Politics and Faith

Recently, I attended a reception for the congressional representative for the 1st District in Maine. I had been a party faithful for many years. I was amongst many friends and like minded people. I had been the municipal the Chair of the party, an elected city council person and a school board member. For many years I thought I could keep my faith and moral beliefs separate from my political thought. They did not have to be reconciled. That has changed for me. I have decided I must reconcile my faith with how I vote and who and what issues I support. I struggle with the realization that Constitution appears to not require morality, but favors freedom. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, does not include, necessarily morality. So many have rationalized their political decisions and support with this in mind. I must support issues that reflect truth. According to Pope John Paul II Truth cannot Contradict Truth.
 
So for sake of conversation AND, to be honest, I wanted see the reaction I might get if I made a comment to a few friends that I was moving to the right. I was becoming more conservative. A few agreed but did not engage.  One very intelligent friend suggested I read a book called God’s Politics by Tom Wallis. I looked at the book and the reviews and it seemed to present a very liberal view of how God might or should impact our political thought and actions. I still will read the book, but with caution and prayer. I also had a conversation with a person I have liked and respected for many years. She quoted me the Boston Catechism about conscience. I could not counter her statement that generally if your conscience is different with what the Church teaches than you are OK to vote or make worldly decisions with your conscience as the guide. Conscience trumps the teaching of religious leaders?  I wondered. Was the Pope wrong? Was the magisterium wrong? I had some discerning to do.  I left the meeting thinking, I may be in the wrong political party.  Maybe I should just become an unenrolled independent citizen and vote my conscience. I will think about this some.

I reviewed my Year of the faith email today. I have been participating in a Year of Faith program that facilitates the reading of the Catholic Catechism in one year. I was pleasantly surprised to see todays topic the exact challenge that I was struggling with. Day 227 How to Form and Follow Your Conscience Seems the holy Spirit decided to assist with my discernment. Praise God.  I believe that coincidences are usually for a reason and many times are the holy Spirit intervening. Not always, but in this case it seemed to be clear.  The caveat to my friends comments was that the conscience can be poorly formed. It can be based on erroneous information.  How do you decide.  As a practitioner of contemplative prayer now for more than 20 years, I usually give it to God in prayer, and I reach a very confident conclusion in most cases.  I have been reading the magisterium as well which I think is important to be sure your conscience is formed in communion with the Truth.

  Additionally, an exceptional blogger Robert Sylvester wrote related blog today. Church-Secular-or-Mystical?

So my plan going forward it to NOT join any one-sided party platforms or activists groups.  I really like the idea of a bipartisan effort, that I wrote about in my last blog. 
Enough for today.  OnWard

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Steve Crate

Raised in Trinitarian/Presbyterian/Quaker tradition, Steve converted to Maronite Catholic in 1978 when his first son was Baptised and Christened. Both faiths have a Trinitarian basis for explaining God and so fit with his lifetime faith. Steve also had developed a Contemplative Prayer practice which has monastic historical basis and is the foundation of the Maronite Church from St Maron forward. He was ordained a Lector, Cantor and Subdeacon in the Maronite Catholic Church on October 24, 2010. He continues to serve in a voluntary ministry at St Joseph Maronite Catholic Church in Waterville Maine. Steve is a retired Rehabilitation Counselor, teacher and writer. Steve recently was hired as part time Spiritual Care Coordinator at Northern Light Inland Hospital in Waterville.

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