Sign #2398472 That our Voting Is Informed by Something Other Than the Church’s Teaching

…is the fact that we could ever have arrived at the categories of “Social Justice” versus “Prolife” Catholics.  Pure heresy, pitting one aspect of the Church’s teaching against another as though they are opposites.  No Catholic who believes and understands the Church’s teaching should, for one second, allow  him or herself to be stampeded into making a choice between the two any more than they should let themselves be stampeded into choosing between the persons of the Trinity, the humanity “versus” the deity of Jesus, God’s sovereignty “versus” free will, the sinlessness of Jesus “versus” the sinlessness of Mary or any of the rest of the whole weave ecological system that is the body of Catholic teaching.  No prolife Catholic can oppose the Church’s social teaching and no proponent of the Church’s social teaching can do anything but recognize that we can never deliberaterly destroy innocent human life.

  • rachel

    well said Mark!

  • quasimodo

    Some parish social justice committees seem to be little more than an extension of a political party rather than promoters of the Church’s actual social justice teaching. Hence the conflict.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Some parish pro-life committees seem to be little more than an extension of a political party rather than promoters of the Church’s actual pro-life teaching. Hence the conflict.

  • Stephen J.

    Part of the problem is the degree to which we have all been infected by politically poisoned faux-Freudian psychology and a spirit of bad faith, when it comes to making decisions about how best to commit our time and resources; for while there is no philosophical opposition in the *teachings* of social justice or pro-life, the plain fact is that there are only so many people and so much time in a day in any given parish, diocese or even nation, and so inevitably decisions must be made about priority of allocations — decisions that will disappoint someone who disagrees about which is more important *at the moment*, or that will frustrate someone who disagrees with a particular *solution* to a Church calling without disagreeing for a moment with the calling itself.

    Yet thanks to that bad-faith faux-Freudianism, it is becoming harder and harder even within the Church to believe that a criticism of means is not secretly, or “semi-consciously”, an objection to ends, or that a disagreement about temporary practical emphasis is not “really” a claim of objective greater moral priority, and a tacit condemnation of the other side for its moral presumption. And we are cheerfully encouraged to this by the Devil and our own pride, both of which are happy to see us think something so urgent that we are unwilling to trust in God to see it work out.

    • kmk

      Well said, and thanks for the reminder. I think it is wise, in the end, when introducing projects, etc, for any good cause, to let the buck stop with the pastor or bishop (unless of course there is something seriously wrong). If they do not want to make your particular idea a priority, then they will be answerable to the Lord one way or another, and us laypersons have to accept that there may be other things we don’t know about which affect his decision. I have seen so many times that, in the end, the HOly Spirit will make happen what He knows needs to happen, whether we are an intimate part of the situation or not, and it is very good that it did not happen the way we originally evisioned.

  • Tom

    St. Paul said this in 1 Corinthians (divisions in the Church between followers of Paul and Apollo) back in the 50′s A.D. We really have never learned, have we?

  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    I remember reading several decades ago something Dorothy Day wrote in the Catholic Worker, very simply combining “social justice” and “pro-life”:
“Make room for children; don’t do away with them.”

  • Chris M

    Pro-Life & Social Justice.. They keep using those words.. I do not think they mean what they think they mean.

  • http://2catholicmen.blogspot.com/2011/10/pro-life-or-social-justice.html Ben @ Two Men

    My blog partner once did a good post about this false-dichotomy. Click my name if interested.

  • Ted Seeber

    I was originally solidly in the social justice camp. It was my work in neurodiversity with the autistic community that brought me around to being pro-life. That, and realizing that a bad childhood is better than no childhood.

  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

    The conflict in the article seems to be whether an illegal alien should qualify for state aid for pregnant people. Instead of doing convoluted hypotheticals, perhaps picking out a different solution might serve better?

    I’ll go first. Emit the check for state aid, along with a plane ticket, to be made available when she clears customs at home. Offer withdrawn if she doesn’t obey the law, exceptions to be made for non-economic migrants.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Perhaps you should review what the Church has to say about the free movement of peoples.

  • caroline

    I grew up with plain old justice and plain old charity. And then along came social justice and plain old justice and plain old charity were eclipsed. Even dissed. I got lost long ago.

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      *raises a toast to caroline*

      I had a similar epiphany when I was listening to a talk by Milton Friedman and he said something to the effect of “corporations don’t pay taxes, only people, individuals, can pay taxes”. It has struck me similar to this. Societies can’t be “just” or “charitable”. Only people, us as individuals, can be just and charitable.

      Or to quote Lewis:

      “It was not for societies or states that Christ died, but for men. In that sense Christianity must seem to secular collectivists to involve an almost frantic assertion of individuality. But then it is not the individual as such who will share Christ’s victory over death. We shall share in being in the Victor.”

      Heh, and now I find another quote we could probably all do more to study:

      “A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about digestion: the subject may be fatal cowardice for the one as for the other. But if either comes t o regard it as the natural food of the mind—if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else—then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease.”

      • Stephen J.

        This is a rephrasing of something I’ve come to call the Crusader’s Temptation: “Anyone who dedicates themselves too unreservedly to struggling for a particular Cause, no matter what that Cause may be, will eventually come to see the struggle as more important and/or interesting for its own sake than the Cause for which it was undertaken.”

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Quite. I might also call that the “political temptation” for obvious reasons. ;)

      • J. H. M. Ortiz

        Since the internal “operative habitus” of charity is in the heart (strictly speaking, in the human “will”), and since a society as such has no heart, it’s indeed clear that ‘[s]ocieties can’t be … “charitable”’. But justice, on the other hand, concerned as it is with relations between persons, has definitely an external and objective dimension; so a society, even as such, can be more just or less; more unjust or less.


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