Decisions & consequences, a father’s reflection

UPDATE #1 [Sunday, November 11, 2012]: A follow-up on abortion, voting and the moral life

UPDATE #2 [Tuesday, November 13, 2012]: A follow-up on the possibility of ‘proportionate reasons’

UPDATE #3 [Wednesday, November 14th, 2012]: A follow-up on if it is right to stop calling someone Catholic


It often happens that a family will call a priest to help in a moment of crisis. One or more members have made a choice that has major consequences and the rest don’t know how to respond or deal with it. An all-to-common example is the pregnancy of a teenager. What do we say? How do we respond? Where do we go from here?

The response is always fourfold. The first is to re-affirm the most important: we love you, you are our child and nothing will change that. The second is to acknowledge whatever good is present: praise God for this gift of new life, what a joy to welcome a new person into our family. The third is to acknowledge the wrong and encourage repentance: this action (sexual intimacy before marriage) was a mistake, you have offended God and caused scandal. The final word is one of trust in God, that we place ourselves both at the mercy and love of God who knows our sin and loves us despite it.

No parent looks forward to this situation – and I suspect every parent fears the possibility. Yet it is the duty of a mother and father to address it head on when it comes to them.

As the results our decisions and the ensuing consequences of the election on Tuesday unfold, I find myself in a similar situation today. I want to begin by saying what is most important: as your priest, as your pastor and as one who would hope to be counted as a friend – I love you. I care for your happiness, your well-being and most importantly the salvation of your eternal soul. We remain united by our baptism, under the Pope & our archbishop in a parish that will always be home.

Any election, successfully carried out, stands as an achievement to be proud of in its own right. The United States of America is the greatest example of the success of a democratic republic, wherein each of her citizens have the power and voice in effecting change throughout the country and at home. We’ve pulled it off again! The Great American Experiment continues to prove that millions of people spread over thousands of miles can join together to set a vision for the future in peace and collaboration. We should be proud to have such a system dedicated to freedom.

And yet there are wrongs to be acknowledge, sins to be addressed – because this freedom has been used so poorly. As a nation we have re-elected a president who is the most pro-abortion in American history. We have given half of our Congress to a party who is committed to providing abortion to all who desire it – even at the expense of those who are opposed. We have affirmed a mandate that oppresses the religious freedom of all who follow Christ and imposes a contraceptive worldview we know to be wrong. We have endorsed a definition of marriage that reduces it to feelings and ignores the good of children. We have even made legal a drug that both causes addiction and leads the way to greater and greater dependence on drugs.

Our freedoms, so misused, will have terrible consequences. Like those teenage parents, we find that one decision will unfold into a multitude of effects. The worst of these is the continuing death of unborn babies, the oppression of religion across the nation and a new undermining of marriage and family in our own state.

The most damning, however, is the terrible hypocrisy, the scandal that at least fifty percent of Catholics voted for these things. Followers of Christ, members of His Body – and we voted for abortion, contraception and re-defining marriage.

I stand here today as your spiritual father to make a call, an encouragement, an appeal to repentance. It needs to be said clearly and directly: a vote for these evils, a vote for people who support these evils, a vote for laws that endorse these evils is sinful. Anyone who participates even indirectly or lends their support to evil carries culpability of that evil themselves. This must be repented of, sincerely offered in confession and wholeheartedly turned away from in day-to-day life in order to be faithful Catholics. And in that time between now and that confession, that conversion – you should not come forward for communion.

For those who voted according to what we know to be good, to be true, to be beautiful in the teaching of God, do not be too quick to absolve yourselves. We carry some responsibility for these evils nonetheless. How often could we have spoken up more boldly, engaged others more forthrightly, put forward the teachings of Christ? This is a time for reflection on not only what we chose, but what we have failed to do. We are our brother’s keeper, and when he goes astray, we must examine how we failed to help him.

There is one final word that needs to be offered, that we need hear to avoid despair. At the end of the day, after the last ballot was cast and the results called in – this country still remains the Lord’s. God has assured us of His love, and of His everlasting loyalty to us. There is no mistake, no sinful choice, no error in judgment that can remove us from His family – a privilege won for all by Christ and passed on to each of us through baptism. We may sin and fall from grace, but we will never stop being Catholic, never lose our sonship and daughterhood. Even in the darkness of sin we can see the light of God’s goodness, and hope in His providence for a fallen world and a misguided nation. The love we share with others is a dim reflection of the unconditional care He has for us.

Let us pray for America and for Americans everywhere. Let us stand tall in the faith we have been given. Let us encourage our fellow Catholics and Christians. Let us not despair, but hold fast to the knowledge that God never abandons His people! May our faith bring about conversion for our president and all government leaders. And may the Holy Spirit continue to change our hearts, so that we may continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the salvation of all.

UPDATE #1 [Sunday, November 11, 2012]: A follow-up on abortion, voting and the moral life

UPDATE #2[Tuesday, November 13, 2012]: A follow-up on the possibility of ‘proportionate reasons’

UPDATE #3 [Wednesday, November 14th, 2012]: A follow-up on if it is right to stop calling someone Catholic

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5 Responses to Decisions & consequences, a father’s reflection

  1. Tom & Carrie Herring says:

    Wow, Fr. Maurer! Beautifully said. Thank you so much for your “yes” to God’s call, and for your courage to stand up for the Truth.

  2. Val says:

    Thank you for proclaiming the truth so courageously father! Thank you for the gift of your priestthood.

  3. Kerry says:

    I truly wish I had been there to hear this homily. Even on the screen (and read by someone who agrees with you), it was very powerful. Thank you for being a true father – loving but holding his children accountable. Your parishes are blessed to have you.

    -Kerry

  4. Jonathan says:

    Awesome.

    I was going to add a long comment, but I decided that there was not much wisdom that I would be able to add. Perhaps I will save it and start my own blog as I’ve been considering doing for quite a while now… :)

  5. Christian Spencer says:

    Awesome and very well put Father. May the Holy Spirit continue to prompt you to preach the truth like St. Paul and St. Peter – with enthusiasm and authority – and with our prayers behind you and yours behind us, we will together usher in the New Springtime for Christianity in our secular world.