While the history of how Catholics have contributed and maintained the Culture of Death is mostly known. This article in Crisis Magazine by R. Cort Kirkwood summarizes this history .
… But Pelosi’s eyewash aside, the real import of her remarks is that they remind us of an ugly truth: Catholic Democrats played a significant role in the creation of the contraceptive culture that led to the legalization of abortion. A Catholic, for instance, invented the birth-control pill, and it was Catholic clergy in Boston, for example, who cooperated in repealing the state’s ban on the sale of contraceptives. In 1963, Cardinal Richard James Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, appeared on a radio program and suggested that laws forbidding the sale of contraceptives should be repealed because “I have no right to impose my thinking, which is rooted in religious thought, on those who do not think as I do,” a reversal of his publicly stated position in 1948. Cushing was merely repeating what John F. Kennedy told the Houston Ministerial Association in 1960, which also prefigured Catholic New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s famous “personally-opposed-but …” position on abortion.
The Catholic role in repealing the laws on contraception is only part of the story. As Phil Lawler reported in his book, Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture, the scheme to legalize abortion took place not in a candle-lit basement where Satanists celebrated black masses, but at the home of America’s leading Catholic family, the Kennedys.
In 1964, Lawler wrote, leftist Catholic priests Robert Drinan, Charles Curran and other theologians convened at Hyannis Port, Mass., with the brain trust behind the Senate campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. They concocted the teaching that abortion could be justified if it were the “lesser of two evils” and that “a blanket prohibition might be more harmful to the common good” because political leaders might “impose their own private views on public policy. …The skillful operatives of the Kennedy family would round up the votes to end restrictions on abortion and eventually provide public subsidies. The Jesuit theologians would provide protective cover” and sabotage Catholic teaching in the universities. “Thus, the basic lines of ‘pro-choice’ rhetoric were sketched out by Catholic theologians, at the residence of America’s most famous Catholic family, nine years before the Roe v. Wade decision.”
It was natural and logical for a society that accepted contraception to eventually approve abortion. Firstly, the cultural race to the bottom coincided with the concomitant success of the Sexual Revolution and the population control movements, which flowered in the 1960s. Secondly, the moral decline followed the premise behind contraception: a child, the natural end of procreative sex, is unwanted. If some children were unwanted, legalizing their murder in the womb was a predictable next step. Though appointed by Republican president Dwight Eisenhower, leftist Supreme Court justice William Brennan orchestrated the legal denouement of what was begun by the Hyannis Port mafia. The renegade Catholic not only invented the “privacy” doctrine that invalidated Connecticut’s law forbidding the sale of contraceptives, but also excogitated the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the slaughter of innocents. Brennan’s reasoning in Roe v. Wade is accoutered in the language of “privacy” and “rights,” but it flows from the same polluted well as Cushing’s: A Catholic does not have the right to “impose [his] thinking” on those who believe differently. And yet, Brennan’s defiance of Catholic teaching was not considered serious enough to deprive him of a funeral mass at the Washington D.C. Cathedral of St. Matthew in 1997.
And then ends with:
… Which invites two questions. First, where does this leave the Church? Answer: In trouble. Second, what can be done about it? Answer: The bishops must step forward and lead, principally by demanding sound catechesis and formation of the faithful, and then by correcting Pelosi and her ilk, if necessary by enforcing Canon 915. They are shepherds. They must feed their sheep.
The rest of us must do our part. Above all, we must pray—without ceasing.
I am sympathetic to this viewpoint at the end. Unfortunately we often wait around for the Bishops to lead us giving many of us an excuse mostly to gripe and not to actually step-up ourselves. My late pastor use to tell me “Holy priests make holy people and holy people make holy priests.” Bishops certainly have an important role in leadership, but the spere of the laity also has an important role. Al Kresta often emphasizes this point-of-view on his show and I have come more and more to agree with it. When the laity does indeed fill its role as we have seen in the pro-life movement and the growth of apologetics as we have seen with Catholic Answers we see partially what the sphere of the laity can achieve. When combined with the role of bishops, and other degrees of Holy Orders, who live out their charism it is once again that mighty both/and that informs so much of our faith.
In an interview yesterday with Archbishop Chaput he said;
If laypeople don’t love their Catholic faith enough to struggle for it in the public square, nothing the bishops do will finally matter. (Via Why I Am Catholic)