If you are looking to get married you don’t hide things about yourself in order to lure someone into marrying you. One of two things might happen as a result: 1) You will be somewhat unhappy hiding something for the rest of your life or 2) Your spouse will be feel angry and betrayed when whatever it is you are concealing becomes exposed.
For some reason (and I occasionally fall for it myself) preachers do the same thing in trying to “keep the numbers up.” Dicey and controversial topics are not brought up in homilies, prayer services, or classes because we might lose people. So leading up to the last election much of the Catholic Church was caught with its pants down trying to proclaim a message but unfortunately for much of the Church it was too late: Catholics did not need to be reminded about what our faith says about many of these touchy topics, they needed introduced to a mindset that produces these beliefs. A pamphlet or a homily one week before the election aint gonna cut it.
There is a gentleman who works at St. Sebastian who happens to not be Catholic. One day he stopped me and presents me with a list of topics ranging from abortion to health care. “When was the last time you preached on any of these topics?” he asked me for he was greatly saddened that he had not heard any of this talked about at all at his church ever. “Our faith is supposed to help us understand these things. If we don’t hear about them at church there are plenty of other people out there working hard to have us think the way they want us to think about them.”
Now I admit that I am intimidated to speak on some of these matters. But they are what they are – they are who we are. It is not matter of politics – it is Catholic 101. That some of these topics happen to line up with hot button issues going on in politics is just happenstance. And we must be honest about who we are for we are in covenant together and that means full disclosure as one would hope a future spouse would offer.
Just one last note: I know there is some amount of wiggle room in some of these topics. I am just saying we must talk about them as Church. Only then can someone make a clear, full, and free decision if they want to be part of (or leave) this intimate Communion of people.