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Soul Mending

By Yvonne Zarowny


Pro-life groups need to expand their horizons beyond anti-choice



“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. . . . By this all people will know you are my disciples; if you love one another.”
— John 13:34-35

It is with a heart heavy with despair that I write this column.

I am in deep need of being assured our church “gets the message” our “salvation” is through the Way of Hope, Love, and Peace through Justice the Christ Child incarnated into our world.

It is the Light of that incarnation being birthed anew we celebrate this dark time of year as we strive to compassionately nurse our battered souls and that of our suffering world.

As Matthew 7:21 reports Jesus saying: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the kingdom but those who do the will of my Father in heaven.”

This begs the question: “What is the will of the ‘Father’?”

When put together with the “Love commandment” and at least 2,000 other passages about social justice, does anyone seriously think church leadership, lay or religious, is doing the will of the Father by enabling an ideology and dominant mode of development necessitating the destruction of God’s Creation to maximize profit for a tiny number of humans?

Yet — that is what is happening by limiting “pro-life” to “anti-choice” legislation. How and why is this happening — even with Pope Francis?

The 2015 Laudato Si’: Caring for Our Common Home basically restates the unanimous conclusions of the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) 1987 report Our Common Future.

As with Laudato Si’, Our Common Future concluded we are not confronted with multiple life-threatening crises — only one! And it is not “pro-choice” legislation.

It is our dominant development mode which is unsustainable morally, economically, socially and environmentally.

This mode necessitates:
1. infinite growth on a finite planet;
2. an ever-increasing material consumption of “stuff” just to stay afloat (wars are great for this); and
3. humans denied any purpose beyond being consumers. This creates within us an unfillable aching void. Like addicts, we seek to fill it through unsatisfying means.

All this makes our current dominant development path an existential threat which has already killed hundreds of millions while causing even more to suffer life without dignity.

Why, when decrying the secularization of our culture, is our development mode’s need to have material consumption replace all other purpose for our life not mentioned by those powerful within our church — both lay and religious?

In order to effectively counter being manipulated by a false notion of what constitutes “pro-life,” we need to understand who benefits from it. We also need to understand how they are currently using it to foil our efforts to effectively co-create a variety of cultures of life where all God’s Creation has live with dignity.

The Knights of Columbus are an incredibly powerful organization.

Under their current leadership, it is expanding its power and influence around the world while spreading the “American gospel” of unrestrained capitalism.

In trying to understand why Supreme Knight Carl Anderson made statements he did during the horror show of the 2016 U.S. election cycle, I read a number of his publications. He is greatly influenced by the words and actions of St. Teresa of Kolkata. He repeatedly quotes her statements that abortion is the “worse poverty” and the “greatest threat to love and peace.”

He also equates her simplistic views with that of Pope Francis, dropping any reference to life with dignity, the threat posed by our dominant development mode, or the need for “integral ecology” to address it . . . a term “officially” introduced by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

While I greatly admire St. Teresa’s loving service to India’s poor, I disagree with her assessment. However, it explains why so many wealthy promote her and the Knights’ model of “charity” and why they financed her beatification.

It doesn’t threaten their positions of power, wealth and privilege as co-creating authentic sustainable cultures of life would.

Given Pope Francis signed an expanded scope of study and activity for the Pontifical Academy for Life, I checked the EWTN Pro-Life tab.

EWTN, a rapidly expanding American global media network that does not question our dominant development mode, had referenced Mr. Trump’s election and his anti-choice stance. However there was no mention of the expanded scope for the Pontifical Academy for Life. In my last column I mentioned their tab for God and Creation makes no reference of Laudato Si’.

It seems the multi-million dollar investment in cultivating anti-choice legislation as the “only” pro-life issue has paid off to the detriment of hundreds of millions as well as future generations. Now “their” guns are turned on further destroying our capacity to understand the existential threat we are facing and how to effectively engage it to co-create authentic cultures of life.

Cardus, a think-tank that promotes our dominant development mode while calling itself Christian, is mounting a campaign for Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Another of the “unregulated capitalist” cluster of institutes, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is attacking our public schooling. Both use a version of “freedom of religion” as their divisive and deadly weapon of choice.

I hope and pray more of our church leadership has an epiphany that enables them to assist us co-create authentic cultures of life — fast!

An educator, writer and engaged citizen living in Qualicum Beach, B.C., Zarowny is also on the leadership team for her parish’s Justice and Life Ministry.