Thursday, June 07, 2007

Politics: Pope Leo XIII intercedes during Republican debate

First, watch this clip from the Republican debate in which Rudy Giuliani was asked "how does that make you feel?" (such a hard-hitting political question, I might add) regarding a Catholic Bishop equating Giuliani's laissez-faire attitude towards abortion with Pontius Pilate's allowing Jesus Christ to be crucified. (I love the still image from the video here: it looks like Rudy's declaring some truths to be self-evident or something.)
Yes, that was lightning strikes causing the microphone system to cut out occasionally. Giuliani cracked jokes about it, but since the question he was asked was one about how he felt (subjective) and not morality and right-and-wrong (objective), everyone had a laugh and moved on.

I'm reading an encyclical from Pope Leo XIII, Mirae caritatis ("Wondrous love", On the Holy Eucharist), from 1902. Paragraph 17 is rather timely, given the number of politicians (Republican, Democrat, or otherwise) who prefer to give their moral consciences the back seat in matters of public policy:
Most abundant, assuredly, are the salutary benefits which are stored up in this most venerable mystery, regarded as a Sacrifice; a Sacrifice which the Church is accordingly wont to offer daily "for the salvation of the whole world." And it is fitting, indeed in this age it is specially important, that by means of the united efforts of the devout, the outward honour and the inward reverence paid to this Sacrifice should be alike increased. Accordingly it is our wish that its manifold excellence may be both more widely known and more attentively considered. There are certain general principles the truth of which can be plainly perceived by the light of reason; for instance, that the dominion of God our Creator and Preserver over all men, whether in their private or in their public life, is supreme and absolute; that our whole being and all that we possess, whether individually or as members of society, comes from the divine bounty; that we on our part are bound to show to God, as our Lord, the highest reverence, and, as He is our greatest benefactor, the deepest gratitude.

But how many are there who at the present day acknowledge and discharge these duties with full and exact observance? In no age has the spirit of contumacy and an attitude of defiance towards God been more prevalent than in our own; an age in which that unholy cry of the enemies of Christ: "We will not have this man to rule over us" (Luke 19:14), makes itself more and more loudly heard, together with the utterance of that wicked purpose: "let us make away with Him" (Luke 20:14); nor is there any motive by which many are hurried on with more passionate fury, than the desire utterly to banish God not only from the civil government, but from every form of human society. And although men do not everywhere proceed to this extremity of criminal madness, it is a lamentable thing that so many are sunk in oblivion of the divine Majesty and of His favours, and in particular of the salvation wrought for us by Christ. Now a remedy must be found for this wickedness on the one hand, and this sloth on the other, in a general increase among the faithful of fervent devotion towards the Eucharistic Sacrifice, than which nothing can give greater honour, nothing be more pleasing, to God. For it is a divine Victim which is here immolated; and accordingly through this Victim we offer to the most blessed Trinity all that honour which the infinite dignity of the Godhead demands; infinite in value and infinitely acceptable is the gift which we present to the Father in His only-begotten son; so that for His benefits to us we not only signify our gratitude, but actually make an adequate return.

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