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Beyond Roe: Building a Civilization of Love

Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
Catholic Online


In the past I had the honor of serving as a Deacon at St. Benedicts’ Catholic Church in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. This parish is becoming a center for authentic Catholic renewal. Under the faithful leadership of Father James Kauffman, it is undergoing a time of true growth on every front; in the beauty of the liturgy, the faith of the members and the influence of their example. The parish feeds my growing hope that what many commentators on Catholic faith and life are calling the “reform of the reform”, under Pope Benedict XVI, is truly underway in my own Diocese, as well as in the rest of the world.

After serving at the altar during the glorious Sunday Liturgy (one that was impeccably and refreshingly faithful to the rubrics), proclaiming the Gospel and preaching to a community of the faithful who were hungry for holiness, I was elated. Father Jim and several members of the parish took my wife, youngest son and I to lunch after Mass. During the course of the meal, the conversation turned to a subject that comes up whenever I visit with anyone. This is probably because of my decades of involvement as a human rights lawyer and pro-life policy activist. The subject was the future of the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade.

The parish will be having a pro-life week and these members asked if I would agree to come and speak. The conversation then moved to the broader subject, the current make up of the United States Supreme Court and my thoughts on the possible replacements occasioned by the impending retirement of the Chief Justice.

I told my hosts that I thought Roe was on its way out because it was imploding from within. I noted that it was not founded upon law, but relied upon junk science, bizarre ramblings and errant history - and that it was on a collision course with itself in light of subsequent opinions. I told them that I believed it was going to be reversed as soon as the next inevitable appointment(s) are made to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, I then added the “clincher”, saying “The end of Roe is not the end of the culture of death. In fact, when the reversal comes, our task really begins. There will probably be legal struggles in every State; akin to the past horror of the horrid phenomenon of ‘slave Sates’ and ‘free States’.”

I certainly had their attention at this point, so I went on: “We are the ones who are now called to build the new culture of life and civilization of love. Anytime persons are treated as property to be used rather than gifts to be received, the culture of death has taken root. It is about more than abortion. We must dig out the roots of this evil and plant the seeds of the civilization of love to replace the culture of death. Remember, in the observation of Pope John Paul the Great, abortion is only the ‘cutting edge’ of the culture of death. We have much more to do than simply reversing Roe!”

What followed was a long conversation wherein I shared my thoughts on the movement to which I have devoted my entire adult life. I now share those thoughts with my readers.


It has been thirty two (32) years since that infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade. With the stroke of a judicial pen, unelected Justices consigned an entire class of persons, children in the first home of the whole human race (their mothers womb), to the status of property. I will never forget the date, January 22, 1973.

Like millions, I have prayed, marched and worked tirelessly to overturn this horrid decision and end the killing. As a human rights lawyer I have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend pro-life protestors. I still join the thousands annually who travel to Washington, D.C. to pray and stand in solidarity with children in the womb and the second victims, their mothers. The right to life is the fundamental human rights issue of our age because without it there are no other rights. It is also the great freedom movement of our day because without the freedom to be born, there are no other freedoms.

After three decades of pro-life activity I am still labeled by those who seek to protect the so called “right” to kill children in the womb as “religious right.” I tried to stop caring about labels. After all, the old children’s jingo “sticks and stones…” does have some merit. Names should not hurt me. However, they still do. I have never liked being called a “conservative.” However, I am decidedly NOT a “liberal” because of what that term has come to mean. Finally, I deplore the theft of the term “progressive” by those who want to call a return to paganism or libertinism “progress”. I am a Catholic. I believe that what the Catholic Church teaches about life is true. I try to inform all of my life, including my social, economic and ...

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