Friday, January 23, 2009

"Catholics Abandon the Unborn"

Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. Please join us!!
Here is an article from the “On Faith” section of Wednesday’s Washington Post. It serves not as a downer after yesterday’s uplifting March for Life, but as a reality check on where the pro-life movement (led by the Church) is in the United States.

Catholics Abandon the Unborn in the 44th Presidency

“A simple web search for the order of presidential succession in the newly-minted Obama administration makes clear what a profound debacle the '08 election was for the pro-life movement in the United States. The country's top leadership now looks like a Who's Who of the National Abortion Rights Action League's "100% pro-choice" club. Largely ignored in the last election, abortion remains a massively important political issue. Catholics who did so should be ashamed of themselves for voting with disregard for a ticket and party that is inimical to a central moral tenet of their Church's teaching. Abortion kills.

This nation daily tolerates the willfully procured death of over 3,200 innocent and defenseless human beings, and that slaughter is an abomination far beyond other considerations that entered into electoral decisions last year. To maintain any sort of credible witness to the value of human life, Catholic leaders and faithful must choose to directly and publicly reengage the pro-life movement and to put John Paul II's Gospel of Life at the very top of their social and political agendas in the battles that lie ahead.

The new Cabinet, White House staff and top Congressional leadership, several so-called "pro-choice Catholics" among them, look to be clearly unfriendly to the protection of embryonic life. From House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, voting records indicate a steeply pro-choice political trajectory for the coming years. (Vice President Biden actually received only a "mixed" pro-choice rating, based in part on his support of the partial birth abortion ban.) Worse than having these elected and appointed officials around for the coming term, can it be imagined that President Obama will not nominate as lifelong Supreme Court members jurists as radical on life issues as his cabinet and staff? The new administration is headed by a man who said that one of his first actions as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, as extreme a piece of pro-choice legislation as can be imagined. A clear and chilling harbinger of things to come, his first executive orders are likely to be targeted at overturning Bush era restrictions on using federal funds for abortions overseas and for research that destroys embryos.

The Respect Life community failed to make abortion a meaningful issue in the past election and the current situation is the sour fruit of that negligence. Catholics especially abandoned the unborn at the polls. At least 54% of those identifying themselves as Catholic supported President Obama, while "Church-going Catholics" voted 50% for McCain to Obama's 49%. Either number demonstrates an inability in the ecclesial hierarchy and the lay leadership in the Catholic Pro-life movement to make a convincing argument about the nature of the abortion act and the issue's relative importance versus other weighty but lesser political questions such as the election of African-American leaders, the economy, or the war on terror.

Abortion kills and its deadly impact is orders of magnitude beyond the violence of the Iraq war or any indignities visited upon detainees held at Guantanamo. However many millions of visitors may have journeyed to the Capital for this week's inaugural, it is certain that several million Americans never had the slightest chance of making it to the festivities. At least 45 million to be more accurate: all those aborted since the handing down of Roe v Wade. While the election of President Obama means good things for progress in racial integration in this nation, it cannot be ignored that abortion continues to heavily disproportionately target African-Americans, 13 million since 1973.

While claims that embryos and fetuses are members of the human family are often dismissed as based on faith alone or merely a matter of personal opinion, from a scientific standpoint this is entirely untrue. At the moment of conception, when egg meets sperm, either in the petri dish or the fallopian tube, the complete genetic blueprint of a new unique human individual comes together. This is scientific fact. It was at the moment of conception that each and every reader of this article began to journey through the developmental stages of life. Those destroyed in an abortion are genetically human except under the most bizarre circumstances. They are also certainly alive, consuming nutrients, excreting waste products of metabolism, growing, possessing the potential to reproduce, and responding to external stimuli such as local pH, availability of oxygen, and the presence of hormones in the fetal and maternal circulation. Abortion kills a human being in the earliest days, weeks or months of its development, period.

Today, as the bunting comes down and crews disassemble the reviewing stands on Pennsylvania Avenue, the annual March for Life will stream quietly by the Capitol dome and Congress will prepare to debate the Freedom of Choice Act as a first order of business. This government is poised to push the pro-life movement in America into oblivion. Whether they decide to do so in the pulpit, the media, or in their extensive school networks, bishops, clergy and lay leaders in the Catholic Church will have to motivate their flocks to action if they want to see any movement out of the moral quagmire this country finds itself in on abortion.”

Dr. William Blazek, a Jesuit scholastic and physician, is a board certified specialist in Internal Medicine and a Research Scholar in the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He teaches ethics and clinical skills as an Adjunct Assistant Professor while preparing for ordination to priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church.


At 10:34 AM, Blogger Nick said...


First, I cannot believe this was written by a Georgetown Jesuit! There is hope for that institution after all. Seriously though, all the hand wringing over the failure of the church to influence the laity to vote pro life ignores what I think is a very important factor. That is, during the heyday of GOP controlled presidency and congress (2001 to 2006,) I do not recall once significant piece of legislation that really challenged Roe. Did any representative or senator propose a Right to Life Act? If so, they mustn't have received much enthusiasm from their colleagues. Bottom line is the GOP hasn't exactly championed life issues to any real level of efficacy so its not surprising that the Catholic voter does not distinguish the GOP being any more representative as the party of life than the despicable Democrat party that champions reproductive "rights."

Granted, we are plagued with uneducated, cafeteria Catholics but surely being taken for granted by the GOP has muddied the waters for Catholic voters who actually care what the Church teaches.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In that same section, there was an article on the ad (Obama in utero)that was posted here the other day. Apparently it is only the first in a series of ads to reflect the theme,"abortion is the enemy of hope."

The Catholic Bishops pointed a more secular arguement when they addressed Obama-

"We are committed to not only reducing abortion, but to making it unthinkable as an answer to an unintended pregnancy. If your goal is to reduce abortions, that will not be achieved by involving the government in expanding and promoting abortions."

Given the fact that Catholic did turn their backs this past election cycle, I wonder what is most effective in gaining their support for life- the positively proactive approach in talking about what could be, or a hard, cold reality check of what abortion is- an evil business. Do we talk about sanctity of life or should we be more secular and address practical methods of achieving goals? I wonder....

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don’t think the vast majority of Catholics didn’t care about abortion issues or even put other issues in front of it this past election. There was an article that made the point that perhaps those who voted for Obama believed abortion an important issue but didn’t see any incoming administration as able to criminalize it. The past 8 Republic years didn’t. So with no criminalization, what would be the next thing- overturning Roe V Wade? If that happened, effectively the matter of legalized abortion would return to the states, where most would likely keep it legal and/or women would travel to another state if it were illegal in her own. So what next? It was suggested that the answer was abortion reduction. While neither candidate’s platform totally represented the Church’s commitment to a culture of life, it was suggested that many Catholics seemed to believe that Obama was committed to social programs that would reduce abortion better. It was suggested that he spoke to implementing more social programs to help women make other choices. The article didn’t cite those programs.

To me, where Catholic Obama supporters’ arguments fall apart is with his stated support of FOCA. Maybe Obama will act in accordance with his own statement that abortion should be rare. How he acts regarding FOCA and stem cell research will tell the story.

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding insult to injury-

It’s hard not to feel discouraged…
-Billion dollar bail outs to purchase $35,000 footed commodes
-Accelerated bonus to those whose excesses and greed necessitated a bailout to begin with(meanwhile, my husband’s company took away all salaries and benefits and put everyone on a commission only basis- all with 5 days notice)
-And now- it seems we are going to contribute our tax dollars to the billion dollar abortion industry too.

It’s offensive beyond words.

My vote- a “tax out” where we collectively refuse to pay a portion of our taxes. It seems that is the only way to gain attention- with money, and I want to give mine to actually help women.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger fran said...

And so it begins...

Our President, today, rescinded the Mexico City Policy. Our federal funds will now be sent overseas to support abortion services. Not what you would expect from a president who said he wanted to make abortion rare.

For Anons 11:24 and 5:35-

Although I do not have a specific answer, as I often ask myself the same question, 'what is effective in gaining support for life,' I would say this: I think it is a combination of everything. I think sanctity of life has to be discussed at home, and at school and at church. Numerous times.
I think the sponsors of the video,which was linked here the other day do an excellent job of getting the message out via their ads, although distribution is somewhat limited. And for those who would like to volunteer their time and dollars for women in crisis, I am sure Gabriel Project and Birthright of Wheaton, would love to hear from you.

At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching the crowds cheer Obama’s inaugural speech, I kept thinking, “Don’t they understand?” His stand on numerous things contradicted much of what he stated. His beliefs aren’t grounded in a basic respect for life, so all his plans are founded in shifting sands. Furthermore, we have a media that is so enamored with a likability factor that they don’t ask hard questions-

“Mr. President, how do you explain you stand on torture and still believe partial birth abortion is permissible?”

“Mr. President, you called upon each of us to nurture a child, how do you answer your own call when you terminate the very promise of a child?”

“Mr. President, if you believe we all deserve to be treated with dignity, how can you support ESCR?”

It could be easy to get swept away with national pride for a president who is wiling to do some right things, but that pride is false when it isn’t founded in bedrock. Respecting life is the bedrock from which all good will come- charity, dignity and respect. When we have that, we will then be a prosperous nation.

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think about what it will take to get people to not only support a right to life but embrace a culture of life. I worry about the message we send to our youth (the hope for real change). I worry about our children watching all the examples of excess and self-indulgence and emerging unscathed. They are bombarded with the message of importance of self.

Every year the March for Life comes around, there are parents whose thoughts puzzle me. It amazes me that they worry about that their children are too young to be exposed to topics like abortion but they don’t seem nearly as concerned with the degradation of life and morality that their children see everyday via internet, television and music. Someone told me they didn’t want the church talking to their kids about sex and abortion because they wanted their children to grow their own opinions on those topics. I think “growing our own opinions” is at the base of our problems. They didn’t want their children “indoctrinated,” but I’m thinking that should be a goal of Catholic parents- to indoctrinate their chidren with respect for life.

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see what happens in the months to come. Two Democrats have reintroduced the Pregnancy Women’s Support Act. Rep. Davis (Tenn) introduced it in Congress and Sen. Casey (Penn) introduced in the Senate. Key measures in both bills would introduce Life Support Centers to help pregnant women and teen with education, training, counseling and shelter. It is a CONCRETE way to give women the opportunity to choose life. Let’s see if the new governing bodies are equally as diligent in helping women embrace life as they are to ending it.

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday, when I was driving there was a car in front of me covered with bumper stickers. There were stickers about peace, war, love, Obama and choice. But the one that caught my eye was a large plain sticker that simply said, “Love your Mother.” I was thinking, “Yeah, love your mother- because YOU ARE. If she made a different “choice” you would never know “peace” or “love” or feel the need to go to “war” on any issue.” Anyway- in looking at the stickers (and not at the brake lights) I bumped the car. No one was hurt, and the only significant damage was to a few of those bumper stickers.

Often times I’ve thought America thinks like that- in snippets and sound bites. We don’t have full discourse over important matters but instead believe and then bark bumper sticker rhetoric. Here are a few of the bumper sticker barkings that caught my attention-

“Keep your laws off my body” (hmm…so prostitution should be legal?)

“Keep your rosaries off my ovaries.”

“I asked God. She’s pro-choice.”

“Just say no…. to sex with pro-lifers.”

“The Bible is just pretend. Learn to think for yourself.”

“If men could be pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”

One thing that has been lost is that (historically) the pro-life stance wasn’t about religion. It was about morality (as are all our laws), but people of many different faiths (and no faith) arrived at the same conclusion- a fetus is alive and should be protected. When the first U.S. statutes against abortion were enacted, the laws were nonsectarian. Catholics had no political voice at that time and even Protestants weren’t a major factor in those decisions. Instead, those laws were attributed to the American Medical Association. Continuing to recognize and protect those rights is an earmark of SECULAR progress.

But, instead of taking the time to properly nourish themselves with solid and complete education, many feed from the fast food world of peel n’ stick thinking.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger fran said...

Anon 8:41,

I agree! Remember that phrase, "charity begins at home?" Well, we could replace the word "charity" with "talking about sanctity of life." I appreciate it whenever it is continued outside of the home, in our schools and churches. And I am grateful for our teachers and our priests who do this at St. Andrew Apostle.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend from high school wrote an article about the schism in the church (from his perspective) that spoke to me, and likely those of my generation who went to Catholic schools when I did. He talked about the experience of looking at ones’ faith from one side of a dividing line- liberal and conservative Catholicism. I have found myself struggling there too. It seemed as if matters of social justice (at least the ones most promoted when I went to Catholic school) belonged to liberals- so liberals we would be, but in the most important matters- that just didn’t fit.

I am anti-abortion and am against the death penalty. I believe fighting terror can be just and believe in amnesty for illegal immigrants. During election times, one often has to make a choice about where to stand that doesn’t seem to represent enough, so lines get blurred. The main point the author, my friend, was trying to make, is that some people often think they must view themselves as either Liberal Catholic or a Conservative Catholics- when they are often Just Catholic. It can be difficult in understand where to stand, and I hope the Church as a whole does a better job of addressing this in the years to come. Coming off this election cycle, I hope people remember that we are a “We” before we are an “Us’ and “Them.”

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


St. Martin’s Pro-Life Committee invites you to post your March for Life video on You Tube. The best video will win an iPod Shuffle.

The winner will be designated by the “most number of views” for their video by 2/28. Include the following text in your movie title:
“March for Life 2009 - name of your organization or group”


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