November 24, 2008
Why can't they just tell the truth?
A priest friend once told me, "If you can't stop a scandal, the next best thing is to shine light on it." Note the order here: try to stop the scandal first. If that fails, then expose it bigtime - with as much fanfare condemnig it as possible. Why? To prevent people from being confused and led into sin.
There are always more than enough opportunities to practice on.
Just last Friday, in fact, I received an email that a local Catholic group in the diocese was sponsoring pro-abortion Governor Tim Kaine as a speaker on, of all days, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Yup! A man on the short list of VP picks by the most pro-abortion, pro-infanticide presidential candidate in history, who publicly supports abortion himself, was going to be the honored speaker at an event taking place on a feast of the Blessed Mother in her image carrying the Lord of Life in her womb.
Clearly something had to be done.
So, following the first rule: STOP THE SCANDAL IF YOU CAN, I gathered the names and emails of as many members of the organization's board as possible and sent them information about Governor Kaine. I followed that up with an email to every priest in the diocese whose email I could track down and faxed a letter to the bishop. In the meantime I contacted other laity who might be able to have an impact by interceding to stop the event.
Many others were just as concerned as I was. I'm sure they took action. At any rate the event was stopped, I suspect with the bishop's intervention. I'm glad.
But I'm also uneasy. The event was quietly cancelled ostensibly "due to a scheduling conflict and the holiday season."
Do you believe that? I don't.
So what's wrong with doing it quietly without fanfare? Maybe nothing, but I can't help thinking this was a teaching opportunity lost, not just for the organization and the governor, but for the people of God. Why not be honest? Ask the group to post a note on the website that, "The event was cancelled because it was a mistake to invite a pro-abortion Catholic to address our group. We apologize for the potential scandal to the community and will not make the same mistake in the future."
That honest acknowledgement does two things. It sends a clear message to Catholic politicians that they will pay a price for their public scandal and it warns other Catholic groups that giving pro-abortionists a platform in the diocese is a bad idea. Such an approach would have a "chilling effect" on evil.
Instead, we have the dissembling (Uh...let's see...the pro-abortion governor is unavailable.) which leaves those not in the know thinking it was perfectly fine to invite him and he could be asked again in the future. Unhappily, the same dissembling strategy was used last January when "inclement weather" was given as the reason for cancelling a talk by heretical speaker Anthony Tambasco at Good Shepherd. One problem...it was a beautiful, clear January evening. Nothing was cancelled in Fairfax county except for Anthony Tambasco's talk.
(Compare this with the bloodletting of Fr. Jay Scott Newman for telling his parishioners it was a sin to vote for Obama and they should refrain from Communion until they confessed.)
The strategy of dissembling puts those of us who care about the faith on alert: we will always have to fight these things one at a time every time. And I expect in January on the diocesan lobby day (as is usually the case) to see a lovely photo in The Herald of some pro-abortion politician in Richmond smiling with the bishop and being recognized for securing tax dollars to fund a pet project of some liberal social justice group. The drill is just so painfully familiar.
But for now I'll bask in the joy of not having to organize a prayer picket in Arlington to "Raise Kaine" over our scandalous Catholic governor being honored.
Thanks to all of you on this list who had anything to do with its cancellation.
Mary Ann Kreitzer
Les Femmes searching for Shepherds to defend the flock.