Monday, January 21, 2013

Do We Need a Ghetto?

I've been thinking a great deal about how our Catholic culture in the U.S. will change if we are not allowed to continue to freely practice our faith.  Just as a quick recap, here are the freedoms we stand to lose and why:
  1. Freedom from providing marriage and adoptions services to same-sex couples because of anti-bullying and hate crimes laws.
  2. Freedom from paying for contraceptive and abortion services because of the HHS mandate.
  3.  Freedom to choose a doctor and/or hospital if Catholic hospitals close because of the HHS mandate.
  4. Freedom to adopt from Catholic social services provider, or to provide foster care to children because Catholic social services close for the above reasons.
  5. Freedom to not provide specific services if you are a healthcare professional, including doctors, nurses, pharmacies, and even receptionists.
  6. Freedom to teach children, particularly special needs children, at home because of common core requirements from the Department of Education.
  7. Freedom to teach or learn at a Catholic school if the HHS mandate is not abolished, or if you live in a city or state with 'hate-crime' laws that make it almost impossible for a religious institution to deny employment to any LGBTQ person, even if their status was not disclosed during hiring.
That seems like enough to go on with.

In our Sunday bulletin, our Nebraska Bishops stated the following:  ""Forty years of Roe v. Wade necessarily calls to mind that in both the Old and New Testaments the number forty denotes a time of preparation and testing, followed by some special action of the Lord."  (Most Reverend George J. Lucas, Most Reverend James D. Conley, Most Reverend William J. Dendinger.)

The Biblical examples they give end well;  the flood ends,  Israelites find their home, Jesus overcomes temptation and begins His ministry.  Perhaps that is what we can hope for here as well.  But I'm a Ranting Catholic Mom, so that's not where I am going.

In these forty years of Roe, Catholics have left their traditional neighborhoods, become increasingly like the protestants around us, abandoned the beautiful parishes built as the center pieces of Catholic ethnic ghettos for the Irish, Italian, German, Polish, or any other immigrant group, and moved to suburbs with churches that can easily double for the lobby of a movie theater if the movie theater had pews.

Likewise, we don't as a whole support Catholic businesses.  Maybe you go to a local pizza shop because they are in your parish, or Dominoes because it's fast, but what about groceries?  Do you have a choice?  Hobby Lobby or Michael's?  Walmart or Target?  What real choices exist without buying something knowing that at least a portion of what you have spent will go to fund a cause that is anathama to the teachings of the church?

I'm lazy and I don't want to move, or search the morality of every company I do business with.  But I am nostalgic for Catholic neighborhoods, ghettos if you will, where you knew that at least superficially, there were common beliefs and assumptions.  If dissenters existed, they kept it to themselves, or were shunned for bad behavior. 

I know that sounds harsh, but we have been letting the dissenters win for far too long.  Dissenters are glorified, become leaders of thriving parishes, and preside over them as the numbers in the pews on Sunday diminish, until the parish is closed. 

After 40 years in the abortionists desert that has spread in the harsh warmth of dissenting Catholics, I am looking for a ghetto.

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