The entry into force of a law in France that will penalize anyone who seeks via Internet to dissuade women from abortion is a new sign that the threshold of totalitarianism has been crossed. This threshold is crossed when national legislation not only permits evil, but also makes it compulsory and considers doing good to be a crime; when national legislation not only admits deviations from natural law, but imposes them, forcing compliance with an unnatural right; when non negotiable become principles contrary to the non negotiable ones.

It is evident to everyone that this threshold has now been crossed in many cases; for example, when the US Supreme Court made it compulsory for the 50 states to make same-sex marriage admissible by law; when the French parliament approved the Taubira law on “matrimony for all” without permitting mayors or other public officials to invoke conscientious objection. We also witnessed this in Italy with the approval of the Cirinnà law on civil unions. As of that moment, any family policy would have been to the advantage of civil unions as well. Therefore, no public administration would have been able to consider itself exempt from doing evil: it was compulsory for one and all. Another example was the recent case of the San Camillo Hospital in Rome where invited to apply for positions on the medical staff were only physicians willing to perform abortions.

For some time now this is the road being travelled. Yes, things can change in history. But this does not exempt us from assessing current trends which are very alarming from this point of view. Let’s admit that the bills now in the parliamentary process in Italy become law of the land. The outcome would be a country that makes doing evil compulsory for journalists, teachers, civil servants, physicians, pharmacists, nurses, etc. Just think, for example, about the bill on euthanasia now under discussion in the Chamber of Deputies. A physician would be forced to comply with a patient’s prior instructions regarding treatment even if the patient himself had changed his mind in the meantime, and if the physician himself were contrary thereto on ethical grounds. We would be obliged to kill, to exercise a negative influence on students, to automatically present homosexuality as something normal.

We will be obliged by our national legislation, by the European Union and by international organizations. A few days ago the European parliament called for an increase in the financing of abortion in the world in order to offset cut-backs decided by the new American administration.

We take a look around, but don’t see any great awareness of the situation. Do people really believe it possible to tackle this situation through dialogue? We have no way of knowing if there will be and what will be the level beyond which Catholics will say no and quite simply disengage. What threshold will have to be crossed so people will just say no to the national administration, just say no to Europe?

Many are those asking themselves what has to be done. The first thing to do is most certainly to resume doing what should have been doing all along: fight to defend the non negotiable principles. In the wake of the aforementioned ‘San Camillo case’, the general attitude of Catholics was to protest because “this had distorted Law 194”. In so doing, Catholics came across as defenders of the law permitting abortion. Catholics stopped fighting against that law a long time ago and are now defending it. Moreover, Catholics have by now abandoned the battle against Law 40 on assisted fecundation, and the same applies as far as the Cirinnà Law is concerned.  The first thing to do now is to engage in battle anew.

In addition to being on the battlefield, Catholics should also start thinking about outfitting lifeboats and Noah’s arks. Endeavors and works – schools first of all – that are free insofar as living outside the system ruled by the public administration. Just like what was done after the unity of Italy, but in new forms. If the obligation to do evil becomes institutional in nature, it is necessary to disengage from institutions to the greatest extent possible.

Stefano Fontana