Government shutdown averted: A Catholic opinion

I was glad to read last night that the potential government shutdown was averted. Our congressional leaders were responsible for making some difficult choices and because of this they were able to keep the government running. I was pleased to read this morning’s article from the associated press describing the situation.

Shutdown avoided, White House, Congress Cheer Deal.

However the article also tells us that this temporary deal points to some critical issues and decisions as we move forward. Yesterday I posted an article from NY times that offers a good suggestion regarding a national discussion over the size and role of government especially in our concern for its spending. This morning’s good news should not overshadow the reflective conversation we as nation still need to have, especially since we can be sure that the issue will continue to find expression throughout this congressional year. My first opinion from my Catholic faith is that we should responsibly have respectful dialogue among ourselves within our families, parish community and associations regarding the role, responsibility and size of government. Catholic social teachings offers some wonderful insight into this and yesterday’s post shares some of that insight. Pope Benedict XVI invited us this year in his World Day of Peace message to be agents of peace by promoting respectful dialogue on promoting the moral message of the religious communities within the political conversation.

Politics and diplomacy should look to the moral and spiritual patrimony offered by the great religions of the world in order to acknowledge and affirm universal truths, principles and values.

My second opinion is with regards to the issues that nearly compromised this budgetary deal. Two primary issues were on the table, abortion with the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and the further deregulation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Catholic social teaching offers very clear teaching on both issues. As I read about the first issue I see that Planned Parenthood is responsible for offering the greatest numbers of abortion in this country which is clearly seen as a moral evil by the Church. It is the primary issue that violates the principle of “Human Dignity.” It is argued that Planned Parenthood offers other services to low income women so that in the end abortion constitutes 3% of their services. Surely Congress can find a way to offer funding restrictions so that whatever they offer for healthcare treatment is restricted from any abortion practices. I have worked with organizations and know that they can allow for restricted funding. If money is donated with specific restriction then organizations are bound to honor that restriction because if they do not then that money is taken away.  

As for the EPA here is another moral issue that the Catholic Church has spoken on with regards to the “Stewardship of Creation” principle. If we are to promote the sanctity of life on this planet it behooves us to offer that life a viable planet to live in. It is not in our interest to deregulate an already weakened EPA from monitoring business practices that have ecological consequences.   

Based on my understanding of Catholic social teaching this is how I see these specific issues that were on the forefront of this recent budget debate. They may surface again. If so we should also consider our moral position on these issues and feel free to express them to our congressional representatives so that we can offer them the “moral and spiritual patrimony” of our faith tradition.

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About jdgonzo73

I am a Catholic lay minister in the field of Christian ethics, Latino theology and Paulacrucian spirituality. I am currently a Doctor of Ministry student at Fordham, an ad-junct professor at Molloy College and St. John's University and the Project Coordinator with the Catholic Roundtable.
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4 Responses to Government shutdown averted: A Catholic opinion

  1. I am in Florida. Sitting around watching the news is doing nothing.

    Congress still got paid and would have gotten paid even if they shut the freakn gov down. Forget PP…. there would have been abortions.

    Pack your bags and go to China b/c that is where the real crap is going on: forced abortions that the communists government is paying for 24/7 with money made from Chinese labor Made in China …. all shipped to the USA.

    That is HARDER TO TAKE THAN CNN’S NEWS.

    Go ahead change the channel, your hearts are sure not changed.

    WE NEED A ROUND THE CLOCK ROSARY TO BRING MANUFACTURING AND JOBS BACK TO THE USA AND END ABORTION FUNDING THERE.

    GET THE BIG PIC. C’mon… you are a NY’r .. I am an ex Ny’r who moved here when I was 7. I still have the eyes from Manhatten.

    • jdgonzo73 says:

      Jeanne I respect your comment and believe me I recognize the moral distinction between a permissive society on abortion (us) and a controlled society that is forcing abortion (china). The situation in China is problematic but trying to go back to a pre-globalization period where we were a manufacturing rather than a finance and service nation is not a viable since our large economy is now dependant on a global market. I offered my thought with this other post: https://passion4progress.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/micah-6-9-16-economic-justice-and-the-global-balance-of-power/

      But even with the distinction between our two society’s on abortion our focus as American Catholics is to address this situation here. A more important consideration for us as Americans is this culture of individualism and I personally believe that this extreme form of individualism that does not honor community is behind the conservative economic agenda and the liberal civil agenda. For myself as a progressive I would think that the American political platform would heal if we addressed the common good principle and balanced our individual rights with our community responsibility to one another but especially for the poor.

  2. By the way, what ever you say. I sent my link for my blog to the Vatican. I am going to put the link here to what you say so they will read it.
    http://www.romereports.com/palio/Are-you-a-blogger-The-Vatican-would-like-to-see-your-site-english-3848.html

    Il messaggio inviato il sabato 9 aprile 2011 – 07:11 all’indirizzo blogmeet@pccs.it con oggetto My Catholic news and travel blog in Florida USA è stato visualizzato nel computer del destinatario. Questo non garantisce che il messaggio sia stato letto o compreso.

    Are you part of a secret society that wants to service and finance? If that is your life, then money is your god.

    I guess you are not that pro-life. Money is your god.

  3. jdgonzo73 says:

    Jeanne,

    I can only thank you for trying to give me exposure to the Vatican on my humble scribblings. I would love to be able to serve the church in rectifying a true “pro-life” position that has been fractured in the west and here in our own country with the partisanship of the pro-life movement. Human dignity is a Catholic principle that challenges us to respect and promote life at all level from conception to natural death and this position flows into the Church’s promotion of economic justice and ecological concerns as well. Reflect on this passage from Pope Benedict XVI in his recent encyclical “Caritas in Veritate:”

    “If there is a lack of respect for the right to life … the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology.
    The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development. Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other.” (#51)

    Tell me what you think about this quote from our Pope, does it stretch you on pro-life? Many American Catholics seem to like a narrow interpretation of our Catholic principles including “pro-life” that fits a political box and that simply will not do.

    So again thank you for the exposure and I will pray that the Vatican will invite me to serve the Church by promoting the full social teachings and to liberate the American Catholic community from its narrow political partisanship.

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