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In March of 1937, Pope Pius XI issued two encyclical letters, one of them condemning Nazism (Mit Brennender Sorge), the other condemning Communism (Divini Redemptoris) — two political movements whose ideology was utterly at odds with the teachings of Catholicism.
It seems to me that the time has come for a papal encyclical condemning the Democrat party of the United States — a party whose philosophy (or ideology) is utterly at odds with the teachings of Catholicism.
I say this not simply as a lifelong Catholic, but as a person who was once an ardent Democrat. For twelve years I was a Democratic member of the Rhode Island Senate; for two of those years, I was the Democratic majority leader of the R.I. Senate; and in 1992, I was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives from my congressional district.
The party I used to love was the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson. It was a party whose center of gravity was in the blue-collar families of America — the kind of family I grew up in. It was a party that believed in labor unions and racial justice and law and order. It was a party that was patriotic, democratic, and anti-totalitarian. Its values were almost entirely compatible with the values of my religion.
Today’s Democrat party is a radically different thing. To begin with, it is “soft” on patriotism. As for racial justice, it is (quite unlike Martin Luther King) more concerned with “color of skin” than with “content of character.” And when it comes to urban crime, its sympathies lie more with black criminals than with black victims of crime.
Further, disregarding the Catholic social doctrine of “subsidiarity,” today’s party believes in maximizing the powers and responsibilities of the federal government, thereby disempowering state governments, local governments, non-governmental agencies, and individuals.
For a half-century and more, it has co-operated with those who were willing and often eager to undermine and eventually destroy the classical American family — that is, the married two-parent family, the social unit that, according to Catholicism, is the building block of any society. When I was young (I’m very old now), marriage was thought to be the proper location for sex, for child-bearing, and for child-rearing. Now, thanks to Democrats and their morally liberal supporters, marriage is often looked on as a charming antique. This destruction of the nuclear family is largely complete among blacks and is making strong progress among whites.
The most obvious clash between the beliefs and values of the Catholic religion and the beliefs and values of today’s Democrat party has to do with abortion. Catholicism regards abortion as a kind of homicide — or as Pope Francis said recently, murder. Democrats, diametrically opposed to the Catholic view, see abortion as nothing less than the exercise of a “fundamental human right.” Only the other day, every Democrat but one in the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that will, if it becomes law, give federal statutory protection to almost any imaginable abortion up ’til the moment of birth.
This diametric opposition of views is not limited to abortion. It is also found with regard to homosexual practice. Democrats consider this practice to be a fine and splendid thing, at least for those who are “born that way” — so fine and splendid, in fact, that it deserves to be at the center of a new and honorable kind of marriage. Catholicism, on the other hand, considers homosexual practice to be a grave sin, a contrary-to-nature perversion.
And then there is transgenderism. To the Democratic mind, there is nothing shocking when a boy or man decides that he’s a girl or woman, or vice versa. Reminding themselves that “diversity made American great” (something Democrats say when they are not saying, “America was never great”), today’s Democrat thinks it’s a fine thing when persons choose their own sex/gender, whether that be male or female or both or neither. Catholicism, by contrast, calls this a rebellion against nature and against God, the Creator of nature.
Do I think Pope Francis will actually write the encyclical I’m suggesting? No. Maybe the next pope. Or the one after that. But not this one.
But the American Catholic bishops could write the near-equivalent of an encyclical. They could write a collective pastoral letter to American Catholics. Will they? Not likely. For these are the same bishops, remember, who have remained relatively silent as two “Catholics” — Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi — have risen to the top of the Democrat party, where they have embraced the party’s un-Catholic and anti-Catholic agenda.