Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Our Pro-Life Athelney

... She spoke not, nor turned not,
Nor any sign she cast,
Only she stood up straight and free,
Between the flowers in Athelney,
And the river running past.

"Mother of God," the wanderer said,
"I am but a common king,
Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
To see a secret thing.

"The gates of heaven are fearful gates
Worse than the gates of hell;
Not I would break the splendours barred
Or seek to know the thing they guard,
Which is too good to tell.

"But for this earth most pitiful,
This little land I know,
If that which is for ever is,
Or if our hearts shall break with bliss,
Seeing the stranger go?

"When our last bow is broken, Queen,
And our last javelin cast,
Under some sad, green evening sky,
Holding a ruined cross on high,
Under warm westland grass to lie,
Shall we come home at last?"

And a voice came human but high up,
Like a cottage climbed among
The clouds; or a serf of hut and croft
That sits by his hovel fire as oft,
But hears on his old bare roof aloft
A belfry burst in song.

"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gain,
The heaviest hind may easily
Come silently and suddenly
Upon me in a lane.

"And any little maid that walks
In good thoughts apart,
May break the guard of the Three Kings
And see the dear and dreadful things
I hid within my heart.

"The meanest man in grey fields gone
Behind the set of sun,
Heareth between star and other star,
Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
The council, eldest of things that are,
The talk of the Three in One.

"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gold,
Men may uproot where worlds begin,
Or read the name of the nameless sin;
But if he fail or if he win
To no good man is told.

"The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

"The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.

"The wise men know what wicked things
Are written on the sky,
They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
Hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten seraph kings
Still plot how God shall die.

"The wise men know all evil things
Under the twisted trees,
Where the perverse in pleasure pine
And men are weary of green wine
And sick of crimson seas.

"But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

"Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?"

~ From The Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterton ~

I encourage you to read Chesterton's epic poem in its entirety. The stanzas I have quoted here are my favorites, as well as those I believe most apt to current events. Beyond them, I don't have much more to add in response to the results of the election. Well, that is, apart from these thoughts:

(1) Pray for President-elect Obama. He will need our prayers over the next 4 years. He is taking on the biggest job in the world, and he is, quite honestly, woefully ill-prepared for it. I do not say that to belittle him, only to note his level of inexperience and the need for our prayers that he will live up to the job he has been given. Also pray for President-elect Obama to have a change of heart on matters of the sanctity of life and marriage. If he is as reasonable and open to the views of pro-lifers as his Catholic proponents claim him to be, then I'm sure he will appreciate those prayers.

(2) Hold those Catholic proponents of President-elect Obama accountable for his record. Thomas Peters said it well here:

Pro-Obama Catholics will remain with us into an Obama presidency. And we must hold these people accountable. By this I mean we have to hold them to the promises they have made the Catholic faithful about the reduction of abortions which they claim Obama's presidency will bring about, as well as a whole range of other predictions. They are on record, we have read their statements, and the burden is on them.
And I mentioned my plans for holding them accountable here:

I will hold Doug Kmiec and his ilk personally responsible for every bit of Obama's pro-abortion agenda. And they'll hear about it, too...
Those Catholics who worked for and encouraged their fellow Catholics to vote for the election of President-elect Obama should be made to understand that we are watching to see if the "pro-life" promises they made regarding their candidate come to fruition.

(3) Never stop fighting for a culture of life. Catholics on the left hate the fact that social issues such as abortion and marriage tend to dominate the discussion about "the Catholic vote". They have derisively called those of us who fight for a culture of life "culture warriors", "divisive", "narrowly focused", and even "discriminatory". They accuse us of using these issues as "wedge issues" to push for the election of one party over the other. They say we're trapped in a "culture war paradigm". Unfortunately there is also a subset of Catholics who I would not consider to be on the political left but who nevertheless appear ready and willing to wave the white flag of surrender; who no longer have the stomach for the fight; who are willing to seek "peace in our time" with those whose agenda does not allow for any compromise that might inhibit the forward march of the culture of death. Let's call these folks "culture war pacifists". Don't be bullied or cowed into silent submission by those who call you "divisive" and "narrowly focused". Don't be lured by the siren song of "peace in our time" by folks who seek to accommodate or appease those with no interest in compromising their pro-abortion and anti-marriage agendas. They're not trying to find a "middle ground" on torture; so, why are they trying to make accommodations on the sanctity of life and marriage? Don't give up. Don't give in. Continue to struggle and sacrifice and hold out hope for a culture of life. And remember that politics is only a small, albeit necessary part, of the fight. There are also thousands of battles that are fought every day for hearts and minds and souls. Work in your communities to promote a culture of life. Show the Obama Catholics to be liars when they claim that we don't practice what we preach on life issues.

(4) Above all, have joy even when there seems to be no cause for such; have faith even when there seems to be no hope.

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At 11/04/2008 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well said Jay. The pro-life cause has lost a battle, but it will inevitably win the war.

At 11/04/2008 11:16 PM, Blogger Tito Edwards said...

Well done.

Kmiec, Iafrate, Poli, and there ilk will be held accountable for preventing a pro-life candidate from winning an election.

At 11/05/2008 12:02 AM, Blogger Anita Moore said...

I have to say I am unutterably depressed over the outcome of this election, even though it's no surprise. Though I tried to ignore it, I had the unsettling feeling after the Veep debate -- as much as I love Sarah Palin, and as much as she fired up the conservative base -- that bringing her on board was too little, too late for this election. I can't help blaming McCain for running such a wussy campaign. He just doesn't seem to get that we are in a war over the soul of this nation. None of our "leaders" in Washington seem to get it.

I can only hope that Obama's radical leftism will produce a backlash. After all, we had to go through four years of Jimmy Carter before we got Ronald Reagan.

At 11/05/2008 6:18 AM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

This is a terrible setback for the culture of life. The effects are immediately apparent here in Michigan where Prop 2 passed (constitutional amendment to allow the cannibalism of embryos). I wouldn't have thought it possible that it passed in spite of the efforts of our "Catholic" pro-abort governor's support. I can only assume that it passed due to the increased turn out Obama and his cannibalistic ideology inspired.

Horrible day in the USA...

At 11/05/2008 7:05 AM, Blogger Denise said...

We need to add one more point to your list. Hold our bishops accountable. They have done a phenomenal job of boldly speaking out for the last month. Where were they six months ago? one year ago? We need more than talk now. We need action. No more donations to ACORN! They need to say without equivocation that the support of abortion takes these pro-abortion legislators out of communion with the Church. Too many of them have been preoccupied with upsetting big donors or missing out on prestigious dinner invitations. The bishops have my prayers. I need their leadership.

At 11/05/2008 7:43 AM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

Show the Obama Catholics to be liars when they claim that we don't practice what we preach on life issues.

I understand this, but I think it's just another straw man meme. The fact of the matter is that those who vote pro-life are those who practice what they preach. It defies reason to consider that those who walk the walk and talk the talk - praying outside abortion clinics, giving aborted babies a burial, running or assisting with crisis pregnancy centers, helping individual women in times of crisis, adopting at risk children, lobbying politicians, challenging candidates and fellow citizens, etc. - could possibly find the stomach to vote for a pro-abort. No, those who claim to be a consistent pro-lifer yet support a pro-abort politician are the hypocrites. How can anyone who actively fights the horrific practice of abortion pull the lever for someone who calls it a right and a good?

It's a dead meme and I reject it on its face.

At 11/05/2008 8:16 AM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

Oh, I agree Rick. That's why I referred to those who push the meme as "liars".

I certainly didn't intend to imply that sincere pro-lifers are the ones who need to prove anything.

At 11/05/2008 8:39 AM, Blogger Paul Nichols said...

Well, McCain ran a terrible campaign and deserved to lose. I voted for him, let there be no doubt, but he should have never been the candidate to begin with.

Thanks to Bush for running the Reagan Revolution into the ditch.

Now it's time to start rebuilding it.

And it's shameful that the white Catholics in my home state of PA only barely went for McCain.

But as my daughter asked, "What if he's (Obama) not so bad?"

Well, that would be a good thing.

At 11/05/2008 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife suggested this morning that we're just left hoping he won't be as radical in office as his campaign implied he would be. So, in the end, it's we who will be promoting hope and change: hoping that President Obama will change his mind on a great many issues.

Prayers on the way.

At 11/05/2008 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It falls to us to make the difference.

God has allowed this; I'm grateful that the grey fog has distilled into clearer black and white lines. I also think Arbp. Chaput is loaded for bear -- I think good things must come out of the bishops' meeting, if we continue to pray for our shepherds.

At 11/05/2008 10:22 AM, Blogger Tito Edwards said...

I agree with Catholic Mom, we need to hold our bishops accountable for not upholding the teachings of the church instead of issuing a tiny press release on an obscure chancery website that no one reads.

At 11/05/2008 10:52 AM, Blogger Barb said...

I can't help but be comforted by the words of today's first reading at Mass...
..."Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain..." Philippians 2: 14-15

We must not get discouraged, but must fight on and be lights to our world.
I think we should strive to have the largest group ever at the March for Life this will be only two days after the inauguration. We need to show our new president that we will not give up.

At 11/05/2008 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph." - none other than Our Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy and Heavenly Mother.

Yet, we are God's instruments and must continue to do His Work with even more determination during these dark days ahead. Keep praying & peacefully protesting and street counseling at the abortion murder-mills, and pray for the Catholic conversion of this entire administration and all involved with it.

Keep up the good work you are doing on your blog. God Bless you and your family.


At 11/05/2008 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. McClarey. Very well said, Jay, and helpful. Thanks. The gates of hell shall not prevail.

At 11/05/2008 2:19 PM, Blogger Bender R said...

Thanks to Bush for running the Reagan Revolution into the ditch.

It was JOHN McCAIN who must answer for that as well. It was because Bush had to placate and appease John McCain and Republican congressional "moderates," it was because McCain the Maverick has spent the last seven-plus years attacking Bush and giving cover to Dems attacking Bush and legitimizing Bush-hate, that caused Bush popularity to fall.

It was congressional moderates and Republican careerists who passed bloated budgets, refused to do what they were elected to do, and helped run the Revolution into the ditch. It is they, McCain, et al., who bear responsibility for these things, and not George W. Bush for failing to attack and oppose his own party.

At 11/26/2008 6:55 AM, Blogger James M said...

President-elect taking on the biggest job in the world

What about the task of the Pope? Is that not the 'biggest job in the world'?


Forgive my being pernickety.


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