‘Peace and Justice’ Catholics

In the summer of 1993, a young woman on my staff came back from lunch one afternoon screaming mad. I had just started as president of the Catholic League and wanted to know what her problem was. It so happened that over lunch (in the New York Archdiocese’s cafeteria) she was berated by a young man for her pro-life views. He worked for a social-justice organization.

It is no secret that the “peace and justice” crowd is soft on abortion. Sr. Helen Prejean and others like her can get quite worked up about the rights of serial murderers on death row, but they never seem to be quite as excited about the rights of innocent unborn babies. That’s because too many of them see abortion as merely unfortunate: They positively do not believe it is “intrinsically evil.”

On July 25, Catholics for Choice paid for an ad in Italy’s largest newspaper — the money was laundered via the Ford Foundation and other anti-Catholic establishment institutions — denouncing the Catholic Church for its teaching on contraception. One of Pax Christi’s chapters signed the ad, and so did a chapter of Voice of the Faithful. Dignity and the Women’s Ordination Conference were also signatories.

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None of these groups was founded to protest the Church’s teaching on contraception. Pax Christi professes an interest in peace; VOTF was established to address the sexual abuse scandal; Dignity is a gay-rights group; Women’s Ordination Conference wants women priests. But all are integral to the social-justice wing of the Catholic Church, and all reject the Church’s teachings on sexuality (not just artificial birth control). To top it off, they have no problem signing an ad sponsored by an organization that was twice condemned by the bishops’ conference for being a fraud.

How can groups that are nominally Catholic join with a group that is the most notoriously anti-Catholic organization in the nation? The answer is obvious: They are ideologically compatible. They would argue, however, that their commitment to helping the poor and promoting peace makes them more Catholic than most pro-life groups. But what does their commitment entail?

Social-justice Catholics love to tout organizations like Bread for the World. But the fact is that this group does nothing but lobby for welfare programs — it has never given any poor person a job, never helped them to get a job, and never once put food on the table for them. But it is good at lobbying, and what it lobbies for is more handouts.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton reluctantly signed the most comprehensive welfare reform bill in American history. It is now acknowledged, even by the New York Times, that it did more to break the back of dependency than any other piece of legislation. And who worked hard against it? The social-justice crowd.

Now these same groups are offering more propaganda by lying about health care. The lie is that we don’t have universal health care. Of course we do — we’ve had it for a very long time. The reality is that not a single person in the United States is denied health care because he is indigent — it is against the law to deny treatment to anyone. What we don’t have is universal health insurance, and that is because many illegal aliens, as well as many young persons (e.g., graduate students who work part-time), elect not to buy it. Indeed, many of these people argue that it is easier, and cheaper, to simply go to an emergency room than it is to pay for an insurance policy.

They also lie about war and peace. Read what they say about our involvement in Iraq. They say the entire war is about oil. Really? If that were true, we would have thrown Israel overboard long ago, befriended the Arabs, and gotten all the oil we wanted. But things are not quite that simple.

Similarly, the “peace and justice” crowd exudes a smugness that makes many veterans like me sick. Is there a cause they think is worth fighting for? Is there a war they can defend? More to the point, their very existence is due to those who enlist in the armed forces, and to the veterans before them, all of whom reject the idea that surrender is a means to peace.

Peace through strength is the most efficacious way to avoid war. Self-reliance and hard work is the best way to help the able-bodied poor to become upwardly mobile. Laws protecting the unborn are the most reliable means of stopping abortion. This is something those in the pro-life wing of the Catholic Church already know, and it is something they can pursue without ever being bankrolled by anti-Catholic front groups.


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