The musings and meandering thoughts of a crotchety old man as he observes life in the world and in a small, rural town in South East Nebraska. My Pledge-Nulla dies sine linea-Not a day with out a line.
28 July 2022
Another Hypocritical Lecture from America Magazine
Everyone's favourite Jesuit, modernist rag, 'America' is at it again, doing its level best to undermine the pro-life witness of the Church.
Brace yourselves! Another “catholic” article in America Magazine. They’re really just dropping the façade as of late. I hope the next step is for bishops to start writing their own responses to this crud.
Editor’s note: This article is part of The Conversation with America Media, offering diverse perspectives on important and contested issues in the life of the church. Read other views on abortion and the reversal of Roe v. Wade, as well as news coverage of the topic, here.
Well, at least they used the small “c” in church.
My parents, though they were serious Catholics, never raised me to be an advisor to bishops. Nor, in my weirdest childhood fantasies about excruciating forms of martyrdom that might qualify me for heavenly glory, did I ever think about advising bishops. Nonetheless, here I go, with a second such venture in three months.
I’m sure we all would have lived without this info.
In May I warned on Commonweal’s website that unless the U.S. bishops were prepared to greet the anticipated Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion with a full-throated call for the protection of vulnerable women and families, the church’s voice would be “swallowed up by the harshest and most partisan reactions on either side of the debate.”
By harshest and most partisan reactions, you mean yours? For heaven’s sake, please tell me when the bishops and those mean ‘ol pro-lifers not been way ahead of you on this? The problem is, you’ve likely never researched. You just throw out holier than thou statements. Maybe you haven’t personally done anything for women and families so you haven’t chosen a group with which to work, so you don’t know how many there actually are out there. Feel free to join in. Not only have the bishops been saying this, but so have the multitude of pro-life groups. Did you gather up a semi full of things for those being detained at the border? No, that was Abby Johnson. Do you participate regularly in feeding the homeless? Nah, that’s the Missionaries of Charity who are there at the behest of the local bishop. Mother Teresa would have had a few choice words for you. Do you help women get food, clothing, shelter, and in to programs to help them and their baby? Have you ever been to a crisis pregnancy center? You know, the same ones who are being firebombed while you call pro-lifers extremists? Do you raise money for such centers? Oh, yeah, that would be the Knights of Columbus. It’s odd how those already doing things are excoriated for not doing every last thing for every last person when they’re doing their best, yet you and your ilk sit and pontificate because it either isn’t your agenda or goes quite against your agenda.
By and large, the bishops responded as I hoped. “Now is the time to begin the work of building a post-Roe America,” declared Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S.C.C.B.’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in a joint statement.
The bishops’ positive, socially progressive and conciliatory stances did not suit the major media’s script of exultation, outrage and confrontation.
How is being Catholic “socially progressive?” Charity has been the mission of the Church long before you came into this world. Nothing but the death of children and their mothers will suffice for the “major media.” WE. DON’T. CARE. What we do care about is when organizations that call themselves Catholic post “perspectives” which endanger the lives of woman via abortion and, say, the most recent lies told about ectopic and high-risk pregnancies.
They continued: “It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.” This message was linked to a previous comprehensive statement of reforms, “Standing with Moms in Need.” Many bishops around the country echoed these sentiments.
Well, thanks for at least acknowledging that. My guess is this is where my thanks ends because you’re about to suggest a grand “BUT!”
My impression is that the bishops’ statements did not receive the ink, airtime or pixels that they deserved. Perhaps the U.S.C.C.B. and diocesan public affairs personnel lack the necessary muscle, metabolism or media savvy to get their message out. More likely, the bishops’ positive, socially progressive and conciliatory stances did not suit the major media’s script of exultation, outrage and confrontation.”
Well, they are lapdogs of America Magazine aka All Things Dissent Magazine.
But now we are in phase two: the backlash. Every troubling, disturbing, infuriating and even lethal consequence of Dobbs, current or potential, is being spotlighted, and understandably so. Will women seeking abortions be clamped into handcuffs and thrown behind bars, including victims of rape or incest? Will women crossing state lines to obtain abortions be arrested? Will medications inducing abortions be barred from the mail, frozen embyos seized from fertility clinics, online data scoured for abortion seekers and the law stretched every which way to preserve fetal lives? There are anti-abortion crusaders calling for these measures, and militant abortion rights advocates poised to publicize them.
Yep, he literally started with “BUT.” Called it. You and your gruesome club who want to put forth all sorts of fantastical nightmare scenarios are the problem. Not us. In fact, your litany of fearmongering has only one correct and only one Catholic thing in it. Of course, we are calling for abortion pills to be barred from the mail. Ab-so-flippin’-lutely! Not only do they kill a child, they are also going to quite literally kill women. Really, sir, you might want to go to Planned Parenthood’s very own site and see the whoppers they tell there. And, unbelievably, these pills are already sold on-line after you fill out a simple medical questionnaire. That’s some great care for women right there! As I’ve said, this very magazine is been putting forth much of the fearmongering. For example (I know you’re not fond of giving them, but I am): https://onemadmom.foedus.co/america-mag-not-even-trying-to-look-pro-life-anymore/
If the bishops want their pastoral approach to remain the face of the pro-life cause, they must confront this reality directly. They must explicitly separate themselves and the church from these attitudes and initiatives. Unambiguous statements from a few leading prelates will suffice.
They must confront what reality? The reality that America Magazine trades in fearmongering? No thanks. Yes, there are hard situations, sad, but nobody’s talking about walking with these women through them. It’s simply “We must kill babies or women will die!” but it’s interesting how many more of these hard situations have appeared in recent weeks with no concrete evidence. Say, the 10-year-old who was raped and is pregnant? And how about the woman who was told to wait until her fallopian tube ruptured before treating her ectopic pregnancy? Both of these are dubious at best but well played by pro-abortion people. You certainly got some of the naïve. Next time you all hear these things and are tempted to believe them, ask why the doctors or hospitals are not mentioned. Mentioning them does not break HIPAA laws in the least, and I’d think people would want those names out there if these stories were real and they really cared about women.
I foresee objections—and corresponding reluctance. Haven’t these militant abortion opponents been allies in a long struggle against the cultural current? Don’t these activists share the Catholic teaching that human life begins at conception? Can they be criticized for hewing to a deductive logic about “homicide” and the “murder of children” if that logic has also been a staple of Catholic anti-abortion argument?
Can you just name names here? Or are you just going to continue on with mythological creatures? And since we’re dealing with the Catholic Church here, let’s narrow it down to all the Catholics who want women charged with homicide. And, sorry to disappoint you, but the doctor performing direct abortions is indeed murdering human beings. Do you not believe Church teaching in this area?
And wouldn’t it be better for the bishops to follow their own pastoral approach and refrain from criticizing others’? Won’t the abortion rights-friendly media greet any episcopal reproof of extremism in the pro-life movement as a victory, a split in pro-life ranks?
Wait, the man who is criticizing is telling bishops they can’t criticize. Hypocrisy for 1000, please, Alex. Really? The bishops are not supposed to speak out on the destruction of human life?! Make up your mind, because I’m pretty sure you’ve been cheering them on to reject gun violence and the death penalty, right? Again, why should we care what a pro-abortion media thinks? I mean, I realize that’s pretty much America Magazine right now, but are we really supposed to be that stupid.
To that last question, the answer can only be yes. And a good thing, too. There is a division in pro-life ranks, and if the media is eager to note it, so much the better.
You’re so cute, Peter. You actually have to be pro-life to be in the pro-life ranks. America Magazine doesn’t really fit that bill.
There are ways the bishops can say what needs to be said. They can acknowledge common ground with these righteous warriors while being unambiguous about their differences. They can advocate for legal protection for the unborn while recognizing explicitly that law and criminalization can only go so far toward eliminating abortion. They can speak for unborn lives without ignoring or denigrating desperate mothers. They can acknowledge the concerns of the vast middle of Americans whose views of abortion may be less than fully formulated but whose moral intuitions are repelled by anything resembling callousness or punitive cruelty toward women confronting crisis pregnancies.
Again, one who has ignored desperate mothers is really not the one to say anything about them. Also, you might want to spend a minute with some post-abortive mothers trying to make sure nobody else goes through that trauma. What Peter fails to realize is that the most vehement pro-life people in our country are often the ones who have lived the nightmare. You tell them how they’re denigrating women. Oh yeah, guess you already have.
I am uncomfortable writing this.
YOU SHOULD BE. Might just be your conscience talking to you.
For one thing, I am writing from the perspective of the bishops’ public teaching on abortion, which I do not agree with in all respects. I consider the concept of “moment of conception” biologically and morally inadequate, and I believe that the bishops overstate what can reasonably be done in a pluralistic society to legally prohibit abortion in early stages of pregnancy. On the other hand, I strongly affirm the church’s persistent defense of unborn human lives. I do not want that defense to be discredited by attitudes painfully contrary to Christian mercy and forgiveness.
Wait, you think it’s OK to draw some arbitrary line of your opinion on when life begins but you affirm the defense of unborn human lives? A serious question. How do you live with yourself?! Do you just like to ponder out loud without thinking of the ramifications? I don’t think you’re uncomfortable at all.
We are a very merciful and forgiving Church full of sinners. We just don’t believe killing a human being is a way to fix a bad situation. And, please, I hope you’re not spewing “trust the science” in any other areas because you don’t seem to trust it here.
I am also uncomfortable with the tendency of Catholics to put the burden of witnessing to the Gospel in public life on the bishops rather than taking up the task themselves.”
Uh, aren’t you describing yourself here? Somebody is not doing the work here but it’s not the pro-lifers.
In this case, however, there has been a phalanx of Catholic laypeople and clergy speaking out for a practical and charitable mobilization of opinion and resources, one capable of embracing a broad range of moral and political convictions, to reduce the number of abortions—and to make it a truly rare last resort in dire circumstances rather than a common feature of our culture’s view of sexuality, pregnancy and childbirth.
You’re actually spouting out the Democratic party talking points here. Safe. Legal. Rare. How did that work out for the over 60 million babies killed and countless mothers harmed? It didn’t. The Church has always had it right.
Such rank-and-file Catholics cannot speak for the church in a way bishops can. At this moment, making clear not only what the church stands for but what it does not stand for might be the most pro-life thing the bishops can do.
Yeah, the bishops should totally respond to “How many times have you beat your wife?” type silliness. Give me a break. You’ve said the bishops have spoken up (well at least 3/4 of them outside of Club Cupich), but you are still not happy simply because you want to put a false narrative in front of people once again. When are you and your buddies going to condemn those hurting women by firebombing the centers that offer true help? You’re missing the real extremists. People know what the Church stands for and that’s why the diabolic are attacking her left and right. The only people that will fall for the doomsday scenarios you put forth are those you have succeeded in scaring and, thus, you will be held accountable. The rest of the faithful? We’ll keep doing what we’ve always done and we don’t need the advice from someone who actually doesn’t believe in the teachings of the Church.