You have probably heard this political parable. I have taken it out of context, to be sure, and I don’t intend to diminish its political and historical importance in any way. I am quoting it as an example of what happens when good people do not speak out against issues and concerns that might be considered “none of my business”.
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,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
I do not have a vote in the US elections. I am no longer a Catholic. As an older woman I have no need for contraceptive or abortion advice. So why should I care? That is a good question, to which I can only answer, I do care, passionately, and I think we all should!
I don’t understand how so many good, intelligent, responsible catholics can set aside their common sense and moral scruples, ignore what they don’t agree with and don’t choose to practise, and continue to attend and support the church. We all have voices. We all can walk out the door. And there is no longer any need for fear of burning as a heretic or being broken on the wheel! You may disappoint your mother-in-law or lose a few business deals. So what!
I have a dream. Easter is coming.
The Catholic Women’s League organizes a boycott… and a picket line outside the church on Easter Sunday. They will no longer attend until and unless all women are given full status in the church and reproductive independence to decide for themselves.
The Knights of Columbus organizes a boycott… and a picket line outside the church on Easter Sunday. They will no longer attend, or participate in any fundraising activities until and unless the issues around sexual abuse have been resolved completely to everyone’s satisfaction… including the victims and the parishioners who see hard-won capital being used to pay lawyers and settle the lawsuits.
The Catholic Youth Organization organizes a boycott… and a picket line outside the church on Easter Sunday. They will no longer attend or participate until and unless church leaders and their coaches acknowledge that some of them may be gay, and that is quite acceptable… indeed they will be able to live their lives openly, safely, and in a happy marriage with the blessing of the church.
And Catholic parents, come September, will enrol their children in the local public schools because no one, not even their teachers and clergy, should ever be permitted to lie to children and shame them into affirming belief in things they do not understand or be made to feel like sinners because they have doubts or behave like children.
So why should I care?
That is a good question, to which I can only answer, I do care, passionately, and I think we all should!