By Karen Quiner
The publisher of Quiner’s Diner is my husband, Tom. A recent blogpost of his, “The Catholic Vote Could Tip the Election,” was picked up by The Des Moines Register.
As you can imagine, he received some pretty strong push back from anti-Catholics and liberal Catholics.
One response really caught my attention. As readers of this blog know, my husband is more than capable of rebutting contrarian positions. But with this one response, I felt compelled to stand up for my Church from a woman’s perspective.
First, here is the e-mail he received from frequent letter writer to the Des Moines Register, Deborah McMahon. My response follows:
“Tom Quiner’s Iowa View should have included the fact that as conservatives try to take over the church, there are at least as many liberal thinkers who rally against this kind of one-sided thinking. I am a Catholic by choice and am not about to allow church leaders to tell me how to vote. I believe in the tenets of church teaching that discuss the universal lessons of loving one another, acceptance, forgiveness, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and judge not lest ye be judged.
It seems the church that I love so much has been taken over by men who wish to tell me and others how to think. The truth is that many in our faith do not believe the use of contraception is sinful. I have never had an abortion but refuse to condemn those who have. I am tired of the lack of compassion when we are discussing women’s health. Women are not second class citizens, we are able to think for ourselves and do not need to have men tell us what to believe or condemn us for our choices.
The constant call for Obama to sign the Defense of Marriage Act is a non-issue for most Americans. The president believes in civil rights and since he has a big heart, he can open it to welcome same-sex marriage couples into the arena of equality. After all, this is 2012.
I take great offense at Quiner’s assertion that the president “views human life as needing to be controlled, at the very least, and aborted if inconvenient.” That is not true and the writer needs to apologize for making such comments. That is incendiary rubbish and only serves to deepen the divide between us.
I look forward to the day when Catholic leaders allow women priests, allow priests to be married if they choose to do so and welcome all members into the church, gay or straight. When that occurs then I will be able to say this is truly the universal church.
Until then, earth to Mr. Quiner: You have a problem.”
Here is my response:
I have to respond to your letter as a woman.
The Church does not tell us how to vote. They do, however, discern the truth and guide us based on that discerned truth. That is what has held this Church together for 2000 years. We, as Catholics, are called to think for ourselves, but when I find myself disagreeing with Church teaching, I pray about where I am in error. It has taken me until I am in my 50’s to learn the wisdom and ultimate freedom and joy that comes from submitting myself to Christ in His Church this way. I used to make my own rules up and give myself a lot of credit for thinking I knew better.
The Church I know does not condemn, but loves, loves, loves the person in all of our weaknesses and frailties. But it speaks the hard truth about things, and that is why, as Christ promised, that the gates of Hell will never prevail against it. We have been here for 2000 years, and will be here till the end of time.
Just take a look at the mainline protestant churches, in how they are splintering off so much to the point that they are in danger of turning to dust. And this is because they don’t have an ultimate authority. Yes, within the Church, there are fallible people, but the Church is bigger than the frailties of us humans. “The Church” is an organism consisting of Christ at the head, all the Saints that have gone before us, the Magisterium, and us, the people. When fallible men in the Church do make mistakes, Christ rights it, every time.
You don’t know Tom Quiner if you think for a minute that he is a judgmental or hateful person. He is loving and accepting and listens respectfully to other’s points of view when they are shared with gentleness and love. He has lots of friends who are not on the same page politically, and they are able to remain friends because there is mutual respect.
I am blown away by the hateful anger of so many who do disagree. Just read the blog on the DM Register website to get a feel for what I am talking about. Many of these writers talk about how they believe in a Church that is more about love. Really? Do you discern love from the words of these folks?
I hear from you that you do love our mutual Church. You are my sister, and part of this body of Christ. I don’t, by the way, hear hatefulness in your words. We are all on a journey towards Christ, we all have a long way to go. So long as we are open to His leading, He will take us to where we need to go.
In Christ’s love,
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