….In 2020, both papal biographer Austen Ivereigh and Jesuit Father James Martin used December 28 to tweet about — immigration. I’ve attacked this attempt to shift the meaning of this day: the Church’s vestments are red because the children bled and were dead, not because the Holy Family fled.

I’ve attacked this attempt to shift the meaning of this day to immigration debates: the Church’s vestments are red because the children bled and were dead, not because the Holy Family fled.

There’s always been a certain quarter in the Church, especially in the United States, that’s blanched at calling murder murder. Abortion has always been the one issue that was a burr in their political saddles, stymieing efforts to make common cause with the political Left. Finessing that problem has, therefore, always been important to that quarter.

Sometimes it happens by piling together all sorts of “life issues” on top of each other, so that the practical result is that the killing of the unborn gets buried amidst immigration reform and other things. Perhaps some are motivated by a purely religious “consistent ethic of life,” but I admit (a.) the leveling effect of the seamy garment of life never convinced me of its value and (b.) I have always had a suspicion that there were other incentives admixed in the professed ethical motives of its proponents.

In tandem with this is usually the effort to downplay, if not deny, that abortion is the “preeminent” life issue of our times. We have at least one American cardinal and no small plurality of the American hierarchy claiming that. For men who otherwise claim fidelity to the Second Vatican Council, its optic of looking at the “signs of the times” seems sorely lacking in their apertures, because — with the Guttmacher Institute asserting there are 73 million abortions worldwide per annum, no small part of which take place in relatively affluent lands that have long been evangelized by the Christian Gospel — one can hardly deny that global killing of the unborn today rivals if not exceeds in reach what slavery once was.

Post-Dobbs, I fear there will be efforts from some of these quarters to “move on” from our “narrow” pro-life focus to “expand our horizons.” No doubt, Pope Francis will be invoked, particularly his concerns about migration and refugees.

Don’t take that bait. The blood of 73 million lives each year cry worldwide to Heaven for vengeance. What we remember on December 28 is the death of male boys in Bethlehem because they were babies and they were boys and because among them their might have been a threat to the powers that be, so they were all inconvenient.

That antilife mentality did not end on Herod’s own deathbed; it is alive and well and propagated in no small segment of culture-forming opinion today. While every society has killed, it was the “achievement” of the 20th century that various societies began treating murder—of the unborn, the elderly, the ill, unwanted minorities—as public policy and deemed it “good.”

The fact that, the straitjacket of Roe having been removed, American voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont, on November 8, freely chose — for the first time in U.S. history — to write abortion into law as a Constitutional right indicates Dobbs is hardly the end of this fight. Indeed, we can probably adapt Churchill in recognizing, “this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

On December 28, we should not lose sight of that perspective by substituting other causes. We can pray we are at “the end of the beginning” and keep our eyes firmly fixed — where it matters most, in Church, on our knees — on where we still have to go.

Read full story in Crisis.