Thursday, April 7, 2016

On Being a Catholic Under Bad Government

I've been writing letters to various government representatives for the last few weeks months about some important issues facing Canada and my province. Most pressingly the oncoming onslaught of highly unregulated doctor-assisted suicide across the country, and some high-handed education guidelines surrounding gender identity which present a very transformative moral impact in our province's education system.

I write the letters, I email and mail the letters, I occasionally received a highly patronizing reply from my government representative that implies I'm an idiot with whom no one agrees. I write again. It's not a fun hobby, but it seems that each successive issue becomes an even greater issue on which to speak out.

It's hard to continue to voice opinions that seem to be completely against the tide. It's hard to have governments in power that are openly hostile to your beliefs and see no value from your input. It's hard to see that the war has in many ways already been lost and that the tide will not turn on the larger stage.

As a Catholic my faith isn't put in a box in my life that only comes out on Sunday. The Catholic faith informs and impacts every aspect of my life, and as such it informs and impacts how I view public policy, laws, and how government itself functions. It's a moral lens that impacts how I see all of these things, but it also shapes my actions as a citizen.

Increasingly my country doesn't tolerate even the idea that religious beliefs should inform moral and political decisions. There's an open hostility to trying to "enforce your private beliefs" on an unsuspecting public, or even worse, a contempt for religion as it it must be in-of-itself intolerant and oppressive, bigoted and hateful.

This idea concerning religion has come about because there are entire generations of us who have no idea what having a faith even means. Our society has lost the idea that theology is an objective study that has almost 2000 years of intellectual history. Society has no concept that faith is formative and deeply connected to an individual's values and conscience, including how an individual makes political choices and how he views his country. Society has completely rejected the idea of a higher authority informing us about moral issues. Society has wholly committed to relativism to the point that we don't believe choices are moral at all, that we simple act on our feelings and that in consequence, must be good.

And now we are reaping these rewards with the destruction of children's innocence, handing over more control to the government in the name of tolerance, and completely abandoning moral and civil codes of conduct that are foundational to Western civilization.

Our Catholic faith is a beautiful seamless belief system that builds our political and social stances on a foundation of thoughtfully developed teachings based on natural law and God's revelation. As Catholics we uphold life, we value the dignity of the human person, that life must be respected from conception to natural death, and acknowledge the inherent and created differences of male and female and how that affects our humanity. These principles are not against the social order or social progress, these are the principles that have helped build the free and just societies of Western civilization.

These once commonly held values are now being turned on their heads, their basic truthfulness dismissed, and a Catholic position is seen as extreme and backward.

It all leaves me anxious and frustrated. Knowing that I, as a Catholic, can participate as much as possible as a private citizen, give my money to political organizations that are the least abhorrent to my values, write as much as possible to my government representatives, and yet still be part of the minority and have no power to stop the coming detrimental changes to my country.

I can see and imagine the toxic consequences for my children and grandchildren by what is happening in the public sphere now, and all I will be able to tell them is I, along with a small number of others, tried to speak in contradiction to the mob mentality that is our society. I already fear that I'm not doing enough. That as time passes history will look upon our lifetime as the hinge between civilization and a relativistic/fascist dystopia.

As I Catholic I know that Christ is the Lord of History. His ultimate victory is real and we just await it. But that doesn't take away from the fact that it is legitimately painful to watch your own country take drastic steps towards eradicating the moral fabric of society. I want the best for my country and for the people who live in it, and I know that a country who willfully promotes laws and principles contrary to God's laws will inevitably suffer.

Coming soon - What to do when politics feels hopeless.

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  1. As a fellow Canadian Catholic blogger; YOU ARE AWESOME.

  2. Christy, way to be awesome! I always really enjoy hearing your perspective on this, and I think it's also interesting (and scary!) because the United States is definitely on this same path, too. It blows my mind how in just my short lifetime of 23 years, so much stuff has gone downhill, and that really shows what a huge responsibility we all have to stick up for the Truth!

    1. The U.S. is on the same path but thousands have joined the John Birch Society. Since 1958 members have fought an educational battle against the planned Marxist destruction of all religion and all eternal truths. Go to to see what is being done in the U.S.

  3. Yes, this! I am with you in this struggle. I watch our society and government (in the US) abandon long held values. It leaves me with a feeling of remorse, and it worries me for the generation I am trying to raise in our Catholic faith. Two of my girls are teenagers and I see little things seeping in, especially in approach to sexuality. I feel desperate for church teaching to reach my children. I feel like I wasn't prepared for the huge shift that has taken place recently and now I realize that the foundation I laid was not strong enough. It scares me and distresses me. Suddenly becoming a minority is a very unsettling thing, especially when it is such core truths in conflict. This post hit a cord. I look forward to the next post.
    Liz (mom to 5)

  4. Oh Christy, I'm with you. I'm a teacher with the Catholic Edmonton board and it frightens me to think of what's coming down. Also, my daughter is only 2 short years away from school. I did not vote for either the provincial or federal governments and I don't like what they're doing!

  5. Wow Christy. I guess when I hear folks complaining they should move to Canada because of the crazy in our upcoming elections, guess it isn't all its cracked up to be. That's AWESOME though you are taking the time and being intentional to have your voice heard!

  6. Good for you, Christy!! My husband's cousin's husband is a very conservative Catholic Canadian and has no problem speaking his mind about politics and religion (I love it) but from what I've heard from him (and you) about the political climate in Canada it makes me so sad to hear about what's going on- esp. seeing that the US is following suit. It is painfully frustrating to see more and more people vote against all that is good and moral...hearing about your letters makes me think of that famous Edmund Burke quote. Keep up the good fight!

  7. I am Canadian but I live in Ontario. I feel your pain!!!

  8. Not that we're in as desperate a situation as the early Christians, but it does cause me to wonder how they raised and trained up their children in such hostile situations when the Romans were so desperately trying to snuff out the Christian movement.

  9. Thank you for writing so well about this difficult subject! I completely relate and share your pain. How amazing you are for spending your precious little free time writing those letters! Thank you for your passion and determination. Very much looking forward to hearing your thoughts on hope next time!!

  10. Never commented before, but just wanted you to know that there are other people in Ontario who agree with you - you're not alone.

  11. Well said! I agree with you 100%! Just, well said!

  12. I read Michael O'Brien's (a Canadian author) Eclipse of the Sun and it was chilling how prescient it was. I try to keep in mind that the early Christians were certainly the minority in their countries and their faith persevered.

  13. Thanks for your thoughts! It is very frightening, especially how quickly the transgender stuff has spread (and anyone who doesn't agree is not engaged at all, just labelled a bigot, from the very people who are supposedly so worried about sexual assault etc).

    For me, it really clarifies my job as a mother. While I hope I am not raising actual martyrs, I am most likely raising children who will have to give up many comforts and worldly glory in a way that Christians have not had to do for generations. Professional ethics tests may include conformity on all of these issues- the medical professions and any celebratory small businesses like florists, photographers, cake makers certainly seem to be going that way in the US, probably teachers too but could expand to even things like accountants. If that's the case, real material sacrifices will have to be made: am I teaching them to love God and the truth more than a large home and new, beautiful things? Am I teaching them to be able to cultivate beauty without buying stuff?

    Perhaps they will go the Jayber Crow route with increased regulations: are they willing to face jail for this? Can they teach and educate their children in a very simple Christian community (ghetto?)? Am I giving them the resources for these things? (Do I need to be stockpiling good books? Probably not yet but at a certain point I will have to stop assuming they can just get some things from the library, because the library might only be full of books about penguins with two dads, if it is full of books at all)

    Anyway, perhaps I am too pessimistic but it really brings home the ways that I need to teach the virtues to my children- and thus acquire them myself!

  14. It is WEIRD to write a letter of concern about how I fear some of the emerging legal frameworks might damage the systems put in place to protect our most vulnerable people, only to be answered like I am a contemptible alien. More than anything, it creeps me out that letters to an elected official can be so answered! This is not an environment that represents a people - it's a force that promotes an ideology. Any ideology promoted without charity or understanding is going to go terribly, awfully wrong. :-/


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