Monday, 20 February 2012

Great News or Not?

A couple of posts ago, I told of a life being saved.  Commenters greeted this as 'Great News,' except one, Unknown, who wrote:
This is not great news. Great news would be this Catholic agency also raised heaven and earth to arrange baptism and a Catholic education to this child. Our pro-life work is rotten without that.
I responded that I profoundly disagreed, and have been thinking about why.

Clearly, nobody could argue with the notion that baptism and a Catholic education for the child would be great news.

However, the contention that without them, our pro-life work is rotten strikes me as profoundly wrong.  I think that is betrays a monolinear and utilitarian approach, at odds with Catholic culture, tradition and belief.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are inherently good. Our Lord makes this clear: when I was hungry, you fed me etc.  Likewise the Church has always held that to be the case.

It is not a condition of their goodness that they are accompanied by evangelisation; sometimes they are pre-evangelisation - and sometimes that only in the larger context: see what good these Catholics do - maybe there is something in it after all...

Good works also serve many purposes, not just the good of the recipient.  They may restore right order to a damaged world; they may be good example to third parties; they may well contribute to the sanctification of the person doing them, and so on and so on.  In fact, with God's grace, their effect can be completely transformative.  And if done with love, they glorify God.