My church leadership is silent regarding Archbishop Carlo Vigano’s letter to Donald Trump. Donald Trump has referred to the letter to conservative news sites as evidence of his support from Catholics. Nowhere is it mentioned this Archbishop is hiding from the Vatican. I guess it is wise not to feed this news cycle or this disgruntled letter-writer priest in hiding. I will follow their lead and not post his letter here.
The two of them together rebuke a society that is moving forward without them. One in power still, one not. There is clear evidence of both clinging and promoting ideas and policies that support maintaining self-promotion and, in some cases, positions that are directly opposed to Christ’s teaching. Yet, both cling to the illusion of righteousness.
In my opinion, they are the wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing, not the other way around. The delicate application of acquired power, whether in public service or religious service, is ripe for error for even those who started public service with good intentions to serve others. Both arenas also attract some hungry for power and attention who are not serving with good intentions for the public good or based on God’s calling.
Who are they individually, sheep that became wolves or always a wolf? Or perhaps you believe I am mistaken and that they are pure sheep after all who are genuinely and genuinely serving the people and God?
We know from history political and religious leaders have led congregations and nations to commit great evils in the name of nationalism or God. Leaders such as these are gifted at vilifying the “other” and creating passionate divisiveness, hatred, and mistrust. Their gift can bring pain and suffering to millions as well as destroy the political and spiritual institutions that they serve. They can only do so as far as the people are willing to follow or, at least, remain silent.
Who are we individually serving today? I am serving many personally in different roles. If I were saintly, my first serving priority would always be God, and through God’s lens, all other services would flow. I am far from saintly, and my priorities can sometimes put the visible and imminent in front of the invisible and eternal.
I serve my God in prayer, in thought, and actions. I serve my immediate and extended family in the same manner. Fellowship and work come a close third and fourth. That circle is pretty narrow. Kindness and compassion to my community is always an aim. Farther away is the world’s poor, the alienated, oppressed, and suffering peoples by many afflictions. What gets in the way of these noble pursuits? Serving myself and defining my entitlements and pleasures in life can easily sidetrack the above intentions. What good am I to others, after all, if I am miserable and discontent! Even these noble pursuits can be a downfall of seeking spiritual graces or public acknowledgment above the good intentions of serving others. Or perhaps even acquiring goods and power in the name of being better able to serve others leads to spiritual errors as well.
Back to Carlo and Donald. Who are they in their essence? How did their paths of service begin, how was the journey, and what do they represent today? The same question applies to their supporters. Who are they, what is their experience, and what do they represent today? How do Donald, Carlo, and their follower’s actions and beliefs stack up against the invisible and eternal? I would imagine they see themselves as necessary warriors of their causes.
How am I to not be silent without falling into being judgemental and self-righteous? I find solace in prayer and by minuscule actions every day that serves the greater good. More listening is called for now and reading.
And I write. I write here to try to ground controversy, hate, worry, and tragedy within the infinity of the invisible and the eternal. I give my tiredness to God and here, to other bloggers.
I am disappointed today in humanity and myself—nothing exceptionally grand or novel about today. In the sea of human failure and misery, my response feels wholly inadequate. I know my intentions and awareness are essential but useless without a sea of change for others, sharing a vision of greater humanity toward others.
In the face of people like Donald and Carlo, I can find myself wanting to fight like a wolf rather than a sheep. Within each of them is also the essence of a sheep as we are all capable of being both at the same time. The challenge is who did we feed, the wolf or the sheep. I cannot be silent, but I cannot be a wolf being fed by conflict, war, and ego-driven battles of ideology and spirituality. We must move forward and leave the history of social injustice, hatred of others, and discrimination behind us.