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Ghoulish, Grisly, And Gruesome

February 11, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


A few years ago I was part of a parish group that provided hot lunches to the needy in downtown. We did so in conjunction with several other churches, both Catholic and non-Catholic, so that each would serve one day a month.
One day some of the ladies began discussing politics and the upcoming visit by then-Sen. Barack Obama. One by one, those engaged in the conversation indicated their support for his presidential campaign. After half listening, I turned to the group, all Democrats, and asked why they supported Obama since he was an ardent supporter of abortion.
I was shocked by the reply. “Yeah, but abortion is just one issue.”
Just one issue?
I met with fellow attorneys every other month at Lawyers for Life where I heard similar stories from the Catholic members about their parishes. I guess I wasn’t really surprised hearing that some Catholics actually supported abortion. But then I got another jolt — a pro-abortion Democratic state senator served as a Communion minister at her parish.
Over the years I heard these stories over and over: Catholics supporting, or at least turning a blind eye to, abortion. The overwhelming majority were liberal Democrats. The arguments over the issue, and who was taking which side, have led me to conclude that a Catholic’s opinion on abortion is dictated more by his or her political beliefs than by religious ones. And for those Catholics who are politically liberal, and tend to vote Democratic, abortion is truly “just one issue.”
Perhaps much of this was occasioned because one of the early champions of abortion was a leading (so-called) Catholic, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who more than any other politician brought acceptance of abortion to the mainstream of the Democratic Party.
I don’t know where Sen. Kennedy would stand on the latest iteration of the “Abortion Now” crowd, but his party has finally jumped the shark on the issue, supporting unrestricted abortion through the date of delivery as a woman’s right. And too many Catholics on the political left don’t seem to appreciate the moral dilemma it poses.
Just recently, under the nominal Catholic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York passed legislation that would not only allow abortion throughout pregnancy, but would even allow it on the baby’s due date, where the fully formed baby would be killed, then its lifeless body delivered. And if the abortion was botched (which it could easily be since the law does not require a doctor to perform it), and the baby was born alive, the law allows those in attendance to simply watch as the baby dies.
In God’s Name, who could support that? Yet the legislators cheered when the bill passed and the audience gave a standing ovation to the governor when he signed it. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, called the new law “ghoulish, grisly, and gruesome.”
Ghoulish, grisly, and gruesome notwithstanding, now two other Democratic governors, one a Catholic, are pushing for the same thing in their states: Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, and Catholic Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island. Gov. Northam was asked if his bill would allow abortion while the mother is in labor. His reply:
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother” (emphasis mine).
Thus, a fully formed baby, born alive, a living person, will live or die according to the desires of the mother and family! That is infanticide. And it is similar to the bill Gov. Cuomo signed into law.
Fortunately, a few hours later a legislative committee, on a party-line vote, mercifully killed the bill.
(Editor’s Note: When this column was written, the embattled Gov. Northam was still in office, facing constant pressure to resign.)
In Rhode Island, Gov. Raimondo’s bill, according to LifeSiteNews, “would even repeal the state partial-birth abortion ban and fetal homicide law, which provides justice to pregnant mothers whose unborn babies are killed by abusive partners, drunken drivers, or others whose illegal actions cause the death of the unborn baby.”
And the insanity continues with other blue states now considering similar measures.
So where did this culture of infanticide come from? Why has it grown so exponentially? And why has it been taken as an article of faith by the Democratic Party and accepted so uncritically by so many Catholics?
I think a lot of it comes from the Church’s leaders who appear to have concluded that in order to get along with Caesar it had to downplay the connection between abortion and the political left. Thus, we’ve heard a lot of lip service supporting the Church’s position on abortion, but no real action on the part of our leadership. In short: a lot of bark but no bite.
We all know about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s recent problems with clerical sex abuse. But, if you remember back to 2004, the question of Communion for politicians supporting abortion had been submitted to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, at the time the Vatican’s doctrinal chief. Ratzinger’s letter of reply to McCarrick and Bishop Wilton Gregory, then president of the USCCB, was misrepresented to their brother bishops by saying that it was up to the U.S. bishops to decide how to handle the matter.
Ratzinger’s letter as written, said: “The minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” when warning and counsel given to the manifest sinner “have not had their effect.” At the time Catholic Sen. John Kerry, whose positions on abortion differed from the Church’s, was the Democratic nominee for president. Any guesses on why the deception?
But now it has gone further than simple abortion, as ugly as that is. It has now reached a point at which an abortionist can meet the baby in the birth canal and do his dirty work there, and if the baby escapes death, the abortionist has no duty to treat the newborn baby; all to the cheers of Democrats of the Hard Left.
“The Catholic Church doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose. Yes, I understand their religious view. But I’m not here to legislate religion,” Cuomo said.
Edward Scharfenberger is the bishop of Albany, N.Y., wherein Cuomo resides. “This legislation threatens to rupture the communion between the Catholic faith and those who support the [new law], even while professing to follow the Church, something that troubles me greatly as a pastor,” wrote Bishop Scharfenberger in a letter to Cuomo.
“Although in your recent State of the State address you cited your Catholic faith and said we should ‘stand with Pope Francis,’ your advocacy of extreme abortion legislation is completely contrary to the teachings of our pope and our Church,” he told the governor.
But what has been done? (See online the February 1 EWTN Pro-Life Weekly with Bishop Scharfenberger. Also see last week’s Wanderer for calls on Timothy Cardinal Dolan to excommunicate Gov. Cuomo.)
One more little anecdote from my life on this matter: During the run of my old radio program, Faith on Trial, the one guest whom I was banned from having was Fr. Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life!
Ghoulish, grisly, gruesome, and now extreme, are nice descriptions; too bad they only give lip-service to the pro-life cause. After this current furor dies down, we’ll probably just go back to the way things were unless we take a strong stand.
If our bishops were really serious, and really believed in the teaching of the Church on life, and wanted to make more than a verbal point, they would excommunicate Cuomo and other Catholic politicians who support abortion and publicly misrepresent Catholic teaching, such as the noted theologian, archbishop of Democrat, Nancy Cardinal Pelosi, regardless of party.
In 1862 President Lincoln fired Gen. George McClellan for his inaction in pressing the war against the Confederacy. Of course the troops looked good and were well-disciplined; they just never joined the battle. Lincoln wanted a more aggressive general, and ultimately got one in Ulysses Grant. Where would we be today if McClellan had continued to serve as general-in-chief for the rest of the war?
We face something of a similar situation today. We need leaders to lead, and stand up to Catholic politicians on every side who support this travesty, not to play nice-nice as if this was a schoolyard game; it’s not, it’s a war, and in a war one must fight as Lincoln understood so well.
Unfortunately, if leaderless, we’ll be forced to watch “ghoulish, grisly, and gruesome” become part of the New World Culture its adherents so desperately want to inflict upon us.
Stand up, be men, excommunicate. Lead!
(You can contact Mike at

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