How Do We Protect Life in a Broken World?
COMMENTARY: The answer to a crisis pregnancy is not violence, but love: Love for both mother and child.
We live in a broken world. The recent mass killing of schoolchildren in Uvalde, Texas, provides a powerful illustration of our disregard for the sanctity of human life.
We need to comfort and care for those parents who grieve the violent deaths of their sons and daughters. We need to take action to prevent similar future episodes of senseless violence. Stronger laws that result in gun safety, improved security for our schools, repairing the breakdown of family life, addressing the impact on violent and psychotic behavior on the accessibility of very potent marijuana: all these issues that need to be on the table. There can be no sacred cows that impede taking steps to protect our children.
Our nation is at a crossroads. Do we wish to continue to be what Pope Francis calls “a throw
Standing together for the sanctity of each and every human life is the antidote to the culture of death. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s courageous efforts, calling upon all of us, but especially Catholics in leadership, to protect both mothers and children from the tragedy of abortion must be the foundation for building a civilization of love.
There are reasons why I and many other bishops support Archbishop Cordileone’s decision to ban Speaker Nancy Pelosi from Holy Communion unless she repents her position that abortion is a legitimate choice.
First, the Church’s teaching that abortion is a grave evil has been clear from the earliest times. The Didache, the catechism written in the first century by those who knew Christ or his apostles, is unequivocal: “You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born.”
Secondly, the protection of the child in the womb is a human rights issue, not primarily a religious issue. Faith re-enforces what everyone knows: no one has the right to take the life another. It is science, not religion, that teaches us abortion takes a human life.
Finally, Speaker Nancy Pelosi passionately and repeatedly advocates for abortion as a devout Catholic. In 2008, for example, Speaker Pelosi stated, “I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time.” In September 2021 when Speaker Pelosi first supported federal legislation overturning all prolife protections, she defended her action as a Catholic: “I come to this as a Catholic mother of five in six years.”
As recently as May 4, Speaker Pelosi said, speaking of abortion,
: “The very idea that they would be telling women the size, timing or whatever of their family, the personal nature of this is so appalling, and I say that as a devout Catholic,” Pelosi said. “They say to me, ‘Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the Pope.’ Yes, I do.”
Speaker Pelosi’s repeated claims to be a devout Catholic while misrepresenting Church teaching virtually forced her bishop to take corrective action.
Archbishop Cordileone has called on Catholics to do two things: first, pray and fast for Speaker Pelosi through the Benedict XVI Institute’s Rose and Rosary for Nancy Campaign. Second to redouble our efforts to accompany women with crisis pregnancies.
I know from working with Project Rachel, the Church’s healing ministry for abortion, many women say they felt they had no choice but abortion. The USCCB launched an important initiative “Walking with Moms in Need” asking every Catholic parish assess what is available for moms so that every parish is prepared to connect a struggling mom or mom-to-be with the best possible resources to assist her through her pregnancy and beyond. Our goal is for Catholic parishes to be what Pope Francis described as “islands of mercy in the midst of sea of indifference” that help women not only survive but thrive.
Before I was born, and seven years before the Supreme Court ended school segregation, Cardinal Joseph Ritter of St. Louis told Catholic schools to accept all students regardless of race, insisting on “the equality of every soul before the Almighty God.” When parents threatened to sue, Cardinal Ritter warned they faced excommunication. The parents backed down. The schools were integrated.
Abortion is another fundamental human rights issue rooted in the equal dignity of every human being. The answer to a crisis pregnancy is not violence, but love: Love for both mother and child.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann has been the archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, since 2005 and served as the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Pro-Life Committee from 2018-2021.
- pro-life pregnancy centers
- house speaker nancy pelosi
- archbishop salvatore cordileone
- supreme court overturning roe v wade
- archbishop naumann of kansas city
- Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
- walking with moms in need