June 30, 2013

Evil, be thou my good

By Father George Rutler

With my parents at a performance of Gounod's Faust at the opera some years ago, when Marguerite went mad in Act V after killing her baby, my mother let out a gasp that embarrassed me, for we were in a box over stage left and conspicuous. Now I bless my mother because that maternal empathy is the heart of civilization. “A voice was heard in Ramah, Rachel weeping for her children” (Jeremiah 31:15). Stifle the mother, and you stifle the child, and the world dies. Our Lady, being a take-charge kind of woman, as was evident at the wedding in Cana, may have been a midwife often in Nazareth, weeping at the loss of infants as she surely did when the innocents were massacred in Bethlehem.

In the opera, the repentant Marguerite is taken by angels singing “Salvation!” But Faust, who bartered his soul to Mephistopheles before fathering Marguerite's child, is bound to that Satan who, in the words of Milton, bids “Evil, be thou my good.” Anyone who calls evil good, moves discourse about infanticide to a very dark place.

On April 26, President Obama, the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood, not only thanked that organization which aborts around 300,000 children a year, but added, “God bless you.” Evil, be thou my good.

On June 13, Nancy Pelosi said that the abortion issue is “sacred ground.” Evil, be thou my good.

On June 20, a New York Times Op-Ed contributor described the aborting of her 23-week-old son, who had a heart defect: “I felt my son’s budding life end as a doctor inserted a needle through my belly into his tiny heart. As horrible as that moment was — it will live with me forever — I am grateful. We made sure our son was not born only to suffer. He died in a warm and loving place, inside me.” Evil, be thou my good.

Our merciful Lord will hear the cry of those who make terrible mistakes, especially those who have not had the grace of being taught right from wrong. To them he offers real angels, and not singers on a stage. But he also predicted that “a time is coming when anyone who kills will think he is offering service to God” (John 16:2). Like Faust, such people ask God to bless destroyers of life, and call the killing fields “sacred ground,” and even describe the womb of a mother who kills her child as a “warm and loving place.”

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said that no one is safe around a mother who would kill her own child. Anyone who makes a Faustian bargain knows that even Christ is not safe around such a mother: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Satan calls evil good. Christ calls it crucifixion.

Father Rutler is Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour in New York City.


  1. June 30th: Feast of the First Martyrs of the early Church: Perhaps Catholics in public office are calling evil good because they are permitted by the Bishops to be considered Catholics in good standing with the Church and therefore receive the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. The Bishops affirm them in their public sin of promoting aggressively the mass murder of millions of God's little ones and Pelosi even stands against a measure that would stop the killing after 20 weeks of gestation and she does this publicly and as a "Catholic" - don't blame the sheep when the Shepherds let them believe they are not aiding and abetting murder. But when they lose their souls let the Shepherds lament that they did not given them any consequences for their public sins and allowed them to believe that, in fact, they were not sinning at all. Too many shepherds have become too politically correct and declare that to deny the Eucharist to those Catholics who publicly aid and abet mass murder is to 'politicize the Eucharist' - no, it is when you refuse to follow Church law and the guidance of the Popes that you yourselves 'politicize' the Eucharist...

  2. Well said, Florin. You hit the nail right on the head.
    It is precisely through the diabolic scandal of spineless episcopal equivocation and temerity in moral matters where the clear light of Faith is smothered in the womb.

  3. Florin is correct. The bishops are going to be in BIG trouble when they face the final Judge.

    But I was prepared to do something many years ago that my bishop would never have condoned. There was an abortionist in our city who was a nominal Catholic, and every once in a while, he came down from his resort home with his wife to attend Mass. I saw him there once, and I decided that, if he went up for Eucharist, I would stand in his way to prevent it. His wife received communion, but when it came to it, he did not go up.

    If there had been more laymen prepared to do that, more laymen who actually did it, then the bishops (a) might have been inspired to grow some vertebra and (b) their workload, WITH the new spinal column, would have been lighter.

    So, yeah, the bishops are in real trouble, but we laymen also have a share of responsibility.

    1. Pray for the AD if San Francisco - the lay people at rep Pelosi's parish are told not to refuse her.

  4. We know this about high-profile national public figures but, what about those "under-the-radar" state and local politicians, doctors, lawyers, businessmen/women, public servants, etc., that inflict SERIOUS influence and damage that we never see? Do we ever take the time to carefully listen to them and fraternally correct any "unholy" influences? That's OUR job in the local arena. "Evil be thou my good" when WE stay silent.

  5. This post by Msgr. Rutler is incredibly brilliant, Apocalyptic even, and reminds me, once again, that we live in and through strange and disturbing, possibly apocalyptic, times. And what Msgr. Rutler has said needs to be said more. For recently I read a piece on 'NewAdvent' stating that since 1980, over ONE BILLION abortion murders had been committed throughout the world, mostly in the "civilized" western west. DO NOT WONDER WHY we're living through a chastisement of colossal proportions; merely meditate on the previous statistic given.The "why" is contained in it. GOD BLESS ALL, MARKRITE

  6. Father:

    Your article is, as Mark said, brilliant. It ought be reprinted and sent to a thousand places.

    I should like to have your permission to republish on my blog.

    I wish that I lived near your parish, so as to have the benefit of your sermons and your company.

    War is hell, but sometimes necessary to keep the Eternal Law from dying through desuetude.

  7. Cathleen, I think the laity ought to do something in that parish!

  8. The vocation of the laity is to be salt and light in the world, which of course includes those Catholic politicians who can't live up to their faith, particulary with respect to abortion.
    I had a Congressman, Tim Bishop in district one on Long Island who had me as a thorn in his side for his vote against the partial birth abortion ban. I challenged him at town halls by asking if my daughter with Down syndrome should have been aborted as too many of her kind are in late term abortions. We challenged him again after Mass where he received Holy Communion (he was about to make use of a public gathering for a holy priest's anniversary) my action shamed him or frightening him into leaving.
    My friends until you have done this, don't decry your bishops for doing nothing. If even a fraction of Catholics did this, these shameful politicians would scurry back home and not run again.

  9. xcontra,

    You can't do that to the man, you cannot deny someone's right to the sacraments without due process. The Catholic Church is ruled by order, not anarchy.

    The Bishops don't need more men disobeying them, they need more men who will obey them at their directive.

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  11. Buster, there was nothing from the bishop to disobey. That is part of the problem.

    And my pastor at the time would certainly have had me arrested or banned from the parish, had I done anything to disrupt that abortionist from receiving communion. But it was a risk I felt ready to take. That particular priest is part of the homosexual mafia in that diocese, so it is part of a larger problem.

    Leticia, above, has actually tackled the situation. It ain't fun, though.

  12. Don't those people know they are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord? Satan must enjoy this all.

  13. Reminding in charity,
    That we are duty bound to "admonish" sinners and "not" encourage them to continue in gross error (serious sin).

  14. Father, thank you for this very thought provoking column. We need to pray for these people very much and offer penance for the times we have cooperated with evil. Perhaps our lack of prayer and zeal have paved the way for their terrible decisions.

  15. Thank you, Father. this is the most moving, brilliant and concise description of the times we live in I have read. It certainly gives pause as the day to celebrate our nation's birth arrives. That was most certainly a most difficult process. Thankfully, the founding fathers did not give up and abort us.

  16. Visit Our Saviour Parish website where you can read all of Fr. Rutler's Pastor's Corner columns, which appear in the bulletin most weeks of the year. Be fast, he has been transferred from Park Avenue to St. Michael's in Hell's Kitchen as of August first. Our Saviour will certainly miss his columns and sermons and reverent masses. Also, catch him on EWTN, Christ in the City.

  17. As Susanna says: Thank you, Father. this is the most moving, brilliant and concise description of the times we live in.

  18. Many bishops privately tell those committing grave scandal not to receive communion, and try to persuade them to live their faith. The fact that some of these politicians won't listen to the bishops even when the request that the person refrain from the Eucharist is made public shows that there is a serious problem. The bishops are trying to save the souls of these blatant sinners just as Jesus was when he hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors.