Little children it is the last hour: just as you have heard, Antichrist is come, and even now many Antichrists have come to be, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18
Thus sinning against your brothers, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 1 Corinthians 8:10
Since Christ made it clear (Matthew 24:36) that even he does not know the day and hour when heaven and earth will pass away, I have never wasted much time on people who think they have figured it out. Yet Christ also made it plain to his disciples that they should always be on guard, so “that day will not come upon you suddenly like a trap.” It seems best to heed the familiar motto and “Be Prepared”.
Be that as it may, every now and then something happens that sorely tries my determination to forego the search for certainty about eschatological things. I experienced such a moment this weekend, as I read a story with the headline “Pope calls Italy’s foremost abortion promoter one of nation’s ‘forgotten greats’.” As I read the story I couldn’t repress a rueful sigh. Sometimes it seems as if Pope Francis is determined to purge all humor from the phrase “more Catholic than the Pope.” Will we see the day when any Christian person who refuses to praise those who practice or lure others into practicing the wicked slaughter of innocents (I think they qualify as what the Bible calls “workers of iniquity.”) will fit that description?
What a falling off is there! From one supposed to be the Vicar of Christ, comes praise of one who represents those whom God hates (Psalm 5:5). Emma Bonino has been called the Margaret Sanger of Italy. She is also described “as Italy’s leading proponent of abortion.” She was widely known as one of its perpetrators. Not only do the Pope’s words incense her life with praise, they do so in a way that invites the mind to contemplate the “hidden greatness” of the evil that was the chief cause of her life and career.
How will the Holy Father substantiate his implication that there is some hidden greatness in abortion. Unless he is referring to its great evil. He anticipated criticism by observing of her that, despite their different views on abortion, “We have to look at people, at what they do.” Well, let’s look at the innocent human offspring who died by her hand? And what of the millions more seduced to murderous sin in consequence of her successful propagandizing for evil?
Does the Vatican, like Time or Newsweek, now apply the concept of greatness without regard for the standard of God? For if God is the standard of greatness, those who trample that standard into ground soaked with innocent bloodshed they have caused, are not by way of being hidden “greats.” As the Psalmist says (Psalm 1), their way of being is utterly void.
Perhaps, after all, Pope Francis means to make a mockery of Bonino’s evil. For this promised annihilation, as it comes to pass, must surely hide Emma Bonino’s stature thoroughly and completely, cutting it off from all possibility of perception. But if this is his meaning, he makes mock of her at the risk of scandalizing millions throughout the world, beginning with the generations of would-be faithful youths, who are now more than ever inundated with the world’s “glamorous” propaganda, deployed to solicit them to honor evil by supporting and practicing it.
Is Pope Francis blind to the fact that his praise for Bonino will be used to throw the lustrous vestments of the Papacy around the shoulders of the whole abortion movement, in order to enhance the glamor of evil? It’s one thing to pray that the power of God’s love will someday break through the barriers of false righteousness and pride that put the indignation intended for right at the service of egregious wrong. But how can accolades that simply disregard God’s standard of righteousness, do anything but deepen the morally inverted sensibility that calls evil, good and good, evil (Isaiah 5:20)?
Is this not the antithesis of healing? How is it appropriate for one supposed to be the most exemplary doctor of the Church? If somewhere in the midst of this seeming overthrow of God’s standard of greatness there is a hidden lesson, grounded in the ministry of His Incarnate Word, I pray to God that Pope Francis will see and address the need to read that lesson to the members of the body of Christ. Otherwise, his words are likely to nail many of them to a cross of moral doubtfulness and/or misbelief.
For if there is in fact no way to reconcile the Pope’s seeming praise of evil with the ministry of Christ, then another of the Lord’s admonitions must portend a fateful division in the Roman Catholic Church: “He who is not with me is against me; He who does not gather to me, scatters.” Then there will indeed be a falling away, but not of those who eschew the bondage of the world’s tainted standards in order to hold singleheartedly to the standard of God and Jesus Christ.
[Note to my readers: To avoid misunderstanding, I think it important to recall that I am what is called a “cradle Catholic.” In the course of my political life I have done my best to act in good faith, thankful for the Providence by which the logic of America’s founding harmonizes with God’s standard of justice, as set forth in His written and Incarnate Word.]
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