Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Interview With Deirdre McQuade

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 29, 2005 (Zenit) - The U.S. bishops' new spokeswoman for pro-life activities is no stranger in the battle to protect the unborn.

Deirdre McQuade, 37, the newly appointed director of planning and information at the bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, has seen a career already marked by study, activism and ecumenical dialogue.

The Parsippany, New Jersey, native co-founded Students for Life at Bryn Mawr and Haverford colleges, and went on to earn master's degrees in philosophy and divinity at the University of Notre Dame.

She counseled for four years at a pregnancy care center in South Bend, Indiana, and then worked for Bishop John D'Arcy in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend as director of pastoral research and outreach.

McQuade was also national program director at the Washington, D.C.-based Feminists for Life, and most recently worked as a grant program analyst at the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health. She shared with us her ideas about her new post.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in the struggles between the culture of life and the culture of death?

McQuade: Describing himself as the good shepherd, Jesus said, "The thief comes in the night to maim, steal, and destroy, but I came that they might have life and have it abundantly."

Proclaiming the Gospel of abundant life is a great calling today. Society urgently needs clarity on life matters. Too much is at stake -- thousands aborted daily in America alone; the walking wounded suffering after abortion; the exploitation of embryos and fetal tissue; the inexcusable neglect of the elderly, disabled and dying.

All of these reveal errors stemming from a bad root: the idolatrous worship of autonomy; the wedge between law and morality; and the slippery slope that values life merely in terms of productivity. Word games define away personhood, and so threaten our most vulnerable neighbors. Radical autonomy has its price. It is, ultimately, a lonely, isolating, and even destructive existence.

Signs of the culture of death surround us, but because Christ pledged to be with us "to the end of the age" I am also convinced there is hope if we remain grounded in prayer and the sacramental life of the Church.

Q: What do you see as key difficulties in dealing in the media with complicated issues such as embryonic stem cell research, genetic manipulation and euthanasia?

McQuade: The mass media does not allow much time to develop a subtle position or explain the implications of a teaching. The challenge is to provide clear responses that are also substantive.

Catholic communicators have the duty to help the media be aware of their ethical lenses, and to clarify our own. The prevalent, if unexamined, ethical philosophy shaping public debate on these matters is utilitarianism: the greatest good for the greatest number.

When it comes to cutting-edge medical research and technologies, its corollary -- the technological imperative -- comes into play, as well: "If we can do it, we should."

This summer, I was struck by a quotation by Rene Dubos displayed publicly at the National Institutes of Health: "In science as in other human activities, the speed of progress is less important than its direction."

When the human person is held in higher esteem than unqualified progress, then the dignity of life becomes the rate-determining factor. This quotation, properly understood, would actually question the ethos of labs throughout the country. In the media, any inquiry that challenges the technological imperative is often portrayed as anti-science and a step backward.

Medical researchers and reporters serve as modern-day priests, mediating the truth about health and life to the public. When they conduct their research with dignity, it is a great service to the common good. When they fail to do so -- as in illicit work with embryonic stem cells -- the healing arts suffer and many are misled.

Q: Where do you see the abortion issue heading?

McQuade: Public support of abortion on demand is declining. In one study, women placed abortion rights at the bottom of their list of priorities. Hundreds of thousands of young adults who have never known a day without legal abortion are standing up in the service of human life.

This is not surprising, as we are living with the wounds of 32 years of legalized abortion. Over 40 million infants, children, teens, and young adults are not among us who should be. They would have been our siblings, classmates, friends, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren -- or even our uncles and aunts!

There is a clearer sense now that did not exist in the 1970s and '80s -- abortion is not just between a woman and her doctor.

Moreover, the Roe v. Wade decision itself is receiving overdue criticism for its overreaching scope and faulty constitutional jurisprudence.

Even legal commentators who support legal abortion have said that Roe is not good constitutional law. A former clerk to Justice Blackmun, Edward Lazarus, calls it "indefensible ... one of the most intellectually suspect constitutional decisions of the modern era."

So the Church is now in a season of opportunity to make a critical difference. We need to build upon this momentum and communicate the pro-life message proactively.

Q: Are abstinence programs working?

McQuade: Chastity outreach programs help to serve the culture of life in a few ways.

In addition to helping to avoid untimely pregnancies, they develop character, the strength to make good decisions both now and in the future. They help young adults know the difference between a good relationship and an exploitative one, and how to build a solid foundation based on trust, not just hormones.

Q: Do you foresee any special priorities for the Church, given the rising secularism and antagonism toward religion in the United States?

McQuade: Just as Christ encountered the woman at the well -- with truth, boldness and compassion -- so must we encounter those enmeshed in the culture of death. Without accusation, we should reveal the shallow inadequacy of that "well" and offer something much deeper and profound, more refreshing and life-giving.

We want to build a world where human life is always loved and defended, and every form of violence banished ... a world in which abortion is the furthest thing from everyone's mind.

Certainly women deserve much better than abortion and its false promise of freedom. What will it take to meet the needs of women and their families? There is plenty of pro-life work for everyone to do, in every vocation and walk of life. In short, our work is cut out for us.

Q: How do the bishops see their role right now, especially in light of the difficulties in the past few years?

McQuade: The U.S. bishops continue to teach and shepherd the Catholic "flock," speaking out strongly on life issues. The charter document that guides all our efforts is their pastoral plan for pro-life activities, "A Campaign in Support of Life":

"[We] renew our call for individual Catholics and the many institutions and organizations of the Church to unite in an unprecedented effort to restore respect and legal protection for every human life -- to be what the Holy Father asks us to be: a people of life and a people for life. [...] It is our hope and expectation that in focusing on the need to respect and protect the lives of the innocent unborn and those who are disabled, ill, or dying, we will help to deepen respect for the life of every human being."

A recent initiative of the Pro-Life Secretariat is the Second Look Project, which challenges the public to reconsider the abortion issue, asking: "Abortion. Have we gone too far?"

Our Web site has a page devoted to Roe vs. Wade and its legal implications; and the series of "Roe Reality Checks" debunk over a dozen myths about that watershed case.

Q: What do you bring to the bishops' conference from your experience at women-centered organizations and institutions?

McQuade: In "Evangelium Vitae," John Paul II called for women "to promote a 'new feminism' which rejects the temptation of imitating models of 'male domination,' in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation."

Since college, I have focused on life issues from the perspective of women. A few of us started a pro-life group at Bryn Mawr and Haverford, and dozens of students came out of the woodwork when they discovered they were not alone. Together we debunked the myth that being pro-woman is tantamount to being pro-abortion.

Counseling at a pregnancy help center, I then developed a deeper understanding for the challenges women face in choosing life for their children.

At Feminists for Life of America, we affirmed the true dignity of women from a nonsectarian, civil rights foundation, speaking out against abortion from the best resources of the feminist movement. Finally, at the Office of Research on Women's Health, I became more aware of women's health concerns at all stages of life.

I have dedicated my work to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and of the unborn. Through her intercession, may all the unborn find protection; all mothers find consolation; and all pro-life workers, joyful endurance.

I also pray that her gentle love will draw abortionists and the most entrenched abortion advocates to the heart of her Son, so that they might have the courage to repent, humbly receive the grace of forgiveness, and promote the cause of life instead, "for nothing is impossible with God."

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Pro-life, Life, Abortion, McQuade

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 250 of 4,719

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Priestly Identity: Crisis and Renewal (Part 1)
Catholic Online

Al Qaeda...afraid of Benedict's message!
Hugh McNichol

Benedict XVI...calling all to hope...
Hugh McNichol

Perfect Women
Cheryl Dickow

Papal Palm Sunday Address - 'Enough With the Bloodshed'
Catholic Online

Spotlight on China
Catholic Online

Papal Homily for Palm Sunday
Catholic Online

Holy Week...Holy Time!
Hugh McNichol

Mary and Motherhood
Cheryl Dickow

The Void
Paul Sposite

Islamic violence wounds the global community!
Hugh McNichol

The Seven New Deadly Sins!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic benefits include Catholic principles!
Hugh McNichol

Remembering Father Alfred Kunz
Matt C. Abbott

David vs Goliath
Theresa Lisiecki

Happy Lent!
Paul Sposite

Diplomacy...Vatican style!
Hugh McNichol

Sub umbra Petri! (Under the Shadow of Saint Peter)
Hugh McNichol

Cuba...a neonascent Church!
Hugh McNichol

Kids in Conflict
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Writings of St. Augustine
Catholic Online

The Relevance of Lourdes at 150
Catholic Online

Hillary...what would Saint Norbert say!
Hugh McNichol

Lent...questions, answers and involvement!
Hugh McNichol

Mary, Mother of all Humanity, Hic et Nunc!
Hugh McNichol

Catholics...WAKE UP!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic Brotherhood with the People of the Covenant
Hugh McNichol

Have mercy on us O Lord! - Ash Wednesday
Hugh McNichol

Vote early, vote Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Christ, our global Alpha and Omega!
Hugh McNichol

Being Catholic means...total affirmation of being Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Seeing the World through New Eyes
Sarah Reinhard

Emulating the Angelic Doctor!
Hugh McNichol

Priests defend, commend Archbishop Raymond Burke
Matt C. Abbott

Saint Paul...a continued example of radical conversion!
Hugh McNichol

A renaissance of faith, reason and global cooperation....
Hugh McNichol

Cardinal Rigali's Homily at Life Vigil
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Silencing the Pope
Catholic Online

Papal Homily on Feast of Christ's Baptism
Catholic Online

Education and Gender
Catholic Online

The ignominy of Roe vs. Wade
Hugh McNichol

Papal Message for World Day of the Sick
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Planned Lecture at La Sapienza
Catholic Online

Pope's Letter to Jesuits' 35th General Congregation
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - Behold, the Lamb of God!
Catholic Online

That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart
Catholic Online

Sowing Hope in Sierra Leone
Catholic Online

God-incidences are the gift of kairos moments
Mary Regina Morrell

St. Augustine's Last Days
Catholic Online

Liturgy: When There's a Medical Emergency
Catholic Online

Marriage and Celibacy: Love's Link
Catholic Online

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Rooms in My Father's House
Cheryl Dickow

Resolutions for New Year 2008
Chris Anthony

Keep teaching Holy Father!!!
Hugh McNichol

Dangers of anti-Catholic academic extremism....
Hugh McNichol

The liturgy war
Matt C. Abbott

Some Answers to a Few Common Questions about Vocations
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Christmas reflections
Chris Anthony

The Lasting Contribution of The Servant of God Pope John Paul II
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

No more bobble-head Jesus'!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Baptist World Alliance
Catholic Online

The Virgin Without Sin
Catholic Online

Cardinal Vingt-Trois on His New Mission
Catholic Online

Archbishop Forte on Religion & Freedom: Part 1
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Chromatius of Aquileia, Pope, Benedict
Catholic Online

Pope's Address for Consistory of Cardinals
Catholic Online

Trafficking in Lives
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict - On Hope
Catholic Online

The Hidden Costs of Gambling
Catholic Online

A Vital, Life-Giving Message
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Christianity's Contribution
Catholic Online

Youth and Fashion's Modest Twist
Catholic Online

Papal Homily at the Consistory
Catholic Online

Love, Marriage and Happy Kids
Catholic Online

The Virtue of Obedience: Our Duty, Our Crown
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Vere dignum et justum est!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Bishops of Kenya
Catholic Online

Democracy in Danger in Venezuela
Catholic Online

The Life-Sapping Human Virus
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Sacred Time...Come Lord Jesus!
Hugh McNichol

How Christ-like are we in our lives?
Chris Anthony

A Retreat for Today's Christian Woman
Cheryl Dickow

Pope Benedict - On Trust in God
Catholic Online

God and Caesar Seen From Down Under
Catholic Online

Praying the Luminous Mysteries for our Clergy
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Culture's Pressure on Our Girls
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Papal Message on the Common Good
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - St. Jerome on the Bible
Catholic Online

What Every Parent Should Know About 'The Golden Compass'
Catholic Online

Cardinal Poupard on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

A Richer Liturgical Translation: Interview With Bishop Roche
Catholic Online

U.S. Bishops' Statement on War in Iraq
Catholic Online

The 'Golden Compass' is no treasure for children
Mary Regina Morrell

Bishop Skylstad's Address to U.S. Bishops' Fall Meeting
Catholic Online

Rewarding Failure
Catholic Online

On St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Online

Undermining Parents
Catholic Online

God...our theological E.F.Hutton!
Hugh McNichol

The Secular Vs. Religion?
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Jerome
Catholic Online

The Scourge of Poverty
Catholic Online

Sons and Daughters of God...EQUALLY!
Hugh McNichol

On Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
Catholic Online

Why Dads Matter
Catholic Online

Archbishop Chaput on Citizenship and Evangelization
Catholic Online

God Created Man for Life, Not Death
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for November
Catholic Online

Imposing 'Tolerance'
Catholic Online

A Turn to the Fathers: Interview With Father Robert Dodaro
Catholic Online

Evangelizing a Digital World
Catholic Online

Women Religious on Human Trafficking
Catholic Online

John Crosby on Von Hildebrand's Understanding of the Person
Catholic Online

Chicago law firm fights for civil rights, against death culture
Matt C. Abbott

On the Call to Martyrdom
Catholic Online

Media Benefits and Dangers
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - The Pharisee and the Publican
Catholic Online

Aborting Viable Lives
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Ambrose of Milan
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Prostitution: Legal Work or Slavery?
Catholic Online

Address of Holy See on Religious Liberty
Catholic Online

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

Escaping Poverty: Interview With Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
Catholic Online

Christ's Parable About the Need to Pray Always
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Eusebius of Vercelli
Catholic Online

Recovering subtle signs of our Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

On Peace, Missions and Justice
Catholic Online

Congratulations to His Eminence John Cardinal Foley!
Hugh McNichol

Giving Ourselves Completely to Mary
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

The 'Courage' to go 'Beyond Gay'
Matt C. Abbott

When Bioethics Turned Secular
Catholic Online

Confession Comeback
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Hilary of Poitiers
Catholic Online

Reemergence of Global Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Father Cantalamessa on the Leap of Faith
Catholic Online

Month of the Rosary
Catholic Online

Why Technology Needs Ethics
Catholic Online

Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care
Catholic Online

How Can Catholics Understand Mary as Co-Redemprix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate?
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

New Saint Book is Visually Stunning and Filled with Detail
Lisa M. Hendey

Papal Homily in Velletri
Catholic Online

Wednesday'a Audience - On St. Cyril of Alexandria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa Analyzes Relationship
Catholic Online

Holy See Address to U.N. General Assembly
Catholic Online

Homily From Red Mass in Washington
Catholic Online

Pope Remembers Cardinal Van Thuân
Catholic Online

The brave monks of Myanmar
Chris Anthony

Faith in Politics
Catholic Online

On Lazarus and World Hunger
Catholic Online

Fighting the Good Fight: Resisting Temptation
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Media frenzy buries U.N. goals

Holy See Statement on Climate Change
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Chrysostom's Social Doctrine
Catholic Online

China's Seven Sorrows
Catholic Online

Vatican Message to Muslims for Ramadan
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the First World and Lazarus
Catholic Online

Angels, God's Messengers in a world of fragile peace and Broken promises!
Hugh McNichol

Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Reorienting the Mass
Catholic Online

Report Card on Religious Freedom
Catholic Online

On Wealth and Poverty
Catholic Online

A Response to Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great'
Catholic Online

Vetoing children's health care?

The ideal family
Joseph Sinasac

Who does the judging?
Dennis Heaney

One mistake away

The Big House ban

In praise of the parish

Text of the USCCB statement for Respect Life Sunday 2007

The Outstanding Purity of Our Blessed Mother
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Educated flock

Religion and politics

Facing a door to the future
Dennis Heaney

A long debate

Who Are the True Progressives?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Petraeus offers a dose of reality

Insurgence
Robert Storr

Papal Address at Vespers
Catholic Online

Papal Coat of Arms Still Relevant
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Address at Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Catholic Online

On Loving Jesus as Mary Did
Catholic Online

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on 'Summorum Pontificum'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Trip to Austria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the Joy of Fatherhood
Catholic Online

Commentary on Artificial Hydration and Nutrition
Catholic Online

Vatican on Nutrition to Patients in Vegetative State
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Q-and-A Session With Youth in Loreto
Catholic Online

Take a Risk, Follow Your Call: the challenge of a lifetime!
Sisters of Bon Secours

Papal lessons

Family matters

Lessons from a tragedy
Dennis Heaney

Shopping blues
Joseph Sinasac

Marriage Breakdown: Expensive and Divisive
Catholic Online

Her darkness was a warning

The Light of Mother Teresa's Darkness - Part 2
Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 16:11-15
11 Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in the assembly of the ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:26--16:4
26 When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 2nd, 2016 Image

St. Athanasius
May 2: St. Athanasius, the great champion of the Faith ... Read More