Fellow Catholics, I think we need to have a conversation...one we are not having right now. Before I say anything let me just point out what a tremendous job our Bishops, Priests, Laymen, and apostolates did during the time running up to the election. We may be living in an age of Pro-Life heroism. Their voices and drumbeat will be just as loud in the coming months. God bless them. That being said...
We may be falling into a trap. Years ago the Church began adopting social causes tightly aligned with Church teaching. One such example of this is Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum. For some, social causes such as worker-justice overtook the practice of religion and frankly, look what happened. Could pro-lifers become so wrapped in activism that it eventually falls off the barque of Peter? Could we, for instance, become religious relativists for the sake of our cause and even create new arguments for old heresies? Hrm?
Christ instituted his Church to get you to heaven. Everything else is secondary. The primary function of the Church is not pro-life activism. We will succeed in pro-life activities when we change the culture through the Gospel, because of the Gospel, and not before. The way to fix the present situation is to convert sinners.
Do you think that is the message getting through to people right now? I'm not so sure. I'm not so sure exactly how to evangelize or I would do more of it. But perhaps this is what goes on in a secular mind when they encounter a Catholic promoting a pro-life message:
"NAH NAH NAH --- I'M NOT LISTENING --- NAH NAH NAH"
Ever wonder why aborted babies on the sides of trucks are so offensive to them? If they aren't babies then why are they offensive? Sticking their heads in the sand, those with deadened consciences are unable to bear the reality of their pro-abortion position. And therefore the only way to make them see is to awaken their consciences.
Social justice is important. But it is not to be promoted detached from Christ. I think traditionalist and conservative Catholics will agree that in the past 45 years or so this has happened in many of the more liberal church wings. My theological understanding is that social justice works apart from sanctifying grace have zero value in the eyes of God. Remember that nobody goes to heaven on account of their works, but by Grace working through Faith.
I think too often in this and immediate past generation we have this notion that in order to bring people into the Church we need to convert them socially before we convert them religiously. We push Christ aside and talk about earthly things before the heavenly. It hasn't worked and I don't think it is going to.
I guess my point here is that we in the Church need to stay on message. That message is John 6, its John 3:16, the sacraments, and "hey you, keep Judgment Day in mind before you go and do whatever it is you are about to do."
The message isn't just "Abortion is evil." The message should be "Evil exists." If we can get people to realize this then we will be headed in the right direction. I realize a lot of what has happened in the past months has been done to rally the faithful. We need to stop thinking of abortion as a social justice cause and underscore that it is an eternal one. Abortion has eternal consequences.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.