By Kathleen Gilbert

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas, April 21, 2009 ( – Bishop Robert Finn of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph issued a powerful call to action to pro-lifers at the 2009 Gospel of Life Convention on Saturday.  In his speech, Finn heavily criticized pro-abortion Catholic politicians who claim a “personal opposition” to abortion, stating that such persons are “warriors of death” who “have abandoned their place in the citizenship of the Church.”

“As I speak a word of encouragement today I also want to tell you soberly, dear friends, ‘We are at war!’” began Finn, who said that today’s issues bring “an intensity and urgency to our efforts that may rival any time in the past.”

The bishop warned that an empty version of the rhetoric of “tolerance” can come from people of all backgrounds, including Christians and Catholics: “The ‘battle between believers,’ who claim a certain ‘common ground’ with us, while at the same time, they attack the most fundamental tenets of the Church’s teachings, or disavow the natural law – this opposition is one of the most discouraging, confusing, and dangerous,” he said.

“Occasionally we still hear an elected official speak of his or her personal opposition to abortion, while they support the legal right to an abortion,” he continued.

“We should be very clear: Such a person places him or herself completely OUTSIDE the moral framework, the moral imperative of Evangelium Vitae and other Church teaching on these issues. … They have abandoned their place in the citizenship of the Church. Quite simply they have become warriors for death rather than life.

“If you and I support such a person who has so flatly told us of their intentions to protect a fraudulent Right to Death, a Right to an Abortion, we make ourselves participants in their attack on life,” said Finn.

Touching on the Notre Dame scandal, Finn said the school’s decision to honor Obama at this year’s commencement was “scandalous, discouraging and confusing to many Catholics” and he conjectured that “Fr. Jenkins will probably lose his job.” 

Finn suggested that Jenkins should disinvite the President and give the honorary degree to Bishop John D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, “who has supported and tried to guide the University, despite their too frequent waywardness, faithfully for 25 years.”

Finn urged the crowd to never get used to the “constant magnitude” of abortion. 

“Thousands of human lives every day: If we keep saying this – first of all – some people will get very upset with us,” said the Bishop. “They will want us to stop. They may quote other statistics about the tragedies of poverty and war. We must truly share their horror at these things too. However, in the end the measure of our society is in how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst.”

On the role of bishops in the abortion debate, Finn noted the spontaneous standing ovation received by New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan at his installation Mass when he mentioned the sanctity of unborn life. 

Finn said the reaction revealed the Catholic community’s desire for leadership on the issue.

“This is NOT partisan politics on the part of bishops or their flock,” he said.  “This is zeal for life, pure and powerful.  This is care for truth, and attention to the salvation of souls. It cannot and must not be neglected, even if it means we might get scolded at times by those who want us to speak less.

“We bishops should note it carefully – how our people are starving for more leadership – more unanimity – more courage in this regard.”

Bishop Finn urged diligence in the effort to promote the culture of life, one that must not slacken even as others “push back” and try to silence the message. 

“As bishop I have a weighty responsibility to tell you this over and over again,” said Finn.  “This obligation is not always easy, and constantly I am tempted to say and do less, rather than more. Almost every day I am confronted with the persuasion of other people who want me to be silent. But – with God’s grace – you and I will not be silent.”

(To read the entirety of Bishop Finn’s keynote address, go to: