Guest Post: A Simple Plan To Heal The Catholic Community

This is a guest post by Phil Tanny. Guest posts and post comments on Good Saints represent the ideas and opinions of individual posters and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Good Saints.

As you know, the Catholic community has been shaken in recent years by a regrettable wave of debate, discord and division.

This article suggests a way to bring the Catholic community together, a plan which any Catholic interested in unity can begin to implement immediately.

The solution is simple, if not always easy.

When we're ready to heal and unite our Catholic community we have the choice to...

Shift the focus of Catholic discussions to topics that most Catholics can agree with, and act on, together.

Here are two examples of where we might begin.

Unity Topic #1: Catholic Charities

All Catholics, and non-Catholics too, respect Catholic Charities, the Church's impressive public service wing.

This wide agreement is ripe ground for a healing, and those serious about unity will grab the opportunity to make Catholic Charities a more central part of our conversations.

The army of Catholic bloggers leading discussions across the Web can help by refocusing much of their writing away from unresolvable divisive topics, and towards celebrating and raising money for Catholic Charities, a very Catholic project that all Catholics agree on.

After all, it's hard to make a case that arguing with our fellow Catholics is more important than feeding hungry kids, right?

Unity Topic #2: The Tobacco Companies

As Catholics we are drawn to moral crusades, it's in our DNA.

But too often we have chosen to target each other for judgement, instead of uniting and aiming our considerable moral warfare skills at very real enemies who are far more deserving of our attention.

The tobacco companies kill approximately 100,000 of our fellow Catholics here in the United States each and every year, plus millions more around the globe.

100,000 of our fellow U.S. Catholics killed for profit. Each and every year. By people who are already very rich. And who plan to get even richer by selling us more deadly products deliberately designed to be highly addictive, and...

We ever crusading Catholics seem to have little to say about it.

We should fix that.

Instead of going to rhetorical war with each other, we have the choice to invest that same time, energy, passion and talent in to fighting those who are killing hundreds of our fellow Catholics every day.

Every time we rise to speak, put pen to paper, or type our next blog post, we have a choice.

Fight each other, or fight the devil.

A great many lives could be saved if 77 million American Catholics came together as one to confront the tobacco companies. It could be Catholics that lead the charge, set the example, and celebrate the victory.

None Of Us Need To Surrender

Changing the focus of Catholic discussion to these kind of uniting topics would not require any of us to change our beliefs on controversial issues.

Each of us can still follow our conscience in our personal lives on topics like abortion, contraception, gay marriage, Church leadership issues, and so on. Nothing changes here.

Whether we are traditional or progressive Catholics, none of us have to admit ideological defeat.

We just have to admit that repetitive emotional squabbling with our fellow Catholics on unresolvable hot button topics is not really persuading anybody of anything. Nothing is being accomplished by all the adamant speeches. Nobody is winning.

We just have to admit that endlessly arguing with our fellow Catholics is weakening our ability to address pressing here and now real world problems, where we could achieve impressive victories, by working together as one.

A Healing Solution

If we really want unity and a healing in our Catholic community, we just need to talk about topics that divide us much less, and talk about topics that unite us much more.

It's the very same common sense plan any of us would use when our relatives arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. On such occasions sensible families try to skip the topics they'll never agree on, because debating those controversial subjects, yet again, accomplishes little but ruining the dinner.

If it's Catholic unity and a healing that we really want, it seems we can really have it, any time we're really ready. Nobody is stopping us but us.

Whether we are traditional or progressive Catholics, we can rebuild our unity by working together to expand our support for Catholic Charities, and by joining forces in a historic moral crusade against the death for profit tobacco companies.

There's plenty for us to agree on, plenty for us to work on, plenty of dragons for us to slay together. We could soon be so busy serving others that we'll find we just no longer have time for arguing with our fellow Catholics.

Let's redirect our considerable moral energy towards fighting those world changing battles that we can only win....

If we fight hand in hand together.

Article by Phil Tanny of

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  • Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks much for sharing my article with your readers, I appreciate your partnership.

    Good luck with your blog, and with being a Catholic husband and dad!


    • You are welcome Phil! Keep up the great work, I'll follow your blog and I hope you see some success! God Bless You and have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

      • Ed Hahnenberg

        Good Saints...You really ought to be more selective when you pick guest bloggers. If Tanny can only find two examples...CC and unite on, his vision is infinitesimally small. What about marriage, which is under attack, freedom of religion being torn down by Obamacare, and a host of other moral issues that secularism and government are turning upside down?

        Your blog welcomes Voris and now this guy?

        • This election has proven that many Catholics are obviously way out of touch with the what the Catholic Church teaches. If you can start somewhere, no matter how small, in uniting Catholics to stand together anything might be possible and maybe we can move on to bigger issues.

          • Ed Hahnenberg

            Good Saints...Agreed. I am embarrassed that even one Catholic could vote for "Catholic" VP Biden. However, Tanny wanders off into the branch of reasoning that accepts a kind of universalism, as if it's okay to be Catholic and pro-choice, or it's fine to be indifferent to contraception, or that one can be a good Catholic and have no problem with gay marriage. It's equivocation like that in the name of unity that is not truly Catholic. Giving him a forum on your website is problematic considering your traditionalist viewpoint.

  • Mi-ka-El

    The article misses the point.. Actually it avoids it. While the suggestions are good, they do not address the root issue or problem. Simply stated, the division lies between those who adhere to the teachings and commandments of the Church's founder, Jesus Christ, who is God Himself, and MUST be obeyed and those in defiance who adhere to the lies of Satan and allow themselves to be placed under judgment due to their lack of repentance and humbling themselves before the Lord.

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    The motivation of the article is good, but the following paragraphs caught my eye.

    "Changing the focus of Catholic discussion to these kind of uniting topics would not require any of us to change our beliefs on controversial issues.

    "Each of us can still follow our conscience in our personal lives on topics like abortion, contraception, gay marriage, Church leadership issues, and so on. Nothing changes here."

    Belief and conscience must be based on moral values that the Holy Spirit, Church teachings, Scripture, and Tradition leaves us
    to work with. The author's implication that one can be a good Catholic if one accepts abortion, contraception, and gay marriage is wrong.

    Those who study their Catholic faith or pay attention to the leadership within the Church cannot possibly find any acceptable moral justification for ignoring long-stated positions on these issues.

    Any faithful, knowledgeable Catholic who read the Democratic Party's platform and voted for Obama and Biden is a Catholic in name only. Formation of a good conscience is a prerequisite for living the life of a Catholic.

    • Good comment Ed! Hopefully more Catholics will begin taking seriously informing their consciences.