UP Catholic 05 06 2016 E Edition Page 4

4 May 6, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC www.upcatholic.org T he Catholic love affair with the United States of America is heading into rough and uncharted waters and not only in this 2016 election cycle, but for the foreseeable future. U.S. Catholics have, in a sense, been there and done that, given that the history of the Church in this country includes fending off anti-Catholic bigots like the 18th-century Know Nothing Party (about which 99 percent of Catholics today know nothing) and the late-19th century American Pro- tective Association (another puzzler, these days, in Catholic Jeopardy). But theres something dif- ferent about todays turbulence. Identifying that difference, understanding it, and knowing how to respond to it are all imperative if were to navigate these troubled waters in such a way as to advance the New Evangelization and give our country a new birth of freedom, rightly understood. The difference today is that the assault on the Church by militant secularism and its allies in the federal government is a struggle over irst principles. That wasn't so much the case in the past. The Know Nothings and the American Protective Association claimed to honor the Constitution; so did U.S. Catholics. The Know Nothings and the APA said we were lying, because we owed our first allegiance to a foreign potentate (they meant the pope, not the Lord Jesus Christ); we proved that Catholicism and American patriotism werent an- tinomies. Still, everyone in these battles affirmed the first principles inscribed in the Constitution and the self-evident moral truths, ar- ticulated in the Declaration of Independence, that the Constitution was crafted to embody. Today, it is precisely those truths and those principles that are being sharply contested. Thats the unprecedented situation, perilous and yet full of possi- bility, that a new book by my colleague Stephen White, Red, White, Blue, and Catholic (Liguori), intends to clarify and address. In this brief but incisive look at the issues of the day and of the likely future Steve White makes several important points: (1) Our politics is often reduced to a tug of war between crude caricatures: the party of government and the party of the individual. When this happens, a humane accounting of the realities of social life becomes impossible and the fundamental purpose of politics living well, togethergets overlooked. Most of our lives happen in the variegated social spaces between the individual and the govern- ment. We call this civil society. It is therein the family, the parish, the school, the business, the local community, and so onthat the vast majority of our lives happen. Its in these spaces, and not just in the voting booth, that most of the work of citizenship happens. (2) The family, the cradle of new life and the font of civil society, is in jeopardy in unprecedented ways, as our society increasingly disregards basic facts of human existence and tried to alter them by technologically empowered acts of willfulness. Each of us comes from a mother and father. Each of us begins life in a state of utter dependence. Each of us needs to be educated, formed, and civilized. The defense of human life is intimately bound to the defense of marriage and family. These are not the only social issues of concern to Catholics, but they are priorities in the literal sense of the word. Without the begetting and rearing of new generations, and the defense of human life, there simply is no society, let alone a stable, lourishing, and free society. As the family goes, said Pope John Paul II, so goes the nation. Pope Francis would certainly agree. (3) Given the current state of affairs in these United States, it is important to remember that religious freedom is not something bestowed on individuals by a tolerant, benevolent state. No, the religious freedom of individuals and the liberty of the Church are necessary preconditions for a flourishing society. Religion is em- phatically a public good, and one indispensable to limited govern- ment, as the Founders were constantly pointing out. The Church ought to be free to be herself for her sake, for the sake of the faithful, and for the sake of the common good. Do read Red, White, Blue, and Catholic. Then get copies for your Catholic neighbors. Good Catholics, good citizens THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE George Weigel No one is beyond conversion, Abby Johnson tells Georgetown students BY MATT HADRO CNA/EWTN NEWS No matter how deeply someone may be entrenched in the culture of death, they are never beyond the loving reach of Christ, said former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson to a group of Georgetown University stu- dents on April 20. Im standing in front of you today as a testament to the power of conversion, John- son, a former Texas Planned Parenthood clinic director who later converted to Catholicism, said in a talk scheduled the same day as Planned Parent- hood president Cecile Richards address to students on Georgetowns campus. Reflecting later on Richards addressing stu- dents earlier in the afternoon, Johnson said, I just kept thinking you know, I believe that one day I have faith that one day it wont be me standing here speaking and defending the sanctity of human life. I believe that one day it will be Cecile Rich- ards standing here. Richards invite to speak on campus by the student group Lecture Fund and the sub- sequent support that the university gave the froup drew biting criticism from the Arch- diocese of Washington for its unawareness of those pushing the violence of abortion. Planned Parenthood is the nations largest abortion provider, performing well over 300,000 abortions per year. The Jesuit community on campus clearly has its work cut out for it and a long way to fo as it tries to instill at Georgetown some of the values of Pope Francis, the archdiocese stated. Being pro-life is not just about saving the baby. Because if it was, then we would just be pro-baby, Johnson said. We are pro-life, and we believe in the dignity and the inher- ent worth of that woman whos walking in to that abortion facility and we know that she deserves better than anything she can receive inside those abortion facility walls. Abby Johnson

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