Skip to comments.Ambivalence and Resolve About Roe
Posted on 01/21/2007 5:36:10 AM PST by livius
The most consequential cultural and political event in American history in the past half century was the Roe v. Wade decision of January 22, 1973. An argument can be made that it is rivaled by September 11, but that fateful day did not result in the deep realignment of religious, cultural, and political dynamics resulting from the Supreme Courts ukase...
Among the religious institutions of national influence, the Catholic Church stood alone in protesting the immediate evil and long-term implications of Roe v. Wade. Although it is largely forgotten today, evangelical Protestantism was in support of Roe v. Wade...
At the time of the 2004 election, there were intense divisions among the bishops about how to respond to Catholic politicians who claimed that their Catholic allegiance was not compromised by their persistent support of the abortion license...[Cdl Ratzinger] said that when all pastoral efforts of persuasion failed, it would be appropriate to advise those who publicly and persistently reject the Churchs teaching that they should refrain from Communion and, if they still refused to do so, to deny them Communion...
Which brings us to two recent incidents that have caused deep consternation among many faithful Catholics. When ...Nancy Pelosi orchestrated a four-day gala in Washington ... people were alert to what would be said by the new archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl. He said nothing. Part of the festivities was a Mass at Trinity College...The celebrant of the Mass was Father Robert Drinan, a Jesuit who, more than any other single figure, has been influential in tutoring Catholic politicians on the acceptability of rejecting the Churchs teaching on the defense of innocent human life. Asked by a reporter, Archbishop Wuerl responded that Fr. Drinan has faculties in Washington, meaning he is authorized to celebrate the sacraments. That was it...
(Excerpt) Read more at firstthings.com ...
As Neuhaus points out, the biggest problem in the Church right now on this issue is that some of the bishops are not very strong pro-life supporters, something that he attributes to the pernicious influence of the late Cdl Bernardin's "seamless garment" theory.
He is quite indignant over the fact that the leaders of the two major sees in the country are both very weak on this issue.
I'm particularly distressed by Wuerl, since he is a new appointee and he has already signalled to Catholic politicians and faithful that he has no intention of confronting this issue and that he is, essentially, too cowardly to even consider it.
Ping to a few people with whom the Wuerl issue was discussed last week.
Archbishop Wuerl had been on the record as a pro-abort embracer while in Pittsburgh. No change there.
Good article. Thanks.
Very sad about Wuerl. I was a little surprised to read about Egan, not because I really thought he was a great defender of the Faith in the first place, but because he was completely upfront about the fact that the pro-abortion stance doesn't bother him in the least. I think Fr. Neuhaus is right to be upset, and I hope some of this gets to the ear of the Holy Father.
Fr. Neuhaus is excellent on this (and almost any other) topic. I found his tracing of the "evolution" of the Church's anti-abortion position in the US to be very interesting.
Do me a favor all. Pray for all who are going to the March for Life tomorrow. Let's just say a lot of pastors I called almost led me to depression.
Jesus told us to obey their teaching, but not to emulate their evil deeds.
They do formally teach rightly about abortion, but the deeds (or lack thereof) of Cardinals Egan and McCarrick, Archbishop Wuerl, and many, many others, in regard to this matter, are often gravely evil.
These prelates lead millions of in-the-pew Catholics into grave sin.
We should pray for their souls.
You got it, friend.
When I lived in New York City, Cardinal O'Connor used to publish a "pro-life letter" every year that was supposed to be read from all the pulpits on that Sunday. It was disgusting to see how many pastors and clergy simply didn't read it. But what was worse was that some of them would say "Oh, we're supposed to read the Cardinal's pro-life letter today, but I'm not going to do that..." At this point, the congregation would titter appreciatively, and the message was very, very clear. I saw this on two occasions.
Prayers for you and all at the March for Life.
Fr. Neuhaus is a brilliant writer and a profound analyst of what he has called religion in the public square.
He has long worked with Evangelicals, some of whom write regularly for First Things and are on the staff, and religious Jews. He is a great example of true ecumenicism, not the wishy washing liberal fake kind. It just goes to show that Protestants, Catholics, and Jews who are really loyal to their religion, far from putting them at odds with each other, can work together on their common interests and put aside their differences.
The only thing I would maybe take issue here is his comments on Cardinal Bernardin. He is brave enough to point out, politely, that Cardinal McCarrick lied to the bishops' conference about the contents of Cardinal Ratzinger's letter on how to handle pro-abortion Catholic politicians. But he is too kind to Cardinal Bernardin.
Bernardin was a very, very smart guy. He was too smart to get out into left field with the dumb dissenters like Weakland, who was hung out to dry in the end. But he probably caused more trouble in the Church in America than any other single person. He not only orchestrated things so the bishops responded weakly to Roe v. Wade. He also appears to have been in the middle of the decay of the seminaries and the Lavendar Mafia. It seems as if everything he touched turned sour.
I suppose as a priest Fr. Neuhaus has to be careful what he says. And he has a gift for never raising his voice, so when he does condemn someone, you know they have crossed a line. Still, I thought it was worth mentioning.
What he says about Roe v. Wade, of course, is true. It was one of the most significant turning points in our country's history. It has distorted our entire justice system, leading to all those other bad decisions in areas far from abortion. And, contrary to the deluded expectations of the judges who violated their oaths to vote for it, it will NEVER be simply accepted as a fait accompli. Never.
I certainly agree with that. I think, as you say, he was being politic. For some reason, nobody in the clergy can ever honestly say what Cdl Bernardin really did and what he was really up to. It seems to be something that is just not done.
[the decision] will NEVER be simply accepted as a fait accompli. Never.
An excellent observation, I think you're absolutely correct in that statement.
Funny, they seem to be able to wave their faux pro-Life banner when speaking out against capital punishment. Even with the seamless garment they only emphasize the part of the garment they like.
I was in Cdl Eagan's diocese while he was bishop of Bridgeport. He had a splendid ecclesiastical presence, a deep voice, an impressive manner, which are always helpful. I read many of his weekly columns in the diocesan paper. Sometimes the paper would publish something a little on the edge, as almost all of them do, but Egan's writings were always entirely orthodox and well done.
I suspect that he and bishop Wuerl may have the same problem. They are orthodox, but they are team players, who go along to get along. That's the way to build a career.
It has some advantages to the Church, as well. A collegial bishop, who gets on well with donors and politicians is an advantage, and the money and influence go to good purposes.
But sometimes there comes a limit, when you can't go along to get along. If you've made a habit of it all your life, it can be hard to suddenly be confronted by such a challenge.
But it CAN happen. St. Thomas a Beckett was certainly such a person. He never would have risen to such eminence if he hadn't been a suave politician and a Norman grandee. St. Thomas More was another such person. There was no better, more amusing dinner companion at a royal feast.
Let's pray that these Cardinal archbishops will finally be pushed into a corner like More was, and at that point refuse to give ground any further.
"He ( Father Neuhaus) is quite indignant over the fact that the leaders of the two major sees in the country are both very weak on this issue."
But God is not weak on the subject and there shall be an accounting before Him. Also I pray that Pope Benedict will remind the Clergy that to remain silent while grave sin is tolerated is to give consent to that sin.
Cardinal O'Connor may have been a terrible administrator, from a financial point of view, and he was not even good at dealing with the clergy, because he was too trusting. But he was sure good at standing up to pressure from the state, and truly excellent on pro-life things.
I moved just about the time Egan came in, but the thing that stuns me, when I read the New York press, is how silent he is. Cdl O'Connor was very high profile, and whenever anything in the city happened, people wanted to know what O'Connor thought about it. Not Egan, unfortunately. I guess that's largely a matter of personal style, and perhaps if Egan is really pressured, he'll have to take a stand. I think he retires shortly, although after that stupid letter that some NY priests wrote, criticizing him, the Vatican will probably leave him there longer just to teach the NYC clergy a lesson.
I've been wondering if BXVI is going to react to the conspicuous silence of Abp Wuerl. But maybe Wuerl will redeem himself tomorrow (I believe he's supposed to give an address, isn't he?). We shall see.
Yes, I remember that bit about the Catholic foster homes. Cardinal O'Connor was an Irishman of the old school, and nobody messed around with him. I think his toughness in that instance really set the liberals back in their encroachment campaign for years. No doubt they planned to go after the hospitals next, and so forth. But if the Church shut down all those charitable institutions in the city, it would have been a severe blow to their budget.
Also, incidentally, it would have gotten the Church off the hook of providing charities to populations that in many areas are no longer Catholic like they used to be.
I once met Cardinal Cushing of Boston--gave him a ride in my car from his Chancery to Harvard to meet with the the Catholic Club and the Chaplain to discuss getting his permission to open a new Catholic Center, after Fr. Feeney made off with the old one. Naturally he was somewhat fearful it might happen again.
He was a real Irishman, too.
Why the drop after 1960? (in deaths of women from illegal abortions)
The reasons were new and better antibiotics, better surgery and the establishment of intensive care units in hospitals. This was in the face of a rising population. Between 1967 and 1970 sixteen states legalized abortion. In most it was limited, only for rape, incest and severe fetal handicap (life of mother was legal in all states). There were two big exceptions California in 1967, and New York in 1970 allowed abortion on demand. Now look at the chart carefully.
Abortion Statistics - Decision to Have an Abortion (U.S.)
· 25.5% of women deciding to have an abortion want to postpone childbearing
· 21.3% of women cannot afford a baby
· 14.1% of women have a relationship issue or their partner does not want a child
· 12.2% of women are too young (their parents or others object to the pregnancy)
· 10.8% of women feel a child will disrupt their education or career
· 7.9% of women want no (more) children
· 3.3% of women have an abortion due to a risk to fetal health
2.8% of women have an abortion due to a risk to maternal health
So how many womens lives have been saved by abortion?
Only about 3% of abortions since 1972 were reported to be due to a risk to maternal health. A reasonable person would recognize that not all of those cases represent a lethal risk. But lets say they did. That means that nearly 45 million fetuses were butchered to save the lives of about 1.3 million women. Or put another way; 35 babies are killed to save each woman.
Abortion was legal in all 50 states prior to Roe v. Wade in cases of danger to the life of the woman.
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