Just the other day, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. The topic of past relationships managed to slither up out of the cracks they fell through however many years ago. It was a very interesting conversation to begin with, and probably a pretty healthy one, too. After all, some of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned are forged in the fires of the strong, weak and even volatile relationships that have come and gone throughout our lives. After a while, however, my friend had mentioned that one person from their past was, for lack of a better word, “a lost cause.” They reasoned that, because of the perverse addictions by which that person was afflicted, that person is effectively helpless and lost. My friend said that because of the addiction, that person could no longer be a part of their life.
This struck a chord with me. I replied by saying that nobody is a lost cause as long as they are still alive. It’s a long-maintained principal of our Catholic faith that we are all sinners, and that none of us are safe from hell as long as we have the potential to sin. In other words, we would all be “lost causes” if it weren’t for the saving power of Christ’s death and resurrection, and the justice and mercy of our Father in Heaven. It’s the reason why we don’t call living people saints; it’s why the term “Church Militant” refers only to the living faithful and why only those that achieve Heaven are called the “Church Triumphant.” It’s simply untrue to refer to anyone as a lost cause. Even scripture reminds us that everyone has an equal stake in the salvific nature of Christ’s sacrifice, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
But the discussion got me thinking about the way our society views our fellow man. I thought about the difference between mainstream social justice and actual social justice. I asked myself, “who else is a lost cause?” I mean, you hear about it all the time, right? People pushing to streamline the death penalty, women who’ve already had abortions who are now left on their own to deal with the emotional fallout, People addicted to porn and told it’s cool, people addicted sex outside of marriage and told that it's normal, people addicted to drugs, or alcohol and simply told they have a problem; men and women, boys and girls, who can’t seem to figure out who they are, constantly being convinced by the narrative of our culture that they were either born that way or that God made them wrong…I mean, how damaging. How confusing. How sad that it’s come to this; and all the while, they’ll most likely be swept under the mat. Lost causes, left to their own devices. “We’ll get you that abortion; you’re on your own after that,” or, “You should totally get that sexual reassignment surgery;” “it’s not my problem if you mangled your parts and now you’re unhappy.” Where does it end?
Capital punishment, for example, has been a hot topic lately, especially during the 2016 presidential campaigns. Given the nature of the death penalty, however, it’s hard for me to rectify the purpose that it serves. The most interesting thing, though, is that the death penalty is rejected by most liberal Democrats yet adamantly supported by most conservative Republicans. According to a 2014 poll, only 37% of Democrats believed that the death penalty was better than life in prison for a murderer, as opposed to 68% of Republicans and half of the independents.
What’s the problem here? The problem is that Democrats, being the apparent beacons of life for the condemned murderers of society, are on average more supportive of abortions than their Republican counterparts. In fact, according to www.statisticbrain.com, nearly 50% of Democrats support legalized abortion in any circumstance where Republicans come in at about 36%. So, the same people who are fighting for the rights of the criminal to live are fighting for the right to murder innocent babies. That’s disorder. Similarly, we’ve got republicans who claim to be pro-life yet champion the flag of the death penalty; that seems more like pro-birth than pro-life to me. You can’t make this stuff up! Some want to kill the innocent and save the condemned under the guise of “right to life,” and some want to kill the condemned and save the innocent under that same principal.
The bigger problem, however, isn't the relative support for the death penalty versus abortion. It is, effectively, that there are people who are considered by others to be lost causes. Not worth the effort. Not worth fighting for. Our society seems to believe that we can fight for some, but not others; that somehow the life of the murderer is worth less than the unborn, or that the life of a promising grad student has more value than the kid who is strung out in the alley way. It regards highly the person who is willing to come out of the closet or start hormone treatments to appear like someone they aren’t, but we admonish mothers and fathers who value their traditional gender roles and raise healthy, faithful families. It tells us that we are weak when we can’t drink as much as our friends, but if we develop a drinking habit that we are bad examples, and a waste of time. The world has convinced itself that sex and pornography are simply ways of life, but if it ruins your marriage or damages your reputation, then it’s on you. You’re the one who let it get out of hand.
The dilemma is that the world has turned its back on itself. But as a Catholic, I see through the lies of the evil one. I know that there are no lost causes. Christ Jesus died for all of us, he opened the door and paved the path to the Father, but I am responsible for making the journey. When a fellow man needs my help along the way, am I going to be the one who says, “Tough luck, you should have been a better person,” or will I help them every step of the way, that they might not stumble in the first place? I would venture to guess that most of us could use a hand every once in a while; I know I could. So, when the Heavenly Father meets me, and I stand before Him at judgment, I hope to God that I tried my best to help the least of my brothers; because among other things, that’ll be one of the first things He asks.