Every year I run into people who attend the annual March for Life in Washington. Some of these are our own parishioners. I have long admired their selfless dedication in making personal sacrifices to be present for this remarkable national gesture of solidarity with those preborn infants who cannot insist on their right to be born and to live thereafter. I have never gone on these trips myself (though I have, in years past, participated in some local events on a smaller scale). One comes to learn that this yearly demonstration which takes place in the Capitol is an event of enormous proportion, the astounding size of which makes it unconscionable for the media to under-report the numbers of the participants and to underplay the significance of the march. It’s well known that this deceptive reporting by the media of such an important event is calculated to downplay the great swell of support of our people to protect life from the death-dealing clutches of abortionists and their powerful supporters–including politicians. This event is more than simply a rally for human life, it is a time for prayer for the conversion of minds and wills of people who are pro-death.
This protest has been going on for a long time–since 1973. There have certainly been benefits from this annual declaration and protest in favor of life in many ways, encouraging the life-effort and invoking divine help to combat the horrendous crimes that have been legalized. Will this tremendous effort ever finally succeed in ending the massive destruction of elective abortion? The non-violent means, the convincing arguments, the stirring speeches, the fervent prayers–surely these must be to good effect. Yet one wonders whether success will ever attend this laudable work. It seems more probable that our country, at least in the short term, will continue to decline into turpitude, bent as it is now on the acceptance of homosexual practices, with euthanasia already being practiced legally in some places (and often by insidious and surreptitious “health-care” institutions), with fetal experimentation and manipulation of embryos being already practiced. Once the homosexual goal will have been fully achieved, the next stage of declination may be the legal use of children for the sexual pleasures of adults. Yet this cannot yet be the end. The final stages of debauchery will be the allowance of public nudity and–for a grand finale–cannibalism. There can be no stopping, it would seem, the relentless demand to be allowed to do whatever one may wish to do. Freedom has thus been so regarded. Some may find this trajectory of evils excessive, hyperbolic. Yet who of my generation would have thought it possible that the Land of the Free would ever be in such a deplorable state of immoral servitude as it now is? Over time we have tended to grow accustomed to iniquity, have made friends with perversity, while becoming tolerant of evil and evermore impatient with the imposition of moral strictures from any source–the Church included.
My estimate–not wanting to be disheartening–is that we will not soon be getting better, but continue to slide down the way of debauchery. We simply do not have the muscle to halt this moral regression. By this I mean that our faith is too weak, our confidence in the efficacy of prayer, our trust in God diluted. Part of the reason for this may be that too many “good” people are themselves complicit in some of the great evils du jour through a soft acceptance of immorality in our music, TV, internet, films, etc. Another part of the reason is the decline in practicing what our Catholic faith demands in prayer, Mass attendance, Confession and self-imposed penance. And so, while the National Day of prayer and (polite) protest is ever uplifting, I find it hard to believe that there will be success in overturning the allowance of abortion. If we believe that some politicians will do this for us we need only reflect on the fact that they too as individuals may be plagued by the same moral weaknesses as others. This is an admission, often not willingly made today, that the sins of one adversely affect the welfare of all. We are all worse off because of abortionists, pedophiles, pornographers, lewd entertainers, no-fault divorcers, etc. Sin is never a private affair, no matter how secretly it may be done.
I admit having a defeatist attitude at times. Why not just let the whole western world go to hell? (I speak here of literal, not rhetorical, hell). The answer has to do with our responsibility. No one can, before God, allow evil to triumph. There must be resistance. Moreover there are some things that can actually be done to save at least some people from moral death. The most important of these is to become saints ourselves–one by one–people who refuse to be mastered by their own tendencies to sin and who make up to God, by prayer and sacrifice, for the sins that are committed.
Pagan society was once converted to faith and to goodness by the Catholic faith. There is no reason why it can’t be done again, except for the fact that many in the Church are too weak, and the conviction of their faith has been compromised.
God bless the efforts of those who go annually to Washington to pray and give witness to the truth about human life’s intrinsic goodness. (To quibble: I don’t think the expression “sanctity of life” is accurate, though it’s compelling). Unless each individual person makes up his mind and changes his heart to conform according God’s moral laws, our country will never awaken from the moral nightmare of abortion-on-demand and so many other attending evils.
For this reason we at the Grotto, doing our small part, continue to pray the holy rosary after every Mass. I hope you continue to do this together, recognizing the power of fervent, communal prayer with Holy Mary for the saving of many souls from eternal destruction.