“Refusing to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
What are the “great moral issues” we face today?
Gay marriage, abortion, and adultery. Look how many will say, “It just isn’t any of my business what other people do.” Or, “They can live their life and I will live mine.” Or, “I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t think I should force my views on others.” Or, “It is better to just not bring it up than to disrupt family gatherings.” Or, “We all have a right to decide what is best for ourselves.” Or, infamously, “Who am I to judge?”
We live in a war zone. Our enemies have taken sides and it is conceding the war to them when we fail to take up the banner of Christ in defense of Truth. Every time we remain silent, every time we fail to rebut, every time we just let what they say slide by in conversation without stamping out the error, the devil wins a few more inches of ground on the battlefield.
“Well,” some may say, “you can only be just so confrontational and then after that, no one will want to be your friend.” Restating Fulton Sheen’s words above: “The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision.” Your silence is itself the choice you make to side with evil. Your politeness, your congeniality, your jovialness, your willingness to be at peace with the errors of others is not bringing peace to the world. It is in fact advancing the cause of the destruction of the Church.
|This didn't happen overnight. It is a result of gradually just not caring.|
Tolerating the dust in your house eventually leads to tolerating the mold and the grime. And once the house is dirty it is easier to say, well the clutter isn’t really all that bad. And when the clutter piles up it is that much easier to say, well nobody’s perfect so why try. And when we just stop trying the real filth is as welcome in our lives as anything else. These same principles apply to our lives as Catholics. The dust is your friend who tells you they plan to attend the gay wedding of a coworker. The mold is the kid or grandkid of yours who is living with his girlfriend. The clutter is the people you know who have walked away from the Church and now go to some mega church or no church at all. And the real filth is the failure to stand up for the unborn which have no one but us to speak for them.
I heard Melissa Francis on television today say that she is an “Independent.” As a political designation one may think it keeps them away from all that is bad in either of our two parties, but believing you can actually do that and straddle the fence to keep all your friends on either side happy is a false errand. Neither party is made up solely of angels and saints, but one of the two defends a platform of sin while the other has tried to demonstrate intolerance for evil and provide a path for people to follow Judeo-Christian values. As pointed out by my friend Jennifer recently, “Washington is a big pool of people who care more about being left out than doing what is right. They are more worried about not being included in cocktail party guest lists or “get togethers” than they are in standing up for what is morally correct.”
She and I were recently on a car trip together and we were reading aloud the first few chapters of Mollie Hemmingway’s new book, Justice on Trial. Having grown up in the D.C. area, Jennifer said, “Staying in favor with the other insiders quickly takes over your willingness to take a stand on compromising issues that may ruffle feathers.”
|Excellent book. Great read.|
This is especially true of those who have a desire to leave their small hometowns behind and become lifelong members of the Washington establishment, calling Washington home, and all in it their friends. The career politicians, the lobbyists, the contractors, and the bureaucrats in departments of government are all far more likely to “go along to get along” than to stand their ground on any moral issue. This is what makes it a swamp. In discussing the Supreme Court with Jennifer, I said I thought it would be a terrible thing to imagine that for the rest of my life I would have to be “friends of” and attend social events with people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Elena Keegan. I am not even sure I could sit across the lunch table with either of them in the back chambers of the court. We are told that Justice Antonin Scalia and Ruth Ginsburg were great friends who shared a love of opera and attended many performances together. I am certainly not saying I am a better person than Scalia, but I just don’t see myself yukking it up with Ginsburg over anything.
It is easy for all of us to look at D.C. and say, “Harrumph! Harrumph! Isn’t it awful,” but each of us needs to look in the mirror and examine how many times we too have failed to speak for Christ when we should have, how many times we have feared rejection, how many times we have passed up the chance to be the salt that makes the difference in someone else’s life.
As Sheen said, “The tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction….” Be very clear, our enemies most certainly do speak with fire and live by their convictions and unless we get out of our comfort zones and speak only Truth to error, we will find ourselves in a world without God, a town without salt, a neighborhood without decency, and a home without hope.