Liberal or conservative?
Sometimes some people ask me if I am liberal-minded or a conservative. My standard answer has always been that I’m neither of them, but I can also be both of them.
To clarify, I tell them that I just follow what my Christian faith tells me. Thing is both the liberals and the conservatives do not uphold the faith all the time, and so I can be neither of them. But it is also possible that both can coincide with at least a part or some aspects of the Christian faith, and so I can be both of them.
In short, depending on how they relate themselves to the Christian faith, I am neither of them or both of them.
This categorization of liberals and conservatives is obviously a by-product of partisan politics. The lines between them are not very clearly and sharply drawn. They definitely are not mutually exclusive. But more or less, we know what is to be liberal and what is to be conservative.
Given that, I normally excuse myself from considering myself as one of them. That’s simply because there are a lot of opinion-making involved, and I as a priest have learned to respect these opinions, even if I do not agree with some of them. I believe it is always good to be open-minded, even if there are disagreements. The other side will always have some valid points, albeit improperly valued.
It may also happen that due to partisan differences,truths of faith and not anymore opinions are involved. In these cases,I try to proclaim the truth of faith involved, clarify and explain it without getting into partisan arguments.
If my explanations are accepted, good and I thank God. If not, I just wait, pray and be patient. I believe that is the human and Christian way to react. Regardless of how things go, charity should always prevail.
I firmly believe that it is Christian faith that can enable us to assess the issues properly. After all, it is where our faith is that holds for us the ultimate source of truth and justice and that gives us the global picture of things. And I put my faith in God, in Christ, in the Church, and not in myself alone, nor in the many consensus that we as a people make.
Of course, this faith has to be a living faith, not just a theoretical faith based solely on articulated doctrine. It should be a faith that is vitally in touch with reality, with the things on the ground without losing its footing in heaven.
In this way, it is a faith that can properly identify the lights and shadows, the accents and nuances of our times, and know how to judge and react to them. It is a faith that is both a result of prayer and contemplation of the truths taught by Christ and now by the Church as well as direct observation of the things involved in a particular issue.
It’s a faith that is doctrinal but not a doctrinaire, and that is both in heaven and on earth. We need to see to it that we have such faith, otherwise we will simply fall into some kind of dogfight that in the end is unnecessary.
It’s a faith that can handle and is respectful of thedifferences of valid opinions and preferences of people. It’s a faith that always goes together with hope and charity, and as such knows how to be patient and optimistic, as well as how to be delicate, understanding and merciful with everyone.
It’s a faith that possesses the characteristic of charity as explained by St. Paul: “It is not arrogant or rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.” (1 Cor 13, 5-6)*
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