Monday, August 29, 2005

Amen, Bishop Olmsted!

By Mitchell

I continue to be impressed by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, who has been a strong, ferverent defender of the faith ever since he was appointed to his position. The Curt Jester exerpts Bishop Olmsted's recent editorial - here's a sample:

The right to life, however, is not an issue of interest only to Catholics. It is of primary concern for all. The founders of our country recognized this when they stated, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

The right to life is indeed an inalienable one. To stand up for the dignity of every person, then, and to speak out against intrinsic evils such as abortion, euthanasia, racism and sexual acts outside of marriage is a service that God requires of us on behalf of all persons, not only members of our own faith.

To do this by actions as well as by words underlines the seriousness of these teachings and the depths of our convictions. One such action is to prohibit the giving of honors or the provision of a platform in Catholic institutions for those who support actions contrary to these core moral principles.

I trust that this position is not that difficult to understand. Why would we honor or give a platform to someone who radically disagrees with our fundamental teachings? We should instead be criticized if we allowed such things to happen.

Read the rest at the Curt Jester's blog. You wouldn't think that we should get so excited about one of our bishops defending the teachings of the Church, but then...

I mention the last because of a comment in GetReligion's review of the New Yorker profile of Hugh Hewitt in which Hewitt discusses why he left the Catholic Church for a Protestant denomination:

Like many conservative Republicans of his generation, he was increasingly drawn to evangelical Protestantism. And Hewitt had come to dislike the political direction that the Catholic Church had taken. (“They were wrong on the Soviet Union, wrong on nuclear weapons, and wrong on poverty,” he says.)

And that's a shame. I don't know Hewitt personally (and I don't agree with him all the time politically) but I like what I've read about the man, and I wonder just how responsible he can be held for leaving the Church, when in all likelihood he was driven away by people - including bishops - who were misrepresenting the true teachings of the Church, or were teaching them badly. I know others who have either left the Church or have been tempted to, for the same reason.

When I converted to Catholicism, I was warned by some of my politically conservative friends to "not let the Church change you into a liberal." Well, there's no doubt that in some ways I have become more liberal, in the sense that I've parted ways with many conservatives who align themselves so closely with Corporate America, and have myself become more interested in Distributism.

But Catholicism is the truth. It is the teaching of Jesus Christ as presented in the Church He founded. It has been, and continues to be, distorted by its fallible human representatives. Its leaders occasionally offer opinions with which we can respectfully disagree. But its enemies, like the demons in the swine, recognize it for what it is - a teller of the truth, the greatest threat to the dictatorship of relativism. People deserve to hear that truth. It's a scandal when they don't.

Which is why we applaud men like Bishop Olmsted, who aren't afraid to teach the truth as Christ did. And why we should follow their example.

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