We do it because we understand that each and every person is made in the image and likeness of God. Each, no matter how small or weak or wounded or messed up, is completely unique and infinitely precious. We understand that human life is a gift to be received, cherished, and served, not abused, not manipulated, not degraded, not destroyed. This is the essence of who we are, and ourraison d’être in the world. And what is birth control—contraception—but a refusal of life, a rejection, a manipulation, a degradation and an abuse of human life and human sexuality.
Inwardly, religiously, we understand ourselves to be engaged in a cosmic battle between the forces of life and love on the one hand, and death and destruction on the other. Jesus has rescued us from death. Now our mission is to “make a return,” by fostering a culture of life and building a civilization of love. That’s the over-arching purpose of our lives; we strive to make it the theme of all our individual acts.
The first principle of that program, laid down by St. Augustine (and Hippocrates before him), is “Do no harm.” We can’t do good by committing evil. No matter how noble our goal, it’s not okay to hurt persons as a means of achieving it. We can’t collude with wrong; we can’t subsidize the objectification of women and other injuries to the dignity of persons; we can’t facilitate the killing of innocents; we can’t betray our central vocation.
When the federal government uses the force of law to mandate that Catholic institutions and businesses provide birth control and sterilizations and abortifacient drugs to their employees, it is, in effect, seeking to conscript the Church into the service of the culture of death as a condition of our participation in society. It is no side issue. It is no glancing blow. It is a stake aimed at the very heart of Catholic life.
If we are serious about our mission and identity as Catholics, we must stand against this evil much more forcefully than we have up to now. The time is very short.
This article was originally published at Crisis.
Pages: 1 2