What God Has Cleansed

Is the Christian Democratic enterprise even legitimate? The monstrous elephant that must be eaten makes a negative answer to the question a sore temptation. The social and political problems America confronts are so many, the strength of the prevailing system so insurmountable, the vast legal edifice of the United States so complicated, and the results of systemic changes so unpredictable, that any effort to infuse our politics with the Gospel seems radically inconsistent with a spiritual peace that will pass muster with our expectations.

But it is a struggle we must engage in, because Catholicism, although it is not of the world, is situated inextricably within it. We must engage in the struggle, because our religion is one of incarnation. Christ took on real flesh and blood, indeed, remains flesh and blood, and eternally so. He came into the world, and so we must come into the world. Jesus touched the unclean lepers, and thereby showed us that we are to regard nothing as unclean or common, even politics, which in many ways is the most unclean thing of all.

We must reject the dualism, the utter Gnosticism, that holds that the world of politics, economics, and society is no place for the Christian. We must renounce the timidity that would fear contamination from these things.

At the same time we must remain vigilant against taking on the nature of that which we seek to transform with the Gospel. The world we want to change fights back, and seeks to transform us into its own image. Fortunately, there are signs to tell us if we are succumbing to that transformation. Most notably, if we find ourselves engaging in evil for the supposed sake of a greater good we should then know that we have been hoodwinked. Our mission is to insist on justice without compromise.

The purpose of the Christian Democratic enterprise is not to acclimate and adjust ourselves to the sinister intentions of the political factions with which we are surrounded, but to let it be known that we expect better from ourselves than that we treat any human being as something other than an end in himself. What’s more, we should not be afraid to so engage the world, and we should certainly not think of the effort as beneath us.

Jack Quirk  

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