[It can’t be taught in public schools]
A bilious letter to my local newspaper accuses the Catholic Church
of “one-issue politics” because she condemns feticide (alias
abortion rights) and allegedly neglects such issues as war, AIDS, and
global warming. The writer asserts that this explains why the Church
is now “imploding.”
You have to give that writer credit: He displays a fine fluency in
cliché. How many people have, over the centuries, pronounced
the Church’s obituary because she had let the times pass her
by! Yet, as of last Sunday, she was still here. If there was any implosion,
I didn’t notice it.
One reason I remain a believing Catholic is that the world still hates
the Church so much, after two millennia, just as Jesus predicted. No
other religion inspires such hostility so consistently throughout history.
Men are still avidly trying to stamp her out, by word and deed. As
Robert Royal reminds us, the communist persecution of the Church in
the last century was even more terrible than the Roman persecution
in the first. Nero had nothing on Stalin.
The current market for atheism naturally concentrates on her (and
not on, say, Islam) as the main enemy. Communists, liberals, feminists,
what have you, all have recognized her, as did the original Protestants
and the French revolutionaries, as the one entity that must be destroyed.
But somehow they have never been able to achieve this.
As G.K. Chesterton put it, “Only the Catholic Church can save
a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.” The
letter I cite displays the mentality of a perfectly docile child of
our age. The ironic thing is that such children, hurling tiresomely
conventional liberal accusations against the Church, always seem to
fancy themselves bold rebels and original thinkers.
What a silly vanity! Anyone can be “original.” The important
thing is not originality, but truth. And the letter in question is
really a complaint that the Church has not adopted the current liberal
agenda as her own. Her real agenda, to call it that, is charity, a
key principle of which is not to harm the innocent — as by murdering
them in the womb.
This principle is now under attack — even by some professing Catholics
who hold political power. And the Church herself is under attack for
defending it! Well, as Mark Twain might say, dog my cats.
George Bernard Shaw once wrote: “The vilest abortionist is he
who attempts to mold a child’s character.” That epigram
presupposes a moral consensus that has long ceased to exist — a consensus
that abortion is evil and that a abortionist is a particularly heinous
man. In his way, Shaw himself helped to undermine that assumption;
and even the most “progressive” people agreed, in the not
very distant past, that killing unborn children was a horror. That
is one reason that, despite his genius, Shaw’s works have lost
much of their power. Once upon a time, he was “original.” Now
he’s old hat.
If the Church, a generation from now, is the last institution to condemn
cannibalism, you can be sure that angry letters to the newspapers will
accuse her of having an eccentric obsession with the subject — “one-issue
politics.” The liberal world would say, between belches, that
she had a monomania about cannibalism. A far-fetched hypothesis? Not
so long ago, it would have seemed extremely improbable that feticide
would one day be declared to be protected by the U.S. Constitution.
And now people are indignant with her for refusing to change her teachings
to keep pace with the dizzying trends and fads of the times — as if
conformity to temporal flux were a spiritual duty. (If it were, Nancy
Pelosi, Joseph Biden, and Edward Kennedy would be saints!)
Liberals are now eager to declare resistance to legal abortion a lost
cause. In their minds, it seems, Barack Obama’s victory has settled
the matter, even though he was careful to discuss it as little as possible
during the campaign. Now those same liberals have the nerve to pretend
the election was chiefly a popular referendum on legal feticide! What
Excitement ran high in this presidential election, partly because
of record voter turnouts. Odd logic: A moment’s reflection tells
you that the greater the number of voters is, the less the individual
ballot matters. Yet to hear many people rave about democracy, you’d
get just the opposite impression, as if a high turnout at the polls
somehow enhanced the value of their franchise.
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