A Catholic Return in the Third Millennium
“I caught him, with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world, and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread.” — Father Brown in The Queer Feet by G. K. Chesterton.
The year 2008 was a very eventful year in my life. For the first time ever I was genuinely interested in Presidential politics due to my enthusiasm for the candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul. I registered as a Republican in Massachusetts because I wanted to vote for him in the primary. I was working with several like-minded friends and we endorsed him on our website. I marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston with an enthusiastic contingent carrying a Ron Paul banner.
Dr. Paul’s campaign uniquely and courageously emphasized two issues that had always been most important in my mind — abortion and war. He condemned abortion because it violated the right to life (as protected by the Constitution) of innocent babies and what’s more he had a practical plan for how to actually curtail it based on states’ rights. In addition Ron Paul was an anti-interventionist advocate of peace at a time when the U.S. government was hyper-interventionist and aggressively warlike.
Of course, Dr. Paul did not win the nomination, but in November 2008, for the first time in my life, I cast a vote for President by writing in his name on my ballot.
But something else happened that year which is even more significant to me, even astonishing, and the two events are connected. I decided suddenly and unexpectedly to return to the Catholic Church, after an absence of about 40 years, when I read an article on the lewrockwell.com website by a Dr. G. C. Dilsaver.
At this point some background information is necessary.
I was raised as a Catholic, but left the Church as a young man in the late sixties. I stopped practicing the Faith almost immediately upon entering college and became involved in left wing protests against racism and the Vietnam war. I barely went to class. I spent all my time organizing and demonstrating.
After college and with the end of the war and the “movement” opposed to it, I settled down a bit and got a job, eventually getting married and having kids. But for my entire adult life I never went to Mass except for an occasional family funeral or wedding. However I was marked by my Catholic upbringing and one of the teachings that stayed with me was the teaching about just war.
When I was a kid, my friends and I were fascinated by WW II. Many of our fathers had fought in that war and Hollywood promoted it endlessly in exciting movies about heroic American and Brit efforts to defeat “the Krauts and the Japs.” We saw every movie and TV show and even knew the details of the fascinating weaponry that was employed by the soldiers, whom we emulated in our play.
But all of us kids were Catholics, and I remember how one day I realized that made us different. In grammar school a nun told the class about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and how Catholic morality condemned those acts of war because the American decision makers had deliberately targeted non-combatants and the innocent. At one point we were even assigned to read John Hersey’s book, Hiroshima, and that was the beginning for me of a lifetime of skepticism about war and the U.S. Government. Those two bombings remain to this day as the two single greatest acts of terrorism in the history of the world.
Logically enough, regarding the protection of innocent life, I have always agreed with the Church condemnation of abortion as murder. I had accepted much of the sexual revolution but abortion seemed an altogether different matter. Abortion was killing babies, just like dropping the Bomb on Japan was killing babies.
Getting back to politics, I had a simple rule of thumb: Republicans are the party of war but they pretend to be against abortion and Democrats are the party of abortion but they pretend to be against war. As you can see I was contemptuous of the two party system, but I thought that Ron Paul was trying to break out of that trap. His short-lived campaign and the prejudice of the system against him simply confirmed me in my convictions about elections.
Of course at the time of his campaign in 2008, exhibit A for his indictment of the evil federal government was the Iraq invasion of 2003 (a clearly immoral war of aggression), and the subsequent ongoing, unconstitutional campaign known as the War on Terror.
Now I was once again involved in antiwar activities but something had changed since the sixties. Because the cold war was over and communism was dead, many Christians of a conservative or traditionalist orientation were now adamantly opposed to the War on Terror and critical of the powerful State which was prosecuting it. I began reading antiwar articles by people like Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran and Bill Kauffman. I think that was when I first felt a “twitch upon the thread.”
As the election approached, I’ll never forget that day in late Octobe
Article from LewRockwell