To the world the "lost" sheep are those who know their Shepherd and He knows them, while the "found" sheep are really floundering among the wolves, oblivious to the imminent danger to their souls.
"In those swing states of Florida and Ohio true sheep repeatedly told John Kerry, "You say you are Catholic and follow Christ; we know Jesus Christ, and you, sir, are no follower of Jesus Christ!" Had Kerry won either of those states, he probably would have won the election. Had he won both, it would have been a nightmare wrapped in a disaster! When and where it counted the most, the more fervent Catholics put up and made a difference!"
The just-completed national elections have shown us that the Catholic voice still makes a difference in this nation. It has also shown us, however, that this voice is increasingly straying from the Voice of God and the Message of Christ - the Good Shepherd. The tragic reality is that the "lost" sheep which Christ seeks may turn out to be the only ones actually following His example!
We all know that President George W. Bush just had a historic, seemingly miraculous victory. While all indications pointed to a close election, there were real fears that public sentiment against the war, about the economy, education, and healthcare, and utter hatred by many for the President would lead to a John Forbes Kerry victory. Despite all of this, 51 % voted for Bush as compared to 48% for Kerry. Catholics represent 27% of the electorate, but their numbers mirror the national results almost exactly, with 52% voting for Bush and 47% for Kerry. What the numbers do show is that the more fervent Catholic voters tended to vote more for Bush than the so-called cafeteria variety, which tended to vote for Kerry.
The numbers also show, however, that 78% of white evangelicals and so-called born again Christians voted for Bush and 59% of Protestants voted for Bush, so it is obvious that Catholics were likely the most "lukewarm" Christian group in their support for Bush. This "lukewarm" nature, however, is more the average of two clearly divergent types of Catholics, those who put up, and those who shut up! The Catholic vote almost doubled for Bush in critical Ohio, where it jumped from 5% in 2000 to 9% this year. That vote tripled in likewise critical Florida, where it soared from 5% in 2000 to 15% this time around. Also, the general Florida Catholic vote for Bush was 5% higher than the Catholic vote across the nation for Bush, and the Ohio vote was 2% higher. While 56% of regular church-going Catholics voted for Bush nationwide, somewhat higher than our cafeteria lost ones, the Florida and Ohio percentages for regular church-attending Catholics were a significant 66% and 65% respectively. In other words, in the two most critical states in this election, practicing Catholics put a real hurt in the January plans of the poster boy for "pretend Catholics"!
In those swing states of Florida and Ohio true sheep repeatedly told John Kerry, "You say you are Catholic and follow Christ; we know Jesus Christ, and you, sir, are no follower of Jesus Christ!" Had Kerry won either of those states, he probably would have won the election.
Had he won both, it would have been a nightmare wrapped in a disaster! When and where it counted the most, the more fervent Catholics put up and made a difference!
What of those so-called Catholics of the cafeteria, John Kerry variety? These truly lost sheep continued to distort, diffuse, and dismantle what being Catholic is really about from a solid soup of absolute truth and non-compromising courage into a watery broth of lightweight blah blah and gobbledygook. From giving two cents attention to idiotic frauds calling themselves Catholic leaders and teachers of the faith like 'Sister' Michelle Nemmers of Iowa who told a rally for Kerry that Catholics could vote for Kerry "without sin or forfeit of communion" and that "women have a choice..(between raising a child, adoption, or abortion)" to angrily declaring that nobody could tell them how to vote to demanding that religious positions not be imposed on political choices to expressing fear that society might blow off Catholic views if Catholics continued to press purist pursuits, these confused Catholics nearly carried one of their own to the seat of power from where he could have done the most damage to the true Catholic faith.
These Catholics did not put up when the call came to stand up. Instead, they shut up when that call came to speak up and uphold the true Catholic faith. As I have often said, it would be better for all involved if these "clueless Catholics" merely created another religion and went off somewhere where they would do less damage to the Faith rather than continue to drag that Faith through the mud and mire of their convoluted, distorted, twisted sense of what being a Catholic means and implies. These are the 47% clueless souls who think that "Catholic" and "Kerry" can co-exist. These are even the 35% clueless souls who attend the Novus Ordo churches regularly and still thought Kerry was worth voting for. How could anyone who attends services regularly fall for Kerry's lies and shams? Because those lies and shams are New Order products sold in New Order churches which obviously did not exactly banish Kerry from the horizon!
Who's Really Lost?
We all know that this society is so confused that good is now bad and vice-versa. We know that faith, devotion, respect, decency, family, and morality have been ascribed ignorant, primitive, and extinct status. We know that sanctity and sacredness have taken a backseat to sin and depravity. Sadly, this overturned state of affairs is also found in the Catholic faith, where those who surrender to modernism, secularism, ecumenism, feminism, sodomy, hedonism, New Ageism, and atheism are the enlightened, tolerant, realistic, intelligent Catholics and those who refuse to lose their true faith are seen as ignorant, fanatical, purist, ancient, irrelevant zealots. How the media delights in showing someone trying to convert lions to push across the stereotype that Traditional Catholics and fervent Christians are two decades short of a novena! According to this society and to those distorted "Catholics" who have bought this society's wares, Catholics who protest against abortion, homosexual marriage, female priests, stem cell research, divorce, and the so-called separation of church and state are the lost sheep too stupid and confused to see things as they really are and just accept change and "rational, enlightened thought".
It is a tragic yet almost Biblical irony that it is precisely those Catholics who do not feel lost to this society's values and beliefs who are the most lost to the true nature and meaning of their own faith. In truth, those Catholics which this society labels as most "lost" are actually the ones closest to Christ. Likewise, those "Catholics" who have sold or rationalized their way into this society's good graces and are seen as least "lost" are actually those farthest from Jesus Christ, Who should mean everything to them. It is clear then, that the lost sheep have found Christ and the found sheep have lost Him!
Who's Most To Blame?
It should not be surprising that many if not most Catholics are blissfully lost in rationalized, distorted, diffused, selfish stupor when one considers the sad excuses for shepherds that surround them. One need only look at the pathetic USCCB to see the kind of division, cowardice, and corruption which breeds this kind of problem! Instead of presenting a courageous, united, forceful front promoting and supporting the true teaching of our faith, we saw many sniveling cowards running for cover, mincing words, crawling behind fancy flights of political and social concern, and promoting pale platitudes of proportional pabulum! We should have heard an outcry from every pulpit in every church in every parish that John Kerry was not what being Catholic was all about and that voting for him was a vote against what being Catholic was all about.
But how can one expect courage where there is cowardice? How can one expect truth where there are deceptions and shams and scams - all the way to the highest echelons of the Vatican? How can one expect respect where resentment and ridicule have been sown? How can one expect undefiled Catholic purity where corruption and sin have tarnished the glow of truth with hypocrisy and heresy? How can one expect positions of God where political correctness and the views of man are worshipped?
How can we take these people seriously when they have selected Pamela Hayes, a "Catholic" attorney and member of the National Review Board on Clergy Sexual Abuse despite the fact that she is openly, vehemently, and outspokenly a supporter of abortion and pro-abortion candidates and a promoter of stem cell research? When questioned on this apparent contradiction between her views and her position on the Board, Hayes declared, "so what?" and boastfully asked, "What are they going to do about it?" This woman has donated to Pro-death Kerry, Pro-death Hillary Clinton, and Pro-death Emily's List, the single issue pro-abortion lobbying organization. She proudly declares that she will always support pro-abortion Democratic candidates despite the fact that she grew up as a Catholic and attended Catholic schools in Manhattan and belongs to Manhattan's St. Aloysius Parish! So, you see, the pathetic excuses for shepherds have hired the wolves to care for their sheep and then have run for the hills! And who appointed these bishops? One look no further than the head man in Rome. No wonder that the supposedly lost sheep are actually safer than the comfortable sheep blindly stumbling toward an abyss with wolves leading them! Now we hear Cardinals Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Justin Rigali of Philadelphia congratulate President Bush and send their best wishes to John Kerry… safely hidden from controversy, the shepherds speak. Thankfully, there were those shepherds who did speak when it mattered, even if there were only twelve - ironic, is it not? Quality over quantity is a good rule of thumb for shepherds!
A Split Flock
This division in the Catholic Church has been foretold by Scripture. This split flock is more the symptom of losing Christ and gaining worldly concerns than any shocking twist of destiny. It is still most ironic that the most courageous Catholics rose to defeat the most falsely Catholic at the head of the most confused Catholics lead by the most cowardly shepherds at the edge of the abyss during this time of great apostasy. Tragically for many of these confused Catholics, there is still an abyss, there are still cowardly shepherds, and there are still false "Catholic" leaders. For those who know their Shepherd and He knows them, never has been "lost" felt so good!
Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.