Can US Catholics bridge their country’s deepening divide?

02/08/2019Print This Post

“Because of its mixed membership, the Catholic Church is one of the few institutions in the country that could potentially bridge the divide between Republicans and Democrats,” declares Thomas Reese in his latest article for the NCR.

This article is a vitally important resource for a quick study of the likely effect of US Catholics on the looming US 2020 presidential election.

There is just a 3%-4% difference in Catholic voting patterns for the Republican and Democratic political parties, as both square up for what could be the most vital presidential election in decades – with nothing less than the fortunes of white supremacism and US race relations – and civil peace – in the mix .

Again we recommend NCR, and Jesuit Tom Reese in particular, for balanced expert coverage of an issue with huge potential consequences for all Irish families with connections in the US.

And ‘bridging the gap’ is surely an essential task in all societies for all Christians, for whom ‘priesthood’ has always been critical. The word priest originates with ‘pontus’ – the Latin for bridge and all Christians are priests also by baptism – ‘the priesthood of all the faithful’.

And here in Ireland there is a critical bridging task ahead also, as our Catholic clerical system searches desperately for a means of halting its own precipitous decline and very different remedies are proposed. As we are far less polarised than US Catholics – and this island is far too small a space to allow that to happen, could Ireland take a lead in this bridging business?

Surely the Irish gulf between clergy and laypeople – the absurd absence of opportunities for honest discussion of the deepening crisis that confronts us – is the highest hurdle at present. Could we all get to praying about bridging asap?

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