In an evil age, the love of Our Lord is a sign of contradiction. Even when you speak His truth with love and peace, those who drift along with the spirit of the age will often see your stand as a failure, or worse.
Laypeople have a special responsibility in leading in contradicting the lies of the age, and we have great examples. Mother Teresa, who will be canonized in September, was a simple and glorious living example of this contradiction against the culture. Her famous call to “love anyway” still resounds. In defending the dignity of every person from conception to natural death you will be called all kinds of names. Defend life anyway. In upholding the true nature of marriage and the family, your livelihood will be threatened. Uphold marriage and the family anyway.
Do not become the caricature of the hateful and unjust aggressor that has been held up by the media as the typical defender of life and family. Our anger about the assault on our families and culture is just, but it cannot define us.
And let us be honest in how we speak to one another. Let us not fall back on false hopes from a false “dialogue” that, in truth, demands capitulation from the defenders of life and family. In other words, don’t make the same mistake many of us in the West made. When those who promote the destruction of unborn life, the wide and free promotion of contraception, and the redefinition of marriage do not have power, they insist on “dialogue.” What they mean is that we should stand down, and have conversations that over time distort the nature of the human person, human rights, and true flourishing. They never give an inch, but slowly shame the defenders of life and family into lowering their guard, finding areas of “middle ground” that contain untruths.
Here in the so-called “developed world,” we are developing ourselves right into the abyss. What begins with a call for dialogue ends in demands for silence once the innovators have political and financial power. The pro-life movement in the US is winning victories at the state and local level as more people have personal experience with the destruction of abortion and change sides. Yet even though Planned Parenthood, a truly evil business, has been caught red-handed with employees negotiating to change abortion procedures in order to yield tissue from murdered babies that can be sold, we cannot get them cut off from huge taxpayer-funded government grants. They have political power, and their cancerous support has spread throughout the government. The dialogue is over, they say, and they have the power to punish anyone who successfully challenges them.
On marriage, we should to have a genuine compassion for those with same-sex attraction, and many of us know them as friends and family. When the issue came up, we had no desire whatsoever to see anyone oppressed, but we had no intention of promoting destructive and sinful behavior or changing the nature of marriage of family either.
Then, the “dialogue” began. We allowed the language around the issue to become untruthful, especially with the now-prevalent but unjust assumption that anyone who defends traditional marriage does so out of “hatred” or “bigotry.” We were silent as scientists who pointed out legitimate health concerns of the homosexual lifestyle, or who pointed out the scientific fact that there has not been found a biological basis for homosexuality, were punished and silenced. We shrugged with indifference as companies and schools developed “sensitivity training” that shamed Christians or anyone who held the traditional understanding of marriage. We laughed along with everyone else as our entertainment industry carved into stone the idea that anyone opposed to the redefinition of marriage was on the wrong side of history and was motivated by hatred and ignorance.
Almost overnight, calls for tolerance became demands for complete silence if one disagreed. Christians who do not literally celebrate homosexuality are now in some places being fired and forced out of the public square. Catholics who choose the wrong word in polite conversation, even innocently, are shamed and silenced.
This is the end of the “dialogue” proposed by those whose war against Christ, against truth, and against nature. It is a one way conversation that ends when they have power. If only Christians were as confident and convicted as the innovators, things might be different. But we are mostly unformed, hardly different than the rest of the culture. Too many of us have become not a sign of contradiction, but a sign of compliance, leaves floating along on the stream of “progress.”
My dear Filipino brothers and sisters, please learn from our example. We must still love those who disagree with us on these issues. Many of them do not come from a place of bad will, they are just unformed in the faith, formed instead by an increasingly hostile culture. It is good to talk with those we disagree with on these things, but only in a true dialogue—one on the firm ground of truth, in love.
Laypeople must lead this fight in the culture, and bring it to your political leaders during and even after the upcoming elections. Hold them accountable. Pay attention to their language. Know the pressure that is on them to change—pressure that, sadly, often comes here in the West and is foreign to your culture—and support them in the truth. They are your employees, not your superiors. Make your culture such that it is politically a bad idea to try to promote abortion, contraception and the redefinition of marriage. Artists, political leaders, clergy must all be engaged. Control your nation’s conversation, or trust me, it will control you. Find ways of peace to talk with those who disagree, but do not concede the language to those who promote untruths.
Love in Truth, the Church says. She is right.