A reader writes to argue with my piece…

…about Eucharistic Incoherence that ran in Saint Anthony Messenger a few months back.

She writes:

Thank you for your thoughts on the Eucharist in the St. Anthony Messenger. but I have to disagree on your basic premise. In deciding which role to play in a given set of circumstances, the choice for the Church is not between the pastoral and the political. It is between the pastoral and the prophetic. The Prophets were those who called out the people for departing from the ways of God. But, in a way, sometimes the most pastoral thing that can be done for someone is to offer them a rebuke for the error of their ways — all in the spirit of Christ. (Everyone at the Last Supper was offered the Eucharist.) God bless.

I don’t say the Church must choose between the pastoral and the political.  Still less do I say—and indeed I specifically deny—that the Church must choose between the pastoral and prophetic.  She must embrace both the pastoral and prophetic.  And she must also embrace the prudential in order to navigate the political.  If, in the demented pursuit of a monomaniac goal of outlawing abortion we end up (as the MAGA antichrist cult succeeded in doing 2017-2020) increasing the abortion rate by 8% then all the performative piety in the world will not save the babies aborted in response to economic cruelty. My point is not that the Church should not recall people to the ways of God.  It is that using the unborn as human shields for a political movement of MAGA ideology at war with nearly every aspect of the Church’s teaching is not “Eucharistic Coherence” but is, in fact, profoundly incoherent.

More than that, I would add here that the entire project of trying to force people who do not accept the Christian revelation to live according to the fragments of a legal code that Republicans happen to like doomed to fail.  Law, says St. Paul, is the one sure-fire thing that cannot create saints.  Yet the attempt to force people to live as Christians (at least insofar as pelvic issues go) is the insane project of conservative Christians in the US (except, of course, when the pol idolized by them is a sex predator like Trump, in which case the ends justify the means). When those same Christians go to war on nearly everything else the Church teaches in her social doctrine and only care about the unborn as human shields for that greed, cruelty, and spite, they are neither prophetic nor pastoral. They are godless cynics. 

For the reality is that the selfishness, greed, and cruelty of conservative economic doctrines goes out of its way to put enormous economic pressure on the poor to abort and refuses to face the fact that if we are serious about reducing abortion, we should address demand far more than supply.  That would be Eucharist Coherence.  Instead, we incoherently seek to punish a couple of Democrats and pretend we are accomplishing something.  The result of our incoherence (now that Roe is gone) will be that abortion levels will stay stable nationally while maternal mortality rates will spike

In addition, conservative Christians (such as Catholic “prolife superstar Abby Johnson) are already talking about punishing post-abortive women for murder (which, in some states, would mean execution).

 And women are being threatened with insane police state measures threatening to restrict their right to travel in the US (lest they go from red states to states abortion is legal).  A woman in Texas was harassed by Thought Police merely for expressing pro-choice views onlineWomen are being denied care for miscarriages because the Pregnancy Gestapo might view it as an abortion. A woman in Oklahoma is in prison for miscarrying.  None of this is prophetic or pastoral.  It is insane: an attempt to create Utopia with draconian laws that only a lunatic would imagine will do anything but make us into a crazy police state.


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