A year from now, This Rock will celebrate 20 years of publication. In the publishing world, that’s right around the corner, so we are already planning two special issues. As we approach that milestone, it is appropriate to ask some questions, about the magazine, about the apostolate, and about the apologetics movement: What have we done well? What have we done poorly or not at all? What are the challenges ahead and how are we going to meet them?
The apologists and magazine staff sat down for a preliminary discussion about these questions shortly after the November elections. As the meeting started, the mood was somber. We had just elected by a wide margin the most radically pro-abortion president in our history. He promises to sign into law the misnamed Freedom of Choice Act, which threatens to wipe out any restrictions on abortions, including the right of medical professionals and institutions to refuse to perform abortions for reasons of conscience.
More grim tidings: Euthanasia was legalized by a landslide vote in Washington state. The people of Michigan gave the green light to slaughtering the young for the sake of embryonic stem-cell research. And California voted to keep parents in the dark when their minor daughter is pressured by other adults to kill their grandchild.
How did this happen? The short answer is that Catholics allowed it to happen—and in some cases helped it to happen. The long answer is told well in a recently published book by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Render Under Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life. I strongly recommend it to all Catholics concerned for their country.
At the same time, it’s good to keep in mind that the Church has flourished—and is flourishing—under regimes far worse than this one. And so the somber mood of our meeting quickly lifted as the conversation moved to the future and how to meet the challenges ahead, how to spread the Good News to the ends of the earth.
When Pope Benedict came to the United States, he encouraged us to work “to enrich American society and culture with the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and never losing sight of that great hope which gives meaning and value to all the other hopes which inspire our lives” (homily at Yankee Stadium, April 20, 2008).
For nearly 20 years, This Rock’s mission has been to inspire hope and enrich society with the beauty of the gospel. In the coming months, we invite your suggestions and feedback on how we can continue to do so.