For some pro-life Catholics the only thing they get passionate and judgmental about is abortion. A full-developed ‘respect for life” position embodies Christ’s words (Matt 25) about what we must do to enter the kingdom:: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
Make no mistake abortion is a serious moral failure. But not all people believe that. They don’t believe that abortion is wrong. In this pluralistic society we should not impose our moral views through legislation. That is the conundrum faced by Catholic legislators. But we can enact programs that provide financial aid and help to pregnant women in order to cut down on the staggering number of abortions.
Bishops who try to deny the Eucharist to Catholic legislators not in lockstep with Church teaching are taking a path they will regret. In fact their efforts are counterproductive. They should heed the advice of Archbishop John Quinn: bishops “confront the admittedly difficult task of balancing the need to uphold the sanctity of life while avoiding the enormously destructive consequences of the strategy of sanction and condemnation.”
The minds of abortion activists will never be changed by screaming and calling them “baby-killers.” We need dialogue and civility in the discourse. We need engagement rather than confrontation. As Pope John Paul II put it, “The goal of the Church is to make of the adversary a brother.”