I am addressing these words specifically to Christians in the Irish Catholic tradition.
In the wake of the enforced abortion legislation, that has been railroaded through the British Parliament, we need to reflect.
The most extreme abortion regime in the world has been imposed on our part of the island of Ireland, despite the fact that the majority of our elected representatives oppose it and without any opportunity for the Northern Irish electorate, to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’.
This is a display of shocking contempt for our entire community. It is a betrayal of democracy and it makes a sham of the devolution by which it was agreed that we would be governed. The arrogance behind this evil law being forced through is utterly colossal.
We cannot, however, blame the British Parliament alone. This bill, crafted by the pro abortion British Labour MP, Stella Creasy, had the support of Sinn Fein. Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna of the SDLP, both of whom were elected to the British Parliament, also voted in favour of this cruel and wicked law.
Traditionally, as Irish Catholics, many of us have voted for the SDLP and Sinn Fein. The time has come to reassess such traditional political allegiances. Indeed, the time has come to “wipe the dust from our feet” (see Matthew 10:14), in regard to politicians and political parties that avowedly promote and support behaviours and acts that are diametrically opposed to – and irreconcilable with – our Catholic Christian Faith.
We cannot separate our Faith from any area of our lives. We cannot disagree with abortion “in private” and then publicly support those who have no qualms about killing up to birth, boys and girls with a physical defect, or who are missing one chromosome.
With Jesus Christ, there is no neutral position. He clearly tells us that if we are not “for Him” then we are “against Him” (see Luke 11:23). Those who deny Him in the presence of human beings, He will deny in the Presence of His Father in Heaven (see Matthew 10:33).
We can deny Christ by our actions and inactions as well as our words and silences. To vote for a pro abortion politician is a denial of Christ. It is to give tacit support to ideologies that are contrary to God’s commandments – specifically, in the case of abortion, “Thou shalt not kill”.
It is never morally permissible or acceptable to deliberately kill a child in the womb and this barbaric law, that has been imposed on our society, allows for the killing of children up to actual birth.
This is legalised and state sanctioned infanticide. This is what Sinn Fein and very significant and influential elements within the SDLP have proactively campaigned for this last few years, conniving with the likes of Mrs Creasy, to ensure that unlimited abortion would be available, on demand, throughout Ireland, North and South.
All of us, who truly believe in God and strive to live by our “most holy Faith” (Jude 1:20), must reappraise where we stand and where our loyalties lie. This equally applies to faithful Catholics in the 26 counties who have traditionally voted for the parties there. In the wake of that dark and evil day, of May 25th, 2018, our brothers and sisters across the border, also need to re-examine traditional allegiances.
It is unconscionable for a faithful child of God to support in any way – or have any truck with – the advocates for abortion. We must reject pro abortion politicians and their parties at the ballot box. Every aspect of our lives and all of our actions must be in harmony with our baptismal calling and our primary identity – before anything else – as daughters and sons of God. This is the integrity demanded and expected of us by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Before allegiance to any earthly country, we are, first and foremost, citizens with all of God’s people (Ephesians 2:19), of God’s Kingdom. We are called to build God’s Kingdom in this world, to make God’s Kingdom present here on earth, by living a life a love (II John 1:6).
A life of love is not consistent with tearing children limb from limb in their mothers’ wombs. It is not consistent with injecting lethal poison into their hearts or killing them at birth because they have a cleft palate or are Downs Syndrome children. The intentional killing of unborn children is always a monstrous evil and every true child of God will oppose it with every fibre of his and her being.
The demarcation lines are drawn. In wiping the dust of certain political affiliations from our feet we must also repeat the Lord’s warning to those who promote murder disguised as so-called “choice” – “I tell you most solemnly, on the Day of Judgement it will go as hard with Sodom and Gomorrah as it will with you” (Luke 10:12).
As faithful Catholics and Christians, we are going to find ourselves, more and more, as a minority in this society. This should not fill us with dismay – quite the opposite. We have just finished reading at Mass, over the last number of days, about the great ministry of the prophet Elijah who “arose like a fire” (Ecclesiasticus 48:1) when times were very dark and when practically everyone had turned away from God and defied His Law.
Elijah was the only one left in all of Israel who was faithful to God and continued to proclaim God’s Truth to powerful leaders, who hated him and wanted him dead. He also had to contend with a cowardly and apostate people, who had sold out to evil by turning away from the Living and True God, to worship a bloodthirsty demon god, which included child sacrifice among the depravities fostered by its cult.
We need to have the courage of our convictions and be unafraid in these evil times. In Sunday’s Gospel at Mass we will hear Our Lord say to us, “do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Fear Him rather who can destroy both body and soul in Hell” (Matthew 10:28). The Lord Jesus has also told us that the opposition and hostility of the world will be our “opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:13).
When we were baptised we were anointed as prophets. We were set apart from the world to bear witness to the Truth and to DO THE TRUTH. We were not anointed with a lie but with the Truth and we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of Christ (I John 2:27). The Lord Jesus Christ has said, “all who are in the side of Truth listen to my voice” (John 18:37).
Where does our loyalty lie? With Ireland? With a United Ireland? Ireland will pass away. This world will pass away but whoever does the Will of God remains forever (I John 2:17). Heaven and earth will pass away but my Word will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). What foundation do we build upon if not that Solid Rock which withstands every assault of the storms (Matthew 7:25), for “the Lord God is an Everlasting Rock” (Isaiah 26:4).
Let us reject everything and everyone that is irreconcilable to our being in Christ, our belonging to Him. He has told us clearly that although we are “in the world” we “do not belong to the world” for the Lord’s choice has withdrawn us from the world (see John 15:18-19 and 17:14-16). There is a clear decision to be made. As the great prophet Elijah once said, “how long will you limp between two opinions?” (I Kings 18:21).
The only choice a Christian can make is to choose God and to serve God. This will inevitably put us at total variance with what the Lord terms “the world”. So be it. Our Master has said, “in the world you will have trouble but BE BRAVE! I HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD!” (John 16:33).
The “winning side” will be Lord’s side. People might win elections. Politicians might have successes. Evil Laws may be promulgated. But the fate of Evil is eternally sealed and set. God has already pronounced His sentence upon Evil and all workers of iniquity (Matthew 13:40-42). From all eternity, the Lord Jesus sees the end of Evil and where it leads: “I watched Satan fall like lightning from Heaven” (Luke 10:18).
Let us not be conformed to this passing world but let us be transformed by the renewal of our minds and thus become a transformative influence in our society and culture (see Romans 12:2). As faithful believers, we are a force with which to be reckoned and we are the winning team even when we appear defeated.
All it takes is one little light. All is needed is one pinch of yeast. A sprinkle of salt makes all the difference. Let us therefore STAND! (see Ephesians 6:14-17). Our stand is always against – never with – “the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). For what part has Christ with Satan? The Word of God says, “be not unequally yoked with unbelievers” and “how shall two walk together unless they be in agreement?” (see Amos 3:3 and II Corinthians 6:15-18)
I say without hesitation, as a priest and a minister of the Gospel, the time has come to part company from and no longer walk with, those who promote what is evil.
We must pray for their conversion – those politicians who agree with evil – that the eyes of their souls be opened and that they leave the darkness that has engulfed them and threatens them eternally. But we can no longer have any truck with them.
It is now time that we come out from among them and are separated from them (II Corinthians 6:17).
Fr. Paddy McCafferty, Belfast, June 2020
Header image: Fr. Paddy McCafferty via news.images.itv.com