|"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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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
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
3. What other examples of media bias could you
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?