NRL News

Archbishop Chaput and keeping the door open to reconciliation

by | Feb 3, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Archbishop Charles Chaput

Archbishop Charles Chaput

It’d be nice if every post had an outstanding response, but, of course, that is not possible. But judging by their response, last week our readers really enjoyed three stories.

They were “Gimme Shelter” and the art of battling giants; “How self-righteousness and cold rationalizations blur distinctions between man and monster”; and “Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: ‘The very existence of people who refuse to accept evil and who seek to act virtuously burns the conscience of those who don’t.’

If you didn’t have a chance to read them, please do, and pass them along to friends and family. I’d like to add a few thoughts about Archbishop Chaput’s terrific remarks which we delivered for him at the January 22 homily from the closing Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, DC. (Weather prevented Archbishop Chaput from flying to DC.)

I could say something about each paragraph, they are that good. But I want you to read his remarks—or re-read them, so my observations will be limited to paragraphs numbers one and two. They read

“Today is the 41st anniversary of Roe v Wade, which effectively legalized abortion on demand. It’s a time to look back and look ahead. The abortion struggle of the past four decades teaches a very useful lesson. Evil talks a lot about ‘tolerance’ when it’s weak. When evil is strong, real tolerance gets pushed out the door. And the reason is simple. Evil cannot bear the counter-witness of truth. It will not co-exist peacefully with goodness, because evil insists on being seen as right, and worshiped as being right. Therefore, the good must be made to seem hateful and wrong.

“The very existence of people who refuse to accept evil and who seek to act virtuously burns the conscience of those who don’t. And so, quite logically, people who march and lobby and speak out to defend the unborn child will be – and are – reviled by leaders and media and abortion activists that turn the right to kill an unborn child into a shrine to personal choice.”

In my opinion, you can’t exaggerate how much truth is packed into those 167 words, or how much they tell us about those who advocate on behalf of abortion.

Opposition to this evil—and abortion is evil—cannot be dismissed as something that merely sticks in the abortion advocate’s craw, although surely it does. It is much more than that. Speaking out against abortion is an offense because abortion must be seen as a positive good.

That is why the campaign to have women talk about their abortions is so essential to the Abortion Establishment. They believe that the more people hear these stories, the more they will be desensitized to what is done to helpless babies when the abortionist plies his bloody trade.

The irony is, as we have pointed out dozens of times, that these accounts so often boomerang. (See, for example, “Two stories from New York Magazine unintentionally reinforce the pro-life case against abortion.”) When women (and men) feel free to talk about their real feelings, surely some will rant and rave against pro-lifers but more often than not in their reflections you cannot miss the pain and hurt and regret and remorse.

After all, once someone gets beyond attempts to justify what they did, how can it be otherwise?

Archbishop Chaput went on to amplify on this in his remarks.

“Seventy years ago, abortion was a crime against humanity. Four decades ago, abortion supporters talked about the ‘tragedy’ of abortion and the need to make it safe and rare. Not anymore. Now abortion is not just a right, but a right that claims positive dignity, the license to demonize its opponents and the precedence to interfere with constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, assembly and religion. We no longer tolerate abortion. We venerate it as a totem.”

We don’t “venerate it [abortion] as a totem,” so pro-lifers have to be demonized. But is such a small price to pay for the privilege of being part of the greatest Movement for social justice of our era.

And by calling abortion what it is—an evil—but without demonizing women—so often abortion’s second victim—we keep the door open to reconciliation.

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Categories: Pro-Lifers Religious