Fr. Smith’s Post-Election Message: Preparing for the Family Holiday Discussions

As of this writing, the end of this interminable election is barely in sight and may not be until the last lawsuit is settled. If we do not know who has won, we know that we will enter the holiday season a divided nation. What can we do about this?

As Christians we proclaim the Gospel, “the Good News” of Jesus Christ. It is the bedrock of our hope. Yet do we know what that is? Can we distinguish it from the very lovely things said by other peoples and groups? Often our last serious religious education was our preparation for Confirmation. This is not adequate to the task. St. Peter says: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” (1 Peter 3:15)

To address this the Parish will offer an Advent introduction to the Gospels. We can only help our country heal if we know what we have to offer. (Further information may be found in this email or on the website.)

As Catholic Christians we also have the Social Teachings of the Church. Although they offered considerable light on the issues which confronted us in this last election, it was greatly disturbing how little even highly educated Catholics knew of them. We are told that we need to form our consciences, but this cannot be done in a vacuum.

Social Conscience formation is something we drag out every presidential election cycle and then forget about for 4 years. This is unfortunate. Perhaps now, as we are still distressed at the entire process, we are most motivated to attempt it. Last month, Pope Francis gave us his encyclical Fratelli Tutti which examined many important and pressing contemporary issues. So contemporary that some people thought that it was directed to the American Presidential elections. To think that we are center of the universe is very American. The Catholic Church is worldwide. But the timing is fortuitous. The holiday season is fast upon us. Unless we are in total lockdown, we will be with family and friends where the divisions in our country may be present at our table. Instead of rehashing the usual arguments, would it not be better to quote the Pope? In Fratelli Tutti, he urges dialogue and gives handy hints on how to engage in it.

To help both in Conscience formation and family peace, the Thursday night book club will begin reading the encyclical beginning Thursday, Nov. 19. We may not be ready for the Thanksgiving turkey but should be prepared for the Christmas ham.