Archbishop: For too long Catholics haven’t stopped the culture of death
By Jean Torkelson
Photo by Daniel Petty/DCR
“Give witness to the truth, no matter what the cost,” Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila exhorted a jammed, standing-room-only crush of worshipers gathered at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Jan. 20 to mark the 40th year of legalized abortion in America.
The Respect Life Mass was among countless commemorations in Denver and around the country which, this week, are directly challenging the U.S. Supreme Court decision that has led to more than 55 million deaths by legal abortion since Jan. 22, 1973.
Facing a sea of worshipers spilling into the aisles and lining the walls—many of them young adults whose own generation has been decimated by abortion—Archbishop Aquila drove his message to the very heart of the present-day culture. He used the example of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who last week admitted, finally, to years of illegal “doping” throughout his storied career.
Addressing the young people and teens—including seven busloads of confirmation candidates—Archbishop Aquila noted that Armstrong said he didn’t invent the sports-doping culture, but he didn’t do anything to stop it, either.
“Listen to those words, dear young people who are here,” the archbishop said. “Do not do what Armstrong did, but put your efforts at work to stop it … for too long many Catholics have not stopped our culture.”
Nor did the archbishop spare clergy, faithful laity, or “pro-choice” Catholics from responsibility. He noted that in 1965, Vatican II had identified “the great and serious error of our age” to be the unwillingness of Catholics to exercise their faith in their daily life, thereby risking their eternal salvation.
“Many Catholics have embraced that error, including bishops and priests,” the archbishop said. “For too long, many Catholics have said, ‘Well, we personally support what the Church teaches, but we don’t want to impose our beliefs. … Well, what is the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) doing? What are the atheists doing? They are imposing (their beliefs) on us.”
Furthermore, “Those Catho-lics who take a pro-choice position and support a so-called right to abortion, same-sex unions; the Catholic who rejects the truth about (marriage and the sacredness of human life), put their souls in jeopardy.”
He added that Catholics who resist, or who are unsure, about a Church teaching have a responsibility to learn what the Church teaches, “not to reject it out of hand.” Otherwise, Archbishop Aquila said, “they are listening to the culture of death and the voice of the evil one, not the voice of truth.”
The archbishop warned that, left unstopped, the culture that was unleashed by Roe v. Wade will only become more morally chaotic. By implicitly condoning sexual promiscuity and making “pregnancy a problem” the legalizing of abortion has driven a wedge between the culture and God’s original “gift of human sexual intimacy,” which is designed for a man and a woman in marriage.
Photo by Daniel Petty/DCR
Young adults and teens formed a conspicuously large part of the overflow crowd at the Jan. 20 Respect Life Mass.
“When one separates the unitive and the procreative in the sexual act, one can justify anything when it comes to human sexuality,” Archbishop Aquila said, including the redefinition of marriage, “single sexual acts, multiple sexual acts, adultery; whatever one wishes becomes permitted.”
Sustained applause capped the end of the archbishop’s homily and the end of Mass as well. Among those praising Archbishop Aquila’s message were former lifelong Protestants Kevin Heldt, 32, and his wife Brianna, 31, parents of eight children, including four adopted and one due next month. The Heldts became Catholic in 2011, won over by the Church’s absolute stand against artificial contraception. But well before their conversion, Heldt said, “We were appalled to live in a country where a great percentage of people think it’s OK to murder babies.”
Jean Torkelson: 303-715-3122; www.twitter.com/DCRegister