Sometimes I have posts brewing in my head for awhile.  It’s usually a good thing that they sit up there and simmer so that when they finally come out of my fingers, they’re a big more refined.

This post, for example, is completely different than the post I was about to write last night, partly because my nightly reading included a passage from 2 Tim 2, which reminded me, “Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.”

The subject of the controversy and quarrel I was going to write about is not stupid or senseless, nor are the possible effects of the quarrel.  Indeed, both the subject and the possible effects are quite grave.   But I think Paul has some good advice, both in 2 Tim and in today’s first reading, Ephesians 4.  The more people who stick their noses in controversies, the greater the fight that breaks out, and the greater the disruption of unity, which is so damaging to the Church.

I was going to detail the controversy here, but changed my mind after I realized that the biggest problem is the prolonging of the quarrel by the interference of outside parties.  To simplify, there is a fight amongst prolifers that has become public and messy.  What began on a blog with a priest warning prolifers against becoming hateful and self-righteous, soon turned into false accusations and hateful remarks being thrown around by various people, many of whom know little about the real, original situation.  It seems  everyone wants to get the last word in the argument, even prolife leaders who had nothing to do with the initial discussion.

As a result, the devil is succeeding in further dividing both the prolife movement and the Catholic Church.  It is a shameful display of disunity, perpetuated by passions and egos and misunderstandings, all contrary to the Gospel message.  As Paul reminds us in today’s first reading, “I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4).

This did not need to be a public fight.  It did not need to splinter the Church or divide the prolife movement.  But it has, and it will continue to, unless we all rise above it.

Much of it comes down to this: there are radicals in the prolife movement who do nothing to help the cause by their self-righteous, bull-headed behavior, and they eclipse what the prolife movement is really about: imago Dei.

Abortion is a horrible crime against humanity and needs to be fought.  But it is part of a much bigger problem.  Our culture no longer recognizes the imago Dei in each person– the fact that each person– regardless of age, health, color, education, or political stance– is created in the image and likeness of God and has an inherent human dignity.

When members of the prolife movement engage in verbal denigration, backbiting, or public displays that lack respect for anyone involved… well, their message begins to ring hollow.  Do we have the obligation to speak up when the truth is attacked?  Yes!  Do we have the right to speak with passion for what we believe in and hold dear?  Yes!

Do we have the obligation to always speak with gentleness and compassion?  Yes.

St. Paul continues in his reminder to Timothy, “Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth,  and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

I was thankful I read that passage before posting.

Let us stop attacking each other and work together to bring about the civilization of love in this country.  Not a false love that lacks truth and settles for false unity under the banner of relativism, but also not a false truth that lacks the virtue of charity.

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