Where were you 30 years ago? You may not remember. In fact, you might not have even been born. But whether you recall January 22, 1973 or not, you and I are living in its dark shadow.
You might be wondering where the pro-abortion demonstrators were during the march. To be honest, so was I. Apparently, a handful showed up at the Supreme Court, but I never saw one myself. They must have been lost in the masses of pro-life supporters.
Of course, the papers make it sound like there was a showdown between the two groups on the steps of the Supreme Court. Both the Washington Post and Times ran different pictures of pro-life marchers arguing with some pro-abortion demonstrator. Funny thing is, both papers had pictures of the same pro-abortion guy. It kind of makes you wonder if the papers had to plant him to get their “anger-filled” angle on the day.
So don't be fooled by the reports the march was a huge success. Maybe it won't change legislation overnight, but it re-dedicated millions of Americans across the nation to the support of the sanctity of human life, a battle we'll fight to the end.
Helping lead that fight is Sacramento Bishop William Weigand. You may not have heard his name in the news before, but you'll want to remember it now. Weigand gave what is arguably one of the strongest statements on our duty to defend life that I have ever heard.
In a homily delivered on Wednesday, Weigand praised Monsignor Edward Kavanaugh for confronting California Governor and “Catholic” Gray Davis for his pro-abortion position. The bishop said, “I applaud Monsignor Kavanagh for his strong and consistent witness. People need to understand that you cannot call yourself a Catholic in good standing and at the same time publicly hold views that are contradictory to the Catholic faith. Thank you, Monsignor Kavanagh, for standing up for the unborn, for your dedication to truth and for your pastoral concern for souls, including the Governor's.”
When was the last time you heard a bishop let alone a priest standing up to their political leaders on abortion?
Weigand went on to say, “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.”
I would quote his entire homily here if I had the space, but there's just too much to say. You can read it for yourself by clicking here. Please take a look. It's a blueprint for what every bishop should be saying.
Finally, a bishop with the courage to lead and the integrity to do the right thing! Bishop Weigand reminds us of our duty, not just to commemorate an anniversary once a year, but to live our Christian lives fully, every day, and without fear.
If this sounds like too great a task for one small person, remember the good bishop's words: “As the U.S. bishops remind us: 'We are not powerless. We can make a difference. We belong to the Lord; in him is our strength and through his grace, we can change the world.'”
For a related article click here.
As you may have seen on the news, things here in DC were hopping over the past few days as people geared up for the event. Both pro-life and pro-death (oops, I mean “pro-choice”) forces were hoping to get their voices heard. If you read about the events in any of the newspapers, you might have thought that the march was dominated by belligerent “anti-choicers.” The Washington Post ran a cover photo on Friday with the caption, “Anger-Filled Anniversary.” Other articles highlighted the pro-abortion demonstrations in detail, making them sound widespread, while the March for Life was made to seem like a lesser fringe event.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me give you a better idea of what happened, from someone who actually lives here and saw it first-hand.
Commemorations of the day actually began the night before. At the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, a “Mass for Life” was attended by five cardinals, 36 bishops, 250 priests, and 7,000 people from across the country to begin what Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua called “a day of mourning.”
“Most anniversaries are causes for celebration,” Bevilacqua said. “This one is not. It is a day of mourning. Mourning for this immoral, unjust, illogical decision.” Following the Mass, the archbishop led an all-night vigil at the shrine to pray for the 40 million children aborted since 1973 and all other people who have been affected by abortion.
While Catholics were mourning at the shrine, on the other side of town, NARAL Pro-Choice America was throwing a party. The gala event attracted many prominent figures in the pro-abortion cause, including all six of the declared Democratic presidential candidates.
What followed was an evening of self-congratulatory pats on the back for “protecting the rights of women” and a side-show event featuring the Democratic presidential hopefuls tumbling stooge-like over one another to be seen as the greatest protector of abortion.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said, “This is about human rights. This is about human dignity.” (Earth to Al…your spaceship is cleared for landing.)
Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri claimed temporary insanity as he told stories about his naïve early days as a pro-lifer in Congress. Now, of course, he has seen the light: “I did not fully understand the consequences of my action and my beliefs. Over the next decade, my eyes were opened….”
Probably the most disturbing comment came from Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts a self-proclaimed Catholic who vowed to take on the president over the abortion issue. “One of the first things I'll tell him is, 'There's a defining issue between us. I trust women to make their own decisions. You don't.'”
Last week, Kerry showed his true colors when he flatly rejected the Vatican's document on the responsibility of Catholic politicians to support life. This week, he seems ready to sell his soul to become the next president.
Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut topped off the speeches by saying, “If you believe in choice, there is only one choice, and that is the next Democratic nominee for president.” (Why do so many people think this guy is a “different kind of Democrat”?)
Of course, this leaves no choice at all for pro-life Democrats who have now been left high-and-dry by their party one that's increasingly proud to be known as the party of death. (See the CRISIS story on the sad plight of pro-life Democrats.)
But as revealing as the warm-up events were, Wednesday was the big day for everyone. Anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 pro-lifers gathered by the Washington Monument for the March for Life, a procession that made its way down Constitution Avenue to the steps of the Supreme Court. Young and old both but an especially encouraging number of young carried signs and banners declaring their dedication to life, singing and praying as they went. It certainly was a change of pace from the usual marches that come through DC: No arrests, no violence or vandalism, and no clownish chanting of “Free Mumia!”