Friday, May 22, 2020

God's Plan for Politics

All this fussing about masks and rights and policies and the jabs of politicians on either side trying to score points with their most radical believers. It makes me want to self-isolate.

A friend of mine wrote about the suffering she feels keeping her children "socially distanced" while neighbors spurn further calls for caution as politically suspect. In her diocese, the Mass is once again being offered in public and she is worried about the elderly priests who may be putting themselves in harm's way by their closeness to their (maskless) people for such extended periods of time. And those priests, in turn, can become vectors of illness themselves (as happened in Houston where an entire community of priests had to quarantine themselves after learning that three members who had been presiding at liturgies tested positive for the coronavirus).

Meanwhile on Twitter, intellectual types get lost in political theory, analyzing things under every sort of optic but one. I say this, because that "one" optic is the one Jesus has been trying to get across to me during these long weeks of cloistered life. Because I tend to think that things generally work best if we just go with logic. For me, logic implies order, predictability, reasonableness. (Small wonder that my TV hero in grade school was Spock!) But Jesus reminded me this week that there is already order in the universe. It is built in. The universe works just fine.
God is looking for more.

That is why humans are here. God's priority is for human life to reflect Trinitarian life. All our social structures are meant for this — but only the family is the real deal. (This is why, in Catholic social thought, civil society should serve the family constituted by a man and woman and their children.)

This is the missing optic on much of Catholic Twitter's political discourse. We get "right" and "left" but not "Trinitarian life." Every single policy and whole systems could ideally be seen under this lens: Does this system help human life to more readily engage in the Trinitarian style of self-giving love, or does it promote discord, isolation, competition (which is as anti-Trinitarian as you can get)?

Raising the question to the Trinitarian plane (our eternal destiny and our infinite model) would take certain Catholic conversations out of political discourse associated with a saint —who became a saint not because of intellectual achievements in speculating about divine topics, but by living the Trinitarian life in a human way.

As we were created to do.

This, by the way, is basic Theology of the Body applied to politics.

Thank you for listening to my TED talk!

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