Once upon a time, I wrote a piece about “Truth Cancer“: the odd way heresies have of mutating into their opposites.
So, for instance, 17th century New England Calvinism, so passionate about the glory of God the Father, mutated into Boston Unitarianism, which is skeptical about the very existence of God and horrified at the patriarchy of calling God “Father”.
Similarly, Arianism (likewise so obsessed with the glory of God that Father that it denied the deity of the Son and the Spirit in its monomania) mutated into semi-Arianism and finally ended with Julian the Apostate trying to return to polytheism.
Communism started with the exaltation of the Little Guy and ended with the mass murder of the little guy.
Libertarianism promises individual freedom and ends with Rand Paul siding with an authoritarian Mob Boss.
And now, the “prolife” heresy has led to the spectacle of “prolife” Catholics cheering wildly as a white guy chops into the womb of a brown woman to kill the child there and maim the woman. It’s a fitting image to illustrate how the “prolife” Republican Rite heresy at war with the Church, one peculiarly revealing of the actual priorities of the amalgam of fake “Tradition” and white ethnonationalism that is the real religion of MAGA/Bolsonaro “prolife” Reactionaries.
I know. I know. This is valiant Cristeros standing up to idolatry! Heroic Maccabees defying the Bergoglian Antichrist! St. Boniface Redivivus fighting to save the Church from the insidious pagans!
Except none of that is true. What is true, as we saw in this series here, here, here, here, and here is that Amazonian Catholics who reverence Our Lady of the Amazon and who are being shot and burnt off their land and seeking pastoral care and sacraments were viciously insulted by bigots who refuse to distinguish between European aesthetics and the gospel and who baselessly declared them to be pagan idolators. These Reactionary bigots, blind to everything but their own precious posing in the mirror, malignantly spat in the face of Our Lady and the least of these while, as ever, telling themselves they are the real martyrs and victims.
The way these bullies consistently work, whether it is to defend insulting Amazonian Catholics, or cheering for child separation and denial of vaccines to refugee children in concentration camps, or hailing the poisoning of water out of mindless spite, or applauding a white supremacist bigot like Stephen Miller, or claiming that the pope is the antichrist, or lying to defend the Racist in Chief, or any of the other lies, crimes and sin they avidly back, is to shout “But abortion!” as the universal solvent for all the evils they love. That’s why they were adding insult to injury with the stupid insinuation that Francis is somehow trying to make child sacrifice acceptable. The logic of the monomaniac “prolife” sectarian is that anybody they hate–including the pope–is somehow guilty of supporting abortion or even ritual child sacrifice while, conversely, opposition to abortion absolves themselves of all sin.
That is why I said (picking my words very carefully) that, “The animating monomaniac idea driving the MAGA/Bolsonaro Catholics is the sanctity of unborn human life. And it has led them to become the biggest the enemies of the Church–and of human life–in the Church.”
And it is why a spectacularly un-self-aware reader who has spent many hours in my comboxes defending every filthy slander leveled against Amazonian Catholics immediately retorted (as if to illustrate precisely my point):
LOL! The pro-lifers, who selflessly sacrifice, and fight to prevent the murder of millions of unborn babies who God willed into life, and who they find precious and filled with dignity, are heretics? You told them recently to stick to prolife activities, now you lambaste them for following that as a large part of their life’s mission? Which they fit in while working, raising families, volunteering at their kids’ schools, working at Church fundraisers, giving to the Church, attending all the other events of life? It’s not the ones who villify pro-lifers who are the heretics? Hmm, I see–NOT. Wowee!
Note that I never said “all pro-lifers” (which I would not do since I am pro-life). I said “MAGA/Bolsonaro Catholics”. But my reader was deaf to that because he has turned his mon0maniac obsession with “prolife” rhetoric into an a cancerous ideology at war with the rest of the Tradition and with all human life standing in the way of MAGA/Bolsonaro Right Wingery.
And that is the mark of heresy, as we discussed yesterday. It is one thing to call the life of the unborn precious and related to the sanctity of all other forms of human life. It is even perfectly acceptable to prioritize defense of the unborn and focus your energies there. Catholic life has all sorts of room for specialization. So Dominicans focus on preaching while Carthusians focus on the contemplative life. They don’t fight. They complement each other. The eye and the hand are both necessary to the body.But MAGA/Bolsonaro “prolife” ideologues are at war with the body. That is why my reader pretends that being “prolife” excuses his defamation of Amazonian Catholics and his insults to “Bad Pope Francis.” It is why Reactionaries routinely lie that a Whole Life Ethic really means this (falsely attributed, for the umpteenth time, to me by some very charming people on Facebook):
But in fact, the only people indulging the despicable lie that the unborn are the opposite of all the other forms of human life the Cult of Trump wants to imprison, rob, harm, sexually assault and kill is the MAGA “prolifer” himself–whose constant habit is to use accusation as a form of confession.
Here’s reality: Actual Catholic teaching relates the sanctity of unborn human life to the sanctity of all other human life while the heresy opposes the sanctity of human life to all forms of human life inconvenient to the heretic. What the author of that invented quote really means is not “The Whole Life Ethic says ‘F*ck the unborn'” but that he himself says, “F*ck the migrants.”
That’s the core distinction between a sane Catholic ethic of life and the Freak Show so much of the “prolife” movement has become in its war on the Holy Father and the Magisterium and its insane attachment to the Cult of Trump.
A healthy Catholic Whole Life Ethic relates the unborn to all other forms of endangered human life. The Freak Show opposes the unborn to all forms of human life the MAGA Cult wants to rob, degrade, harm, insult, and kill.
A healthy whole life ethic saves the unborn and the born from conception to natural death. The Freak Show lies that “we need to focus on the unborn” but in actual fact devotes its energies and time to defending every disgusting thing Trump and his Cult do, whether it’s kidnapping children, deporting vets, destroying DACA, murdering refugees, betraying Kurds, helping Yemeni genocide by the Saudis, or committing treason. That’s where the real energy goes, not “focusing on abortion.” That’s why my reader spent countless hours, not defending the unborn in my comboxes, but pouring out lies and insults at Amazon Catholics. His real energy is not going to saving babies, but to insulting the pope and the least of these.
And it has been the sleight of hand used for decades by the Republican Rite “prolife” movement.
The result is that the “prolife” movement, like all heresies, has largely mutated into its opposite: a cult of death that would literally defend its Cult Leader if he stood in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shot people, a cult that passionately defends genocide of Yemeni, shooting and burning Amazonian Catholics off their land, and kidnapping over 5000 children from their families.
For the forseeable future, a heretical sect that was once devoted to the unborn as their idée fixe will not be devoting its energy to saving the unborn, but to promoting wack QANON conspiracy theories about the Deep State war on God’s Anointed Sex Predator and Traitor. The words “Witch Hunt!” will be on their lips, not “Pro-life”.
It will devote itself to the defense of Armenian Genocide because the leaders of the Cult of Trump require it:
Everyone who got mad at Ilhan Omar: Graham blocks resolution recognizing Armenian genocide after Erdoğan meeting https://t.co/KJG6qLQb6r
— Joe Bernstein (@Bernstein) November 14, 2019
It will devote itself to poisonous lies that Francis is the “Vicar of Satan” and a pagan idolator while saying nothing about the murder of Amazonian Catholics.
It will focus its time and energy on wack Taylor Marshall conspiracy theories, nutty Church Militant conspiracy theories, and kooky Liesite News conspiracy theories all devoted to one end: making sure that a guy with ties to a white ethnonationalist party founded by an actual Nazi is lionized for insulting Our Lady, that Amazon Catholics begging for pastoral care and sacraments are denied it, and that their petty aesthetic obsessions trump the fact that these brother and sister Catholics they slander are literally being murdered for their land.
That it is led by a priest like Frank Pavone, whose bishop says he is not a priest in good standing and who desecrates altars in the service of this MAGA Moloch, is only poetic and the fitting image of this now thoroughly compromised sect in the service of the culture of death.
It’s not complicated. Be more prolife, not less. Defend human life from conception to natural death. Reject the MAGA “prolife” Freak Show and return to the whole life teaching of the Church.