The Corner


New York Doubles Down on Darkness and the 46-Year Shadow of a Culture of Death

20160518 – Mother Teresa painting Mother Teresa House (Patrick McPartland/Staff Photographer)

It seems the world has been “covering the March for Life” for a few days now, focusing on that video of Covington Catholic high-school students. I’d like to think that so many of the other students who were at the March for Life are praying for all those wrapped up in that onslaught.

Today, though, is the actual 46th anniversary of the day of that grave Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, when abortion was made legal throughout pregnancy. And it is an especially dark and grave day in New York State, where it is expected that the governor may, before day’s end, sign a bill, under the guise of euphemisms, which expands abortion in what is already known as the abortion capital of the country.

(Read more about that here.)

It was telling in some ways that earlier this month Andrew Cuomo was joined by Hillary Clinton in rallying for this deeper dive into the culture of death. Did the Democrats learn nothing from Clinton’s doubling down on abortion during the presidential campaign – during a year, frankly, when some pro-life voters were looking for excuses not to feel like they had to vote for Donald Trump because of abortion?

The March for Life, if you were there, was actually a remarkably hopeful event. It always is, but it seemed even larger than usual and more confident. Generations of marchers were there, young parents who once went as children with their parents, so many of these young people are rooted in what’s right — knowing the difference betwen life and death.

I was moved, for instance, at Mass the night before, when the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was filled with 10,000 people in the pews and chapels, any place where there was a spot to join in prayer. At one point, we all prayed for healing for victims of abuse. These young people have a sense of human suffering and know that it cannot continue. They are solutions already with their tender smiles.

In another post, I’ll include about ten images that caught my eye — or phone camera lens — along the way in D.C. last Thursday and Friday. There is so much heartache and hope along the road to the march and along the route. (My write-up as we were getting started.)

Please join me in a prayer for Covington, New York, and all who suffer because of the poison of abortion in our midst, which makes us a harsher people in other respects too — how could it not?

Yesterday I was rereading Mario Cuomo’s famous speech at the University of Notre Dame, explaining that he was “personally opposed” to abortion. He viewed his Catholic beliefs about abortion as a mere value to be debated among other values. Fast forward some, and his son doesn’t see that this value is even fit to live in his state. Rereading that old speech, I wonder if the elder, late governor, would have come to consider that a fault of his own — his generation at the very least. At least he wrestled enough with it to try to justify his position. Regardless, here we are. The most fundamental human-rights issue is all too often sidelined as a niche problem for the overly pious or just another of the “red-cap” issues.

They’ll be a holy hour and Mass in Manhattan on this grave day at St. Patrick’s tonight, right there on Fifth Avenue. All are welcome.

The polling the Knight of Columbus have commissioned over more than a decade show that people aren’t where Andrew Cuomo and Hillary Clinton are. People want restrictions on abortion, they only want to know that a woman in a difficult situation truly has some choices. The Sisters of Life, Avail, the Gianna Center, Good Counsel Homes, Lumina, and Mother Teresa Home in Buffalo are some of the beacons of light helping with healing and true progress in New York State. Consider learning more about these or the ministries and services in your neck of the world to be a part of the solution.

Last week I saw a rough cut of the upcoming movie Unplanned, Abby Johnson’s story of leaving her work as a Planned Parenthood employee and a director of one of their clinics in Texas. It’s important and powerful. It is light on the darkness of this most intimate violence that happens in our midst and hurts so many, in so many families. Is anyone untouched?

The young people at the March for Life moved me the most with their knowledge that they didn’t have to be born and their appreciation for the fact that they were. They were very much a choice, even if a particular mother didn’t consider abortion, she could have. The law is a teacher, and it tells us that abortion is not just one of many acceptable choices — the culture in a workplace or a home or a relationship, influenced by popular culture, emphasizes and often even expects abortion. Sometimes it’s not a crazy thing to wonder if we even prefer abortion. On a day like today in New York, it’s certainly not.

As Cardinal Dolan from New York put it in one of the keynotes this weekend at the annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference at Georgetown University, a real progressive politics would walk with women and their children so they can choose life. [Also here.] This issue shouldn’t be stuck in partisan politics. A more civilized people would help make adoption so much easier. A more tender people, focused like a laser on the gift of human life, with gratitude, wouldn’t get so easily distracted and be so harsh.

More light. More life. More gratitude. More help.

Let us pray. That we won’t have to March for Life forever, because we will be helping people live it to the fullest, protecting it when it is most vulnerable and helping men and women and children and families flourish.

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