At the same time, these events have confirmed the strength and courage required of those who not only wish to be identified as Catholic, but are also willing to step out in faith, go against the tide and actually make a difference for the Lord in this otherwise abysmal world of ours.
Today, for example, at a Philadelphia-area Catholic college, Cabrini by name, the annual Ivy Young Willis Award for Contributions to Public Affairs, will be bestowed on pro-abortion commentator Cokie Roberts.
In an effort to put the brakes on this award and hopefully stop it, the Cardinal Newman Society has issued a call to arms, pointing out to its activists nationwide, Cokie Roberts, a Roman Catholic, is a political commentator for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio.
In her syndicated column with husband Steve Roberts, she has espoused abortion rights and ridiculed pro-lifers as "extremists." The Robertses characterized the federal ban on partial-birth abortion as "off the track" and "cynical game-playing" by pro-life activists.
In an April 2007 segment for ABC News, she said that she found the Supreme Court decision upholding this ban on partial-birth abortion "offensive as a woman."
Roberts has also publicly attacked Pope Benedict XVI as "really lacking in the theological virtue of charity," "an extremely controversial choice" and "the most conservative voice of Catholicism."
Again, in a syndicated column with her husband, she argued that the authority of the Catholic bishops has been significantly weakened, in part because of the teaching on homosexuality and contraception. "It's as if they are asking to be ignored," she wrote.
Dr. Marie George, president of Cabrini College, has remained intransigent, or at least one gets that impression, since the announcement has not been withdrawn.
On the other hand, the Academy of Holy Angels, the Catholic high school from which Minnesota State Representative Paul Thissen graduated in 1985, will not be inducting him into the Academy's Hall of Fame.
When the school asked Thissen to withdraw his name from the nomination process and he refused, the school advised him that he would be stripped of the award. Their reason is that Thissen is an avid supporter of abortion. In a prepared statement, Academy President Jill Reilly explained its position:
"Mr. Thissen had an outstanding activities career at Holy Angels and has had much success beyond," the school's president, Jill Reilly, said in a prepared statement. "That being said, the nominating committee was not aware of Mr. Thissen's voting record in the Minnesota legislature regarding right-to-life issues. As a result of Mr. Thissen's public and professional position to actively support pro-choice issues, with regret, AHA has chosen not to include Mr. Thissen among this year's inductees."
On another front, we all heard the wonderful news yesterday that Senator Tom Daschle's nomination would not move forward because the senator had some unresolved tax problems. American Life League is celebrating his decision, not because he owed the IRS money, but because he has repeatedly flaunted his pro-abortion position, in defiance of Catholic doctrine, without humbling himself and seeking forgiveness for his support of killing the preborn.
You may recall my expressions of concern over the fact that the Catholic Health Association, early on when Daschle was nominated, made it clear that it supported his nomination regardless of his pro-abortion position. Of course, the CHA is not known for its stalwart defense of Catholic teaching anyway.
Let's not forget that recently it also attempted to assure Catholics that the Freedom of Choice Act, if enacted, would not affect Catholic hospitals! While CHA President Sister Carol Keehan's comments downplaying the effects of FOCA are of interest, it is even more important that we heed the words of those who have expressed concerns that contradict Keehan's assurances.
Upon seeing the report regarding CHA statements about FOCA in Catholic News Service, one of my pro-life activist colleagues e-mailed me these comments written by a priest from Fordham University:
“This is a self-fulfilling prophecy: the assurance that no Catholic hospital will be closed by the passage of FOCA must rely upon the willingness of the Catholic hierarchy to operate hospitals in accordance with its strictures: this would most certainly be Lynch's policy, while the Catholic Health Association, since ceasing to be the Catholic Hospital Association thirty years ago, has argued that Catholic hospitals are morally obliged to provide all the services which a secular clientele may wish: this on the postulate that a hospital's accepting funding from municipal, state and federal sources requires the secularization of its medical practice.
“Charles Curran and Richard McCormick, S.J. were the major advocates of this view in the 1970s: McCormick spoke for this dissent from the Catholic moral tradition then, and Curran has since made himself famous by taking up that advocacy. The arguments they relied upon then are the ones their successors rely upon now.”
Then there's the case of the 50 Catholic Democrats in the United States House of Representatives who took occasion recently, in a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, to give the Holy Father their interpretation of what he should have done and must do about the alleged position of Bishop Richard Williamson, of the Society of Pius X, regarding the Holocaust. Apparently Williamson, whose excommunication was recently lifted by the Vatican, has taken the ridiculous position that the Holocaust never happened!
Upon learning of this, these 50 Democrats told the Holy Father, “We understand that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has said that this issue is unrelated to the reinstatement of Bishop Williamson and that you do not share in his views. And we welcome your recent statement expressing ‘full and indisputable solidarity’ with the Jewish people.
“But this is too sensitive an issue to be handled without a direct repudiation of Bishop Williamson's views. As a spiritual leader and the head of the Catholic Church, we believe it is vital that you publicly state your unequivocal position on this matter so that it is clear where the Church stands on one of the most consequential events of the 20th century. To neglect to do so is to allow others to portray it as they wish and impede the progress made over so many years toward harmony and reconciliation.
The same 50 Catholic Democrats don't bat an eye over the abortion genocide of approximately 3,000-4,000 preborn children each and every day in America, and yet they are concerned with where others stand concerning belief in the Holocaust. I believe one would have to define that contradiction as a type of hypocrisy … at least I would!
And finally, in order to end on a positive note, I bring you our hero, Archbishop Raymond Burke, whose valiant defense of Christ in the Eucharist is unequaled in the current Catholic hierarchy. A special news interview with the archbishop made all of us at American Life League so grateful to God that the archbishop is who he is. Among his statements regarding the Eucharist and pro-abortion politicians, you will find the following:
“I think this argument [that this matter should be decided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] too is being used by people who don't want to confront the issue, this whole ‘wait 'til the Conference decides’...well the Conference has been discussing this since at least 2004. And nothing happens… Individual bishops and priests simply have to do their duty. They have to confront politicians, Catholic politicians, who are sinning gravely and publicly in this regard. And that's their duty.”
It is my hope that more and more Catholic pro-life Americans will begin to see the difference between what it means to live as a Catholic and to simply use Catholic identity as an excuse for slapping Christ in the face. It is my sincere hope that more and more Catholics and our fellow Christians will stand up and defend the truth, expose the double standards of pro-abortion Catholics and continually beg our bishops to do the same.