What Perverted Faith Looks Like

One of the things the “Prolife” cult of MAGA politics has done for 20 years is tell us that we have to “focus on the non-negotiables like abortion” and not get “distracted” by what it deems as trivialities, “prudential judgments” and so forth.

Prescinding from the fact that the magisterial teaching of the Church simply does not say that, the reality is that this trick of reactionary MAGA antichrist religion does exactly the opposite of what it claims.

You see, Catholic faith has all sorts of room for people who want to focus on a specific mission. There are whole orders of priests and nuns devoted to one specialty or other, whether it be teaching (Jesuits), preaching (Dominicans), healing (Sisters of Providence), missions to developing countries (Maryknollers) or what have you. And if you want to make the protection of the unborn your thing, there is not a reason in the world you can’t do it.

BUT! Catholic faith does not in the least countenance monomania that insists on attacking other people’s gifts, charisms, and callings as unimportant or “distractions”. Indeed, Paul specifically condemns such destructive attitudes to the variety of the Body of Christ:

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” (1 Co 12:14–21)

Christ, it turns out, can both walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. The Body of Christ can work to protect the unborn and defend the integrity of the created world, work for peace, defend the death row prisoner, call for justice to the poor and the worker, and do a host of other works of mercy. That is why the Holy Father wrote Laudato Si’ and saw no conflict between respect for God’s creation called “nature” and respect for God’s creation called “the human person”:

Moreover, when our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one. It follows that our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is “contrary to human dignity”. We can hardly consider ourselves to be fully loving if we disregard any aspect of reality: “Peace, justice and the preservation of creation are three absolutely interconnected themes, which cannot be separated and treated individually without once again falling into reductionism”. Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.

So there is nothing unorthodox or problematic about noting the effects of climate change, particularly when vastly increasing incidences of forest fires are choking American cities with smoke and pollution every summer.

And yet here, as with any other issue in American life that threatens conservative dogmas at war with the Church, you can bet that Republican rite Catholics will not “focus on the unborn” but focus on bringing all their artillery to bear against any aspect of Church teaching the GOP does not want to hear about.

Exhibit A:

Note what Feser’s tweet is not doing. It is not “focusing on the unborn”. Nor is it “defending the Faith”. Nor is it talking about something Feser is competent to discuss. Rather, it is simply offering an empty sneer against the fact that forest fires are, in fact, increasing in size and frequency. The only faith being defended here is faith in MAGA antichrist religion propaganda at war with Laudato Si’.

Exhibit B:

The Seamless Garment: Death for the Prolife Movement (in which we are informed that opposition to nuclear war and the death penalty are death–DEATH!–to the prolife movement). Note again, the real energy being expended here is not on defending the unborn, but on weaponizing them to be human shields for Republican defense spending and Republican love for killing prisoners on death row, even if those prisoners are wrongly convicted.

And so on and so on for every single thing the Church teaches us to act on, but the GOP demands we ignore, oppose, or support in the teeth of Church teaching. From gun violence to torture to a living wage to unjust war to violent insurrection to racism to refugees to health care to capital punishment to care for our common home, the unwavering strategy of Republican Rite Catholics is to pit the unborn against rather than relate them to all the forms of human life the Church calls us to protect but Republican dogma calls us to rob, harm, oppress, neglect, prey upon, and kill.

And that includes the unborn when they happen to be in a place the GOP wants to bomb, or in a womb infected with COVID, or in an environmental disaster area caused by climate change or next to a stomach the GOP wants to deny food stamps.

The gospel teaching treats creation in a holistic way. Conservative sociopathic narcissism treats creation–including the crown of creation who is the human person–as raw materials to be raped and exploited.

After all, as the apotheosis of MAGA antichrist religion put it so well, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything: grab ’em by the pussy.”

And nowhere is that exploitation more cynical than in the constant use of the unborn as human shields.


7 Responses

  1. Beyond frustrating, divisive, ineffective and needless to say, a Very Bad Look to “outsiders”. We need to get on the same page out of love like God’s love.

  2. Thank you Mark. A lot of good and holy people are not called to pray the rosary or make noise outside a women’s health clinic. We would be much poorer if they didn’t devote themselves to serving their fellow humans in other ways that would please Jesus. I find that so many of the MAGA type hurl around the word “seamless garment” like an epithet but can’t give you a definition, not even a flawed caricature.

  3. ‘Republican rite Catholics’. Yes it seems that they have lost the ability to be ‘Catholic first’ or perhaps as many are converts and reverts, they never understood being Catholic first before the political identity. Being Catholic first is a powerful and efficacious thing with the ability to influence government and society by sheer osmosis. Politics first people don’t seem to realise that one doesn’t have to be defined by the parameters of a political party.

  4. Hey Vivian!
    Clever way of getting your digs in there.
    Mark, just how many boosters of Trump’s most tremendous “vaccine” have you taken? Asking for a friend.

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