Cardinal McElroy: Catholics Must Reject New Anti-Democratic Culture

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

John Gehring writes:

Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego told me in an email interview that bishops and all Catholics have a responsibility to speak out with more urgency.

“We have just come through a two-year period in which the most fundamental elements of our national democracy—the peaceful acceptance of election outcomes, boundaries for attacks upon the democratic institutions of our society, the safety of public officials and their families, and the search for essential truth and civility in our public dialogue—have been widely abandoned,” the cardinal said.

“We are witnessing a time in which the unthinkable has become real and, worse, justified, symbolized in insurrection and the invasion of the Capitol by a mob seeking to kill the vice president and the speaker of the House. This new anti-democratic culture must be vigorously and continually identified and rejected. But this will only happen if the major social and spiritual elements in our society speak clearly about the crisis we are facing and the need for a moral regeneration of our political institutions.”

The Catholic community, Cardinal McElroy emphasized, has “a broad and deep theological tradition that can enrich that regeneration, and any effort by the bishops of the United States to speak to the demands of Catholic social teaching in the present day must give wide scope and great depth to remedying the cancer that corrodes our democracy. Witnessing to this reality is the very core of faithful citizenship, not only for the bishops, but for the consciences of every Catholic in our nation.”…

The work of protecting democracy and putting the common good at the center of our political life is a task for all of us. Building a thriving multiracial, multifaith democracy requires us to make connections with those who think differently, create spaces of encounter that transcend our partisan loyalties and reknit communitarian threads that are undone by a culture of radical individualism. As Catholics, let’s start showing that we can be leaders in this movement. The results may prove to be more important than any election.

You can read John Gehring’s full article here.