November 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In a letter reeking of liberal political opportunism while displaying barely a whiff of pastoral vision or care, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) head Cardinal Daniel DiNardo ignored the most crucial points about the murder of Jamie Schmidt last week at Catholic Supply store in Missouri.
While offering his condolences to Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis over the murder of a member of his diocese, DiNardo talked only about the need to curb gun violence, saying nothing about the circumstances of Mrs. Schmidt’s killing, and ignoring the heroic nature of her death which some have hailed as martyrdom to preserve sexual purity.
“This senseless attack is a painful reminder of how gun violence can tragically alter the lives of those so precious to us,” wrote Cardinal DiNardo. “The Bishops have continually expressed support for reducing gun violence as it reflects the church’s moral teaching on respect for human life at all stages. It is essential for us to be engaged in efforts that help build a culture of life.”
But as a lesson regarding building “a culture of life,” DiNardo failed to acknowledge that a culture of life is precisely what Jaime Schmidt laid down her life to protect and defend.
“The recent tragedy at Mercy Hospital in Chicago is further evidence of the devaluation of human life in our culture,” added the USCCB head.
Jamie Schmidt, killed because she resisted her attacker’s demands to commit a sexually immoral act, stands as a rebuke to “the devaluation of human life in our culture” of which Cardinal DiNardo speaks. She displayed for the entire world how much she valued the dignity of human life and the human person while at the same time illustrating how much contempt the forces of this world have for Church teaching on sexuality.
.@USCCB President Daniel Cardinal DiNardo reached out to @abp_carlson to express condolences to the Archdiocese of St. Louis for tragically losing one of its faithful: Jamie Schmidt, the victim of the tragedy at Catholic Supply on Monday afternoon. #CatholicSTL pic.twitter.com/2KUHgqcpeu
— Archdiocese of STL (@archstl) November 21, 2018
While the killer did indeed use a gun to threaten and commit murder, the underlying cause of the murder was sexual sin against three women, and the brilliant light beaming forth from the event is Jamie Schmidt’s heroic resistance.
Last week, writing for LifeSiteNews, Fr. Brian W. Harrison asked, Will this be the first American-born woman martyr?
A stocky, middle-aged man walked in and noted that only three people were in the store — all women. Two were store workers, one fiftyish, the other in her twenties, and the third was a customer who had just come in. After exchanging a few words, the man said he was going back to his car to get a credit card and would be right back to make a purchase. But when he re-entered, it was not a card, but a revolver that he had in his hand. He immediately herded the three terrified women back into a secluded corner of the store, and insisted that they submit to acts of sexual abuse.
Two of the distraught women complied at gunpoint with this brute’s demands. But then he came to his third victim, the would-be customer, who according to friends had probably come to purchase some materials for her Rosary-making apostolate. This was Jamie Schmidt, 53, a quiet mother of three who worked as a secretarial assistant at the St. Louis Community College in the western suburb of Wildwood, and was active in her parish church, St. Anthony of Padua at High Ridge in neighboring Jefferson County. There was nothing obviously extraordinary about this lady. But now she did something very extraordinary indeed. Having just been forced to witness in horror the sexual assault of the two women beside her, Mrs. Schmidt was ordered to submit to similar abuse.
But Mrs. Schmidt — shocked, defenseless, and with the barrel of a loaded gun pointed at her head — Just Said No.
With death staring her in the face, Jamie quietly refused to allow her purity, her personal dignity, and her marriage covenant to be outraged. She looked him straight in the eye and said, “In the name of God, I will not take my clothes off.” Enraged by this unexpected point-blank rejection of his demand, her assailant responded with a point-blank shot that felled her on the spot. The survivor who gave this testimony added that as Jamie lay there gravely wounded, she could be heard whispering the words of the Our Father. As soon as the man fled the store, a 911 call quickly brought an ambulance, and Jamie was sped to the nearest hospital. But she was pronounced dead later that evening; and again, according to one of her friends I spoke with at her funeral yesterday, the words of the Our Father were on the lips of this valiant woman at her dying breath.
Fr. Harrison continued:
This tale of indomitable resistance to demonic evil calls for deep reflection. Jamie Schmidt’s act of supreme courage and nobility, called forth immediately in a moment of sudden crisis, clearly did not come from nowhere. The action of grace had been evidently working quietly but deeply in the soul of this lady who had outward lived devoutly but unobtrusively, like any number of other good Catholics.
This is the deep reflection overlooked by Cardinal DiNardo in his letter.