Church Life, Morality

Mammon Won and Life is Lost

In an earlier post I talked about how I feared being a peddlar of the Gospel, selling the Word of God for a living. Jesus and the Apostles didn't do that, so why do we have such a culture of professional preachers and evangelists today? Speaking about this subject recently with some individuals at a parish, I encountered another horrendous incident related to God and Mammon.

The pro-life ministry at this particular parish was finally, after years of trying, able to speak to the congregation, but only under strict constraints. When I asked why things were so tightly held concerning the Church's teaching on abortion in this parish, the response hurt my heart.

"Because a lot of women have had abortions in our church, and their daughters, and many of them are the biggest donors. We've got a lot of debt to pay off, so we don't want to push them away."

Mammon one; God zero.

Apparently, the pastor felt that, in the face of such crushing debt, to preach the truth about abortion would make people who had abortions or who are pro-choice to leave the parish church and stop writing those big checks. This attitude is disastrous.

First, if you know that your parish has a disproportionately large percentage of women who have received an abortion, then you need to tend to those women. You need to urgently set up a Project Rachel ministry and make the confessional doors as wide open to these souls as possible. Lay on the compassionate preaching every chance you get, and talk about our ministry of being ambassadors of Christ's mercy to those who need it. Silence is death. Silence may even make you complicit.

Second, after Project Rachel is running, you then need to set up dedicated pro-life ministries in your parish, like The Helpers of God's Precious Infants prayer/counseling ministry, 40 Days for Life, and other initiatives that blend prayer and knowledge with Christian activism.

Third, you preach the truth about the dignity of the human person, of all human persons, including infants in the womb. If you remain silent, and even worse, constrain the efforts of your congregation to do pro-life work, you are failing in your primary vocation, which means you fail at life. You are letting your parishioners persist in ignorance of the truth, and if they get an abortion because you didn't speak out against it, well, you might need a Bishop to hear your next confession.

Fourth, if you preach the truth and your biggest donors walk out the door, then you let them leave. Keep preaching the truth. The funny thing you will find is that the people who refuse to leave will rally around the truth, and you for preaching it, and instead of a few giving big dollars, you will get the many giving small dollars. You will get greater buy-in from your congregation. You will be seen as someone who will sacrifice reputation in service for the truth.

In short, you'll be doing your job. Don't let Mammon win at your parish.