Sunday, January 06, 2008

Reflections on Elizabeth Ann Seton's Memorial

by John Francis Borra, SFO

Friday night, during a particularly beautiful liturgy, Fr. Gilmary, one of my Capuchin pastors, reflected on Elizabeth Ann Seton and her conversion from protestantism to the universal Faith. Three things in particular drew Elizabeth into the Church: the Real Presence, reverence for Mary and the Church's foundation by Christ. The Real Presence was of such overriding importance that she felt any religion denying it could hardly be called Christian. Indeed, when the very "source and summit" of Christianity is cut out, what is left? As Elizabeth herself might have wondered, can the hole that remains be Christian?

Elizabeth was especially impressed by Catholics she met while nursing her ailing husband in Italy; it was their example, their silent witness that attracted her. How different things are today, approaching the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. If only all Catholics of our age lived the Faith as humbly, as devoutly as the Italian friends of Elizabeth, how different our world would be. At roughly a quarter of today's US population, much more than political influence would be felt: our morality and spirituality would have led many more from the pother of revisionism and relativism and into the fullness of the Truth. Alas, the Catholics most prominent in American society are among the worst examples imaginable: the Bidens, Kennedys, Kerrys and Pelosis of our political establishment. They outdo the most notorious atheists in sheer effrontery. An atheist simply denies God's existence, but these self-styled Catholics hold onto Him, trotting Him out as needed when campaigning, then kicking Him in the teeth during legislative sessions. Of course, few, if any, of these politicians would be in office if not for Catholic voters who've fallen away themselves.

While America's legacy of contraception, abortion and euthanasia testifies to the ripple effect of sin, another legacy testifies to the ripple effect of grace. Because a handful of Italians selflessly lived the Faith handed down to them over the centuries from the Apostles, an American who'd been denied that Faith embraced it. And so it was that Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, humbly enduring the hostility and ostracism of a thoroughly anti-Catholic society, spurred the catechesis of a young and needful nation. That Faith demands we continue her work.
John Francis Borra is a pro-life cartoonist whose cartoons I have posted here and here. He can be emailed at .

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