From a column from his awesomness Bishop Vasa of of Baker, Oregon.
…The reason for the increased awareness and even concern on the part of the pro-life community is the specter of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) which is highly rumored to be in the works at the federal level. It is this act which has stimulated the bishops of the United States to launch a massive postcard campaign calling upon the House and Senate to abandon FOCA. While further details about the dramatic impact of FOCA on our American culture can be found in many places, I will simply say that it would establish abortion as a federally protected right and, as I understand it, preclude state limitation or regulation of abortion. Further, since abortion would be a federally protected right, it is very possible that even Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Physicians would be mandated to provide this heinous service.
Thus I strongly urge all who have a glimmer of concern for the lives of pre-born children to engage themselves in this postcard campaign. This is not an action which would limit or alter present permissive abortion laws, which some so-called Catholic pro-choice persons might object to, it would simply preclude a dramatic expansion of that permissiveness. Thus it would be very difficult for any Catholic, no matter how much in favor of abortion itself, to find a reason to refuse to participate in this campaign. At the same time, I do not see how any Catholic senator or representative could vote for the passage of FOCA without recognizing that such a vote would constitute a direct and intentional declaration of their disdain for Catholic teaching. Such a vote would be tantamount to a public declaration of their intention to abandon the Catholic faith. It would be imperative that the faith consequences of such a declaration be allowed to fall fully on the heads of those who would make it.
The writing from St. John applies: “Beloved, we love God because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from Him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
We of the Catholic faith certainly know that love of God is central to our tenets, this is the appealing part. It is hard to imagine a Catholic saying, “I am a Catholic in good standing but I do not love God.” But the inspired scriptures tell us that whoever does not love his brother or neighbor does not and, indeed, cannot love God. This is the challenging part. The people of Jesus’ day understood this and it was this understanding that prompted them to ask, “And who is my neighbor?” For all of us, and especially for Catholic legislators in every strata of government, it is necessary to declare, in conformity with the Natural Law and the teaching of the Catholic Church that, the pre-born child is our brother, our sister, our neighbor!
It may sound a little strong to state that legislators “hate” the pre-born child but hate is an absence of love and love means to wish another well. There is nothing about abortion that wishes the pre-born child well. The preservation of abortion “rights” is already an absence of love for the pre-born child but the passage of FOCA could be construed as nothing less than active and positive disregard, even hatred, for these our brothers and sisters. To paraphrase St. John, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but votes for FOCA, thus showing a disregard for his pre-born brother or sister, he is a liar.” Lots of things can be rationalized in government but I do not see any way in which any Catholic could rationalize or justify an affirmative vote for FOCA.
It is not necessary for your postcards to be as outspoken as this bishop but you do have an obligation to participate in this concerted effort to show love for the tiniest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters. President-elect Obama made it very clear, prior to the election, that he would happily sign FOCA and the millions of Catholics who voted for him hopefully did so for reasons other than this promise and certainly not because of it. It seems to me that it is particularly incumbent upon these same voters to make it clearly known to their representatives that their vote may not in any way be taken as a sign of support for FOCA.
Another way in which we show our affirmative love for our pre-born brothers and sisters is by way of our annual memorial on Jan. 22. This year the Diocesan Office of Pro-life Activities has scheduled a rosary and Mass at St. Joseph’s in Prineville on Thursday evening, Jan. 22. The rosary will commence at 6:30 p.m. with Mass beginning at 7 p.m. While I recognize that many parishes host similar memorial Masses to pray for the two-fold victims of abortion, the child and the mother, I invite any who can to join me at the rosary and Mass at St. Joseph’s in Prineville.
Regardless of how many years have passed since the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision and regardless of how prevalent and routine abortion has become in this country, the simple truth remains, it is an act of extreme violence to the pre-born child and to the distressed mother. Thus, if anyone says, “I love God” and still favors abortion, he is, to quote St. John, a liar. May we all live out faithfully what it means to love God.
Bishop Vasa has the gift of telling the truth without rancor and totally in charity. That loving our neighbor is not synonymous with holding back from the full truth. The Bishop says so much here that is worth requoting.
I especially like what he writes on love and hate. That love is willing the good for someone.
The unborn certainly are not feeling the love when the scapels hits them or the surgical vacuum approaches.
In their thinking the pro-abortion politician is willing a good towards the mother, but the unborn is to be sacrificed for this good.
In their hatred the unborn child is reduced to the inhuman – the tissue mass.
The child is seen as the enemy to be eliminated and just like throughout human history whatever person you want to turn into property you first dehumanize. You can not love God and hate his creation and every person is in the image and likeness of God. Abortion is a remote form of deicide as is the direct killing of all innocents.
Some of the progressive Catholic sites have been making the charge the FOCA is much ado about nothing and that it has no chance of passage and that the Bishops efforts in this regard are an over reaction. I would agree that the passage of FOCA is certainly not going to be immediate. FOCA was originally introduced in 1989 and in 1993 President Clinton said he would sign it if passed. We can be thankful that Sen Carol Moseley Brawn held it up since she wanted it even more extreme and subsequently the Republican Party took control of Congress. The bill was reintroduced in 2007, but has not picked up much steam. This has to do with more than the fact that President Bush would veto it if passed. FOCA would legalize partial birth abortion once again. The partial birth abortion ban always had a large amount of support and was only prevented initially from passing because of President Clinton’s vetoes. So there is a sizable number of Democrats who voted for the ban and even with Democrats picking up more seats a number of these new Democrats ran as being pro-life (and some of them might actually be so). So even if the Democrats has picked up 60 senators and a filibuster proof Senate I think they would have difficulties passing this even with a couple culture of death Republicans like Sen Snowe. President-elect Obama had previously said he would sign FOCA and said it would be the first thing he would do as President. Whether or not he would keep this promise is a moot questions considering the difficulties of even getting the bill in front of him for signature.
That being said does that mean that the Bishop’s campaign is exaggerated? I think not. Any threat that involves the killing of the innocent deserves to be taken seriously. The passage of FOCA would certainly be more likely if we just sat back not raising the issue. While I think that passage of FOCA would be difficult, I could certainly be wrong and the prudential thing to do is to take the threat seriously to defeat it. Besides this campaign against FOCA provides double duty. It keeps people in the pro-life movement focused and letting our legislatures know exactly what we believe and that we are not going away just because a predominately pro-abortion party is now in charge. We have to be vigilant since the culture of death has to be actively fought back. It is easy to be discouraged in the face of what looks like the most pro-abortion administration from the president on down to cabinet positions filled with people who make NARAL happy. How the Supreme Court could easily shift to Moloch for years to come is also extremely depressing. Yet we must never tire of doing good and that means actively fighting the culture of death via the spiritual life of prayer and fasting and the active life of being politically involved along with working in the pro-life movement and helping and supporting women to choose life. We do our part to change the culture by becoming holy ourselves.
Bishop Vasa has strong words towards those who would vote for FOCA, but we must remember that when we don’t do our part to help bring a culture of life that we are not loving God fully either.