Within a week of the resignation of Bishop Joseph F. Martino as Bishop of Scranton, the Roman Catholic Mayor of Scranton, Chris Doherty, announced that he was running for Governor and that he is “pro-choice” on abortion. He is quoted in a local newspaper saying that “I just believe it’s a woman’s right to choose…it is a private matter what they want to do with their lives, and I don’t think the government or anybody else should interfere with that.”
I saw His Honor at this year’s St. Ann’s Novena in Scranton held during July at St. Ann’s Basilica. It’s ironic that he chose to participate in an event that honors a woman who chose life for her unborn child. Obviously, if St. Ann chose to abort the Blessed Mother there would be no Novena at St. Ann’s Basilica and God’s plan for the salvation of humanity would have received a severe setback.
Doherty’s callous disregard for the human rights of unborn children disqualifies him in my mind for any public position let alone Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However, I understand why he is taking that position. Support for legal abortion is the litmus test that all who aspire to be elected to office must pass in order to gain the support of the Democratic Party establishment. Moreover, Mr. Doherty could now reasonably conclude that he can be both pro-choice on abortion and a person in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
First, Bishop Martino has resigned and his prophetic witness to the gospel of life has been eliminated from the Church of Scranton. National media outlets such as Time Magazine were quick to speculate that Bishop Martino was really forced out of office by the “Vatican” due to his “confrontational” style of exercising his pastoral office. As far as I know this speculation has not been refuted by anyone with authority in the Church.
Mayor Doherty must have also watched the funeral Mass for Edward Kennedy held at Boston’s Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Philip Lawler, a Catholic journalist, questioned whether Senator Kennedy “deserved a ceremony of public acclamations so grand and sweeping that it might, to the untutored observer, have seemed more like an informal ‘canonization’”. Senator Kennedy received this type of send off despite his 100% pro-abortion voting record and his acceptance of the Champion of Choice Award from the National Abortion Rights Action League. Senator Kennedy also championed embryonic stem cell research, the export of pre- and post-conception birth control to the Third World and America’s youth; “right to die” legislation and the legalization of same sex marriage. All such practices are contrary to the moral teachings of Jesus Christ.
Another disturbing aspect of Senator Kennedy’s life was hardly mentioned by the media and was apparently ignored by the pastors of the Church of Boston, i.e., his ill treatment of women. The sad fate of Mary Jo Kopechne was grudgingly mentioned by the media. However, no mention was made of another woman abandoned by Senator Kennedy, his wife Joan Bennett Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy is still alive and she quietly attended her husband’s funeral. After 24 years of marriage to the Senator and after bearing three children for him the Senator divorced his wife and eventually remarried. She has struggled since then with alcoholism and is a survivor of breast cancer. Mrs. Doherty should take note that divorce and remarriage no longer disqualifies a Catholic from receiving a Catholic funeral or an “informal canonization”, at least in the Church of Boston.
Mayor Doherty also must have observed Barack Obama’s enthusiastic reception by most of the Notre Dame community at the recent commencement for the class of 2009 and the apparently “warm” reception he received from Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit. The latter event reminded me of the scene from Godfather which showed Michael Corleone at the Baptism of his son while his hit men were killing his opponents at his direction.
POTUS Obama and the Holy Father met on July 10, 2009 for 30 minutes. A Vatican spokesman said that “The president explicitly expressed his commitment to reducing the numbers of abortions and to listen to the Church’s concern on moral issues.” At the same time they were meeting, Melanne Verveer, Obama’s ambassador for Global Women’s Issues and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were embarking on a campaign to promote POTUS Obama’s international abortion agenda. This agenda includes the lobbying of nations to overturn their historical pro-life laws based on their cultural and religious beliefs in order to legalize abortion world wide and to make it an international right according to an article in lifenews.com.
At the same time, pro-choice “Catholic” Senator Barbara Mikulski introduced an amendment to Senator Kennedy’s Affordable Health Choices Act. Mikulski’s amendment requires all health insurance companies to offer plans covering” preventive care and screenings” for “pregnant women and individuals of child bearing age.” The specific services would later be defined by a new bureaucracy under the jurisdiction of pro-choice “Catholic” Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Moreover, all health insurers participating in a government run insurance network would be required to offer federally subsidized health insurance to Americans earning less than 400% of the poverty level (currently $88,000 for a family of four). In order to qualify as a private health insurer, Secretary Sebelius would need to certify that the insurers have sufficient contracts with “essential community providers” that serve predominantly low-income medically under-served individuals.
During debate on the Mikulski amendments, she admitted under questioning by Senator Hatch and by Senator Casey that “preventive care and screenings” could be construed to include abortion and “essential community providers” could include Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinics. As an aside, 87% of counties in America, including the counties within the Scranton Diocese, do not have abortion clinics operating within them. It is no secret that the abortion industry wants to expand abortion services to every County in America and this proposed legislation is the means to do it. Senator Hatch therefore offered an amendment to the Kennedy Bill to specifically exclude abortion from the definition of covered health care services but this amendment was voted down by the Senate Committee of Health, Education Welfare, and Pensions in July 2009.
Should we expect an announcement sometime next year that Planned Parenthood will be opening and abortion clinic in Scranton perhaps on Wyoming Avenue or maybe on the West Side? This will certainly depend on the leadership of Senator Robert Casey on the Senate floor later this month as Kennedy’s Bill is voted upon by the Senate. However, Senator Casey’s comments at the recent town hall meeting in East Stroudsburg raise some concern about his commitment to voting against the legislation in its present form. Senator Casey reportedly stated that “There’s nothing in this bill that speaks to abortion”. However, Senator Casey joined with the Republicans in Committee and voted against the Mikulski amendment. The day after the vote on the amendment Casey voted for amendments to remove the “abortion mandate” from the health care bill and to remove the “abortion subsidies”. Both of these amendments were defeated (lifenews.com September 3, 2009) by the vote of the Democrat majority members of the HELP committee.
Has Senator Casey seen the proverbial handwriting on the wall? Becoming “pro-choice” could be very tempting in the current climate. With no one to hold “his feet to the fire” will the pressure of the abortion lobby and the pro-choice “Catholics” in the Democratic Party be too much for him? Let us all pray for Senator Casey so that he has the courage and resolve to stand up for “human life from conception to natural death” at a time when it really counts.
We should also pray that the Vatican quickly appoints a successor to Bishop Martino who will be a courageous voice for the unborn, the disabled, and the aged of the Diocese. We pray that he will be another Bishop in the mold of our beloved John Paul the Great who was not afraid to confront evil throughout his life.
Ironically, the Pope, when he was Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, made a prophetic speech in Philadelphia at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Congress held there in 1976 which predicted the current crisis in our Church. He proclaimed to the American Church:
“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American Society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, the Gospel vs. the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church…must take up.”
St Thomas More, pray for us.
John Paul the Great, pray for us.
St. John Neumann, pray for all of us in the Diocese of Scranton.