Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Sanctity Of Life Of A Bishop Or The Sanctity Of Life Of An Unborn Child?

Following are excerpts from a speech by John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) at the annual Legatus Summit. I urge you to read the entire speech, comprising 13 pages, for very rare and valuable insight into our current pro-life challenges. Which one of us would not wish to be privy to what John Smeaton said was “the fruit and conclusion of my four decades of work at the national and international level in the pro-life movement”?

But neither must we be slow ... neither must we be slow ...not in begging, not in pleading, but in insisting at the highest level within the Church that bishops are appointed who will uphold the teaching of the Church in opposing the greatest crime against children in history, the wholesale killing of children in the womb, and who will defend and assist parents in protecting the innocence of their born children.

Let’s not kid ourselves. The pro-life movement, however hardworking, however well-informed, however blessed and strong we may be in our initiatives, the pro-life movement cannot defeat the culture of death on our own.

But we cannot defeat the culture of death, which threatens constantly to overwhelm us, on our own. Pro-life organizations and the wider community must be fortified by unequivocal, unyielding voices of Catholic Church officials and bishops throughout the world.

Tragically, some of the most pernicious influences where legalised abortion is concerned come from officials within the Catholic Church.

I appeal today to church leaders in the United States and to church leaders throughout the world, to church leaders in Rome, to all Catholic Bishops in the World, as the chief executive of the oldest pro-life organization in the world, I appeal to you remember the words of Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (82) that you “... are the first ones called to be untiring preachers of the Gospel of Life”. Silence, and silence includes equivocal or half-hearted words, in the face of the daily slaughter, the maiming of mothers’ and fathers’ lives, simply will not do…the silence and equivocation that we have seen for the most part on the part of the Irish bishops over the past 40 years as Irish mothers have travelled to Britain for abortion. If it were Catholic priests or Jews who were being killed, or threatened with being killed, by national laws in Britain or in other parts of the world, would we expect, any day of the week, ever to enter a Catholic Church for Mass without the matter being mentioned, or being prayed about at that Mass?” Would we not be denouncing, and rightly denouncing, the killing of Catholic priests or Jews, in every pulpit in the world—notwithstanding the past sins and scandals associated with members of the Catholic Church? The Jew, the priest, the unborn child are all created in the image and likeness of God.

Also, in the spirit of friendly dialogue, I implore all Catholic bishops throughout the world to speak out clearly and categorically that politicians who vote for and publicly support abortion legislation such as that just passed by the Irish Parliament, must publicly retract and refute the position they have adopted before receiving the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Holy Communion in Whose image every unborn child targeted by wicked abortion legislation is made? It’s an absurd rationalization to suggest that bishops speaking up clearly and categorically on the public sacrilegious reception of the Holy Eucharist is turning the Sacrament into a battleground or circus, as has been claimed. I ask you again, if Catholic priests or bishops were targeted by the legislation passed by the Irish Parliament, for example, so that they could be executed with impunity, would you or would you not say publicly that politicians who voted for or who supported such legislation, without apologizing, retracting and refuting their position, may not go forward to receive Holy Communion? What is the difference in God’s eyes between the sanctity of life of a priest or a bishop or the sanctity of life of an unborn child?

Throughout Britain, Ireland and Europe, the failure of Catholic bishops to teach their flocks on matters relating to the fundamental right to life is directly responsible for great confusion and, consequently, for the failure of the overwhelming majority of Catholics, both clerical and lay, to provide truly effective resistance to the greatest legalized slaughter of human beings in the history of the world. Countless millions of unborn children are being killed each year and the policy of very many Catholic bishops in Europe is contributing hugely to this deplorable situation.

We mustn’t think that pro-life organizations on their own, all of them marching in perfect step with each other, can achieve anything definitive against the culture of death on our own. We must do everything we possibly can, not least by prayer and fasting, to involve church leaders in the war against the culture of death. I was delighted that the bishops on the Bishops’ panel at the Convention yesterday spoke about the need to work in partnership with the laity. The only thing I would add, Your Excellencies, is that we need your leadership. You have the charism, the grace of your ordination as bishops, and of the sacrament of your priesthood, and when you speak the truth you speak to Catholics and to non-Catholics with inspiring authority.

… the Catholic laity throughout the world must start burning with righteous indignation…

Thanks to LifeSiteNews for posting this speech online. Their report on the Legatus event is located here.

Mr. Smeaton provided some powerful commentary as well on recent statements by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, noting particularly that, “Standing up against the worldwide homosexual agenda is crucial for the protection of children.”

Thank God for Mr. Smeaton and for the Legatus team. They are examples to the rest of us neither to be cowed by the daunting task of holding Bishops accountable nor by the enormity of the evil that we face down.

As I’ve said many times before, when the Catholic Bishops of Canada and the world take seriously their duty and their authority, the demon of abortion will be bound and unborn children will be safe once more. In the meanwhile, common folks must act.

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