Is “Catholic first, then American” always right?


There’s a saying about how American Catholics need to define themselves as being Catholics who happen to be American, rather than Americans who happen to be Catholic.  Lately, though, this phrase "Catholics who happen to be American, rather
than Americans who happen to be Catholic" is being used more as an excuse
for progressivism and socialism than as a call to activism and proper
allegiance.  This saying was meant to be a rallying call to get people
off their butts, out of the pews, and into the public square to stand
up for the truths of the Church.  It was not meant to be the equivalent
of "sit down and shut up you ‘patriots’, because I’m your priest and
you have to listen to me and take it."

 
When my country is wrong with regard to faith and morals, this
statement stands true and causes me to stand up and be counted.  When
this country wants to promote abortions (either passively by law or
actively using my tax dollars), I will proudly declare that my country
is wrong and my faith is correct.  When this country says that Michael
J. Fox, Christopher Reeve,
or some other celebrity is more valuable than the tens of thousands of
babies frozen in limbo who could be used as research subjects in hopes
of a possible (but unlikely) cure for what ills those celebrities, I
will boldly declare my country is wrong in its thinking and I will work
to convince others of the truth my Church teaches.
 
However, when my church (or rather, its representatives) are not talking
about faith and morals, but rather about politics, economics, the
environment, or my diet (as happened this weekend), I am free to
disagree and even disagree loudly and publicly, not just as an
American, but also generally as another human being, made with the same
dignity as an image and likeness of God as those church representatives
with whom I might disagree. 
 
There is nothing Catholic about saying I must be *taxed* higher to
support the food, clothing, and health care of the poor – the Catholic
faith only says that I should care for the poor; it does not specify
how.  And the faith
 
There is nothing Catholic about saying that I must understand the
plight of the illegal immigrant when their "plight" is: cutting in line
ahead of legal immigrants, stealing jobs from those who might otherwise
take those jobs, being a tax cheat, receiving free public education (as
well as free meals with that free education), receiving free health care
(i.e., not paying for the care they receive, while others must pay more
to compensate the hospitals and doctors for the lost revenue) and
receiving discounted rates for higher education.  The Catholic faith
says we must care for the resident alien in our midst (not bend over
backwards and become a doormat for them), but it also says that a
nation has a right to its sovereignty and to defend itself and its
citizens from threats.
 
There is nothing Catholic about a carbon tax
or placing a higher value on a bald eagle egg than on a human embryo. 
The Catholic faith says we must be good stewards of the gifts God has
given us – including this planet – but it also tells us that man, being
made in God’s image and likeness, is superior to the animals and the
planet and has dominion over them.
 
There is nothing Catholic about preferring a vegetarian
or vegan diet, especially when there are far too many stories about
parents who have neglected the proper care and growth of their children
for the sake of their being vegan.  The Catholic Church
only tells us that we should not eat the meat of animals that have been
offered in pagan sacrifice.  In fact, with regard to the eating of
animals, Jesus specifically told Peter (our first Pope) "You shall not
call ‘unclean’ that which I have made clean."  It was Abel’s sacrifice
of an animal that God preferred to Cain’s sacrifice of cereal grains. 
It was spotless lambs, not tofu and soy, that the Jews were told to
consume each Passover.  And it is Jesus command to "eat his flesh (in Latin, carne,
as in carnivore) and drink his blood" that we obey at the Mass – we are
specifically instructed that it is NO LONGER bread and wine, but rather
his body and blood – much as when grass, corn, and water cease to be
grass, corn, and water, but are transformed into the muscle mass of
cows, pigs, and chickens.
 
When your country is right, when your culture is right, when your
customs are right – there is no shame in being proud of it, even if it
means you disagree with the person who happens to be a Church official,
when he is not talking about strictly Church-related teachings.  The
same strength of love that allows me to tell my country, my parents, or
anyone else that they are wrong when they are wrong is the same love I
must answer to upon my death, because I have to answer to a Higher Power first: the Truth. "I am the Way, the Light, and the Truth." "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free."
 
So when a church official uses their position as a representative
of the Church to espouse non-Church beliefs and teachings – I am an
American AND a Catholic AT THE SAME TIME, and I will not be guilted
into believing otherwise. 
 
Amen?
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