The Sunday of the Ascension Father Francisco began his homily by talking about a recent trip back to his home islands in the South Pacific. While there, there was an earthquake. The women ran around like chickens with their heads chopped off while most of the men ran around in a panic. Father Francisco and others from California thought it was a normal day. Those on the island compared it with the rumblings before a volcanic eruption and reacted.
One man was an exception. He simply walked out of his house and looked up into the sky, reminding Father Francisco of the angels who told the apostles, “Men of Galilee, why stand looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” The Polynesian people, like most indigenous people, see the world as a concrete whole. What affects one part affects the whole.
Father discussed racers who win by a head and ranchers who herd hundreds of heads of cattle. Do they herd heads of cattle or the whole cow? Father also mentioned Secretariat, the horse who always started out last, and who often won one by a nose. All too many of us started out last, and strive to catch up in the race on life.
The Saturday before Father’s homily, a young man named Ken approached a person he viewed to be a liberal barbarian, Barbara and asked about the HHS Mandate, expecting an apology for the slight or at least uncomfortable squirming. This article changes all names to protect the guilty. Instead, Barbara asked, “Where was the church when I was fired for being a liberal and a Catholic?” Ken debated, “The two are unrelated!” Barbara replied, “They are both examples of religious persecution. The world is a concrete whole. What affects any one of us affects us all.”
Ken continued his debate, “What happened to you happened in the past. We live in the present.” Barbara volleyed, “A preacher once said, ‘First, they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists; I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. They came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. They came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” Barbara also fired back, “The context for, “Where was the church?” The homily of this preacher is the same. We have not changed. We pay a terrible price for our deafening silence.
Nobody takes us seriously. Of the HHS Mandate fighting the good fight but fighting wisely quotes the CNN article, “Seven reasons Catholics leave church,” which gives as reason number 5, the perception that church hierarchy is too closely tied to conservative politics.” Barbara related, “We are fighting the wrong fight at the wrong time. We need to give a balanced presentation of Catholic teaching.
Ken asked, “What issues?” Barbara continued, “A century ago last year was the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.” We repeated that mistake 21 years ago in the The Hamlet Chicken Processing Plant Fire. Doors were locked in both cases, blocking workers escape. Safety equipment was not available or not kept up to date. People died. Those conditions continue to exist today, in the conservative south particularly.
Last year was a maritime fiasco, the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Faulty construction and collusion with regulators contributed to the disaster. The total recordable workplace injuries was year 3,063,400 in 2010. This does not include 4,690 fatal injuries. The silence on the part of the church as it relates to this is deafening. The government tells us some 6.4 million households had very low food security in 2010. The republicans apologized to BP for the resulting increase in government regulation. The silence is deafening. Barbara concluded this part of the debate by saying that if the church wants to be taken seriously, it must silence its silence.
In 1969, some 28.7% of the population was in labor unions while the poorest 50% of the population brought home 27% of all income and the unemployment rate was a staggering 3.5%. The unemployment rate has not been that low since. The figures are from the US Department of the Census. At present, the poorest 50% of the population brings home 19% of all income and the unemployment rate is 8%. The poorest 50% of the population do not bring home enough income to generate sufficient demand to create jobs.
The richest 20% of the population, bringing home 71% of all income do not buy things, but stocks, bonds and annuities. This is like buying used car titles. It does not help the auto manufacturer, who receives none of the profits from the car title sale. Even if it did, the purchase creates no demand for cars and therefore does not create jobs. The silence of the church is deafening.
The Tea Party is famous for calling all who support any government regulation socialists and communists. It is a name, which causes many liberals to lose their races for public office, and their jobs. First, they came for the communists. Barbara in a deep debate with Ken part I refers to the famous quote from Pastor Martin Niemöller on this very subject.
Only around 11% of the population now work in unions. Next, they came for the trade unionists. People lose their jobs because they are Arabic or Muslim. Barbara complained she lost a job, her employer citing she was a liberal and a Catholic. Next, they came for the Jews, and others not of the capitalist mold. Barbara next argued, “Now they are coming after you and you squawk because nobody is left.”
Barbara agreed that government control of healthcare is probably not a long-term solution to the problem, even though VA hospitals train 60% of doctors. The military and other government institutions probably train a majority of the rest. Barbara argued that the solution was a repeal of Taft/Hartley and building society from the ground up.
Ken argued the solution was Free Enterprise and allowing the bottom, small business to let loose and create jobs. Barbara countered, “The bottom is not small enterprise, private large business, or public big business. As Adam Smith, the founder of capitalism argued; all real value is labor. The bottom is labor. The bottom is labor, not business owners, who will only hire people when there is demand.”
Further, Ken’s solution shows that he has not changed. He argued earlier that we should forget his mistakes of the past. Now he argues that we can count on his making the same mistakes in the future. This is not only Sadism, it is insanity.
Corporate profits are reaching records, and no jobs are being created.” Allowing Free Enterprise to run amuck like it did under Reagan and Bush is Sadistic. It allows corporate managers to hurt people like Barbara and the 3 million quoted in “Barbara in a deep debate with Ken part I.”
To agree with this premise is Masochistic. It agrees; the abuse these people suffered and suffer every day is OK. Barbara argued how this argument shows how Ken just does not get it. He chooses not to understand.It was business run amuck which hurt Barbara. Why would she consider giving them a blank check to do it again? This is tantamount to arguing in favor of more silence, more of that deafening silence.
There is no need to sacrifice our children, children of our common mother, Our Blessed Virgin, people like Barbara, on the altar of the market god, whether we call him Baal, or Mercury, Roman god of merchants and thieves, or the Greek god, Hermes. On the mural of our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, to the left of the altar, is a portrait of Abraham preparing to sacrifice Isaac.
At the end, God tells Abraham not to sacrifice his only son. Immediately to his right is Melchizedek, the charitable king who offers up the bread and wine. To the right of our altar sits Jesus serving the bread and wine to St. Peter, and St. John as St. Paul looks on. To the right of this view is St. Tarsicius the first martyr of the Sacrament. He is to the right because Jesus is the last true sacrifice, not our children at the hands of some market.
Barbara pointed out that there are 225 Catholic Universities not including 26 law schools. These universities graduate 70,000 graduates each year. Ken argued that not all of the students are Catholic. Barbara asked, “Surely there are at least 537 who support the entire teaching of the Catholic Church. We should find, develop, and promote these people for public office. This is the solution to our problem.
Barbara asked Ken, “Do you know what Catholic Social teaching is? Ken looked into space. Barbara asked, “Do you know what the Magnificat is? Do you know what the Canticle of Zachariah is? Ken admitted he heard of them, but… he was not aware of their place in the Liturgy of the Hours. He was not aware of what verse 72 and 74-75 were all about. Barbara asked, “Do you know that there is a Catholic Social teaching?” Ken did not. That is why he does not get it. It is all caused by that deafening silence from the pulpit. That is why he walked away.