Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

The issue that won't go away

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 11, 2010

It's early, but I'm already prepared to submit my nomination for the stupidest headline of the month:

Abortion could be sleeper issue in Supreme Court confirmation process

Sleeper issue? When in the last 37 years has abortion not been a dominant issue—no, the dominant issue—in every discussion of every Supreme Court nomination? 

Our political leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, assure us that for now, at least, the abortion issue is settled. There is no chance that the Roe v. Wade decision will be overturned by the Supreme Court as it is currently composed. The nomination of Elena Kagan—or of any other jurist likely to win the nod from President Obama—will not change that prognosis. Yet they keep talking about the issue. The media, following their lead, continue the conversation. 

But now we've reached a new watershed. The Washington Post, which passes for the newspaper of record in the nation's capital, carries a notice that abortion will be a "sleeper" issue. The nation's leading journalists are poised to feign surprise when the question comes up again. Haven't we already settled it?

When my children were young, if they kept asking questions about an issue that we had already discussed and settled, I sometimes attributed their curiosity to a nagging conscience.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 18, 2017 10:55 AM ET USA

    The successor of Pope Francis will be able to sort out quickly and dispel any doctrinal confusion. However, the new bishops and cardinals appointed by Francis will have to stay along with all the peculiar ideas which some of them represent. That is what I am more worried about. You can correct and clarify doctrine. But how do you correct and clarify a cardinal, or several cardinals?

  • Posted by: marksauser4128 - Dec. 17, 2017 6:28 PM ET USA

    Your logic makes perfect sense. Regardless, our Pope has kicked the level of confusion up another notch. For what purpose? I think back to his request to young people at world youth day in Rio shortly after he became pope: "Make a mess."

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Dec. 17, 2017 4:47 AM ET USA

    Right on the mark, Phil. Some crucial questions: 1) Can a man be condemned forever? 2) Is Christ's grace sufficient for all or only for some? 3) Is a binding faith possible for some, but impossible for others? 4) Are all the baptized bound by God's sacraments (cf. CCC n. 1257)? 5) Is it possible that a specific ("concrete") case can be articulated wherein "God himself" is asking a man to commit a moral evil which leads to a mortal sin (cf. AL n. 303)? 6) Do incongruities with faith exist in AL?

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Dec. 16, 2017 8:35 PM ET USA

    I've been wondering why you've had no editorial commentary on Pope Francis' comments about changing the wording of the Lord's Prayer. It feels as though, about every week or so, he casually decides to throw a bomb at faithful Catholics. Some of his statements ultimately may not be matters of grave concern, but the frequency of his pronouncements, combined with his natural ham-fistedness, make every issue feel as though it's a piece of lost territory for which to fight.

  • Posted by: rfwilliams2938 - May. 13, 2010 9:38 AM ET USA

    Exactly right! It is further evidence of how far the secular world has strayed (or been deluded by Satan) from the truth AKA God's viewpoint.