Tuesday, September 3, 2019

What Is Social Justice?

The Modern Catholic Dictionary defines social justice as a virtue.  It says:

"The virtue that inclines one to co-operate with others in order to help make the institutions of society better serve the common good. While the obligation of social justice falls upon the individual, that person cannot fulfill the obligation alone, but must work in concert with others, through organized bodies, as a member of a group whose purpose is to identify the needs of society, and, by the use of appropriate means, to meet these needs locally, regionally, nationally, and even globally. Implicit in the virtue of social justice is an awareness that the world has entered on a new phase of social existence, with potential for great good or great harm vested in those who control the media and the structures of modern society. Christians, therefore, are expected to respond to the new obligations created by the extraordinary means of promoting the common good not only of small groups but literally of all humanity."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that social justice is ensured when society "provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to the nature and their vocation." (CCC 1928).

The Church goes on to emphasize that social justice, in order to be the real deal, must be rooted in the Dignity of the Human person and linked to the common good and to authority.   She emphasizes that social justice can only be achieved when one respects the "transcendent dignity of man" (CCC 1929).

Social justice, for any well catechized Catholic, is something that cannot be relegated to something the other guy does.  We are concerned with the dignity of human beings because we recognize our unique relationship to our Creator, to God the Father, and His profound love for us even when we fail to return that love.  It is humbling to realize that God loves us even if we deny His existence.  Being the recipient of that type of total and unconditional love can be overwhelming.  It cannot help but spill out into our everyday lives.  To express that love is something we need to do.  It is written on our hearts, a part of our DNA. 

People are moved by tragedy -- natural disasters or man made horror -- because of this Truth of our need to express the love of God.  It bubbles up - tweets of 'thoughts and prayers' do not just happen in a vacuum - when the unexpected hits us because we just cannot help ourselves.  We were born to love, to serve each other.

The challenge for me is to answer that call to service -- to HEAR the Voice and take an action.  The tough part is to do it despite being told that it doesn't matter, that the action I take will not fix a problem or change a mind.  

What I have learned is that seeds planted do grow, just not on my timeline.  I watch people I never thought would consider Social Justice as anything other than something those damn commies talk about begin to awaken to this important aspect of our Faith.  I listen to people begin to ask questions of themselves,  to respond to the Voice that reminds them their work does not end when they walk into a voting booth or they are presented with a petition outside the grocery store.  What is really awesome is when their minds begin to open and they start to realize that maybe, just maybe, those they have disagreed with in the past are trying THEIR best to live the Faith in a way that will help true social justice flourish.  They may not be doing it in a manner I would choose, and they may even be causing the Angels to weep, but perhaps they are not the stupid demon ridden horror they are being described as by my opponents (or allies); rather, they are Catholics trying to do what is right in a world that has made that path increasingly difficult to locate.

I chose to join the political party The American Solidarity Party because I was not represented in a meaningful way by either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.  That being said,  I do not think that all those Catholics who are members of the two 'mainstream' parties are deliberately trying to ruin my country.  I disagree with them, and I wish they would all turn and loudly renounce the parties to which they have pledged their loyalty no matter what, but I absolutely know they are doing the best they can to live the life Jesus asks of us.  

I have seen the seeds I have planted since 2016 start to sprout.  More and more people have reached out to me and asked me about the ASP.  Some of them have actually registered as members, others have left the DNC and the GOP to register as Independents.  There are tiny ripples in the pond.  

As the political season heats up, I pray for my country.  I pray that people stop going out of their way to hurt or demean each other, that they begin to practice true social justice by curbing their own anger and changing their speech.   I pray that people start to realize that being a social justice warrior is not about wearing a mask and throwing a rock at the opposition.

I pray for our leaders and our would-be leaders.  The need to promote the dignity of the human person should be the cornerstone of all our roads to justice for all.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

No More KeyBoard Warriors - We Need Witnesses to TRUTH

It has been eight weeks since my hip replacement.  During that time I watched in horror as three American cities experienced the trauma of a mass shooting - Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.  During the time since my surgery I watched as Jeffrey Epstein was arrested again and then committed suicide.  I watched two Presidential Debates by Democrats and I lost my status as a 'Keyboard Warrior' by attending my first ever Town Hall meeting with Josh Harder, my Representative in the House.  While there I handed out flyers for the American Solidarity Party and, to my delight, only one person turned it down.  Everyone else there took one and listened to my little sound-bite pitch (Formed by people who are not happy with the stance held by either main political party, we are a group who believe in being Pro-Life for the WHOLE Life and would love for you to check us out) and were surprised.  They had never heard of us - except for a group of about five people who said, "Hey, aren't you Leslie K.?  I read your stuff in the Modesto Bee all the time!".

Interestingly enough, no one there at that Town Hall Meeting was satisfied being a registered Democrat or a registered Republican.  Many were there simply to hold the feet of Mr. Harder to the fire of the issues that affect our community - Health Care, Immigration, Education, Jobs - which is exactly what the American Solidarity Party feels is important.  If we are going to eradicate the need for women to have an abortion we cannot simply make abortion illegal; rather, we have got to create a society where women do not make that choice because they do not feel the need to do so.

As a post-abortive woman (one who was forced to abort her children by threat of violence and later because I thought I was already damned to hell so who cares) I am very aware that we are cock-eyed in this culture today.  We scream that women must have control of their bodies but we do nothing to insure that - case in point, looking the other way when a 26 year old man drives his teenage girlfriend to an abortion clinic.  We make dopey statements about 'my body my choice' which not only fly in the face of science but also in the face of logic.  Men are not allowed to do anything they want with THEIR bodies - what makes us so special?  A man who uses his body to assert power or control over another human being is committing a criminal act.  He should be prosecuted for that and if he is not the issue is not to make the act non-criminal; rather it is to properly apply the law.

The other reason I went to that Town Hall Meeting is because I am deeply disappointed in my fellow Catholics.  The number who said, "Oh no, I am not going because he supports abortion" was staggering.  What this tells me is that these people have no clue what their role in our society is and they are content to listen to Relevant Radio and flash pious FaceBook Memes on their pages but they are not willing to plant themselves right in front of that representative and say, "We don't want Abortion On Demand.  We are your constituents.  We are here to make sure our voices are heard".

Now, maybe I am wrong in my determination of why they don't show up at these meetings.  Maybe they are not attending because they are, like me, shy about speaking up in public.  It is difficult to do it, and easier as a KeyBoard Warrior.  It is tough to take a microphone and ask a question and do so with kindness and with clarity.  Maybe they are simply afraid.  Maybe it is just easier for them to say they don't support the person so that is why they aren't taking the time to get in the car and drive to wherever that representative is so he can see the face of the Pro Life Catholic.   I don't want to judge them too harshly - but it is time for them to get out from behind their laptops and get to work.

I would suggest to them that I understand.  It is difficult and it is scary and it can mean getting WAY out of your comfort zone.  It can also be the way for us to imitate the Martyrs that walked the path before us and now wait for us in the heavenly Jerusalem.  They were asked to do a lot more - this may be our chance to be Catholic Out Loud.

Let's not let the horrors and sadness of the past few weeks dictate how we meet the world.  Let's not drop our armor or our sword; let's continue the fight.  Let's let the people in charge see our faces, our bright and loving and sweet faces that we turn deliberately toward the Light of Christ each day.  

Let's show up....and BE CATHOLIC OUT LOUD.

Monday, July 29, 2019


How do you learn?

I learn by doing, by hearing, by writing down instructions and following them carefully over and over again.

I hear, I read, I think it through and I compare what I am handed to my practical experience.

I love to learn.  I am open to hearing whatever you have to offer me.  If I think it is interesting, I will ask questions.  If I detect anger and hatred as your foundation, I will usually just smile and move along.  If you present your angry and hate-fueled information as Truth, I will challenge you.

It sometimes takes me a long time to learn something.  I wish I could claim I only make a mistake one time but that would be a lie - I have made the same mistake over and over again.  I don't do it on purpose.  It is usually cleverly disguised by rationalization and fear but eventually I will get it.  It may take me awhile, but I learn.

Sometimes, I worry about whether or not I am stretching myself.  Especially when the latest groovy thing hits the Catholic Blog O'Sphere.  The latest is Demons.  Everyone is talking about, writing about and speaking about Demons. You are either for Demons or Against Demons and apparently it all has something to do with loving/hating Vatican II and taking Communion in the Hand.  It is the weirdest thing to witness - grown men who all will spend at least half a page telling you how much they LOVE Holy Mother Church ripping each other to shreds over whether or not we should listen to Demons, believe in Demons, write down what Demons say or ignore Demons.

I find it just dumb enough to ignore and that is what worries me about me.  Maybe I should be as worried about this stuff as these guys all seem to be but I just cannot muster up the energy.

But I try - and I try by trying to learn.  I keep reading and listening and working hard to keep an open mind.  I try to 'stay teachable' in the parlance of my 12 Step Program.  I stay willing to listen to what you have to say.  If I have questions, I will ask them..but if I suspect that what is really going on is an advancement of a personal agenda?

I guess I will conclude that you are controlled by a Demon...and give it the attention I think it deserves.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tigers Eat Their Young

I am privileged to be sober and to be Catholic.

Like many people, I chose to pursue my sobriety through a 12 Step program.  I have been in the middle of that life boat for over a ¼ or a century and I am grateful for every aspect of it, every step and tradition and concept.  I am grateful to those who walked the path before me and I am grateful to those who stay put in the rooms, sharing their experience, their strength and their hope with me and others so that I can stay the course.

Like so many people I know, I returned to the Catholic Church once I had been sober for a short period of time.  The joke among so many of us for whom this has been the path, we became sober and suddenly we wanted the Truth...and dang it if that did not lead us right back to the Catholic Church.

I stay close to both these groups despite the antics and behavior of myself and other members.  Seriously, if I stayed in my home group only if every person who shows up there is honest and friendly and pursuing God I would be home by myself a lot.....and if I went to Mass only if everyone in the pew was  practicing our beautiful and misunderstood religion with perfection I would never leave the house.

Because my country is so polarized today, and because both sides of the aisle seem to believe in clever name calling and horrific characterizations, this insistance on behaving like 11 year old girls on meth has crept into both the organizations that give me life.  I see it every day on the internet.

"This priest so-and-so is a grifter who calls me names and hates the Holy Father."

"This so-called Catholic Spokesperson is not really Catholic because they don't like Father So-and-So."

"That meeting is a REAL meeting - they only read from one pamphlet and do it exactly like the first 100 did it."

"Those people are not really sober - they control everyone around them and want to be the leader of everything."

What I see in this type of behavior is concupiscence.

All of us, due to our fallen nature, have a tendency to sin.  Pride is one of the seven deadly sins and this pops up in the thinking and behavior I am seeing among my people right now.  It always disguises itself - rationalization is amazing - and both sides are absolutely convinced they are right.  The inability to step back and say, "Wait, what are they hearing me say that makes them think such and such" never occurs to us because, well, that means we have to entertain the possibility that we are the problem.

Every time there is a disturbance in my life, I have to consider the possibility that I am the cause.  I am the reason my mother is mad at me or my sister won't talk to me.  What have I done to set the ball rolling in whatever uproar is happening in my life?

Now, is it possible to be completely innocent in a situation?  Maybe.  I can't say because that has never been my experience with the exception of when I was assaulted.  And while I will never take responsibility for another person's criminal behavior I do acknowledge that the lifestyle I was leading at that time put me in far greater danger than the average woman.  I was the victim of an assault.  If I had not lived the way I lived, there is a really good chance what happened to me would not have occurred.

So, is it possible to be completely innocent?  I don't know...what I do know is that watching grown people act like children on social media is just embarrassing.  The fact that none of them seem to want to knock it off is humiliating.

I have no power over the antics I am seeing play out on FaceBook right now.  It is so sad....so very, very sad....because people do not care about the group or the fellowship or the Church.   They only care about being right.

My heart hurts.  I feel so very sad.

The most I can hope for is that someone comes to their senses and stops the madness.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Sometimes all you can do is wait

The hip replacement went well.  I am still healing an will be for awhile.  The acute pain is gone replaced by the dull, manageable ache that is to be expected when one has had a body part replaced.

Little victories:

I walk over 1000 steps a day now and can walk without assistance for short distances.

I can step up and over the little 'edge' (about 6 inches) into the shower.

I only have to take a pain pill once in awhile, usually at night after a day of walking, exercising and pushing myself to do a little more.

Little set backs:

Sitting in the shower and crying because I can't drive yet and still have to depend upon other people.

Finishing Game of Thrones and wanting them to have come up with a better ending or just say you are going to do a movie already and get ON WITH IT.

Not being able to hose water the backyard because I can't walk back their yet.  Too dangerous.

I have been reading and watching television and catching up on movies I missed.  I even watched a rerun of SNL with Jason Mamoa and finally got the Dothraki jokes I did not get the first time I watched it.

People have been kind, supportive and lovely - ready to help with all those little things I cannot do.  I cannot clean the litter box.  I cannot change the sheets on my bed.  I cannot drive.  Did I mention that already?

My dog refuses to leave my side.  He will not sleep in his kennel.  Instead he sleeps on the bed next to me.  I believe he has found his calling:  He is Rob Roy MacDuff, first of his name, Ruler of the Copper Creek Kingdom, Protector of the Realm and Hand of the Queen....the Dire Scottie of House Shaw....

Yeah, I did just watch all of Game of Thrones...how could you tell?

Recovering is boring, there is no way around the fact that I still have to take it easy and not undo all the hard work of my surgeon by not letting the tendons anchor and the muscles activate.  I have to practice patience, which is a virtue and really would be easier to display if I could drive myself to meetings or the store....but I cannot drive yet....in case I forgot to mention that to you.

Please keep me in prayer.  Pray that I do what I counsel others to do - listen and follow directions.

At least until I can drive again.