Lord, that I may see
The Declaration of Independence states: “that all men… are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life…” Similarly, the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution states: “No person shall ... be deprived of life… without due process of law.” And in 1809, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The care of human life and happiness, and not its destruction… is the first and only object of good government.” In each case, the word “life” comes first, because the right to life is foundational to legitimate government. These statements accord with Catholic teaching.
In December, 1988, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter titled Christifidelis Laici. In this letter, in a section titled “Respecting the Inviolable Right to Life,” he wrote: “The inviolability of the person, which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights---for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture---is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights (emphasis added), is not defended with maximum determination.”
In 2012, the Catholic philosopher Alice von Hildebrand wrote an article titled “A Plea to Confused Catholics” in which she emphasized this hierarchy of moral obligations. In it, she writes “…Man’s first duty is to abstain from moral evil (i.e. sin); the second is to do as much good as possible… Abortion is intrinsically evil at all times, in all places, in all circumstances… it is our duty to care about our neighbors’ needs, but this concern can never justify our breaking a moral law with an absolute veto… I am not allowed to kill one person to save another person’s life.
“I repeat: to place a strict moral commandment which suffers no exception, on the same level with a vague unwarranted claim that in the long run the abominable moral evil of abortion coupled with ‘social concerns’ will have positive consequences, is a tragic confusion which, alas, has caught many ‘good’ Catholics into its devilish net. Indeed, the Devil is the Master of confusion.
“Before going to the polls, may I urge all men of good will to say a short prayer echoing the one of the blind man of Jericho: ‘Lord, that I may see.’”
We cannot build a just society upon a foundation of injustice.
Bishop Fulton Sheen, in his book Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948, Refuge of Sinners Publishing, page 126) warned: “Woe is me… (1Corinthians 9:16) and woe unto us, if the believing element in our country does not allow its belief in God and morality to seep deep down into its action in the polling booths.”
In Christifidelis Laici, Pope John Paul II draws on the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Mat 20:6-7). In that parable, the Master of the vineyard goes to the marketplace and finds laborers standing there. He says to them, “Why do you stand here idle all day? …go into my vineyard.”
John Paul II continues, “A new state of affairs today both in the Church and in social, economic, political and cultural life, calls with a particular urgency for the action of the lay faithful. If lack of commitment is always unacceptable, the present time renders it even more so. It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle.”
We are not to remain idle! The laity is called to be laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, helping to bring Christ, and the peace of Christ, to the world, and ultimately to help bring their souls and the souls of others to Heaven. This labor includes “allowing our belief in God and morality to seep down into our action at the polling booths.”
Christifidelis Laici also says “…pastoral responsibility among the lay faithful…extends to everyone in the world of communications, to... television… These also are called to proclaim the gospel that brings salvation.”
This is the lay mission of St. Michael Broadcasting. Please consider supporting this mission through your prayers, by telling others, offering to volunteer (especially those with computer or videography skills) or a financial contribution if you are able.