As a Catholic pro-life leader, I am frequently overwhelmed by the macabre nature of the news I read, especially when for one reason or another, we at American Life League become part of that news. The recent debacle in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia is but one example of this type of chilling situation.
You remember the story and you know that a preborn baby was killed by an act of abortion that was facilitated by a Catholic agency! I need not recall the details
, but I will tell you the fascinating turn the case has taken. The situation simply boggles my mind.
When our staff began issuing statements and calling the media about this case, the response was remarkable. The only problem appeared to be the hesitancy on the part of the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney, Michael N. Herring, to carry out an investigation. He told the Washington Times
he did not intend to pursue the question. Later in the day, however, he told a Richmond newspaper that he would be carrying out an investigation
He explained that he would try to determine whether the person who signed the consent form allowing the teen’s abortion "had the authority to do so."
While that is all well and good, it will not resolve the most compelling question of all, which is why the baby died when at least two diocesan officials with authority knew in advance that the abortion was scheduled, yet did not act to stop the killing. And that is the most troublesome aspect of this case, in my opinion.
It is also the one question that may never be answered.
But just when you think things are getting bad in America, you read a commentary from Britain and have to make sure you are still on planet earth! In England and Wales, according to a report
from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Child (SPUC) in Britain, Catholic officials are cooperating in providing abortion and birth control to minors. Yes, here is what John Smeaton, the SPUC's director, has written:
Nowadays in Britain and elsewhere, the Government is "imposing" the use of birth control, including abortion, on families; and the Catholic Church authorities in England and Wales are co-operating with the government in imposing it in England - by welcoming into its schools Connexions, whose job it is to make abortion and contraception available to children, without parental knowledge or consent, a point I made last year in an interview with Zenit.
As a father and a grandfather and as a Catholic I can say, without reservation, this is the worst thing that's happened since I got involved in the pro-life fight 34 years ago. By what right do Government and Church authorities rob parents of their God-given right to protect their children from such grave moral harm and from such serious risks to their health? By what right do they rob parents of the right to protect their grandchildren from being aborted?
And I would add, by what right do Catholic officials in America – or anywhere for that matter – have the authority to cover up an act that resulted in the death of a preborn baby when that death was directly associated with the diocese itself?
Is this so commonplace that none of us are supposed to be shocked any longer?
Should we stop contacting the media and stop writing letters to Commonwealth's Attorneys to investigate and simply pretend that there was nothing anybody could do to stop the crime?
And yes, as with every abortion, the abortion done on the 16-year-old girl from Guatemala was a crime – a crime against God’s law.
What if Bishop DiLorenzo had been told that a mother was going to kill her three-year-old at noon on Friday, and there was nothing he could do?
What is the difference?
John Smeaton reminded us in his blog that Pope Paul VI was a prophet when he wrote Humanae Vitae, particularly what he wrote in section 17
about the problems that could occur if government were given the power to distribute birth control:
…a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be more efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.
Indeed! But who could have imagined a time when prelates of the Catholic Church would cooperate in such evil? What is it that has laid the foundation for such actions?
It has often been said that silence is golden, but recent events have taught me that silence is also deadly. We have a duty to defend truth, regardless of who has ignored it.