Why abortion will end in America the moment Catholic bishops say it ends
October 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church doesn’t take partisan positions in elections. However, standing against evil isn’t a partisan position, it’s a primary duty. The Church has a duty—a moral obligation—to speak publicly and proclaim the truth about those who are attacking our culture, families, marriages, and the most vulnerable—babies in the womb. Religious duty only seems to be a political statement when evil is sponsored by a political party—but that just makes the situation more grave and urgent. The consequences of this battle are both temporal and eternal.
“The grave danger today is not religion in politics but politics in religion.” — Venerable Abp Fulton Sheen
The Democratic Party supports five non-negotiable intrinsic evils of abortion, homosexual "marriage", embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and human cloning in their platforms or through public policy. On page 32 of their 2020 National Platform, they promise to remove all Federal and State restrictions on abortion. Pages 82-83 lay out their plan to remove every impediment to tax-funding of abortion—domestic and international. Nancy Pelosi, a baptized Catholic who should be publicly excommunicated for her very public offenses against Catholic teaching on abortion and the sanctity of life, has promised to undo the Hyde Amendment in 2021 if Democrats gain power in this election. The Hyde Amendment is a decades-old bipartisan deal that currently limits Federal funding on abortion. Joe Biden made it clear in June that he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment. The Biden-Harris presidential ticket is one of the most radically pro-abortion in history even though Joe Biden is also Catholic.
What does someone have to do to receive a rebuke from the bishops?
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — sometimes attributed to Edmund Burke
Politicians are campaigning for a job, nothing more. Do not hire those who stand against the moral and religious values of the Church to make the laws we live under. The bishops should call them out in the model of our Lord Who decried the leadership of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matt 23). Although political from their perspective, this is a moral and religious duty. Is it wrong to name the political party in condemnation? Is that painting with too broad a brush? No one is saying “Democrats are evil.” Abortion is evil and it is a significant agenda item for the Democratic Party.
Catholics represent about 20% of the electorate overall—down 5% from just a few years ago. No politician should be able to advocate for intrinsic evil and expect Catholic votes—no politician can be elected without Catholic acquiescence in a national or state election. Yet, Catholics have split their vote down the middle for a number of election cycles. No one respects Catholic priorities because Catholics don’t stand for them, as a group. Unfortunately, most bishops have done next to nothing to correct this problem. Too many bishops waste political bandwidth explaining the priorities of the Church regarding immigration reform, publicly-funded healthcare, and climate change. The Church must speak as one about real and threatening evil to human life and dignity.
This situation, with its lights and shadows, ought to make us all fully aware that we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life’. We find ourselves not only ‘faced with’ but necessarily ‘in the midst of’ this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.” — Pope John Paul, II, “Evangelium Vitae”
In the month before the election, Pope Francis produced a 43,000 word letter that has already sown confusion among many faithful Catholics. Notably, it includes a forceful condemnation of the death penalty. This is an ecclesial October surprise that further muddies the waters for Catholics forming their consciences, especially Pope Francis’ recent attempt to change Church teaching regarding the death penalty. It’s important to note, though, that intrinsic evil is wrong at all times, in all situations, and in all ways. Abortion fits that definition. The death penalty does not. God Himself gave prescription for the death penalty for a number of offenses. God does not command us to commit evil. This is a false equivalency that speaks more to political bias than fidelity to truth.
There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.” — Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith and Dean of the College of Cardinals (before he was Pope Benedict XVI)
Scripture tells us there are four sins that cry out to God for vengeance: murder (Gen 4:10), sodomy (Gen 17:20-21), oppression of orphans and widows (Ex 2:23), and cheating laborers of their due (James 5:4). The first two are fundamentally in conflict with the moral law and always wrong no matter how they are conducted. There is no “right” way to do either of them. The latter two are subjects for public policy debates. No political party has a plank in their platform advocating for the oppression of orphans and widows or the cheating of laborers. These sins are only an issue in any election to the extent of conflicting perspectives on public policy. Those in the Church arguing for the “Seamless Garment” approach err in giving equal weight to all of these issues.
"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” — Thomas Jefferson
Dissenting bishops and priests say they need to maintain the Church’s tax-exempt status. How free is the Church when She considers Herself subject to the rules of government? The Church isn’t tax-exempt because of 501c3. She was tax-exempt from the beginning—before churches were added to the code in 1954. The Church is tax-exempt because She pre-dates the government and our Founding Fathers did not want to have government control of churches. It’s that simple. The 501c3 code is a primary example of the way government takes control… government says it is merely codifying an existing relationship and nothing will change. However, once codified, the government holds the threat to rescind the code. What should exist after the rescission is what existed for 200+ years before that… churches are still tax-exempt. That is not what the government says will happen, though, so the Church complies.
Churches were added to the 501c3 code as a tool of control and specifically to silence the Church and other non-profits. Sen. Lyndon Johnson did not like such organizations having a significant influence in shaping public policy. The direct result of this action is the Church has a greatly reduced influence in public life and intrinsic evil has become a staple of public policy. Churches do not have to apply for 501c3 qualification. Almost all qualifying organizations must fill out IRS Forms 990, 1023, and 1024. Churches are not required to file for qualification because they are considered covered by 501c3 automatically. Donations to churches are automatically tax-deductible. Churches have a mandatory exception to filing tax returns. IRS code automatically exempts churches from its requirements.
In short, the bishops of the Catholic Church are voluntarily silent… and misguided. It is not an endorsement of the GOP to point out the evil supported by the Democratic Party. Opposing the sponsors of evil seeking public office doesn’t compromise the authority of the Church. Authority has been compromised by their failure to do so. Will the GOP benefit from such condemnation in a two-party system? Yes. Should this potential benefit silence the bishops? No.
If I say to the wicked, you shall surely die—and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade the wicked from their evil conduct in order to save their lives—then they shall die for their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. – Ez 3:18
The Democrats have made it clear that their priority is preserving Roe v Wade through the Supreme Court. To that end, they oppose anyone proposed by a GOP president—even before the name has been released. When the name is released, it’s axiomatic that the nominee will be mercilessly vilified in Senate confirmation hearings and the Press. Kamala Harris even made issue of a nominee’s membership in the Knights of Columbus. If they take the Senate, they will prevent any more pro-life judges—and try to block faithful Catholic nominees. If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed prior to the election, Democrats have indicated they will pack the court with left-leaning justices to overcome a conservative tilt. That’s not how our system of government is supposed to work.
For their support of intrinsic evil, the Democrats should lose elections—and lose badly. Bishops should make support for evil the next “third-rail” of politics that no politician or party would ever dare touch again. It isn’t enough that abortion be narrowly defeated in its next Supreme Court challenge. The challenges will simply continue until the court is sympathetic again—or the Democrats pack the court with ideologues. The sponsors of the culture of death must know that the Church will stand against them as long as they promote abortion and other intrinsic evils. They must know this will doom any campaign. This is a lasting message to them and any other party seeking power. That is a pro-life legacy for generations.
“We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other? ... A nation that kills its children in the womb has lost its soul.” — St Mother Theresa
Unfortunately, the reality is that many bishops and priests are publicly giving support to the Democratic Party. While the Democrats vow in their national platform to cut every barrier to taxpayer funding of abortion, Bishop Stowe of Lexington, KY, called President Trump “anti-life”… because he’s selfish. Bishops have called for canonical penalties for those enforcing immigration laws under this administration. When President Trump advocated for religious liberty at the John Paul II Shrine, Archbishop Gregory called his visit “reprehensible.” Can there be any wonder at the confusion sown among the faithful?
Liberal Catholics don’t listen to conservative voices. They listen to the biased press and the lying politicians. In the absence of truth coming from the bishops, they are acting on those lies. They have been taught to believe that they should form their own consciences and the USCCB’s voting guide has been written vaguely enough to give cover to any position and rationale. Buried near the end of the guide is the statement, “Abortion, the deliberate killing of a human being before birth, is never morally acceptable and must always be opposed.” This should be in the front of the guide as the first hurdle any candidate or party must cross before soliciting Catholic votes. Readers should only go past page one for any political party not supporting abortion and other intrinsic evils. The Democratic Party is one of the greatest advocates for abortion outside of China and they should be opposed by Catholic voters according to the guide published by the bishops. It’s the truth! Bishops should teach it—or at least not silence those who do!
So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin. – James 4:1
Some bishops have spoken out—but none have done so directly. Many note the “pre-eminence” of the issues of life but then water down their statements with other priorities… to be balanced and nuanced. How many issues can be pre-eminent at the same time? Their words are carefully chosen to condemn the issue of abortion while making no mention of the sponsors of abortion. Bishops seem to be in competition with one another to see who can get closest to the full truth of the situation... without crossing that line. In a representative republic, it makes no sense to fight against policies rather than the champions of those policies.
The most direct statement so far was by Fr James Altman of the Diocese of La Crosse who made it very clear that being a Catholic is incompatible with being a Democrat. His message was endorsed by Bishop Strickland of Tyler, TX and “corrected” by his own bishop… for his tone. Despite his correction, Bishop Callahan noted the truth of Fr Altman’s statement. Is there another instance where a priest was publicly reprimanded for his tone in speaking the truth? Once a clear statement has been endorsed, is there any further barrier to an ecclesial proclamation of truth? Why stop there?
It’s good to have priests speaking out... but their views lack the level of authority that comes when a bishop speaks. When a bishop speaks from the authority of his See, then the Church will have spoken… and pray that bishop won’t speak alone. Abortion ends in America the moment the bishops say it ends. They have had the authority, the power, and the responsibility to end it for almost 50 years. There will be cries of “scandal!” when they speak. The real scandal is their silence until now.
What are the bishops waiting for? The enemy of life is right in front of them! Speak the truth and let Christ, Who is Truth personified, go forth in defense of His Bride, the Church!
Patrick Yanke is the author of Defeating the Culture of Death: the Pro-Life Vote