For Whom the Bell Tolls


As you may know, this is the title of the classic Ernest Hemingway book of 1940 about the Spanish Civil War. The shock for most pro-life Christians such as myself, and specifically Catholics over the election of the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States, Barack Obama, is still reverberating. The fact that 54% of Catholics voted for such a person who plainly stated many times in the campaign that his first order of business as President is to eliminate all restrictions on abortion is an affront to humanity. In voting for this pro-abortion man Catholics also thumbed their nose at their Church, which vigorously opposed him and his policies. Numerous American Catholic Bishops openly opposed Obama for his rabid abortion stand, as did the Vatican. The total dismissal of the teachings of their Church speaks of another well-known book by Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness.”

On January 1, 2009, the Wall Street Journal came out with a piece by Anne Hendershott titled “How Support for Abortion Became Kennedy Dogma.” Hendershott describes the history of how the Kennedy clan changed from being pro-life in the 1960s to pro-choice in the 1970s. What is most shocking is how Catholic leaders of the time provided cover for this change. The article profiles a meeting in 1964 where Catholic theologians and Catholic College professors coached the Kennedys on how to vote for abortion with a “clear conscience” – all of this in stark contradiction to Church teaching. The Catholic professors were well-known pro-choice Catholics like Rev. Charles Curren and Rev. Robert Drinan, a Massachusetts Congressman, who in the Clinton administration in the 1990s went so far as to defend President Clinton’s veto of the ban on partial birth abortion.

And where has the Church been in the face of public defiance of its dogma? The silence has been deafening. There have been, however, a few rays of light in this darkness. Some courageous Bishops such the Bishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, and Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, PA have spoken out brilliantly and forcefully on this matter. Father Frank Pavone, leader of Priests for Life, is another eloquent defender of the unborn. Fr. Pavone travels the country speaking at all the Masses wherever he is invited. Not all Catholic Churches welcome such a man as Fr. Pavone. Many are simply afraid to discuss the subject. Many parish priests shudder at the mention of abortion and will rarely mention the word, afraid that they will alienate those who disagree.

In Los Angeles, home to the Hollywood culture of narcissism and moral relativism, the evil of abortion is rarely preached from church pulpits or by the Cardinal of Los Angeles. Catholic politicians can operate and proclaim their moral relativism and pro-abortion views at will without fear of any consequences.  A holocaust is happening in our midst and no one cares. In Los Angeles County alone, there are an average of 154 abortions per day. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes abortion as a moral evil (2271) deserving excommunication, yet, I know of no one who has ever been excommunicated even when Catholic politicians promote abortion publicly.

What happened in 1964 by the Catholic theologians and college professors is still happening today. Pro-choice teachers and principals can be found in many Catholic schools like most other public schools and no one raises their voice. College professors such as Fr. Richard McBrien, a theology professor at Notre Dame calls pro-life Catholics “ultra-conservatives” in an article published by the Catholic weekly “The Tidings” in 2006. Fr. McBrien promotes a form of liberation theology which ignores church teaching and follows a Marxist/Socialist philosophy in their theology.

For whom does the bell toll? If you ever go by a Catholic Church you will find that most will ring a bell every hour during daylight hours. 50 million unborn babies have been killed in the United States since 1973. The failure to promote and defend the unborn is the Church’s biggest and most tragic failure in our time. What more proof of this is there than to see the election of the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States?

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4 thoughts on “For Whom the Bell Tolls

  1. Thanks for another great article, Russell. You have called the Church in Los Angeles in their lack of support for the culture of life. It is like pulling teeth to get a pro life homily on any given Sunday, never mind during October, Respect Life Month. The lack of courage in some clergy in Los Angeles is even more prominent when we read the statements of stalwart Bishops who are truly concerned with the salvation of the souls in their care. The extermination of 50 million unborn babies is an abomination, and every person and priest should be shouting from the hilltops against it. And seeking to help the wounded women who have been duped by a society and a clergy which has largely ignored the issue in favor of church fairs, dinner dances and raffle tickets. It rests with those who are truly wanting to be in communion with the Passion of our Precious Lord to raise the issue to its rightful place in our society. The world said “Never Again” when it learned about the Holocaust. But here we have a holocaust in our midst and it is not even addressed by many in the service of the Lord. Let us not forget to thank and support those Bishops and Priests who have spoken out so eloquently on behalf of the Culture of Life. They are truly the heroes of our time.

  2. Great blog, Russ. Those bells obviously don’t toll for the millions of unborn babies whose lives have been erased from the face of the earth. It’s was a sad spectacle to see throngs of greedy and selfish people rushing to the polls to vote for the preservation of their money, instead of voting for the just and righteous preservation of precious life given to us as a gift from God. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul. Keep up the good work, my friend.

  3. The Catholics who lack the moral courage to recognize the most vulnerable of our society are a disgrace. We all have to make tough choices. The martyrs died rather than compromise their faith.

  4. Russ
    Its time for us to speak up and tell our priests to defend the unborn no matter what the cost. The martyrs died rather than deny their faith. Keep up the good work.

    Bill Sheldon

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