On Being a Catholic Under Bad Government

I’ve been writing letters to various government representatives for the last few months about some important issues facing Canada and my province. Most pressingly the oncoming onslaught of highly unregulated doctor-assisted suicide across the country, and some high-handed education guidelines surrounding gender identity which present a very transformative moral impact in our province’s education system.

I write the letters, I email and mail the letters, I occasionally received a highly patronizing reply from my government representative that implies I’m an idiot with whom no one agrees. I write again. It’s not a fun hobby, but it seems that each successive issue becomes an even greater issue on which to speak out.

It’s hard to continue to voice opinions that seem to be completely against the tide. It’s hard to have governments in power that are openly hostile to your beliefs and see no value from your input. It’s hard to see that the war has in many ways already been lost and that the tide will not turn on the larger stage.

As a Catholic my faith isn’t put in a box in my life that only comes out on Sunday. The Catholic faith informs and impacts every aspect of my life, and as such it informs and impacts how I view public policy, laws, and how government itself functions. It’s a moral lens that impacts how I see all of these things, but it also shapes my actions as a citizen.

Increasingly my country doesn’t tolerate even the idea that religious beliefs should inform moral and political decisions. There’s an open hostility to trying to “enforce your private beliefs” on an unsuspecting public, or even worse, a contempt for religion as it it must be in-of-itself intolerant and oppressive, bigoted and hateful.

This idea concerning religion has come about because there are entire generations of us who have no idea what having a faith even means. Our society has lost the idea that theology is an objective study that has almost 2000 years of intellectual history. Society has no concept that faith is formative and deeply connected to an individual’s values and conscience, including how an individual makes political choices and how he views his country. Society has completely rejected the idea of a higher authority informing us about moral issues. Society has wholly committed to relativism to the point that we don’t believe choices are moral at all, that we simple act on our feelings and that in consequence, must be good.

And now we are reaping these rewards with the destruction of children’s innocence, handing over more control to the government in the name of tolerance, and completely abandoning moral and civil codes of conduct that are foundational to Western civilization.

Our Catholic faith is a beautiful seamless belief system that builds our political and social stances on a foundation of thoughtfully developed teachings based on natural law and God’s revelation. As Catholics we uphold life, we value the dignity of the human person, that life must be respected from conception to natural death, and acknowledge the inherent and created differences of male and female and how that affects our humanity. These principles are not against the social order or social progress, these are the principles that have helped build the free and just societies of Western civilization.

These once commonly held values are now being turned on their heads, their basic truthfulness dismissed, and a Catholic position is seen as extreme and backward.

It all leaves me anxious and frustrated. Knowing that I, as a Catholic, can participate as much as possible as a private citizen, give my money to political organizations that are the least abhorrent to my values, write as much as possible to my government representatives, and yet still be part of the minority and have no power to stop the coming detrimental changes to my country.

I can see and imagine the toxic consequences for my children and grandchildren by what is happening in the public sphere now, and all I will be able to tell them is I, along with a small number of others, tried to speak in contradiction to the mob mentality that is our society. I already fear that I’m not doing enough. That as time passes history will look upon our lifetime as the hinge between civilization and a relativistic/fascist dystopia.

As I Catholic I know that Christ is the Lord of History. His ultimate victory is real and we just await it. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is legitimately painful to watch your own country take drastic steps towards eradicating the moral fabric of society. I want the best for my country and for the people who live in it, and I know that a country who willfully promotes laws and principles contrary to God’s laws will inevitably suffer.

Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared on the author’s blog, Fountains of Home, and is republished here with kind permission.

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Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely and loud children under the age of 8. She makes her home in the middle of nowhere in the northern Canadian wilds where she spends her long winters enjoying long books and blogging about faith, motherhood and everything in between at her blog Fountains of Home. She spends most of her time homeschooling and herding children, but in her spare time enjoys a good red wine just like G.K. Chesterton one of her personal heroes. She's also recently delved into podcasting with her spare minutes withThe Fountains of Carrots Podcast.

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