Divine Law of Unconditional Love (Part III)

What is the divine law?

God loves. He loves without limit, without condition. To obey God’s law is to love generously, unconditionally. Whenever anyone acts in the name of the Church, this law must be the guide.

If someone asks me to baptize his child or to help him find a way to feed his family, can I refuse by saying, “I’m sorry, I only serve U.S. citizens?”

If a young lady comes and says, “My boyfriend wants me to…” Could I, with genuine love, hand her a little package and say “Just be careful?” Or doesn’t love demand something else? Like: “God loves you more than that.”

The law of divine love binds the Church in all Her works. This is our fundamental thesis in these four sermons about the sentence: We cannot co-operate with evil, even if the civil law stipulates that we must.

Now, we can hardly discuss the moral obligations of the Church in American in 2012 without reflecting for a moment on some of the agonizing failures we have suffered through, in a number of dioceses, during the past decade.

When any adult abuses a young person, God gets mad. Angels cry. The law of love gets violated in a uniquely cruel and dastardly way.

But when someone who represents God’s Church does it, it’s worse. It’s not just a terrible sin; it’s a terrible scandal.

The law of love must rule our Church. Don’t we have to emerge from the sex-abuse scandal all the more dedicated to disciplined obedience of God’s law? More generous, more concerned with the defenseless and the innocent?

Remember our friend from a couple of month’s ago, the atheist debater? We had a theoretical debate with him about the meaning of life. Literally: the meaning of the word ‘life.’ Atoms, molecules, cellular ATP—yes, life consists of these things. But that’s not all life consists of. There’s also the business of everlasting, pure love.

Human life, the odyssey of love. It begins when two human gametes come into contact with each other. Apparently, getting human gametes into contact with each other—it involves no inconsiderable delight for the happy parents. So I am told. Anyway, a genetically unique cell comes into existence.

That was us, you and me, at one point in time. Very small and defenseless, aching with everything in us to fold ourselves into the warm, delicious blanket of mommy’s uterine wall.

Now, let’s pause. For anyone who cares one lick about justice, the abortion and abortifacient debate gets settled right here. In fact, pretty much the whole contraceptive debate does. The “Pill” and other contraceptives work sometimes by preventing the implantation of the new baby in the uterine wall.

If there’s even a chance that something might cause a tiny, little person to die an obscure death, then the Church can’t have anything to do with it. To take action against nascent human life involves as dastardly and destructive an abuse as can be conceived.

The Church has no interest in impeding anyone’s exercise of his or her God-given freedom. It’s just that we insist that freedom belongs to everyone, not just the strong. The weak and defenseless have the same rights as the powerful and the full-grown. We Catholics live and let live; we love tolerance. We just have a thing about drawing the line when it comes to abusing any weak and vulnerable person.

Hence: a fundamental conflict that has troubled our beloved land for over a generation now. Some people say that children in the womb can be sacrificed on the altar of some supposed other, greater freedom. We say that any so-called freedom that needs abortion or artificial contraception as a guarantee of its exercise—this really is no freedom at all. Rather, it is slavery. Serving anything other than truth and justice for all, serving anything other than God’s pure love: it’s slavery.

Some wise people predicted the current crisis our Church faces a long time ago. They said: If the government concedes a so-called right to abortion and artificial contraception, then everyone else’s right to object will eventually disappear. This “eventually” has now arrived.

Push always eventually comes to shove. The Church will always reach out to try to help poor and vulnerable people. That’s our mission. The pro-abortion forces will inevitably insist that women must be offered contraceptives and abortions, because—supposedly—that’s what makes women free. Bam. Irresolvable conflict.

We Catholics want nothing more than to live as peaceful, law-abiding citizens. That said, we do not and cannot just shamble through life in a state of blind submission to any and all edicts made by the powers that be.

Next week we’ll reflect on one final question: Where does the authority of any government’s laws actually come from?

4 thoughts on “Divine Law of Unconditional Love (Part III)

  1. Farther Mark, I know that you are following in the footsteps of Christ as you faithfully remind our church faithful of the Catholic Church’s position on contraceptives, birth control and abortion.

    On a personal note, We were one of the young married couples in the 60’s who had to deal with these issues. Humani Vitea was the document within the church that should have clarified this issue, but I, like many others always found someone who made me feel okay about our decisions, and for the next 40 years, I went merrily along professing to be pro-life, but doing nothing to find the real truth about these issues. It was four years ago that God blessed me an sent me to DC for the March for Life. As stated in the Bible many times, God lifted the veils from my eyes and heart. He gave me the will and energy to study this issue, to study the Bible and become accountable for my passiveness in this issue. I now know for a fact that the Church has not changed its position on these issues. Many of us, starting with me, did what was convenient, not what was right, what was legal, not what was moral. Lay people and religious people, supposedly providing guidance, got caught up in the moment and failed to teach and live the true teaching of the Church.

    With the help of God’s grace I now know absolutely the following:
    1. Abortion is the taking of a human life.
    2. Life begins at conception
    3. God loves all who are post-abortive He invites all to come home to him. He provides venue’s, such as Rachel’s Vineyard, to help those experiencing post-abortive trauma.
    4. Contraception is wrong and interferes with God’s hand in creation. In many ways it is just a way for another abortion to take place.
    5. Humani Vitae is a wonderful document that succintly and clearly details the church’s position on all aspects of this issue.

    I believe our world, our country and the Church is under attack and these issues are at the heart of the attacks. We began in 1973 to accept that the taking of a human life through abortion is okay, afterall it is legal. 40 years later, the evil persists. Over 1.5 million babies will be aborted this year in the USA.. I ask one and all who read this to pray Pray for yourselves, your loved ones, this nation and our world.

    Jesus is coming back and there is good news and bad news: The good news is that he is truly coming as a generous and loving God, the bad news is that he is really angry with this world’s treatment of the sanctity of life.

    God bless one and all, especially you, Fr. Mark for leading this unveling of eyes and heart!

    Bob Humkey

  2. Father Mark,

    Having “sex-ed” in the mid-1950’s, with Coach Rock (literally) explaining the Xs and the Ys was a far sight different than the modern parlance. But, people haven’t changed. Whatever the scientific name is for the new person, and whatever the circumstances of conception, the results are still the same. Life goes on.

    Unless, of course, the mother decides otherwise: that is something which, while it hasn’t changed, has far different legal rammifications now than it did sixty years ago. To see “artificial contraception” as a slippery slope that leads to abortion was very difficult to see in 1952 (the date is derivative of the arbitray 60 years previously mentioned). Now, in the light of hindsight, it is very clearly visible.

    Just as denying life-saving aid to a non-Catholic would be contrary to our theology as Catholics, so too is supporting life-robbing measures by anybody.

    But, the part of life about which we are speaking is intensely personal in nature, in addition to being extremely general in effect. As with so many aspects of theology, this one requires that we be care-full in dealing with this subject, both individually and generally.

    In God we trust.



  3. Father Mark,

    Oops, “ramifications” and “arbitrary”, not as above (I wonder why I felt so moved to review the response).



  4. Thank you Father for your great homilies. It is refreshing to hear from the pulpit what the Church has always and continues to teach. My generation needs to hear these things so we are not able to say, “I was never taught that.” or “I didn’t know any better. And while we are few in number in our particular Church we still need to hear about it. So thank you father.

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