Skip to comments.The Bishop and the Atheist
Posted on 04/06/2003 1:12:33 PM PDT by cpforlife.org
The Bishop and the Atheist
Fr. Frank Pavone's Bi-weekly Column
Priests for Life
Sun, 6 Apr 2003
Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento has something to say to pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic. So does Doris Gordon, an atheist and the founder of "Libertarians for Life."
On January 22, 2003, Bishop Weigand preached the following words:
"As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone - politician or otherwise - who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart."
He made explicit that fact that his words have direct application to Gray Davis, the Governor of California, who is pro-abortion and says he is Catholic. The bishop's homily made national news. And many of the faithful are saying It's about time.
Yet to speak this way is the duty of a bishop. More surprising to many is that an atheist would say the same. My friend, Doris Gordon, founded "Libertarians for Life" (www.L4L.org) and recently wrote an article, "A Libertarian Atheist Answers Pro-Choice Catholics." She issues this challenge:
"The Church holds that such children are human persons with rights, yet the "personally opposed" hold that it should be a woman's choice to destroy themIf there is a credible reason for such a position, what is it? Opposition to legal abortion cuts across the religious and political spectrum. I'm an atheist. I was born and raised Jewish. Catholicism had nothing to do with my coming to understand why abortion is a wrong, not a right, and why it should not be legal."
Both Bishop Weigand and Doris Gordon are calling for consistency. If one claims to be Catholic, he/she should accept the teachings of Catholicism. It's as simple as that. Holy Communion, moreover, reinforces the need for consistency. Communion means "union with." To receive Communion is not magic. It is, rather, the summit and source of all our efforts to think, desire, choose, and live in union with Jesus Christ. When one knows the definitive teaching of Jesus as expressed in the Church, and deliberately refuses to accept it, he/she rejects "communion" at that moment. It no longer makes sense to receive physically the One whom you have rejected by clinging to your own conflicting doctrine.
Moreover, both the bishop and the atheist are saying that abortion is wrong not because the Church says so, but because of what abortion is. The taking of a child's life is simply not a civilized act. Nor is stealing. The Church teaches against stealing, but we don't hear people complain that laws against stealing are an imposition of religious doctrine. They realize that stealing does not only violate religious doctrine; it violates basic human rights. So does abortion. That truth isn't so hard to understand. But if we forget, then fortunately, we have both bishops and atheists to help us.
You might also ask where the church was during the Holocaust in Europe.
According to Rabbi Pinchas Lapide, former Israeli ambassador to Italy, the answer is that the Church was saving between 700,000 and 860,000 Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis. Archbishop Roncalli, who, as papal nuncio in Istanbul, saved thousands of Jews himself, said, when thanked for his work, "Don't thank me; thank the Pope. It was all done on his orders."
Incidentally, between 3 and 5 million Catholics died in the Holocaust. There were hundreds of priests (and other clergymen) imprisoned in Dachau alone.
But on to other matters. When the libertarian community concedes the moral imperative to protect the unborn child against aggression, including maternal aggression, it will become consistent with its own ethic. As Andrew Melechinsky liked to say, the most beautiful thing about libertarianism is how pro-life it is... in every other way. Doris Gordon has grasped that. May her influence increase!
There may be limits on our ability to enforce laws against abortion, which must be respected. We'll have to fight about the legal definition of protected human life for a while. But the result should be a regime in which at least those unborn who are presumedly capable of surviving outside the womb may not legally be killed by anyone. We can take it from there.
Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit the Palace Of Reason:
The record of the bishops of the U.S. during the abortion holocaust of the last 33 years is much WORSE than the record of the Catholic Church in Europe sixty years ago.
Yes. You hit "a raw nerve." It bothers me when ignorant, bigoted, hateful people repeat the lie that Pius XII did little or nothing about the killing of Jews. Call that a raw nerve if you like. Do you go around asking Jews if they eat Matzohs made from the blood of Gentile babies at Passover, and then attribute their reaction to "a raw nerve"?
Most likely, having had one (or participated).
Excellent comments. Thanks so much for posting this.
No, that's not me. You must be thinking of another bigot with the last name of Cracker.
No, I would never say that to a Jew. I have too much respect for the suffering the Jewish people have gone through. How about you?
Still waiting for your reply, Cracker.
After the Pope's 'Liturgy of Forgiveness', Holocaust survivor and Israel's Ashkenazi chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau said that he "welcomed the popes words", but said "the church should apologize for the actions of Pope Pius XII during World War II, which many Jews feel were inadequate."
Catholic hands may have been lifted in an effort to help, but many older Jews evidently do not feel it was enough to expunge the guilt. And that's Old Cracker to you, Leroy.
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