempting to gain an identity through affiliation with ANY political party or individual is an exercise in futility as our only true identity can be found in Christ Jesus. Everything else is just a shell game of smoke & mirrors.

    The big problem with copping a mindset of; “A Catholic in good conscience would vote for Trump. Because his party is Pro-Life” is how it completely ignores how UN-Pro-Life he is to his employees, creditors, and other live human beings. Same goes for the other clown running for POTUS. 2016 will go down as the year America was faced with the two worst choices imaginable in the history of politics.
    There’s much more to be gained and salvaged by spending contemplative time at the feet of Jesus in Mary mode while letting the whirling Martha dervishes whirl.

  7. […] The Catholic World Report On Relationships in Modern Society – Cecily Lowe, Catholic Stand Catholic and Concerned: Politics in 2016 – Eric Neubauer, 21 Century Pilgrim 10 Things St. Joseph Probably Said – Shaun McAfee, […]

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