ESOLEN: The Battle Before Us

Ladies and gentlemen, the hour is late. The biotechnocracy is coming upon us, ready to sweep aside the last remnants of a truly human community. One thing that has confirmed me in my adherence to Roman Catholicism is that, virtually alone for many years, and still virtually alone for some issues, Rome has stood against the reduction of human sexuality to will, even the will of faithful spouses. Because of the separation of grace from the rationally discoverable natural law (I know, not in Hooker, but in Ockham and in the late medieval pietists of the devotio moderna, even in Thomas a Kempis), we now have Christians making embryos in petri dishes, and leaving us almost no wherewithal to oppose the deliberate cobbling together of genes to produce babies according to our specifications. Once that happens, goodbye any chance for a resurgence of Christian civilization — not until such a monstrosity destroys itself, anyway. I hope I do not live to see that filthy advent.

So let us on both sides stop the shouting. I would appreciate it most deeply to hear from my fellow Christians of the Protestant persuasion that they are sorry to have tagged abortion as a “Roman” issue for so long — until Frank Schaeffer woke them up, after precious years were lost, not to mention precious lives. I for my part am perfectly willing to concede the worldliness and downright wickedness of Alexander VI and some of his predecessors; affirming at the same time, however, that we have not had a wicked man in the papal chair since Trent; and that plenty of Roman cardinals (Reginald Pole was one) at Trent had sympathies with the reformers. They had legitimate complaints …

Might we all agree that what separated a Luther from an Ignatius of Loyola, each with a profound sense of our utter dependance upon God’s grace for the least deed of merit we can perform (however one wants to define that merit, or explain it theologically), or a Melanchthon from a Pius V, is as nothing compared with what separates all of those battlers on the issue of grace from the Pelagians who complacently fill up our pews, in all our churches?

One last thing, whether some of the interlocutors here like it or not. I’m a committed Christian. Jesus is my savior. No answer besides Jesus can be given to any of the great questions in this universe. I can do absolutely nothing of merit on my own, without Jesus; and I don’t mean that I do half of a good thing while He supplies the other half, either. Now you all who believe in Scripture are my compatriots in the battle. I may grumble that you take insufficient stock of the Church fathers and of the natural law. You may bemoan the fact, as you see it (for of course I don’t see it that way, or I would not be Catholic) that I accept unwarranted additions to Scripture. But whether we like it or not, the battle is here, the trenches are dug, and our rifles had damned well better be pointed in the same direction. And here we bicker — to quote Milton, “As if we had not foes enow besides, That day and night for our destruction wait.”

A comment from Dr Anthony Esolen here — stolen from this site.

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