Archive for the ‘Catholic Public Officials’ Category

Political Incoherence on Abortion

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Although I’m a political junkie, I never watch those television events that are billed as “political debates”. They are nothing of the sort, of course, but instead are merely opportunities for candidates to parrot their talking points, show how strong they think they are by rudely interrupting each other, and doing little if anything to inform and enlighten the electorate.

And so, I didn’t watch the Vice-Presidential “debate” the other night, opting instead to watch a very exciting baseball game. But I was keenly interested in reading the reports of what the candidates said about abortion.

Now, we have to take anything said by a Vice-Presidential candidate with a healthy grain of salt. The purpose of a VP candidate is to robotically repeat the Presidential candidate’s talking points, pretend that the person at the top of the ticket has no faults or flaws and has never erred, and, aside from that, do nothing to mess up the campaign. That makes sense, since the role of a Vice President is essentially to serve as a constitutional spare tire.

But there was a comment at the most recent VP “debate” that is certainly worthy of notice, because it was on the issue of abortion and it demonstrated the incoherence of the Democratic position on this crucial issue, and how much in thrall that party is to the ideology of the Culture of Death.

Senator Tim Kaine is the Democratic VP candidate. As such, he is the right-hand-man to a presidential candidate whose position is utterly reprehensible on abortion — she has never heard of an abortion she disapproves of, and she is completely beholden to the abortion industry. Sen. Kaine, who is reportedly a practicing Catholic, has an appalling record in the Senate of support for abortion on demand at all times and for any reason. In this Senate session alone, he has voted to continue funding for Planned Parenthood, which kills over 300,000 unborn children a year, and opposed a measure that would prohibit late-term abortions at a time when the child can feel pain while they are being dismembered. He has also publicly stated that he will support a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which would mean that he thinks it’s a good idea for abortions on demand to be paid for by taxpayers.

Hardly a stellar example of a Catholic public servant. But it’s even worse. Sen. Kaine had this to say when asked a question about the role of his religion in forming his position on abortion:

I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life. But I don’t believe in this nation, a First Amendment nation, where we don’t raise any religion over the other, and we allow people to worship as they please, that the doctrines of any one religion should be mandated for everyone… I think it is really, really important that those of us who have deep faith lives don’t feel that we could just substitute our own views for everybody else in society, regardless of their views. … we really feel like you should live fully and with enthusiasm the commands of your faith. But it is not the role of the public servant to mandate that for everybody else. So let’s talk about abortion and choice. Let’s talk about them. We support Roe v. Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. That’s something we trust American women to do that.

It would be difficult to find a better example of the utter moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the “pro-choice Catholic” mindset. I could quote all day long from statements by the Church on the absolute moral duty of Catholic public officials to oppose the depraved injustice of abortion on demand. But leave that aside for a moment, because Sen. Kaine already seems to be utterly impervious to the actual beliefs of the faith he professes to be devoted to.

Instead, since faith always accords with reason, let’s just look at this from a strictly rational perspective, because it will be crystal clear that his comments make no sense, either for a Catholic or for anyone else.

All laws reflect moral judgments of right and wrong – that’s the nature of law itself. No system of law anywhere in the world or in history is based on the idea that a person can act however they want. Human conduct is always subject to moral rules that are written into civil law. So if a public official rules out the influence of their religious faith in making such judgments, on what moral principle will he act? Are his opinions completely swayed by public opinion polls, or party platforms? Then what kind of a person is he? Why would anyone vote for a politician who was so devoid of principle or courage that he ignores his religious faith and decides his position by sticking his finger in the air and checking the direction of the wind, or by just “following orders”?  How could you trust such a person to do anything according to any kind of coherent moral principle?

The prohibition against killing an innocent human being is not a Catholic doctrine, but a moral principle based on science and reason that can be seen by anyone, regardless of their religious faith. It’s not wrong because the Catholic Church says so, the Church teaches that because it’s a self-evident truth. It is Science 101 that every human life – including that of a VP candidate – begins at the moment of conception. The inhabitant of a mother’s womb is always a human being, the genetic offspring of a father and a mother, and he/she is never anything less. To take that helpless child’s life for any reason – much less to serve the convenience of the mother or father, or because the child has a physical handicap – is contrary to the inherent natural impulse of humans to protect and nurture their young. It is also patently evil to treat any living being with the cruelty of abortion – which involves poisoning a child with caustic chemicals or dismembering her while she is still alive.

A political candidate doesn’t need any religious faith to see that abortion is a moral evil and should be prohibited by law. All it takes is rational thought, and openness to the scientific evidence that is right before one’s eyes. Even a Vice President should be able to understand that.

No Worldly Honor is Worth a Soul

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

And so we have yet again the sad spectacle of a Catholic public official running for high office who attends Mass regularly, presents himself for Holy Communion, and claims to be faithful to the Church — while at the same time he hides behind the disingenuous “personally opposed” imposture while staunchly supporting intrinsically evil laws and policies permitting the wholesale destruction of unborn human beings.

The hollowness and hypocrisy of this political stance are well-known, and hardly worth spending much time rebutting. The obligation of public officials — especially Catholics — to oppose laws that authorize abortion has been explained in crystal clear terms by the Church on many, many occasions. Anyone who is fooled –or who fools himself– with the “personally opposed” sham has to accept responsibility for wilful self-delusion.

But what really concerns me about this situation is not the political or public policy aspects. It’s really the moral and spiritual side that I am most troubled by. It should be a cautionary tale to all of us.

I have been fortunate to teach in the formation program for the Diaconate here in the Archdiocese, and also in the leadership program for Directors and Coordinators of Religious Eduation. One of the subjects that I always cover is the Church’s teaching on human destiny, what traditionally has been called “the four last things” — death, judgment, heaven and hell.

There really is no ambiguity in this teaching, and it is of the utmost importance to all of us in our daily lives. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was perfectly clear that our conduct in this life will determine our fate in the next, and that there are two paths available to us — the one of life, and the one of destruction.

The path of destruction is the one that we should shun in horror. It leads to everlasting separation from God — to Hell. “Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.” (CCC 1033) The suffering of souls who choose this path is unimaginable, even through the eyes of a creative genius like Dante.

The temptation of worldly power and honor is very strong, and very compelling. There is a reason that the Evil One chose to tempt Our Lord with the lure of authority over the nations. I know this temptation well, because it is one that I have struggled with my whole life, and it has led me to sin many times. But nothing in this world — nothing — is worth risking the loss of eternal life with God, whether it be pleasure, power, riches, tactical political advantages, or whatever. Certainly not the Vice-Presidency. “For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mk 8:36)

Let me be perfectly clear. I cannot look into the heart of any other person and judge whether they are on the path to life or death. That is for God alone, and I hope that he will be merciful to us all. But I am a sinful man. Although I try to reject temptation, I regularly need the healing of God’s grace in the Sacrament of Confession. I dread the thought that I might die with a mortal sin on my soul, and I equally dread the thought that anyone else might do so.

No worldly honor is worth one human soul. We should dedicate ourselves to pray and sacrifice for those who are at risk of choosing the wrong path.

Who Are the Real Extremists?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The Governor of the State of New York has an unfortunate tendency to engage in absolutist, take-no-prisoners political rhetoric.  Just a few years ago, he declared that anyone who opposed redefining marriage was “anti-New York and anti-American”.   So it really should be no surprise when his rhetoric gets out of hand, and shows a lack of respect for those who take opposing positions in good faith.

Nevertheless, the remarks he made the other day are particularly disturbing.  Commenting on some internal disputes among his Republican rivals, the Governor of all New Yorkers (even those who disagree with him) said this:

“Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” (emphasis added)

I’m not a Republican, so it’s not for me to defend that party, or to get into the middle of an election-year political scrum.  But the Governor’s overheated language goes way beyond his political opponents.

Apparently our Governor thinks that there’s no place in our home state for anyone who believes that the laws should respect the right to life of all people, including the unborn, and who believe in the authentic definition of marriage.

But let’s ask ourselves — Who are the real extremists here?

It’s the public officials and the advocates who aren’t satisfied with New York being the abortion capital of America, a place with over 110,000 abortions each year.  It’s the people who oppose any reasonable regulations on abortion, including involving parents in decisions made by minors, full informed consent requirements, and so on.  It’s those  who want non-doctors to be able to perform abortions.  It’s the pro-abortion advocates who oppose health and safety regulations of clinics and who fight against any effort to inspect clinics.  It’s those people who want to redefine marriage and the family beyond recognition.   And it’s those who refuse to recognize faith-based objections, and slander those who stand on their faith for life and marriage.

This is not just a Catholic issue.  The Governor’s rhetoric encompasses the Catholic Church, but also the Orthodox Jewish community, the Evangelical Christian community, many mainline Protestant Churches and Muslims, and others of no religious faith at all.

It is deeply troubling when an elected official, who took an oath to uphold the Constitutions of our state and nation, casts out of polite society all those who disagree with him.  Remarks like these reflect not only a noxious political climate in our nation, but a deep-seated spiritual malady that St. Augustine called the libido dominandi, the lust to dominate and rule.

In an ironic way, it’s fortunate that the Governor made his unpleasant remarks in the midst of the U.S. Bishops’ “9 Days for Life” campaign of prayer, penance, and pilgrimage.  It’s a reminder that if we’re going to be “extremists” about anything, it should be in our prayer.  In particular, we can focus on the “9 Days for Life” prayer intention for tomorrow, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision:

For an end to legal abortion in our nation and for the conversion of all hearts, so that the inherent rights of every human being—especially those most at risk of abuse and rejection—will be upheld.

Friday’s prayer intention is also particularly appropriate:

For elected leaders who oppose any restriction on the abortion license: may God allow them to grasp the brutal violence of abortion and the reality of post-abortion suffering experienced by countless women and men.

All of our society is enriched when people of faith bring their values into the public square, and nobody benefits when people are cast out of our political debate.  Let us pray for genuine tolerance, and for a conversion of heart so that our beloved state can show authentic respect for life and marriage.

[This blog post was reprinted in the New York Post as an op-ed]

 

The Disgrace of Georgetown

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

There’s a very fine Jesuit priest who is a professor at Georgetown University, Fr. James Schall. In a recent column, he said this: “Tell me who you honor and I will tell you what you are.”

The reason for the question is the appalling decision by Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute to have HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as the speaker at their commencement. The president of Georgetown has stated that this platform is being given to the Secretary because of her “long and distinguished record of public service”.

Yes, you read that right.  An allegedly Catholic university, giving a platform of honor to the current Administration’s point person to advance its anti-life agenda.

Let’s review some of the highlights of Secretary Sebelius’ “long and distinguished record”, for those at Georgetown who don’t have access to the Internet:

  • She has spearheaded the recent attacks on human life and religious liberty by promulgating the infamous HHS contraceptive and abortion mandates.
  • She notoriously declared at a pro-abortion rally that “we are in a war” to defend the right to kill children in the womb.
  • She has associated with, and embraced the support of, the infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller — she even hosted an event at her governor’s mansion in honor of him and posed smiling for pictures with him.
  • As Governor of Kansas, she consistently opposed pro-life legislation, and has repeatedly vetoed bills like a ban on partial birth abortion.
  • Her record was so bad in Kansas that her own bishop, after trying privately to convert her, had to publicly admonish her not to present herself for Communion until she publicly repudiates her pro-abortion positions.
  • Georgetown loves to boast about how it is a university “in the Jesuit tradition”. At the heart of the Jesuit charism is the Spiritual Exercises of their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola. During the second week of the Exercises, those who are on the retreat receive a meditation on the Two Standards. This is a powerful expression of the very meaning of Christian discipleship.

    The meditation asks bluntly — whose standard or flag will we follow, Christ’s or Satan’s?

    Satan’s standard, of course, is the one that the world finds most attractive, because it superficially appeals to our fallen human nature. It offers us the desire for worldly possessions, power, honor, and a false view of freedom that is a disguise for immorality. In the end, though, it leads only to destruction.

    Christ’s standard, on the other hand, is the one that the world finds unattractive, because it appeals to values that are exemplified by Our Lord himself, whom the world rejected. It offers us humility, poverty, sacrifice, and authentic freedom that involves willing adherence to God’s will. And in the end it leads to glory.

    So here’s the question for the Georgetown administration — which standard have you chosen? As Fr. Schall said, “Tell me who you honor and I will tell you what you are.”

    We are Now Enemies of the State

    Friday, October 21st, 2011

    I have been warning for some time about the intolerance that we are likely to face from the forces of “tolerance” who backed the bill legalizing same-sex “marriage” here in New York.

    The other day, the impending persecution became even clearer, as Governor Cuomo, the highest public official of New York State, declared us to be enemies of the state and nation.

    He was speaking to a group of “gay rights” advocates about the process that led to the passage of the so-called “Marriage Equality Act”.  He was remarkably candid about that process, including interesting remarks about the power of money in buying votes, and the behind-the-scenes negotiations for votes.  (By the way, this account of the event comes from the “Gay City News” — I refuse to link to such a source, so you’ll have to take my word for it).

    When asked if he found persuasive any arguments offered by the opposition to re-defining marriage, this is what the Governor of all New Yorkers said:

    “There is no answer from the opposition. There really isn’t. Ultimately, it’s, ‘I want to discriminate.’ And that’s anti-New York. It’s anti-American.”

    Savor that quotation for a moment, and drink in the depth of its arrogance, contempt, and hostility.

    No answer by defenders of marriage?

  • Not the thorough and comprehensive philosophical arguments rooted in natural law, offered by Sherif Girgis, Robert George and their colleagues?
  • Not the repeated statements of the United States Bishops and the New York State Bishops?
  • Not the arguments offered by the public in the 41 states that have rejected the re-definition of marriage?
  • Not the arguments that were deemed persuasive by 85 Senators, 342 Representatives, and President Clinton when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996?
  • Not the arguments offered by Mr. Cuomo’s predecessor as state Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, that were found persuasive by our Court of Appeals in the case upholding the real definition of marriage?
  • Not the arguments we were giving legislators in the hallways of the State Capitol and their home offices, for weeks prior to the vote?
  • In reality, Mr. Cuomo doesn’t just disagree with our arguments, he denies their existence.  He clearly believes that they are pernicious, beyond the pale of proper discourse, and motivated only by hatred.

    That is why he has now declared that we are “anti-American” — that is to say, enemies of our nation.

    Those of us who have memories of American history are deeply angered and disturbed by such rhetoric.  We recall a time when Catholics (and the Irish in particular) were deemed to be a threat to America, and were openly persecuted. We thought that we were past those days, but obviously they are returning.

    And remember, the Governor’s thuggish remarks don’t just target the Catholic Church, but also the Orthodox Jewish community, the Evangelical Christian community, many mainline Protestant Churches and Muslims, and others of no religious faith who all believe in the authentic, traditional meaning of marriage.

    It is a chilling moment when the top elected official of our state — a man who took an oath to uphold the Constitutions of our state and nation — has declared that so many people are political pariahs.  When he calls us enemies of the state.

    This is legitimately frightening.  We all know what the power of the state can do to its enemies.

    The Strange World of Nancy Pelosi

    Friday, October 14th, 2011

    I have written before of the exasperating public statements of the former Speaker of the House, now House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi.  Ms. Pelosi continually touts her status as a “devout Catholic”, yet equally often allows the strangest statements to emit from her mouth.

    Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill called the Protect Life Act.  This bill would amend the health care reform law to ensure that no federal funds are used for elective abortions, that no insurance plan covering elective abortion receives federal funds, and that conscience protection laws are strengthened.  A wide majority of the House supported the bill — the vote was 251-172 — and opinion polls show broad support in the general public for its provisions.

    Enter Ms. Pelosi.  She opined on the floor of the House that “Under this bill… they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene if this bill is passed.”

    The specific part of the bill that she was apparently referring to would ensure that any health care worker who has religious or moral objections to abortion would not be required to participate.  That is already guaranteed to a certain extent under other provisions of federal and state laws, but it was necessary to extend it to the health care law.

    Of course, there is no evidence whatsoever that any woman has ever died as a result of a conscience objection by a health care worker.  In fact, as far as anyone can tell, the only women who have died in connection with abortion are the millions of unborn ones, the unfortunate mothers who go into unsafe and unsanitary clinics, or those who take dangerous abortion drugs dispensed by the likes of Planned Parenthood.  Does the name Kermit Gosnell ring a bell, Madam Minority Leader?

    But in this area, the mind of Ms. Pelosi is apparently impervious to the truth and to reason, and she occupies a strange world of her own invention.  She demonstrates the wisdom of St. Paul’s observation about those who ignore how God reveals Himself to us in creation: “they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. ” (Rom 1:21)

    This is yet another occasion to recall one of my favorite statements by Cardinal Egan, in response to an earlier set of absurd comments by Ms. Pelosi:

    We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.

     

    Varia

    Sunday, February 20th, 2011

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • Robert George weighs in on the Live Action debate.
  • Philosopher Christopher Tollefsen responds to those who disagreed with his moral critique of Live Action’s tactics.  Other response here and herePeter Kreeft defends Live Action,  as does Hadley Arkes.
  • As a charter member of the Kathryn Jean Lopez Fan Club, I give you three of her pieces: on the power of pro-life witness, the suffering of women, and the culture of death; an interview with Maggie Gallagher on the current status of the defense of marriage; and an interview of Brad Wilcox on the overall health  of marriage.
  • The forces of “tolerance” refuse to brook any dissent.  Now the “gay rights” crowd is going after the iPhone app that helps people prepare for Confession, because it has the audacity to state that homosexual acts are sinful.  Note the chilling term they use — “anti-gay spiritual abuse”.  In 1984, Orwell used the term “thoughtcrime”.
  • An amendment to the federal budget will cut funding from abortionists.  Also, the Protect Life Act, which will remove abortion funding from the health care law, has been approved by committee and sent to the full House for consideration.  The Democrats in Congress, however, continue to rally behind Planned Parenthood and resist measures to defund them.
  • A positive initiative in Kansas to support pregnant women.  Here in New York, of course, our Governor cut all funding for the pro-life Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation, while continuing unlimited Medicaid funding for abortion and tons of money for Planned Parenthood.  Red states, blue states.
  • Wesley Smith explains how to fight against the evil thoughts of Peter Singer, the Princeton philosopher who justifies infanticide.  Smith warns that we must oppose this now, lest infanticide become as accepted as abortion is now.
  • Why is our government funding an international program that is making it easier to carry on the exploitation of “sex workers”, including minors?
  • The Brave New World, Northern Chapter — a Canadian court will permit doctors to remove life support from a gravely ill baby, against her parent’s wishes; the court rejected the parents’ request to bring her home so she can die among her family.
  • The fight to keep Ireland pro-life continues.
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)

    Varia

    Sunday, February 13th, 2011

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • Live Action visited the Bronx Planned Parenthood clinic, and again the undercover video shows the clinic workers to be indifferent to sex trafficking and sexual abuse of minors.  (Please note that I have significant qualms about the morality of the practice of shooting these undercover videos.)
  • The claim is being made by Planned Parenthood and their media sock puppets that Live Action doctored the videos. Remember, this will be the theme you will hear forever in the objective media: “Live Action, which has been accused of doctoring videos…” Here’s Live Action’s crushing response.
  • If they did nothing wrong, then why is Planned Parenthood is re-training staff on how to report child sexual abuse?
  • Senate Democrats are rallying around the one cause in which they never, ever waver from their principles: retaining federal funding for abortion. And the Catholic former Speaker of the House is leading the fight to keep money flowing to the abortion industry.
  • The religious sister in charge of the Catholic Health Association, despite recently writing to the USCCB and acknowledging that the local bishop is the ultimate and definitive authority on moral medical ethics, but still says that she continues to disagree with Bishop Olmstead’s decision in the case of the Phoenix hospital. I always thought the phrase was, “Roma locuta, causa finita”.
  • A Catholic hospital in Chicago is offering help to women who in the midst of a multi-day second-trimester abortion — they’ll work to reverse the abortion. This is precisely why authentic Catholic health care is so important.
  • None of our “leaders” in Albany seem willing to defend marriage.  Our Governor says he will push to legalize same-sex “marriage”, and the leader of the allegedly pro-family party says that they’ll allow a vote in the State Senate.
  • The President announces a glitzy new educational initiative, a “Race to the Top” initiative. But Catholic schools aren’t allowed to enter the competition. Maybe it’s because they’d win, hands down.
  • Very sad to read how many parents discourage their daughters from a religious vocation.
  • Msgr. Charles Pope on diversity and unity in the Church. They call us “catholic” for a reason.
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)

    Varia

    Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • Archbishop Dolan, in his role as President of the US Bishops, has written to Congress to lay out the Bishops’ legislative concerns.
  • Must-read of the week — Kathryn Jean Lopez reflects on the reaction to the Tuscon shootings, and why we still countenance violence against the most innocent among us.  Here’s how she closes: “Abortion is a violence we should open our eyes to see and stop rather than keeping quiet and accepting it. It’s one that a civil society can work to stop. Peacefully, with love and support.”
  • Excellent rebuttal of the “lazy slander” against pro-lifers, that we only care about babies before they’re born, and do nothing to help mothers afterwards.
  • Two fine opinion pieces today about NYC’s tragically high abortion rate:  one by former Assemblyman Michael Benjamin in the NY Post and another by Bill McGurn in the Wall St. Journal.
  • Well, the House GOP leaders have made their statement by voting to repeal the health care law.  Now it’s time to make a difference by defunding abortion.
  • In a further step along the way to the compete commodification of human life, rich clueless celebrities who buy the services of surrogate mothers are now denying their humanity, calling them “gestational carriers”.
  • Our Black-Robed Platonic Guardian Rulers on the Supreme Court have declined to hear the Washington DC same-sex “marriage” case — you know, the one where “We the People” were trying to get the issue on the ballot so that democracy could have a say on the law, but a panel of bureaucrats decided that the “We the People” should go into the corner and be quiet?
  • Sargent Shriver, perhaps the last of the old-line Catholic, pro-life Democrats, has passed into eternal life.  One of the good guys.  Rest in peace.
  • Eduardo Verastegui — the unfairly-handsome actor from the pro-life movie “Bella” — is going to finance the building of the largest pro-life women’s clinic in the United States, in Los Angeles.
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)

    Pro-Life Yonkers

    Saturday, January 15th, 2011

    I was born in Yonkers, and I’ve lived there for most of my life.  My hometown doesn’t get much attention in the larger world, and lives pretty much in the shadow of the big city that I can see from my upstairs window.

    But in one important respect, Yonkers far outshines not only the big city, but pretty much every other city in New York.  Its elected officials have the courage and moral fiber to publicly show their respect for human life.

    Last Sunday, I had the privilege of being present at the Polish Center to witness Mayor Phil Amicone issue an official proclamation, declaring January 9 through 16 as the Fourth Annual “Respect Life Week” in Yonkers.  As far as anyone can tell, my hometown is the only city in New York State to do such a thing.

    The event at which the proclamation was issued was memorable.  It was organized by my friend, the indefatigable Tony Felicissimo, who is the leader of “Advocates of Life”, a Yonkers group that holds prayerful witness outside of a local abortion clinic and supports the “Life Options Center”, a pregnancy support center hosted by the Kingdom Christian Cultural Center.

    There were a number of distinguished interfaith speakers, including Archbishop Dolan, Fr. Thomas Berg, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (yes, there are two pro-life public officials in Westchester!), Rabbi Rigoberto Emmanuel Vinas, and Rev. James Hassel of the Kingdom Christian Center.  The children’s choir from St. Casimir’s School sang, as did Rev. Hassel’s own outstanding gospel choir.  The special honoree for the day was Msgr. Philip Reilly, the great hero of the pro-life movement, the founder of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.  The day had a party-like atmosphere, and truly was a celebration of life.

    Both Msgr. Reilly and Archbishop Dolan called the pro-life movement “this most noble cause”.  How right they are — it’s the premier civil rights movement of our day.  It unites people of all faiths, who are dedicated to defending the dignity of every human person.

    It was a political risk for Mayor Amicone to issue this proclamation, and for County Executive Astorino to support it.  But, buoyed by the courage of their convictions, they did what true public servants are supposed to do — stand for what is right, regardless of politics, and defend the common good and justice for all.

    Bravo, to my hometown — Pro-Life Yonkers.