THE MARCH IN THE COLD
Today in Washington, DC., tens of thousands of people of all ages have gathered once again to recall and regret the 1973 decisions of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. These decisions gave rise to the present situation of abortion-on-request which for forty-one years now has existed in this nation. Questions have arisen in the last ten months about Pope Francis’ position on abortion and I can find no better statement of the Holy Father on this important subject than this paragraph which is taken from his Apostolic Exhortation, the Joy of the Gospel:
213. Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.
214. Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations
In the intervening forty-plus years, the Pro-Life movement has kept the issue alive and the educative force of law which is usually present has been kept at bay. Successive presence in Washington in the midst of winter with regular travel disruptions due to the weather, the bitter cold and again this year deep snow has not stopped those committed to the protection of human life in the womb of the mother from making their presence felt.
I am especially proud of the large contingent of young people from our Catholic High Schools and our seminarians from both seminaries who are present in DC today for their courage and enthusiasm. I pray that they will travel safely home and thank them for their witness.
View more photos from our pilgrims by clicking here. Photos are being added to the album as they are received.
THE ABANDONED AND THE COLD
Last Friday, the TAMPA TRIBUNE kindly published an op-ed piece which I prepared on the matter of homelessness in Hillsborough county. Yesterday it was revealed that the county has made available an additional one million dollars in a grant to Metropolitan Ministries for additional assistance for the homeless. While I join with Metropolitan Ministries in welcoming this grant, there are two things which I feel I should note. The grant adds no additional housing units for the homeless and by the will of the recipient charity, it is used only for homeless families. That is all good, but the fact remains that there are still well over a thousand homeless on the streets of Tampa and elsewhere in the county tonight during this second visit of very cold weather. Someone is likely to die but nothing will be made of it by the media, the government or many people. On a cold night like we are having, driving by a homeless person under I-275 or I-4 in Tampa is like the priest and the Levite passing by the nearly lifeless body of the man robbed on the road to Jericho. All that I said about neglecting the largely abandoned in my op-ed piece remains in force and we should do all we can to stop and care for these children of God. If you wish to read my op-ed piece, simply click here.
Also among those whom society is paying scant attention to is the working poor. Two weeks ago Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami authored an op-ed piece which appeared in the FORT LAUDERDALE SUN SENTINEL. It addressed in very clear and very cogent terms the issue of income equality in our nation and the need for raising the minimum wage for those who earn insufficiently to sustain either their own lives or that of their families. It is a topic which I have wanted to address in this blog for a while given the discussion and debate which is taking place in the Congress on the issue and it also arises in my consciousness from the statements and remarks of Pope Francis on the subject. Raising the minimum wage is hardly a Marxist agenda. Archbishop Wenski’s perspective is very much worthy of your time and thought and can be accessed by clicking here.
COMING IN FROM THE SPIRITUAL COLD THROUGH THE EUCHARIST
Finally, shortly after lunch each day I check several of my favorite blogs. I have already mentioned my respect for whispersintheloggiablogspot.com because I believe that its author/editor Rocco Palma works very hard to cover the church in a fair, loving and respectful way. The other day he called my attention to another thoughtful source on the Church today written by Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter. In the past, every time I mention this journal I get about five angry comments from people excoriating me for reading and worse yet referencing this publication. Sad that there are such closed minds. I don’t agree with everything in the NCR and I doubt seriously if all of their staff would agree with everything I write from time to time, but I learn a lot from them and especially from Winters. Whispers referenced an article by Winters which made it possible for me to read one of the finest pieces of writing on the Eucharist by Michael Gerson which appeared first in Notre Dame magazine. Read it – it’s worth the time and effort and you can do so by clicking here. Even though it is harsh in its criticism of the Church, its episcopal management, its priorities, etc. it is so refreshingly affirming of the gift of the Eucharist today. So I am grateful to the triad of Palma, Winters, and Gerson for stirring my pride in the gift of Himself which Jesus left to us in the Eucharist. (p.s., I sometimes, maybe even often, do wish that all bishops not be painted with the same brush, but, oh well.)