I did not organically grow into a pro-life activist. I came into the movement unexpectedly, a bit disoriented.
A first discovery was that most pro-life activists were Catholic. I didn’t know Catholics have carried the largest share of the water fighting abortion since it was legalized. More and more Protestants are becoming involved, but the pro-life movement as we know it would not exist were it not for Catholics.
This is because the Catholic Church saw the modern-day culture of death coming and stood strongly against it. Read Pope Paul VI’s “Humanae Vitae,” written in 1968. It’s prophetic.
Theological commendations go to Catholic leaders for understanding from the onset that contraception took God out of copulation, and sexual behavior would only go downhill from there.
In fact, the Catholic Church has examined every aspect of human sexuality I can think of and some I would never have considered and has developed detailed, biblically sound answers for all its nuances. Long ago, Catholics connected the dots between contraception, illicit sex and abortion.
The wisdom of the Catholic Church on the theology of life surprised me, a snooty evangelical who thought we had a greater grip on Scripture than they did. There are indeed insurmountable differences I have with certain Catholic teachings, but here is one area (and there are likely more) where I think they have formed sounder doctrine than many Protestant churches.
When I read the teachings in “Humanae Vitae,” my mind was blown. Then the scales fell off as I read Scripture from that perspective. I realized God plans the conception of each and every child, whether or not his or her parents are pervs, pigs or prostitutes. It’s not all about us. God sees the once-in-human-history opportunity for a certain sperm to meet a certain egg and says, “This child would be awesome!” and ordains it. Who are we to say no?
I also appreciate that the Catholic Church is structured to apply pressure to renegade Catholic politicians on the issue of abortion. I love that lay Catholics can and do rat on the rats. Abortion is an issue of communion for Catholics, of membership in their body. I know the pressure isn’t always brought to bear as greatly as some would like, but at least it is there. Most Protestant churches don’t have the structure to hold their politician members accountable on abortion.
The Chris Matthews’ liberal-Catholic types, who now call for a more “progressive” pope, don’t get it that truth doesn’t change with the times, nor is truth determined by humans.
Pope John Paul II was a good man, a great man. He resisted incredible pressure and stood for God’s truth on the miracle and blessing of human creation during some of the most challenging times in modern history, as the end draws ever nearer. The pope never swayed on the life issue. He provided strong arms to help keep the gates of Hell from opening any wider than they have.
It is not just Catholics who need an unwavering pope. The world does.