Politics, politics, but more talk about God, in politics now, in the U.S., than in memory, and a bevy of Catholic candidates.

Count them (the Catholic ones); Governor Jeb Bush (who consecrated Florida to the Immaculate Heart and Sacred Heart, and has visited Guadalupe); Marco Rubio, who returned to his Catholic roots after straying into non-denominational Christianity and Mormonism; Rick Santorum, a stalwart conservative Catholic from Pennsylvania; Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a convert from Hinduism who also was in the born-again ranks (and once famously participated in a deliverance); Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey; and Governor George Pataki, from New York. Governor John Kasich of Ohio was born Catholic but went through a period of spiritual doubt and when he returned became Anglican.

In addition, you have Mike Huckabee -- a Protestant minister;  and Ben Carson, a surgeon who loudly and eloquently proclaims his Christianity. Jesus is certainly prominent in the Republican Party, if nominally, at least in theory, with most candidates, some of whom do proclaim Him more loudly than usual in our intensely secular times. But that doesn't mean adherence to all that comes from the Vatican. Both Santorum and Bush took shots at the Pope's encyclical before it was released, and others differ on matters such as birth control, gay marriage, and abortion in certain cases (such as when a woman's life is in danger). But politics is politics (and fund-raising, including with the oil-rich, is fund-raising).

It is a bloodsport, the new way politics is engaged; reality shows and talk radio have transformed it or even absorbed it -- certainly at least informed it. (Even much mention of the word blood.) Isn't it amazing how coarse discourse and lewd comments are now welcomed on the national stage? Emphasize the word "stage": It is our new entertainment a la debates that are handled by the media more like sports events (politics, politics; circus, circus) a la exotic anchormen and anchorwomen (Megyn Kelly is Catholic) and of course a la Donald Trump, who is as refreshing as he is alarming. (Is it possible that one day a reality show might be filmed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?) On his religion one site notes: "He's extremely complicated, both religiously and politically. He's been reported to have been a Catholic, a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, a Presbyterian and he married his third wife in an Episcopalian church."

In the Democratic sector, Hillary Clinton now quotes Scripture (she's Methodist), while praising Planned Parenthood, and Martin O'Malley is also pro-choice and somehow also Catholic, while Bernie Sanders was raised Jewish and leans toward non-belief though his wife is Catholic.

An interesting lot, and some real talent. Will the talent be able to supersede the showmanship and hubris? Perhaps we might say that the NFL and Cassius Clay are also informing politics. To heighten matters further, the Pope will be coming to Washington (belly of the beast, one might say; sort of like Jonah? Are we ready for sackcloth?)

It's interesting, politics, but one must always be on guard. Where are all the questions on Christians beheaded, or religious freedom here in these United States? We smile and enjoy it but it may be good to remember what Father Jose Francisco C. Syquia, an exorcist, said about how the devil speaks through us, how when he infests (in the paraphrasing of another exorcist he cited) "the overwhelming characteristic he manifests is pride. He  also faces everyone with arrogance; his manner is overbearing, provocative, antagonistic, and filled with hate." Yet, the dog is chained and can only bite when we venture away from the protection and goodness and charity of God and onto its territory.

[See also: Michael H. Brown retreat, spiritual warfare, our prophetic times, Cincinnati, September 19]

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