Thursday, August 30, 2018

What John McCain can teach Catholics

Two big news events this weekend triggered news alerts on my phone Saturday night. One was the death of Senator John McCain and the other was the accusation by Archbishop ViganĂ². 
As a Catholic, these claims were another punch to the stomach. Each revelation brings feelings of disgust, shock, repugnance, anger, sorrow, and embarrassment. Truth be told it was a heck of a struggle just to go to mass this weekend.
Which brings me to Senator McCain. As a POW he was beaten regularly, denied medical care, had his arms broken and later re-broken, held in solitary confinement for years, had his teeth knocked out and was close to death several times. I’m sure he had doubts pop into his head hundreds of times over those years. He must have felt disgusted, shock, anger, sorrow, and embarrassment at a level I can literally not imagine. Yet when being debriefed by the Navy about his experiences in captivity he said that he made it through by having “Faith in country, [the] United States Navy, family, and God.”
This morning, the news had all sorts of stories on the life of Senator McCain. One of those told of how upon returning to the states after his release he attended the National War College. By the time he graduated, the concluded that “Mistakes by American political and military leaders had doomed the war effort.” 
How devastating must it have been to have spent 5 years in that hell hole for what you now believe was an effort led by bad leadership? And then it occurred to me. John McCain’s love of country was not diminished by the grave errors its leaders made, even though he paid a tremendous personal price for those errors. In fact, he dedicated the rest of his life to try to make the country better.
The evils that have enveloped our church are horrible. Many of us feel beaten, not by an enemy who holds us in captivity but rather an enemy from within our church who has tolerated way too much of this for way too long. But we will not fix this by turning away from the church. We must fight to fix it. And like Lt. Commander McCain, we need to retain our faith in God because it’s the only way we will make it through this.

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