Father Ed Meeks on Staring Into the Abyss

Non-negotiable values For Christians are the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, and the preservation of religious liberty.

Transcript

I mentioned to you for the past two Sunday’s that I’m going to be speaking today on the November 3rd election and want to give you a little heads-up as I begin. I will be going a little bit long this morning because I have a lot of ground to cover.

This will be for me personally the 14th presidential election I will have voted in since reaching the age of majority, and this one is unlike anything I have ever seen. I actually said the same thing about the last election in 2016. but the events of the last 4 years. and in fact of the past six or seven months, have cast this upcoming election in a whole new and ever more dire light. I believe that at this moment in time in history you and I find ourselves as part of a society that is staring into the abyss, and that how our nation votes on November 3rd will determine whether we collectively step off the cliff into that abyss, or step back from it, if only temporarily.

Now let me preface my remarks by saying that it is not my place to tell you how you must vote. We do, after all, still live in a free country with free elections at least for the time being. But it is my place as your priest and pastor to help you see how your vote may or may not line up with the teachings of the church. So I will tell you emphatically that what I’m about to say to you should not be taken as an implicit endorsement of any candidate by Christ the King Church or by the personal ordinariate of the chair of Saint Peter. I’m taking this opportunity to speak to you personally, to share with you my own personal opinion. But it is an opinion based formed and informed by the word of God and by the crystal clear teaching of the church for the purpose of helping you think through the choices because, again, there are certain realities about the candidates and their parties that directly impact our Catholic faith, and so we must be aware of these realities before we cast our vote. And my first allegiance is not to any political candidate or party, but to the truth of God and his church.

So, what I’m going to say is not politically motivated, because the stakes involved for transcend politics. But what I’m going to say, I believe, has to be said. Now let me begin by telling you that I have struggled mightily with this message, not because I’m afraid of the truth. I think you know me better than that. To the contrary the truth is what motivates me every day of my life. I resonate completely with Saint Paul who said, “woe is me if I do not preach the truth of the Gospel.” Frankly, if I were not sold out to the truth I wouldn’t even be standing in front of you today, because I would not be a Catholic priest. No, the reason for my struggle has to do with the vitriol and with the vicious animosity that are evident in our society today. Animosity that is played out tens of millions of times daily on social media and in the violence that has overtaken so many of America’s cities and was even on full display in the recent presidential debate.

Brothers and sisters, we live in a nation that is sadly, tragically divided. A nation at odds with itself. Jesus words in the Gospel of this past Friday were never more true, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I grieve for what has become of America. And so the last thing I want to do is to have this message contribute to that division in our country, and least of all to have it cause division in our parish. You and I are children of the same Heavenly Father. You and I are servants of the same Lord and Master. We are first Christians, Catholics, we are second Americans, and then somewhere down the line from there we are Republicans or Democrats or Independents or whatever. Never forget that order. And so it is almost become a cliché to declare that we have reached a tipping point in our nation, but it is also true, and it is time for faithful Catholics and other Christians to stand up courageously and forthrightly to confront the evil that has overtaken our culture, and say enough is enough. Because, whether you are aware of it or not, there are powerful forces in government at every level, as well as in the mainstream media, and in the Silicon Valley technocracy, that are working aggressively to silence the church, through legislation, lies, intimidation and censorship.

So for us faithful Catholics, the starting point of our choice of whom to vote for needs to be that we intentionally think with the church. Think with the church, something that too many Catholics have failed to do for far too long. A fact that is largely contributed to the dire condition of our culture today. The church has clearly and consistently based her teaching on the Sacred Scriptures and on the living tradition and embodied in two thousand years of her magisterium. That teaching has led to an array of foundational principles when it comes to us as Catholics and our moral and Civic responsibilities. It’s not always easy to sift through the myriad of issues at play in presidential politics, so it becomes crucial then that we properly prioritize those issues. Because some are, more, clearly more important than others. We can respectfully disagree. And we can have differences of prudential judgment and opinion around issues like the economy, taxation, immigration, National Defense, trade, healthcare, climate change, and so on. But don’t get sidetracked by does spurious seamless garment theory espoused by many in the church that asserts issues like immigration and the environment are of equal weight with abortion, because there is a set of issues upon which Catholics must not disagree. Pope Benedict XVI specified those issues in his 2012 Apostolic Constitution entitled Sacramentum Caritatis, in which Benedict defined what he called are non-negotiable values, a concept which he repeated countless times during his pontificate. Among the list of non-negotiable values which he identified, chief among them are the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, the sanctity of marriage, as a lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman, and the preservation of religious liberty. They are non-negotiable because they are of paramount importance in Catholic moral theology. They are the moral principles were the church draws a clear line in the sand. And all of the fog and the confusion and spin that surrounds every political season, we must, as faithful Catholics, conscientiously vote in such a way that best up holds and protects these non-negotiable values.

Among the list of non-negotiable values which he identified, chief among them are the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, the sanctity of marriage, as a lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman, and the preservation of religious liberty.

Again the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, and religious liberty. Not that other issues are unimportant, but these three are foundational to who we are as human beings and to what kind of society we are constructing. As Pope Benedict wrote regarding these values, “In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands Christians must recognize that what is at stake is the essence of the moral law which concerns the integral, integral good of the human person.” On these and other critical issues, there is one presidential candidate who stands in very public, very obstinate, opposition to church teaching, namely, former Vice President Joe Biden, along with the Democratic Party.

And so I’d like to share with you the five things which every Catholic needs to know about Catholic Joe Biden, and how these line up with the non-negotiables. And by the way, before I begin, and for the sake of those of you who might be a little bit squeamish about what I’m about to say, let me quote for you a principal from the second Vatican council’s pastoral constitution on the church in the modern world entitled Gaudium Et Spes. The council fathers wrote this, “At all times and in all places the church should have the true freedom to teach the faith, to proclaim its teaching about society, to carry out its tasks among men without hindrance, and to pass moral judgments even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental right of man for the salvation of souls requires it.

Okay then, the five things that every Catholic needs to know about Catholic Joe Biden.

Number One: Joe Biden is unabashedly pro-abortion

Joe Biden is unabashedly pro-abortion. This fact is clear from his long voting record, his public pronouncements, his allegiance to and support of groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, and for his party’s platform, not only in this election year, but in their platform going back decades. He, and they, support abortion for any reason or for no reason right up to and even beyond the moment of birth. He, and they, opposed the effort in Congress to pass legislation requiring doctors who perform abortions to provide medical care to babies who survive the abortion opting rather to let such babie,s babies, simply die outside the womb with no care. He, and they, are pushing for the repeal the Hyde Amendment, an action which would force All American taxpayers, including you and me, to fund abortions, to pay for them. Along with your anti-life positions on euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research and other issues, the Democratic party has become the party of death and Catholic Joe Biden is there standard bearer, or as he said in the first presidential debate, “I am the Democratic Party”.

Number Two: Joe Biden opposes the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of marriage

Joe Biden opposes the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of marriage. While he was vice president and he publicly endorsed same-sex marriage in 2012, three years before The Supreme Court ruling. And in 2016, while still the vice president, he officiated over the wedding ceremony of two men, posting a photo of the ceremony on Twitter with the caption, “Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn’t be happier. Two long-time White House staffers. Two great guys”.

Number Three: A Biden presidency would be a danger to our religious liberty

A Biden presidency would be a danger to our already dwindling religious liberty. He and his party advocate for the repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which protects the religious conscience rights of healthcare workers who declined to participate in abortions and of Church based adoption agencies that choose to place children only with married heterosexual couples, among other things. Biden is also on record committing to restoring the Obamacare mandate requiring religious ministries and orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraceptive and abortifacient drugs to their employees, despite the fact that that is a direct violation of their faith, conviction and of church teaching. And, by the way, on the subject of religious liberty, Joe Biden is on the record as saying, that as president he would not hesitate to reinstitute a nationwide pandemic lockdown if the science demands it. Undoubtedly such a lockdown would, once again, close our churches. Let me remind you what it was like for us to have no public masses and no sacraments for 11 weeks this past spring.

Number Four: A Joe Biden presidency opens the door for America to become a socialist country

Evidence for this assertion is in his signing on to the self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders agenda. His selection as a running mate of Senator Kamala Harris, identified by bipartisan groups, by non-partisan groups, as the most leftist member of the U.S. Senate. His several months long silence on the murder and mayhem being inflicted on America’s cities by Marxist socialist organizations, as well as the all too obvious and serious influence being exercised within the Democratic Party by leftist extremist. So why, you may ask, should that be an issue of concern to Catholics? One has only to consider the lessons of history and the teachings of the Pope’s to answer the question. For more than 200 years, wherever socialism has sought to gain a foothold, in France, following the French Revolution, in the twentieth century and today in Latin America and Eastern Europe and Asia or wherever, the Socialists have you viewed the church, especially and specifically the Catholic Church, as an enemy to be destroyed or, at the very least, to be silenced and marginalized. Socialism is a soul robbing ideology that always and inevitably leads to totalitarianism, where the government presumes to put itself in the place of God in the lives of its subservient citizens. For this reason, socialism has been clearly and vigorously condemned and denounced by an unbroken string of no less than 11 consecutive posts from Pius the 9th in 1849, to Benedict XVI in 2005. Mob rule is one of the chief tactics and strategies of socialism, and, in a perverse twist of irony, the same socialist mobs who like to chant “silence is violence” reap the benefit of the several months long silence of Joe Biden and his party, as the mobs carried out their orchestrated campaign violence in America’s cities. Again, Joe Biden is probably personally not a socialist, but he and the Democrat Party can validly be called out for giving aid, comfort and encouragement to those who are. Whether they be the demonic forces unleashed in the streets of America’s cities by Marxist nihilist anarchist revolutionaries, or those in elected offices in his own party who seek to push America so far to the left as to make it unrecognizable, and to establish a socio-political, socio-economic, and political system that is openly hostile to the church.

Number 5: Joe Biden’s positions on these four moral issues as a very high-profile Catholic subvert subvert and undermine the faith

Joe Biden’s positions on these four moral issues as a very high-profile Catholic, a man who served in the U.S. Senate for more than three decades, then as Vice President for eight years, and now as a candidate for President, of very high-profile Catholic, his positions then serve to subvert and undermine the faith of nominal and poorly catechized Catholics, as for example, it gives rise to the effort, the misinformed effort, known as Catholics for Biden.

At least one of Biden’s campaign ads picture him with Pope Francis and with a group of smiling nuns in an effort to portray himself as a devout Catholic, and, by the way, when you have to tell people what a good Catholic you are, does that not make you question how good a Catholic the person really is? Ironically it’s another group of nuns, namely the Little Sisters of the Poor who would once again be targeted by a Biden Presidency for enforcement of the Obamacare mandate. Furthermore Senator Kamala Harris, his running mate, is on record calling the Knights of Columbus “an all male extremist group.” Extremist because of the Knights clear support of church teaching on the non-negotiables that were talking about here. And, by the way, Deacon Bud, Father Rob and I are members of the Knights of Columbus, and, yeah, we’re all male. What of it? I’ll leave it up to you to decide if we’re also extremist. Also isn’t it interesting that the same leftist media which gives high praise to Joe Biden’s Catholicism, while characterizing the Catholicism of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as dangerous and extremist. The perennial failure of any of our Bishops to call out Biden and many other Catholic politicians who publicly defy the churches most cherished moral teachings only serves to confuse many Catholics, and many others in our society, causing them to think Oh, I guess what he holds isn’t that bad. Isn’t that bad? The willful destruction of 61 million babies in the womb including, by the way, 23 million black babies, isn’t that bad? I asked you, what could be worse? In it’s document entitled Living The Gospel of Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declared abortion to be the preeminent moral issue of our time. The right to life undergirds all other rights. That’s why it’s mentioned first in the Declaration of Independence. And it represents government’s most important responsibility. So don’t let anyone, be he a priest, a bishop, or cardinal, tell you otherwise. Abortion is, I believe, spiritually speaking, both the primary cause and the primary symptom of a society in a downward death spiral. As I said, it’s time for faithful Catholics to stand up and say, enough is enough, to all office holders and politicians who claim to be devout Catholics, while publicly and obstinately contradicting the church and subverting her teachings.

In conclusion, we are as a nation, as I stated earlier, I believe, staring into the abyss, stemming from our cultures wholesale rejection of God and his law. A rejection manifested most tangibly in five decades of legalized abortion. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once wrote these words, almost sixty years ago, “A nation always gets the kind of politicians it deserves. If the time ever comes when the religious Jews, Protestants and Catholics ever have to suffer under a totalitarian state which would deny them to them the right to worship God according to the light of their conscience, it will be because for years they thought it made no difference what kind of people represented them, and because they abandoned the spiritual in the realm of the temporal.” And so the bottom line, brothers and sisters, is vote, and when you do, think with the church, while also understanding this, that no one running for public office is ultimately the solution for what ails America, only God is. That’s not a statement of resignation to the inevitable, it is rather a statement of Hope. The late Father Richard John Neuhaus once wrote, “Christians have not the right to despair, for despair is a sin, and we had not reason to despair, he said, quite simply because Christ is risen”. You and I are called to be salt and light in a dark and dying world. And you and I as faithful American Catholics are engaged in a battle for the soul of our beloved Nation. Let’s take that call seriously. I like to conclude this homily with a quote from the Old Testament that you’re, no doubt, familiar with. It’s one of my very favorite scripture quotes and one which is most pertinent and most compelling for today. 2 Chronicles 7:14, Almighty God declares this, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.

God bless you and may God continue God Bless America.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

About Father Ed Meeks

Father Ed Meeks is a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and the founding pastor of Christ the King Church in Towson, Maryland. Prior to becoming a priest, Father Ed had a career in Human Resources in several Baltimore area firms. He and his wife, Jan, were married in 1970.  They have four grown children and seventeen grandchildren.  After many years as a priest of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, and then the Anglican Church in America, Father Meeks was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on June 23, 2012.