The thirteenth edition of Calx Mariae is dedicated to the story and mission of the pro-life movement.
For people of faith, life is not the most important value but it is the first because without life all other rights or privileges are meaningless. John Smeaton, the CEO of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said at the Rome March for Life: “The pro-life movement is part of a much wider and deeper historic crusade for the restoration of Christian civilisation. Let’s not forget that we fight for ‘going back to the real normal’; we are united in the fight to end abortion completely and in the restoration of a civilisation where human life is valued without exception. It really is not normal to kill children in the womb. May this time that is marked by a sense of isolation, distance, and separation, also be a time to unite with ever greater force and to be united in the truth of Christ.” (Rome, 22 May 2021)
How often have we heard during this coronavirus crisis people expressing a desire to go back to “normal”? Yet, is it not the case that reality before the pandemic was not at all normal? It is not normal that 60 million children a year are being killed in the womb. It is not normal that two men or two women can be “married”. It is not normal that little girls are being taught at school that they can become boys and vice versa. When we desire to “go back to normal”, we must be mindful that the way to normality lies far beyond the lifting of Covid restrictions. Furthermore, the restrictions that deprive us of our comforts and liberties, as well as of life’s essentials in many cases, could in itself be a call back to normality. Sacrifices that we have not chosen, which are frustrating and perhaps do not even correspond to our idea of a sacrifice, are not outside the scope of Divine Providence to open the eyes and purify the minds of people who need to turn back to God. If we do that, this crisis can certainly be a great blessing. If not, this time is indeed wasted and a stronger intervention needed.
John Smeaton has been involved in the pro-life movement at the national and international level for the past 47 years and this year he will pass on his responsibilities to the next generation. At this special moment, Calx Mariae had the unique opportunity to ask him to reflect on the mission and purpose of the pro-life movement, and also on its limitations.
The inherent links between the doctrinal and liturgical reforms coinciding with the moral revolution which the pro-life movement mobilised to resist are analysed by Dr Joseph Shaw.
What was once Catholic Ireland suffered the longest ban on public Masses in Europe during the past year. Liam Gibson considers the restrictions inflicted on Catholics in Ireland in the light of historic persecutions. But is it a coincidence that a people who invoke the name of the Holy Trinity in their constitution and, at the same time, were the first to authorise same-sex “marriage” and abortion by a popular vote, suffered such a withdrawal of God from their midst?
The Covid crisis offers a multitude of distractions for Catholics and non-believers alike from fear of the virus to the crusades against government measures. Yet, we must take care not to lose sight of what we are fighting for. We fight for every life, born and unborn, to be protected so it can flourish in the knowledge, love and service of God and be with Him forever in heaven. We are not only pro-life but pro-eternal life. Nothing happens outside of the designs of Divine Providence. To acknowledge this is not a call to be passive; on the contrary, this is the reality in which we must act for His glory and interests, even if – and perhaps especially when – it means some denial of our own will.
Available from 15 June 2021