Pope John Paul II observed, and Pope Benedict XVI confirmed, we are immersed in a Culture of Death! The primary threats of the Culture of Death – always and everywhere – are murder, abortion, euthanasia, contraception, and embryonic stem cell research! War and capital punishment, when unjust, join this list. Issues that diminish human life are also directly associated with the Culture of Death: slavery (including debt bondage and unjust imprisonment or restraint), sadistic humiliation, degradation (calumny, slander), cloning, mutilation, greed, narcissism, selfishness, and poverty – anything that shows a disregard for human life, marriage as a sacred union of one man and one woman, the traditional family, etc…, and treats human beings as objects.
A Culture of Death? Really? How bad is it? Worldwide, it was reported in 2010 that more than 50% of all deaths were due to diseases and other health-related causes – but, more than 40% were due to abortion. Worldwide, the death toll from violence and war was less than 1% while deaths from abortion were more than 40%!
No other issue – whether social, political, or economic – is soaked with so much innocent and defenseless blood as is abortion! Surely, the blood of the innocent victims of abortion cries out to God for Justice! In response to this cry, the call to Faithful Citizenship is a call to save America, a call to purify the Church in America, and perhaps a call to save your soul, my soul!
Many of our children are casualties of the present-day moral crisis. Along with the “slaughter of the innocents” through abortion, there is widespread “despoliation of the innocents” through sexual exploitation and abuse. In opposition, the Catholic Voice is loud, but not all Catholics have found their voice. Sources such as the Concerned Parent Report shed light on the problem. It is up to each and every Catholic to add heat – hence this Light and heat Ministries and its initiatives.
- Studies show 23% of 15-year olds have engaged in sexual intercourse. And, 20% of teenagers admit to having electronically sent or posted online, nude and/or semi-nude photos and/or videos of themselves. Between the ages of 20 and 26, that percentage is 33%.
- The number of children being born out of wedlock has risen sharply, driven primarily by women in their 20s and 30s opting to have children without getting married. Unmarried women accounted for 40% of all U.S. births in 2007 — up from 34 percent in 2002 and more than double the percentage in 1980.
- More than 65 million people in the U.S. have an incurable sexually transmitted disease (STD). Each year an additional 19 million, almost half of them among 15 to 24 year-olds, become infected. A CDC study estimates that 26% of young women between the ages of 14-19 years old in the U.S. are infected.
- It is estimated that more than one million children under age 18 are currently being sexually abused by at least one family member. Statistics show that 1 in every 3 girls, and 1 in every 6 boys, will be the victims of sexual abuse.
- A new study shows that female students at private, religious schools – including Catholics – are more likely to have an abortion than peers in public schools, terminating at least 25% of student pregnancies.
The bad news goes on – but the Good News will prevail! “St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle…”
As “The Body of Christ” in the United States, we are obliged to help shape the moral character of American society. This is a requirement of our faith! It is not an option! As morality and freedom have declined in our land, so has America declined! The erosion of our freedoms has been across the board – economic, social, and political – including religious freedom.
The battle between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death is fundamentally Spiritual Warfare. [In the future, see our section on Spiritual Combat and Intercessory Prayer.]
At the behavioral level, it is essentially a dispute about authentic human needs and true values. More broadly, it is a Crisis of Truth. [See our section on Errors, Lies, and Deceptions.]
From the perspective of the Catholic Church, the Culture of Death is inclined toward evil, denies the reality of sin, and embraces intrinsic evil! In her necessarily militant response to the Culture of Death, the Catholic Church applies the Victory of Jesus Christ! The Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that Truth is stronger than the Lie, Love is stronger than Indifference or Hate, and Life is stronger than Death!
To learn more, read our column “Catholic Action, Faithful Citizenship” at the following links.
Catholic Action; Faithful Citizenship, Volume 1
Catholic Action; Faithful Citizenship, Volume 2
Catholic Action; Faithful Citizenship, Volume 3
Catholic Action; Faithful Citizenship, Volume 4
Deacon Joseph B. Gorini (Updated July 17, 2014)