Tenth Sunday In Ordinary Time

June 4, 2016 Column Father De Celles

Culture Wars: “How to Deal with the Losers.” (Some of what follows includes “merely my opinions.” But I think these are formed by my Catholicism, and so may be helpful, to you. They may be wrong, but I offer them for what they’re worth.)

The last couple of years have left faithful Christians, and other “cultural conservatives,” reeling as the courts and president have repeatedly rejected common sense and nature and turned the world morally upside down by forcing on us things like “same-sex marriage” and even telling us boys can be girls if they just think they are. But what makes things even worse and more unnerving is that we are being told not simply that we must tolerate the changes but that we must cooperate with them and in no way oppose them—and that to act otherwise is to “hate.” And on top of all this are the efforts of many on the “left” not only to pressure us in this regard, but to put legal penalties in effect to punish us if we don’t comply. (I use the terms “conservative” and “left/leftist” for expediency. Please understand them in the context they are used here, and not referring to more broad political ideological meanings).

The shift has been so dramatic and swift, that to some folks–especially on the cultural/moral “left” (or perhaps the “immoral left”)—the culture wars seem to be over. To many on the left the only question remaining is what to do with the vanquished losers, i.e., most Americans, and specifically “cultural conservatives.”

As a sign of just how giddy the left is over their supposed complete victory, we can see various moral “leftists” becoming more openly bold in revealing the true mindset of their movement. A prime example of this was a recent blog post by Harvard Law professor Mark Tushnet, in which he writes: “The culture wars are over; they lost, we won…. [T]he question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars.…My own judgment is that taking a hard line (‘You lost, live with it’) is better than trying to accommodate the losers.…[T[aking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.”

Think of that: after WW2 the allies put the leaders of Germany and Japan on trial for war crimes, eventually imprisoning and even executing many of them.

Now, Tushnet is not exactly the head of the immorality movement, but he’s no marginal character. And his words ring true, given the events of the last few years and months. Many on the moral “left”—especially the most active and outspoken—seem clearly not to be promoting tolerance, but the vanquishing, subjugation, punishment and even elimination of their enemies.

But the thing is, the “culture wars” are not over! Because a culture is more than laws and regulations, and it’s more than a simple majority rule. If a very small minority of moral “leftists” have succeeded in flipping the world upside down, a much larger minority of moral “conservatives” can, it would seem, flip it right-side up again. And moral leftists know this, which is why many feel it necessary to punish and eliminate opposition as much as possible while they have the upper hand.

It seems to me that this is one of the reasons for the rise of “Trumpism”: many moral conservatives feel that the so-called conservative political party has let them down in fighting for their values—for what they see as simple common sense. While moral aspects of the culture war are not at the forefront of this sort of counterrevolutionary movement, I think they are a powerful part of the mix—moral conservatives along with many other Americans feel like they are being ignored, or forced to do what they don’t want to do, and that no one, not even their supposed leaders, are doing anything (or are unable to do anything) about it.

As much as I am not a fan of Donald Trump, I am somewhat encouraged by what I see as at least one underlying cause for his popularity: a counter-revolt against the leftist cultural/moral revolution, and a rising defiance against the oppression it has brought. Clearly, Trump is a very strange figure to be seen as leading the opposition to the moral “left”. But he is so not because he is morally conservative, but because he seems to many to be advocating simple common sense, and a return to a time when we didn’t let foolish people with foolish ideas dictate our values to us.

On the other hand, I am also very discouraged by “Trumpism.” I’m afraid, in particular, that it could lead moral conservatives to become less and less civil (charitable, patient, prudent, forbearing, etc.), and even more and more violent, if not in action at least in word. And that moral conservatives, especially faithful Christians, will be co-opted and manipulating into supporting policies and values they themselves do not at all hold.

All that being the case, the cultural war, the effort to defend the Christian values that not only made our nation great, but are the path of all true greatness in the eyes of God, is not over. We’ve lost some important battles, and things seem very bleak right now. Perhaps they will never be as they once were again—at least politically. But we fight on. Not for vengeance, but for truth. Not to destroy or punish those who oppose or even hate us, but to help them discover the truth, and to live in peace with them. Because regardless of the political situation of our nation, we follow Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life.


Summer Music. As we see every year, the choir is now on “vacation” for the summer (with a few exceptions). I want to thank all the choir members, especially Elisabeth Turco, our Music Director, for all their beautiful and hard work. I constantly receive compliments from visitors, especially visiting priests and bishops, about the quality of our choir. I look forward to them returning in the Fall, at which time I hope many of you will join the choir, and lead us in making beautiful music for the Lord.


Various Thanks. Our Corpus Christi procession was a great success last Sunday, with our largest crowd ever participating. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make it go so well, especially Patrick O’Brien who coordinated everything.

Thanks again for all who have been so supportive after my father’s death. His funeral ceremonies were very comforting; the large attendance and the choir’s and altar servers’ support at Mass, as well as the Marines with the 21-gun salute at the cemetery, were particularly moving.


Various Prayers. Please pray for Bishop Loverde as he recovers from back surgery last week. Also please pray for the men who will be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese next Saturday. Please also pray for the priests who are even now privately finding out about their transfers that will be announced publicly next Saturday.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles