We have to engage. After all, Jesus spent a lot of time talking about the real stuff of his world -- day laborers and unjust judges, widows and orphans, strangers and immigrants, abused women and exploited workers, redistribution of wealth and reconciliation with enemies.
This has been happening to me my entire life. My "Catholicism" seems to rest on my belief about one single, solitary scenario: what to do about an unexpected pregnancy. How, in a world filled with as much trouble as ours, did my faith get reduced to that singular question?
Nothing is ever simple when it comes to Catholicism and politics. In 1996 and 2004 neither party's candidate was invited to the Al Smith Dinner. This year, conservative Catholics have been inundating the host, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, with demands to disinvite President Obama.
Catholics know what's at stake, and they're making up their own minds despite the influence the bishops claim, or the relative importance the hierarchy's influence and divisive campaigns garner in the media.
Whatever your political beliefs, it must have come as a surprise to hear that Cardinal Timothy Dolan would be offering a benediction at the Democratic National Convention as well as at the Republican one. What gives?
Heading into the fall campaign, many evangelicals remain wary, or at least unenthusiastic, about the presumptive Republican nominee. Tapping an evangelical for running mate might have assuaged their anxieties.
Every minute that the Republicans spend discussing not how to get the American economy back on strong footing but whether or not adults should have the right to affordable contraception is a good minute for the president.
Bishops have urged Catholics to be single issue voters -- that issue being of course the sexual politics of an anti-abortion and anti-gay rights agenda. The century-old Catholic social justice tradition in America has been pushed to the side.
There are in fact two very different Catholic voices that elected officials in New York and elsewhere around the country have to navigate: the big "C" voice of the Catholic bishops, and the little "c" voices of Catholics in the pews.