Society

Catholics’ easy evangelization job

God pitched us a slow ball. But will we swing?

 

As Major League Baseball heads toward the playoffs, the metaphor is irresistible: God has pitched our generation a slow ball over the plate that we can easily hit out of the park. Unless we are too afraid to swing.

Other ages of Christians had a hard job: They were up against Greek philosophy or Roman statesmanship or the Enlightenment. What do our opponents believe?

They deny babies the right to life.

We live in an age of remarkable advances in fetal surgery, an age where people can’t help but share their ultrasound pictures online. Heck, we even have 3-D printing so blind mothers can “see” their ultrasounds.

It is hard to be more obviously — and destructively — in the wrong than to promote abortion. And abortion supporters know it. They are switching from a strategy of avoiding the topic to proudly celebrating their abortions, like the “Keep Alabama White” protesters reacting to the civil rights movement by going to the opposite extreme.

Our job is to defend the right to life while helping mothers who need resources and support. And we are already making enormous headway.

They reject chromosomal science.

The basic skill of telling boys and girls apart is increasingly falling prey to ideology. The situation has passed the point of parody, with Time magazine featuring “My Brother’s Pregnancy,” LGBTQ groups protesting the casting of a man-dressed-as-a-woman instead of a woman to play a male-to-female transgender, and high schools starting to allow students who were born male to compete against females.

Like the right-to-life issue, this is not a matter of faith, but of science. A review of scientific studies of the question reveal that the claim “that a person might be ‘a man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ — is not supported by scientific evidence.”

The LGBTQ movement may be ascendant right now, but not for long.

The sexual revolution is wounding a whole generation. Consider:

They say sex is for fun. The evidence says otherwise.

There are so many warning signs about premarital sex they are hard to keep up with. There is the venereal disease epidemic, with STDs rising at “alarming rates.” There is the porn epidemic and its consequences, decried in Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal. As Mary Eberstadt demonstrates in her book Adam and Eve After the Pill:

“The sexual revolution has profoundly affected the most fundamental aspects of human relationships, including the way women view and treat men; the way men view and treat women; and it has even undermined one of the deepest shared tasks of men and women, which is the protection of children from forces that would harm them.”

They don’t realize that marriage should be faithful and indissoluble. Ugly messes result.

People like to point to cases where Church teaching on marriage forces someone to stay in a bad relationship. The opposite is more often the case: Lifelong marriage helps far more couples improve bad relationships and avoid a fragmented family life. This general idea has gotten unexpected support from the new best-seller from Amy Schumer, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo. Katrina Trinko points out how Schumer discovers in the tangled mess of her parents’ relationships the beauty of old-fashioned commitment.

They don’t know marriage should be open to life. Disaster results.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at The Week has noticed that “America’s birth rate is now a national emergency.” It used to be axiomatic that strong nations had strong birthrates. No longer. Instead, “Today we see the problems wrought by the decline in productive populations all over the industrialized world, where polities are ripping each other to shreds over how to pay for various forms of entitlements, especially for old people. …. This basic problem is strangling Europe’s economies.” And the United States isn’t far behind.

In short, they have tried to separate love and truth. We shouldn’t make that mistake.

People generally try to do the right thing by others — they try to be compassionate and caring. But too often they separate truth and love.

Love without truth makes the mistake of affirming any choice others make; but this hurts others in the long run.

Truth without love delights in denouncing how wrong, wrong, wrong the world is; but this doesn’t help.

Catholics are supposed to do both: Show truth and love; show respect for others and respect for science.

That means embracing and ministering to those who suffer unplanned pregnancies and gender identity issues without locking them into bad choices. It also means fearlessly telling people the truth about marriage, sex, and contraception, confident that the truth will set them free.

The ball is hanging there over the plate. Not swinging is the only way we will lose.

Stefan Strigler

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and author of the upcoming book What Pope Francis Really Said.