The following, written by Father C. John McCloskey, comes from a Jan. 13 posting on the Truth and Charity Forum. Father McCloskey, chaplain at Princeton from 1985 to 1990, helped bring into the Church Bernard Nathanson, Lawrence Kudlow, Robert Novak, Judge Robert Bork, and Senator Sam Brownback.
Is the annual March for Life, held on the 22nd of January, worth the trouble? Is there really any reasonable hope of ever overturning Roe v. Wade, of ever stopping the court-sanctioned baby killing?
Since the Supreme Court legislated abortion on demand 41 years ago, after casting about for constitutional justification and settling on an unenunciated privacy right lurking in the penumbras of the Constitution, abortion has been present in every state in the union, breaching the unborn’s own uterine privacy in which to grow and develop on a trajectory towards birth. Nearly 50 million future citizens have been lawfully destroyed by this means in a country that has long signified to the world sanctuary from persecution and tyranny. What has become of the destiny of our country, a nation that Ronald Reagan loved to refer to as a “city on a hill”, drawing on a biblical image of Jerusalem that New England settlers also applied to their fledgling American colony?
Despite the horrors of 50 million sets of small body parts disposed of as trash, however, the answer to my opening question is yes, it is still worthwhile holding the yearly March for Life.
Below are some suggestions—in no particular order of likelihood or importance—of possible ways (some perhaps more likely than others!) in which the overturning of Roe and Doe could happen over time. Of course, as each day a fresh set of unborn lives are in jeopardy, the sooner legalized abortion is overturned in our country, the better!
- In addition to giant failures in other areas, the very excesses of our President in his thirst for ever-wider abortion rights could spell political disaster for his party. Talk about a zombie apocalypse! In any case, there is a real possibility that both the House and Senate could shift to Republican control. Now, Republican control in the past has not brought a reversal of Roe. However, despite the rumblings of discontent from moderate Republicans, the Republican Party may continue to be strongly influenced by the Tea Party, which (though primarily formed to counter Big Government and fiscal irresponsibility) has a considerable membership overlap with serious Christian conservatives, both Evangelicals and Catholics, for whom social issues such as abortion are also injustices crying out to be righted. Again, considering outcomes that are possible if not probable, we can even hope to elect a Catholic president who will have the opportunity to choose new Supreme Court justices willing to revisit Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and their unhappy progeny. Although we likely could not expect recognition of a constitutional right to life from conception, overturning Roe would at least return abortion to the states. Many of these states would then adjudicate or legislate their own bans on abortion and most of these might at least place greater restrictions on the right than the Supreme Court has thus far allowed (Please note that I am well aware of all the “ifs” in this scenario!)
- Shifting to the states: long live and grow the red states, which are still populated by serious Christians who vote their convictions in state elections for legislators and pro-life governors eager to limit and (if given the slightest opening) shut down abortion completely within their state boundaries. Of course, red state citizens seeking abortions retain the option of traveling to the nearest blue state; nonetheless, there is much hope in this area for at least regional decreases in abortions.
- Polls show a general decline for support for legal abortion, and markedly so with younger people, presaging, we can hope, both better legislative prospects down the road and more life-affirming individual choices even while abortion remains legal. Although laws tend to both influence what we think of as “right” behavior and deter us from illegal behavior through fear of the consequences, in the end we do need the conversion of minds and hearts on this subject in order to truly protect the unborn. Therefore, the shift in the poll numbers, particularly for the young, is a hopeful sign that this conversion to pro-life convictions is possible even four decades after abortion has been legalized—and that it is, in fact, happening.
- Of course, the annual March for Life itself is overwhelmingly populated by teens and young adults, who not only descend on Washington in droves, but also represent hundreds of thousands more back home. The March constitutes for them an eye-opening opportunity to see the potential power for change in their numbers and their youthful energy. In addition, participants are exposed to great and inspiring pro-life speakers in rallies and prayer vigils on the day before and the day of the March, as well as informational booths and displays set up by pro-life organizations from around the country. These show the rich gamut of pro-life activity, from political and educational activities to assisting women in crisis pregnancies or suffering post-abortion trauma to campus pro-life organizations, including support groups for pro-life law and medical students, etc.
- Let’s not forget that in the decades ahead, as couples continue to avoid births through contraceptive means (which in most cases are actually abortifacient means) and to abort children conceived by “accident,” those who welcome some or many children are likely to gain a greater share of the population and to vote their convictions, hopefully attracting others to our cause to overturn abortion through the ballot box.
- Then there is another possibility course of action, which, while ranking low in probability with the bookmakers, should not be ruled out: secession. I wrote about this elsewhere some years ago and stirred up no small amount of controversy. The red state/blue state dichotomy could—perhaps sooner than we might think—result in states opting to pull out of the union. My guess is that if that were to happen, the armed forces of the United States (who tend to be more conservative and religious than the general population) would be reluctant to exercise military force to stop seceding states. In addition, perhaps paradoxically, the generalized modern sense that we should not dictate personal lifestyle choices for others (although it coexists in many liberal minds with intolerance of traditional morality) may make blue states reluctant to impose continued membership in the United States on red states that choose to secede. On the other hand, given the United States’ status as a major superpower for the past century, for strategic reasons there may be more official resistance to secession than we might think. We pray the secession option does not happen, but ultimately the protection of innocent life trumps any tyrannical regime that cannot protect even the smallest of its future citizens.
- Let us also not forget what Mother Teresa said: “The ultimate fruit of abortion is Nuclear War!” Of course in God’s Providence, He may simply close the operation down and proceed to the General Judgment, where all persons will receive their deserved reward or punishment. Precisely because we know not the day or the hour, we can never rule out this possibility, although on the other hand we cannot claim an ability to definitively read the signs of the times. Over the centuries, history has shown us crowds of end-times enthusiasts prematurely pronouncing that the end is nigh. God’s patience clearly exceeds our own, since He has tolerated human wrongdoing even on an epic scale. His merciful response to millennia of misbehavior was to become Man as the baby Jesus, Our Savior, and Herod then did his unsuccessful best to kill his incarnate God. The Holy Innocents paid the price and were rewarded with Paradise. However, despite this massacre of the innocents, God did not intervene to end human history but went on to offer his Son for our redemption on Calvary, the “successful” deicide that Herod’s attempt presaged, and God has also borne with humanity through countless other periods of human misery and depravity. So although we list the End of the World as a possible outcome of our current situation, since it will someday come to pass, we know that we are highly unlikely to be correct in any specific attempt to pinpoint the time….
To read the entire posting, click here.
As someone who once convinced a woman not to have an abortion, I think Catholic efforts ought to focus on outreach to women with unplanned pregnancies rather than playing politics or fantasying about states succeeding. Oh… the “blue America” would include New England, NY, NJ and others in the east coast as well as all the west coast and “red America” would have AL, Mississippi, and LA etc. Texas would be the only economic powerhouse. Father would better use his time and talents organizing a nationwide “Anti-Planned parenthood” network of crisis centers.
You make an excellent point about crisis response, C&H. We need to be there before, during, and after for women who would otherwise just be used again. (God bless you for helping to save that baby…. and mother.)
That said, abortion is a favored tool/weapon of most politicians. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be used so often. And it is. So Father’s work is critical, too.
yep. well put. I’d like to add that we need to push Chasity before marriage, so we could reduce unplanned pregnancies. Also, let’s not forget that most of the Justices are Catholic and many in power are also……so having a “Catholic” at the helm does not seem to be the solution to saving babies……having a God fearing Christian who is also a FAITHFUL Catholic would be my prayer.
what a wonderful article from Fr McCloskey. i am saddened to see the dour comment from “C&H who seems to fail to recognize or at least express appreciation for the thoughtfulness and insight Father has put forth here. C&H, we are in this current situation because politics acted first through the Supreme Court at a time when american opinion was vastly pro-life and would never have voted for abortion rights…social engineering. When Dam breaks, you fix the dam as fast as you can or you will spend years sandbagging…. with crisis centers. I think Father is capable of treating all the ends of the issue and is in fact doing such.
“Hate comes from evil men who cannot stand the reproach of goodness because it makes demands upon them that they are unwilling to accept. The more intense the evil, the greater the fear of goodness. That is why Supreme Goodness is nailed to a cross.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Next to establishing a Catholic Confessional state, secession sounds great to me…let the gays, and their leftist allies non-procreate out of existence, the very basis of the Left is Lucifer…
Wow! Father McCloskey has stated all of the possibilities in a very erudite and clear way.
Possibility number 5 is, in my opinion the most likely. The future belongs to those who show up. In the next couple of generations the rabid left, hungry to offer the human sacrifice of aborted infants, will most likely abort and contracept themselves out of existence while those faithful to the timeless teachings of The Catholic Church will be fruitful and multiply thereby claiming the future.
Interesting comments from the good Father, especially those who have more children eventually gaining a greater share of the population in the coming decades. Good to have hope and see the big picture.
I thank and appreciate Fr.’s on his writing this paper. We need to ponder, reflect on the points mentioned. We are contemplating and thus productive in what we say and do as a consequence to positively reflect the Way, Truth and the Life. Good job, Fr.! Keep up the good work!
As a long time prolife writer, and a retired marketing executive I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that the pro-life movement suffers from an incoherent self-centeredness, and the lack of a centralized command! Can you imagine us winning World War II without a central command coordinating our many fields of battle?
The prolife movement must have a focused marketing plan; look at our disarray. Hundreds of pro-life groups work to save preborn life, yet we’re so disorganized, we suffer fragmentation, duplication, overlap, choir preaching, strategy conflicts, tactical differences, and yes, some of us even burdened by a measure of arrogance where humility should be the rule. Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote in his masterpiece, Transformation In Christ, “…Pride…demonstrates the paramount importance of humility…every virtue and every good deed turns worthless if pride creeps into it—which happens when we glory in our goodness.”
The deficiencies of the prolife movement waste millions of dollars and millions of labor hours, causing an enormous drain from our potential strength. By the sheer force of numbers we should have been far more successful than we are today; if prolife leaders were more willing to relinquish authority in a cooperative effort to merge forces, our power and influence would climb sharply. By being reluctant to yield power, and reluctant to admit our mistakes, we reduce our capability, and even our credibility. In marketing the first order of business is to measure our successes, and our failures, and then implement change if and where necessary.
David.. As a small business owner, your marketing model makes sense to me!
What I see is that our natural customer base isn’t polititions, judges or voters, but rather women and their families who are tempted to have abortion. It’s like we’re a small bunch of non connected mom-and-pop grocery stores (crisis centers) trying to compete against Safeway (Planned Parenthood) I know a few women who have had abortions. None of them wanted oit but felt they had no choice because of $$$$ or social pressure.
A lot of pro-life people are really turned off by “Big Pro-Life.” So, OK it’s their job and they make a good living. Once you are being paid to care, you lose all credibility. Grass roots doesn’t have that taint.
We as Catholics must never give up hope. By praying, fasting, and doing good deeds, hopefully we can stir up enough actual grace so that these evil and sinful laws can be overturned. God is good, and He hears the cry of the poor. Let us be steadfast in begging His mercy for the killing of the unborn.
Fr. Mc Closkey reminds us once again that there IS a difference between voting in Democrats vs. Republicans on the state by state level!
This is eminently forceful and terrific writing and reasoning; I’ve seldom encountered such great stuff anywhere. I concur in virtually everything that’s been posted in this article by Fr. McCloskey. But in particular, I’m especially intrigued by his remarks in # 7 above. I too have often ruminated about the possibility of God the Father sending the God-Man Jesus, foreclosing upon the apparently endless capacity of humankind to sin most egregiously to their own eventual detriment, bringing about Closing Time for the human race. For consider: since 1980, over 1 billion abortion murders have been committed world-wide. That means that approximately 700,000,000 souls who’ll NEVER BE BORN, because they were never generated through the actions of the 1 billion aborted. Yes, my guess is that the Holy Trinity might have some apprehension in letting the evil bloodletting continue unabated. For wouldn’t the loss of all these souls spur the Trinity on towards the General Judgement? Holy Mother of Jesus, please pray for us that we change our massively sinful ways. God Bless all, markrite