Sam Rocha on Fr. Ed Meeks’ Viral Video–To Ponder on the Weekend Before the Election

Published October 30, 2020

Every time there’s an Election, a priest or two pop up to give a homily or make a video that rings the changes on “Vote GOP or the Baby Gets It and God Will Send You to Hell”. This year, one of those priests is Fr. Ed Meeks.

Beginning with a thoroughly disingenuous falsehood, “Now let me preface my remarks by saying that it is not my place to tell you how you must vote”, Fr. Meeks launches into a farrago of spiritual and emotional blackmail and guilt manipulation that makes extremely clear to both his scrupulous victims and his accomplices in the MAGA Bully Brigade that you must vote for Trump or you are a gutless turncoat and if you vote for Biden you are worthy of the fires of hell.

In short, it’s the usual.

What is not usual is that the inestimable Sam Rocha is not having it and has done the heavy lifting of carefully examining this ill-informed and disastrous piece of prudential judgment to show that, once again, the MAGA Cult does not have a leg to stand on and no authority whatsoever to read you out of the Church if, like all Normals, you feel bound in conscience to oppose Trump and his crime syndicate party, not knuckle under to them. I urge you to read the whole thing, but here’s a particularly salient part of the piece:

“PART THREE: CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we are as a nation, as I stated earlier, I believe, staring into the abyss, stemming from our culture’s wholesale rejection of God and his law, a rejection manifested most tangibly in five decades of legalized abortion.

What is “the abyss”? If we take the “wholesale rejection of God and his law, a rejection manifested most tangibly in five decades of legalized abortion” as the root that the stem of “the abyss” emerges from them I guess it is a dystopian prediction that the Church in America will decline into nothing. This is a thesis that has been predicted many times. Rod Dreher has made this sky is falling narrative into an entire repetitive career. People like William F. Buckley Jr. made the same case in God and Man at Yale in the 50s and the same basic thesis is republished at regular intervals. Is that the abyss? The same cultural decline, moral degradation, and all that jazz? One does wonder how Fr. Meeks tracks this claim with the steady decline of abortion over the five decades of its legalization and also the precipitous climb of abortions during the global pandemic he is so cavalier about.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once wrote these words, almost sixty years ago, “A nation always gets the kind of politicians it deserves. If the time ever comes when the religious Jews, Protestants and Catholics ever have to suffer under a totalitarian state which would allow them to them the right to worship God according to the light of their conscience, it will be because for years they thought it made no difference what kind of people represented them, and because they abandoned the spiritual in the realm of the temporal.”

This is a hilarious speech to quote Archbishop Sheen from. It is from a 1947 radio broadcast titled “Light Your Lamp.” The subject is how to combat communism, which in 1947 refers to Russian Stalinism. Before Meek’s chosen passage, Sheen’s first negative suggestion for opposing communism is “not by name-calling or hate.” (Who name calls and hates? Biden or Trump?) Sheen’s first positive suggestion for fighting communism is as follows: “Communism can be met politically by choosing candidates in elections not on the basis of political party, not on the basis of the economic class they support, but on the basis of the moral worth of the candidate. Namely, whether a candidate is a husband of one wife, whether he says his prayers, whether he refuses to follow a party line dictated from abroad.” (Who is a faithful husband? Who wears a rosary around his wrist? Who prays? Who is refuses to take orders from abroad?) After these opening notes, Sheen discusses the need to give workers more ownership over their means of production than faceless stockholders and this proposal, on the whole, is a very good way to think of the core economic proposal of social democrats. So Fr. Meeks’ attempt to moralize with Sheen backfires tremendously to the one who checks the source. You can listen to Sheen’s entire address here.

And so the bottom line, brothers and sisters, is vote, and when you do, think with the church, while also understanding this: that no one running for public office is ultimately the solution for what ails America, only God is. That’s not a statement of resignation to the inevitable, it is rather a statement of Hope.

This is fairly innocuous on its own. Fr. Meeks is right that we should vote and, of course, God is the only theological solution to anything, but this does seem to be a soft and gentle facelift to Trump’s character. Sort of like saying “vote for Trump, but trust in God” or something like that. It is hard to get hope from the abyss though. I am not led to believe that Fr. Meeks is an apophatic politician or proposing some mystical via negative for us to follow, and we still do not know what this abyss metaphor is about.

The late Father Richard John Neuhaus once wrote, “Christians have not the right to despair, for despair is a sin, and we have not a reason to despair,” he said, “quite simply because Christ is risen.”

So, the US is standing at the edge of an abyss and staring into it but we should not give in to despair because it is a sin. I am fine with that, actually. The only issue that Fr. Meeks’ abyssal situation leaves a lot of things out like COVID-19, racism, and more. Another point to remind the reader is that Trump is the incumbent. If things are this dire and abysmal after Trump’s first term then why is he critiquing Biden?

You and I are called to be salt and light in a dark and dying world. And you and I as faithful American Catholics are engaged in a battle for the soul of our beloved Nation. Let’s take that call seriously.

If the world is dying then it might be good to mention that we can invoke the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth and that God so LOVED THE WORLD that He sent us Christ His Son. I know this is perhaps too much to read into this, but one can see a dualistic Gnosticism here at play where the world is discarded and the soul is preserved. This also reminds me that we have heard nothing about a real threat to our common home the earth and to us its inhabitants: climate change.

I like to conclude this homily with a quote from the Old Testament that you’re, no doubt, familiar with. It’s one of my very favourite scripture quotes and one which is most pertinent and most compelling for today. 2 Chronicles 7:14, Almighty God declares this, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.”

I was sure Fr. Meeks would try to save his “homily” by inserting a reading from readings for the day, but this is not from the liturgy. But it is a lovely passage nonetheless.

God bless you and may God Bless America.

In the video, the congregation erupts into thunderous applause after this line. I tend to not like applause at Mass, especially if it is not intended for worship, but it is funny to me how this secular clapping performatively certifies that this so-called “homily” is, in fact, a premeditated partisan political speech, made to order for media promotion, masquerading as a Sunday homily. Fr. Meeks disgracefully turned his parish’s celebration of the Mass into a Trump rally in violation of canon and civic law of his Church and State.”

11 Responses

  1. Alright. Five minutes into his speech and my two non-negotiables kick in: preserving intellectual integrity and keeping a resonable distance between by nose and the color brown.

    1. ”faithful”. As in ”like us, not the others. Gimme a break. Heard this sales pitch before. You’re full of it. It ain’t faith.

    2. Three full minutes in and the non-negotiables have morphed again. Man For All Seasons turns out to be a Weather Vane.

    3. Quoting giants of the faith only makes sense if there is any relationship between the quote and your own words. Any. At. All.

    4. It is better to raise your children on a steady diet of De Sade’s writing than to listen to this. Make the moral choice.

    5. May God Bless America. This, is it does not deserve.

    1. In the meantime, across the Atlantic, things are moving in another direction. This liberal, during his recent speech, at times feels he’s but an inch away from lerning to speak an older language, one proper for a president of the oldest daughter of the Church. Paris vaut bien une messe.

  2. What about pondered a plenty mark, our current president is a terrible president who is completely devoid of any moral character and does not care one bit about us and our destiny to be glorified as children of God, and thus will not and cannot include conscious support him, the same way we will not and cannot support and good conscious is equally sorry opponent who without apology supports the death of a child on demand at any time for any reason without limit which is one of the greatest atrocities on the face of this planet crying out to heaven for vengeance and judgment upon this sick and sorry nation, in addition to the radical base of him who constantly believes that any orthodox practicing Christian should have no place in the public square and should be compromised or silenced to shut up or not tolerated and be placed out of the economic workplace for believing in orthodox Christian beliefs and values, cannot in good conscience support either of these candidates, including the one you plan on endorsing and voting for who believes that I have no right to be a faithful Catholic practicing medical provider, I must participate in facilitating the death of a child or else lose my job, I have no right to educate my children that a human being with a penis is a man sinceit is readily visible in the observation of nature, But to simply suggest what is plainly visible and true is a sign I am a piece of trash and am an intolerant bigot who deserves economic sanctions once my job is lost for not submitting to the new social order and it’s gatekeepers,according to the soon to be president elect. No thanks, third party for me.

    1. Vinny, I don’t think he supports killing children. Why would he do that? I think he realizes that the genie can’t be put back in the bottle.

      I’d like to hope that he honestly wants to fight abortion by fighting poverty, but suspect that like most career politicians his own stock portfolio comes first.

      At least he has a filter.

  3. The fact that it is so easy to find clergy telling people how to vote is a strong argument for removing the tax exemption for churches.

  4. A few nights ago I was doing the dishes while my husband was watching the news. (I don’t watch the news because it upsets me too much)I heard Trump’s former head of homeland security (who resigned, along with numerous others), speaking about the shock and horror they felt when Trump was pitching the gassing, electrocution and shooting of men, women, and children at the border.

    Any priest who can believe that Trump is pro-life is out of their freaking, brainwashed mind. Killing migrants comes *straight* from the abyss. The only president of the U.S. that has cuddled up to totalitarian heads of state is Trump. He admires them. The rest of the world can see him for what he is, and what he is capable of. He couldn’t care less about human lives, or the lives of future generations. All he cares about is “winning”–whatever that means in his sick, competitive mind.

    I’m praying for a landslide, and even at that am afraid of what he’ll do if he loses.

    1. “afraid of what he’ll do if he loses”
      Parts of it are easy to predict:
      1) He will scream “FRAUD!” and keep screaming it for days and days. Only after a week or so, when it becomes clear that most R politicians are not backing him up, will he dial it back from screaming to just blathering about it. He will never, until the day he dies, admit defeat. He will not have the customary meeting with the incoming President for briefing on current issues.
      2) He will pardon every member of his family, including himself, plus some of his most loyal minions.
      3) He will spend the “lame duck” weeks issuing a string of executive orders rolling back environmental protections, screwing immigrants both legal and illegal, and probably ordering some type of legal immunity for his businesses.
      4) His staff will glue shut all of the desk drawers in the west wing.

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