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The Caring And Feeding Of Your Catholic Constituents

Evangelical Deodorant and Catholic Dog Food.
Evangelical Deodorant and Catholic Dog Food.

1) Introduction

Please see WARNING at the beginning of Section 6.2.

Many members of the Christian Heritage Party (CHP) are what is sometimes called Evangelical Christians, whereas many ridings in Canada contain fairly large populations of Catholics. So what should members of the CHP do?

2) Ignorance or education?

Apparently, there are at least three options:

2.1) Ignore the Catholics; i.e. just get elected without them.
2.2) Ignore Catholicism; i.e. try to get the Catholic votes, but avoid like the plague anything related to Catholicism.
2.3) Learn a minimum about Catholicism, to avoid annoying Catholics and to find out how to attract them. (In other words, the "deodorant and dog food" approach.)

The first option (ignoring Catholics) is quite possible in some ridings with few Catholics, but in most of the others it just seems like begging for trouble. The CHP is already a small party, and it won't get any bigger by ignoring the biggest Christian denomination. Moreover, the CHP is supposed to be non-denominational, so it seems contradictory to discriminate.

The second option (ignoring Catholicism) is almost the definition of political ineptitude. A good teacher knows what her kids like and dislike, what grabs their attention and what puts them to sleep, etc. A good hockey coach knows not only which player is better at offence or defense, but also which player is having problems with alcohol, or which player doesn't get along with another player when they have to share hotel rooms during a tournament, etc. Offhand, it seems ridiculous for a politician to deprive herself of important information about her constituents, which could help her attract more votes. Moreover, a politician cannot ignore the teachings of religions present in his riding, because of the spiritual water table (i.e., the errors taught in one religion have a negative impact on the rest of society).

So apparently, CHP politicians should learn a minimum about Catholicism, at least enough to avoid giving off "body odors" that repulse Catholics, and to make the right "can opener noises" so Catholics will raise their ears and start to drool.

3) Evangelical Deodorant

What is the worst stink that an Evangelical Christian can have, for a Catholic nose? Obviously not the fact he's not carrying a Rosary! Catholics are not insulted when Jews don't read the Koran, or when Muslims fail to display a Cross in their homes, or when Evangelicals fail to carry a Rosary in their pockets.

But an Evangelical can raise quite a stink by ignoring [Ex 20:16] and [1Jn 4:7]. Catholics know about those quotes, and they know Evangelicals firmly believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. So if they see an Evangelical Christian disregarding those Commandments, they will pinch their noses and run away.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness" [Ex 20:16] is serious. It means we must have strong data to back up our accusations, or avoid accusing. So you've heard that Catholics believe this or that. Are you sure? Can you back that up with quotes taken from actual, official Catholic documents, with page and paragraph number? Or did you just overhear that rumor at the donut shop? Did you give the defence attorney a chance to speak, or did you just change the label from "Accused" to "Guilty" without letting anybody into the courtroom?

"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God" [1Jn 4:7] is also serious. It means that not only must you avoid false accusations, but you must also actively do good to Catholics. And one of the most importants works of charity is to instruct the ignorant. So you know a Catholic who has gone seriously wayward? (So do I, a whole Province-full come to think of it!) Your job as a Christian is to bring him back to Jesus, or at least make a reasonable attempt. If you don't even try, sorry, but you don't smell of roses.

4) Catholic Dog Food

Do you eat dog food? No! Does that mean you're not allowed to make can opener noises to get your dog's attention? Of course not! It's the same thing with Catholics. Nothing prevents you from learning how to make a few "Catholic can opener noises"! You just need to write down some popish names and numbers on the back of a business card or something, and rattle them off at the right moment. (Learning to mumble a few document names in Latin also helps.)

4.1) Here's a good starter:

"The lay faithful are never to relinquish their participation in "public life" [...] every person has a right and duty to participate in public life [...]. Charges of careerism, idolatry of power, egoism and corruption that are oftentimes directed at persons in government, parliaments, the ruling classes, or political parties, as well as the common opinion that participating in politics is an absolute moral danger, does not in the least justify either skepticism or an absence on the part of Christians in public life"
[Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, #42].

4.2) When you come across that wayward Catholic we were talking about, you can rattle off some paragraph numbers like:

2353: Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.

2357: Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2380: Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations - even transient ones - they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire. The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbids adultery absolutely. The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry.

2271: Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.

(The numbers refer to paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

4.3) You can also help Catholics who tend to go overboard with the Mother of Jesus or the Pope:

Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity.
[Lumen Gentium, #67]

In the human nature united to Himself the Son of God, by overcoming death through His own death and resurrection, redeemed man and re-molded him into a new creation [Gal. 6:15; 2Cor 5:17]. By communicating His Spirit, Christ made His brothers, called together from all nations, mystically the components of His own Body. [...] The Head of this Body is Christ. He is the image of the invisible God and in Him all things came into being. He is before all creatures and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the Body which is the Church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the first place [Col 1:15-18].
[Lumen Gentium, #7]

4.4) My personal favorites are Canon 1364 and the end of paragraph #11 of the Professio fidei et Iusiurandum fidelitatis in suscipiendo officio nomine Ecclesiae exercendo una cum nota doctrinali adnexa, but the Latin title is a bit hard to memorize. Basically it means Pierre Elliot Trudeau and his son Justin, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin were automatically excommunicated when they decided to become obstinately pro-abortion.

5) Conclusion

Of course, the details about the preferences of Evangelical Christians and the feeding habits of Catholics are not the most important things in Politics. But the general lesson about deodorant and dog food should prove quite handy for any politician. A good politician strives for unity [Jn 17:21], because no Country can stand without it [Mt 12:25].

 


6) Some feedback

From: Ron Gray, CHP Leader
Sent: 2007-January-30 15:37
To: Stefan Jetchick
Subject: Re: The Caring And Feeding Of Your Catholic Constituents

Good material... and (as usual) put together with wit. I'm
forwarding it to Leslie Bartley to consider for candidate briefings.

It's worth noting that half the Christian voters in Canada are Roman
Catholics. Yes, there are doctrinal differences between Evangelicals
and Catholics; but I think Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus
did a good job of describing how we can make common cause together
by acknowledging them, while avoiding making them a cause for division.
John XXIII called us "separated brethren", and if he can call me his
brother, I can surely return the compliment!

We must focus on what we have in common, and especially on what God
has called us to accomplish together.

 

From: Elaine Taylor, CHP, Skeena-Bulkley Valley
Sent: 2007-January-31 06:16
To: Stefan Jetchick
Subject: Re: The Caring And Feeding Of Your Catholic Constituents

[Your article is] Also a reminder that CHP was founded over
a bottle of wine in the Herwig home, by a Reformed Dutch Canadian,
Ed Van Woudenberg and a Catholic German Canadian, Gerhard Herwig,
both dear friends of ours.

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