And yet it remains the case that deep inside the ransacked, decaying basilica that is American Catholicism, you can find the only vision that might transform the abortion debate, so that we don’t end up with a permanent red-blue divide, in which the Supreme Court allows conservative states to pass restrictions but liberal states are radicalized toward eugenics and infanticide.
That vision isn’t the “seamless garment of life” beloved of certain liberal Catholics, which effectively makes every issue a “life” issue, downgrading abortion to salve uneasy consciences. Rather, it’s a more tailored seamless garment, one that would put the goal of outlawing abortion at the center of a web of pro-family policies — adoption support, child allowances, wage subsidies for breadwinners. The goal would be to make the end of abortion seem less utopian by making the burdens of motherhood less daunting, and to link the pro-life cause to a larger revolt against sterility.
Maybe someday this vision will be embraced by one of our political parties — after the G.O.P. nominates Tucker Carlson for president in 2024, perhaps. But for the time being, the leaders of the Catholic Church should act as though this vision, their vision, is more than a wouldn’t-it-be-nice synthesis in bureaucratic documents, a generic humanitarianism that informs the smorgasbord of charitable programs mentioned in annual appeals.