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Gut Check

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March 2019

What a crew. There are Luke and Leia, twins who didn’t realize it at first. They meet Han, a daring cowboy-type who pals with a chimp on steroids. Add two robots, one that talks and the other that squeaks. Mix in a knee-high creature, Yoda by name, who swings a light saber while doing somersaults. Certainly can’t leave out the heavy-breathing guy dressed in black—the twins’ father. Last but not least, there’s the emperor, as bad as bad comes. Teamed with assorted crazies, they’ve grossed $9.3 billion in revenues over their 40+year run.

What accounts for the incredible financial success of the Star War series? For one, the series combines old with new. Star Wars is essentially a remake of the Flash Gordon stories from the 1930s, complete with all the most amazing special effects Hollywood can create. But there’s more. Star Wars is the story about the never-ending battle between good and evil. It’s about people willing to sacrifice everything to defeat an enemy hell-bent on death and destruction. The story twists and turns from movie to movie because evil never gives up. But neither do the heroes.

We don’t need to travel to a galaxy far, far away to know this fight. In the last couple years, the pro-life movement has made progress. As promised, President Trump has chosen judges who will follow the rule of law. Newly appointed Supreme Court justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh might cast the votes needed to finally overrule Roe v. Wade. Lower court judges will likely uphold state laws seeking to protect the unborn from further slaughter, laws like those barring abortion once a heartbeat is detected.

But buoyed by the mid-term election results, the abortion empire is striking back. Pushed hard by governor Andrew Cuomo, New York has recently removed the age limit on abortions. There is no penalty for killing an unborn baby during an assault on a mother—as sometimes done by an irresponsible father. If an aborted baby is born alive, doctors can just let the baby die. It’s infanticide, and when the bill passed the legislature cheered. Cuomo was so pleased that ordered the Freedom Center to be lit in Planned Parenthood pink. It’s the new black.

The barbarism is not contained to New York. Several states have rushed to follow suit. The Rhode Island bill allows abortion at any time to protect a mother’s “health,” broadly defined to include factors of age, economic, social, and emotional factors.   Governor Gina Raimondo says that abortion is about health care and “making ends meet.” But abortion isn’t health care; it’s certain death to a baby and sometimes even to the mother. And if Raimondo really wants to help make ends meet, why not legalize stealing rather than killing? But then, a poor woman could steal from Raimondo and other pro-abortion politicians.

On the federal side, newly re-elected House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s first act was to push for taxpayer-funded abortions. Her guest at the State of the Union address was the head of Planned Parenthood. Democrat women wore white to claim solidarity with the early suffragettes—who, ironically, were pro-life. Led by Patty Murray, Democratic senators have resisted efforts to pass federal legislation barring infanticide nationwide. Six times in the House, Democrats have blocked a vote on a bill outlawing it. They’re not done yet.

There are two common denominators among Cuomo, Raimondo, Pelosi, Murray, and many other politicians who have pushed for abortion even to the point of infanticide. They are Democrats. Much worse, they are Catholics. Cuomo, who unofficially but undoubtedly speaks for many others, says that it’s not his job to defend a religion. But it is his job to promote the common good, and there is nothing good about killing a baby.

We are witnessing the horrifying advance of a horrifying evil. For the Church, it is gut-check time. Our leaders must decide whether the Church will fight against legal abortion or remain content to co-exist with it. So far, the answer is discouraging. In New York, Cardinal Dolan condemned the law but refuses to excommunicate Cuomo. “He’s not going to be moved by this. So what is the use?” Elsewhere, most Church leaders have been silent, perhaps thinking that Cuomo is not their problem. But the spread of evil is. If left unchecked, it will eventually reach them, but only stronger.

Catholic leaders seem to forget: they are shepherds. Their first duty is to protect their flocks, of which the unborn are part. Catholic politicians pushing abortion and even infanticide flaunt their Catholic status while approving barbarism for politician gain. They need to be publicly called out for who they are—wolves in sheep’s clothing. Excommunication is long overdue for everyone’s sake. The faithful need to see that their leaders are willing to fight. Politicians need to appreciate that separation from the Church pales in comparison to eternal separation from God. Still more will be needed, like constant instruction on the value of life. While the Church continues its silence, the pro-death culture is doing lots of talking.

It’s also gut-check time for us in the pews. More and more, the Democratic Party has become the death party. It abandoned the Catholic value for life long ago. Why? The party figures that Catholics will vote for Democrats regardless. But if those voters want to end legal abortion, they must make the party follow them. By rejecting pro-abortion politicians, the faithful will be sending the party a much-needed message. That time has come.

After Pearl Harbor, a Japanese admiral remarked that the attack merely served to “awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The Catholic Church can be that giant. It has the power to turn this country around. United, it can stop the evil of legal abortion once and for all. There is only one remaining question: does it have the guts?


Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.

© Paul V. Esposito 2019. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted.

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