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Gracelessness

I watched as the manager of the commercial abortuary came walking up the sidewalk by the side of the building, her arm around her next “patient.” They were followed by a man and a woman. The “patient” was no more than fifteen years old, probably fourteen. The man and the woman following her into the abortuary were her parents. I could see that the young girl was anxious, if not reluctant. The manager, whom I have observed for a while now, had on her compassion game face, a key component in the weekly hustle for a buck in the abortion blood trade. The parents marched behind with the look of determination of those who are solving a problem.

I have done sidewalk counseling at abortuaries for many years, and seen a lot of death and evil conduct so the scene that I witnessed was not new to me. But recent events caused this little procession of death to have more of a personal impact that it otherwise would have.

I had recently watched parts of the quadrennial convention of the national Democratic Party, and the truly exuberant celebration of the killing of unborn children by both speakers and attendees, not to mention the enthusiastic endorsement of sodomy and the end of marriage as being a union of only a man and a woman. That convention was followed an announcement that the local Planned Parenthood affiliate at its newly constructed, state of the art killing chambers would be licensed to kill babies up to six months old in the womb. This announcement was treated in the same way a hospital would announce the addition of a new hospital wing making available a new life saving treatment, or a company might announce an expansion of its commercial services. There was no evidence that either local community leaders or the local media had even the slightest ethical discomfort.

The new Planned Parenthood facility was primarily made possible by donations from the wealthy and the upper middle class. The educated and the comfortable. The same people who might faint if they see someone kick a dog, or get teary eyed when stories about neglected cats come on the TV. The the same people who stay awake at night concerned about the growing population of them: the blacks in the ghetto, the browns in the barrio, the bubbas in the trailer court, and the “unwashed poor” in general.

It is a concern succinctly expressed a few years ago by the judicial queen of abortion on demand, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe [vs. Wade] was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. (Emphasis mine.)

The Democratic Party convention both included and was followed by, yet another, series of public proclamations of self professed devout, practicing Catholics, including Catholic  politicians, on the fundamental goodness of having the freedom to kill the innocent in the womb, of using tax money to kill embryonic life for research, of forcing believers to pay for the immoral actions of their government and their fellow citizens, and of supporting the cleaving together of those of the same sex in holy matrimony.  Among those Catholic politicians was the current Catholic vice-president who in a public debate looked straight into the camera and told America on national TV that he is absolutely personally opposed to abortion, that he recognizes that any Catholic must accept this teaching, and that he unconditionally accepts it in the depths of his soul. However, he told us also that, sad to say, as a Catholic in public office he is unfortunately unable to act on his deeply held belief that abortion is inherently evil or to support laws which would end the genocide of the innocent unborn because that would impose his beliefs on others. On the contrary, with much sincerity he revealed that he is, in fact, duty bound to vote for laws supporting abortion on demand and the consequent imposition death on the unborn.

I am reminded of Fr. Alfred Delp’s prophetic words to his fellow Germans as he shined the light of truth on the unspeakable horrors and destruction that their country, corrupted by Nazism and by their cooperation with it, had inflicted on millions of innocent people, and for which they would ultimately be held accountable. We have elected to live gracelessly, “the Jesuit priest wrote, “we trusted solely to our own strength, were bound only by our own laws, surrendered to our own whims and followed our own instincts. On those foundations we built our new towers…And the outcome? Precisely without [God’s] grace — a graceless life, a pitiless age, and age of inexorable fate, a time of horror and violence, or worthless life and senseless death.

Fr. Delp was condemned to death and hanged in Berlin in 1945 by the Nazis. The official charge was treason. The real reason for his murder was his courageous proclamation of the truth about God and the dignity of life.

Before his death he offered his fellow citizens a remedy for their sad state:

We ought not to be surprised that such a graceless life has translated itself into the kind of manifestation we are now enduring. And we who have been dragged down into the universal collapse — which perhaps we did not try to prevent by every means in our power — must in the midst of our destiny overcome that destiny, turning it into a cry for grace and mercy, for the healing waters of the Holy Spirit. Humanity ought never again to over-rate its capabilities or delude itself as we have done. Those who survive should take these lessons to heart and preach them with zeal. The graceless way of living is presumptuous and leads to disaster. We are only human when we live in unity with God.

Whether we will have a universal social and political collapse in this country is a matter for the future, and currently unknown. But in our own day and time we do live in a society that is in social collapse and that is in large part graceless. And Fr. Depp was not wrong. Such gracelessness surely leads to disaster.

However, disaster does not have to be our destiny, if we try to prevent it “by every means in our power,” ask for the “healing waters of the Holy Spirit,” and “cry for grace and mercy” — for the innocent unborn, for their abortion seeking parents, for the abortionists, for our fallen Catholic political leaders who have both denied the Sacrament of Marriage and handed over the lives of millions of innocent human beings to death in their lust for political power, for timid clergy who hide in the seeming safety of what’s left of Church respectability in our secular society, trembling at the mention of the words abortion and same sex marriage, and finally for ourselves, frozen in complacency before the anti-Catholic onslaught that without faithful and determined resistance will come calling at our doors with its demand for complete submission. Maybe in this Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI we will contemplate the demands of our faith, and the consequences of not acting on them.


Robert J. Gieb has practiced probate law in Ft. Worth, Texas for forty years. He is local counsel for Catholics United For Life of North Texas.
  • Noel Fitzpatrick

    Please do not forget that Governor Romney is not against abortion.