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Even if Rep. Hamilton doesn’t care, I do, and so do many others

April 27, 2014

Some people—I include myself among them—find writing therapeutic. Getting our thoughts on paper can help us acknowledge what’s right about them; but, in addition, writing often gives us insight into our thoughts. Writing helps us step back from first impressions and lets us check them for balance, for usefulness, for basic fairness. Often I find that what might be therapeutic for me to write would be harmful—to me or to others—to publish.

The few times I’ve read Rep. Rebecca Hamilton I’ve liked what she’s had to say. The little I know of her professionally seems impressive. But, to quote from her recent column on “Our cold-calling pope”, let me say “I don’t care” if Hamilton’s had a long week at work and “I don’t care” if she is dealing with a failing family member. Countless Americans find themselves in exactly the same boat at one or more times in their lives, but I don’t see them using their access to an important religion website to put the rest of us through their personal angst, therapeutic or otherwise.

Now maybe the 84% of Hamilton’s recent essay on the pope (sic?) that deals with taking care of aging mothers is of benefit to others taking care of aging mothers. I couldn’t say. I only know the 16% of Hamilton’s essay on the pope that actually deals with the pope, pronouncing her “I don’t care” attitude whether Pope Francis approved the taking of holy Communion by a Catholic who, on the facts alleged, is unquestionably ineligible for It, is plainly contemptuous of those of us who do care whether the story is mostly false (in which case the Church is under open attack from without) or is mostly true (in which case Church teaching and discipline is in obvious disarray at the top). Either way, I care, and Hamilton’s scolding of the many others who care (as if we should be ashamed of harboring such concerns when, after all, Hamilton’s job is hard and her mother is sick) is not appreciated or helpful.

So, Representative, by all means, write an essay about caring for sick mothers, and I’ll be quiet, because I have no experience doing that; write an essay about the ramifications of Francis’ governance-by-telephone techniques, and I’ll agree or disagree with your views based on your arguments; but don’t claim to write an essay about the pope, dismissing therein the serious doctrinal, sacramental, and even media-related concerns raised by Francis’ actions, all the while invoking your poor mother (to the extent of putting her picture at the top of your essay!) as proof against rebuttal of your “I don’t care” attitude in regard to ecclesial matters.

Because when it comes to, among other things, Church sacramental and governance issues, I do care.

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