(Pastoral Statement of Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI)
Abortion Is The Leading Cause Of Death In The USA And Worldwide
More human beings died in abortion that any other cause of death in 2020. The statistics compiled by Worldometers gives the astounding heart- breaking reminder that there were over 42.6 million abortions worldwide this past year. Abortion was almost more than all other causes combined. Since Roe v Wade 48 years ago 62 million precious babies have been brutally destroyed in abortion in the USA, far surpassing all the military personnel death in all our wars. This past year abortions almost doubled the half a million who died because of COVID. This terrible holocaust continues to increase because sadly, by many, unborn babies are still not recognized and appreciated as human beings. Biology and all recent medical research affirms our belief based on many scriptural references and constant teaching of the church that from the first moment of conception, these precious babies are unique, living human beings made in the very image of God calling us to be pro-life and pro-eternal life at all stages of life and they die a brutal, violent death in abortion. Our motto is; choose life for both mother and child.
A Woman’s Decision?
We often hear that the government nor anyone else should tell a woman what to do with her body. However, our government routinely enacts laws which prevent people from doing certain actions both to their own bodies and other peoples’ bodies. Abortion is not about a woman making a decision about her own body. The child in the mother’s womb is a separate, human being with its own heartbeat, DNA, blood type and fingerprints. Sadly, the vast majority of abortions are done as a form of birth control because the precious tiny child is “inconvenient, too expensive or a burden”.
Abortion is the Death Penalty
Pope Francis has strongly stated that “abortion is the death penalty for the unborn.” Years ago, St. Pope John Paul II in similar words called abortion capital punishment for the precious unborn and called abortion an unspeakable crime and “an attack on God himself.” In this moment in history where there are many movements to terminate capital punishment for hardened criminals by using more humane means of punishment like lifelong incarceration, it is deplorable that there are many government leaders, court officials and others who want to increase the ultimate death penalty on totally innocent, unborn tiny persons. Where is our moral sense and dignity as a society? Pope Francis as Popes before him, along with the US Catholic Bishops, state that the death of the unborn in abortion is the preeminent life issue of the many life issues that must be respected, promoted and protected at all stages of life. Among the many moral – social issues that demand our pastoral attention, the abominable massacre of God’s tiny children in abortion, which Biden wants to increase, is the greatest and gravest moral evil in our country. Alveda King has stated that abortion is the greatest civil rights issue in our country.
President Biden’s Abortion Orders and calls Abortion Essential Healthcare
Our new President who professes to be a devout Catholic, calls abortion essential healthcare. He pledged to overcome division and promote unity but in his first days in office he issued several presidential orders and plans to radically increase abortions which has opened a chasm of division in our country and with the bishops and that clearly contradict the church’s teaching on the sanctity of life at its very beginning and religious freedom. Sadly, our Catholic president Joe Biden as Cardinal Timothy Dolan strongly states supports a platform of “gruesome capital punishment for innocent pre-born babies. How can we sustain a culture that recoils at violence, exclusion, suicide, racism, injustice, and callousness toward those in need, if we applaud, allow, pay for and promote the destruction of the most helpless the baby in the womb?” Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Chairmen of the USCCB Pro-Life Committee strongly states, “fighting abortion is the most important human right effort of our time and our age.” Archbishop Gomez, President of the USCCB notified Biden that the Catholic bishops very much wanted to dialogue with him about many national issues where there is agreement and disagreement. Gomez states, “our new president Biden has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the area of abortion, contraception, marriage and gender and undermines the family.”
Biden’s Presidential Orders
Biden’s executive orders are antithetical to reason, violate human dignity and are completely incompatible with Catholic teaching. Among the saddest orders of Biden was his announcement on the 48th anniversary of Roe v Wade on his 3rd day in office that he intends to “codify this decision”, meaning making it forever the law of the land in the USA. This Catholic President made no reference nor offered a word of compassion or comfort as regards the 62 million precious children of God aborted in the past 48 years. Then in another order Biden, the first American president ever to specifically do so, clearly stated his intention to force all Americans taxpayers cover the cost of all elective abortions including the “brutal murdering”, yes that is what it is, of tiny little sheep of Jesus that survive a barbaric abortion. This infanticide decision puts our country which prides itself on the promotion of life and liberty for all in the shameful category with only North Korea, China, Canada and Vietnam. President Biden, who has declared abortion as essential healthcare, supports the granting of millions of dollars for abortion services through the new ARP. Biden with his abortion orders and plans for infanticide has marked himself already to be the most abortion American president in history.
The Bishops Must Speak Out and Pray for Our President
We American bishops with our priests, women and men religious, and all-American Catholics and all people of good will must clearly tell our president we cannot comply with his abortion orders and infanticide. Abortion is a serious moral violation of our conscience and would be an even more serious grievous offense of conscience to pay for this brutal killing. The Word of God encourages us to pray for our government leaders and we must pray for our president and work together for the common good. The Bible also strongly calls us to speak out and correct our leaders when they commit serious moral injustices that abuse and destroy the weakest and most vulnerable. Now is the moment to stand up for what we believe and hold most sacred. If we do not act now who will? If not now, when? Now is the moment to imitate St. Peter in the Acts of the Apostles who stated, “we must first obey God rather than men.” We bishops, our priests and supported by our dedicated Catholic people have the God given moral authority, the pastoral responsibility and means and the abundant spiritual power of the Holy Spirit to not let our president enact these orders.
A National Pro-Life Pastoral Plan and Strategy
This is a grace moment of God for us bishops supported by our priests and guided by the powerful Holy Spirit to begin now to formulate a National Pro-Life Pastoral Plan and Strategy to promote the respect of all human life but especially for the precious unborn for all the parishes of our country.
What elements need to be included in this national pastoral pro-life strategy?
• We need clear moral statements of our bishops denouncing this great evil and strongly and clearly present our doctrinal belief and constant teaching of the Catholic Church based on sacred scripture and latest science and about the sacredness of the life of the unborn. This teaching must reach into all of the parishes, including our schools of the USA.
• Prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit is our greatest means to promote the sacredness of human life and to overcome abortion. The bishops should include in this plan that in every Catholic parish in the USA there will be at least once a month a holy hour of adoration before the blessed sacrament and a monthly pro-life Mass for this purpose, and this intention will be included in all Sunday Masses. Prayerful, non-violent, peaceful marches and public events should be organized in our cities. At a diocesan level all parishes should be organized for daily prayer, especially praying the rosary, in front of Planned Parenthood, the largest supplier of abortions, reaching last year a record high level of 354,000 babies destroyed, and other abortion centers. Prayer is the answer to the culture of death.
• We need to constantly address these issues with our president and all government leaders, on a national, state and local level and constantly use our Catholic and secular media to proclaim our life message, and fully support legislation to end abortion in our land.
• Dioceses with their parishes will have programs that welcome and provide all women considering abortion all the means to encourage them to always choose life. This includes and establishing more pro-life pregnancy centers and opening our arms to receive all women who might have had an abortion.
• Bishops, priests, deacons and religious, all teachers must preach, teach and must speak out more clearly and forcefully on this vital life issue and become more involved in pro-life activities at every level. We especially need to involve more of our national Catholic organizations, like the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters, National Cursillo Movement, National Youth Organizations and many others. We need to call all of our people to prayerful, moral public protest in a political, social and economic approach.
These are some of many other pro-life strategies that should be included in our pastoral plan to overcome the horror of abortion and the murder of tiny precious children who survive this brutal process.
A Grave National Scandal for the Catholic Church
Catholic president Biden’s many adamant and clear public presidential order after order and plans on encouraging and forcing abortion, including infanticide, marks himself already as the most pro-abortion president in history. And at the same time his hypocrisy of receiving Holy Communion is causing now a grave national scandal for the Catholic Church in the USA, and especially for young people who are taught, if in serious sin you are not worthy of communion, but first must repent. He should not be allowed to receive holy communion. Because Biden has freely and publicly chosen to reject the clear Catholic teaching flowing from a doctrine and constant teaching on human life and abortion, he has broken Eucharistic consistency and he must accept the moral consequences of his free decision. This is not a punishment but direct result of his clear free choice. This is the constant teachings and action of the church on similar major issues like Catholics who do not obey the church’s major teaching as regards marriage.
Archbishop Naumann, stated strongly, “it is a scandal” for Biden to say he is a “devout” Catholic but supports abortion, “unless he repents he should not receive the Eucharist.” Good faithful Catholics and the unborn, the little sheep of Jesus on whom Catholic president has imposed capital punishment, are shocked and openly disturbed by the extreme abortion orders and infanticide plans of the president, and are pleading for their Shepherds, the bishops, for a united common moral outcry and a common pastoral action to address this grave moral evil and the scandal of the president receiving holy communion.
A Canonical and Pastoral Reply
The Catholic Church teaches in canon 915 that Catholics who are “obstinately persevering in manifest great sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” According to a 2004 memo issued to the US bishops by the wisdom filled theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, former Prefect of the congregation for the Doctrine of Faith who is now Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI, a Catholic politician who is consistently campaigning for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws manifests formal cooperation with great sin and must be denied the Eucharist. This decision flows from the inspired word of God of Paul to the Corinthians when he warns them that those who partake of the Eucharist in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of Christ. This is what Biden does each time he receives communion.
The Voice of Jesus and Mary
Jesus reminds us in different ways, if you love me, if you are my disciples show it by your faithfulness to me and my principles and values and keep my commands. Is there any higher good than saving from abortion and murder Jesus most precious little sheep the unborn? For Christ and our blessed Mother Mary, abortion, the killing of the precious unborn of course is a life and death issue as it must be for all Catholic, especially for all leaders in our Church.