The catastrophe I am referring to is the reversal of Roe v Wade. This is, for many of us, a great catastrophe. I don’t need to emphasize this point on the UW campus. At the same time, however, I am taking the liberty of referring to this catastrophe as a blessed one. How can a catastrophe be blessed?
In order to justify this contradiction, I have to go back to my personal story. I was born and raised in the Catholic Church. I spent 18 years in the Jesuit Order and was ordained priest. This made me familiar with the Christian religion. Now the Christian religion speaks of a blessed catastrophe in reference to the original sin of Adam and Eve. It calls it “Felix Culpa” — a Latin phrase that means “happy fault.” But how can a fault be the source of something good?
Here is the theological answer. The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ was redemptive. It erased the curse of the original sin and made it possible for those who believe in him to be born again to a new life and become a new creation.
As you can see, in the Christian myth, one thing dies out and another thing emerges that is by far greater and better than the original state of things. I see something similar in what is happening in America today. America is proud of being a country of laws. The Supreme Court used to embody the Constitution and the law of the land. It enjoyed the quasi magical power of interpreting the Constitution as the holy Roman Church enjoyed the magical power of interpreting the Bible. But this authority was challenged by the Reformation. Something similar is happening in America. The authority of the Supreme Court was challenged by the pro-life forces, and now the right wing of the court is siding with them. By so doing, the Supreme Court castrated itself and lost its magical powers. This means that the law has lost its magic and can be challenged every time it uses its arbitrary decisions to subdue the people.
It is about time to challenge the authority of the law when it is used as a power tool by those who are in power. Let me explain this difficult point. The law has two faces. One is bright and the other one is dark. The bright side associates the law with justice. The dark side associates it with power. Those who worship the law indiscriminately are just as pious as the good Christians who observe the commandments. Some higher degree of political maturity is needed in order to expose the dark side of the law. The Supreme Court decision is, in my opinion, an invitation to do just that.