Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
October 26, 2008

   In their speeches at the Alfted E. Smith Memorial Banquet a week or so ago both Senator Obama and Senator McCain were witty and charming, self-deprecating and gentlemanly in their allusions to each other. Senator Obama in the course of his remarks voiced his conviction that "we are all God's children."   To which, apart from a gaggle of supercilious atheists, the rest of us will reply "Amen!" But that being so, might I address to Senator Obama a rhetorical question: Senator, given your commendable belief that we are all God's children, how is it that you have co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) and have even given your public pledge to sign it into law as your very first official act as President of the United States, when this legislation will strip away all existing restrictions on abortion, legalizing even the barbarous procedure known as Partial Birth Abortion, a procedure that was outlawed by Congress not so very long ago  with nearly unanimous consent, legislation further that would deny to doctors, nurses and other medical personnel the right to refuse to participate in procedures that violate their consciences; legislation finally that would constrain tax-payers, including those who object on grounds of conscience, into funding abortions with their tax dollars? Is the expanded slaughter to which FOCA will open wide the door the right way to be of service to "God's children"? For these unborn babies, these smallest, most defenseless, most innocent little guys and gals are God's children, too, just as much as we are! After all, doesn't science tell us that the species to which an organism is assigned is determined not by the organism's size but by its DNA? And the DNA of an unborn baby carried by a human mother is the DNA that is the signature of the species Homo Sapiens. That DNA is already there, all of it, right from the start, right from the moment of conception. The only thing that this newly created organism needs in order to develop into a fully formed human baby is nourishment in a secure environment; the master plan that will control all future development is already there, requiring no further intervention. So if "we are all God's children", so is the unborn child a child of God. He or she shares the same basic pattern of DNA as do the rest of us. WHY, THEN, THIS WAR ON DEFENSELESS BABIES WHO, LIKE US, ARE GOD'S CHILDREN, TOO? And may I be allowed a follow-up question to Senator Biden.
   Senator Biden, you recently told Tom Brokaw and the millions who were watching the interview he conducted with you on Meet the Press that as a believing Catholic you are personally opposed to killing unborn babies but that you cannot impose your own private views on the general public. As we seem now to be on the verge of a major expansion of abortion "rights", one might accordingly assume that you would react to so massive a victory as many now predict for the proponents of unrestricted abortion (and to so staggering a defeat for the pro-Life cause) with at least a certain measure of sadness, if not with indignation or even rage, despite your professed readiness to abide by the majority will. How is it, then, that a comment you have made on another recent occasion seems to convey not so much a sorrowing acquiescence in a fait accompli  as a tone of triumphant satisfaction? The reference is to your statement: "I strongly support Roe v. Wade.... That's why I led the fight to defeat Bork. Thank God he is not in the Court or Roe v. Wade would be gone by now." Senator, don't you seem to be saying: "And wouldn't THAT be a TERRIBLE thing?"
   Consistency, thou shouldst be living at this hour! America hath need of thee!

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 I always enjoy reading The Catholic Times, a genuinely Catholic newspaper, the official paper of the Diocese of La Crosse. One of the syndicated columnists whose comments appear regularly in that paper is Christopher Ruff. In the latest edition of The Catholic Times of October 16, 2008 Mr. Ruff takes up the important question:  Does the protection of innocent human life trump all other social issues? May I share his essay with you here.

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The House is on Fire!
    By: Christopher Buff
                 The Catholic Times--October 16, 2008

   In a talk on faithful citizenship in a parish the other day, I offered the following analogy.

   Imagine you are living in a house that has several issues in need of attention. There is a broken window that needs to be repaired. 'I'he insulation is bad, leading to high heating bills in winter. Paint is peeling ftom the window and door trim. And the roof leaks during rainstorms. Obviously these are problems that need to be addressed.

   Oh But did I mention The house is on fire!


    Suddenly, all the OTHER issues, pressing as they might be, become less compelling. The broken window can wait. LIVES are in immediate and mortal dangerfrom the burning house, and that is clearly where our attention needs to go.

   Our nation has many problems and challenges. Recent attention has been focused on ECONOMIC difficulties and the Wall Street bailout, and these NEED to be addressed, along with so much else.


   Abortion has snuffed out the lives of 45 million innocent children since the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973. Let's try to put this in perspective:

  1.  The number of U. S. casualties in all wars since 1776 is 654,000. That means abortions outnumber all war casualties in U. S. history 77 to 1.
  2.  The U.S. population today is just over 305 million; the number of deaths from abortion thus equals more than one seventh of that population.
  3.  Finally the world remembers with horror the Nazi holocaust in which 6 million Jews were slaughtered. The slaughter of the unborn is equal to the Nazi holocaust TIMES EIGHT!
  4.  These abortion statistics are for the U.S. alone. When the figures for abortion worldwide since 1973 are calculated the estimate leaps to somewhere around 1. 5 BILLION. What will it take to rouse us from slumber and get us out of the burning house?

   IT COULD GET WORSE. One of the legal initiatives being promoted by some during this political season is the "Freedom of Choice Act" or FOCA. If the house is on fire now, FOCA is a can of gasoline ready to ADD fuel to the blaze. That is why the BISHOPS of this country are SOUNDING THE ALARM.
   On September 19, Justin Cardinal Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote a letter to EVERY member of Congress, opposing this piece of legislation. "Despite its deceptive title," he wrote, "FOCA would DEPRIVE the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modes trestraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would COERCE all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. And FOCA would COUNTERACT any and all sincere efforts by government to REDUCE abortions in our country.

   Cardinal Rigaii noted that supporters of FOCA say it "would SWEEP AWAY HUNDREDS of anti-abortion laws (and) policies" that are presently in effect because they have not been judged to conflict with Roe v. Wade. These include bans on public funding of abortions as well as "modest and widely supported state laws" protecting women's safety, informed consent and parental rights.

   After observing that EVEN POLlTICIANS WHO ADVOCATE FOR abortion rights CLAIM TO WANT TO REDUCE the incidence of abortion, Cardinal Rigaii wrote, "We can't REDUCE abortions by PROMOTING abortion .... No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions."

    Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO., also wrote about FOCA in an Oct. 1 column in his diocesan newspaper. He noted that FOCA, if passed and signed into law, would reverse many of the gains won by the pro-life movement in the United States in the last 20 years. It would overturn in one stroke:
  1 . All 50 states' abortion reporting requirements;
  2.  44 states' laws concerning parental involvement;
  3 . 40 states' laws on restricting late-term abortions;
  4.  46 states' conscience protection laws for individual health care providers;
  5.  27 states' conscience protection lawsfor institutions;
  6.  38 states' bans on partial-birth abortions;
  7.  33 states' laws on requiring counseling before an abortion;
  8.  16 states' laws concerning ultrasounds belore an abortion.

   Without mentioning any candidate by name, he wrote that "When a candidate ... promises to promote ... the Freedom of Choice Act, Catholics and all people of good will have cause to question the sincerity of the candidate's determination to reduce abortions."

   Referring to a pastoral statement he co-authored with Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas on September 8, Bishop Finn went on to reiterate:

   "We can never vote for a candidate because of his or her permissive stand on abortion. At the same time, if we are inclined to vote for someone despite their pro-abortion stance, it seems we are morally obliged to establish a proportionate reason sufficient to justify the destruction of 45 million human persons through abortion. If we learn that our 'candidate of choice' further PLEDGES - through an instrument such as FOCA -TO ELIMINATE ALL EXISTING LIMITATIONS against abortion, it is that much more doubtful whether voting for him or her can EVER be morally justified under ANY circumstance."