Sadly, there are many pro-lifers who continue to think that the November 5 elections represented a significant "pro-life" victory. I tried to disabuse people of that notion over the weekend with "We Have Learned Nothing." However, repetition is the mother of learning. Herewith are some additional thoughts about the state of American pro-life politics two weeks after the November 5 elections.
As I have noted over and over again, no one who supports a single abortion is "pro-life." Such a person is simply less "pro-abortion" than those who support all abortions without any restrictions at all. Nevertheless, there are pro-life leaders who continue to claim that politicians who support the slicing and dicing of little babies in the cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the life of a mother are legitimately "pro-life." There is almost nothing these politicians can do once in office that loses them the appellation "pro-life," even though their embrace of exceptions to the absolute inviolability of all innocent human life is a "leading indicator" that they will abandon the cause of the babies at every turn.
These politicians can vote to support the chemical abortion of babies by means of "family planning" programs and still be called "pro-life." These politicians can endorse out-and-out aborts and still be called "pro-life" by the likes of Father Frank Pavone and the National Right to Life Committee. They can vote to support funding for cloning and stem-cell research and still be called "pro-life." They can refuse time and time and time again even to work for anything approximating no exceptions legislation and be considered champions of the unborn. They can even vote to confirm pro-abortion jurists to serve on the Federal bench and be called "pro-life." There is almost nothing these politicians, who are not "pro-life" but simply less pro-abortion than other politicians, can do to lose the enthusiastic support of the self-styled incrementalists and pragmatists. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, the ethos of Americanism so colors the perspective of American Catholics that even Catholics who are completely pro-life are unwilling to come to grips that the founding of this nation, based as it is in the aftermath of the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Freemasonry, was destined to lead us to the point of abortion-on-demand. That is, this nation was founded in a specific rejection of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as exercised by the Church He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. The Founders of this nation believed that it would be possible for citizens to pursue "civic virtue" in their own lives as the foundation for the pursuit of a non-denominational concept of the common good. Thus, there is no need for people to have recourse to sanctifying grace as the means to persevere in virtue, and religious indifferentism replaces the necessity of a belief in and adherence to the Deposit of Faith Our Lord entrusted to His true Church. This leads inexorably, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei in 1885, to the triumph of atheism as the lowest common denominator in a society. And abortion is nothing else if not an expression of the deification of man that is so symbolic of the secular state of modernity.
Second, the Americanist ethos thus leads well meaning Catholics into thinking that there is a secular, religiously indifferentist, non-denominational or interdenominational way to combat evils that have their foundation in a rejection of the Social Kingship of Our Lord as exercised by Holy Mother Church. It is not possible, however, to combat secularism with secularism. It is only possible to combat secularism with Catholicism. There is no other solution. Alas, though, a belief in the religiously indifferentist nature of the American founding results in the sad phenomenon of Catholic priests who profess quite openly that it is wrong to speak in denominationally Catholic terms in public discourse, thus consigning the power of the truth of the Splendor of Truth Incarnate to the realm of private belief and preaching, banished from every aspect of a nation's social life.
Third, the blithe acceptance of the Americanist ethos winds up doing the bidding of careerist politicians of both major political parties. Eager to take their place in American social life at a time of rampant, over anti-Catholicism in the 19th Century, Catholics aligned themselves with the Democratic Party in the belief that political activity would help them achieve the material success being denied them by the nativists in the Whig and, later, the Republican Parties. The reflexive loyalty of Catholics to the Democratic Party is what accounts for the fact that many Catholics are willing to overlook or actually embrace that party's support for the destruction of innocent human life in the womb in one election after another. It is the case that many Catholics believe that secular salvation is to be found in the statism and leftism and collectivism and positivism and relativism of the Democratic Party. As Pope Saint Pius X noted in Pascendi Domenici Gregis in 1907, the modernist Catholic believes that the State must be separated from the Church and the Catholic must be separated from the citizen.
Fourth, this same mistake is being repeated by even some Catholics who are totally pro-life, people who are placing their trust in the Republican Party just as loyally and consistently as so many other Catholics have done with the Democratic Party. That is, some Catholics believe that the Democratic Party is so bad that any Republican is better, even one who supports Roe v. Wade. Not content to make one bad practical political judgment after another by supporting phony pro-life politicians, men like Father Frank Pavone and his associates actually condemn candidates of conscience as being counterproductive in the political process (when the actual truth of the matter is that such candidates of conscience are attempting to give voice to the voiceless as they point out the pro-death record of their careerist opponents). No one is saying that a "saint," to use Father Pavone's caricature of what no-exceptions pro-lifers want in a candidate, has to be nominated for office. What we are saying is that we need people who are committed to the defense of the fullness of life in a campaign and who will work hard for the absolutely best legislation they can get once in office, believing in the power of the graces won for us by Our Lord on the wood of the Holy Cross to soften hearts and enlighten minds. If your first allegiance is to a political party rather than to the cause of Christ the King and Mary our Queen then you must do the bidding of careerist politicians rather than to address the root causes of our social problems by seeking to plant the seeds for the Catholicization of the nation.
The influence of Americanism, which is a species of Modernism, does not stop here, though. We find ourselves in a state where Catholics are being directed by priest-agents of careerist politicians precisely because our shepherds, the bishops, have been influenced by various aspects of Modernism themselves. Most of them believe in the Masonic concept, embraced by the John Courtney Murray-influenced Dignitatis Humanae, of the separation of the Church and State, using that phony, non-Catholic argument as the pretext for silence on the life issue in the context of electoral politics (and at most other times, too, it should be pointed out). Others, coming from the long Catholic tradition of allegiance to the Democratic Party, are afraid to speak out on the life issue lest their friends in the Democratic Party, who are so committed, you understand, to the pursuit of "social justice," be hurt on election day because the one, itsy-bitsy issue of abortion causes people to vote on a "single" issue. Yet others, such as New York's Edward Cardinal Egan, are tone-death on the issue of life, praising pro-abortion politicians such as Rudolph Giuliani and George Pataki, thus making it so very easy for even pro-life Catholics to vote for them (and, not incidentally, denying the New York State Right to Life Party the measly 50,000 votes it needed to retain the automatic ballot status it had had in New York for twenty-four years without having to circulate petitions to get on the ballot).
There is no quick fix to these problems. Indeed, the fact that the Church herself is abdicating her authority as the principal governor of all men everywhere on matters of faith and morals and on matters of fundamental justice makes it all the more easy for the forces of death outside of her to coalesce and then wind up undermining the Faith from within the ranks of the Church herself. If the Church is not going to lead civil society by a firm proclamation of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the Queenship of our dear Blessed Mother, then the devil will use his minions in popular culture and in civil government to proselytize even within the Church herself.
To wit, a Dominican priest in Rome has evidently made it known that Our Lady appeared to the Holy Father about a dozen times between late July and early August of this year, warning him that the crisis in the Church was going to get dramatically worse unless he does something to reverse it. She did not say anything about crises in the world. Our Lady is stressing the fact that the crises of the world are the direct consequence of the postconciliar crisis in the Church. None of the social problems we face, including abortion, are going to be reversed until and unless this Holy Father or his successor starts governing the Church firmly by the direct, personal supervision of the appointment of courageous bishops who have apostolic zeal for souls and by being unhesitating in his insistence that the bishops who are actually wolves in shepherds' clothing be removed and publicly censured for the harm they have done to the cause of the salvation of souls and thus the right ordering of societies.
It is the restoration of Christendom we seek, not the triumph of the Republican Party or of the nondenominational "values" of conservatism. It is the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary we seek, not the hollow ring of a concept of political liberty that tolerates abject evils as regrettable facts of life that must be accepted in the realities of a diverse, pluralistic society.
The surest way to provide an antidote to the poisons that infect the Church is to pray and to work for the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass. Although a guarantor of neither personal sanctity or of social order, it is the necessary precondition for both. For we cannot fight under the banner of Christ the King and Mary our Queen if the ambiance of Holy Mass does not convey in all of its rubrics and prayers the fullness of what is due the glory and majesty of the Blessed Trinity. If we cannot pay homage on our knees to the King of Kings and Lord and Lords when we receive Him in Holy Communion, we are going to kneel at the altar of political expediency and utilitarianism in the midst of the world, thus consigning more and more innocent babies to extermination, to say nothing of the chronically and/or terminally ill.
May we continue to pray to Our Lady so that our shepherds, beginning with our Chief Shepherd, the Pope, will recover once again the sensus Catholicus they need to call error by its proper name, to root out error from all quarters of the Church, to restore the Mass of our fathers, and to speak once again with the clarity and unapologetic Catholicity of Blessed Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Saint Pius X, and Pope Pius XI, not the ambiguity of the past forty years.
Saturday marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the execution of Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, a Mexican Jesuit who worked valiantly for the triumph of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ in the midst of the Masonic ethos of revolutionary Mexico. As a son of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Father Pro put himself at risk to recapture Mexico for the honor of Christ the King. Indeed, the last words out of his mouth as the bullets tore through his body were, "Viva Cristo Rey!" Imploring his intercession, we pray for the day when all Catholics will exclaim in joy Viva Cristo Rey as the powerful invocation that can repel the Devil and his minions in the Church and thus in the world.
Viva Christo Rey!
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
Note: [bold, brackets and italicized words used for emphasis]
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives