A Culture of Contempt

Pro-Life Heroes — The valiant, pro-life heroes of Operation Rescue, who keep a lonely vigil in front of the killing centers, where children are slaughtered on an industrial scale, practice a kind of Benedictine spirituality, where some pray and some labor.

Although not all members of OR are Catholic, many, perhaps most, can be found in front of the abortuaries reciting the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Others, experienced sidewalk counselors, usually older women, gently approach the young women entering the death clinics, offering them assistance, and suggesting that there are alternatives to aborting their babies.

Their method is low key, quiet and non-confrontational, befitting the fact that they are engaged in both spiritual and corporal works of mercy — counseling the doubtful, comforting the afflicted and ransoming the captive.

Their words reflect and are animated by the Theological Virtue of Charity.

Although the numbers are not high, this method is effective with some women, who then decide to spare their child and seek help at a crisis pregnancy center.

On occasion, members of Operation Rescue will be praying on a sidewalk when a young woman with a child will come up to them, to thank them, and to introduce them to the son or daughter who was saved because of their intervention.

One of the talking points of the abortion industry is that no woman wants an abortion. Operation Rescue works on that principle. Pro-lifers realize that the origin of an abortion can be found, frequently, in the heartless intransigence of a selfish male who is unwilling to take responsibility for his own fatherhood.

Long before the feminist proclamation of a “right to choose” there was the male mantra of “just get rid of it.”

All too often, Operation Rescue has seen husbands or boyfriends, usually boyfriends, hurrying a confused, pregnant young woman past sidewalk counselors into the clinics.

In the 1990’s, Richard Seron, a former Planned Parenthood guard, in testimony at a legislative hearing in the Massachusetts State House, told committee members that almost all of the violence in front of abortion clinics came from boyfriends anxious that their partners go through with the abortion.

Understanding all of this, the attitude of Operation Rescue is always one of compassion and solicitude for the troubled young women facing unexpected pregnancies, who often feel abandoned, and are sometimes pressured into having an abortion.

The Fundamentalists Arrive — An antithetical attitude and a very different approach were present on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, in front of Planned Parenthood, on Saturday, October 28th. On that day, for the second year in a row, a group of a half dozen or more Evangelical fundamentalists arrived to bring their pro-life ministry to sinful women and benighted Catholics.

They walked past the members of Operation Rescue, who have been there, every day, for the last thirty years. They made no effort to introduce themselves, to offer cooperation or assistance, to arrange coordination or to seek the counsel of those more experienced in this apostolate.

Common courtesy is not, apparently, part of their conception of being a Bible believing Christian.

Instead, using electronic amplifiers, they began haranguing women entering the clinic, shouting at them, exhorting them not to commit murder and reminding them of Divine Judgement.

Unsurprisingly, after a three hour diatribe, not a single woman responded, and not a single child was saved.

Could the sympathetic sidewalk counselors of Operation Rescue have effected a save that day, had these street preaching imitators of Tim La Haye and Jack Chick not deafened everyone present on Commonwealth Avenue? We will never know.

Recoiling From The Cross — When they were not declaiming against women, the fundamentalists were castigating Catholics. “The Mass is blasphemy!” they declared. What Catholics believe is “not the biblical Gospel. It’s a false gospel, and it will send you to Hell!”

While standing in front of the death merchants of Planned Parenthood, these so-called “Bible Christians,” instead of admonishing the murderers, spent half of their time berating Catholics — the very Catholics who were there to save the lives of the innocent unborn — as “idolaters” and “blasphemers.”

“Praying to Mary will not save you. Praying to Mary will damn you,” they declared. They even objected to one pro-lifer carrying a Crucifix. “Christ is no longer on the Cross” they exclaimed, (and we thought only demons and vampires recoiled from the sight of the Crucifix).

Respected pro-life veteran Bill Cotter, the President of Operation Rescue: Boston, described the circus-like atmosphere of the fundamentalists as “boorish, arrogant and loud.”

Members of Operation Rescue are used to enduring insults, verbal abuse, threatening behavior, and not infrequent acts of violence, from passersby. On October 28th, they were the target of invectives from men who call themselves Christians and who claim to be pro-life.

Fundamentalist Triumphalism — When the spectacle was over, no women were dissuaded, no babies were rescued, no Planned Parenthood workers were converted, and no Papists were induced to see the light of the “True Gospel.” What then did the fundamentalists accomplish?

If your highest form of religious expression is denunciation, then the street preachers enjoyed three hours of catharsis. One suspects that they were impelled, not by a devotion to the right to life, but by an obsession with odium fidei.

Abortion was the pretext and Planned Parenthood was the venue, but ventilating animosity towards Catholics was the goal. It was an exercise in fundamentalist triumphalism, a kind of anti-Catholic virtue signaling by heretics.

Hilaire Belloc, referring to the Mohammedan armies which surged out of the Arabian desert to invade Syria and Egypt, said that the Bedouin followers of the Prophet had nothing but contempt for the high Christian culture of the Roman Empire.

These aggressive, modern day barbarians, called fundamentalists, also seem to have nothing but contempt for the high Christian culture of the Catholic Church.

The arrogance is astonishing. They presume to use Sacred Scripture, which their ancestors received from the Catholic Church — and whose canon was fixed by the Catholic Church — against the Church. They belong to man made religious sects, invented in the 16th century, by some of the most corrupt characters in history.

Was there a religious figure more profane, mendacious and sacrilegious than Martin Luther? Was there ever a church founder more murderously evil than Henry VIII, whom even Winston Churchill called “an infamous monster”?

In an era where so many in authority in the Church embrace the futility of ecumenism, Catholics ought to remember that we are engaged in a spiritual combat, and that our purpose is not to dialog with heretics, but to save their souls by converting them to the Catholic Faith.

Let us pray also for all heretics and schismatics, that our Lord God would be pleased to deliver them from all their errors, and call them back to our Holy, Mother the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Let us Pray.

O almighty and eternal God, who savest all and wouldst have none to perish: look down on those souls that are seduced by the deceits of the devil; that the hearts of all those who err, laying aside all heretical malice, may repent and return to the unity of the truth. Through the same Christ Our Lord. ℟. Amen.

–Prayer for the Unity of the Church, in the Traditional Good Friday Liturgy 

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C. Joseph Doyle is the Executive Director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts. Since 2019, Doyle has also served as the Director of Communications for the Friends of Saint Benedict Center.