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Straight Guy with the Catholic Eye: Pro-life priest plans to vote for Bush

By Matt Abbott

Father Peter West of Priests for Life (www.priestsforlife.org) plans to vote for President Bush in November. He explains why in the following e-letter:

"Below is a list of President Bush's pro-life efforts and accomplishments in regard to protecting children in the womb and promoting the sanctity of life. I include some accomplishments in other areas but mostly focus on his pro-life record. This list is by no means comprehensive. When considering other issues much more could be added to the list of positive things that Bush has done since he has been in office.

"I started to compile this list shortly after the President was reinaugurated after hearing from many, who consider themselves pro-life, that Bush was not really pro-life. I disagreed and began compiling this list. I had no idea when I started that it would be so long.

"Some may ask if President Bush is so pro-life why hasn't abortion ended. President Bush has not had an opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. Also, in practically every effort to protect the unborn President Bush has been opposed mostly by pro-abortion Democrats.

"Is President Bush perfect? No. Do I agree with him on everything? No. But I look at his overall record and consider the alternative. Senator Kerry is a pro-abortion extremist. He has pledged to only appoint pro-abortion judges to the Supreme Court who will uphold Roe vs. Wade.

"I plan to vote for President Bush for re-election and I hope you will do the same."

(To see the rest of Father West's e-letter, go to www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1140835/posts.)

*****

Two Catholic mothers' views on pro-abort pols receiving Communion

From "an open letter to our spiritual leaders," by Mary J. Drewes of Coleraine, MN:

"Last evening, we Catholics watched as yet another bishop told the entire country that we, as Catholics, must vote for a candidate considered by the Church to be pro-life. As a lifelong Catholic, I am disheartened by this directive for a number of reasons; foremost being that electing a pro-life candidate will not bring about the intended goal, which is to overturn Roe v. Wade. The lack of progress by our pro-life movement is not the result of politicians who support abortion rights but rather the growing number of people who accept abortion as a legitimate solution to an unintended pregnancy. After thirty-one years of battle, we are losing ground. This should be a signal that it is time to re-examine our tactics. Speaking as a mother, I am convinced that if we do not change our current divisive approach, we will remain locked in a no-win situation.

"If it is changing the minds and hearts of the faithful that is our goal, I believe the hierarchy would do well to turn to mothers; the real experts at mind-bending. Many a mother has been confronted with the realization that her adult child does not share her values. The time for use of spanking and time-outs has long since passed so we spend our days and nights planning a new strategy, refusing to accept failure, and ultimately putting our case before the Lord. I believe our church leaders could learn from this approach. We need Holy Mother Church to present the gospel ideals as a model for our lives but we also need Church to accept that the Holy Spirit has a role in our personal redemption. With regard to the consideration that Communion be denied to certain members of the church, I would like to suggest a review of all four gospels. After consecrating the bread and wine and sharing it with those at table with Him, Jesus leaned over and quietly told his betrayer, 'Hurry and do what you must.' 'None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him.' Jesus did not exclude his betrayer from this most intimate of moments nor did he chastise him publicly.

"On a more personal note, I experienced a defining moment thirty-one years ago, the year of Roe v. Wade. My husband and I discovered we were pregnant with our youngest child and were agonizing over how we could financially accommodate one more little one when a non-Catholic suggested that I have an abortion. When I told him that it was 'too late,' he asked how this could be since he knew that I was in my first trimester. I told him that we already loved this baby. This man was looking for an argument but had no response when confronted with a mother's love. He later told me that he was able to let go of his prejudice against my church because of this encounter. A gentle, non-confrontational approach does yield results."

And this is a response to Mary's open letter, from long-time pro-life and Catholic activist (and mother) Arlene Sawicki of South Barrington, IL:

"Although I applaud Mary J. Drewes for choosing not to abort her baby thirty-one years ago, when her baby was a financial burden to a then young husband and wife, the logic of her open letter to spiritual leaders eludes me.

"Is she saying that in order to win the pro-life battle and divert any prejudice against the Catholic Church, we must continue to use a 'gentle, non-confrontational approach' to yield results? Should we be so concerned about petty bias and bigotry when entering the battle against the 'culture of death' that we refrain from proclaiming the truth boldly?

"Is she arguing that if every Catholic in Congress today would be a pro-life legislator, we couldn't overturn Roe v. Wade? How would we know that if we never had a chance to try?

"There is profound clarity and truth in North Dakota Bishop Samuel Aquila's recent statement, 'Catholics who separate their faith life from their professional and social activities are putting the salvation of their souls in jeopardy.' He further stated, that many Catholics 'obtain their information on what the Church teaches and believes through the media.' Can we agree that this is where much of the confusion and divisiveness comes from?

"Mrs. Drewes would make me believe that she has not yet associated the idea that some choices that Catholics make could jeopardize their eternal salvation...including the choice to abort their babies, or to support pro-abort legislation. Perhaps some things she believes about the Catholic Church has been inspired by the media - certainly not by the Catechism, Scriptures and Vatican II.

"Her reference to Jesus' private confrontation with his betrayer Judas at the Last Supper was not the only way Jesus approached the sinner. He often lashed out publicly at the hypocritical and self-serving Scribes and Pharisees, calling them a 'brood of vipers,' 'whitened sepulchers,' etc. - and to the weak in faith around Him, "How long can I endure you? [Mark 9:19]. To the apostle Peter, 'Get out of my sight, you satan! You are not judging by God's standards but by man's!'

"It is within the anointing and authority of Catholic Bishops to support the teachings of the Church which has steadfastly proclaimed the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and the state of grace one must be in to participate in this Holy Sacrament. When one is entering into communion with Jesus Christ, one is also in union with the His Church and its teachings.

"Can we venture to say that most Catholic politicians and Catholics have not read the encyclical Evangelium Vitae [the Gospel of Life]? It is within the power of our Bishops to deny Communion to those who are out of 'union' with the consistent teachings of the Church.

"Christ Himself admonishes us to remember not to judge by the world's standards, but by God's."

I have to side with Arlene on this one!

Contact

Matt Abbott
http://www.catholic.org IL, US
Matt Abbott - Author, 661 869-1000

Email

mattcabbott@catholicexchange.com

Keywords

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