For decades, the Supreme Court’s decision to hijack the abortion question blunted the moral impetus for secular and religious leaders alike. It allowed for a dishonest debate, and for the left to claim our elected representatives alone have jurisdiction over matters of life and death, while rarely exercising this jurisdiction. For decades, from both the church pulpit and the bully pulpit, it allowed for cowardice. Soon that may be ending.
For years, Supreme Court rulings like Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey allowed our leaders to hide. Republicans could campaign against it, rallying their base and decrying its injustice, then once in power make the excuse that, like it or not, Roe was “the law of the land.”
Democrats alike could claim they were personally against abortion, but believed it was up to the woman. Moreover, they didn’t need to vote much on the issue — it was already decided; it was “the law of the land.”
Even Catholic bishops could shirk confrontation, pointing to those politicians’ dodges and excuses, and hiding behind the same. No drastic action needed.
Those days are over, thank God. Over the weekend, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone sent three letters: one to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, one to the faithful of the archdiocese, and one to the priests. In them, he detailed the difficult decision he’d made to bar the speaker from communion in San Francisco, before repentance and absolution.
The decision, he wrote, came after many years of prayer, and multiple refusals from Pelosi to change her ways or, in the end, even to meet with him. Instead, Pelosi was growing only more vocal in her support for abortion, even citing her Catholic faith as justification and directly challenging Pope Francis on the issue. He didn’t seek to punish; only to guide back to the faith.
The partisan reaction to the archbishop’s decision was quick and vicious. The archbishop’s “chief loyalty is not to Christ,” the editorial staff of The San Francisco Chronicle squealed.
The fight had finally come to a head, and no one suspected it would be easy. Little, however, could be done to avoid it, save simple cowardice.
That’s because for the politicians, the situation had changed dramatically. Texas’s Senate Bill 8 had successfully banned killing a child with a beating heart, convincing Pelosi and other abortion-supporting politicians to speak out more publicly than they had before.
Next, the leaked Supreme Court draft frightened Democrats into believing the end of Roe and Casey was nigh.