Where Do We Go From Here?

January 2009

When the U.S. bishops convened their annual meeting in November 2008, one of the top agenda items was abortion in light of the recent election. Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued a brief, mostly to-the-point statement on behalf of his brother bishops in anticipation of the pro-abortion presidency of Barack Obama.

It appears that the bishops learned their lesson from last year's "Faithful Citizenship" debacle -- for the most part. Not a few bishops would still prefer to soft sell the Church's teaching against abortion: Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City, South Dakota, for example, warned that "a prophecy of denunciation quickly wears thin," and that it is preferable to be seen as "caring pastors." Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha likewise counseled against "being deliberately divisive now, or creating divisions by our actions." But where abortion is concerned, the battle lines have already been drawn.

Going against these equivocations, Cardinal George states plainly that "the fundamental good is life itself," that "abortion is a medical procedure that kills," and that Roe v. Wade was "bad law" that is in danger of being "enshrined in bad legislation" in the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). No hemming and hawing about weighing other, lesser concerns. Still, he couldn"t resist throwing a shout-out to those other, lesser concerns, saying of his brother bishops, "We want to continue our work for economic justice," and the "reform [of] laws around immigration," and "better education and adequate health care," blah, blah, blah. C'mon, Your Eminence, stick to the topic!

Cardinal George warns against interpreting the election as a "referendum on abortion." What, then, are we to make of the election of Obama, whom Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver has labeled "the most committed 'abortion-rights' presidential candidate of either majority party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973"? Obama is a co-sponsor of FOCA, which would codify Roe v. Wade as federal law, eliminate all state restrictions on abortion, and mandate taxpayer funding of abortion. Obama pledged in a 2007 address to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that "the first thing I will do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." As is well known, Obama's vice president is Joe Biden, a pro-abortion (Catholic) senator from Delaware.


You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.



New Oxford Notes: January 2009

Read our posting policy Add a comment
I don't know that I would conclude this election as a referendum on abortion. I think that abortion was not so important as the financial meltdown which was blamed on republicans since President Bush was the republican in office. The failure was for those who would consider themselves Catholic but yet voted for Obama. Those people knew that, as a devout Catholic, you could not vote for him. Perhaps they, with the help of those Bishops who chose the "soft approach" were able to rationalize social justice in place of abortion. How do you explain people like Mr. Kmiek (spell?), who supposedly was a pro-life supporter of some import, yet claimed that Obama was closer to catholic teaching than most pro-life candidates? He certainly has no excuse for ignorance of Church Teachings and the error of his position. It may be that many people feel that abortion is a loser issue at the federal level - not too different from the Bishops who want to soft pedal the abortion issue. In my church, abortion was never, to my knowledge, mentioned during the last election. Many catholic (pro choice supposed Catholic) who are prominent congressional members play the social justice over abortion game to suit their political gains. They are not, for the most part, chastized by the Bishops. This last election, finally, some of the better Bishops did take on that issue but it must be done unamimously if you want the weaker cathoics to finally seriously consider the issue and their spiritual life. The Church must find a way to get people to seriously consider religion and it's role in their and our country's life. It could start by a firm position by all the Bishops and some good homolies (spell?) from the pulpit each sunday - including taking on the separation of church and state myth. Posted by: awunsch
January 12, 2009 09:56 PM EST
The pre-election clarity of the messages from individual bishops such as Chaput, Wuerl, Niederauer (and some others), have been blurred by the half-baked, "make-nice" commentary from the collective bulk of the less courageous bishops. Their lack of leadership skill, inability for decisive action, and lame moral conviction flows down to the parish where “priests” make comments such as, “there are other equally important issues – health care, immigration, the war in Iraq . . . .” Thus, we have un-catechized “Catholics” who vote to destroy their own children in exchange for the false promise of improving their material comforts. Recently, our Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, an “ardent Catholic”, explained that the “stimulus package” must include “family planning” in order to reduce the number of mouths we must feed – thus relieving the stress on national resources. Is Satan himself at work here, or what? The time for our bishops to demonstrate leadership has come and gone. As a group they failed to rise to the occasion. Their idea of “The Church Militant” was a convoluted voter’s guide sent a week before the election. Collectively, they are in the same category of effectiveness as the U.S. Congress, and the United Nations Security Council – completely useless in a crisis! Obama just signed an executive order to enable U.S. Taxpayer dollars to be used to promote foreign abortions. The "Freedom of Choice Act" is next. How long will it be before God Himself drops the hammer on this nation? Posted by: SgtMajUSMCR
January 28, 2009 02:15 PM EST
SgtMajUSMCR, maybe the hammer has already dropped - albeit a soft, slow death blow. This administration is methodically moving toward a secular,(hostile to religion) socialist country with cute words that mask the real reason. Unless the people wise up quickly and put the republicans back in power in the congress, this is really going to get ugly. No one is going to hit us like a Pearl Harbor. It will come, one step at a time. It appears that our catholic flock will be one of the first to follow the leader over the bridge, falling for social justice, discouraging abortion (while funding it)and other similar fradulent initiatives. Along with the political correctness that has caused people to fail to understand the difference between appropriate discernment and discrimination, they will give up this great country without being aware of it. Posted by: awunsch
February 14, 2009 08:26 PM EST
"With the humiliating failures of the prolife cause"

I think that the above is the most irresponsible statement I've ever read on the pages of the NOR since it's inception. Where's the humiliation??? Where's the failure on the part of the cause???

The humiliation and failure resides on the side of the officials and politicians and clergy who fight against us!!

Please REFRAIN from qualifying the prolife cause as humiliated and a failure for you are not just qualifying the cause, but the individual fighters who stand at the forefront of the cause!!
Posted by: gespin3549
February 27, 2009 11:44 AM EST
Add a comment