In a previous essay, I mentioned that the Catholic Church has lost her moral authority in our culture. There was a time in recent memory when the Church was a beacon of morality in American society. Those days are long gone.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, the ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal keeps getting worse and worse. There’s nothing more infuriating than powerful prelates living sinful lives in secret and then proclaiming moral standards that everyone else should live by. Nothing crushes credibility more than hypocrisy.
The other reason the Church has lost her moral authority is the fact the Catholic Church is one of the few institutions that still holds to the traditional, biblical view on two contentious topics: abortion and same-sex marriage. These issues have become the litmus test for whether a person or organization is considered acceptable in the popular culture nowadays. Whoever refuses to embrace the progressive, secular viewpoint on these two sexual revolution topics becomes an instant outcast.
This was made very clear during recent judicial hearings. Judge Brian Buescher was nominated for the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, and during confirmation hearings, two U.S. senators attacked Buescher because he’s a member of a sinister organization known as—wait for it—the Knights of Columbus.
Just check out the wording here. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) stated that “the Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions” regarding same-sex marriage. Extreme? In other words, the K of C holds the exact position the entire civilized world has held for the past 5,000 years of recorded human history—including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton up until about ten years ago. Sen. Hirono then went on to ask Buescher if he would quit the Knights of Columbus, “to avoid any appearance of bias.”
Next, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) asked Buescher if he was aware when he joined the Knights of Columbus that the group was an “all-male society” that opposed “a woman’s right to choose” and “marriage equality.”
(Let’s rephrase that: “Judge Buescher, are you aware the K of C is a fraternal service organization that frowns on the murder of innocent babies and prefers the 5000-year-old traditional definition of marriage?” There, I fixed it for you, Senator.)
Just pause for a minute here and think about how nutty this is. These U.S. senators are acting as if the good ol’ Knights of Columbus organization is an extremist hate group, no different than, say, the Ku Klux Klan. The only thing “extreme” about the Knights are those feathery Captain Crunch hats they wear during parades and other ceremonies.
What exactly is going on? It’s actually rather simple: the Catholic Church has lost her moral authority, and as a result, it is now open season on anyone who holds to the Church’s doctrines, especially regarding sexual revolution issues. The behavior of those two U.S. senators clearly demonstrates this.
So, how can we Catholics regain our moral authority? First, by BEING moral. When the behavior of the average Catholic is no different than that of the average self-centered atheist, our hypocrisy is obvious to all. And Catholic hypocrisy is not just a clerical problem.
Second, we must always proclaim the truth in love. Catholics do not hold traditional moral values in order to win arguments and dominate other people. We hold these values because they were handed down by Jesus Himself, and therefore they are true and good and beautiful.
Lent is starting soon, which is a great opportunity to practice humble penance. The season of Lent is not just about avoiding cheeseburgers on Friday. It’s a time to renew our commitment to holiness and biblical morality.
Who knows, maybe someday the Catholic Church will regain her cultural authority and once again be considered a beacon of morality. But in the meantime, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.