Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Limits and Dangers of Categories: Day 14 of 31 Days of Falling by Faith

I just read an article published yesterday on the website of U.S. Catholic magazine called "'Social Justice' Catholics Versus 'Pro-life' Catholics—Can't We Have It Both Ways?" by Scott Alessi.

Apparently the Public Religion Research Institute has published a survey that separates American Catholics into two categories: "social justice Catholics" and "right to life Catholics." My instant reaction was that there is no social justice issue more fundamental than the right to life. Thankfully, this is more or less Alessi's response as well.

What pushed my rant button, however, is the following comment posted by someone named Dave Stump:
"Abortion is wrong. Every year thousands of children are aborted and that is a tragedy. But where are the souls of those children? They are in the hands of God along with the souls of the stillborn and the miscarried.

"Every year thousands of children are born into poverty, into situations where they will be surrounded by the near occasions of sin. Many of them will become involved with drugs, gangs, and violence. Many of them will die young with mortal sins on their souls after ruining several other lives. Which of these is the greater tragedy?"
I couldn't help but bang out the following reply to Mr. Stump:
"Yes, the souls of the aborted are in the hands of our merciful and compassionate God along with the souls of the stillborn and miscarried; the souls we should be concerned about are the souls of the women who have chosen abortion, the souls of those who have persuaded and convinced them that it's OK to kill their prenatal children (rather than provide them with the support they need—and that means you and me, not the government), and those who have performed and assisted in that killing.

"I'm one of those post-abortive women who—thanks be to God and to Christians who respect his commandment not to kill the innocent—have had time to repent and make reparation. Every year thousands of children are born into WEALTH and surrounded by the near occasions of sin. Many of THEM will become involved with drugs, cliques, and violence. Many of THEM will die young, and many of them will ruin several other lives as well. I think anyone who uses these excuses as validations of abortion should be ashamed of themselves, repent, and dedicate the rest of their lives to seeking out those who are in danger of killing their prenatal children (in imitation of the Good Shepherd who came to seek the lost sheep), convince them not to abort, and give them or help find for them all the support they will need to save their children's lives and make sure their children grow up loved and cared for. If you're not doing something yourself to make a difference for even one vulnerable mother and child (including just being careful how you speak and write about this topic), then you should just be silent, because you are endangering the eternal salvation and potentially helping to ruin the lives of other souls.

Thank you.
This isn't the topic I was mulling over in my mind all day with the intention of blogging about it, but it's the topic that, so to speak, pulled the trigger tonight. It's not, perhaps, the most gentle response, but then abortion is not a gentle procedure with a gentle effect on those it affects, and for the sake of protecting its potential victims it should be addressed unequivocally and passionately.

I was struggling with how to end this piece when I suddenly remembered today's meditation in the Magnificat Year of Faith Companion, which I read this morning. It states that all of the Church's
"doctrines are interconnected and, taken together, they all 'add up.' This means, for example, that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception [that's the conception of Mary, Jesus' mother], teaches us something about the Eucharist. The reality of married love reflects some truth about the Blessed Trinity. We can no more take apart pieces from our faith as we could take apart a number puzzle and still have it make sense. God gives us . . . faith precisely to see how it all fits together, and then to live according to what has been revealed."
Of course, me being me, reading this again (and typing it here) makes me want to consider just what does the Immaculate Conception doctrine teach about the Eucharist, and what truth does married love reflect about the Trinity? These explorations will have to wait for another time, however, but the seeds have been planted.

Meanwhile, the point is that being Catholic, being Christian, being a rational human being means looking for and incorporating all the pieces before claiming you've finished putting the puzzle together.

Amen.

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