Caitrin, one of the friends of this blog, posted an excellent comment in the Communion to Pro-Life story. I post it below, together with my response. I invite comment upon my analysis of the situation.
Thanks for your help in exploring these arguments and suggestions.
Justin Trudeau seems to think that he can support abortions rights and call himself Catholic.
Fr. Tim, people hate pro-lifers. The church hierarchy is not too fond of pro-lifers or "conservative' catholics ( a descriptor I dislike because truly there is only orthodoxy or heterodoxy) either. So it is not surprising that politicians, who want people to like them, abjure church teaching. The liberal party has long ago become hostile to pro-life members.
To proclaim your pro-life beliefs is to instantly discredit yourself as a politician in this country.
My husband and I have attended the Life Chain for many years and have brought along our children from very young ages. Many years we have not even one priest in attendance. What are we to make of that? I was happy to see our Bishop attend in May but frankly, I think the pro-life community feels very abandoned by the church.
Fr. Tim Moyle said...
Caitrin: I fear that the answer to you question and comment is not entirely easy to understand, but I believe that there are two or three motivations that together explain the lack of reaction and support from clergy.
1. As priest, we are the instruments of God's mercy and forgiveness. We are the people to whom people confess such sins as abortion. We know that, with very few exceptions these people are not "bad" people - that they should not be defined as evil because of what they did. When we hear the anguished voice of a parent who brings to God their guilt over obtaining an abortion for their young daughter; when we watch them being torn apart by their love of their child, menaced by fears of a lost future coming into conflict with their faith, we feel immense compassion. We would be poor examples of the priesthood if we were not moved by these moments of brokenness.
As Bishop Fulton Sheen was known to often state: we as clergy of the Church are called to practice a ministry guided by the principle "mercy in truth". If we neglect either side of this important method, then sin prevails. Being priest demands of us fidelity to the teachings of the church and we must minister within all of the facets of her message. The prayerful skill that is needed is the be faithful with God's mercy and judgment.
2. Further to this, there are clergy who are sensitive to the vox populi, which in Canada seems to speak of support for the status quo. They do not want to be seen as "extreme" or "out of the mainstream" as they fear that this will result in the loss of many of the faithful who practice their faith. Think of this as the"water in the wine" school of thought: better to have lots of people hear some teaching than for fewer to hear all of it - a spiritual law of diminishing returns.
Again the error here is that if we continue to accommodate these secular drives (framed as they are as being manifestations of the "right to self-autonomy"), then soon we will find ourselves in a corner where no one will come to church because we stand for nothing.
3. Finally, I can also see the same political wisdom that Ted Kennedy followed throughout his career in the Senate (never bad to learn from one's opponent) of make compromises that bring you incrementally closer to your ultimate goal - kind of a "reverse" inculturation against the forces of secularism.
All of this being said, I understand as well that no matter what our tactics might be in bringing about a more just and moral society, we must be vocal and clear as to our ultimate goals - in this we have no choice - if we wish to be faithful to the voice of the the Successor to Peter and stand for LIFE!
Might I suggest the following: write to your Bishop and ask him to consider mandating participation of the local clergy at next years "Life Chain" (something that his "Council of Priests" could discuss). If he will state publicly that he himself will attend, as will the majority of the area clergy, this would serve to lift the profile of the Life arguments of the Church - for it would garner some notice in the local and Catholic press. This simple act of education and respectful request placed before your Ordinary can be presented as the laity bringing to the attention of their church a challenge to their faith, an approach that will most likely be warmly and positively received.
The pro-life community has indeed been left to fend on its own, with only token support from priests and bishops. But you have succeeded in keeping these important issues on the public agenda. Imagine what you could accomplish if you could unite your efforts with the witness of the clergy of the church. In dioceses where this has happened, it has served to stiffen the resolve of the Church and benefited the cause of life.
Google the news stories from various dioceses in North America. Put together a presentation package for the Bishop that he can bring to his Council of Priests. Help to bring the clergy into the fold by tuning your message to be heard amongst the clammer of daily ministry. You won't get them all... but you will get enough. That's all that Christ, our High Priest has promised, but that's all that we will need.
- American Papist Blog
- American Spectator
- Archbishop Tim Dolan's (NY) Blog
- Big Blue Wave
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC News Site)
- Catholic Dialogue Blog
- Catholic Education Resource Center
- Catholic Exchange
- Catholic Heritage Website (Ireland)
- Catholic Insight
- Catholic News Agency
- Catholic Online
- Catholic Sensibility
- Catholic, and Loving It
- CTV News Site
- Ethics and Public Policy Center
- First Things
- Fr. Raymond De Souza - National Post Columnist
- Fr. Raymond deSouza personal blog
- Freethroughthought blog (excellent site)
- Friar Rick's Webblog
- Get Religion.org
- Global TV News Site
- Holy Post - National Post Religious Blog
- Inside Catholic Blog
- New Advent
- Pave the Way Foundation
- Priests for Life Canada Website
- ProLife Blog
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Pembroke
- Rosary for the Bishops
- Salt & Light TV - Canadian Catholic Television Website
- Sandro Magister
- Sane Conservatism
- SoCon (social conservative)
- Sylvia's Website: Canadian Clergy Sex Abuse Cases
- The Catholic Register
- The Hermeneutic of Continuity
- The National Post: Canada's National Daily
- The New Jesuit Review
- The New York Times Website
- Vox Nova
- What Does Prayer Really Say - Priest bolg
- Whispers in the Loggia
- ► 2019 (731)
- ► 2018 (1328)
- ► 2017 (1711)
- ► 2016 (2020)
- ► 2015 (2204)
- ► 2014 (2437)
- ► 2013 (1381)
- ► 2012 (1527)
- ► 2011 (1437)
- ► 2010 (997)
- Excellent post on the issue of privacy vs security...
- Is it right to call the church 'evil' ?
- Bonne et heurese année (Happy New Year)
- Prayer for Priests
- The best and worst news stories of 2009
- What "Evangelical" really means
- ... and then there was one
- An absolute Christmas must see!! "White Christmas...
- A Merry Christmas Card for my friends & family
- Does Science provide evidence for the truths of fa...
- Great debate from National Post: Church stand of M...
- Archbishop Martin (Dublin) seems to get it!
- Applying business practices to faith ... and it wo...
- Vatican announcement
- There are happy priests!!!
- I've been challenged to make a statement about how...
- Bishops CAN have an effective voice IF they are wi...
- Bioethics source book for Catholics
- What will they think of next?
- British government intrusion into Jewish faith
- Looking for something good to read... or a last mi...
- Quebec used to be the most Catholic of Canadian Pr...
- Vatican official explains the difference between j...
- Human Rights Commission menaces Christian organiza...
- Just-War Tradition explained
- Balance is a hard thing to find in avoiding the Su...
- The Soviet Socialist Republic... of Massachusetts?...
- SoCon Blog posts insightful piece on the role of m...
- Population control and answer to climate change?
- Just how big is the universe?
- Remember the Club of Rome?
- Scriptural lesson on religious dialogue
- Parental rights disappearing in Germany
- The question of religious freedom throughout the w...
- The Great Consolidator
- The Catholicism Project
- CCCB (Canadian Bishops Conference) publishes sex a...
- American Babylon: Richard Neuhaus' final book rev...
- British legislation menaces Church right to choose...
- Different standards for Catholic vs Protestant cle...
- "The Final Call" starts a multi part investigation...
- Bishop Jim Wingle (St. Catherines) addresses Catho...
- How to define the "Catholic Identity" of higher sc...
- My dear friend and mentor - Fr. Richard Neuhaus (R...
- Holy Father hale and healthy!
- Please comment on the pro-life argument presented ...
- John Denver & the Muppets - nice song to quiet the...
- This is what I've been trying to say....
- Midnight Mass time change at Vatican: Is the Pope...
- If this is true... than thank you Your Excellency ...
- Drawing strength and inspiration from the witness ...
- New Jesuit Review
- Tiger Woods story
- Communion ban for politicians with vote pro-aborti...
- "Holy Post" Blog column
- Taken from some of the comments from this blog
- Vatican studies the use of the internet by priests...
- McLeans Magazine on the Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse ...
- Debate on Freedom of Religion as framed by the Swi...
- Science: the new religion of the modern age
- More strident voices challenges the role of faith ...
- My more feeble attempt to argue,.. "a la Neuhaus"...
- One of the BEST arguments for the role of religion...
- Cuban Church joins the Virtual World of the Blogos...
- Bishop Jim Wingle (St. Catherines) addresses Catho...
- An Irish priest responds to the Dublin abuse repor...
- I'm back
- ▼ December (67)