An Evangelical Theologian credits the American Catholic Church for taking the lead from the get-go over the monstrosity of ruling -Roe v. Wade, or the start of the decline in America's greatness. This article from the Washington Post by R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary provides a historical perspective that is all too often lacking these days.
By the time Roe was handed down, Catholic leaders had developed sophisticated arguments and growing organizations to fight for the pro-life cause. In 1967, six years before Roe, Catholics had led in the creation of the National Right to Life Committee. The Catholic tradition, drawn largely from the natural law, became the foundational intellectual contribution to the development of a united front against abortion. Nevertheless, for evangelicals to join the movement in a decisive way, arguments drawn directly from Scripture had to be formed and then preached from the pulpits of evangelical churches.
Those arguments captured the conscience of the evangelical movement and produced a seismic shift within the movement and within the political life of the nation. From the 1980 U. S. presidential election until the present, the pro-life movement has been populated, funded, and directed, for the most part, by evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders. Beyond that, the emergence of crisis pregnancy centers and support systems for women considering abortion have come from the work of millions of pro-life Roman Catholics and evangelicals at the grassroots.
Does this represent a new ecumenism? The reality is actually quite counter-intuitive. The fact that Roman Catholics and evangelicals work together on the front lines of moral and cultural issues should not mislead. The cooperation is genuine and necessary, as we both understand. At the same time, the very Roman Catholics who remain stalwartly pro-life are those Roman Catholics who most closely adhere to the doctrinal teachings of their church. The same is true on the evangelical side, where moral conviction is most clear where doctrinal convictions have the greatest hold.
A devout Jew, who happens to be one of Illinois' most influential civic and business leaders, once told me about the reality of Chicago philanthropy - "It's a Catholic thing." To paraphrase his words he explained, without Catholic leadership in philanthropy, like most other public endeavors, Chicago would be one big smoking hole in the ground. He suggested that I look at the governing boards of all of the great charities, museums, art galleries, opera, symphony as well as hospitals and social services and you will them dominated by the same big Catholic money people. To be sure there are Jewish names in abundance, but not any where near the number of Catholics.
My cynical self reflected on the political symbioses that must be considered - the Catholic as clownfish*? Catholics do not have a tradition of tithing, because of its echo to British Penal Laws that required Irish Catholics to pay tithes in support of the Anglican Church. The Micks set the table for the American Church for better and worse. Catholics bought pews, kneelers, glass and plumbing in order to build cathedrals. Pennies made Billion$. Philanthropy was tribal. Germans built German national churches, Italians built Italian, French, the French and the Poles the most magnificent Catholic infrastructure in the city of Chicago. The Irish were called, ironically enough American. That all changed with Cardinal Mundelein in 1916. Chicago was going to be an America Catholic city. It is, for better, or worse.
For Better - Mundelein adopted and rivaled the far-sighted Jewish United Fund of Chicago and pulled together a massive social contract with all Chicagoans -
- The CYO
- CISCA, or Catholic Action in all schools
- St. Vincent De Paul Society
- Catholic Charities
- Chicago Catholic Schools Office and hundreds of schools
- Catholic Labor
- St. Mary of Lake Seminary
- Mundelein, IL
- Leading Church voice voice against International Fascism and the "Paper Hanger" & American Communism in Labor and Progressive politics
- Demanded Catholic lay philanthopy
- Priests and nuns mistook the gospels for John Dewey social lab notes
- Some priests and far too many lay persons demanded that Ecumenism replace Catholicism until many parishes became indistinguishable from a Universalist-Unitarian meeting house
- Democracy is hard to parse in hierarchy
- Catholics wanted to become less Catholic and more spiritual - Jocists movement may have had too much to do with this
- Bishop Shiel is forgotten and Saul Alinsky is taught in Catholic schools ( DePaul most especially)
- Democratic politicians used their Catholic identity and helped undermine the faith and the faithful
- Turned Catholic institutions over to the State only to have those institutions gelded
* Clownfish live in a "symbiotic" relationship with certain anemones. This means they benefit from living with the sea anemone, and the sea anemone benefits from the presence of the clownfish. They are the only fish that are able to live in sea anemones and not get stung by their tentacles. Clownfish are very active fish and are extremely aggressive. Because they are quite active, the clownfish are thought to be "clowning around". They defend their territory and the sea anemone that they live in. Clownfish eat the leftovers from fish on the anemone and algae. The leftovers include copepods, isopods and zooplankton.