Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When Catholics Are Too Polite to Confront Evil

Over the past few weeks, a series of videos showing doctors and executives from Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of body parts of aborted babies has appeared online. One such doctor, as she sips wine and munches salad, discusses how she will crush the baby in such a way so as to preserve the organs that she will later sell. Another doctor says that if she knows in advance that organs are to be harvested, she'd use a less "crunchy" method. In the most recent video, a woman who was hired by a company who traffics aborted baby parts, shows video footage of doctors standing around a dish, picking out legs, spinal columns, and kidneys of aborted children. They discuss how they would prefer to sell by the part and not just accept a flat fee for everything.

It is true that when we try to evangelize others, fighting over moral issues isn't always the right place to begin. I agree wholeheartedly that in one on one evangelization, the starting point shouldn't be controversy and antagonism.  But in the face of horrific crimes against humanity, the Church (and individual Christians) do not have the luxury of standing by the side of the road. It would be scandalous if, in the face of atrocities, the Church and her members remained silent. Sadly in places like Massachusetts where I live, many of the movers and shakers of society are supporters and beneficiaries of the greatest ongoing atrocity in the history of the world. Very few of the people elected to political office in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are pro-life. Many of the most ardent supporters of Planned Parenthood have been and are Catholic. 

There are many political issues upon which reasonable men and women can disagree. The best way to defend our country, the best economic, immigration, and job policies are all matters upon which reasonable men and women could offer differing opinions. Good people can disagree on many practical issues. But, there are certain issues that define what kind of person we are. They are game changer issues.  If a candidate had a perfect record on 99% of one's concerns, but declared that he were an ardent supporter of the Ku Klux Klan, the Westboro Baptist Church, or ISIS, nobody would ever say, "Well, that's just one issue. You can't make everything about one issue." The second we knew that this person supported such an immoral and vicious organization, that one issue would be enough to stop supporting him or her. We would never say, "Well, I disagree with him on the whole KKK thing, but I like his position on jobs, immigration, and foreign policy." If you said that, people would rightfully think that you are warped.

So, this week we saw videos of an organization that takes babies from their mothers' wombs, crushes them in such a way so as to preserve their organs intact so that they can be sold for a profit. While they discuss these things over wine and salad, the people laugh, make jokes, and discuss profits. If somebody can't see how evil this is, they are either willfully blind or their moral conscience has been completely compromised and numbed. The videos have stirred a hornets' nest because those who hide behind the euphemism of "women's health" have been called out. It's hard to argue "women's health" while a bunch of doctors are standing over a bowl full of body parts discussing how much money they can make from it. 

Because many of the rich and the powerful in the United States are often the biggest supporters of abortion and Planned Parenthood, many in the Church are hesitant to speak and to act. We attend their cocktail parties, invite them to speak at our Catholic universities, and politely talk about all of the other good things that they do. "Sure, they support, defend, and promote an organization that dismembers babies and sells their organs for profit, but they pledged ten million to our scholarship fund." Really? Is that what we want the Church to be?

If the Church speaks out more vociferously on this issue, it's true that some prominent leaders in society will be made uncomfortable. Some politicians might not answer the phone when the Church calls looking for a favor. But let's be honest. Trying to cozy up with these people hasn't made the Church stronger. It has made the Church weaker. When it comes to playing the political game, the Catholic Church in the United States has proved itself woefully inept. The Church may still have enough juice to get a building permit approved for affordable housing or help an immigrant get his visa approved, but on major societal issues, the Church has been outmaneuvered and outsmarted by the same people whom she keeps trying to appease.

But even if we calculated correctly and were able to achieve substantial political benefits for taking a less confrontational path, do we really want to do that? Don't some things demand confrontation?  The recently produced videos are indeed hideous. They ought to make us squirm. But, they also ought to make us more bold in our condemnation of the abortion industry and its supporters. It's really not a very hard sell to make: Crushing babies--be the process more or less "crunchy"--picking their body parts out of a dish, and selling them is atrocious, despicable, and evil. If we cannot speak convincingly about this, we should close up shop.

Those who benefit from the abortion industry should no longer be allowed to hide behind their euphemisms.  There are politicians who today are coming to the defense of Planned Parenthood. They are fighting on the side of people who crush and dismember babies and sell their body parts for profit. If we can't convince Catholics to withdraw their support from politicians who promote such heinous and inhuman acts, then the Church in the United States really has failed. You don't need to be a moral giant to know that dismembering and crushing babies and selling their organs is despicable. 

The abortion industry is engaged in monstrous activities. Politicians who support the abortion industry are supporting monstrous activities. For too long, the abortion industry has survived on the refusal of people to treat abortion as the evil that it is. Catholics, to our shame, have allowed this to continue. Nobody wants to look at or talk about baby parts being picked out of a dish in order to be sold. Planned Parenthood and its political team know this. They depend upon silence. Their political allies survive on this silence. And when we Catholics--bishops, priests, religious, and lay people--remain politely silent, we become part of their conspiracy of evil. 

1 comment:

  1. I read once, I can't remember where, that if the Church is not being persecuted, if She's doing very well in the world, or if She's comfortable and not generally frowned upon---if any of this is happening---then She's doing something wrong.

    An exaggeration, maybe, but with a lot of Truth. The World is our enemy (one of three), and we Christians are to love our enemies. But to love does not mean to comply and bow down, but to burn. And the immediate consequence of this is being hated. Like Ven. Fulton Sheen said:

    "Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons. We must be tolerant to persons because they are human; we must be intolerant about principles because they are divine."

    The Church must be counter-cultural, not because that's Her goal, but because Her Master is, and He IS counter-cultural. 2000 years ago, and today.

    Awesome post, father. I like Catholic blogs, and this one is a wonderful discovery. Preach on!