GUEST COLUMN
Conspiracy of Silence

May 2008By Joseph Klee

The Rev. Joseph Klee, who was ordained in 2001, is in residence at St. Mary of the Annunciation Church in Portsmouth, Ohio. He is chaplain for the Poor Clare Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of the St. Joseph Adoration Monastery in Portsmouth, and for the maximum-security Southern Ohio Correctional Facility and the Hispanic faith community in Scioto County.

While helping lead a bus trip to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life this January, I became all the more convinced of an unsettling phenomenon presently manifesting itself.

One of the more significant events marking the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. is the glorious Vigil Mass for Life, offered the evening preceding the March at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This year the Vigil Mass for Life was celebrated by nearly 50 bishops, hundreds of priests, and an even greater number of deacons and seminarians -- all imploring Heaven for an end to the Abortion Holocaust.

I've lost count of the number of times I've made the trip to Washington for the March, and am old enough to remember the very early days after Roe v. Wade was passed. What a totally different atmosphere existed in the Church then! A liturgical event like the Vigil Mass for Life in the early and mid-1970s would have been the epitome of political incorrectness in the Catholic Church. Rather, "mum's the word" was the general attitude of the Catholic clergy toward the then-burgeoning slaughter of the innocents. The Evil One needed the conspiracy of silence on behalf of the nation's priests and bishops in those difficult early years, as he was ensuring the enshrinement of abortion as the principal sacrament of the sexually decadent. Only a few "imprudent" elderly priests dared mention the a-word in homilies, and they were typically rewarded with banishment to the farthest corners of their respective dioceses for their subsequent priestly assignments. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a leading pioneer in the abortion industry in the early years, when asked how abortion became legal in the U.S., cited the "silence of the bishops and the priests" as the cause.

Today, however, as even the most spiritually imperceptive members of society note the great number of schools being closed, the record number of immigrants filling the population void created by the decimation of a generation, and other indicators of de-population, speaking against abortion is all the rage in ecclesiastical circles. Unfortunately, the last horse long ago escaped from the barn, and a concerted effort by many of the nation's bishops to close the barn doors is really no more than an exercise of "too little, too late." Surely, the graces called down from Heaven by the incense-suffused Vigil Mass for Life are tremendous, but meanwhile the diabolical entrenchment of baby-killing in American society is so deep that one wonders how it could ever be extricated.


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Back to May 2008 Issue

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These bishops are irritating me more and more with their trendy way of approaching problems. Always too little too late. Meanwhile the enemy spreads his errors lightening fast! Posted by: gespin3549
June 18, 2008 03:37 PM EDT
I think (hopefully) that we are at a crossroad in American Church history. The bishops have been challenged by the Pope in his recent visit. Cardinal Egan did speak out, after the fact, and admonished the former Mayor of NY for taking communion. The question is whether the rest of bishops will follow suit.
In a recent email, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League discussed a letter sent to him by Obama's catholic national advisory coucil in response to his suggestion that Obama resolve that group. He refered to the members as catholic dissidents. He does so because not one of the 26 former and current public policy holders in the group stand with the Catholic Church on all three major issues: abortion, embryonic stem cell research and school vouchers. The group's response is a well written letter that follows the mistaken idea "While abortion and other life issue~ are of fundamental concern, the bishops teach tbat particular issues must not be misused "as a way of dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity"" They refer to abortion as a profound moral issue not as "intrinisically evil" as the Church teaches. The list of signatores on the letter would be a good starting point for the Bishops to do their job. They must, it seems to me, begin to respond to the bad example of prominent politicians for starters regarding the pro-life issues and then move on to other issues such as the gay activist issues that are tearing at the fabric of American society. Their silence on these issues is deafening. Yes, it is a matter between the priest and the individual to council but after awhile, it becomes clear to everyone that these people stand before us, in public, as "catholic" yet do not act or stand up for Catholic teachings. Meanwhile the Church leaders,here in America, say nothing and continue to recognize them in cases where they happen to meet in public or public related events. In their own parishes, the priest's flock watches (apparently) while these dissident politicians take communion. This cannot continue to go unchallenged by the bishops. The bishops will find that their options to deal with this become less and the need for public confrontation will eventually be the only alternative.
Meanwhile other misguided catholics follow suit and continue to contribute to the decadence of American society and to the endangerment of their souls because the "Church" does nothing to clarify and teach. We should all pray for the Bishops that they find the words and means to heal this country and their flock.
Posted by: awunsch
May 09, 2008 03:49 PM EDT
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