For the Pro-Life movement, it was a perfect storm of related events causing many of its supporters to wonder why the movement itself appears to be failing.
But first to the storm itself which saw the mainstream media trashing pro-life students from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School in Washington on the annual March for Life. Their crime? Wearing Trump MAGA caps and quietly standing their ground at the Lincoln Memorial against provocations by activists, while at the same time being characterized by media across the country as obnoxious Christians and KKK enthusiasts. But that wasn’t the end of the abuse. The 17-year-olds were also denounced by their own bishop, Roger Joseph Foys, who later apologized for his hasty — and mistaken — remarks.
Then came the passing of the euphemistically titled Reproductive Health Act in New York State, legalizing abortion right up until birth. On the 46th anniversary of Roe v Wade, no less. In a vote of 38-24, full-term abortion has now become a constitutional right in New York. But there’s more. The new legislation also allows non-physicians to perform these abortions and repeals any protections for babies that survive abortions, meaning it is now permissible to kill the child directly after birth.
All prompting applause and cheers by the senators who treated this atrocity like New York had just won the Super Bowl. And it got worse later that night when their celebration of infanticide was marked by lighting up the One World Trade Centre. In pink.
Obscene? Barbaric? You bet. And a major turning point in U.S. history.
Ironic too, because everything abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder for doing has now been legalized. Killing infants who survived, as Gosnell did, is now legal in New York State, as is allowing untrained and unlicensed non-medical people to perform the procedure. Just as Gosnell did.
Equally ironic is the fact that Kermit Gosnell always maintained he was innocent, that he was ahead of his time, and that he would one day be exonerated. And now New York has done just that and returned to back-alley abortions performed by non-physicians. Right up till the baby’s due date. And beyond.
All rationalized by NY’s Catholic governor Andrew Cuomo in anticipation of the possible repeal of Roe v. Wade by a Supreme Court with two new conservative judges: “In the face of a federal government intent on rolling back Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights, I promised that we would enact this critical legislation within the first 30 days of the new session — and we got it done,” Cuomo boasted, apparently unconcerned by calls for his excommunication. The Catholic Church doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose. I understand their religious view. I’m not here to represent a religion. I’m here to represent all the people and the constitutional rights and limitations for all the people — not as a Catholic.
And just to make sure there will be no going back, the states of Rhode Island, Vermont and New Mexico are poised to pass similar legislation as well.
But this perfect storm wasn’t over yet. Neither were its ironies. On the same day top abortion supporter and former NY senator Hillary Clinton was effusively congratulating her former senate colleagues on their homicidal legislation, her daughter, Chelsea, announced her third pregnancy.
Plus the third annual Women’s March was held on the eve of Planned Parenthood’s announcement that it had performed 332,757 abortions in 2018 alone — equal to the population of the city of Cleveland.
All this in the same week that had been dedicated to the March for Life and its goal — the reversal of this decades-long slaughter of innocents.
The result of this configuration of events? Supporters of the Pro-Life Movement exploded in disgust over the Left’s in-your-face antics. Beginning with Rush Limbaugh, the American radio talk show host, who called Cuomo’s bill a murder permit, and a turning point in American history.
“What makes liberals cheer murder?” Limbaugh demanded to know. “We’re talking murder here, folks. That’s what makes this different from the way they’ve always approached this. There’s been a fundamental change in the way they’re describing what they’re supporting here, because it’s always been killing. They’ve known it, we know it, everybody knows it. But they’ve sought to massage the language so that it wasn’t seen as that.”
He was referring to how abortion activists have long “cloaked” the fact they were really talking about murdering unborn children in the language of “a woman’s right to choose”, insisting that an unborn child is nothing but a mass of cells posing a health risk to women. Or as a civil rights issue where no one has the right to tell a woman what she can do with her body.
“They went through every imaginable distortion and contortion,” he said. And they did this knowing that if they advocated openly for the wanton killing of children, they would never have had the popular support for abortion they did.
So what’s changed?
Abandoning all Pretences
Do you realize this is a striking change in approach? The big change is, they are giving standing ovations in the New York State Senate chamber to the killing of children! Now they are acknowledging that that’s what’s happening. And they’re applauding it, codifying it and making it constitutional in New York … and if an attempted abortion fails, you can go ahead and finish the job after birth, Limbaugh told his 25-million daily listeners. This means that all the pretences that got them this far are being abandoned, including their decades-old lie that there wasn’t a baby involved and it was just a woman’s right to choose.
“And now that’s gone!” Limbaugh concluded. “They’re making no effort whatsoever to hide what’s happening. They are openly celebrating what’s happening.”
There’s more. Which is the fact that the whole abortion issue has also been designed to covertly create hatred against people who love God and believe in God, Limbaugh noted: “It was designed to create a divided society and culture with people that love and believe in God on one side and everybody else on the other. And then they tried to recruit as many people away from God to their side as they could. They hate us to the point that anything that gives them the feeling of victory, the feeling of having trounced us, that’s worth the standing ovation. ‘Us’ being religion, God, the Catholic Church, Christianity at large, conservatives, the conservative movement.”
Which is what the Covington students experienced when the media pounced. And what happened to Father Tony Van Hee, the elderly priest charged last October under Ontario’s Safe Access to Abortion Services Act for attempting to intimidate people entering the Morgentaler abortion center in downtown Ottawa with a sandwich board that read: ‘The Primacy of Free Speech: Cornerstone of Western Civilization’ on one side and ‘Without Free Speech the State is a Corpse’ on the other. Apparently Fr. Van Hee had violated the ‘bubble zone’ law by praying too close. In a country with no abortion law whatsoever.
Is Pro-Life Working?
Which brings us back to the central question: Is the Pro-Life Movement working?
And if not, why not? Why does the Movement appear so ineffective in combating abortion that pro-abortionists are now emboldened enough to drop all pretences while, at the same time, ramping up their attacks on the crumbling edifice known as Christendom?
Might the answer — in part — be that the attack from outside Christendom is intensifying because the Pro-aborts sense weakness within the Christian churches in general and the Catholic Church in particular?
What, for example, are Catholics to make of abortionist Willie Parker speaking on the Catholic campus of Georgetown University just days before the 46th annual March for Life?
Parker identifies as a “Christian” who supports partial-birth abortion, performs abortions in Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Mississippi, and asserts his faith provides justification for killing unborn babies. Sponsored by campus Democrats, Parker is the author of Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice and a prominent activist who has received NARAL’s Champions of Choice award and Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award, named after its eugenics-supporting founder.
And what are they to make of NY Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s rationale for not excommunicating Andrew Cuomo? Initially, the archbishop said excommunicating the governor is “not an appropriate response.” This was followed later by a statement that “from a strategic perspective, I do not believe that excommunication would be effective as many politicians would welcome it as a sign of their refusal to be ‘bullied by the Church’, thinking it would therefore give them a political advantage.”
Evangelist Franklin Graham was not persuaded: “I call on my friend Cardinal Dolan to take a moral stand,” Graham said. “Whether it moves the governor’s calloused heart or not, it will have a great impact on not only the church in New York, but on the church worldwide. It’s about standing for right over wrong, good over evil.”
Many Catholics were similarly horrified when the diocesan bishop for the Covington students initially condemned their actions only to apologize later when it was realized this rush to judgment was shy on facts.
But these are just recent examples leaving Catholics feeling that their Church institutions — local, regional, national and international — are failing to fulfill their God-given role.
Parishioners let down
Parishioners are feeling let down in myriad ways, by the general failure of clergy and fellow Catholics to stand up for church teachings while, at the same time, bowing to political and cultural pressure — against which Catholic institutions and clergy were once the bulwark. Indeed, it was the teachings of Jesus Christ that for millennia were Roman Catholicism’s strength against the ever-changing social trends, of which abortion has been just one.
Sadly, this seems no longer the case. As exemplified by a recent interview with Cardinal Dolan by Fox News’ Steve Doocy.
Doocy: Here’s a question from a viewer named Debbie. She wants to know what the church’s stance on a mother who decides to get an abortion.
Dolan: A mom who has an abortion, we’d say, ‘Mom, we love you. We might not, uh, particularly condone what you just did. But we love you, and, uh, we’re not about to judge you.’ It used to be people that said we should excommunicate the mothers that did that. We don’t do that anymore. You’re welcome back in the church. If you have a sense of shame and regret about what you’ve done — and I presume you might — uh, come and ask for God’s mercy and it’s yours for the asking. So the blame doesn’t need to go on the mom here.
Doocy: Have the rules changed within the Catholic Church?
Dolan: It used to be that an abortion would cause the excommunication not only of the one who did it, (but) people who encourage it, and the one who had it. The church in the last 50 years — beginning with, uh, Pope John Paul II and especially intensified under Pope Francis — has said, ‘I don’t know if that’s gospel values, here, because mercy trumps everything.’ And even though we would be uncompromising, uh, in our teaching about the horror of abortion, we would also be uncompromising in our teaching about God’s mercy.
So thinking Catholics may now be asking themselves: Under this rubric of ‘mercy’, do the Commandments and Church teaching still matter?
Which may also explain why the Pro-Life Movement appears to be failing in its mission — not in its one-on-one assistance to anguished pregnant women, but in its broader realm of influencing national governments, their laws and institutions. In that realm, the Pro-life Movement may be failing for the simple reason that it’s the sheep who are leading the flock by default without the shepherds whose faith, moral authority and power are rarely heard anymore.
Except perhaps for Father Tony Van Hee and a few others. And the occasional outspoken bishop warning of the eternal consequences of supporting abortion in all of its permutations. Such as Bishop Joseph Edward Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, who warned on Twitter that New York legislators will reap the whirlwind of hell.
And author John Horvat II who observed that, as with December 7, 1941, January 22, 2019, will go down as another day of infamy in U.S. history, just as big a turning point — and just as bad — as Pearl Harbour which opened a second front of World War II and resulted in the deaths of many more millions.
Horvat also predicted that having now reached another point of no return, opponents of abortion will find themselves being punished more than ever before. “Those souls who protest abortion will be the next targets of those who defy God,” he wrote last month. “For as souls are unmasked in vice, they cannot endure the opposition of those who represent the rebuke of conscience. They will rage against those who call them to their duty, and demand brutal measures to silence them.”
Which means that a brutal battle lies straight ahead. But it’s a battle that, in the end, the Lord God Almighty is destined by time and eternity to win.
Sheen saw it coming
It’s a battle that Venerable Fulton Sheen saw coming decades ago:
We are at the end of Christendom, not Christianity or the Church,” he said during a talk in 1974. “Christendom is economic, political and social life as inspired by Christian principles. That is ending — we’ve seen it die. Look at the symptoms: the breakup of the family, divorce, abortion, immorality, general dishonesty. But it’s only those who live by faith who really know what is happening in the world. The great masses without faith are unconscious of the destructive processes going on.”
But Christendom hasn’t come down all on its own. It has fallen as a consequence of generations of Catholics and Christians succumbing to the now highly sexualized culture and its myriad seductions, which John Paul II appropriately called “the Culture of Death.
By permitting ourselves to ignore Church teaching and indulge our sexual selves with contraceptives and all manner of other little permissions — including the occasional ‘necessary’ abortion and divorce (all in complete contradiction of Church teaching and the natural law) — we have not only weakened our Church, families, neighbourhoods, cities and countries but blinded and poisoned our own souls.
Choosing Culture over Christ
And then we wonder why — having left the responsibility of practising the true faith to our more ‘devout’ Catholic friends — the Pro-Life Movement can’t be as effective as it might be if each of us, along with our clergy, stood up for what our baptized hearts and consciences know to be right, and actually lived the faith in which we are baptized and confirmed.
But no. Not only do we give ourselves those little permissions to sin whenever tempted, we cower at the disapproval we know we face if we express any public disapproval whatsoever against any of those sexual sins now found and promoted on that palette of so-called ‘rights’. And this fear of disapproval and ostracism appears to have afflicted some of the clergy as well who fear confronting some members of their flock who actually disagree with the Church teaching on sexual matters — which is that the only morally legitimate sex is that which takes place between husband and wife without contraception and within the context of monogamous marriage.
But how old fashioned is that?
Reaping the Whirlwind
Yet after decades of allowing ourselves those “little sexual sins” so enthusiastically supported by the media and the culture, and never criticizing friends or family members for committing same, we’re suddenly shocked — SHOCKED — by where those first steps on the yellow brick road have taken us. All the way to post-birth baby murder! Infanticide. Which horrifies us. Naturally. Because … y’know, what’s that got to do with us? Those mostly law-abiding Catholics whose family and friends commit the same little sexual sins we permit ourselves and wouldn’t dream of saying a word against them?
And who would dare to say today that all those abortions, all those divorces and all those mentally disturbed children were anything but accidents of life? Bad luck? The result of “poor choices”?
But aborting and killing a full-term baby? Well, that’s a step too far, we think, rather than recognizing this for what it is: the logical result of the decades-long, sin-habituating sexual revolution.
Yet as the venerable Archbishop Sheen observed all those decades ago, it is precisely this sort of historical moment that separates the wheat from the chaff:
Evil must come to reject us, to despise us, to hate us, to persecute us, and then shall we define our loyalties, affirm our fidelities and state on whose side we stand. How shall the strong and weak trees be manifested unless the wind blows? Our quantity indeed will decrease, but our quality will increase. Then shall be verified the words of Our Master: whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. Nor must we ever forget what Our Lord said to Judas: This is your hour. God has His day, but evil has its hour when the shepherd shall be struck and the sheep dispersed.
It is when those times come that the real certainties of God’s creation become apparent:
We worry not that God may be dethroned, but that barbarism may reign. It is not Transubstantiation that may perish, but the home; not the sacraments that may fade away, but the moral law.
Urging all to pray, Sheen then concluded with a portrait of the world as true today as in 1974:
The forces of evil are united; the forces of good are divided. We may not be able to meet in the same pew — would to God we did — but we can meet on our knees. The only way out of this crisis is spiritual, because the trouble is not in the way we keep our books, but in the way we keep our souls.”