Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

“The Christian who neglects his temporal duties… jeopardizes his eternal salvation” -V2 (or: Vote the radical secularists out of office this Tuesday)

November 4th, 2012, Promulgated by benanderson

I had the pleasure of attending the conscience conference at St. Patrick’s a couple of weeks ago and met Dan Kane, a Director at UNESCO Chair in Bioethics & Human Rights, & itinerant physicist. His presentation was truly excellent. If you get a chance to hear this guy talk – don’t miss out on it. A few days later, Dan sent me his closing thoughts that time didn’t permit him to get to that night. This article is especially worth the read given the upcoming election.

Closing Thoughts:

Mary is the Seat of Wisdom because she is the one who believed like no other that God’s word to her would be fulfilled. It is indeed fruitful to meditate on her life and deeds. With her prayers, we seek to have the fire of our consciences rekindled — sharing our faith in the person of Christ, our faith in all the Church believes and teaches, our confidence in the Church’s teachings, our courage in sharing those teachings, not just with family and friends, but also in the public square — with our elected and appointed leaders and with those who influence public opinion.

Yet, dear friends, relativism has corrupted many consciences – some indeed beyond natural repair. Relativism (and it’s ugly brother secularism) is able to make such inroads against life and liberty primarily because so many people have set aside their conscience by ceasing to practice their faith or by compartmentalizing it in their lives; living by accident or design a life of duplicity. One cannot both support and oppose the wisdom of the Church simply by circumstance or location – believing in one, holy, catholic apostolic church on Sunday and ignoring or even God forbid, promoting a contrary teaching – a gospel of man if you will, on Monday.

In this year of Faith, where we celebrate the golden anniversary of Vatican Council II, I wish to draw your attention a sentinel paragraph that speaks with prophetic specificity to the time we are in right now.

On the contrary, are they any less wide of the mark who think that religion consists in acts of worship alone and who imagine they can plunge themselves into earthly affairs in such a way as to imply that these are altogether divorced from the religious life. This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age. Therefore, let there be no false opposition between professional and social activities on the one part, and religious life on the other. The Christian who neglects his temporal duties, neglects his duties toward his neighbor and even God, and jeopardizes his eternal salvation.
(Gaudium et Spes 43)

If we want to turn back the powerful invasion of relativism against the dignity of human life, the nature of family and secure the freedom to live our faith; if we want to leave a legacy of peace, justice, charity and hope; then we must first choose Truth who is not something but someone – we must choose Christ as our way, means and model. He loved all, desired all to join him but he knew that he would only save “many” because he never diluted the terms of the discipleship – loving the rich young man and respecting his conscience, he let him remain with the attachments he held dear because some things are not negotiable. Our Lord did not say “50% down, 25% after the Resurrection”. To use the card playing expression a Catholic is either “all in” or not in at all, no matter the state or office they hold.

Following a well-formed conscience we must resist, in truth and in love any incursion on our beliefs, and any incursion on our right to a space in the public square. We have a sacred responsibility – entrusted to the laity – to sanctify the public order.

An informed conscience can never allow the diabolical errors of our age – abortion, same gender marriage, abuse of the poor, denial of care to the aged and infirm, the right to a just wage and decent healthcare, the right to immigrate, unjust war – to name but a few that lie before us today – to go unnoticed, unaddressed or uncorrected. In addition we must define these terms.

As the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts – a Catholic, aptly stated in National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius on June 28 of this year:

“Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” (page 6)

Remember the warning of the Chief Justice:

It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

The freedom that the wisdom of conscience prompts us to advocate for is the most fundamental of human goods and rights, namely, the right to life and the right of individuals not only to profess their faith but also to live their deepest beliefs and to allow them to influence their daily decisions at home, in the school, at work and in the community at large.

Authentic Catholic social teaching – a conscience driven activity if there ever was one, stems from an affirmation of three manifestations of conscience:

(a) The inherent and equal dignity and fundamental right to life of every member of the human family, including the child in the womb and the elderly beset with chronic disease – all deserve light, protection, food and care.

(b) The centrality and indispensable social significance of natural marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman. If one is incapable of “acts apt for procreation” – not procreation but acts that lead to it – one is incapable of marriage. Acts of sodomy cannot consummate a marriage because they do not unite into one flesh nor are the procreative.

(c) Religious freedom and the rights of conscience.

This is the “seamless garment” of the new millennium. This is conscience driven activism for the good of all.

Every single human act is an act of the will and an act of reason – therefore an exercise of conscience. Voting allows us to wisely exercise our conscience for the good of others by placing our most precious human freedoms at the service of the nation and the service of life – as our Lord taught “I came so that you might have life – life to the fullest.”

Mary, seat of Wisdom, pray for us.


16 Responses to ““The Christian who neglects his temporal duties… jeopardizes his eternal salvation” -V2 (or: Vote the radical secularists out of office this Tuesday)”

  1. Gretchen says:

    Thank you for the post. I have been in an emotional quagmire for hours now, hearing from the wife of a devout Catholic that he is going to vote for Obama because Obama is going to give Americans a tax break. Why am I shocked? We have all seen and witnessed the lack of reasoning that led to voting for Obama in the previous election, but to see it in action among a group of Catholics who all seemed to feel it was an acceptable choice was more than disheartening. The voter in question is active in supporting pro-life activities in our parish, but nevertheless feels comfortable voting for Obama. The disconnect is profound.

    This must be an example of the compartmentalization that is mentioned in your post, Ben. I want to go hide somewhere. I won’t, but I want to.

    Gretchen from SOP

  2. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Share this link with your friend:
    Obamacare’s heavey toll on Middle Class Americans… the facts, do the calculations

  3. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Share this link:
    What kind of country do you want?

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    One more hoping it helps the Catholic friend
    who is ready to vote for Obama:
    economy and empowerment……..socialism is not what America is about……..

  5. Scott W. says:

    Some of us might conscientiously abstain either in part or whole from certain elections. See No, you don’t have to vote and many of the recent entries at Zippy’s blog.

  6. Ben Anderson says:

    So, Scott, personal reasons aside (eg if a family member is having surgery or something) – what would be your prudential reason for conscientiously abstaining?

  7. DanielKane says:

    I imagine that if a person is called in conscience not to vote, then they likely should not vote.

    That being said, there is substantial magisterial teaching on the matter of varying weight and influence. It is the duty of the laity to sanctify the temporal order. It is hard to imagine doing that politically if you excuse yourself from the process. Evangelium Vitae, which is easily located anticipates a poor vs. a less good candidate in paragraph 73. No magisterial teacher or group of teachers suggests in the present time and place staying home as being a viable option. There are a dozen candidates on the ballot and a write in slot.

    CCC 2240 “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country…”

    It is difficult indeed to read this passage and conclude that voting is an imprudent act or is in some way not obligatory.

  8. Scott W. says:

    Yes, the CCC passage was dealt with in the entry I linked.

  9. Ben Anderson says:

    There’s really no argument in your link except to prudential judgment. There’s got to be something more to what you’re saying. What am I missing?

  10. Scott W. says:

    For the record, I did go to the polls and cast a ballot and without getting into details, let’s just say that neither the Obamanation nor the Rombot got my vote. So I haven’t quite taken Zippy’s <a href="radical step" as the American bishops call it." But I may in the future.

  11. raymondfrice says:

    I think that we often forget that to be pro-life means we are also concerned about the American troops ordered to Afganistan to “help ” the people there. Right now the suicide of troops there exceeds those killed in action. Yet the American public consistently puts the resolution of problems in the economy ahead of the resolution in Afganistan. This is not just an election issue but a moral dysfunction in the entire American society. Not only do our conscience decisions have to be moral, but they also have to be well formed and consistent and not selective for “exceptions”..

  12. Richard Thomas says:


    I don’t like lumping all these social justice issues under the veil of pro-life. That has been a purpouseful means by atholic bishops, beginning in the 1980’s to deemphasize pro-life at the expense of all these other issues.

    I wish that the full weight of Catholic influence could be placed on the unborn. And preach about it instead of having to hear about all these other less improtant issues.

    As far as our troops go, I thought it was to try and destroy the Taliban. But that’s a whole disscusion into itself.

  13. annonymouse says:

    Something to think about:

    The ONLY reason that abortion continues to be legal in the United States is that Roman Catholics do not consistently vote pro-life. When the Catholic vote is evenly split between candidates who vow to work to restore protections to all innocent life and candidates who vow to do all they can to encourage and fund the evil of abortion, then we have the status quo. All because otherwise good people desire to “do something” for the poor, as if the government is going to successfully eradicate poverty, and that desire trumps all other concerns.

    If Roman Catholic bishops were clear and forceful in their teaching, and more importantly, if the recalcitrant Roman Catholic faithful were to actually allow themselves to be taught by their teachers, and consistently vote pro-life, then the national tragedy which is legal abortion would be ended.

  14. raymondfrice says:

    Richard Thomas: “And preach about it instead of having to hear about all these other less improtant (sic) issues.”

    If you think the deaths of our military fathers with children, mothers with children, brothers, and sons are less important issues than abortion,it may be time to rethink your positions on moral theology.

    Remember: the death penalty was unjustly imposed on the Christ. Is this a lesser issue??

  15. annonymouse says:

    Raymond, let me speak for Richard. The answer to each of your moral equivalents is YES, they are both lesser issues. Just in terms of sheer numbers of people being killed. We kill more than one million babies every year in the U.S., approximately 4,000 per day. Every one of them dies as a holy innocent, in horrible, painful deaths.

    There are a 40 or 50 inmates killed each year by capital punishment. Nearly every one is guilty of a heinous crime. Now we oughtn’t, as Catholics, support the death penalty. But is that an issue important enough to vote on, or propose that it’s somehow equivalent to abortion? I think not. And there was no difference between Mr. Romney and the President on this issue (the President executes those on his “kill list” by drones – do you support THAT?)

    And regarding the deaths of our military, yes that is regrettable, but again there is no difference between these two candidates (or, for that matter, Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama). So your strawmen are just that.

    It is people like you who place your Democratic Party faith ahead of your Roman Catholic Faith.

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