One cannot pretend to be a good Catholic and
be a racist, or pretend to be a good Catholic and be pro-abortion” according to
a recent statement by the head of Canada’s national pro-life organization of
priests Fr. Tom Lynch. These comments
were specifically aimed at Justin Trudeau, son of the late and former Prime
Minister to Canada Pierre Trudeau for his pro-abortion stance.
|Martin Luther summoned to Rome|
Whether or not you are pro-life or pro-choice is not at issue here. What is at stake at least from the perspective of Prof. Lynch is that there are only two types of Catholics – good and bad! This dualistic approach to religion is often used by fundamentalist to divide and conquer. How many more people need to suffer worldwide if the major world religions continue to take such an uncompromising position? In the eyes of God we are after all One.
Instead of seeking division we need to develop an attitude of forgiveness and understanding. At the same time what is needed is not more churches, temples, synagogues or mosques but places that minister to the needs of all. What is needed are not more answers – dogma and doctrine but more questions. Humility is still the best way to recognize that we don’t know everything about God, as he is still giving birth to each and all creation. As the universe evolves so must our understanding of God. So perhaps what is needed is less industrial religion and a greater desire to find God within in ourselves and each human being. If there is to be peace in this world the world’s religions must clearly stop competing to find favour with God.
Religious fundamentalism is rife, not because people do not believe in God but because people think that they have to do battle for the Creator and defend him from competing and conflicting belief systems. If that were true our God is not only completely impotent but weaker than most human beings. The challenge for religious institutions is to help all people to awaken to the Holy and precious creations we are in the eyes of God. This will no doubt require a very large dose of God’s humility. A humility that acknowledges that we don’t have all the answers. A humility that thrives on not knowing. A humility that accepts and encourages human diversity. And finally a humility that replaces dogma and doctrine with mystery.
Modern scholars tell us that the word ‘religion’ was probably derived from the Latin term ‘ligare’ meaning “to bind” or “connect”. What is that we are bound to or reconnect with? Is it an institution or God? The role of the religious institution is hopefully the latter. Jesus, who was never a Roman Catholic or Protestant, was born, raised and died as a Jew and never insisted that anyone should join his Jewish faith. Jesus taught by example how we could live in harmony with each other and as One – not separate due to our religious belief systems. When we as adults depend on or the trade the love for God for the love for Church than perhaps the institution has failed us. At that point we will have entered into a dangerous form of co-dependency. As any parent would, the institution must guide us to trust in God and ourselves above all other things. Remember God’s promise he will never leave us an orphan. According Jesus told us: ‘The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you’ – John 14:26
As for Justin Trudeau and his pro-choice belief, perhaps he is simply re-acting to the militant tone or absolute terms so often expressed by some self-righteous defenders of the faith. A gentler way to convince people to understand pro-life is to include and honour all life from the Alpha to the Omega.