Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Light that no darkness can overcome

The London Free Press
By Rory Leishman

For Christians who uphold the authority of the Bible and the traditional moral teachings of the Holy Catholic Church, this year in Canadian politics has been, to quote Her Majesty the Queen, a veritable “annus horribilis.”

The nadir came on December 7, when the House of Commons voted by the decisive margin of 172 to 123 to refuse even to reconsider last year’s enactment of same-sex marriage into law. Just six years ago, this same House had affirmed on a vote of 216 to 55 that “marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, and that Parliament will take all necessary steps within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada to preserve this definition of marriage in Canada.”

What accounts for this complete flip-flop? The problem can be traced to a package of so-called progressive amendments to the Criminal Code that was initiated by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and adopted by Parliament in 1969.

At the time, most Canadians were led to believe that Trudeau’s divorce reform would affect only a tiny minority of spouses trapped in a brutal and loveless marriage. His proposal to legalize the sale of contraceptives was touted as an effective means for married couples to plan and space their children. And while many Canadians had qualms about Trudeau’s plan to overturn the absolute ban on abortion in the Criminal Code, they trusted the assurances of him and his justice minister John Turner – both Catholics – that the new law on abortion was so hedged about with restrictions that it would empower a physician only under the rarest of circumstances to kill a baby in the womb at the request of the child’s distraught mother.

What, though, have been the actual, albeit unintended, results of these reforms? Immense suffering for men, women and children brought on by soaring rates of sexual promiscuity, abortion, family breakdown and divorce.

In Canada, as in Europe, marriage rates are collapsing. Even in some parts of rural Quebec – formerly a bastion of Christian faith and family solidarity – the proportion of out-of-wedlock births now exceeds 80 per cent.

Meanwhile, the overall birth rate in Canada has fallen far below the population-replacement level. Worst of all, an epidemic of abortion has killed more than two million Canadian babies over the past 30 years

And now Parliament has embarked on a reckless experiment with same-sex marriage. Under this succession of setbacks, what should faithful Christians do – give up on politics?

Absolutely not. Christians have a duty to bear witness to the love and truth of Christ at all times and in all aspects of their lives, public and private.

In the political sphere, Christians should never abandon the attempt to persuade Parliament to restore the traditional legal definition of marriage. And above all, they should never renounce the struggle to revive protection in law for the sanctity of all human life.

In the personal sphere, Christians should always focus less on the faults of others than on their own urgent need to repent for grievous failures to achieve the divine perfection. But under no circumstances in their public or private lives should Christians give way to despair.

In a lecture delivered 30 years ago, the late Malcolm Muggeridge clearly foresaw the impending collapse of our Judeo-Christian civilization. Yet he was not at all despondent. In eloquent words that bear repeating in this sombre Advent season of 2006, he counselled: “For it is precisely when every earthly hope has been explored and found wanting, when every possibility of help from earthly sources has been sought and is not forthcoming, when every recourse this world offers, moral as well as material, has been explored to no effect, when in the shivering cold the last faggot has been thrown on the fire and in the gathering darkness every glimmer of light has finally flickered out – it is then that Christ’s hand reaches out, sure and firm, that Christ’s words bring their inexpressible comfort, that his light shines brightest, abolishing the darkness for ever. So, finding in everything only deception and nothingness, the soul is constrained to have recourse to God himself and to rest content with him.”

No comments: