In 1939, Judy Garland made popular a song about a musician who played only one note, ignoring the others which comprise harmony. Today, I think my fellow Catholics with intense zeal for the pro-life movement cause their singleness of purpose to cloud the true vision of the Church. Rather than a religion, many outsiders now view Catholicism as merely a massive anti-abortion organization.
Of our 165 Bishops, the 33 who oppose a pro-choice person of prominence setting foot on the grounds of a Catholic educational facility are remnants of a bigoted past. They merit our prayers. And for Catholics who would prefer to be governed only by those who are pro-life, regardless of their qualifications, may they continue to enjoy having their heads in the sand (and God save America!). Father Michael Place, chair of the International Federation of Catholic Health Institutions, wrote in a recent article, “A commitment to life does not replace the virtue of charity.”
Outside observers can be blinded by pro-life fanaticism in appreciating the Church’s deep concern in the secular society for problems such as the widening gap between the rich and poor, our mammoth prison population, the sick and homeless, lack of universal medical care, the neglected aged, environmental problems and need for improvement in education. Pope Benedict XVI is appealing to us to transform the world. His embrace of the need to protect human life encompasses many other needs, including the environment, provision of food and water for needy populations and new international structures to regulate financial markets and governments. He emphasized that a commitment to life does not replace the virtue of charity.
In the August 17-24 issue of America, in referring to the Pope’s call for action, an editorial asks, “Will American Catholics rise to the occasion, leading our fellow citizens to meet these challenges by taking new initiatives on behalf of the human family?”
Many of the staunch pro-life Catholics protested that Senator Kennedy had a public funeral. Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who, with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, presided at Senator Kennedy’s funeral stated, “There are those who objected, in some cases vociferously, to the Church’s providing a Catholic funeral for the Senator. In the strongest terms, I disagree with that position….We are people of faith and we believe in a loving and forgiving God from whom we seek mercy.”
Helen Alvare, one of the most outstanding pro-life jurists said, “We must show those who do not share our belief about life that we care about them….We will not change hearts by turning away from people in their time of need and when they are experiencing grief and loss…Jesus’ words to us were that we must love one another as He loves us.”
Within the Church, let pro-life activists broaden their area of concern and realize that one solo siren note can drown out the majestic symphony of Catholicism.
The Joyful Catholic Quiz
(Answers to last week’s quiz)
The winner of the gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics is Mildred Edwards in New Orleans who logged in at 7:32 AM on September 10.
1. Who is the shepherdess saint, born in 422, and is now the patroness of the city of Paris?
Joan of Arc
2. When a new pope is elected, who selects his name?
He selects his own new name.
3. Who was the fisherman apostle, brother of the fellow apostle John, and the first apostle to suffer martyrdom (beheaded by Herod
James the Greater
(A 12-year-old in the confessional)
“I know God loves everybody, but he never met my sister.
My mother is very religious. She goes to bingo every week.
Please say a prayer for our Little League team. We need God’s help, or another pitcher.”
My Favorite Priest
Father Bob Hayden, Pastor of St. William the Abbot in Seaford NY is indeed a man that cares for his parish flock 24/7. He has always placed his needs behind those of his parish and always with a kind word and a genuine smile. He has been an inspiration by his quick wit and keen intellect that a priest can be so many things to so many people in fulfilling God’s plan. He genuinely cares and that is why he is my favorite priest.”
This was submitted by: Thomas A. Hayden, Senior Vice President -Global Sales, The Affluent Traveler, Oyster Bay, New York