My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Since becoming Bishop of Brooklyn in October of 2003, each week I have written the column “Put Out into The Deep” for The Tablet. I sometimes wonder if anyone reads the column. My column last week on the question of whether Governor Andrew Cuomo should be excommunicated from the Church, generated many comments and letters.
Angry and Upset
The vast majority of the comments from readers seem to be angry and upset that the Bishops of New York have not taken more muscular action with respect to Governor Cuomo and the politicians of New York State for their supporting abortion expansion. Although the US Supreme Court has found a right to abortion in the privacy of the Constitution, the codification in New York State of a greatly expanded interpretation of abortion is unnecessary.
The overwhelming feedback from many is that Governor Cuomo should be excommunicated. But what about all the legislators who voted for the bill? This is not simply the sentiment of those most committed to the right to life movement, but also by many who tend to be more reticent on the issue of abortion. Perhaps this new reality is especially true because the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) essentially legalizes infanticide.
The sense of many of you who took the time to share your thoughts was a sense of powerlessness and bewilderment in the face of very grave evil. Rightly, you ask, “How can this be permitted in a civilized society?”
The Paralysis of Despair
The immediate danger we face is the paralysis of despair. I am a priest and so you must expect that my starting point will be those spiritual weapons we have at our disposal. Prayer and fasting do have a real effect. Reparation for our sins and those of others is our responsibility. We cannot be like those unbelievers who dismiss the power of faith and the impact that faith has upon our world. Therefore, I will mandate inclusion in the Prayer of the Faithful each Sunday a petition for the conversion of our misguided legislators.
At the same time, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, reminds us that “A good Catholic meddles in politics.” How do we meddle? Our first obligation is to be educated on the issues of our day. No candidate is perfect, however, we must vote for someone who will do the most good for society and the least amount of evil to our society. Governor Cuomo seems to like quoting Pope Francis, however, the Governor fails to remember that the Holy Father has said that abortion is equivalent to “hiring a hitman.”
My hope is that we do not become so fixated on this evil that we fail to combat other grave evils that are now being contemplated by our elected officials. Specifically, I am very concerned that given the penchant for depravity, our state legislators may legalize assisted suicide.
We Must Not Surrender
We must not surrender or become demoralized. We will be faced with the prospect of our state legislators embracing the willful termination of human life to solve for ‘problems’ of old age, pain, and suffering. In truth, the book written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World,” is fast becoming a reality for the State of New York.
To confront this evil, I am asking that all people of good will contact our Governor at 1-518-474-8390 and legislators at 1-518-474-2121 in Albany.
The Pro-Life Community across the State is coming together and we are hopeful that we will be able to come together in the very near future in Albany and make our views known at the State Capital.
I am responding by this article to the letters and emails sent to me asking me to act, but the laws of our State are everyone’s responsibility. Call for repeal, reversal or change in the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) that has gone too far.
The power of the ballot box in our state is limited by one-party rule, but demonstrations of disaffection with the political system are very important. We must put out into the deep and muddy waters of our state political system and witness to our belief in the sanctity of life at all stages from conception to natural death.
If our legislators feel no push back on this legislation, then they will continue to ignore our values and voting power.