I don't know when Father George Welzbacher, pastor of St. John of St. Paul parish, former pastor of St. Agnes in that same city, gets time to read. But he found a keeper of a column in "The Catholic Times", the newspaper of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
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!
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.
BUT ABORTION IS 0UR BURNING HOUSE.
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."