Too many Catholic bishops don’t really seem to care about ending abortion
March 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – My 15-year-old son recently received the Sacrament of Confirmation, which “gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ.” (Catechism 1303)
From his actions it appears that 15-year-old Nick Sandmann, from Covington Catholic, also made his Confirmation and used the wisdom and courage he gained, to defend himself from attacks made by the very bishop who would have confirmed him.
Unfortunately, in view of the extensive history of child abuse by Catholic clergy, Nick’s persecution by bishops and priests came as no surprise.
That he spent 16 hours on a bus, endured a racist mob, and stood his ground in the face of a threatening older man, all on account of his desire to witness to the lives of preborn children, did not resonate with those who persecuted him. They preferred to voice their intolerance of the high school student because of his red MAGA hat, never considering that Making America Great Again might require outlawing the brutal murders of the unborn. Like the hypocrites Jesus exposed as they prepared to stone the woman caught in adultery (John 8), President Trump denounced these self-righteous pundits as he strongly defended Nick Sandmann.
The arguments surrounding abortion center on two aspects. The first is that human life begins at fertilization. As a physician, I know that lying about this fact does not change its truth. The second is the belief, as Pope John Paul II stated in Evangelium Vitae, that all life has equal value, a view which is clearly not universally shared.
Abortion can be rationalized only under the pretense that human lives have different values.
It is a view in which the strong are positioned to decide the fate of the weak, one in which all totalitarian regimes operate. In 2014 in America, 926,200 surgical abortions were performed, 491,000 of which were for black and Hispanic (53% combined) mothers. Black lives, which arguably only matter outside the womb, were the most expendable, with an approximate 30% chance of being aborted, compared to a 10% chance for white children. (Servicemen in WW2 had a 0.86% chance of dying in combat.) In an objective analysis, a rich white Catholic woman who vigorously promotes a procedure that exterminates black children at 3 times the rate of white children should be deemed a racist. Yet liberal black leaders proudly stand with Nancy Pelosi, acting deeply offended by inconsequential old racist pictures, while supporting a procedure that brutally limits the US black population.
Saint John Paul II fully understood abortion stating in 1996, “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.” For many years I have been a single-issue voter because I love my country as it was founded. Pro-abortion politicians, who are willing to sacrifice human life for political gain, will apparently do anything to promote themselves, including the denial of medical care to a newborn struggling to survive after a botched abortion. During my medical residency, I delivered 100 babies. It is an emotionally intense few moments as the struggling newborn is quickly assessed by the medical team and resuscitated by all means necessary. In my life I have never met anyone of any faith or no faith, who could stand idly by as a newborn writhes in agony, dying a slow death. That is what makes Catholic Senators Durbin, Gillibrand, Kaine, Leahy, Reed, Cantwell, Markey, Menendez, Masto and Murray so extraordinary; they apparently can.
Watching our bishops lackluster attempt to fight abortion reminds me of an overwhelmed Notre Dame Football team down 30-3 in the fourth quarter. For much of the clergy, it appears, rationalizing that all life perhaps does not have equal value is much easier than working with the courage needed to protect all life equally. As a result, condemnation of the many Catholic politicians who consider abortion a fine solution for unwanted pregnancy is minimal, as Pope Francis illustrated by avoiding the topic, in his 50-minute 2015 address to both houses of Congress.
To place this in proper context, imagine 100 Catholic politicians proposing the annual murder of 926,200 illegal immigrant children as the solution for unwanted illegal immigration; or the extermination of all elderly in nursing homes as a solution to the unwanted budget deficit. Would Pope Francis and our bishops treat those 100 Catholic politicians in the same manner they treat Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and Mario Cuomo? Would a cardinal send out a spokesman to relate an inability to act and then claim that excommunication should occur only when there is no anger or frustration with the sinner, effectively washing his hands of the problem?
Further threatening the lives of the unborn, top Church leaders and many in the media have actively redefined the term "prolife," which is now understood to encompass every issue affecting humanity. Being against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is not prolife, littering is not prolife, wearing a MAGA hat is not prolife, etc. Deceptively equating the evil of abortion with anything else undermines the fight against it. The medical community performed similarly in 1965 when it unscientifically redefined conception to be implantation rather than fertilization, as a means to hide the anti-life effects of oral contraceptives. In both cases, words used to clarify the abortion argument have been effectively neutralized.
One of my lifetime blessings was to live and grow in faith under the leadership of St John Paul II. My oldest daughter was blessed by him as I held her outstretched in my arms at the basilica in Rome 17 years ago. For my 5 children aged 10 -20, it is Donald Trump, a sinner, with words sometimes sadly lacking in eloquence and charity, whose public actions nonetheless best demonstrate the leadership today’s Catholic youth need. Whether it is taking strong action to defend unborn children from racist practices, defending Catholic youth against unjust attacks from the Church itself, or having the courage to deal with the immorality of longstanding United States immigration policy, President Trump stands strongly and bravely in opposition to the totalitarian godless state. Much more than his policies, however, it is his willingness to fight unapologetically for the Christian principles upon which America was founded that explains why he is so vehemently hated and feared by the left and why young faithful Catholics like Nick wear red MAGA hats.
Frustratingly, rather than collaborate with Trump on important subjects of agreement like abortion and religious freedom, and at the same time have honest discussions on areas of disagreement like immigration, Pope Francis appears to prefer insulting Trump, questioning his Christianity and his prolife credentials, while signaling to US bishops that opposition to Trump is necessary for promotion. Meanwhile, to the abortion-thirsty and anti-green Communist Chinese government, Pope Francis has given the power to nominate Catholic bishops. I imagine American bishops would immediately find strength they claim they do not have if Trump were to be given the same power as President Xi Jinping.
In 2006 four liberal Supreme Court Justices, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, argued for a woman's right to abort their late term unborn children.
The specific procedure is described this way:
The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus. . . .“‘The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. “‘The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp. . . . He threw the baby in a pan.’” – Gonzales v. Carhart 2006
Since 1973 this, or equally brutal techniques like dismemberment or saline abortion, have been used to kill 60,000,000 American human beings, a fact many American Catholics seem comfortable with, despite the devastating effect it has had on the Church and the country. The only imaginable way in which this overwhelming evil can be considered of equal importance to any other issue affecting Americans, is if unborn lives have minimal value.
The fact that our Bishops seem very comfortable with self-limiting their ability to fight abortion suggests they have this belief. Religiously speaking, until our bishops begin using the power of excommunication, they are neither doing all they can to protect unborn lives, nor doing everything possible to save the souls of those who promote the murder of the unborn. Despite suggestions to the contrary, the Church not excommunicating Catholic pro-abortion politicians, is itself political, as bishops appear more concerned about offending liberal Catholics than they are about the damage these politicians do to the faith. Over the years, as the number of pro-abortion catholic politicians has grown exponentially, and their positions have become more barbaric, I have read hundreds of unmoving reasons why excommunication is inappropriate, while collecting convincing data on the 60,000,000 reasons why it should be done. Could our country become any more bloodthirsty? The disheartening truth is again that Catholics worldwide have lost the truth on human life and its value. Not until the Church stands courageously against abortion will it have the equal courage necessary to act decisively and end its abuse crisis.
Take it from a wound-care physician; the Catholic Church is deeply wounded. Accepting the murder of children complacently for so long has had a devastating impact, not only on the children but also for the faithful. As the hierarchy goes through the motions in dealing with abortion and the abuse crisis, evidence is lacking that the Church honestly values all lives equally. Healing will come only with asking the Lord for forgiveness and working like we sincerely and honestly and truthfully mean it when saying all life has equal value.
Peter Michael Bleyer, MD, is a Board Certified Family Practice Physician working as a wound care physician in Conway, South Carolina. He is a member of the Catholic Medical Association. He is a father of five and a US Navy retiree.