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The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 5
A reflection by Fr Luis Garza, LC, on how Catholics can take an effective stand in the culture war today.

"Against the spirit of the world, the Church takes up anew each day a struggle that is none other than the struggle for the world’s soul" (John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope).

September 19, 2011. The Catholic Church has been a builder of culture for over two millennia, and has faced different forms of “culture war” throughout its long and battle-scarred history. But perhaps never has the Church faced a challenge like the “battle for the soul of the world” in the 21st century.

For those with an interest in understanding the roots and consequences of the cultural battle underway in today’s world, we present The Battle for the Soul of the World, by Fr Luis Garza, LC. Originally presented as a series of lectures for university students attending a leadership conference, it is offered here as a formation resource for teams and individuals who will find the lecture notes to be thought-provoking material for reflection and discussion.

The complete text with study guide questions can be downloaded in PDF format here. Part 5 of the 10-part series is presented below, and the following parts will be published on the web site on Mondays.


2. Life

We now go on to offer a vision of the fight for life.  Here we see a desire to control population at any cost.

As mentioned above, development is now “sustainable development” precisely for the sake of including the topic of birth control.  And so, “health” is not only the lack of disease but, according to the World Health Organization, a general well-being, which includes knowledge about methods of reproductive health.  Therefore, whoever does not have knowledge of or access to reproductive health (i.e., birth control) is not healthy.  In fact, pregnancy is considered an illness.  Much more money goes toward “reproductive health” than to almost any other category, in spite of the enormous number of people who fall victim to terribly painful and humiliating illnesses.

At the same time, taxes and legal systems penalize those who have children, and abortion is fiercely promoted and defended.  Some estimate that there are more than 50 million abortions per year.

Nor can we forget the role played by eugenicists and racists.  As a matter of fact, a fundamental part of Margaret Sanger’s plan (foundress of International Planned Parenthood Foundation) was birth control for the sake of bettering the race and avoiding the proliferation of inferior or less evolved races.

Birth control is also directly linked to the attitude of enjoying unrestricted sex with anyone at any time.  For of course, having sex must not be burdened with the bothersome consequence of conceiving children.  Therefore, the sexual revolution requires birth control and creates the mentality that conceiving life is a nuisance, an obligation that goes against our freedom.

It is worrisome that euthanasia is being permitted in many countries.  In the Netherlands some senior citizens wear a metal card around their neck, which states that they are to be taken to Belgium if they fall ill.  To avoid the shock of the term “euthanasia,” other names have been coined like “assisted suicide,” or “sweet death,” etc.  These semantics lead to a transformation (“deconstruction”) of the concept of “dignity” because a dignified death now means absolute autonomy to choose when and how to die.  Nor are these the only consequences; in some cases, it has come down to committing suicide or asking to be murdered.

We have also seen a strong movement in the US to approve homosexual “marriage” in most states.  It has failed at the polls but is being promoted through the courts and judges.  The christening of gay union as a “matrimony” is tantamount to the destruction of the concepts of family and marriage.  For these people, it is not enough to decriminalize or not criminalize homosexual behavior (sodomy); rather, the goal is to change the way people judge this behavior:  first tolerance, then approval, until at last we equate it with marriage.  This touches one of the foundations of Western culture and Christianity.

So, what are we to do?

First, support life among family and friends.  Support life in public and promote appreciation for life.  Do not fear public debate and defend life and our principles.

Furthermore, do everything possible to change the laws... very intelligently.  The Pro-Life movements are an example of self-giving and sacrifice, and they defend life, but we must also outsmart the anti-life movements.  Therefore, it is necessary to avoid the confrontation that would waste our time.  We must discover the fallacies and deceptions they use in their statistics (it is known that they always distort data of so-called clandestine abortions) and expose their self-interest:  it must be seen how many of those who support the anti-life movement also seek to promote their own businesses in the contraception and abortion industry.  It is very important to use unconventional means of communication like the Internet, discussion forums, etc.

3. Media

The documentary “Hollywood vs. Religion” concludes that there is a real subculture in Hollywood, something unique to the people who work there.  The lifestyle depicted by Hollywood or television productions is very far removed from the lifestyle of the typical American.  97% of Americans believe in God, and 45% practice some religion.  In Hollywood only 45% believe in God, and 7% practice a religion.

Furthermore, we see that the news analysis of certain events, situations, and so on, can be very biased.  At such times we see clearly the “lowest common denominator.”

So, what are we to do?

Vote with your feet.  It is important that we express our convictions even to the point of boycotting what goes against our principles.  Move your friends to do the same.  It is ridiculous that we sometimes pay people who do us damage.  Protect your home not only against burglars but also against anything that can destroy the values of your children and your family.  We are very zealous in guarding the doors of our houses, and yet we let in a flood of anti-values with which we disagree.  Why are we going to let people ridicule the Catholic religion?  If it upsets us when someone ridicules Judaism, and rightly so, why allow them to laugh at that which is our own and sacred to us?

4. Women

The field of feminism has been used as a Trojan horse to penetrate culture and change it.  Women are—and this is proven by all the psychological research—of capital importance in children’s lives in their first five years during which “codes of behavior” are planted in the individual.  If you change what a woman does during that period of the child’s life, a whole generation will change.

The feminist movement has achieved some very important and necessary goals for women.  We must recognize it.  Nevertheless, we must also recognize that there has been manipulation.  Slogans like the following have been spread:  You have been oppressed, so rebel; Your role in the family is the result of social conditioning, not something that comes from nature; You should outperform men in your career, etc.  Here we find a clear application of Marxist dialectics (oppressed vs. oppressor) to relations between the sexes.  With the advent and widespread use of contraceptives, sex and procreation have been separated.  Promoting the sexual revolution involved the rejection of life because, for radical feminists, pregnancy is the oppression of women.  In this view, there are no man-woman bonds, and, therefore, the family is the first to suffer.  Thus, society’s foundation is destroyed.

So, what are we to do?

Defend, as did John Paul II, a positive and Christian feminism, which recognizes the feminine genius and the special role women play in the building up of society, but not at the expense of the family.  Both men and women have an important role in building up families, which are the basis for the future of any society.  In lieu of confrontation, therefore, we need cooperation between men and women.  Instead of neglecting the family, I would suggest that we first try to give women the ability to choose what they want for their life without manipulating them and without using their passions for selfish ends.  Second, make flexible work hours available to women, so they can combine professional life with family life.  Third, do not propose the model of the Superwoman (the woman who can do it all), which only alienates women.  Fourth, encourage men to fulfill the duties specific to their vocation as parents and husbands.  Instead of thinking that society and culture have constructed the concept and role of women, let us listen to nature and realize that the fact women give birth means something.  It is a tremendous responsibility and a grace given by God.

Questions for Personal Reflection and Group Discussion
1. How do you see a manipulation of language in the battle for and against life? What terms have been changed and what false dilemmas have been created?
2. What do you personally feel called to do in the pro-life battle? What pro-life initiatives or ministries do you consider most effective and important?
3. What other examples of media bias could you mention?
4. How does media influence the young, in particular? How have you seen this influence in your own family or in your friends?
5. What do you feel called to do to counteract the negative influences that can come through the mass media? What resources would you recommend to other families in this area?
6. How has the radical feminist movement actually reduced the greatness of women?
7. How do you feel called to live and share an authentically Catholic feminism? What existing ministries or initiatives do you consider particularly effective in this area?


The Battle for the World’s Soul, Part I - Artículo
The Battle for the World’s Soul, Part 2 - Artículo
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 3 - Artículo
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 4 - Artículo
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 5 - Artículo
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 6 - Artículo
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 7 - Artículo
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 8 - Artículo
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 9 - Artículo
The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 10 - Artículo

Related articles
- The Battle for the World’s Soul, Part I
- The Battle for the World’s Soul, Part 2
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 3
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 4
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 5
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 6
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 7
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 8
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 9
- The Battle for the World´s Soul, Part 10

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