Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
As I said Thursday, the March for Life was dominated by Catholics. The question arises: Why? You can’t blame the organizers. They stocked the stage with non-Catholics. Here are some theories:
1. Maybe evangelical Protestants are spooked by the Catholic doings at the March. Everywhere you looked, you saw pictures of Our Lady in full European devotional regalia. Many marchers prayed the Rosary. Evangelicals don’t like that stuff.
2. One friend suggests: Maybe evangelical Protestants have noticed that getting active in the pro-life movement leads to becoming Catholic: After all, Sen. Sam Brownback kicked off the march and (newly Catholic) Randall Terry was there with his bullhorn at the march’s end.
3. Or maybe it starts at the leader level. You didn’t see Rick Warren at the March (or is he marching in California?) But bishops have grabbed hold of this event, leading mega-Masses in the basilica and Verizon Center and mini-Masses for regions like the one I went to at the Washington Plaza hotel.
4. Maybe it’s a geographical thing. The hotbeds of evangelical Protestant activism are out west: Texas, Colorado, California. The Boston-Washington corridor is the most heavily Catholic area of the country, and it’s hours instead of days away.
5. Maybe it’s a historical thing. Catholics invented the pro-life movement, and for many early pro-lifers it started as an extension of the protest-culture of the 1960s. They started the March, and handed down the tradition.
— Tom Hoopes