Catholics and Abortion: Why We Must Vote Pro-Life

Abortion is a hideous stain upon the character of the United States of America. Our once great nation has been supplanted by a culture of death, where regard for the sanctity and value of human life cannot be found. For more than 40 years, lawmakers have been incapable of overriding the Supreme Court’s flawed decision to legalize murder. The result, of course, has been one of the greatest genocides in human history, with the destruction of nearly 60 million lives to date. A nation that was once a symbol of freedom for the rest of the world now denies the most fundamental human right to its unborn citizens.

In the face of such evil, the duty to uphold the God-given right to life falls squarely upon the shoulders of morally upstanding citizens. In order to end the inhuman slaughter of the innocents, someone must act as their voice. That someone is you.

Thankfully, in America, the means do exist for the pro-life cause to prevail. In fact, there has been considerable progress since 2010, with many states vastly increasing abortion restrictions. If the date sounds insignificant, look closer. 2010 was the year that Republicans, most of whom are pro-life, began winning elections in droves. The direct consequence of electing pro-life candidates has been the institution of increasingly pro-life laws.

Just as pro-life politicians have been instrumental in the incremental steps toward an abortion-free society, liberal pro-abortion candidates have been key in fighting them every step of the way. In 2003, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was overwhelmingly opposed by Democrats, with only a few exceptions, but was passed and signed into law by a pro-life President Bush and a Republican majority. In fact, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood for one year, but President Obama has vowed to veto the bill. As seen by the election of Barack Obama, a pro-abortion candidate will not improve this nation as far as the right to life is concerned. History has shown this to be invariably true.

Often, many Catholics lose sight of the importance of ending abortion. Abolishing the barbaric practice should be the single most important goal of any freedom loving individual, especially Catholics. Because the right to life is, “the first right, upon which all others are based,” according to Pope St. John Paul II, it is of paramount importance for all Catholics to ensure that they vote for candidates that will work to achieve this goal of a pro-life society. As such, it is morally reprehensible for a Catholic to vote for candidates who love and support infanticide. Abortion is a disqualifying issue for Catholic voters, especially in Presidential and Congressional elections.

A Rebuttal to Dissenters

These are just a few of the arguments that have been used by Catholics to justify voting for candidates that want to ensure the murder of infants will remain legal in the United States:

What if I think a pro-choice candidate is better at helping the poor?

In response, I would Like to provide you with a quote from the post synodal apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici, by Pope St. John Paul II, which states, “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

In other words, the pro-abortion politician’s claims to care about the poor or underprivileged are patently false because they lack respect for human life in the first place. Even the poor and underprivileged have been given that basic right which the unborn have been denied access to.

While the gravity of abortion is something only God can truly comprehend, be assured that your feelings regarding the matter have no bearing on the reality of the situation. It is absolutely, unequivocally, and undeniably more important to the pro-life cause to stop the murder of unborn children than to cater to one’s own political ideologies. If this right cannot be procured for them, it cannot be guaranteed to anyone. It is a fact that pro-life politicians are working toward this goal, just as it is a fact that pro-abortion politicians are working against it. A Catholic’s power to vote pro-life politicians into office is one of the most effective legal ways to affect meaningful change for this nation. Using that power to vote for a pro-abortion candidate is to willingly support and enable the legislative, executive, or judicial acts of that individual, making you complicit in the act abortion. It is sinful.

We’re already complicit in abortion because our tax dollars fund Planned Parenthood. So why does it matter if we vote for pro-choice politicians?

This is not a valid way to approach the issue. In fact, this kind of mindset is a dangerous and defeatist point of view; one which denies the ability of ever uprooting the problem. First of all, all citizens are required to pay taxes. This is not a willing participation in the act of abortion. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say on the matter of taxes:

“Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country” – CCC, 2240

A remote material cooperation, that is only brought about by a citizen’s moral obligation to pay taxes, is not morally equivalent to willingly supporting a candidate whose actions in government will most likely end in the advancement of a pro-abortion agenda. Therefore, it matters. It matters greatly. The fact that pro-life congressmen are currently fighting to remove such federal funding for abortion providers is proof that this power to vote matters infinitely.

If I oppose a candidate’s pro-choice stance, but support his views on other important matters, doesn’t that constitute remote material cooperation?

An article from Priests for Life, by then Cardinal Ratzinger, says the following:

[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]

Often, this quote is erroneously used as a proof that one can vote for pro-abortion politicians if they believe other issues to be of greater importance or “proportion.” However, the full context of the article reveals that the issue is not so simple:

2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

In reality, there is no matter more grave than the evils of abortion or euthanasia. While helping the poor, war strategies, healthcare reform, immigration, and other issues are all important, not one of them is of equal moral proportion to the issues of abortion or euthanasia. In each of those other issues, there is legitimate disagreement on what the moral decision would be. In fact, there is no moral consensus among Catholics for most of those issues. In the case of abortion, however, the Church always has and always will abhor the practice of abortion. Because there is no matter of equal or greater importance than the fundamental right to life, it is unconscionable to vote for a pro-choice politician.

What if all of the candidates are pro-choice? Does that mean I’m not allowed to vote?

In short, this would be a circumstance in which you could vote for the lesser of two evils. You can find out more about this here.

Conclusion

This is an issue that has been nagging at me for weeks, and I am glad to have finally been able to sit down and start writing about it. I hope this clears up any questions you may have about the Catholic’s moral obligation to uphold the rights of the unborn children in America. Above all, pray for Holy Innocents, pray for our leaders in Washington, and Pray for the United States of America. This country needs it.

Cheers, guys.

-Catholic Revival

America’s Holocaust

A human being, still breathing,
Is called a lump of cells.
A tiny heart, still beating
Is prepped for them to sell.

A beautiful, precious child,
Is defined as less than life,
Until they need his organs,
Well, then they grab the knife.

The selfishness and callousness
Of all who genuflect
At the altar of self interest
Requires that we reflect:

The Holocaust took millions,
Robbed many of happy lives,
But it was in compliance
With the Nazis’ legal lies.

They claimed that Jews weren’t human,
Or, at least, not all the way.
They then made murder legal
For men like Mengele.

Mengele, the angel of death,
With the title of physician,
Made awful human experiments
And torture his main mission.

But his actions were all legal;
Mengele followed the law.
The law said Jews weren’t human,
So Mengele picked up his saw.

Nazis had abortion clinics,
Only slightly different from now.
You may have even heard their names:
Dachau, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

While the Nazis sought “pure bloodlines,”
And robbed Jews of a voice,
Americans seek convenience,
While screaming, “My body, my choice.”

The arguments have surely changed,
The tools are even different.
Mengele traded gas chambers,
For forceps and a clinic.

We must stand up for those
Who don’t have their own voice
We must protect the innocents
Who were never given a choice.

America is in the midst
Of a horrific Holocaust.
It’s worse than all before it,
And only God can count the cost.

Americans have become complacent in the face of abortion. They have been so desensitized to the brutality of abortion that even video evidence of the unborn childrens’ parts being sold for profit and experimentation won’t shake their sleeping conciences into a state of awareness.

The greatest Holocaust in human history is unfolding in our very midst, and we cannot sit idly by. Above all, fast and pray for these unborn children and their parents. Also pray for the conversions of the abortion providers and pro-abortion politicians. Prayer is the Catholic’s most powerful tool; use it frequently. Additionally, consider attending pro-life rallies and signing pro-life petitions. All of these things aid fellow pro-lifers in the war against the inhumane practice of abortion.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Do not be complicit in the evil of abortion. Fight it with all of your will, and in any way that you can. Do not bear the shame of a nation.

Pax.

-Catholic Revival

The Cult of False Kindness

In an era of unchecked and unchallenged political correctness, young Christians have fallen victim to a cult of false kindness. The cheap and useless form of Christianity that emerged as a result claims that Millennial Christians are never to directly address the evils that ail society. In a selective approach to the Gospel, the PC Christian brigade would have humanity blindly stumble through the brambles of iniquity and filth provided by society, whilst Christians attempt to telepathically imply an indirect and non-offensive path to redemption.

“It’s about kindness,” they confidently say.

“Jesus dined with sinners,” they quip, reveling in their cleverness. “He even used parables to avoid directly addressing issues and to ensure He didn’t offend anyone.”

If that version of Christianity sounds ridiculous, that’s only because it is. The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid offending people. The purpose of Christianity is to bring the Light of Christ to the world. Sure, that Light will be offensive to those who have been steeped in darkness for so long, but that doesn’t mean they should be hidden from the Light.

Our duty as Christians is not to be nice to everyone. In fact, we are called to go a step further, into territory that can be uncomfortable and difficult. Instead of mere niceness, that superficial attempt at avoiding conflict, we are called to Charity. Charity is so much more than merely being nice. Charity is, in essence, to will the good of another. It is what allows us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us.

In short, if society is offended by Truth itself, then society needs to be offended. Jesus showed this to be true throughout the Gospels. Contrary to the squishy beliefs of many, Jesus’ parables were used to directly address the evils of men, as well as to illustrate certain truths about God and humanity, many of which offended the Jews. If our Almighty and All-Knowing God truly desired to avoid offending people, He could have done so. The fact that he opted to bring people an offensive Truth, and even undergo crucifixion as a result of that Truth, is quite telling. Perhaps it would be best for Christians to begin following His example once again.

Be bravely, boldly, and unapologetically Catholic at all times. Charity precludes the appeasement of evil, just as avoiding offense at any cost often precludes Charity. Some people need an offensive piece of the Truth to shock their sleeping consciences out of complacence with evil. It would be uncharitable of Christians to allow society to continue its trek to perdition without as much as a warning of its sin.

Pax.

-Catholic Revival

A Leap of Faith

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To kick off the Esto Vir Blog, it was decided that each of us would write about one of the Sacraments. Since I am rather slow at checking my phone, I managed to miss out on Reconciliation, Confirmation, and Baptism… But it turned out to be a good thing.

I’ve decided to tackle the issue of discernment, in regards to young men considering the priesthood. It’s a topic that I’ve had a fair amount of personal experience in, and one I am getting ready to to take a big leap of faith for. As such, I would like to explain my discernment journey thus far.

When I was a young child, my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Expecting to hear the kinds of answers my older brother had given, like firefighter or superhero, she was a bit surprised by my answer, as I suspect any parent would be. I told her that I wanted to be Pope Peter II. And yes, according to my mom, from whom I learned of this, I actually said the name Peter II as well.

Now, I will readily admit that I have no real memory of this conversation transpiring, nor do I find it to be anything more than anecdotal. And yet, as far back as I can remember, I’ve possessed a sense of certainty regarding my vocation. Up until my early teen years, I believed wholeheartedly that I would become a priest. Nothing brought me more joy than thinking about how I could serve the Lord through the priesthood. I volunteered to be an altar boy at every Mass, and enjoyed every minute of it. But something changed.

As I got further into my teens, especially as I became more interested in girls, fear began to creep into my mind. Having come from a very large family, the idea of being celibate, as well as the idea of never having children of my own, was terrifying. How could I be happy if I am to be alone? What could possibly be good about a life as lonely as priesthood?

After years of being a mediocre Catholic, and even dating a non-Catholic for two years, I was getting good at ignoring that voice that insisted I would become a priest. What was once a loud reminder of the priesthood faded to a whisper. In the loudness of the world, whispers are much easier to block out. Before long, I had even convinced myself that I could pick marriage over the priesthood, as if desire for the vocation has any bearing on the reality of vocations. Awhile after the relationship ended with my ex, however, the voice began its resurgence. Consequently, I began to feel angry.

“Why won’t this go away?” I would ask myself. I knew I didn’t want to be a priest; I knew I wanted to get married and have kids. “So many other people are so happy with such a beautiful vocation, why should I be the one who has to become a priest?”

No matter how hard I tried to run, I could not escape the feeling of some kind of pre-destination to the priesthood, and it was enraging.

Then, during the period of my life where my frustration was at its peak, I read a quote by C.S. Lewis that struck me. The quote, from The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, is as follows:

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Even though I much prefer mountains to the sea, this quote allowed me to begin recognizing the extent of my folly. I have been arrogant in thinking that I know more about what will make me happy than Him who created me. If God created me for a purpose, then it would be best for me to pursue that purpose. What He offers is happiness I cannot imagine; this has not changed. I am still unable to comprehend the joy that the priesthood may have to offer, especially in a post-Christian society. It is still hard for me to understand how I could ever be truly happy without a wife and children of my own in the future. But faith is not about believing only what we can see and understand. True faith requires us to leap into the unknown, and trust that the Arms of the Redeemer will be there to catch us.

Pope Saint John Paul II stated, quite eloquently, the explanation for that voice of which I spoke.

It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.

So, for any young men who are also discerning the priesthood, I have one message: Be not afraid. Take a leap of Faith. If you are looking for a sign, this is it. Boldly pursue that purpose for which you were created. Esto vir.

Cheers, guys.

-Catholic Revival

A Father’s Day Post

For me, Father’s Day is not about my birth father, who I have neither seen nor heard from since I was a child, but about my Dad; the man who raised me. This day allows me to further reflect upon the vast love and selflessness it must have required for him to wed a single mother with three young children, and then raise those children as his own. He adopted my siblings and I, allowing us to take his last name. He showed us what having a father is supposed to be like, even in the wake of an abandonment by an alcoholic biological father. 

My dad taught me everything I know about being a man. By his hard work, he instilled in me a powerful work ethic, and procured for me a strong education. He has supported me in my academic efforts and encouraged any of my other endeavors. He has lovingly admonished me in my failings, and supported me in my successes. 

Above all, my dad has taught me an extremely important truth about family; namely, that a biological link is the least important aspect of family life. So, while I pray that my biological father finds redemption from his demons, today is not for him. He is not my father. Today, I thank God for sending my family the man who, by love and example, made me the person I am today. 
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads out there! (Especially our priests!)

Cheers, guys.

-Jake 

An Inconvenient Truth (Game of Thrones is Pornography)

Game of Thrones is porn.

“Oh, quit being so sensitive/immature/puritanical. It has gratuitous sex scenes, but that’s not porn. The sex scenes aren’t real anyway.”

I would now like to direct you to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2354):

2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

Oh… Well, it looks like the Catechism is crystal clear in its definition of porn: real or simulated sex displayed to a third party. There is simply no room to argue the point, if you’re Catholic. Game of Thrones contains porn. For some, the argument ends here, and they simply stop watching Game of Thrones.

Still, many people I speak with, including good Catholics, feel the urge to point out that they, “don’t watch the show for the sex.” Or say, as if to justify viewing the program, “The story is just so amazing!” I am perfectly willing to accept those explanations. I don’t accuse anyone of actually seeking out porn when watching Game of Thrones, although I’m sure that happens with some people. But using a good storyline as an excuse to watch a TV show that contains pornography is morally equivalent to viewing a Playboy magazine because of a genuine interest in the articles. It is still wrong. Just as the person reading the Playboy is still supporting pornography by viewing a pornographic magazine, so too are viewers of Game of Thrones supporting pornography on film by willingly watching it.

Now, there are many people who will undoubtedly attempt to refute this article by saying, “Oh, so that means any R-rated movie with sex scenes is porn?!”

Yes. Actually, that’s exactly what that means. Sure, they can proceed to split hairs and claim that there is a difference between something that IS porn and something that merely contains porn. But does that matter? Is that the way Christians should approach virtues like Chastity? I don’t believe so. We should be pursuing Chastity with fervor, not dancing on the line between lust and purity just to catch an interesting movie. If we’re not fully pursuing Chastity, then we’re walking on the edge of a cliff. While nobody intends to fall, one false step is all it takes to send us tumbling over the edge of the precipice and into grave sin. And due to the escalating nature of sexual sins, the way back up can be incredibly difficult.

The solution goes without saying: Catholics need to stop watching shows and movies with porn, like Game of Thrones. Will it be easy? In our sex-obsessed society, I daresay it won’t. Nearly every facet of the entertainment industry is tainted with some form of pornography, and many Catholics don’t even realize how prevalent the issue is. In fact, the task will likely be very difficult. But Jesus never promised us that the path to Heaven would be easy or comfortable; He promised us that it would be worth it.

Pax.

Beauty

Preference is not beauty
Just as opinion is not truth
Reality is not defined
By a madman’s point of view

If beauty is the sun
But man abhors the light
His preference does not mean
That beauty becomes the night

A standard must exist
By which all beauty is measured
As truth must be objective
And goodness must be treasured

If beauty is attraction
Defined by predilection
Then ugliness and beauty
Are meaningless contradictions

Do not be duped by those
Who see through clouded eyes
While proffering false beauty
Through chaotic cubes and lines

For Goodness, Beauty and Truth
Are realities too vast to find
In the splatters on a canvas
Or the opinions of you and I