By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, DC, January 25, 2007 ( – The fallout from the decision of new Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl to remain silent in the face of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s flagrant abuse of the Catholic Church continues.

On January 22, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette picked up on the story about statements by Human Life International Leader Fr. Tom Euteneuer and American Life League President Judie Brown criticizing Archbishop Wuerl for silence and inaction. (see the original coverage: see the story in the Post-Gazette here: )

As the March for Life was gearing up with Archbishop Wuerl playing a leading role, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the influential editor of First Things magazine wrote on the First Things site about the Pelosi situation. “When the aforementioned Nancy Pelosi orchestrated a four-day gala in Washington celebrating her familial, ethnic, and-very explicitly-Catholic identity, people were alert to what would be said by the new archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl,” wrote Fr. Neuhaus. “He said nothing. Part of the festivities was a Mass at Trinity College, a Catholic institution in Washington. 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 Church’s 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.”

“It is understandable,” concluded Neuhaus, “that Catholics and others have drawn the conclusion that,” for Archbishop Wuerl, “rejecting the Church’s teaching on the human dignity of the unborn child is not a big deal.” (see full comment by Neuhaus: )

Noted Catholic freelance writer and blogger Amy Welborn of the Open Book blog, wrote about Wuerl’s silence saying, “it is about playing and using Catholic identity as a political tool and not being called on it, especially when the one doing the playing uses her power to actively work against what the bishops of this country say is a priority of theirs. And frankly, if this self-aggrandizing, cynical spectacle is met only with silence, who can blame the rest of us, engaged in far less visible professions and efforts in this world, for shrugging and saying, ‘Huh. So that’s how it is? That’s what being a disciple means? Using the position we’ve achieved and the place that we’ve taken and either ignoring or actively working against the Church’s efforts? Well, Who knew? That’s easier than I thought!'” (see the blog here: )

Barbara Kralis, a Catholic freelance writer who has conducted several groundbreaking interviews with members of the US hierarchy on the question of communion for pro-abortion politicians, has in her latest column called for Catholics to write to the Pope about Archbishop Wuerl. “Do you agree that Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. should obediently enforce Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law as the Vatican has explicitly instructed all bishops to do? If you agree, would you be willing to write the Pope a letter, asking him not to appoint activist Archbishop Wuerl to the College of Cardinals? Then, perhaps, Archbishop Wuerl would become obedient to the Pope. Why reward a disobedient Archbishop who gives scandal to millions of faithful?,” writes Kralis. (see the column here: )

Strangely, it seems Archbishop Wuerl known full-well the damage that silence in the face of the atrocity of abortion can be. In his homily at the 7:30 am Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. on the day of the March for Life, Archbishop Wuerl addressed the issue of silence.

“Have you ever wondered how the great atrocities of history came to be?,” said Archbishop Wuerl addressing thousands gathered for the March. “How is it that there were concentration camps dedicated to the extermination of people? How could it be that slavery – the reduction of human beings to the status of property – was protected by law? How is it possible that the wholesale destruction of human life can be accepted by society? When we look at the magnitude of the evil we are dealing with, one wonders how such activities could be accepted by any people anywhere at any time.”

He continued, “Silence is the ally of atrocity. Sometimes the silence of individuals is compounded by the means of social communication. The full horror of what is taking place can be presented in a way that most people remain ignorant of what is really happening. Silence and ignorance are twin allies of atrocities.” (see his full homily here: )