What to do in the face of civic and faith calamity

You wake up one morning and realize you live in a nation that came to be through genocide of a native people, built on the back of African slaves, and maintained by the cheap labor of Latinos.

You wake up the next day and realize your religion is infested with pedophiles and sexual deviants – and governed by many morally bankrupt leaders.

How do you survive that one/two punch to the gut? How do you respond to the blast of reality that challenge your core beliefs?

Should I stay or should I go? Should I stay in this country? Should I stay in this Church? How can I possibly be complicit in building a nation with rotten roots or participate in a church corrupt at the core?

How can I declare allegiance to a nation led by an amoral, divisive, cheating, lying President? How can I contribute financially to a church paying for the legal defense and princely lifestyles of criminal clerics and bishops?

Oh, how to respond to this convergence of malice in civics and faith?

We Catholics have to each wrestle with this catastrophic moment in history and in our lifetime in ways that make sense to us as individuals – lest we become hopelessly depressed or “comfortably numb” (as the Pink Floyd song says) to the point of paralysis.

Some will walk away – literally or figuratively. Many will feel rightfully disgusted with the current state of affairs and withdraw from participating civically or in the Church.

Both this country and our Church are imperfect, incomplete, and dysfunctional. Of that there is no doubt.

You can certainly detach yourself from the gutter politics of the moment and turn your back to the horrors going on in the Church. You can certainly simply live life enjoying the immediate satisfactions of the consumer and entertainment culture and society; and you can certainly live life without the Church, in your own private faith space… Ultimately, some will say “we don’t need politics or theology.”

Or you can feel emboldened by this historical challenge and commit to do your part in reclaiming the goodness embedded in many of the people of this country; and rebuilding the Church affirming the beatitudes as put into practice by so many in our Faith.

Two paradigms come to mind:

[1] Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good; and,

[2] Do everything as if all depends on you knowing it all depends on God.

Pragmatically, functionally, and logistically this means two simple things:

[1] Vote in elections.

[2] Do service with the poor.

Yes, your vote counts. And yes, your service makes a difference.

Convincing friends to vote to end this presidency and supporting your favorite Catholic charity working with the poor and/or immigrant are simple things we can do. Today. Everyday. Without much fuzz. Without long winded debates.

It is not a perfect solution. It will not end all the malice. But it will certainly move the needle.  It will certainly matter – personally and for the common good…  Even a little. And that is o.k. Tomorrow will be another day.

Don’t despair. Keep the Faith. Pray. Act.