Trying to Have It Both Ways – The Catholic Clergy and Abortion

Last week, Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco informed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that he would deny her access to the sacraments as a result of her decades long support of taxpayer funded abortions on demand despite the unflagging opposition to abortion by the Church. That is an important element of Catholic theology. To deny someone the sacraments means that the person does not live in a state of grace and that their souls are at risk of being denied entry to Heaven after death. The archbishop had tried for some time to counsel Ms. Pelosi as to the errors of her thinking but she had rejected his counsel and eventually refused to accept his calls. (I have listened to the torturous explanations of Ms. Pelosi on a variety of issues where she is in conflict with the Catholic Church and eventually realized she is trying to explain that black is really white and the up is really down – it is gibberish by a fool.) For Ms. Pelosi, it is more important to be a liberal/progressive than it is to be a Catholic.

Ms. Pelosi also exploits the lack of candor of segments of the Catholic clergy, including Pope Francis, regarding their stance towards Catholic politicians who support taxpayer funded abortion on demand. They forthrightly condemn the act of abortion but not those who promote it. They, like Ms. Pelosi, hope to have it both ways and secure their standing as liberals first and Catholics second.

In the past, Pope Francis has stated that it is not for him to judge a politician who supports abortion on demand. He says that such politicians should be treated with compassion and in need of counseling. That all seems well and good except that isn’t what happens. These nominally Catholic politicians are not treated with the kind of neutrality implicit in the Pope’s argument. They are, in fact, elevated, lionized and honored. Former President John Kennedy (D) was a notorious and nearly daily philanderer and yet Cardinal Richard Cushing presided presided at his funeral. Cardinal Sean O’Malley presided at Sen. Ted Kennedy’s funeral despite Mr. Kennedy’s long and ardent support for taxpayer funded abortion on demand. Ms. Pelosi routinely is granted visits with a succession of popes and walks away with yet another rosary blessed by a pope which she proudly displays as proof of her good standing in the Church. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Il) has been routinely denied access to the sacraments by a succession of bishops in his hometown but permitted them by the Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago (who now criticizes new legislation banning abortions)

Of course, this laizzes-faire attitude toward politicians adopted by many members of the Church’s clergy and hierarchy is not applied universally. We only have to think back two years ago when Washington, DC, Cardinal Wilton Gregory raced to the microphones to condemn President Donald Trump (R) for using a “peaceful” demonstration at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral as a back drop for the filming of a commercial:

I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree,”

Of course this is the same Cardinal Gregory that while noting that Mr. Biden is at odds with the Church’s teaching on the both abortion and when life begins, refuses to condemn Mr. Biden. (And this is the same Mr. Biden who steadfastly supported the Hyde Amendment until he was told he had to go all in on taxpayer funded abortion on demand in order to be the Democrat nominee.) What a strange juxtaposition that Cardinal Gregory can be so upset with Mr. Trump for taking pictures and so non-judgmental towards Mr. Biden for denying the fundamental teachings of the Church and supporting the murder of the unborn just so he could be the Democrat nominee for president.

But it doesn’t end there. The ambivalence of many of the leaders of the Church is reflected in the attitudes of its parish clergy. For instance, for years in both Oregon and Arizona we have been praying for the end to abortion during a portion of the mass. On the Sunday following the leak of the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, that prayer in our parish in Arizona was missing and likewise the following Sundays. In its place we heard a prayer to the end of death row executions. At a point when you would have thought that the clergy in the Church would double down on its support for the pending opinion- but it did not. Was it the reality that Roe v. Wade would actually be overturned and that such an event would trigger anger and disdain among the progressives? Was it a desire to placate the progressives that took precedence over the teachings of the Church. Whatever the reason it was a pitiful display of cowardice.

For decades, the liberal/progressives of the Democrat Party have brow beat its members that support for taxpayer funded abortion on demand is the entry price for holding a statewide or national office. Such a stance ignores the significant number of Democrats who are members of a faith that opposes abortion. For them being a liberal is more important than being faithful to their religion. The same is true for many in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. For them, it is more important to be liberals than to be advocates of their religious tenets. The results are that they find a myriad of ways to avoid the conflict. They not only avoid their responsibilities as teachers and evangelists, but they criticize others in the Church who accept that responsibility.

And while it may be true that it is not ours to judge others, the corollary of that is that we not elevate those who have demonstrably violated the basic tenets of our religious beliefs. In the end, the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion on demand is irrefutable. Yet, despite that, many Catholic clergy and Catholic politicians demonstrate ambivalence in order to remain “acceptable” by the liberal/progressives of the Democrat Party.

And that should startle all of us because there is nothing in liberal orthodoxy that approves of the killing of a child.