Sure, we have reason to be pleased that the #MeToo movement is making progress toward the elimination of the sexual oppression which has been so ingrained in business and other areas of life. And if we are able to remove the racism found in different degrees in all races, this would be wonderful, too.
But, how can we feel superior to the Confederate States of America? Certainly, upholding slavery as they did, was a serious evil because it’s contrary to divine law.1 The fact that it reappeared in Europe twice after it had been banned through efforts of the Church in the so-called Dark Ages2 shows how pernicious this abhorrent practice has been throughout history (including by some northwest American Indian tribes before Columbus’ arrival3).
We can eliminate vestiges of the Confederacy all we want, but it won’t cleanse us of the moral responsibility of our own great evil: Abortion.
To rationalize its practice is a grievous affront to the same divine law which requires us to condemn slavery. The dignity of all human life must be upheld. Besides being something no one can own, it cannot be taken except in self defense.4 As we remove those statues which are believed to legitimize slavery, we must also remove those images from public squares and museums which remind us of those who support infanticide and other unjustified killings. Margaret Sanger and Presidents Clinton and Obama come to mind immediately. And it’s a disgrace to elect any person to Congress, especially those claiming to be “Catholic,” who professes support for “reproductive rights.”
Perhaps they’re trying to disprove the movie quote: “Nobody ever invented a polite word for a killing yet.”5 In doesn’t matter, those with well-formed consciences will see through it.
Let’s purify our present before we try to decontaminate ourselves of past generations’ wrongs.
1 – “As the ninth century dawned, Bishop Agobard of Lyon thundered: ‘All men are brothers, all invoke one same Father, God: the slave and the master, the poor and the rich man, the ignorant and the learned, the weak and the strong…. None has been raised above the other …. There is no… slave or free but in all things and always there is only Christ.’q Soon, no one ‘doubted that slavery in itself was against divine law.’b” Taken from Pierre Bonnassie (“From Slavery to Feudalism in South-Western Europe, Cambridge University Press, 1991, 54) and Marc Bloch (“Slavery and Serfdom in the Middle Ages, University of California Press, 1975, 11) in “Bearing False Witness,” by Rodney Stark, Templeton Press, 2016, page 82.
2 – “But the very first time slavery was eliminated anywhere in the world was not during the Renaissance or the Enlightenment. It was during the Dark Ages. And it was accomplished by clever Church leaders who first extended the sacraments to all slaves, reserving only ordination into the priesthood. Initially, the implications of Christianization of slaves went unnoticed, but soon the clergy began to argue that no true Christian (or Jew) should be enslaved. Since slaves were Christians, priests began to urge owners to free their slaves as an ‘infinitely commendable act’ that helped ensure their own salvation.” Ibid.
3 – Ibid. page 81.
4 – “Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow…. Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.” From paragraphs 2264 and 2265 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, twenty=fifth printing, November 2013.
5 – By Thelma Ritter’s character of Nurse Stella in the 1954 movie “Rear Window,” directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 shirt story, “It Had to Be Murder.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rear_Window