Tuesday, August 21, 2012

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

Meseret Defar of Ethiopia gives thanks after winning gold
in the women's 5000 meter race in the 2012 Olympics in London.



I take a certain pride in watching great Olympic athletes like Usain Bolt and David Rudisha make the sign of the cross before they compete. Even more satisfying perhaps was watching Meseret Defar take a picture of the Blessed Mother and Christ Child out from beneath her jersey and hold it up to the sky in celebration of and thanksgiving for her victory in the women's 5000 meter final in London. It makes me feel good to have something in common with them, even though, while they represent the pinnacle of athleticism, I have trouble getting up out of a chair.
The same is not true for other notable Catholics, especially the ones in politics. For example, I get no pride, take no pleasure, and feel no commonality with Nancy Pelosi or Paul Ryan. That either of them is Catholic is a source of embarrassment for me. Not so embarrassing as pedophile priests and cover-up bishops, but troubling nonetheless. They too are at the pinnacle of their game, while I, thankfully, am not capable of the Machiavellian twists of moral rectitude required to ever excel at politics.
I don't think Pelosi and Ryan are whole Catholics. I don't think they 'get it' in the sense of being in full communion with the Church and her teachings. I think Pelosi slept right through everything having to do with the sanctity of life, and Ryan was somewhere else when they covered social justice.
Both of them apparently think of themselves as devout. Meanwhile 50 million dead babies churn in Pelosi's wake, sacrificed on the altar of Choice, and Ryan would have millions of the impoverished and disenfranchised lift themselves up by their own mostly non-existent bootstraps while he strips away the programs that might actually give them a leg up.
I can't see either one of them making the sign of the cross before a session of congress, or even asking God to bless their deliberations and sanctify their thinking. If they do, I'm pretty sure that He hasn't answered.

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