Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Prayer in the Public Square (4)

Ecclesial unity matters. Firstly we are all called to to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church that Christ instituted as the Blood and Water poured forth from His side as He hung upon the Cross. The Church hands down the faith for the benefit of all peoples so that they might be saved with what was handed down from Christ through the Apostles wherever they are in the world, regardless of place, time, language, or culture (the "Catholic and Apostolic faith"). So it is most importantly a matter of our own salvation.

This is not strictly about the March for Life, though it fits in, so stay with me for a brief ride. Secondly, it matters that we actually stand up for the doctrines that the Catholic Church professes to be true as she has discerned from divine revelation. The reason that we oppose abortion is because it is murder, the evil nature of which can be discerned by the natural light of reason, but if not, God declared it so. This "NO!" towards murder then needs to be transformed into a resounding "YES!" to God, the author of life, and to His creation, especially human creation. The reason we oppose contraception is because it interferes with the procreative and unitive aspects of marriage as revealed in Scripture, adding to its juridic qualities. Again, this is transformed into an overwhelming "YES!" to one's spouse, giving of oneself to him or her and to one's children if any are produced from the marital act.

Therefore it should have been an affront to the properly-formed conscience, which is formed after considering Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium in light of reason, which recognizes these things as evil when the Obama administration decided to force Catholic employers, in their personal business capacities and also (heinously) in the form of Catholic institutions, to provide contraceptive, abortifacient, and sterilization coverage in their employer-provided insurance plans. Because these acts are intrinsically evil, one should also be revolted at any compromise in which an employer agrees to have someone else fund coverage.

I agree that the business is not Catholic if it's not an ecclesiastical institution, but the employer should not be forced to act against his properly-formed conscience. In fact, I think that this is the strongest point: it is such an affront to God that the state, even in a democratic and pluralistic society, cannot have any reason to force him or her to fund these things.

But why is religious liberty the overwhelming theme of the bishops' campaign against the HHS mandate? It seems that the question of why the government does not even have a substantial reason for the mandate (the kind that would allow it to impose such a rule even in the face of a possible First Amendment violation) seems to garner a mumbling response. "It's wrong. It forces us to go against our consciences." But why? I think liberal critics might actually be begging for a robust defense of Catholic doctrine. At least then they would see it is so harmful to the soul for one to be even an accomplice in such matters, and then their position that the benefit of women overrides religious concerns is thrown off-kilter. It's hard to rail against the patriarchy and be totally for women's rights (at the expense of men) when the Catholic Church subverts misogyny and feminism in one subtle masterstroke by reminding humanity that man and woman He created them because it is not good to be alone and that we are all called to be fully human in Christ Jesus.

Thus, our reasoning for abortion at the March for Life should be the same. The March for Life, as I noted earlier, is too political, and us Catholics need to take note of that.

It is OK to be against something because we know it to be wrong through the use of reason, but it is even better to be against it because it goes against the greatest commandment to love.

I realize that readers will probably have a reaction to this article. "This is a democracy." "Not everyone is Catholic." "That means we can't use religious arguments." I really don't care. Christ is the eternal King of the Universe. He said to Pontius Pilate, the first to acknowledge His kingship, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” And remember that Our Lord, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, came into the world, and the world knew him not. And He came unto his own, and His own knew Him not. We should not be afraid of the same, to stand as a sign of contradiction. By our conformity to Christ by virtue of Baptism, we are called to it. Let us pray for the grace to be able to then.

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