Well, what a surprise. Priests for Life, which has become closely allied with the "pro-life" organization that actually supports the slicing and dicing of innocent babies in cases where it is alleged that a mother's life is in danger - the National Right to Life Committee, has issued yet another letter prior to an election that is nothing other than a misrepresentation of the truth that winds up, intentionally or not, in the misleading of the faithful about the teaching of the Catholic Church and its application in concrete circumstances.
Patrick Delaney of the American Life League has written his own response to the latest missive of Priests for Life. It is brilliant, stating the truth very cogently. My own response will cover territory I have covered over and over and over again in recent years. However, it is important to try to present the truth clearly in order to exhort the faithful to stand up in defense of the fullness of the splendor of Truth Incarnate regardless of the electoral consequences.
We live in a country founded on principles that are antithetical to Catholic social teaching. The United States of America was founded by men who specifically rejected the patrimony of the Middle Ages (see, for example, James Madison's The Federalist, Number One). That is, the men who were the inheritors of the wreckage known as the Protestant Revolt and the practitioners of Freemasonry believed that it would be possible for men of "good will" to govern themselves in a spirit of comity without regard to the rights of Christ the King and the authority of His true Church. Men simply need to regard each other as brothers and to be "good citizens" on the natural level in order for a society to pursue the common good. Obviously, this concept specifically rejects the necessity of a belief in the Incarnation of the God-Man in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb and His Redemptive Act on the wood of the Holy Cross as essential for the right ordering of individual lives and the establishment of an authentic sense of justice founded in truth in societies. And it rejects the necessity of sanctifying grace as the means by which individuals can rightly order their souls on a daily basis in order to pursue their temporal ends in the midst of the world in light of their eternal destiny as redeemed creatures.
The United States of America, therefore, is founded quite intentionally on the belief that it is possible to build a just society in the framework of religious indifferentism. Civil leaders are answerable to no one except the electorate. This is quite contrary to the situation that obtained in the Middle Ages, a time when civil rulers understood, albeit a little reluctantly at times, that they were just as bound to observe the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law in their exercise of civil authority just as much as they were bound to observe them in their own private lives. The rulers of the Middle Ages understood that the Church herself, either in the person of the Vicar of Christ or a local bishop, had the duty to interpose herself directly in situations where civil rulers proposed to do things - or had indeed done things - contrary to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. They knew that they had to submit themselves to the authority of the Church on matters of faith and morals and on matters of fundamental justice just as Our Lord Himself submitted Himself to the authority of His own creatures, His foster-father and His Blessed Mother, in the Holy Family in Nazareth.
The modern state, of which our nation is a quintessential expression, rejects all of this. No matter the intentions of the men who framed the American Constitution, bad ideas lead to bad consequences. Thus, the political party system that developed in this country in the 1790s has demonstrated quite consistently its inability to deal with grave moral issues precisely because it exists in a framework of religious indifferentism, cultural relativism, and craven political careerism. Most politicians of our two major political parties today know nothing of authentic world history, less yet about their obligation to stand up unapologetically in defense of the totality of Christ's holy truths as they relate to the nature of the state and the subordination of all things in a nation's culture to Him through His holy Church. As a result, you see, career politicians do and say only those things that are politically expedient. This is true of most so-called "pro-life" politicians, most of whom are simply less pro-abortion than out and out pro-aborts, especially in the context of an election, claiming that they are indispensable in the avoidance of a further deterioration of a society that it suffering from a specific rejection of the authority of the true Church as the bulwark of truth.
Our national life, therefore, pleases the devil no end. The adversary, who prowls throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls, runs amok in a culture in which it is believed that public references to the Incarnation and the Sacrifice of Calvary are "inappropriate" and possibly harmful in the retarding of certain social evils. He knows that he cannot be defeated in concrete circumstances in this vale of tears if silence about the Holy Name of Jesus is accepted as a social good and if the intercessory power of Mary Immaculate is considered to be "divisive." Thus, the devil raises up politicians who are so committed to doing his work in the world that anyone else appears to be better. He knows that human beings fear the evil more than they trust in the power of Christ's grace to combat that evil, which is why he is so happy when so-called "imperfect" candidates get nominated for public office. Ultimately, you see, he wins regardless of who gets elected. A candidate who "simply" supports "some" baby-killing supports evil under cover of law. Such a candidate will never work to outlaw all baby-killing in all circumstances, and will, as the history of the past thirty years demonstrates quite clearly, support chemical abortions and special "rights" for sodomites in order to curry favor with the crowd as a means of advancing his craven career interests. There are only a handful of instances in which a politician who supports some abortions has reversed himself to oppose all abortions. Thus, evil continues to be done under cover of law. More and more babies die as good, well-meaning "pro-lifers" hope against hope that the "lesser evil" candidate one day sees the light.
What has happened, however, as a result of embracing the ethos of the "lesser evil" is that evil has become more institutionalized in our culture with each passing year. As I have noted on so many occasions in the past, the more we embrace the so-called "lesser of two evils" strategy, the higher and higher the dose of the so-called "lesser evil" becomes over time. This has resulted in organizations such as the National Right to Life Committee and Priests for Life actually endorsing candidates for office who support abortion on-demand under cover of law. Even the fig leaf of a partial, conditional opposition to a certain form of child-killing in the later stages of pregnancy is no longer a requirement of many so-called pro-life leaders and organizations. Their repeated embrace of bad men and women, people who have done nothing to advance the cause of the sanctity and inviolability of all innocent human life from the moment of fertilization until that of natural death, has emboldened the careerists in the Republican Party to nominate completely pro-abortion candidates in states (such as New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California) where it is believed that it is impossible for a truly pro-life candidate to get elected.
The professional Republican politicians and their consultants are no dummies: they are treating pro-lifers the way that black Americans have been treated by the Democratic Party for years. In essence, Republicans, who are enabled by the likes of Father Frank Pavone and the National Right to Life Committee, are telling pro-lifers, "Shut your mouths and hold your noses. You are not going to 'waste' your vote on any minor party candidate. You are going to accept anyone we give you, and you are not going to care when our candidates confirm pro-abortion judges and other presidential nominees to high office or when they vote to fund Planned Parenthood. You will be satisfied that someone you think is worse than our candidates got defeated. You will sleep through our candidates' term of office and then make war upon anyone in the pro-life movement who reminds you how bad our candidates have been while in office."
Case-in-point: Governor George Pataki of the State of New York. Pataki was the hand-picked choice of then Senator Alfonse D'Amato to be the Republican Party's gubernatorial nominee in the State of New York in 1994. Pataki was advised to drop his nominal "pro-life" stance and become a full-fledged "pro-choice" politician four years before that, in 1990. Indeed, it was Pataki who engineered the removal of a pro-life plank from the New York State Republican Party platform at the party's convention in 1990. Pro-lifers, however, were so eager to be rid of the arrogant and nefarious Governor Mario Matthew Cuomo that they eschewed the Right to Life Party candidate in 1994, Robert Walsh, to support Pataki, believing that he was the "lesser evil" in comparison with Cuomo. Some pro-lifers told me at the time that Pataki wasn't really pro-abortion at all, that he had to say he was in order to win. That raised the interesting specter of supporting a cowardly liar who said one thing in order to get elected while believing another, a proposition condemned in no uncertain terms by Pope Leo XIII in both Immortale Dei and Sapientiae Christianae.
As it turned out, however, Pataki really was pro-abortion after all, which came as no surprise to those of us who knew the reality of the situation at that time. The belief that he was a "lesser evil" and that it would have been a "wasted vote" to support the Right to Life Party candidate turned out to be a hope inspired by self-delusion. Pataki has used his governorship to do everything Cuomo had done, only doing so as a Republican, not a Democrat. He continues to support abortion-on-demand as a legal "right" and has used the bully pulpit of the governorship of the State of New York to denounce pro-life candidates such a the courageous Patrick Joseph Buchanan. He recently signed into a law mandating that all employers in the state provide insurance coverage for contraception for their employees. He has also been in the vanguard of providing special "rights" for homosexuals and lesbians, recently indicating that he would sign a so-called "gay rights" bill if passed by the state legislature. He has campaigned actively for pro-abortion candidates in the Republican Party. All of this is the direct result of the failure of pro-life Catholics in the State of New York to use the forum provided them by the Right to Life Party to punish pro-abortion candidates of both major political parties for their support of the mystical dismemberment of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the person of preborn children in their mothers' wombs.
Career politicians only understand one thing: votes. The more easily and cheaply they get the votes of pro-life voters, the bolder and bolder they get over time. Evil advances by leaps and bounds as a result. Humanly speaking, it will not be until career politicians suffer as a result of their embrace of one evil after another that they will be forced to re-examine and change their ways.
You see, those who posit the "lesser of two evils" argument play right into the hands of the Adversary. In reality, most elections are not about the "lesser of two evils." In most cases, with exceptions in states and districts where ballot access laws make it difficult for minor party candidates to run, voters have a panoply of choices, as they do in the State of New York with the Right to Life Party. We have the moral imperative to vote for the best candidate regardless of his chances to win. If organizations such as Priests for Life exhorted pro-life Catholics to do this, millions would follow. This would force the careerists in the Republican Party to reverse field. The surrender to the career interests of men and women who are the enemies of the Cross of Christ indemnifies the embrace of evil in every aspect of our national life.
Indeed, it is rather ironic that many leftists believe in their leftism more than we believe in our Catholicism. The only reason that George W. Bush won the popular vote in Florida (which he did win, hanging chads or no hanging chads) and was sworn in as this nation's forty-third President on January 20, 2001, is that 95,000 committed leftists voted for Green Party Presidential nominee Ralph Nader. Had just 3,000 of those leftists voted for the Democratic Party presidential nominee in 2000, Albert Arnold Gore would be our president today. Why is it that Catholics lack the courage to support candidates of conscience that nearly three million lefties exhibited in the year 2000?
Admitting that Our Lady can change all of this quite miraculously, it is nevertheless important to see the world clearly through the eyes of the Faith. Not one baby has been saved by anything any presidential administration has done in the past thirty years. All of the excitement about this election and that election, this candidate and that candidate, has done nothing to stop baby-killing, whether by means of surgical or chemical abortions. We have to be as consistent in defense of the truth as the pro-aborts are in defense of the killing of the innocent. Pro-aborts accept no one who puts any restrictions on abortion. Pro-lifers should support no candidate who makes any exceptions to the sanctity of life and who is unwilling to fight the battle of chemical abortions and to end all classroom sex-instruction.
We have gotten nowhere politically in the last thirty years because Catholics do not think and act as Catholics. They do not understand that a loving articulation of the truths of Christ the King during the course of a campaign might do more actual good to effect the conversion of men and women (and thus the right ordering of our nation) than anything that can be done if they got elected to office. They do not understand that such a loving articulation might actually win votes, not lose them. They do not understand that the graces won for us on Calvary are as powerful now to win over peoples and nations as they were during the First Millennium as the barbaric tripes of Europe were being Catholicized.
We must take the fullness of the truths of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into the voting booth, caring not one wit for electoral consequences. Our votes must be cast with a careful eye to the long-term, not with a sense of fear about the short-term. The approach of Father Pavone and Priests for Life will lead one day to the embrace of the pro-abortion Rudolph Giuliani if he gets the Republican nomination for president in 2008. That ugly possibility will be averted, again, humanly speaking, only if we make career politicians pay dearly for their blithe support for the heinous crimes against life, marriage, and the family that are committed every day under cover of law in this nation.
As people of profound Eucharistic piety and total Marian consecration, we invoke the maternal intercession of Our Lady under the title of her Immaculate Conception to help us to be courageous as we cast votes of conscience, votes for which we shall receive an eternal reward.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives