The Problem with the Pro-life Movement
To win the battle against abortion, we must take the ax to the root!
In the spiritual life as we are overcoming sins and perfecting ourselves we often discover that in fighting against a particular fault, the fault we are attacking is actually an effect of a deeper root cause. At first, we may be unaware of the deeper root and begin attacking the fault with little or no lasting success. It is not until we discover by God's grace the deeper root cause of the particular fault, and begin to attack it, that our true victory is gained. Just as in our personal spiritual lives we often discover a deeper root cause for our sins, similarly in other areas of life there is often a deeper root cause that has produced the manifest evil. This work will focus primarily on the cause that produced legalized abortion and our "culture of death," and show what must be done to correct the situation.
Abortion is surely a most heinous sin; not only is it murder, but it is murder of the most innocent. These innocent babies are created by God and for God, yet their lives are snuffed out before they are even born. Many people, whose eyes are open to the evils of abortion, fight for the lives of these unborn babies with truly heroic courage, yet the abortions continue. In 1997, the CDC reported that there were just over 1.18 Million abortions in the US alone; it was reported this year that during 2000 there were a total of 1.37 Million abortions, which is slightly higher than the average yearly abortion rate since 1985. With all of the Rosaries, Masses, and sacrifices offered to God, why is the number of abortions not decreasing? Is the fight being waged on the wrong front? Is the symptom being attacked while the disease goes undetected? In the fight to end abortion, we must seek to find the root cause that has produced it; and after finding the cause, we must "take the ax to the root."
So, what is the deeper root cause that has led to abortion and our culture of death? Abortion is a moral issue; our objective moral values are based on our religion, and our religion on our faith. A person with little or no religion usually has weak moral values. Similarly, when faith is weakened, the logical effect will be a lowering of morality. Pope Leo XIII tells us, "when the mind has... become poisoned, the moral character becomes at the same time deeply and substantially corrupt." He further tells us that "it is the light of Christian faith which is the principal and foundation of all righteousness." It follows, then, that if the Christian faith, which the Pope calls the "foundation of all righteousness," is diminished, the effect will be a lessening of moral values; and it is logical to conclude that until the faith is restored, the morality it upholds will not return.
If we look back over recent history, we see that this indeed is what happened: First the faith was attacked and weakened; the weakening of faith then resulted in a lowering of morality; finally, the lowering of morals paved the way for our culture of death. Therefore, to end our culture of death, we must fight the effect at its cause; that is, we must restore moral values by restoring the faith.
As was stated above, abortion is surely one of the worst of all sins, however, according to Catholic theology, heresy is the greatest of all sins: "The sin of unbelief [heresy] is greater than any sin which occurs in the perversion of morals." (St. Thomas Aquinas) This is because murder (abortion being one of the worst forms) is an attack on a creature, while heresy is a direct attack on God Himself. What is heresy? Heresy is the rejection of a truth revealed by God; that is, the rejection of a truth contained in the "deposit of faith" handed down by Tradition, and proclaimed true by the Church. If a person rejects even one truth of the faith, that person is objectively a heretic. "He who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith," said Pope Leo XIII in the Encyclical Satis Cognitum. He then goes on to quote St. Augustine as saying: "'In many things they [the heretics] are with me, in a few things they are not with me; but in the few things which they are not with me the many things in which they are will not profit them.'"
We are now living in a day when the true faith, as taught by the Church for 1900 years, is nearly dead. In a strange twist of logic, we are now told that what used to be wrong is right, and that what used to be right is now wrong. Many of the clergy, who are supposed to be our shepherds in the faith, have instead become "wolves" leading the flock into error. This disorientation has produced the expected results: The faithful are confused. With so many contrary voices, they do not know who, or what, to believe: We are indeed in a crisis of faith! The statistics tell the sad story: most Catholics living today are objectively heretics. A survey conducted by Gallup Poll between December 1991 and January 1992 indicated that 70% of the Catholics polled held a heretical belief in the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. A later poll released by the same organization indicated that weekly Mass attendance by Catholics in the U.S. dropped from 75% in 1958, down to 50% in 1971, and down to only 19% in 1999. We can see from this poll that even before abortion was legalized, Sunday Mass attendance had dropped 33% in only 11 years. Moreover, between 1965 and 1973, approximately 22,000 to 25,000 priests left the priesthood. These statistics show that even before abortion was legalized, the faith was diminishing at an astounding rate.
The many contradictory voices emanating from the clergy have literally poisoned the minds of the faithful. Recall the words of Pope Leo XIII: "when the mind has... become poisoned, the moral character becomes at the same time deeply and substantially corrupt."
This drastic loss of faith among Catholics has produced as its effect - a lowering of morality; the lowering of morality thus laid the groundwork for our culture of death. Therefore, to end the culture of death we must "take the ax to the root" by restoring the faith; but to restore the faith we must first remove the poison that corrupted it. This leads us to the next question: What initially led to the loss of faith? To find the answer to this question we need only read the encyclical letters of the guardians of our faith, the Roman Pontiffs. The primary duty of the Pope is to guard the integrity of the faith, and our Holy Fathers have done so brilliantly. They repeatedly warned the faithful of the snares of the enemy, and of the poison that was being infused into the "roots". Let us now take a look at several of the errors that our Holy Fathers have warned us to be on guard against.
In 1907, Pope St. Pius X, the only Pope Canonized in the 20th century, warned the Bishops to be on guard against the enemies within the Church. He warned that these internal enemies "lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is to the Faith and its deepest fibers. And once having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree so that there is no part of Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt... and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error." (Pascendi)
Who were these enemies the Pope was referring to, and what were their plans? They were the modernists, and their plan was to "reform" the Church based on their erroneous teachings. The Pope said: "These partisans of errors are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the open. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, and what is much more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church..." (ibid.) (Note: For a detailed account of these erroneous reforms read the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. Pius X, and to see them implemented, visit your average American Parish.)
In addition to the modernist "reforms" that Pope St. Pius X warned of - which have led to the lessening of faith - we were warned of another grave error, which, Pope Pius XI said, threatened the very foundations of the Catholic faith. What was this "grave error" that threatened the very foundations of the Catholic faith? It was the current ecumenical movement!
In 1929, in the Encyclical "Mortalium Animos" (On Fostering True Religious Unity a must read for every Catholic), Pope Pius XI again warned of these "enemies within" and of the false movement toward "unity". In the hope to achieve this unity, the Pope tells us that: "[Ecumenical] meetings and addresses are arranged, attended by a large concourse of hearers, where all without distinction, believers of every kind as well as Christians, even those who unhappily have rejected Christ and denied His divine nature or mission, are invited to join in the discussion (dialogue). Now, such efforts can meet with no kind of approval among Catholics. They presuppose the erroneous view that all give expression, under various forms, to that innate sense which leads men to God and to the obedient acknowledgement of His rule. Those who hold such a view are not only in error; they distort the true idea of religion and thus reject it, falling gradually into naturalism and atheism. To favor this opinion, therefore, and to encourage such undertakings is tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God."
In the encyclical, he gives instructions on how to attain true Christian unity and warned the Bishops to not be misled by those who sought unity at any price: "[W]hen there is a question of fostering unity among Christians it is easy for many to be misled by the apparent excellence of the object to be achieved. 'Is it not right', they ask, 'is it not the obvious duty of all who invoke the name of Christ to refrain from mutual reproaches and at last to be united in charity? Dare anyone say that he loves Christ and yet not strive with all his might to accomplish the desire of Him who asked His Father that His disciples might be 'one'? (John 17:21). ...If only Christians were 'one' it is contended, then they might do so much more to drive out the danger of irreligion which, with its insidious and far-reaching advance, is threatening to sap the strength of the Gospel.' These and similar arguments, are constantly on the lips of the 'pan-Christians'... The energy with which this scheme is being promoted has won for it many adherents, and even many Catholics are attracted by it, since it holds out hope of a union apparently constant with the wishes of Holy Mother Church... In reality, however" the Pope warns, "these fair and alluring words cloak a most grave error, subversive to the foundations of the Catholic Faith."
The pope tells us that this false drive towards unity leads to the subversion of the very foundations of the Catholic Faith and the practical abandonment of true religion, both of which are the foundation for upholding moral values. Unfortunately, the warnings of this encyclical have not only been ignored for the past 35 years, but what the Pope condemned as destructive to the Catholic faith is now the driving force towards Christian unity. And the internal enemies Pope St. Pius X warned of, who wanted to "reform" the Church based on their erroneous teachings, have now reformed the Church based on their erroneous teachings. We are now witnessing the result of these "reforms" and of this 'unity at any price': The foundations of the Catholic Faith are being destroyed.
This false ecumenism has led to the Catholic Faith which should be the foundation of unity becoming, for them, a stumbling block to "unity"; therefore, the stumbling block has been gradually disregarded and weakened, and unity is now sought in a "new" way. No longer is unity sought the way Jesus chose within the true faith - but "in diversity".
In February 2001, Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, defined the current ecumenical movement when he stated: "Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of the ecumenism of return, by which the others would 'be converted' and return to being 'Catholics'... each church has its own riches and gifts of the Spirit, and it is this exchange that unity is trying to be achieved, and not in the fact that we should become 'Protestants', or that the others should become 'Catholics' in the sense of accepting the confessional form of Catholicism."
This kind of "unity" brings to mind the words of Pope St. Pius X: "...religion itself is allowed to go to ruin. 'Blind' they are, and 'leaders of the blind' puffed up... they have reached the pitch of folly at which they pervert the concept of truth and the true meaning of religion; and in introducing a new system in which 'they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty." Disregarding the Faith for the sake of unity, however, has not led to the desired result (nor could it), but rather it has led to a degeneration of Faith, which - as has been repeated - has led to a lowering of morals resulting in our "culture of death". When the faith is again restored and it will be one day - the morality it fosters will return; but neither of these will be restored until we "remove the poison from the root," as Pope St. Pius X put it. Unity is not something that can be sought to the detriment of the faith. We cannot suffer the faith to be compromised for the mere appearance of unity: "If they did this" said Pope Pius XI, "they would be giving countenance to a false Christianity quite alien to the one Church of Christ. Shall we commit the iniquity of suffering the truth, the truth revealed by God, to be made subject of compromise?" Unity should be desired by all, but true unity will only be achieved within the guidelines set down by God; that is, within the true faith. "The true union between Christians is that which Jesus Christ, the Author of the Church, instituted and desired, and which consists in a unity of faith and a unity of government." (Pope Leo XIII, The Reunion of Christendom, 1894)
The current ecumenical movement, however, is not seeking a true unity within the faith, but a unity based on the notion of "fraternal love", as it is called. Unity is no longer sought the way God desires, but out of merely human motives, to the exclusion of God's Will. "It is not for any human motive" said Pope Leo XIII, "but impelled by divine charity and a desire for the salvation of all, that We advise the reconciliation and union with the Church of Rome; and We mean a perfect and complete union, such as could not subsist in any way if nothing else was brought about but a certain kind of agreement in the tenets of belief and an intercourse of fraternal love." (ibid.) Unity founded merely on 'fraternal love' is not true unity, and the result of this false unity is, as Pope Pius XI said, the practical abandonment of True religion.
"But some through enthusiasm for an imprudent 'eirenism' (ecumenism) seem to consider as an obstacle to the restoration of fraternal union, things founded on the laws and principals given by Christ... which are the defense and support of the integrity of the Faith, and the removal of which would bring about the union of all, but only to their destruction." (Pius XII, On Certain False Opinions, 1950).
Unfortunately, we did not heed the warnings of our previous Popes; and we are now reaping the fruits of this disobedience. Is there any surprise, then, that the faith has been weakened laying the groundwork for our culture of death? (We often see manifest physically that which first takes place spiritually: in this case death.)
Through this destruction of faith, morals have become such that we are now in a virtual pagan society. Christianity has become so weakened over the past 40 years that there is no longer a Christian moral force upholding the values of society. Is there any surprise that the war on abortion is not having better success? Without the faith being restored we should not expect a moral recovery.
Abortion: a triple victory for Satan?
Is abortion a triple victory for Satan? In addition to the most obvious evil, murder, is Satan also using the abortion issue as a diversionary tactic? And as a means of promoting false ecumenism which "threatens the very foundations of the Catholic Faith"? (Pope Pius XI)
Just as God can bring good out of evil, so Satan can bring evil out of an apparent good. What a victory for Satan if he could not only use the abortionists for murder, but use the pro-life movement to infuse his poison into the root of the tree through false ecumenism. And what if at the same time he could divert the fervent Catholics attention away from the cause of the evil (the loss of faith) to wage war on its effect (deteriorating morals and abortion)?
While driving in my car several months ago, I turned on the radio and heard, probably the leading Pro-life Priest in the U.S., telling how successful the pro-life movement has been in promoting Ecumenism. He stated that, because of the pro-life movement, Catholics have begun working together with their Jewish, Protestant and Mormon "brothers" and have come to a better understanding of them and their religions. Is this not helping to destroy the faith, while fighting its effect?
If we were to attack the effect (abortion), while being diverted from or worse still - promoting the cause that produced it (loss of faith through false ecumenism and religious indifferentism), would we not be adding fuel to the fire that we are trying to extinguish? Would it not be like trying to put out the flames of a fire by spraying it with gasoline?
Let us imagine that one night, while everyone slept, a water pipe burst in a beautiful Cathedral. The water began to poor out onto the hard wood floors. In the morning when the parishioners arrived for Mass, the water was running out of the front doors. Frantically everyone joined in to soak up the water. Many of the parishioners stayed all day to attempt to clean up the water so as to save the flooring, however, they were making little progress because no one bothered to stop the leak. In fact, the pipe was beginning to leak water at a greater speed. They were working frantically with all their might to save the floors, but their work produced little fruit because they never fixed the leak.
Fighting abortion while neglecting its cause is like trying to dry up spilled water without stopping the leak; the one causes the other. Could Satan, "that crafty enemy of mankind and a murderer from the beginning" as Leo XIII called him, be diverting our attention from the cause of the problem, by inspiring us to fight, with all our might, its effect?
Moreover, if we recall that heresy is objectively a greater sin than abortion, how can we unite with heretics to fight what is objectively a lesser evil than what they stand for? Can we commit a sin against Faith or at least risk becoming indifferent to religion - under the appearance of good? Can we break the 1st commandment in the hope of stopping another from breaking the 5th? No, we cannot sin that good may come. As Cardinal Newman said, "we cannot commit even a venial sin, with the hope of attaining a good end."
"The devil has succeeded in infiltrating evil under the appearance of good... worst of all, the devil has succeeded in leading into error and deceiving souls having a heavy responsibility through the position they hold." (Sister Lucy of Fatima)
What would a pro-life Catholic say if a group of Catholics were to unite with a group of abortion doctors to fight Protestantism? And what if, after engaging in their efforts for several years, the Catholics discovered that 'the abortion doctors have many good qualities. In addition to providing occasional abortions they also do much good to save lives; they are respectable members of the community, and their children are good kids'; and what if they were to conclude "Isn't the abortion issue dividing us? Maybe we should all just set aside our differences with regard to abortion for now and unite in the fight against heresy; after all, we would fight heresy much better if we were united; and didn't Jesus pray that we all should be "one"?' Obviously, we can see that this would be false reasoning. Nevertheless, are we not falling into the same error by uniting with heretics to fight abortion?
Just as it is not appropriate to put aside our differences with an abortion doctor to fight heresy, so it is not appropriate to put aside our differences with heretics to fight abortion. Do we really believe that God will be pleased if we unite with those of a false religion who are perishing in their unbelief for the purpose of the pro-life movement? Has our faith so weakened over the past 35 years, and have we become so indifferent with regard to religion, that we believe salvation is possible by the profession of any faith as long as they share our moral values? One who believes that each person has the right to choose their own morality has fallen into the error of moral relativism; and one who believes that each person is free to chose their own religion has fallen into the error of religious indifferentism. Relativism is to morals what indifferentism is to faith.
In the Catechism, under the heading "How does a Catholic sin against faith," we have a definition of indifferentism: "Indifferentism is the error of those who hold that one religion is as good as another... or that one is free to accept or reject any or all religions." After reading this definition, we must ask ourselves: have we become indifferent? Do we believe that one is free to choose any religion they like, or that salvation is attainable by the profession of any religion as long as morality is maintained? Pope Leo XIII referred to this kind of indifference as a deadly error: "Now We consider another abundant source of the evils, which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care." (Mirari Vos)
We must be careful not to sin against faith thus weakening it - while performing an act of charity. How could it be that the Faith should be undermined through Charity? Let us never forget the words of Pope St. Pius X: "The primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be; nor in the theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged..." (Our Apostolic Mandate)
In the above encyclical, Pope St. Pius X was condemning a false movement, which originated in France, known as the Sillon. He condemned their false notion of fraternity - a fraternity based merely on a common interest. He said that their "notion of fraternity, which they found on the love of common interest or, beyond all philosophies and religions, on the mere notion of humanity" was false and dangerous. He said, "there is no true fraternity outside of Christian Charity." And as Pope Leo XIII asked: "How can hearts be united in perfect charity where minds do not agree in faith?" (The reunion of Christians) True fraternity must be within Christian charity, and Christian charity must have - as its foundation - the Catholic faith. It is not sufficient to have a fraternity founded merely on a common moral interest outside of Christian charity. This would be false charity and a danger to the true faith. "If, as we desire with all our heart, the highest possible peak of well-being for society and its members is to be attained through fraternity... all minds must be united in the knowledge of the Truth (true faith), all wills united in morality, and all hearts in the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ. But this union is attained only by Catholic charity." The Pope says it is essential that fraternity be founded on both Faith and morals. He further states: "separating fraternity from Christian charity... would mean a disastrous step backwards." (Our Apostolic Mandate, Pope St. Pius X)
The Sillonists were a group of Catholics who united with Protestants and Freethinkers in the pursuit of a common end. They thought it appropriate to put aside their differences with regard to religion to attain the common goal. The Pope quotes one of their leaders as saying:
Sillon: "'Catholic comrades will work among themselves. Protestants and Freethinking Democrats will do likewise on their own side. But all of us, Catholics, Protestants and Freethinkers will have a heart to arm young people, not in view of the fratricidal struggle, but in view of a disinterested emulation in the field of social and civic virtues.'"
Although they were working in separate groups, the Pope concludes the quote by saying: "These declarations and this new organization of the Sillonist action call for very serious remarks. Here we have, founded by Catholics, an interdenominational association that is to work for" their common end. He says: "what must be thought of the indiscriminate mingling in which your Catholics will be caught up with heterodox and unbelieving folk in a work of this nature? Is it not a thousand-fold more dangerous for them than a neutral association... What are we to think of this respect for all errors and of this strange invitation made by Catholics to all the dissidents to strengthen their convictions?"
Let us look now at some quotes from the leading pro-life movement in Catholicism in light of the warnings of Pope St. Pius X:
On the website of Priests for Life we find the following statement under the heading "We Are Ecumenical":
Priests For Life: "The pro-life movement consists of men and women of every religious persuasion, and some of no religious persuasion. Priests for Life serves the entire movement. We therefore eagerly work together with everyone interested in ending abortion."
Compare that statement with the above quote from the Sillon and you will see that the similarities are striking. In both cases, religious differences are put aside to attaining a common goal. There is, however, one difference: with regard to the Sillon, each religious group worked amongst themselves separately; while the pro-life movement is working, not in separate groups, but completely intermingled. In an interview with the Priest who heads Priests for Life, the interviewer concludes the article by saying: "He said he works a lot with ministers of other denominations and that in the pro-life movement he has found the ecumenism he had been longing and praying for. There are few, if any, things that foster practical day to day ecumenism like the pro-life movement does, because people are "in the trenches together..."
The problem with this type of "ecumenism" is that it promotes everything that causes indifferentism. Ecumenism is supposed to be the process of converting those of a false religion to the true religion; what it has instead become is the act of putting aside our religious differences (i.e. indifferentism) for the sake of getting along. Unfortunately, without realizing it, many in the pro-life movement are promoting a false ecumenism which leads to what Pope Leo XIII referred to as the "deadly error" (i.e. mortal sin) of indifferentism. Without a very strong faith which is rare today - uniting with Protestants and others of a false religion will inevitably lead to this grave error.
How will uniting with those of a false religion lead to indifferentism? God gives each person natural good qualities; these qualities are to be used in the service of God, and to show forth God's goodness. If a person becomes entangled in a false religion, they do not lose their God-given natural good qualities. If we are working together on a regular basis with people of a false religion, it will inevitably happen that we will see their good qualities and be attracted by them. The result will be that we will begin to like the person and respect his good qualities. If we do not possess a very strong faith, it will be a very short step from respecting the person to respecting their false religion. That is why it used to be forbidden for a Catholic to even work with heretics (now referred to as 'separated brethren'), because of the possible danger to their faith.
We live in a day when we are greatly tempted to become indifferent. It is difficult to remain true to the "faith of God" when we are so often confronted with friendly people of false religions. Working with them in a common cause only makes matters that much more difficult. That is why Pope Saint Pius X condemned the Sillon who were working with those of other religions when he said: "what must be thought of the indiscriminate mingling in which young Catholics will be caught up with heterodox and unbelieving folk in a work of this nature? Is it not a thousand-fold more dangerous for them than a neutral association? What are we to think of this appeal to all the heterodox, and to all the unbelievers, to prove the excellence of their convictions in the social sphere... What are we to think of this respect for all errors and of this strange invitation made by Catholics to all the dissidents to strengthen their convictions... What are we to think of an association in which all religions and even Free Thought may express themselves openly and in complete freedom? For the Sillonist who, in public lectures and elsewhere, proudly proclaim their personal (Catholic) faith, certainly do not intend to silence others, nor do they intend to prevent a Protestant from asserting his Protestantism... Alas! Yes, the ambiguity has been broken: the social action of the Sillon is no longer Catholic..." (Our Apostolic Mandate)
Why was their social action no longer Catholic? The answer is simple: Because they set aside their faith to accomplish it. How much better could the Sillon have accomplished their goals by not mingling with those of false religions? Did they really believe that God would bless their work if they, for all practical purposes, denied Him? Would it not have been 'a thousand-fold' more beneficial and pleasing to God if they would not have risked becoming indifferent by mingling with those of false religions?
It is very easy to loose our faith, through religious indifferentism, in a society like ours which has so many religions intermingled; this is a great temptation for all of us. Even Solomon, with all his wisdom, fell into the error of religious indifferentism. This happened as a result of his becoming to close with those of other religions. He eventually disobeyed God and married many women from "strange nations". "And king Solomon loved many strange women... of the nations concerning which the Lord said to the children of Israel: You shall not go in unto them, neither shall any of them come in to yours, for they will most certainly turn your heart away to follow their gods. And to these Solomon joined with a most ardent love. And he had seven hundred wives as queens, and thee hundred concubines: and the women turned away his heart." He began to love these women, and thus he began to accept their false religions. As stated above, it is a very short step from liking a person to accepting their religion. Even the wise Solomon fell into this deadly error: "And when he was now old, his heart was turned away by women to follow strange gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father... And Solomon did that which was not pleasing before the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as David his father. Then Solomon built a temple for Chamos the idol of Moab, on the hill that is over against Jerusalem, and for Moloch the idol of the children of Ammon. And he did in this manner for all his wives... and burnt incense, and offered sacrifices to their gods. And the Lord was angry with Solomon... And the Lord therefore said to Solomon: Because thou hast done this, and hast not kept my covenant, and my precept which I have commanded thee, I will divide thy kingdom." (3 Kings 11:1-11)
We read that Solomon's heart was not perfect before God, as was the heart of his father David. Now we know that David fell into the sin of adultery (2 Kings 11:4) as well as murder (vs.15), yet God forgave these sins (ch.12:13). However, the sin of religious indifferentism that Solomon fell into led to the destruction of the kingdom. We can see from this how serious a matter it is to become indifferent towards God's religion. Let us never forget that Catholicism is not our religion, it is God's religion, we have only been given the grace to be members of it.
If we have a strong faith, it may be possible to respect the person while realizing that their religion is false. We have a good example of this in St. Patrick. While in Ireland he grew to love the Irish people, but he did not accept their religion. St. Patrick possessed a very strong faith; therefore, impelled by Divine Charity, he went back to Ireland and converted the Irish to Catholicism, and they have always loved him for that. This, however, requires a strong faith, which is not a particular mark of our times.
We must constantly be on our guard against religious indifferentism or we put our own salvation at risk. What good will it do to promote an honorable cause if we lose our own faith in the process? We should never forget these words from Scripture: "Without faith it is impossible to please God."
As a test of our faith, let us read an infallible dogma of the Catholic Church. This will help us to see if we have become indifferent with regards to religion. Keep in mind that an infallible dogma is a teaching of the Catholic Church which all Catholics are bound to believe. This dogma is a good test of our faith as it is one of the most politically incorrect dogmas of our day and it does not leave any room for religious indifferentism.
In 1442, at the council of Florence, Pope Eugene IV, in the Bull Cantante Domino, declared infallibly that no one can attain salvation except in the Catholic Church, and that all those who die outside of the Church will suffer the eternal fires of hell:
"The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside of the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and Schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire 'which was prepared for the devil and his angels', unless before death, they are joined with Her;... no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."
If we have a difficulty with this dogma of our Holy Faith it is probably because we have become indifferent. And if we say we believe this dogma, we must ask ourselves: do we really believe it? or, have we so water down its meaning that it has become, what Pope Pius XII called, a meaningless formula: "Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation." (Pius XII, On certain false opinions, 1950)
The reason indifferentism is such a "grave error" is because our faith is a primary bond that unites us to God. If we become indifferent with regard to our faith, we risk severing that bond. God must always come first, and if we sin for the sake of a moral cause, we are serving the moral cause instead of God; thus, it becomes our god. We certainly have a duty to fight evil especially an evil as great as abortion - but only in a manner that is pleasing to God. There is no need to unite with those of a false religion, and risk our own faith, to fight abortion; we can fight abortion just fine without endangering our faith. God does not need large numbers, only faithful people, and a faithful person is one who has not severed his relationship with God. "In His divine wisdom, He [God] ordained in His Church Unity of Faith; a virtue which is the first of those bonds which unites man to God, and whence we receive the name faithful..." (Satis Cognitum) That is why God inspired St. John to write: "If any man come to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you. For he that saith unto him, God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works." (2 Jn 1:10-11)
Abortion is a great evil, but the loss of faith is greater still. Back in 1931, Hilaire Beloc wrote the following: "Our civilization developed as a Catholic civilization. It developed and matured as a Catholic thing. With the loss of Faith it will slip back not only to Paganism, but into barbarism with the accomplishments of Paganism..." (The New Paganism) We are now living in the day he described. In a pagan culture, there is very often child sacrifice, that is one of the marks of a pagan society. The solution is not putting aside religious differences and uniting with "moral" pagans to fight abortion; the solution is to end our pagan society by restoring the faith. If the faith is restored, morality will return and abortion will end; but if we fight to restore morals without restoring the faith we will never accomplish our goal. Therefore, the solution to ending abortion, and many other evils of today, is to restore the faith.
"Just as Christianity cannot penetrate in the soul without making it better, so it cannot enter public life without establishing order,,, If it has transformed pagan society -and that transformation was a veritable resurrection for barbarism disappeared in proportion as Christianity extended its sway, so, after the terrible shocks which unbelief has given to the world in our days, it will be able to put that world again on the true road, and bring back to order the states and peoples of modern times. But the return of Christianity will not be efficacious and complete if it does not restore the world to a sincere love of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." (Leo XIII Review of His Pontificate pg. 566-567)
When our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, child sacrifice was the religion of the day. To end the evil of child sacrifice, Our Lady did not organize a protest, She took the ax to the root and converted the pagans to the Catholic faith. Therefore, let us learn a lesson from Our Lady of Guadalupe and end our modern-day child sacrifice by restoring the faith. It will do little good to fight the effect (abortion) if we are not at the same time fighting the cause that produced it (loss of faith). Every child saved is a victory gained, but in the long run, where is the victory if the child grows up in a pagan home and dies only to suffer the eternal fires of hell? And what shall we say if we are fighting abortion while actually adding fuel to the cause that produced it? Is this not what will happen if we become indifferent, and thus loose our faith, by fighting a moral issue that resulted from a lessening of faith? Is this not a deadly spiral that will not only never accomplish the goal, but destroy the faith of millions of Catholics in the process? Remember the words of Sister Lucy of Fatima: "The devil has succeeded in infiltrating evil under the appearance of good..."
Let us re-think our means of fighting abortion so that we do not offend God while trying to serve Him. If our goal is merely to fight abortion, we can continue on our current path; but if we seek to eliminate it, let us do our part to restore the faith, because when the faith has been restored, abortion will end. Therefore, I end with this appeal to the pro-life Catholics of the world who are seeking to end abortion: Take the ax to the root!
- CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS -