I have referenced in a prior post that the "Pelosi Heresy" will be a defining moment and turning point for the Roman Catholic Church in America. The past practice of the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. privately trying to counsel pro-abortion, Catholic politicians to see the error in their ways while these politicians politely deflected the issue to seem passive came to a blazing, Hindenburg-like end one Sunday morning. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated in front of all America that St. Augustine’s writings would have permitted a pro-abortion position.
This scandal, as literally defined by the Catechism, was unleashed across the airways and country and could not be recoiled back into the bottle by private actions. In trying to confuse the issue for her political gain, Speaker Pelosi actually did the complete opposite by invoking the 2,000-year teaching authority of the Catholic Church to starkly publicize her error. It was the arrogance of a conditioned politician who thought she would have free range without hierarchy interference.
An unending list of Who’s Who of American Prelates (Chaput, Wuerl, Lori, Rigali, Egan, Niederauer, Zubik, Sheridan, etc…) soon followed denouncing Pelosi and her lack of understanding of the Catholic Faith. It was obvious that our Cardinals and Bishops now had their kid gloves off. Enough was enough with this prolonged, American farce that adamant, pro-choice politicians could claim that they were devout Catholics in good standing with their Church.
The clerical outrage that started with the "Pelosi Heresy" has continued and broadened through this whole election season as Church leaders are not remaining silent anymore. Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput has not minced words, or dabbled in vagueness, citing specifically that Barack Obama, by name, is the "most committed" abortion-rights candidate for the presidency since abortion became legal.
Knowing the Archbishop, his vocal amplification of the Gospel of Life will not stop on Inauguration Day, if the unspeakable does happen. He will be as much as a nemesis of Barack Obama as he was when the DNC were putting up those "Styrofoam pillars" in the Archbishop’s backyard. Obama greatly underestimates Chaput’s conviction and the Archbishop’s not caring whether or not he is ever invited to a Heads of State dinner. This core of character cannot be understood by most expedient politicians. It is contrary to their very existence. They sniff the air for something they can use. Similar to an indicted mobster not understanding how a district attorney making $45,000 a year cannot be bribed but will do what is just and bring him down while continuing to live below the poverty line because of his conviction. Chaput will be Obama’s ongoing nemesis.
Anyone who travels a lot for business has travel horror stories. Four hours out on a tarmac; a twenty-hour layover; and things not going quite right at 30,000 feet in the air. When these latter prayerful moments come, as they will, I always look at the flight attendants faces to reveal the seriousness of the situation. These reactions of those in charge will tell you more than any group announcement by the pilot.
This strategy holds true as well in the religious realm as we have witnessed the reaction of the leaders of our Faith over the past few months. This election is a very serious moment for the pro-life movement and there has been a plethora of prelate statements reinforcing this view. Rocco Palmo of the UK Tablet has documented that some 50 active, U.S. bishops have issued statements that abortion is the key issue of this election and that it should dictate how Catholics vote.
The latest entry in this catalog of conscience has been Cardinal Justin Rigali, again not mincing words:
"At this moment in our country’s history, defense of innocent human life is a moral responsibility for all of us. The same God who thundered from Mount Sinai: "Thou shalt not kill," thunders still. When life in the womb is destroyed, God thunders: "This is a child!" When by the most barbaric means, unworthy of any civilized people, the brain of a child is sucked out of his or her head by a vacuum, God thunders: "This is a child!" When a baby is left to die of exposure on a shelf because of a failed abortion, and this is considered a "right" by any leader, God, the Source of all law and authority, thunders: "This is a child!" When we are faced with every modern means of education and communication, in addition to the law placed in our hearts at creation, no one, and most especially, no Catholic, can ever say: "I did not know."
The vast majority of Presidential polls point to the fact that the Pro-life cause may have lost the battle of the 2008 Presidential campaign. But take heart! As we continue to fight the "Cultural of Life" war we have a new era of bold, Catholic leadership who will preach the unfiltered Gospel and influence the 25% of the electorate under their pastoral care.
In the movie Tora, Tora, Tora, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto ceases the celebratory and congratulatory mood after his subordinates confirm that the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was a complete success. The Admiral laments, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."
On that Sunday morning in August, Nancy Pelosi poked the sleeping giant that is the Roman Catholic Church in America in the eye, and the sleeping giant awoke. The sleeping giant will sleep no more. I do not doubt its resolve.