Yesterday, one of our deacons gave the Sunday homily on the Church's teaching on abortion, and it was both one of the strongest and most compassionate homilies on the subject I have ever heard. I wish I had the entire text to reproduce for you here, because it was impressive. He told us that this was a homily he had been thinking about giving for several years. One could tell. It was one of those homilies in the course of which one asks himself "Did I really just hear him say that?" and gets goosebumps from the unexpected reality of rubber hitting the road. It's the kind of homily that one can't help feeling requires courage to preach these days, because -- and this is really sad to admit -- it clearly echoes Church teaching on a controversial subject! He even broke down the percentages of Catholics receiving abortions and applied those percentages to our parish of well-over one thousand families, suggesting that there were some in the congregation that very morning who were likely recovering from abortions. He did not buckle on the Church teaching that abortion is a grave and mortal sin. However, he also sounded the note of compassion struck by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, Evangelium vitae, from which he quoted the the following words of the previous pontiff:
I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.He received a standing ovation, led by our priest. Even the most reluctant heart could not help being touched by those words and that moment of grace.
In other, less-heartening news, LifeSiteNews carries a disappointing story (HLI Leader Says: "I don't believe Archbishop Wuerl is doing his job") on the new Archbishop of Washington, who has decided to pursue the path of steadfast and scandalous complacency blazed by his predecessor Cardinal McCarrick towards "pro-choice Catholic" legislators. LifeSiteNews reports:
Perhaps it was a bad omen when at the installation Mass for the new Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl last June, pro-abortion Democratic Senator John Kerry was given Holy Communion and caught on camera in the act. During the entrance procession, Archbishop Wuerl shook hands with Kerry and Senator Ted Kennedy. (see coverage)For a full discussion of the issue, see Christopher Blosser's article, "Archbishop Donald Wuerl - Aiding & Abetting Nancy Pelosi?" (Against the Grain, January 22, 2007), which includes excerpts from Amy Welborn's extensive discussion and an extended excerpt from a relevant and noteworthy memo from then-Cardinal Ratzinger to Wuerl's predecessor ("Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion — General Principles" L'espresso, June 2004), as well as commentary by Michael Luccione and Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus. The latter concludes his comments ascerbically as follows: "It is understandable that Catholics and others have drawn the conclusion that, for both Wuerl and Egan, bishops of the two most prominent sees in the country, rejecting the Church’s teaching on the human dignity of the unborn child is not a big deal" ("Ambivalence and resolve about Roe" (First Things "On the Square" - January 19th, 2006).
Now, Archbishop Wuerl, who replaced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, has said publicly that he would not discipline or direct priests to deny communion to pro-abortion Catholic politician Nancy Pelosi who was just made speaker of the House of Representatives.
Finally, in order to illustrate the absurd logic of most moderately pro-choice 'reasoning', it has become a tradition with me on January 22nd of every year to post the following quotation from Princeton professor, Robert P. George:
[Dr. Robert P. George is George McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and earned his doctorate in philosophy of law at Oxford University. He currently sits on the President's Council of Bioethics and is author of numerous books on constitutional law and jurisprudence. Just in case anyone is still wondering, the foregoing statement is not intended to be taken at face value, but as a parody and reductio ad absurdum refutation of the fallacious reasoning employed pervasively by proponents of a "pro-choice" position favoring "abortion rights." I offer this explanation not to insult your intelligence, but only because of having learned the hard way to cover my bases: several years ago, I sent George's quotation out by email to all faculty, staff, and students at Lenoir-Rhyne College, only to hear that a President's cabinet meeting was called to address the issue, and, the dean of students, frantic to ensure the institution's political correctness, sent out a follow-up message indicating that the views of my email did not reflect the views of the institution and that the college did not endorse the killing of abortionists! Well guess what? Surprise - surprise! Neither do I or Bobby George!]
I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go as far as supporting mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even non-judgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity--not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately 'pro-choice.'"