Is My Priest Pro-Life? The Lack of Homilies on Abortion

Opinion   |   Paul Kengor   |   Oct 11, 2011   |   9:49AM   |   Washington, DC

A friend of mine was talking to a woman about a new priest relocated to her parish. My friend knew the priest. The woman asked a most curious question about the priest: “Is he pro-life?”

“He certainly is,” exclaimed my friend.

“Wonderful!” she replied. “We haven’t heard a pro-life homily at this church in five years!”

Wow. Imagine that. It’s stunning to think that a Catholic would wonder whether her new priest is pro-life. After all, the priest is Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church has been unequivocally pro-life for, oh, about 2,000 years. One would think the Catholic priest would be pro-life.

What would make one think otherwise? That gets to the heart of the issue, and the woman provided an answer in her response: “We haven’t heard a pro-life homily at this church in five years!”

That’s very sad, and unfortunately also very common. Indeed, the woman’s current priest probably is pro-life, but his parishioners wouldn’t know it from his statements. Have you, likewise, not heard a pro-life homily in five years?

I grew up in such churches, where the lack of principled teaching and leadership had much to do with my bolting the faith when I went to college, where I was in the throes of the Death Culture.

Look, I understand that priests have difficult jobs. Far be it from me to lecture priests. But let’s be honest: silent pro-life priests, by and large, are afraid. They don’t want that confrontation with the angry, aging social-justice hippies who come to church for some good bells and smells.

For the priest, that’s uncomfortable. But that lack of comfort is nowhere near as troubling as failing to the lead the flock on the single greatest moral issue of the day. Of all the issues facing the culture, none are as devastating as 53 million abortions.

October is pro-life month. Our priests must speak up. To invoke the words of John Paul II—echoing what the Angel Gabriel told Mary as she learned of the most-unexpected pregnancy—“Be not afraid.”

LifeNews Note: Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007) and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.