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 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
This letter was printed in the National Catholic Register November 4-10, 2001 under the title Catholic Leadership