It is hard to live a truly authentic Catholic life! It is hard for us to turn from sin and selfishness. Often I hear people say, “I try to be a good person.” The internet company Google’s motto is: Don’t be evil. What is good and evil? How do you know if you are doing good or doing evil? Does it just mean you try to obey the speed limit, or obey government laws, or pay your taxes without grumbling, or not make people angry? The problem boils down to what is good and what is evil? We could put 50 people in a room and each would have different ideas of what is good and what is evil. This is where our world is right now.
In several states there have been successful attempts to roll back almost any restrictions on abortions even after the child is so-called viable outside the womb. This means an unborn child can be killed right up till before the moment of their birth. This has been hailed as a great victory for women’s right to choose. But what about the choice of the unborn life within her? Just because this child can’t cry out loud or raise its hand in a picket line of protest doesn’t mean it has no voice or choice in the matter. The overwhelming majority of all abortions are because a man and a woman made a choice to engage in an act that by its very nature is meant to bring forth new life for the human race. This is the bottom line: life is about making your own bed! In prior Christian times this meant they took the responsibility for rearing that new life or they put the child up for adoption. But the child had the God-given right to life no matter what.
It is interesting that our world talks about ‘new rights’ nowadays. In reality these are old rights. Before the legalization of Christianity by the Roman Emperor Constantine, abortion was legal as was artificial contraception. In fact outside almost every Roman city wall was a place families would leave newborn children who either weren’t wanted by their parents or had birth defects. The children were left outside to die of exposure. The Romans even had same-sex marriage as well (a topic for another day)!
It was Christianity that created the moral structure many of us experienced until a few years ago. Of course in our American morality there was great influence by Calvinism and Puritanism which likely set the stage for the revolt against morality in the 1960s. Such are the times in which we live. Perhaps our response, though, should not merely be the usual fifteen minutes of shock and then we move on. I think our challenge in this brave new (old) world of revolt against God is that we must become the saints God is calling us to become. We Catholic Christians don’t simply believe in a general secularized good and evil, we believe the Gospel and the teaching of the Church to be the font of God’s wisdom. To attempt to live the Gospel life to the full will require sacrifice from each of us. It will at times be easy, but many times it will be painful. We will have to let go of our sins and attachments.
The only way our world will repent and change its mind is if we show them the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Christian life! -Fr. W.