“Dogma Lives Loudly Within You”, said the Senator.
Thank you very much, Senator. I am flattered that you noticed. I do try very hard to be a good Catholic, answered a hypothetical Federal Court nominee.
“And that’s of concern…” continued the actual Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) of California during the September 6, 2017, confirmation hearing.
“Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”, asked another actual Senator and actual self-proclaimed Catholic.
Hypothetical Federal Court nominee: Oh yes, I hope I am looked upon by Our Lord that way. I try my best to live what He has taught.
Could This Exchange Ever Happen?
One-half of that hypothetical Senate grilling is unlikely to ever happen. The other half did, despite article 6 of our beloved Constitution which states emphatically, “…but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” This half of the questioning will probably get even more brazen in the future as Christianity hopefully continues to be in opposition to the dangerous secular social changes in America.
Constitution Law scholars and lawyers will probably debate if the law was actually broken in the above instance, but defying the Constitution intentionally by those in power is not new. Former President and former Senior Lecturer at The Law School of the University of Chicago, Barak Obama said in 2011, “…respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” Then in 2012 did just that with DACA.
Whatever side wins if a court decides the question, my point has been made.
The End Justifies the Means
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated:
It must also be recognized that a good intention cannot make a bad action (something intrinsically evil) good. We can never do something wrong or evil in order to bring about a good. This is the meaning of the saying, “the end does not justify the means” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1749-1761).
The actual nominee in the above Senate Hearing, Amy Barrett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, did not venture at the time to accept the cudos unintentionally given by Senator Feinstein. Years ago, she gave this recently quoted answer in a paper written while a professor at Notre Dame Law School called Catholic Judges in Capital Cases:
Judges cannot-nor should they try to-align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge. They should, how-ever, conform their own behavior to the Church’s standard. Perhaps their good example will have some effect.
If one cannot in conscience affirm a death sentence the proper response is to recuse oneself.
So How Should a Catholic Judge Act?
Senator Feinstein’s questioning focused on the question of abortion. To an “orthodox” Catholic, abortion is the same death sentence as that enforced at a criminal’s execution. The same, yet including the feature of “cruel” but not unusual punishment as the unborn’s body is often savagely dismembered until death.
It is clear that this particular judge would recuse herself when her conscience demanded her to vote contrary to established law. She affirmed this by answering Sen. Feinstein by saying, “Yes I accept all Supreme Court doctrine.”
Recusal is an honest way to avoid a conflict of interest when to vote no is demanded by one’s faith, and a vote yes is demanded by the logic of law. The other way out is to honestly deny the currently accepted reasoning of the law and give a minority opinion. But, acting according to your faith is not possible when the doctrine of law supersedes and excludes the doctrine of God – and one accepts this premise.
What Is She to Do?
Using the law to force compliance with radical social change became a tool for good that brought a much-needed change in attitudes towards ethnic minorities in America. Public accommodations law ensured that no aspect of public life would be denied a citizen. Everything offered for sale could not be denied anyone because of “race, color, religion, or national origin.” This line of reasoning at once defined the result of almost every human activity as a product, and narrowly elevated certain classes of people as having a right to that product even if that product is trivial. The desire for a product drives the law. The law attempts to drive human interaction.
Currently, we are arguing if items created as an artistic expression, or, if the items deny a religious belief, they may be excluded from forced creation and sale.
If the current trend of using the law to force compliance with liberal social change continues, as it ultimately did in the Soviet Union, a judge that recuses herself over increasingly numerous serious questions becomes increasingly useless against tyranny – as happened in mid-twentieth century Germany.
Where Are We Now?
Not being a nominee for any court, my path is much easier. I have been free in America, without much serious retribution, to follow God’s law in almost every instance of life presented to me. I don’t claim to have necessarily followed His will, I claim that I had an easier choice than a Catholic judge. My life circumstance now allows us all this freedom to a lesser degree than when most of our country publicly supported Christian religious doctrine – even as a great many had privately, in their actions, denied it. At least, we had a consensus that Christian doctrine represented worthwhile goals.
When Christian churches splinter over doctrine, as has happened since Luther, people have lost the sense of unity that bound them together. As atheists argue; there are so many religions, why is yours right?
The current social thought is moving away from the most important traditional Christian values, towards the feel-good value of physical pleasure. Along with this movement has developed a nascent political sense that power is something that must be obtained through any means available. We are in a first stage of attempting to institutionalize voting for non-citizens, open borders, global political control of law and commerce. Denying diversity in government while praising it hypocritically in everything else. If that does not work as planned, we will see an increase in efforts to muffle dissent by law and physical force.
All of this social activity without reference to our Constitutional principles or the will of God, and a lost understanding of history.