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How The Long March Of Pro-Life Sometimes Seems More Of An Obstacle Course

January 6, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

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U.S. Catholic bishops plan to “emphasize words instead of deeds in dealing with Catholic politicians who support legalized abortion,” a newspaper report said, going on to summarize a U.S. cardinal’s interview as saying that “the bishops would rather talk than punish.”
The report added that critics said “the difficulty with the ‘persuasion’ line . . . is that, up to now, there is no evidence of the bishops persuading anybody. In fact, most Catholic politicians who have changed their position on abortion in recent months have switched from pro-life to pro-choice.”
That newspaper report was published nearly a full 29 years ago, on April 29, 1990, back when the U.S. House of Representatives actually had dozens of Democrats who could be counted on to vote pro-life, unlike in this new year of 2019, when they almost all have been purged by the party’s grim pro-abortion activism.
The 1990 report’s strong skepticism toward this episcopal strategy was all the more significant because it was composed by a longtime spokesman for the U.S. bishops, Russell Shaw, writing on the pages of the major Catholic weekly Our Sunday Visitor, in his capacity as its Washington correspondent.
Seventeen years already had passed since the U.S. Supreme Court sprang its invention of the previously unknown constitutional right to permissive abortion on the nation in January 1973 with its Roe and Doe opinions, but bishops in 1990 seemed to lack urgency about the continued slaughter of the most defenseless and innocent.
And where had we arrived by late 2018? With the 46th anniversary of Roe and Doe less than a month away, the Washington Examiner posted on December 28 that pro-abortion liberal Democrat Senators Kamala Harris, of California, and Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, expressed worries that a Catholic nominee for a federal judgeship was unfit because of his faith.
Citing a report by the Catholic News Agency, the Examiner said the left-wing senators questioned whether President Trump’s nominee Brian Buescher, of Nebraska, could weigh cases fairly because he belongs to the Knights of Columbus, an international Catholic fraternal and charitable organization.
The Examiner’s Becket Adams wrote that Harris “asked a number of leading questions, including, ‘Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?’ and, ‘Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women’s reproductive rights?’ and, ‘Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?’”
Looks like the days of trying to sniff out Communists in government in the 1950s have been succeeded by a different sort of curiosity on Capitol Hill.
Adams noted that in holding positions in favor of traditional morality, the Knights aren’t “some crazy offshoot of Catholicism,” but are simply stating the Church’s own positions. “It’s all too clear what Hirono and Harris are doing,” Adams said. “Their questions are an all-too-cute, roundabout way of saying they believe faithful Roman Catholics have no place serving as federal judges.”
The spectacle recalled how Trump judicial nominee and Catholic law professor Amy Coney Barrett had been callously chastised in 2017 by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s pro-abortion liberal Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, of California, explicitly because of her Catholic faith.
And earlier that same year, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez tweeted that it’s the duty of Democrats to be pro-abortion, “as I have been, my entire life.”
Well, the image of a Baby Perez promoting abortion seems a little extreme, as does the idea of his beginning to squeal in favor of abortion as soon as he had managed to survive his own dangerous time in the womb, but overheated rhetoric by abortion radicals shows there’s no extremism that’s beyond them on behalf of death and depravity.
As the years have passed, the culture and society poisoned by secular leftism have grown only more dangerously hostile to traditional religious believers, and not only Catholics, while the poisoners’ cheerleader, the dominant secular media, have smirked in agreement with these tactics — not only to erase traditional morality, but also to penalize and ghettoize its believers.
Hey, Christians like to wear crosses and crucifixes anyway. Why not have the government just tattoo those emblems onto the backs of their hands or stitch them onto their clothes pending the day when they need to be rounded up for some forcible re-education?
What will leftists do with all their energy once they’ve impeached Trump? Punishment all around for the deplorables who’ve hindered the march to secular socialist paradise.
The U.S. bishops’ “persuasion” tactics of 1990 have been not merely ineffective, but disastrously counterproductive. The aggressive secularists feel free to ramp up their attacks, confident that meek or politically liberal bishops don’t want to embarrass them, and in fact are all too eager to find more areas of agreement to promote the leftist agenda.
If ever the day arrives that these radical Democrats control both Congress and the White House again, times could be dangerous indeed for anyone whose conscience hasn’t been twisted into submission by pro-abortion fanatics and sexual totalitarians, who find it unbearable that anyone dare challenge their immorality.
Just over four years ago, the rector of Sts. Simon and Jude Cathedral in the Diocese of Phoenix preached a homily that referred to the possibility of his going to jail. Asked by The Wanderer at that time to expand on his November 2014 homily, Fr. John Lankeit cited the news event of the subpoena of five Texas pastors’ sermons and other communications by the openly homosexual mayor of Houston, Annise Parker.
Parker was trying to suppress opposition to the city’s ordinance that allowed access to public facilities including restrooms without regard to gender — a sexual activists’ so-called “bathroom bill.” She withdrew the subpoena after public outrage erupted.
Lankeit said such targeting of believers won’t be unusual. “That’s coming everywhere, and we’re naïve to think it’s not,” he told The Wanderer then.
Two years later, leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Lankeit preached at the cathedral about the necessity of becoming informed voters. The Wanderer recently posted this homily video on its Facebook page, on December 24.
He said people needed to know which presidential candidate and her political party believed that killing blacks and Hispanics is all right if they’re still in the womb. A person shouldn’t even consider voting until he knows the answer to this question, Lankeit said.
“Ignorance in this area is unacceptable because ignorance in this area costs millions of babies their lives and jeopardizes the souls of many Catholic voters,” he said.
However, he said, if a person does know the answer to the question but still intends to vote to enable them to continue their war on the unborn, then “your soul will be in grave danger, especially if you present yourself for Holy Communion” after casting such a vote, “with the full knowledge of what you are doing.”
Lankeit sets an example for prelates who need to take their jobs seriously about shepherding their flocks and rebuking the evils of the age.
Thirteen years ago, the December 2005 issue of the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission carried a front-page story about the career of longtime Democratic politician Edward Roybal, who recently had died in old age and had his funeral at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
The Lay Catholic Mission was one of the monthly, lay-produced West Coast tabloid-size orthodox newspapers later merged into the online news site California Catholic Daily (
The article told of a courageous man who had fought tenaciously for dignity and respect for other Hispanics and “bequeathed a strong influence that pervades local and state politics to this day.”
However, when permissive abortion was thrust on society, the article said, Roybal showed none of his previous courage but became another vendido – a Catholic sellout to the Culture of Death, just as the Kennedy family politicians were on the East Coast.
Roybal “sold his birthright for the pottage of a seat among a corrupt and cynical elite, an elite that hated everything his Baptism required him to promise,” the article said. It added, “The clerics in Cong. Roybal’s life apparently never tried to guide his conscience — quite the contrary,” including his own archbishop, Roger Mahony.
“Whatever anyone might claim, Roybal knew that his archbishop was with him, and the congressman voted for abortion happily until his retirement,” said the article by Charles Coulombe.
Meanwhile, a veteran West Coast pro-life activist recently called The Wanderer’s attention to some January pro-life demonstrations that forbid explicit political content, leaving participants in ignorance of the consequences of their vote.
He cited a growing Hispanic presence at one such activity whose members regularly vote pro-death Democrats into office while thinking that their hitting the streets is fighting abortion.
It has been a long march from January 1973 to January 2019, including hazards from both bunions and reluctant bishops that need a cure.

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Right now the most likely path toward reform in the Church-- intervention of government authority-- could lead to disaster. If only a “morally intrepid few” bishops, here and in Rome, could call for and make public acts of repentance, we might yet avoid that danger.

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