I reckon myself Catholic these days but no longer identify with what is commonly called the “prolife movement” since that movement primarily exists to use the unborn as human shields for a host of evils it really exists to defend. I am happy to make common cause with people who espouse a consistent life ethic. I still, as a Catholic, believe that life is sacred from conception to natural death (unlike the bulk of the prolife movement.)
That’s why I don’t identify as belonging to the prolife movement. Mostly the mainstream prolife movement is a giant effort to a) defend concentration camps or deporting troops who have risked their lives for us (or whatever other shit the GOP pushes this week) and b) demand people who do not hold the Christian faith live by Christian morals and seek salvation through the law not through Jesus Christ. It has become a massive perversion of the Faith.
No. Really. Here, for instance, is Fr. Frank Pavone’s Grift Machine fully absorbed in making war on the Church’s actual teaching. Note his use of the unborn as human shields for the kidnapping, torture and hostage-taking of innocent children:
Note his lies about the documented abuse of children:
Note his lies in defense of kidnapping:
Note in all of this his obscene insistence on pitting the unborn against the children whose kidnapping and torture he passionately supports, as though it is impossible to do anything to oppose their kidnapping and torture until abortion is magicked away. Note that the one and only practical result his lies achieve is not the end of abortion, but the eternal prolongation of the policies of child kidnapping and torture instituted by his real master Donald Trump.
The American Christianist gospel which people like Fr. Pavone defend instead of the Catholic faith is a system of salvation by law, precisely what St. Paul reminds us is utterly impossible. Jesus’ whole point in the Sermon on the Mount is that the law, while essential as a diagnostic in discovering what is wrong with us, is useless in healing us. It’s like an x-ray machine: it tells you where the broken bones in the soul are but once it has done that, its work is finished. More x-rays will not heal you. Only Christ can do that. The Americanist gospel tells you that if you are a good Republican who keeps up appearances, hates the right people, loves the right slogans, makes a certain income, rubs his Precious Feet pin and attends the right parties, you shall be saved and are free to do any amount of evil. A nice veneer of respectable Christian piety, art, and music is recommended, but if you prefer gun memes, eagles, military imagery or references to the right sort of pop culture, you’ll fit in too as a sort of Righteous Pagan.
The actual gospel, meanwhile, says that no amount of keeping any law, divine or merely human, will save you. Only Jesus Christ, working by his Spirit to transform us into his image and make us creatures who love God and our neighbor as ourselves can do that. If we are obedient to him we will, by his Spirit, obey the law to love God and neighbor. If we are stubbornly defending concentration camps for children we are not obeying him. And if we are focused on the project of forcing other people to obey little systems of shibboleths and rules in order to achieve salvation, we are not living out the gospel, but some system of legalism.