KOCHUPARAMPIL: The virtual world and its ‘vice’roys

Jose M. Kochuparampil

At every presidential election the Catholic Church is a bone of contention for both the Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans say they best represent the ideals for which the Catholic Church stands. And the Democrats say they are the ones who can claim the Catholic Church’s legacy. Right up front I can say the democratic party stands for the denial of the basic and the most fundamental human right — the right to exist.

If the right to exist as a human being is flatly denied by enacting laws triggering and promoting an abundance of the destruction of human lives by abortion, how can that party validly and meaningfully fight for any other human rights.

There is, to be frank, an uncountable number of Christian denominations in our country. And all those are broken away from the Catholic Church at one time or another and again branched out due to division and conflict. In spite of all these divisions, the Catholic Church in the United States continues to be ever stronger following the teachings of Jesus and sacred traditions.

With over 70 million members the Catholic Church makes up the single largest religious denomination in our country. Close to one-fifth of the U.S. population is Catholic, at least by name. Taking cue from Jesus’ perennial teachings, abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, divorce, same-sex marriage and genetic engineering are topics not seen in the Catholic Church’s teachings. Following the footsteps of Jesus, the Catholic Church is against all these above as they curtail and destroy our freedom as children of God. More so, all these degrade the dignity and sacredness of human life created in the image and likeness of God.

Supporting all the above, some people make the claim in public that they are Catholics. The smart and well-read people know who those funny characters are in our midst, especially these days as the nation chooses her next president. At the rite of reception of a person who joins the Catholic Church he or she makes the following profession aloud: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” It’s only after clearly making this statement the priest or bishop continues with the act of reception of that person.

The Catholic Church has always been teaching, standing for and promoting what is the best for humanity. With his life Jesus showed us, with his words he taught us and with his actions he encouraged us how to live our life here on earth. He always stood by the side of the weakest and vulnerable. The woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-26), the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) all these and many others as well clearly show the world his mindset and attitude toward people and issues.

If so, now the question is why there exists in society an unnecessary bias against the Catholics and the Catholic Church. This anti-Catholic bias made headlines in 2017 during the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee when Amy Coney Barrett, the president’s current nominee for the Supreme Court judge, was nominated to the the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, then told Barrett: “Dogma and law are two different things. And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”

This uncalled-for statement by none less than a U.S. senator, by all means, is reprehensible, disgraceful and unacceptable. Is there any dogma in the Catholic Church that is anti-American or anti-human in that regard? If a person in authority lives his or her Catholic faith, the very living of his or her faith itself, no doubt, would enhance the discharge of his or her official duties in the best way that one can expect.

The most basic and fundamental human right is the right to exist. And the Catholic Church stands for this right of each and every human being born and yet to be born. This would mean that we should be the country with laws befitting to protect, promote and preserve this most basic and fundamental human right. The United States of America should proudly tell the world that we are a nation that protects, promotes and preserves life. By this we are championing the right to exist for all human beings — the most basic and fundamental of all human rights.

Look at Judge Barrett, the Supreme Court nominee. She is again being looked at through the lens of her Catholic faith. There is heated discussion over whether religious beliefs should be considered as part of the vetting process for a position like the judge of the Supreme Court. It’s certain that the prevailing anti-Catholic bias will be in play during Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing.

Judge Barrett and her husband have seven children, five biological and two adopted from Haiti. She and her husband are practicing Catholics, and I would say it’s because of the practice of their Catholic faith that they decided to have a big family. It’s obvious Judge Barrett loves and celebrates life. Is this an anti-American or anti-national value that Judge Barrett should be barred from the auspicious office of the judge of the nation’s Supreme Court.

Professor Rick Garnett, faculty member at the University of Notre Dame where Judge Barrett was a professor, has the following to say about his former colleague: “She is an accomplished scholar, a beloved teacher, and a respected judge. She is obviously well qualified, and if confirmed would serve with distinction,” quoted Crux, online portal dealing with matters related to Catholic Church.

There isn’t any doubt at all among all the world religions the life and teachings of Jesus are the best suited to humanity. If when a practicing and faithful Catholic is elected to the office of the president of the United States or nominated and confirmed a judge of the Supreme Court the Pope is not going to control either the White House or the Supreme Court. In such a scenario there isn’t any doubt to conclude the fact that the United States of America will be the best nation on planet earth in every respect. And “In God we trust,” the motto of our beloved nation, will be reaffirmed in our every dealing as a nation whose strength is a “government of the people by the people and for the people.”

It’s high time to get rid of the anti-Catholic bias and accept and acknowledge the vision and mission of Jesus as promoted and proclaimed by the Catholic Church. In all her teachings and the practices there is absolutely nothing un-American or anti-national. Hence, once everything is in place we, Americans, should and must be proud of our county as the one that has laws in place to protect, promote and preserve life from conception till natural death. And thus we can become a nation that promotes the culture of life and not the culture of death.

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The Rev. Jose M. Kochuparampil ministers at St. Mary, Mother of God Catholic Church in Jackson. He can be reached at frjose@stmaryjackson.org.

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