Wednesday May 12, 2010

Catholic Bishop: Social Worker Wanted My Mom to Abort Me During the Depression

By Peter J. Smith

ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida, May 12, 2010 ( – Bishop Victor Galeone, who has been a priest for nearly fifty years and the bishop of St. Augustine Florida for the past nine, recently revealed that he owes his life to his mother, who resisted pressure by a government social worker to abort him during the Great Depression.

In the May-June edition of the St. Augustine Catholic, Galeone told the story of how he might never been born, if the social worker had her way in 1935, and had not his mother courageously stood up for his life with his father’s brave support.

Bishop Galeone is the son of Angelo and Rita Galeone. His mother, he said, was an immigrant from southern Italy, who could not speak good English and was poorly educated. She had advanced only as far as the third grade when in Italy at a mediocre school.

In his column the bishop recalled the conversation he and his mother had on Mother’s Day in 1970, at about the time he had revealed to his mother that his bishop was assigning him to missionary work in Peru.

The discussion over his impending missionary assignment led his mother to start crying, as she remembered the time when she could have lost him through abortion at a social worker’s urging.

During the Depression, her husband Angelo had to look constantly for work, and they already had three children to feed. They relied on government subsidies to help keep enough food in the house.

A social worker spoke to Rita, who told the social worker that everything was fine, except that she had missed two periods and thought she could be pregnant.

The social worker, however, assured Galeone’s mother that she did not have to worry, that she would take her “to see this doctor, and he will make your period come.”

The clear proposition of an abortion shocked Galeone’s mother, who said that she “would rather die first.”

But the social worker tried to guilt Rita into abortion by mentioning how her husband did not have “a steady job” and another child was irresponsible since they already had three children that they had difficulty feeding.

She then threatened Galeone’s mother with the prospect of losing the government benefits they relied on to survive, if she carried her unborn child to term.

“If you don’t cooperate, we just might take those two cards away from you. I’ll see you on Thursday,” Galeone’s mother recounted the social worker as telling her.

“Being the fourth child in the lineup, I was that ‘period,’” said Galeone. “And the two cards referred to by the social worker were the one that entitled the family to receive a large bag of dried beans every two weeks, and the other was for an occasional delivery of coal during the winter.”

Galeone’s mother later told her husband about the social worker’s threat to revoke their benefit cards, if she did not go through with the abortion.

Angelo, as Galeone’s mother recounted, did not say a word for a very long time, before exclaiming, “very well, let them! Let them have their cards back! The Lord will provide!”

Galeone said the revelation of how his mother saved his life made him stay awake all night long – something that would only happen twice in his life.

“I tried to fall asleep, but to no avail. For the first time in my life – on learning how close I had come to not seeing the light of day – I fully realized what a precious gift life is.”

Read the full story here.