11 November 2016

Statement of the Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen on the Election of Donald Trump as President of the U.S.

To those who are concerned about the direction of the United States, or of any other country in the world, or of the world in general, get off your ass and do something positive to help other people. Facebook posts might spread messages, but they aren't action, and they don't give you the right to complain as if you have actually done something. It's no different than hobby priests who play on Facebook and do nothing more than share ready-made memes and articles as if that by itself is real engagement in ministry. What kind of cleric would I be if I sat around all proud of myself for being a successor to the Apostles or waxed poetic in romantic nostalgia about the church in Rome tied to my red hat instead of getting out in the world at least to try to make a difference in other people's lives each and every day? What kind of human being would each of us be if we don't try to make a difference in other people's lives each and every day? If you think there are problems in the world, you're right. There are always problems in the world. Stop complaining and do what YOU can to make things better. You'll lose some friends in the process. You'll gain enemies. Some friends will give you blank stares as you try to encourage them to do what they ought to do. Laziness and lethargy are curses of humanity, but don't let that stop YOU, even if you have to go it alone.

It's time to realize that PEOPLE are what matters - and that's the message of the Holy Church. Countries come and go, so why focus on something transient? If you're an American and claim you serve the Constitution, but forget that the only valid purpose of the Constitution is to serve and protect the real human beings that live in America, then the focus of your service is misguided. The laws of God that uphold human dignity of mankind are eternal. The law of the land - any land - is not. Focus on the permanent. Focus on the eternal. That gives you a solid rock of stability when there is chaos around you.

So, you don't like that Mr. Trump is going to be the next American President? Do something positive to make your country better. Start with your family and community. Make it the place you want to live in. And if you do like that Trump is going to be President, don't act like Trump is the solution to the problems in America or anywhere else in the world. I'll give the same advice as I gave to those who are upset by the result: Get up, get going, and make the place you live the place you want to live in. Turn off the television; turn off the internet; turn off the radio. Engage with people in person on a personal level. Like I said, the internet has its merits, but simply sharing memes and articles of others or venting your frustrations isn't real action.

It's time to realize that WE are responsible for the world we live in. The United States hasn't made it 250 years as a separate country. There were Europeans and indigenous people in America long before that. So stop acting as if the choice of President is the one factor or even the primary factor upon which all good or evil depends. YOU - each and every one of you - have the power to make a difference at least to the people around you. Don't sit back while those who are trying to lead by example end up doing all the work. Get off your asses, roll up your sleeves, pitch in, and get the job done. You want a better country? Build one. You want a better world? Build one. Things are tough? Hang in there and keep going. Even Christ on the Cross didn't give up. Things aren't working as well as you had hoped? Make what progress you can. Don't have enough people with you and you're feeling alone? Keep going and don't be one of the lazy people who have abandoned you. Others are telling you not to do what you're doing to make things better? Ignore them as the irrelevant jerks that they are. Pray for them that their hearts may be turned, but don't give in and turn to hate yourself.

So once again, you want a better society? It's up to YOU. YOU. YOU. Don't try to lay it at the doorstep of the President, a King, or any other leader. That's the weak way out, and if you take that path, don't even think you have the slightest right to complain. To make a better world, love your neighbor. If you love your neighbor, you'll put that love into action. So God bless and get moving.