Awkward Catholic

Living my faith as the awkward man of God that I am.


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The Math of Abortion

Let’s take a break from the awkward moments for a bit. Let’s get real here and realize that the world we live in has become so corrupted by sin, i.e. selfishness, that a great many of us can no longer tell the difference between good and evil, much less distinguish between that which is utterly evil and that which, while profound, pales in comparison.

Baby in Utero

What am I talking about? Simply this: any person who thinks that abortion is not the single most important problem facing our nation and world is either fooling themselves or is a fool. The utter moral depravity that compares abortion to economics or gun control is quite simply, unconscionable.

 

There is no argument, no rationale that justifies the killing of an innocent human being in his mother’s womb. None. Nada. Nothing. The very thought of arguing with a person (this happened to me recently) about priorities makes me want to scream and shake them until they wake up. Of course, in normal human discourse, this isn’t an option and moreover rarely ever works.

 

No, I’m not flippantly brushing off the importance of a healthy, just economic system, the right of persons to defend themselves, quality education, or any other issue. Each, in its own right, is urgently important. But, come on! I mean, we’re comparing quality education to ripping a defenseless human being limb from limb who has been proven to feel pain and fights against the torturous instruments of its death. It’s as if we live in 1930’s Nazi Germany and we’re debating the economy all the while the police are rounding up Jews and invalids for extermination. Here’s a scene from “Life Is Beautiful” for an example of what I’m talking about.

Calvin & Economy

I recently read an article from David Andrusko[1] on LifeNews.com where he quoted G.K. Chesterton: “All men matter. You matter. I matter. It’s the hardest thing in theology to believe.” And in this Mr. Chesterton speaks truth. God created the entire universe and yet thought that it wasn’t yet complete until you were in it. Now, that doesn’t just apply to those we deem “wanted” or “worthy.” It applies TO EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING! God, not you, gets to decide who lives and who dies. God gets to decide which souls get created, not you, not me, not Hitler, the abortionist, Donald Trump, or the president of the United States.

 

Each time a new human life comes into existence it is a brand new act of creation. Did you realize that? God doesn’t have a giant gumball machine full of souls up in heaven waiting for couples (or scientists) to join a sperm and egg. Each time he reaches down and intentionally creates a brand new soul that will live for eternity, one whom the world has never before seen, that will never again be repeated in the history of eternity. From this perspective, God’s perspective, which do you think he cares more about… quality education, a good economy, or the life and dignity of the human person?

 

The baby matters because God has willed it into existence– from all eternity he has been contemplating that particular soul and waiting more anxiously than a dad awaits his firstborn son. That baby is wanted–perhaps not by its own mother or father–but is wanted passionately, deeply and eternally. And that baby’s right to life is more urgent than any gun laws or health care laws or immigration laws.

 

And let me just stop you now– you cannot argue against this. Well, you can try, but all you will succeed in doing is proving yourself a fool, or worse, completely oblivious to the reality of evil permeating our society.

[1] http://www.lifenews.com/2016/02/17/why-do-unborn-children-matter-just-because-they-are/


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The Lion in the Middle of the Room

The awkward moment you realize that our society cares more about a famous lion than about innocent babies and their often desperate mothers.

Cecil the Lion

In case you’ve not turned on the news or checked social media in awhile, you might have missed two tragic stories that have been in the news within the last few weeks. The more recent story and the one that’s garnered the lion’s share of attention is the murder of an innocent and famous lion called Cecil. This lion was hunted and slaughtered by a seemingly narcissistic dentist from the US. He has subsequently been hunted himself by the media and animal rights advocates and his life is in shambles.

The other piece of news, the one you’re more likely to have missed is the one about clandestine videos made of unaware representatives of Planned Parenthood who were led into a trap by an anti-abortion organization which bent on destroying the worldwide provider of so-called “women’s health”. The videos, three of them have been released up to this point, show the high up representatives of PP casually discussing their business practices of selling aborted baby parts and one even shows the dismembered and shambled remains of one of these babies.

PP

Both of these stories are tragic. Both of these stories deal with the death of innocence to inhuman aggression and selfish destruction. But these stories are not equal, not even remotely! All life is sacred, from the crown of creation (humanity) to the tiniest amoeba, but not all life is equal. That which is made in the image and likeness of God, and that alone is truly incalculable. And yet our society and media are in more of an outrage against a lion killer than an organization responsible for the murder of more innocent human beings than any other organization in history.

Also in the news this week is the trial of a woman who foolishly called in threats to an abortion clinic. Yet those who have been calling in threats on the life of the dentist are pretty much assured safety and forgiveness. Something’s wrong with a society that values the life of a lion more than the lives of millions of innocent babies and millions of mothers and fathers who tragically made a bad decision. All of the above deserve our forgiveness and mercy. But I wonder if we, as a nation and world, will be able to stand before our God and look him in the eye and dare ask for his welcoming embrace when we’ve shared more images of a dead lion than of the murdered babies.

I would wager to say that the heartless act of the lion killing dentist is a direct result of a culture that places little value on life and respect for creation at any level. As Pope Francis so eloquently pointed out in his encyclical Laudato Si!, all of creation is good and beautiful and deserving of our respect and protection, especially the most vulnerable aspects of creation. And last I looked a fully grown lion has some pretty formidable defenses.

But what’s been on my heart even more is the fact that in the 40+ years that abortion has been legal in our country, countless women have died, innumerable stories of the evil of abortion have surfaced and this is not even remotely the first video that “The Center for Medical Progress” has released highlighting the inhuman and evil practices Planned Parenthood engages in. Yet, it is only now that our country seems to be waking up to the evil that is Planned Parenthood and abortion. The selling of aborted baby body parts is deplorable but pales in comparison to the murder of the babies in the first place! Those that are up in arms over the revelations made in the recent videos are a kind of missing the point, don’t you think?


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Air Quotes and Babies

There’s that awkward moment when you’re ‘discussing’ the hot topic of marriage with a gay ‘marriage’ proponent and you realize that he has no idea what you’re talking about and it dawns on you that except for divine intervention there’s no hope of you ever coming to an understanding of each other.

Dog fight

The other day I was eating dinner with my family and found myself making air-quotes while talking to my six year old son. He didn’t even respond or ask what I was doing with my fingers. It meant absolutely nothing to him, so much so that it didn’t even register. To him, I was just ‘talking with my hands’. Because of him not understanding the air-quotes everything I said was misunderstood by him.

This, in a nutshell, is why I believe most people today, including many Christians don’t understand the Church’s teaching on a whole range of issues that are troubling our world such as gay ‘marriage’, contraception, abortion, the permanence of the family, education, parents’ rights, etc. Ultimately, a majority of those who promote these family /society destroying things like gay ‘marriage’ or abortion have lost an understanding of what marriage is meant to be, or rather, they no longer have the capacity to comprehend the true purpose of marriage and family; they are much like my six year old who simply lacks the ability to comprehend air quotes. (1)

What is it they can’t understand? Simply this: the purpose of marriage is babies. Why can’t they understand this? Because many years ago the Anglican church accepted contraception as morally acceptable and a super-sonic slide into the destruction of the family took place where babies were divorced from marriage. Marriage is now seen as an agreement between two persons to spend time together and share their lives as long as it is mutually beneficial. There is no deeper purpose to marriage. And if this is true, that marriage was meant to be a mere emotional, financial or spiritual bond between two persons then who could justly prevent gay ‘marriage’?

But fortunately for us and our world, God has a much deeper meaning and purpose for Wedding Ringsmarriage and the family. At its core marriage is the greatest experience a person can have of God. It is the only apt analogy of the Trinitarian life: two distinct persons are united as one in love and that love expresses itself as a 3rd distinct and equal person, fully united to the other two.  The bonding between husband and wife is not the goal but rather, the only proper means of achieving the goal… the sharing of life-giving love.

Unfortunately, our society no longer has the capacity for this life-giving truth. We live in a culture of leisure (2), of the rugged-individualist’s pursuit of self-satisfaction – which is not the same as self-fulfillment. (3) Our culture is all about the individual “sucking the marrow out of life” for his own satisfaction. Pornography is prime example of this, where one uses and abuses another, sucking the life and dignity out of him/her for one’s own satisfaction.

Even when one steeped in our culture does manage to find an altruistic, self-giving spirit, it most often ends up trying to help others find the same self-satisfaction. But if we truly love others, we need to learn to look beyond their immediate self-satisfaction, towards their deeper fulfillment. And as experience and married life have taught me, true fulfillment can only be achieved in the giving of one’s life for another… self-sacrificial love… babies.

Mother and Child

If people truly loved Bruce Jenner they would not encourage him to get a sex change (which is impossible because he still has XY chromosomes) but they would seek to help him find healing and wholeness as God created him to be. If a person truly loves her homosexual cousin they wouldn’t encourage him to pursue a life of mere self-satisfaction. If a friend truly loves a young woman with an unexpected pregnancy, he wouldn’t encourage an abortion out of fear of a ruined life, of never being able to achieve that self-satisfaction, but rather, would care for her body and soul and for the body and soul of her child.

But as I said earlier, this deeper understanding of the person, of marriage and of love is beyond most people in our culture and so dialogue most often fails. The answer is not to argue louder but to love better; to witness to the Truth with our lives and marriages; to have babies and raise them with the understanding of this Truth. Then one day society will re-develop the ability to understand, much like my six year old will eventually develop the ability to understand air quotes.

Finally, remember that no matter how far our society falls, the family and the Church are divine institutions. They will never fail, they will never be undone. The family and the Church will always survive and march towards ultimate victory through the grace of God.

  1. The gay ‘marriage’ lobby, media and others are intentionally skewing the argument, but most ordinary, well-meaning people are well-intentioned but lack the ability to understand.
  1. My major in college was “Recreation and Leisure Services and Studies”.
  1. In the sense used here, “self-satisfaction” is a transitory, satisfied feeling, much like when a person feels full from eating. Self-fulfillment on the other hand means the experience of the fullness of life, completeness.