February 6, 2013

Mr. Ρρ Strains at a Gnat

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus



VER AT BEGGAR’S ALL, there is a stu­pe­fy­ingly idi­otic post by Mr. Alan “Rhol­ogy” Mar­i­cle (the strong ARM of Calvin­ism), who uses the occa­sion of pro-life activ­ity at an abor­tion mill to take a few shots at the “blas­phe­mous” con­tent of prayers recited by some Catholics who were at the scene.

Mr. Rho (Gr., Ρρ) begins:

While out at the abor­tion clinic, I’ve noticed that a few older Roman Catholic gen­tle­men come out as well for ~30 min­utes, set out some pro-life signs, and pray what I was pretty sure was the Rosary.



OF COURSE, CATHOLICS have been pray­ing the Rosary in front of abor­tion mills (and Planned Par­ent­hood facil­i­ties) for some time now, but to lis­ten to Mr. Ρρ tell it you’d think that the Catholic Church (or per­haps just its “older gen­tle­men”) has just dis­cov­ered pro-life. I pray the Rosary out­side these facil­i­ties, and I reg­u­larly see large groups of Catholics of every age group—men, women, chil­dren. To my knowl­edge, we’ve never been joined by a Protes­tant; though every Catholic I know would wel­come their presence—and the pres­ence of any­one else, for that mat­ter, who’d like to join us. I’d be happy to have Mr. Ρρ stand next to me; he could pray any prayer he liked—the Lord’s prayer, spon­ta­neous prayer, one of the Psalms; I wouldn’t look at him funny.

Maybe Catholics are a curios­ity in Nor­man, Okla­homa; I’m sur­prised by Mr. Ρρ’s seem­ing inno­cence whether they were pray­ing the Rosary. Mr. Ρρ is actively involved in apolo­get­ics con­tra the Catholic Church, so his being unable to pos­i­tively iden­tify the Rosary seems strange. It’s eas­ily iden­ti­fied by the quo­ta­tions from Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:42–43. Usu­ally, Catholics are hold­ing those funny lit­tle beads when they say it, mak­ing it the more rec­og­niz­able. But Mr. Ρρ is all inno­cent about such things.



MR. Ρρ PROCEEDS IN HIS NEXT PARAGRAPH to spec­u­late that the Rosary has no effect what­so­ever on abor­tion, but that it does “mak[e] demons laugh uproar­i­ously.” There’s no men­tion of whether demons laugh at abor­tion itself, or the con­tin­ual re-election of Nancy Pelosi. Mr. Ρρ is cer­tain, how­ever, that they are in stitches at the recita­tion of Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:42–43.

Before Mr. Ρρ left the abor­tion mill, one of the “older” Catholic gen­tle­men (the Catholic Church in Mr. Ρρ’s neck of the woods is only pop­u­lated by geezers who long for the glory days of Trent) handed him a pam­phlet con­tain­ing some of the prayers they recite while out­side the House of Death. Mr. Ρρ “flip[s] through” to dis­cover “verses of sheer awesomeness”—phraselogy that makes me per­plexed that some­one so actively engaged in apolo­get­ics is seem­ingly inno­cent about the exis­tence of The Prayer to St. Michael and the Salve Regina. He’s just dis­cov­er­ing them for the first time, it seems, and is shocked.

If you can pray these,” Mr. Ρρ intones, “with­out want­ing to throw up, you need to repent, and quickly.” There is no men­tion about the mur­der­ers inside the abor­tion mill need­ing to repent; there is no men­tion about the vomit-worthy char­ac­ter­is­tic of pic­tures of aborted babies. No; Mr. Ρρ engages in pro-life work at an abor­tion clinic, and returns to his blog exer­cised about the con­tent of Catholic prayer.



I AM SAD TO REPORT that this atti­tude is very com­mon among a cer­tain class of anti-Catholic. Not all Protes­tants are thus. But I do very clearly remember—I was still a Protes­tant then—learning about the exis­tence of 40 Days for Life and want­ing to get involved. But when I dis­cov­ered that there would be an almost-exclusively Catholic pres­ence at the abor­tion mills, I decided not to go: There was no way I was going to stand next to some­one pray­ing the Rosary.

I regret ever hav­ing felt that way. More than that, I regret that some­one like Mr. Ρρ feels that pro-life work is an appro­pri­ate con­text in which to dis­pute the con­tent of Catholic prayer. Doesn’t the mon­strous evil of abor­tion trump those the­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences? If you don’t think it does, then I have no words to describe my shock at the lack of proportion.

I have pro­found dif­fer­ences with Mormons—for exam­ple, with respect to their view of the Trin­ity and the per­son of Christ—and it may be all well and good to have a dis­cus­sion about that, or the con­tent of their prayers, in a dif­fer­ent con­text. But if I encounter Mor­mons pray­ing at an abor­tion clinic, my only thought at the moment would be: Good for them for tak­ing a stand against this hideous scourge. I’m cer­tainly not going to go rush­ing home to my blog to cry, “Shame, shame!” If he had been equally will­ing (and for the record, I don’t know what his opin­ion about abor­tion was), I would have stood next to Christo­pher Hitchens in front of an abor­tion mill and wel­comed him as a brother in the fight against that hideous mon­stros­ity. And he and I would have had fierce dis­cus­sions, I’m sure, about the exis­tence of God in a dif­fer­ent setting.

Catholics and Reformed Protes­tants have seri­ous dif­fer­ences, and they merit dis­cus­sion and debate. But in the con­text of our shared out­rage at the mur­der of the unborn: Mr. Ρρ, let it go.



Dave Arm­strong weighs in on the topic here. I offer a follow-up response here.

You may also like: Mr. Ρρ’s Onto­log­i­cal Error About Mary