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Saturday, 26 May 2012

On States' Rights

Early this year, I wrote about the possibility of a civil war in the States. The is always the same reason why individual states get restless and want to secede from the Union. This reason is simple. The United States is a confederate of states which freely agree to be part of the larger union. If any state decides no longer to belong to that confederation, there is a constitutional impetus which may allow such a state to separate. There is no compelling reason for any state to surrender state's rights for the sake of the whole. State rights are enshrined in law.

Now, there are several issues which may push any particular state out of the union. The first is simply state sovereignty. A state can decide as a unite to be part of the union if that state both believes in the sacredness of that union and the viability. For example, if the United States Federal Government went bankrupt, but an individual state was financial sound, there could be no compelling reason for that state to give over state assets to bail out the Federal Government. In the EU, this is the same argument happening over Greece, Spain, and Portugal, for example.

Secondly, moral issues which were once held sacred by the Federal Government are no longer held so by the Executive and perhaps elements of the judicial branch. Civil marriage for same sex couples or abortion would fall into these categories of moral stands taken by some states in opposition to the Federal Government.

Thirdly, a state may not desire to support a particular effort or law, such as Obamacare, and decide not to cooperate with a national mandate.

I am a states' rights advocate. I believe that if the Federal Government oversteps its boundaries set down by the Constitution, or if the Executive Branch becomes too powerful, the states individually, or as a group, have the right to secede from an already faulty union. However, I would hope such a secession would be peaceful and not a repetition of the bloodiest war our country has ever seen.

If you do not think we are divided, take a look at this map. One of the experts on States' rights, J. Layne, writes this,
States' rights is about the states being able to maintain their individual identities in the community of states.  Each state is a unique and sovereign being that has a right to exist and direct itself to prosperity, within the limits it has agreed to in the Constitutional compact.  One of President Washington's U.S. Attorneys observed that the Federal Constitution effectively is incorporated into the state constitutions.  In other words, each state has its government, its laws, its constitution.  The Federal Constitution simply is like an amendment to each state's constitution, sharing power with the federal government.  As such, the federal power is delegated power, and that delegation comes from the people of each state, as James Madison himself admitted in an exchange with Patrick Henry at Virginia's ratifying convention.  And the power that delegates may undelegate.  That's as firm a principle of American freedom as any that can be named.  So it follows from this, or at least the South argued, that each state could undelegate the power it had once granted the federal government.

He added in a private interview that
 States' rights is not about racism.  That is unfortunately what it has often been tied to.  That was an abuse of states' rights.  States rights at its core is about local control.  The states pre-existed the federal government, and they made the federal government.  The federal government is a creature.  The states are creators.  That government which is closest to the people and still able to fulfill its proper functions is the best government.  So that's what states' rights is and should be about, not guaranteeing a state's "right" to do something it and no government may do, which is to enslave or oppress racial minorities.

The Leadership Crisis and the Soul of the Church

I am mourning today two things. One is a personal issue of a lack of male leadership in a family with which I am familiar. The father has taken the quiet, false road of not confronting serious moral problems in his children. The wife cannot argue with him without great disturbance to the family home. It is a question of abdication of parental authority, the blame lying at the feet of the dad.

The second is a national issue, the lack of leadership in the Church in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other countries in Europe. In a discussion yesterday, I could only think of one true leader among all the bishops in England regarding the upholding of the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Now, there may be others, but, like the father in my friend's family, they are silent on many issues which need to be addressed. Silence for the sake of peace creates a false peace, not of God.

I have written about leadership on this blog before. Leadership is both learned and inherited-nurture and nature. However, leadership training in the schools went out in the 1970s with the false idea of equality and the dumbing down of curriculum. Tracks were seen as undemocratic, and socialist leaders in Europe and in America, like Hollande now in France, wanted the same for all, which results in all being the same.

A convenience for an autocratic government of either right or left proclivities is a dumb, mediocre public without leaders.

Who is left to be leaders are merely charismatic persons who know how to play the media game. This is true in Greece right now and happened in the 2008 American presidential election.

In the Church, the problem is worsened by the fact that the criteria for leadership has not been consistent with the needs of the people. For example, the people in the pew need guidance and strong leadership regarding sexual ethics. In England, a few bishops have made statements, but the vast majority are either silent, or confused, or in disobedience to the Teaching Magisterium.

To find a leader in England, that is a prominent bishop in conformity with all the teachings of the Catholic Church and of the same mind as the Pope, is rare.

We shall have at least seven empty sees in the near future. Rome must choose a bishop for at least seven dioceses, including Scotland. There may be more, I am not sure. But, the fact remains that the long list and the short list lack brilliance. We need a Finn, Bruskewitz, Burke, Moran. Dolan, etc. and I am afraid we have two at most right now and none that I can see in London, who fit the bill.

How can the Pope decide who is to be choosen as bishops when the candidates are just not there?

Has there ever been a time in the Church when we needed strong leadership so badly and found none? I think of the fact that all the bishops under Henry VIII except for St. John Fisher went over to Protestantism. That some, most repented and came back under Mary is a good thing, but what happened in the interval was not only scandalous, but severely harmful for the faithful laity. People died for their faithfulness, while the bishops were unfaithful, reaping safety and rewards for their apostasy.

A laity in exile needs leaders even more than a laity in situ.

We are rapidly being exiled existentially and will be legally in no time. The lack of leadership in the Church strikes at the very soul of the Church, especially here in England.

I pray for excellent, not merely good bishops, and I pray for perfect, not merely good, priests.