Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

Abortion, Tradition and Idol Worship

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 06, 2007

There is a great deal to comment on today. For example, New Jersey just passed a law which forces pharmacists to fill prescriptions for abortifacient drugs whether it violates their consciences or not. One wonders why the State can’t leave people free to determine what sorts of trade they wish to participate in. This law has a totalitarian aura, though it is hardly the first time. In the land of the free, we’ve been drifting that way for years.

Then there’s the notable opposition in some dioceses to Benedict XVI’s widening of the use of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite in Summorum Pontificum. Archbishop Ranjith Patabendige, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has called this hostility a “rebellion against the Pope” motivated by “on the one hand, ideological prejudices, and on the other hand pride—one of the deadliest sins.” To establish discipline among those who voluntarily choose to represent her, one wishes the Church had New Jersey’s teeth!

I believe the people on the wrong side of both these issues hold something deeply in common. Both pro-abortion lawmakers and anti-traditional bishops have fallen into a modern mindset which holds that we are inevitably progressing toward ever-greater perfection quite apart from God. In fact, such persons have made a religion out of progress (and therefore at least indirectly out of evolution). They disdain tradition, both human and Divine. They see the true and the good as emerging ever fresh and whole from each new spirit of the age.

This mindset was addressed by God Himself through the prophet Jeremiah, who denounced the Israelites for falling into the worship of idols—gods of wood and stone, powerless to save or even to move, which they embraced out of pride and a desire for advantage with their neighbors. Of such an attitude, God had this to say:

As a thief is shamed when caught,
      so the house of Israel shall be shamed:
They, their kings, their princes,
      Their priests, and their prophets,
Who say to a tree, “You are my father,’
      And to a stone, “You gave me birth.”
For they have turned their back to me,
      and not their face.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
      “Arise and save us!”
But where are your gods
      that you made for yourself?
                Jeremiah 2:26-28

Consider: Is not the modern mindset characterized by this same worship of crude idols? Does not the self-consciously modern mind embrace elements of a religion which believes we have evolved without Divine intervention entirely out of crude matter—out of wood and stone, so to speak—and that evolution toward greater perfection is inevitable? Indeed, a great many of our contemporaries act as if we have evolved from nothing into something without God, and as if we are bound for glory apart from His holy will.

I maintain that those who promote abortion and oppose both tradition and authority are largely cut from the same cloth. They believe in Progress. They disdain the restraints of an inferior past. They don’t really see how God’s will enters into things at all. Be they bishops or politicians, they have forgotten that our Father is the Living God, Who alone can judge the trends of history, and who holds each of us in the palm of His hand.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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