This past weekend, I had the awesome privilege of attending a Steubenville Youth Conference with our youth group. A big thank you to Shirley Clark and our chaperones for getting everyone back home safely. The whole weekend was grace-filled, but Saturday night was a powerful time of adoration and praise to our God as Jesus was processed through the fieldhouse. During the procession, we sang the song “Who you say I am” by Hillsong worship. Over and over, we would sing the lyrics “I am a child of God. Yes I am!” Each and every one of us that were there were able to sing that song because our parents said yes to us. We are in existence because our parents chose life. During all the turmoil of our culture and times that we are in, this song brought great peace, gratitude and thanksgiving for the gift of life that God has given me. “I am a child of God.” You are too! Thank you, Lord!
Last weekend, Fr. David preached on issues in our time that deal with the gift of our lives. While I was going to write an article on this, his homily hit the points we need to be aware of quite well. So, I am giving the rest of this bulletin article to him. Thanks, Fr. David….
"Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right." As Catholics we know what is moral and what is not because God is the author of morality, and it has been revealed in a person, Jesus Christ, and in the Church He established. In today's Gospel Jesus declares "Whoever has ears ought to hear." We preach the Gospel and share the dignity of the human person because that's who we are and what we are called to do - despite how it may be received.
Unless you've been in a coma or a cave these past weeks and months you've probably been hearing debate over not one but two "Issue 1’s" which are being put to Ohio voters for consideration. It can get a bit confusing since both are "Issue 1". The first up for a vote is only a few weeks away, on August 8th. If passed, Issue 1 would make it more difficult for Ohioans to change the state constitution. Currently, it takes a simple majority vote to pass a change to the constitution. The amendment proposes to change the constitution to require a vote of 60% of voters to amend the constitution going forward. The diocese of Cleveland received numerous calls in recent weeks, some from those disappointed their parish opted to support Issue 1 and others angry over their parish's silence on Issue 1.
The Bishops of Ohio opted not to take a specific stance on August 8th's Issue 1 since on its own it deals with a procedural question, what level of support should be necessary to amend our state's constitution, and not a moral one. This means that it is possible for Catholics to reasonably disagree whether a 50% or 60% threshold is best for Ohio.
Both supporters and opponents of the proposal to require a 60% majority vote to amend the constitution going forward have admitted that it will have a direct impact on November's ballot issue. The fact is that a YES vote to Issue 1 in August will make it more difficult in the November election to pass the dangerous and immoral amendment to the Ohio Constitution enshrining unrestricted access to abortion. There is no ambiguity that abortion, as something that is intrinsically (in itself) always evil, must be opposed as it directly undermines the dignity of each human life.
While the language of November's ballot issue is intentionally vague, it directly assaults human dignity and parental rights by:
-permitting abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy
-permitting abortion for minors without parental consent or knowledge
-permitting the use of hormones and life-changing surgery for children without parental consent or knowledge
November's issue 1 must be opposed with all of our energy and resources, but what about August 8th?
First, we should each be praying EVERY DAY that God's will be done and that hearts be converted to God's will for the outcome of August 8th's election. The advantage of praying for God's will and not our own is that we are assured of praying for the ideal outcome, even if we disagree over what that outcome should be.
Second, we should be talking with our family, friends, and neighbors about the issues that are at stake in these elections. It may be uncomfortable, but it is part of our history. It is only very recently that society somehow decided that politics and religion are not appropriate topics for polite conversation. Our ancestors talked about these things often precisely because they are important- far more important than the weather, which celebrity did what, or how our favorite sports team is doing. Of course, Christian charity must prevail. Having a discussion is not a license to be a jerk.
Third, all of us of voting age must be registered to vote (you still have time for November), and we should vote both on August 8th and again in November. Early voting is available. Friends have cars and would likely assist with a ride if you need one. The Church, including Pope Francis, has been consistent in declaring that part of our obligation to share the Gospel is to engage in politics. Pope Francis states, "Everyone must engage in politics, which is simply what it means to take part constructively in the life of a nation or society.” Even the Gospel has "a political dimension" in that it seeks to convert "the social, including religious, mindset of the people." We can and must vote for the morality that we know to be true.
In the spirit of my second point, I can share that I PERSONALLY believe that raising the threshold for the passage of future amendments to 60% on August 8th would make November's issue harder to pass and that is a good and prudent reason to vote Yes on August 8th. I accept that others may not agree with this conclusion even if they are united with me in opposition to the evil amendment that is on the ballot in November.
Even if expanding abortion was not on the ballot in November, I have serious doubts as to the wisdom of allowing a bare majority (50% + 1) to amend the constitution when we are so divided as a state, instead of seeking a higher percentage of support that would likely require some level of compromise. Ironically, two of the main groups opposing Issue 1 in August, require a supermajority in their own internal governance, with the ACLU requiring 60% and Planned Parenthood requiring a two-thirds majority to amend their bylaws. Some food for thought.
Whoever has ears ought to hear. Pray. Discuss. Vote.
God bless all of you!
P.S. Please come to the 11:00am Mass on the Water at the Tudor House next weekend, July 30. Please bring your own chairs, towels to sit on, and picnic items so we can enjoy each other and celebrate the gift of this awesome parish!