The Catholic Diocese Of Rochester And The Nazi Holocaust

There have been times when American citizens have argued vehemently with me because I have compared the Holocaust that occurred during World War II with the current war on the preborn occurring on our own soil. Many of us in the pro-life movement see a stark similarity not only because of the unbelievable horror of the manner in which innocent victims were and are brutally murdered but the fact that in each of the two cases the law protected the evils being perpetrated.

When we pro-lifers talk about America’s Holocaust, we have photographs and images equally as horrific as those from Hitler’s era. Still many argue that there really is no comparison. However, as researcher Steven Kellmeyer has pointed out,

The Holocaust grew out of scientific work and legal precedent begun in England…so legal abortion expresses today’s economic and psychological science, which assume economic and psychological harm to women will be reduced if their children are killed. The rhetoric used by the advocates of legal abortion against the child in the womb (a “disease,” “bacilli,” “parasites”) repeats the Nazi rhetoric against the Jews. Both German and U.S. courts stripped their victims of all rights prior to destroying them. In both cases, medical experimentation of living and dead victims grew as time went on and the number of deaths grew….

So when I became aware of a recent event in Rochester, New York, I thought about those arguments regarding the Holocaust and I concluded that there are deeper reasons for such arguments.
Rochester New York’s Democrat and Chronicle ran a report about a month ago entitled “Rochester community seeks more interfaith dialogue.” The main purpose of the news item was to focus attention on a Jewish-Christian program, “The Two Thousand Year Road to the Holocaust.”  The program marked a turning point in the cooperation occurring between Jewish organizations and interfaith organizations including the Catholic diocese of Rochester. Among those who currently participate in the program, designed to raise awareness about the Holocaust that occurred during World War II, are Catholic Deacon Thomas Driscoll, Deacon Anthony Sciolino and Morris Wortman, M.D., an abortionist.

Wortman’s medical bio states, “Dr. Morris Wortman at The Center for Menstrual Disorders and Reproductive Choice offers services such as endomyometrial resection, GYN services, and pregnancy termination.”

Dr. Wortman’s “Holocaust Road” bio states that he is a child of Holocaust survivors and the coordinator of The Holocaust Study Group.

Dr. Wortman’s professional background shocked me into wondering how he could possibly be involved on one level with a project designed to remind America of the horror of the German Holocaust, while at the same time participating in the American holocaust, which has, by far, robbed many more innocent people of their lives.

I further wondered how representatives of the Diocese of Rochester, New York, could possibly justify collaborating on a project with a man known to the community, not only as the child of Holocaust survivors, but as a doctor who makes his living killing innocent babies prior to birth.

The day that the Democrat and Chronicle’s article appeared, Eugene Michael of the Rochester Catholic took note of the same ironies. In a commentary entitled “DOR [Diocese of Rochester] Officials have Strange Bedfellows,” he wrote,

Today’s D&C has an article about yet another interfaith collaboration in the Rochester area. This latest one involved the presentation of a program called "The Two Thousand Year Road to the Holocaust." The presentation took place at Temple B’rith Kodesh in Brighton. There are several aspects of this presentation that bear examination.

First of all, the presentation was part of a series of talks that has been spearheaded by Morris Wortman, one of Rochester’s most prominent abortionists. Wortman is not exactly shy and retiring when it comes to his advocacy for abortion. He has come out publicly a number of times in support of taking the lives of the unborn. In fact, because he is such a notorious abortionist, there is a pro-life Rosary prayed every Friday in front of his clinic. His clinic is also the destination for the annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross in Reparation for Abortion.

What is especially galling about this latest interfaith gathering was the participation of two local Catholic deacons. Both Deacon Thomas Driscoll and Deacon Anthony Sciolino were presenters at this forum. Here is what Deacon Sciolino had to say about the event:

Something then went terribly wrong for Christianity during the Holocaust. And what resulted from the obvious disconnect between Christian belief and Christian behavior was the worst catastrophe in human history. Jews ponder the Holocaust and rightly ask: Where was God? Christians must to do the same and, in addition, ask: Where was the Church?

So, there you have it: an interfaith event, spearheaded by Rochester’s most prominent abortionist, at which one of the DOR’s deacons seems to blame Christianity and the Catholic Church for the Holocaust.

Many pro-life activists have characterized the taking of innocent life in the womb as the “abortion holocaust.” How unfortunate that these two deacons fail to see the irony of their collaboration with Dr. Wortman on this project.

Sadly, I agree with every word that Mr. Michael has written, but I also feel strongly that if Deacon Sciolino truly wants to understand the tragedy of the first Holocaust, he should become familiar with the full body of facts required to support a credible presentation. As a Catholic, it is hard for me to see how Sciolino could blame Christianity for anything at all when millions of Christians were murdered during the Nazi atrocities as well.

At the same time, it is in the paradox of the collaboration between the abortionist and the Catholic deacons that the answer to this unexplainable association occurs. Their joint project is designed to raise awareness about the ugliness of murdering innocent people while avoiding the obvious contradiction that is occurring in their midst.

Sciolino, by deferring attention away from Wortman’s everyday practice and focusing in on the disconnect between Christian belief and Christian behavior, probably feels comfortable working side by side with a man who perpetrates the very same crimes against innocents that he is exposing in a partnership focused on the German Holocaust. Perhaps this same therapy of denial provides a healing salve to the conscience of the abortionist who can look the other way when confronted with the reality of what he does every day as he begs America to learn from the lessons of history and remember those who died more than 50 years ago.

Obviously, there are deep-seated reasons why some do not want to compare the Holocaust of yesterday with the Holocaust of today.

“Strange bedfellows” indeed! If I had to ask questions about this Rochester, New York conundrum, it would be Bishop Matthew Clark, shepherd of the Catholics entrusted to his care, to whom I would go for answers. I would ask quite simply

Your Excellency,
How can it be that two of your ordained deacons are collaborating with an abortionist on a project dealing with the World War II Holocaust when the parallels between the German Holocaust and the American Holocaust are so vividly evident?

What good can be accomplished as long as a perpetrator of the current Holocaust is so publicly identified with your deacons?

What sort of a message does this send to the Catholics in your care, not to mention the entire community?

Sincerely awaiting your response, I am respectfully

Judie Brown, President
American Life League Inc.

Perhaps you have the same questions. Bishop Clark’s contact information is
Pastoral Center
Diocese of Rochester
1150 Buffalo Road
Rochester, New York 14624