I’ve always had an interest in Supreme Court. In fact, it was Supreme Court nominees, and the Catholic Faith of Justices Thomas and Scalia, that actually gave me the push I needed to begin my journey to Catholicism many years ago ( See this link for that story).
I’ve never written about anything but Catholic teachings, doctrine, history or some other aspect of our faith, on this site, and I’m not going to start now. This post is not about the Supreme Court, the wisdom of appointing a new justice before or after the election, or even about what the ramifications of this vacancy may be down the road. There are plenty of people online and on TV pontificating about all these issues. I want to take a minute and talk about something that has been in the news, and will be even more in the coming days, regarding one of the possible replacements for the late Justice Ginsburg.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a devout Catholic wife, mother, law professor and judge. She was nominated to an appellate court by president Trump very early in his administration. When she came before the Senate Judiciary committee for her confirmation hearings, Senator Feinstein of California delivered what is now a famous line. She said, “I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the Dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”
What was Senator Feinstein so concerned about? Essentially, in her opinion, you can be a Catholic, as long as you don’t allow the teachings of the Church to actually guide and influence your life. If you allow yourself to be guided by you Catholic Faith, then you are a danger to society and should not be seated on the federal bench. Never mind that this flys in the face of our Founder’s intentions when they included a ban on religious tests in Article VI, section 3. That particular section being included to prevent our new nation from implementing laws like the Test Act in England, a law that required several tests to prove a candidate for public office was a member of the established Church of England.
The thing I’ve really thought about ever since Senator Feinstein made these bigoted remarks, is how she knew the ‘dogma lived loudly within judge Barrett’. She said that it was obvious from reading her speeches and listening to what she said. Essentially, it was obvious from a casual observation of Amy Coney Barrett’s writings, speeches, and just by observing her life, that she actually lived out what she believes.
This reminded me of a question I had put to me by a youth minister when I was a teenager. He said, “if you were accused in court of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Are we living our faith in a way that it’s obvious that we really believe all the things that we say we do? Does our daily lives, our words, our actions, give glory to God, and show that His will is paramount to ours? Do we live like we are subjects of the King of The Universe, or do we live like the kings and queens of our own domain, that have friendly relationships with King of Kings, but refuse to be His subjects, maintaining our “independence”?
What Senator Feinstein probably meant as a take down, is actually a wonderful thing for someone to say about you. I pray that I allow the Church’s teachings to penetrate every aspect of my life, that I live my life in a way that brings glory to God, and shows I really do believe everything the Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.
I pray that we all allow the Dogma to live loudly within us every day until we draw our last breath.