My friend, colleague, and proprietor of this blog, Mr. Christopher Manion, has written well--as is his custom--in the November 6, 2008 edition of The Wanderer. In his weekly column, "From Under the Rubble..." he starts where all thought should start: with first principles. As if knowing that the election would turn out the way it did, Manion, in Sheen-like fashion, dissected the essential worldview of the Marxist and the principles from which he operates. A solid knowledge of the vocabulary of the Marxist is essential to deal with the upcoming administration and its policies. Why? Am I being paranoid? Is this just a knee-jerk reaction to right-wing talk radio? Certainly not. Obama has been very candid about his affinity for Marxists, the left-leaning professoriate, structural feminists, etc. Now more than ever is it essential for Catholics to intellectually engage our culture and elected officials and combat those philosophies and governmental policies that are contrary to Christ and his Church.
The Catholic can only do that effectively if he knows how to think rightly--about God and everything else. It is troubling to me that there are many "faithful Catholics" whose theology is as unclear as their public statements. I make no judgement as to the state of their souls nor to their motives, however, based upon their statements and lack of precision, one must wonder at the true health of the faithful. What occasioned this thought was a recent posting on Fumare which called for prayers through the intercession of aborted children. The author of the post claimed to have received this message during prayer from "the Heavenly Father." He then claims that there "has been a great deal of confirmation that God is asking us to pray through these aborted babies." What confirmation? From whom? The author then claims that it is "a powerful prayer." How does he know? Whence his authority? There seemed to be a great deal of support as indicated in the comment boxes. Likewise, there were some dissenters questioning the whole effort.
The true Catholic position was that of the dissenters. While praying to aborted babies may be emotionally satisfying, it is intellectual sloth and leading others into error and of dubious efficacy. The Church has flatly stated that we entrust infants who have died without baptism to the mercy of God and that there are good reasons to hope that they are with God. Any more than that is incorrect. This is not "hard-hearted" it is honestly adhering to the Magisterium. In the end, I am confident that the purported message to pray through the intercession of these children came from someone other than God. Perhaps the well-intentioned interlocutor.
The point of all this is that if we plan on changing the culture and winning the war for the souls of our neighbors and fellow Americans, we must know first principles. We must know the basic tenets of our faith and know how to communicate them effectively. Saccharine spirtituality and pseudo-mysticism does much to undermine the Church and her reasonableness and credibility. Catholics must start thinking rather than feeling. For Catholics, true pious practices are essential along with the intellectual life. There are no greater examples than John Paul II and Benedict XVI of those who truly live(d) this.