Paul Moore: Bathing today’s issues in the light of Christ to offer rays of hope
In My Father’s House / Paul Thomas Moore
I’ve been blessed to have written just over 60 columns for The Catholic Post. I receive cards, letters, and emails from readers on a regular basis. Surprisingly, I’ve never actually received anything negative. Occasionally, the thought has crossed my mind I must be doing something wrong.
However, not to worry — my honeymoon ended with column No. 59 (“President’s ‘litany of compassion’ must include everyone,” Feb. 14, 2021). My brother John in Ottawa, Canada, took one look at the piece online and sent me an email that basically said, “Are you fired yet?”
The column in question, while acknowledging President Biden as unapologetically pro-choice, expressed the hope that the “litany of compassion” outlined in his inaugural address would come to include the unborn.
I receive cards, letters, and emails from readers on a regular basis. Surprisingly, I’ve never actually received anything negative. My honeymoon ended with my Feb. 14 column.
One reader did appreciate the column’s suggestion to “paint” President Biden pro-life through prayer, inspired by Blessed Concepción’s image of treating people “as pieces of canvas on which we must paint the image of Jesus.” Others considered this a waste of good paint — that I was dreaming in technicolor if I thought this president would ever become pro-life.
Then I was hit where it really hurts for a newspaper columnist: a reader canceled his subscription. He was very respectful; he just didn’t want any politics served with his religion.
KINDER, GENTLER, BUT HONEST
I understood. Given a choice, I too would prefer to share nothing but kinder, gentler stories, like our neighbor Mr. Lord coming to our rescue in all seasons, whether with a snowplow for the lane, or a wrench for the lawnmower (“Our Lord is just a helpline call away,” May 24, 2021).
In a similar vein, I’ve written columns about the benefits of patience and appreciation, as well as more explicitly spiritual topics such as Divine Mercy Sunday, Purgatory, and the gift of confession.
Admittedly, though, other columns have touched on subjects with political aspects, including poverty in our midst (“A tale of two Peorias,” Jan. 19, 2020); a mass shooting in the land I used to call home (“Away from homeland when tragedy happens,” May 10, 2020); and pro-life (six times, if this column is included — more than any other single topic).
The gentleman who canceled his subscription explained that he missed the days when he could read about religion with “joy . . . because there was virtually no discussion of politics.”
I’m sentimental for that time as well, but I’m also aware that we lived in a protected innocence. In the same year Bing Crosby was crooning his way to an Oscar for playing Father O’Malley in “Going My Way,” Anne Frank was arrested by the Gestapo in Amsterdam. She was transported to Auschwitz and later to Bergen-Belsen, where she died. The world wouldn’t know of the horror of the Holocaust until the concentration camps were liberated.
A SERVANT’S OBEDIENCE
It’s both a blessing and curse of modern life that things are more transparent nowadays. For instance, science has provided a window on the womb so that children can be treated in utero in ways that would have been unimaginable in the past.
On the other hand, scientific advances have not always benefited the unborn. The late Dr. Jérôme Lejeune (who has been declared Venerable by the Catholic Church), discovered the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome. His goal was to mitigate patient symptoms. Unfortunately, to his life’s end he had to fight the misuse to which his discovery had been put — namely, the diagnosing and aborting of unborn children with that fateful chromosome.
You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Issues are more “out there” than they used to be, and so politics increasingly butts in. To ignore it is to ignore the elephant in the room (or donkey, as the case may be).
For a Christian writer or media outlet, politics is not about rhetoric or overly heated debate. There is only a servant’s obedience in bathing the issues of the day in the light of Christ, thereby illuminating previously obscure pathways, and offering rays and ways of hope.
PAUL THOMAS MOORE is a Catholic commentator and singer-songwriter. He and wife Mary Louise attend St. Mary of Lourdes in Germantown Hills. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.