Dear Dr. Donohue:
We have great admiration for your defense of Catholicism and we pray that you’ll live a long and healthy life so that you can continue to fight for the Catholic Church.
This e-mail was prompted by what I read in the third paragraph of “From the President’s desk” in the January-February 2009 edition of the Catalyst in which you say, “So in fairness, it would not be accurate to say that most of those who are “pro-choice” are actually “pro-abortion.”
I’ve been trying to get of our pro-life leaders to realize that the term pro-choice has evolved to mean pro-abortion. It would be accurate today to say that everyone who is pro-choice is actually pro-abortion or in support of it. As you know, the past distinction was a subterfuge designed to mislead and confuse Catholics and others. It has now been exposed; the euphemism pro-choice has fully evolved to mean pro-abortion.
This definition is confirmed in my latest dictionary, the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, the Eleventh Edition. Page 989, pro-abortion (1972): favoring the legalization of abortion – Pro-abortionist. Page 990, pro-choice (1975): favoring the legalization of abortion – pro-Choicer. Both definitions are exactly the same!
I’m convinced that the steady use of pro-choice in place of pro-abortion is vital to the pro-life movement’s ability to clear away the confusion, and make headway in the war of words and concepts. The fact the bishops are afraid to use pro-choice is a monumental communications blunder, and a major reason so many pro-choice “Catholics” voted for politicians who were radical pro-abortionists.
I’m writing, and praying, that you mention this in the Catalyst. If you don’t agree that I have made my case well enough on such an important issue, will you please take a few minutes to read what I’ve written below; it will help to clarify my position.
By the way, I still wish the Catholic League was physically present here in the heart of anti-Catholic secularism; the Los Angeles diocese, the Orange County diocese, the Los Angeles Times, and Hollywood, all need to feel the powerful presence of your company. Thank you for your great work.
God Bless you, and our preborn citizens,
Charles N. Marrelli
Writers for Life
A CASE FOR USING “PRO-CHOICE”
Some pro-life leaders tell us not to use the pro-choice euphemism because it was contrived by the pro-abortionists, circa 1975, as a ploy to shift the abortion debate from the right to life of a preborn person, to a woman’s right to choose. Even so, why shouldn’t we take advantage of the fact that the meaning of pro-choice has slowly but surely evolved to mean pro-abortion. For pro-lifers to ignore the term would actually prolong and confirm the effectiveness intended by our adversaries, to confuse and deceive.
When pro-lifers chose to virtually ignore pro-choice as a potential tool for improving our educational process, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, took advantage of our miscalculation and, as you know, changed their name to NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Pro-choice will be universally accepted to mean pro-abortion when all pro-life groups finally embrace it, and conceptually envision its reality, and promote nationwide, that pro-choice really means pro-death!
The definition is confirmed in my latest dictionary, the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, 11th Edition. Page 989, pro-abortion (1972): favoring the legalization of abortion – Pro-abortionist. Page 990, pro-choice (1975): favoring the legalization of abortion – pro-Choicer. Both definitions are exactly the same!
But why don’t our bishops use pro-choice verbally or in writing? For decades, high-profile “Catholic” politicians have scandalized the Catholic Church by saying publicly they are pro-choice. Yet the bishops won’t respond to the specific language used? It has been my contention for decades that the bishops, as a body, are the primary reason for the confusion among the faithful on this foundational issue. For years, their leadership (there are exceptions), appeared to be paralyzed into a virtual toleration of abortion. In fact, through those years, some have actually supported its perpetuation by sending mixed messages to the laity and other Catholic institutions. The strongest action they could take today is to formally and courageously announce, in specific and unambiguous terms, that a Catholic cannot be pro-choice, and still be a Catholic!
Here is an example of how one fine writer used pro-choice. The June 14, 2004 issue of U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, page 8, John Leo did a fine job of making cogent arguments against abortion, he used pro-choice five times without quotes and the fifth time he says, “NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Organization for Women are surly the most radical abortion groups on the planet. Their positions, such as backing partial-birth abortion, go way beyond what the American people are prepared to support.” His use of pro-choice clearly defines it as radical killing, even to partial-birth, and his article convinces readers that pro-choice is pro-death. John Leo lets the abortion advocates and the media have their way on the use of the term but his tactic will force them to defend the pro-choice consequence. That has been my position for the last 15 years; it puts abortion advocates back on the defensive.
Here is a representative example of how “Catholics” use the fabricated distinction between pro-choice and pro-abortion in a way that helps pro-abortionists. The Orange County Register (with a purported larger readership in the county than the L.A. Times) printed the following letter. Please read it, and my response to the Register.
(Copy, “Who is ‘pro-abortion’?” June 22, 2004)
I am a Catholic and I feel my family and I represent the majority of Catholic families in Orange County. I read with great concern the letter, “Politicians’ souls at risk” [June 18]. I have yet to meet the group that represents people who are pro-abortion. I would like an opportunity to speak to them. There is a distinct difference between being “pro-choice” and “pro-abortion.” My religion has never endorsed candidates, given them a forum on religious broadcasts or selectively quoted from religious scripture to make political hay. Perhaps these conservative bishops should consider refusing communion to church members who support a war based on lies that has resulted in the death of more than 800 of our Country’s finest, and many civilians.
(Copy, my response to the Orange County Register, June 22, 2004)
The letter, “Who is ‘pro-abortion’?” (June 22, 2004), is an example of the failure of our Catholic bishops to effectively deliver to Orange County Catholics, the clear message in Catholic Church Doctrine that says you can’t be pro-choice and be Catholic. This serious omission on the part of church leaders is the major reason Catholic politicians and many Catholics embrace or tolerate the pro-choice agenda, which is nothing less than to be pro-abortion. This educational void supports pro-abortion advocates and perpetuates the abortion confusion. And the fact that Catholic politicians are not challenged in their pro-choice utterances only encourages them to hold their pro-choice views, and to continue the sacrifice of innocent life for political power.
Pro-choice is a euphemism for pro-abortion. It was contrived by abortion advocates to shift the debate from the humanity, and rights, of the new life in the womb, to the debate of women’s rights, to replace the imagery of the brutal extermination of an innocent human life to one of a woman’s struggle with a crisis pregnancy.
To be pro-choice is to be pro-abortion. The consequences are indistinguishable; they both accept and cooperate with the killing of our innocent unborn.
Charles N. Marrelli
Writers for Life
Out here in California, we had had to listen to Governors Wilson, Davis and now Schwarzenegger tell us repeatedly that they are not pro-abortion; they are pro-choice. This deceit works because the people do not have the necessary leadership to clear away the confusion. For example, the majority of Latinos believe abortion should be illegal, yet they vote for Loretta Sanchez, her sister, and other pro-choice “Catholic” politicians.
What we need out here is a jolt from the Holy Spirit to rejuvenate Catholic Church leaders, so that they will courageously inspire and educate the faithful and others. Their first act should be to deliver to every Catholic, in every parish, that clear and unambiguous message that says, a Catholic cannot be pro-choice, and still be Catholic!
Prayers for life,
Charles N. Marrelli
Writers for Life
E-mail to National Catholic Register on the 36th anniversary
of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. January 22, 2009
After reading the articles “Catholic Pro-Life Politics” and “Leon Panetta and Abortion” (1/18-24/2009) I realized that what I had come to believe about the Catholic Press was true; most of them have succumbed to religious correctness. Years of political correctness (censorship of language that may offend political sensibilities) in the secular press, has infected Catholic journalism with what can best be described as religious correctness (censorship of language that may offend religious sensibilities) and it has made Catholic editors and writers less significant as voices of clarity in the search for truth, and in the defense of Catholic doctrine.
What was the point of the Panetta article? The opening paragraph said the CIA will be headed by a pro-abortion-rights Catholic; that statement is an example of religious correctness. Leon Panetta excommunicated himself years ago! A serious Catholic writer could never refer to him as a Catholic. He has scandalized the Catholic Church for years by actively supporting the slaughter of our preborn children. This kind of writing obfuscates reality as it nurtures the pro-choice mindset and continues to confuse Catholics and others. Moreover, it revisits the blunders of the past. In August of 1995, The Tidings—the Los Angeles Diocesan paper reputed to be the oldest and largest in the country—ran a feature story, with a full front page color photo, and a large headline that read, A Catholic in the House, subtitled, Leon Panetta, The President’s Chief of Staff, Talks About Faith Issues. Panetta was extolled in three full pages as a Catholic in the White House, and the story included his statement, “government ought to allow families the room to make that (abortion) decision.”
That story in the Catholic press (there are many examples) severely damaged the political and religious views of many Catholics; it persists to this day, thanks again to the religiously correct Catholic press. It’s the kind writing I would expect to see in the anti-Catholic Los Angeles Times. When I read the 1995 story, I wrote a strong protest to The Tidings (and exchanged several letters with the editor, who has since been promoted) stating that by failing to challenge Panetta’s departure from a most foundational Catholic teaching, the diocesan newspaper cooperated with Panetta’s betrayal of innocent preborn life, and it compounded the scandal, and seriously damaged the Church’s credibility.
Panetta, outspoken and influential, should have been challenged by an authoritative voice! Instead he was given a “Catholic” platform from which to announce his disdain for Church teaching. There is no doubt that this abortion advocate (and The Tidings) affirmed to Catholics that they could be pro-choice and still be Catholic. Is it any wonder that today, so many years later, a majority of Catholics vote for pro-choice candidates?
Panetta influenced votes for abortion supporters from that day forward. Pro-choice politicians, who called themselves Catholic, were encouraged to continue in their defiance of the Church! And the Catholic press continues to ignore the fact that Panetta, and many other so-called Catholics, had stepped outside of the body of the Church. Would it be too religiously incorrect for the NCR to say that Panetta was ipso facto excommunicated and was no longer a Catholic, no matter what he calls himself? Shamefully, abortion endures in part because of “Catholic” complicity!
During that same period a national survey of Catholics revealed that 46 percent of active Catholics believed that ending partial-birth abortion should be a top priority, and 33 percent were actually opposed! Today’s statistics show Catholics have not learned much in those 14 years. 36 years of abortion on demand and the growth of pro-abortion political power in the recent election is undeniable evidence that Catholic journalism, as a whole, has failed the people.
Catholic journalism, by its very nature—its reason to exist—demands the constant search for the truth in this fight against the culture of death. But it seems that we can’t rely on them to attack the inherent contradiction of identifying an unrepentant, high-profile, pro-abortion politician as a Catholic. Who is going to identify the smoke of Satan that has entered our Church?
For the first 20 critical years after the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, 1973 to 1993, we did not have a body of Bishops for Life. Two decades without strong united Catholic leadership created a vacuum so great that Priests for Life virtually exploded into existence to fight for our preborn citizens. If the USCCB would regenerate into a body of Bishops for Life, in the same way as Priests for Life, and if they would charge into the front line of battle and declare, clearly and unambiguously, to the nation in general, and to Catholics in particular, that any Catholic who holds a pro-choice position, and is firmly unrepentant, that individual is no longer a Catholic. Only then will confusion begin to dissipate, attitudes will shift, clarity will surface, and minds and hearts will change. It is time to set the American Church back again solidly on the rock!
Prayers for our preborn citizens,
Charles N. Marrelli
Writers for Life
P.S. Below is my e-mail to the NCR that was printed in your Nov. 4-10, 01 issue. Too bad the Bishops didn’t take it to heart. More than seven years have passed, yet the abortion establishment grows stronger. Most of my letters and e-mails that I’ve written on abortion over the years will soon appear on my website, prolifedigest.com.
E-mail to National Catholic Register in response to an editorial on the heroic bravery of the persons who rushed into the two burning towers to save lives at the sacrifice of their own.
Your editorial, A Catholic Moment, is a telling and timely message that should be read and re-read. It is a lesson of understanding and recognition of what makes America great-the ordinary American who is willing to risk his life for the love of others.
Your editorial accompanies two front-page stories on the drive to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians. This irony generates in me a vision of another burning tower where innocent life is being consumed daily, and those flames have been raging for almost 30 years. This devastation of innocent unborn human life is also a great evil. So why does it continue to burn after so many years? The answer is we haven’t done enough.
You are right when you say lay Catholics need to follow the example of our newest American heroes. But, in my opinion, it’s more important now that our religious leaders follow their example. Yes, our religious leaders have tried to douse the flames of abortion by their pronouncements and activities, but if our country achieves greatness through the heroism of ordinary people, what does that fact demand of our leaders when abortion continues to consume millions of innocent lives?
If the American Bishops, as a body, were to excommunicate all Catholics who brazenly claim to be pro-abortion, they would counter years of mixed messages. We have, in effect, perpetuated confusion and conflict among Catholics, and have encouraged the pro-abortion politicians to continue their betrayal of the unborn (and the church) because they know they’ll still get elected. Isn’t that a gauntlet thrown down to the bishops?
The American Bishops have the power and the responsibility to excommunicate as prescribed by church law. This bold act would certainly get America’s attention and the media’s tendency to want to embarrass the Catholic Church would result in the widespread repetition of the message people need to hear. And the great majority will see it as a major effort to clarify and resolve the confusion. Catholics and others will understand and know in their hearts and minds, that they can’t be “pro-choice” and be Catholic! And then, if the Holy Spirit helps us spread that truth, we won’t have to listen to a “Catholic” politician like Governor Gray Davis say, as he did repeatedly during his election campaign that he was for a woman’s right to choose—a sentence he was careful not to finish so he could avoid the hideous imagery of a baby’s extermination.
When Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are reversed, we will admit our shame, but then society will look at today’s generation to search for a scapegoat, similar to the Pius XII fiasco, where shameless liars are trying to defame an historic figure. These scapegoat hunters, and society at large, will ask some serious questions. Did the American Catholic Church do enough? What action could they have taken to stop the barbarism sooner? And why didn’t they?
Charles N. Marrelli
Writers for Life