Tuesday, October 28, 2008
While it's never been my intent with this blog to get too much into religion and religious belief, my situation these days is one that allows me to listen to some of what is put out on Catholic Radio to a willing flock.
Yesterday, I happened to hear parts of an impassioned sermon against abortion delivered by a priest from the pulpit. He was doing fine, I thought, imploring women not to have abortions, describing in lurid detail what happened to their "babies" during an abortion procedure, and even injecting some humor into the picture when he described how he would have been a "one-issue voter" if the abortionists scalpel had been scraping at his left arm when he was still in the womb.
There are plenty of reasons not to have an abortion, and most women don't have abortions, so hearing an impassioned sermon against abortion shouldn't trouble most people, and it doesn't trouble me.
But then this priest went off the rails. And his argument failed spectacularly.
His premise was that abortion was the only real issue that mattered in this or any election, and his objective was to elect anti-abortion candidates, even if their records weren't all that pure, or even if they sometimes voted the "wrong way" on this all important topic. Baby steps. Can't make perfection the enemy of the good and all that.
But then he destroyed his argument, literally blew it to smithereens, with one of the most morally repugnant, indeed morally depraved statements I think I have ever heard from any clergy-man (and that's saying a lot.)
"But Father," he said someone asked him, "if you are such a supporter of the 'Culture of Life,' why aren't you actively opposed to the War (meaning the Iraq War)?"
And this man had the nerve to say this [paraphrase, of course]: "Well, I said to him, 'Look. Even at its height, the Iraq War was only claiming 9 American soldiers a day. Abortion kills 5,000 babies every thirteen minutes. Which is more important to oppose?"
This is not moral equivocation or moral relativism, this is complete moral depravity. The war in Iraq does not involve solely American soldiers, and the deaths and destruction there is literally "uncounted." We don't know how many dead innocents there are there, but there are a lot, all of them -- every single one of them -- a consequence of the American invasion. For this hideous man, this disgusting, depraved, appalling representative of the Catholic Church to dare claim that "only 9" American soldiers were being killed each day at the height of the Iraq War and therefore opposing the war was not as important as stopping abortion simply destroyed his argument altogether.
There is no "moral" foundation to his opposition to abortion at all. If he limits his knowledge of what has been going on in Iraq since the American invasion to the highest number of American soldiers killed per day and uses that as a basis for his relative passion against abortion and absence of passion against the war, this man has no business ministering to the public.
And this is one of many reasons people turn away from the Church. No, it's not a Mystery of God. It's a failure of man and it is a massive failure of the institution of the Catholic Church.
And it is not solely the Catholic institution that has failed.