Twenty years ago, with the issuance of Evangelium Vitae, Pope Saint John Paul II observed that there exists a “struggle between the ‘culture of life’ and the ‘culture of death.’ ” In that same document, the Holy Father implored us Catholic faithful to direct our resources—underfunded though we may be—accordingly. He writes:
“There is certainly an enormous disparity between the powerful resources available to the forces promoting the “culture of death” and the means at the disposal of those working for a “culture of life and love”. But we know that we can rely on the help of God, for whom nothing is impossible (cf. Mt 19:26).”
As a way of answering the Holy Father’s call, below are 6 ways to redirect money to the culture of life.
1. Review Your Investment Portfolio
As one who spent nearly a generation in the investment field, let me assure you: pro-life investors often own shares in companies that are anything but pro-life. For instance, some companies produce chemical abortifacients while others perform abortions in their facilities.
As a Catholic, it’s hard to feel good about investing in such companies, nor is it free of ethical concern. As Pope John Paul II wrote: “…(T)he decision to invest in one place rather than another, in one productive sector rather than another, is always a moral and cultural choice.”
2. Scrutinize Your Donations
It would be nice to think that if the word “Catholic” or “Christian” appears in the name of a non-profit organization, you can rest assured that your donations are supporting the pro-life cause. Yes, it would be nice; but it’s not realistic. Despite their names, some groups are failing to protect life.
Spend some time doing research to see exactly what your money is supporting. Take a look at their publications and reports and see for yourself. If any money is going to immoral causes, cancel your donations and give your money to a better group.
3. Boycott Companies – Quietly
Corporations are capable of contributing to the culture of death in many ways, such as producing anti-family and anti-Catholic entertainment, underpaying workers, and/or marketing “adult” films. It makes sense to boycott them, with one caveat.
In today’s climate, boycotts are often counterproductive. Why? Because as soon as a boycott is announced by an organization, it can stimulate sales among those who disagree with that boycotting organization.
Though I have the utmost respect for many organizations that direct boycotts, my advice is to boycott quietly. At least you can avoid supporting that company with your own money.
4. Support the Church
Giving to the support of the Church is a precept of the Church. As the Catechism explains:
The fifth precept (“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.
The duty is clear, but it’s also worth considering another aspect of supporting the Church. The Catholic Church—the Mystical Body of Christ—includes more than physical churches. It includes her members. As Catholics, you and I are part of the Church. From that perspective, employing Catholics is often a way—and a very good way—to support the Church. Remember that Catholics are using their money to support themselves and their families, thus helping the Church. Pope John Paul explained that the vocation of the family is to be the “sanctuary of life.” And we can help financially defend and promote that sanctuary.
When it comes to your personal finances, the next time you need to hire a plumber, an electrician, a dentist, a doctor, a mechanic, or a web designer, consider hiring a fellow Catholic for the job.
5. Fund Soup Kitchens
As Pope John Paul taught us: “As disciples of Jesus, we are called to become neighbours to everyone, and to show special favour to those who are poorest, most alone and most in need.” A soup kitchen wonderfully answers that call. In feeding the hungry, it is an obvious way to perform a work of mercy. But so often, the love and mercy goes beyond that.
Serving others can be a joyful reminder to others that they are loved. That God loves them. That they are not alone. To donate time and money to soup kitchens is to celebrate life.
6. Donate to Pregnancy Centers
As our faith teaches, all babies have guardian angels. And especially when entering life under difficult and challenging circumstances, they need guardian humans, too. That’s where we can come in.
Many of us who have raised families still have baby blankets, toys, cribs, clothes, and other baby items in our homes. It’s time that these old baby items found a new baby. Those items were purchased because of love for a wonderful new gift to the world. They can be given away for the same reason.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ideas. Rather, it is challenge to think about ways to aid the culture of life. What are your ideas?