A Radical’s Rule

If one defines radicalism as proceeding from the root (“going to the origin, essential“), then one might argue that Our Lord was a radical—of course, a different sort than described by Saul Alinsky in his Rules for Radicals. For Alinsky, “irreverence” is an essential quality of radicalism: “nothing is sacred”; the organizer “detests dogma, defies any finite definition of morality.”  Certainly, this kind of radicalism is not constant with the moral integrity, the “rootedness, of Our Lord.  As the Word, Logos, Jesus is radical Truth.  Only the Truth will set us free.

It is radical to say that the truth is worth dying for, for example, the truth that all human life begins at conception and must be protected from that moment onward.  Many pro-lifers have risked life and limb to protect the unborn.  But it is also radical to say that the following truth is worth dying for:  the end does not justify the means, even when the means has the opportunity of undoing the work of Planned Parenthood.

Please check out Dawn Eden’s and William Doino’s Building a Culture of Lie, which offers a fair-minded critique of the work of Lila Rose and Live Action Films on the basis of the teaching of the Church.  See also these two critiques as well.  Dawn and William also have taken exception to the work of James O’Keefe who took on ACORN in much the same manor.  I commented on this myself.

Thank God for the courage of Dawn and William.  These are important issues to resolve if we wish to be radical in the sense of Jesus Christ, and not in the sense of Saul Alinsky.  It is one of the reasons why chivalry (courtesy and honesty) is so important.

9 thoughts on “A Radical’s Rule

  1. Ave Maria!
    God reward you for this post. As someone who stands outside of an abortuary praying and praying and praying, I think it is easy to forget “truth” in the midst of battle. I didn’t look at what they had done as being dishonest. How society has conformed us to be comfortable with a deception. That is scary (for me). All I saw was the end. This has helped to strengthen my faith more than you will know. Ave Maria!

  2. Dear Father Angelo,

    Like Joanne, I will admit that I thought that the work of Lila Rose had been condoned. I was always under the impression that at times we must commit a smaller sin in order to avoid a much larger one. I read all of the links that you provided discussing this in great detail. In one example, the dilemma of certain Germans hiding Jews in the attic was brought up. Does one admit that he has Jews up in his attic? If he does, why did he bother hiding them in the first place? They will all be murdered, including the one hiding them. But, if he says he does not, then he is lying. The article from the “New Theological Movement” Blog states: “What then should the man do? On the one hand, he most certainly cannot lie; on the other hand, it seems that he cannot tell the truth – for it would seem to be sinful to co-operate with the Nazis in that manner.” The author goes on to discuss ‘mental reservation’. Now, this gets to be quite messy imho. The author says, “In other circumstances, it is permissible to utter an ambiguous statement which, while not being false, is prone to misinterpretation. This latter case involves the concept of mental reservation.” So, now we can do like little children and say something ambiguous but cross our fingers behind our backs. We’re told that St. Francis himself did this by pointing his finger under his cloak in one direction while saying that the man being searched for did not pass by that way … that’s deception. Plain and simple. But, is it not morally necessary at times? I must say that in my own heart of hearts, there are times when to tell the truth would be unconscionable. The Germans hiding the Jews, the whites hiding the blacks in the underground railroad, or any other situation where innocent beings are being HUNTED by others. I agree with ‘mental reservation’ but I do think it’s a form of deception … just ‘intelligent deception’ with the hope of doing some good in the end. Call it by any name you like!

    Lila Rose – agreed. Like I said earlier, I hadn’t looked at her work in this way before. Her ministry starts with a lie, not in response to others requesting information that they have no right to. My heart bleeds for her because she has really tried to expose the evil. I’m sure she’s never looked at it in this light before and will feel unappreciated. In fact, she was a very brave young woman who maybe was a bit misguided. Hugs to her. But, hopefully someone like Abby Johnson who was also within the walls, can more successfully expose the evil without it being in the form of a lie.

    The most disturbing thing I read, however, had nothing to do with this but with Fr. Euteneuer. I had no idea!! Again, my heart bleeds for him … yet I’m really upset because with greatness comes great responsibility and when one so great falls, much much much damage gets done. Who can save us from ourselves? Yes, Jesus … but how do we lead others to Him when in the end we look no better than those who don’t have Him?

    Sorry for the longwindedness.

  3. Jen

    In answer to your question, “but how do we lead others to Him when in the end we look no better than those who don’t have Him?” we do what Our Lady of Fatima asked for……..

    Prayer and penance. Time to batten down the hatches, enter the cloistures our our hearts where we can drown out the noise of evil by listening solely to the voice of the Lord. There we will find much better ways to lead others to Him. There we will stand before Him looking no better than those who don’t have Him because we aren’t much better than those who don’t have Him. We are broken and sinful just like those who we think we need to lead to Him.

    Prayer and Penance….. That is the only answer.

  4. At first, I was compelled to feel sympathy for young Miss Rose as she was critically reviewed by the Eden-Doino team. She has landed haymakers upon our foes in the Life Wars, after all, and has left a few pretty black eyes. She certainly has courage and conviction. Her public dialogue sounds pretty good as well. Of all the people to be be able to level criticism upon, surely there are more deserving targets for two such esteemed minds to pen a piece about. I also found myself thinking “why not lie to planned parenthood?”(This saying is hard; who can hear it?) However, when I said these last words to myself, something became crystal clear; I accept the rules of the ring, as prescribed by the world… not the Lord or His Church.. in order to cheer Miss Rose on in her subterfuge… To bask in her victories. As I pressed on through the reasoning in the Eden/Doino piece, it became apparent that they had a valid point, and I was merely tasting sour grapes and feeling a bit of guilt for gleefully climbing up on her bandwagon without recognizing the commoness of it all. Miss Rose’s tactics, for all her good intentions, have become another brick in that proverbial road we hear about from time to time. Yet, I guess if I were honest, still I would say that I’m at least glad for the evidence and the impact of her initial forrays into covert action. However, at this juncture, I’m afraid that the lights have been turned on, and Miss Rose should bring her current level of commitment into the light and make an “honest woman” of herself. She could become one of the faces of pro-life for years to come, and simply present the gospel message in the light of day. These covert activities, are what they are. They do start with deception. Therefore, this well– no matter how much water it might yield– is tainted.

  5. Very well done. Yes, if we hold to the idea of “the ends justify the means” or “by whatever means necessary” we will undercut the long-term value of any work done. (Have we learned nothing in how the crimes of the Inquisition stain the Church’s reputation even to this day ?)

    The main goal shouldn’t be “pro-life” or even “saving the unborn” but “being Christ for others”. C.S. Lewis said once that we if we focus on secondary things (such as “doing good”) at the cost of primary, we will lose both primary and secondary goals. But if we focus on the primary (“living as Christ”), then we will gain both primary and secondary.

  6. Ave Maria! Yesterday, my original comments on “A Culture of lie” is as follows. “I would like to ask a Holy Priest and Exorcist like Fr. Euteneuer if he is required by the Catholic Church to always speak the truth to the demons he is attempting to expel through the Authority given him by his Holy Orders as a priest of Jesus Christ. Because in essence, that is what we are dealing with here. The “battle” is a spiritual one.”…Upon reading the other articles posted along with that blog, I realized “of course not”. He would not lie to a demon, nor would he have to. He has the authority of Our Lord Jesus to cast out demons, he need not deceive. I think we forget sometimes that it is the power of God that affects change through our prayers and supplications through Our Lady’s Immaculate heart. And that is what weakens us. We should pray for the grace to not forget! Although our desire is to see a result, we need to trust that God has all things in His hands and if that means remaining “silent” vs. telling a lie or deceiving another (even under the worst of possible circumstances), when we ascent to “truth”, therein lies our trust in Him, who is All in All.

  7. And when we feel the need to compromise, isn’t that indicate a lack of the virtue of hope ? Hope tells me that Christ will prevail and doesn’t need me cheating to help Him.

  8. I am not entirely sure if anybody is interpreting what the Church’s teaching on deceit correctly including myself. This seems to be a topic of open discussion and ambiguity. I say this in the light of false documentations produced by the Church to save Jews during the reign of Pius XII. According to the objections laid out, the Church’s means of saving some Jews were wrong.

  9. Ave Maria! To speak frankly, this particular topic has been a great heart opener for me and a source for greater examination of conscience. I landed on both feet with this thought. Would “Our Lady” have spoken a false word to save her Son from His agony & death. We know the answer to that question is “NO”. Therefore I should not speak a false word to save a fellow human being or for any reason and trust in God for the outcome (no matter what that might be). Humans are fallible and make errors. God is Truth and Our Lord told us to follow His way!

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