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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Friendship and Charity - Catholic Values in a World Gone Mad

The Catholic Church teaches:

1931 Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that "everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as 'another self,' above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity."37 No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a "neighbor," a brother.

The past few months the secular press has been filled with stories that would seem to promote the idea that American law enforcement is out to eradicate Americans of African descent.  The resulting civil unrest has touched every thinking citizen in this country, raising both solid questions that decency alone would require answering and violence resulting in both property damage and the murder of men trying to stand between chaos and order. 

The reporting of the incidents has been suspect, the investigations into the incidents have revealed deep flaws in our system of law enforcement and the average person of European descent, like myself, has had to acknowledge that all is not right with our country.

As a Catholic, I have a unique perspective on this problem.  I am not ignorant of shameful human history but neither do I claim to be blinded by it.  I think it is as important to acknowledge that the Conquering Spanish, Portuguese and French made slaves of indigenous peoples, as well as traded in human beings purchased from others in Africa, as it is to acknowledge the Franciscan, Jesuit and Dominican Priests, Brothers and Nuns who devoted their lives to trying to protect, defend and educate those same people.  I think it is as important to recognize our failings as both human beings and Catholics as it is to acknowledge those giants who stood tall among us and tried their best to live the Faith during ugly and brutal times.

I think it is equally important to remember that the organization begun by Margaret Sanger was created to keep people who were the 'wrong' color and religion from 'breeding', and that Planned Parenthood has done more to kill black children than the KKK ever has in this country.  When I see more black men and women standing shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Alveda King and Pastor Hoye I will believe them when they carry a sign that says "Black Lives Matter".  You are damn right those lives matter, and they matter when they are formed in the womb as much as when they graduate from high school and decide the way to celebrate is to rough up a liquor story clerk and steal a box of cigars. 

Many years ago I made the commitment to begin to look at all people as a potential family member.  I will not believe that they are any less than my own brother and sister; however, neither will I insult people by claiming that I understand everything about their life experience.  I can't; I am a human being and not God.  What I will not accept, however, is that they know me simply because I am Caucasian any more than I know them because they are African or Hispanic or Asian.  My life experience is unique to me.  I do not deserve to be disregarded simply because I am a female, Caucasian and Catholic.  Just as your life matters, so does mine.

Because I was recently asked to provide a short biography to someone who will be linking my writings to a website designed to expose more people to Catholic thought and philosophy, I had to really consider how I should 'put myself out there'.  Normally, it would be pretty easy.   The national events of the past few months, however,  have been weighing on my mind.  How would I describe myself in the wake of Ferguson, Brooklyn and Baltimore?  Who am I, really?

 I have decided to provide this:

Leslie Shaw Klinger
Widow, Sober Alcoholic, Forty - Niner Faithful and Lover of Scotties.
Lay Dominican, Action Movie Fan and Rock and Roll Music lover and watcher of zombie flicks.
Irish/Italian American, Catechist, Lector and Writer and Catholic Out Loud.
Firm believer in the Teachings of The Catholic Church, loyal to the Pope.
Favorite Ice Cream:  Chocolate Chip
Determined to view those who cross her path as 'another self'
Na├»ve?  Perhaps.  However, what I know is this:  unless I am willing to walk this talk, I am not worthy of the title Catholic.  I love that title.  I want to be able to stand in front of Jesus and say, "I never gave up.  I tried my best to live Your Teachings within Your Church.  I didn't run away when things got tough.  I didn't try to change things to suit the world or my fancy."  If I want to be able to say that, then I have to be willing to try.
Today, I am willing.  Lord, please stay close to me, so I never stop being day at a time.

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