Two years ago tomorrow, Bishop Knestout issued a decree prohibiting me from preaching and celebrating the sacraments publicly.
He did this to punish me for blowing the whistle on the long-term cover-up of Theodore McCarrick’s crimes. Shortly before then, I had given a homily about the Gospel of Life, the end of Roe v. Wade, and the coronavirus.
Bishop Knestout’s decree prohibiting my giving sermons remains in effect, and I obey it.
As Providence would have it, though, I actually gave a good number of sermons about the end of Roe v. Wade, prior to May 5, 2020.
I share the links with you, dear reader, with some quoted passages. Perhaps you will find the texts helpful now.
1. July 4, 2018: 45-Year Dream Come True.
That Independence-Day Sunday, I anticipated the event that appears to be imminent now, the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
…Now, suddenly, in the summer of 2018, we find ourselves at a point in our history when we can reasonably hope that this will change. With a new justice, the Supreme Court likely will abandon its claim to govern the country when it comes to abortion…
We Catholics are pro-life. As Pope St. John Paul II explained to us, we simply cannot accept the idea of elective abortion. Accepting it would mean betraying the most central realities of our Christian faith.
That said, we also love, and sympathize with, all mothers who find themselves in situations which might tempt them to seek abortions. The culture of death, the throwaway culture—it poisons many minds, with its hopeless, dark fear of the future. We Catholic Americans fight the culture of death in our country not with anger and judgment, but with love.
Roe v. Wade accorded a “right” to abortion that does not exist. The irony is: this actually short-changed pregnant women of the rights they do, in fact, possess.
Every pregnant woman has the right to love and support, without being judged. Every pregnant woman has the right to the best healthcare available for her and her baby. Every pregnant woman deserves our friendship, our advocacy, our help.
…We know that plenty of people fear what will happen when an abortion case reaches the Supreme Court with a pro-life majority and the whole legal situation changes.
Let’s sympathize with that fear. Let’s acknowledge that something has to fill the vacuum that Roe v. Wade will no longer fill. Something has to occupy the psychological space that the abortion industry has occupied in these last, lawless 45 years.
Let’s pledge ourselves: We American Catholics will fill that space with our Christian love. When the tropical storm that is Roe v. Wade finally blows out to sea, away from these shores, and the sun comes back out again: We will stand there with acceptance, support, and tender loving care for every pregnant woman.
2. May 17, 2019: Pro-Life Turning Point
We can hardly hope that the Supreme Court would ever turn Roe v. Wade completely on its head and make abortion illegal in all fifty states. Rather, it seems like we’re headed towards: red-state/blue-state regional variations in abortion law.
Which means, of course, that here in purple Virginia we will have the pro-life fight of a lifetime on our hands…
Do we want to ‘impose our religion’ on others? Well, did the slavery abolitionists of two centuries ago intend to ‘impose their religion?’ Plenty of people said that they did, including US President and native Virginian John Tyler…
Maybe some people call themselves ‘pro-life’ out of sexism or prudishness. If so, that doesn’t mean that innocent and defenseless unborn children should face death with no legal protection, just because some of their advocates have imperfect motives.
No one thinks that the slaves in the South should have stayed slaves because some northern abolitionists were hypocrites, or because Abraham Lincoln himself had confused, and not altogether humane, ideas about blacks.
Why are we pro-life? Do we have a ‘religious conviction’ that life begins at conception? Actually, we have airtight scientific evidence that it does.
Whatever happens in the statehouses and courts, we have a clear mission. Serenely to love every human being. We do that out of religious conviction. That’s our way of ‘imposing’ our religion—loving our neighbors selflessly, unconditionally, and generously.
3. June 22, 2018: The Place Where Abortion is Illegal.
This is actually not a sermon but an analysis of a magazine article about “accompanying” pregnant women. Quotes:
…Kaveny gets it wonderfully right here. The problem of procured abortion is not, ultimately, a metaphysical matter. We have to focus solely on the simple moral question. Can it be right to choose to have an abortion?
…To countenance the idea that abortion could be the right thing to do–that would involve a failure of charity towards both baby and mother. Just like refusing to sympathize with the burdens faced by the mother would involve a failure of charity towards both of them…
I have argued for most of my life that we do not need faith in order to know that abortion is wrong, since sonograms clearly show us that is is.
But, on the other hand, it is faith that protects us from the hubris that justifies abortion, based on uncertain predictions about the future. Every line of thinking that leads to the idea that abortion could be the right thing to do–all of them start with fear of the future. From that fear of the future comes the compulsive attempt to control it, through violence.
4. January 22, 2018 (45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade): Whose Future Is It?
In this sermon, I tried to address pro-choice thinking and offer a solution. Plus: An essay responding to Stevie Nick’s reflections on her 1979 abortion.
5. December 25, 2016: Christmas, Pro-Life Feastday.
Don’t accuse me of bringing politics into Christmas Eve. Our Catholic adherence to the Gospel of Life runs much deeper than any political affiliations we have. But, of course, being pro-life has political implications. We rejoice in the victories won this past Election Day by candidates with a pro-life message.
These victories mean that we have to pray all the harder and remain all the more vigilant for opportunities to participate in building up the culture of life. May the year to come see us living out in practice, day in and day out, the spiritual worship that we take part in at Christmas, beside the holy manger of the newborn Son of God…
We find ourselves next to the newborn babe in the manger, we clearly perceive that violence has no place here, in this sublime mystery of conception, pregnancy, and birth. As the prophet Isaiah put it, declaring the Gospel of Life: “Every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for flames, because the Prince of Peace has a vast dominion, which is forever peaceful.” The cruel violence of abortion is completely foreign to the peace of God’s kingdom. Visiting Bethlehem spiritually cements this truth into our minds.
6. March 30, 2016: Some Pro-Life Clarity?
This is an essay, not a sermon. It’s about appropriate criminal penalties for abortion.
7. January 28, 2013: My Marching Apologia
…The babies themselves are in the hands of God. But the persons who are morally responsible for their deaths find themselves in an untenable state. The Pro-Life Movement holds that we find ourselves in this untenable state as a nation.
With tears, we lament this collective darkness of soul. We insist that purification and enlightenment can and must be a legitimate object of political activism. We reject the abortion-tolerating status quo as foreign to human decency…
8. August 15, 2008 (the day this blog started): Logic and Voting Pro-Life