Not much "brotherly love"

By Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. (articles ) | Jul 15, 2004

A group of college-age pro-lifers, sponsored by the American Life League, are walking from Maine to Washington, DC, this summer to bring attention to the pro-life cause. (This is similar to the older Crossroads group that walks across the country, west to east.) Along the way, the walkers—mostly college students—pray at abortion clinics and give talks at churches. Except they won't be talking in Catholic churches in Philadelphia. The group had asked for permission to speak after Masses in churches in the archdiocese, but the archdiocese—along with the dioceses of Baltimore, Metuchen, NJ, and Burlington, VT—abruptly revoked invitations or permissions.

Catherine Rossi, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, said that "while the archdiocese appreciates [the league's] efforts to preserve the sanctity of life, it would be inappropriate for them to speak here." The archdiocese, in a letter to the league written by its vicar of administration, Msgr. Joseph Cistone, on behalf of Cardinal Justin Rigali, said that it had reviewed the league's request but had "not granted" permission to speak.
They wouldn't give a reason, but the American Life League thinks it knows why:
"There is nothing inappropriate about our message," said Kristen Rainey, Crusade walk spokesman and a student from the College of the Ozarks. "What is inappropriate is when our bishops, cardinals and priests turn a blind eye to the truth and allow pro-abortion 'Catholic' public figures to desecrate the Body of Christ by receiving Holy Communion unworthily."
Now, since the dioceses won't say why permission was revoked, we can't be sure, but it wouldn't be inconceivable that this would be the reason. We've seen similar cases before, like when Cardinal Law banned Priests for Life from the Boston archdiocese for being "too graphic" in its presentation. It's abortion! They tear babies apart in the womb! How can you not be graphic in describing it.

Anyway, the revocation of permission gives the appearance of the bishops cutting off their noses to spite their face. Here is a group of dynamic, orthodox, and young pro-lifers giving witness to Christ and the sanctity of life, and it looks like the bishops are snubbing them because they want the bishops to their duty and face up to the hard obligation of having to call pro-abortion politicians to account. Looks like these college students have received an early lesson in how orthodox Catholics are often treated by the bishops they so respect and hoped would lead them.

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  • Posted by: - Jul. 21, 2004 5:45 PM ET USA

    Nothing that the owner of the Rog Mahal could do would discourage me - I expect the worst and he always performs worse than even I expected. But what discourages me is that I thought that Cardinal Rigali was one of the good guys.... the Pope's man. What happens to them when they get a diocese? Were they putting up a show to get a job or are they at the mercy of the chancery gang? My 1st step would be to fire 5 or 6 of the worst and the others would fall into line.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jul. 17, 2004 9:48 AM ET USA

    A deliberate manipulative move to get bishops to do something that they don't want to do? I don't think so.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 16, 2004 9:48 PM ET USA

    Pray God that these kids realize that their some of their shepherds are abandoning them.Seems that its not just a presidential candidate that flip flops.I advise anyone in the northeast. DON'T DRiNK THE WATER, GOTA BE THE WATER

  • Posted by: - Jul. 15, 2004 11:56 PM ET USA

    Dom - you are absolutely right! But when the churches are closed in their face by those who should welcome them with more than open arms, the greater good will be accomplished through silence in the Heart of Christ. Make no mistake, God will not be outdone by the generosity of a soul. He will always help when He is asked. It is for us to believe and trust, though we cannot see the effects.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 15, 2004 8:12 PM ET USA

    Last summer the Crossroads walkers stopped at our parish in the desert. They offered no glossy brochures, no slick presentation. They brought humility, prayer, and solid Truth. Only a short time earlier the USCCB endorsed Bicyclers for Poverty came. Expensive brochures; quite the presentation! But every testimony went something like this: Well, I'm a student so I had nothing else to do this summer and bicycling is my LIFE! Clear representation of the Bishops' choices and God's.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 15, 2004 4:57 PM ET USA

    minidoc, I think a major purpose of the walk is to talk about protection of the unborn with as many people as possible during their journey. Words and deeds accomplish more than just deeds alone.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 15, 2004 4:12 PM ET USA

    I have sent a cheque to these wonderful kids to spend as they please in my diocese. Wish others would do the same to support and encourage them.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 15, 2004 2:24 PM ET USA

    If their effort is motivated by the love of God and a concern for the salvation of souls (especially the unborn, unbaptized victims of abortion), they should be content to carry out their walk in silence. The real benefit of such a "pilgrimage" is in the grace that is quietly given by God to souls - the same benefits, e.g., that made St. Therese of Lisieux's life so fruitful for souls. Don the requisite T-shirts, walk silently, carry the crucifix, and trust God to move His slothful bishops.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 15, 2004 11:45 AM ET USA

    Why should we be surpised by a group of largely pampered men, most of whom have never experienced a hard day's work in their lives and who are addressed comically now as "Excellency" and "Eminence"? It is a miracle that a few of them have courage, humility and faith. We are all being tested and rightly so for what good are we as sunshine Catholics? May we pray for guidance for ourselves and for these cowardly prelates who hide behind their secetaries.