Bishop Blair: "Fidelity and Constancy in Difficult Times"
Toledo Bishop Leonard P. Blair writes in the December issue of The Catholic Chronicle:
Fidelity and constancy in difficult times
Written by Bishop Leonard P. Blair
Friday, 05 December 2008
... On the one hand, there is the threat to our nation’s material well-being as a result of the current economic crisis and the actual or possible loss of jobs, health care benefits, homes and retirement savings. On the other hand, there is the moral threat of a potential extreme turn to abortion in our country.
These issues were addressed at our bishops’ meeting, and I would like to say something about both from the perspective of Mother Cabrini’s words on the "fidelity and constancy" that are required of us in difficult times as followers of Jesus Christ.
First, there is economic hardship.
For many years now, people of faith have lamented the crass materialism and commercialization of Christmas. It is true that consumer spending at Christmas gives an important boost to the economy. However, this year, more than ever, it is important that each of us also be as generous as possible in support of those who are hurting as a result of economic turmoil.
I challenge myself and all of you, at the very least, to match what we spend on Christmas presents with a gift to the needy, directly or to food pantries, parish and diocesan charities, and groups like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The second "difficult situation" of grave concern is the potential threat of legislation proposed in Washington by abortion rights groups and their allies in Congress.
In the words of Cardinal George: "In the last Congress, a Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) was introduced that would, if brought forward in the same form today, outlaw any ‘interference’ in providing abortion at will ... It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country ... [and] would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life.
Cardinal George’s statement assures President-elect Obama of the bishops’ prayers for him, and of our desire to work with him and the new Congress for the common good of our nation. However, the national unity that Mr. Obama seeks cannot possibly be achieved by "aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders" that would "permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion."
Christmas is a season of many profound lessons. God is to be found in the material poverty of a cold stable, in the helplessness of an infant carried lovingly by his mother for nine months in her womb, in the "fidelity and constancy" of those who are not deterred by evil even in difficult situations. So let us work and pray for what is good, with charity in our hearts for all, especially those who are hurting and those who are the most vulnerable...
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