“We have received threats to bomb the church, burn it down, hateful and vile messages,” the pastor of the parish said. “We are on high alert to make sure that the church and our people are protected.”
No, Fr. Brian Graebe wasn’t referring to a house of God in Nigeria or India or Egypt where attacks on Christians worshipping are commonplace enough that they hardly raise an eyebrow in the U.S. (We’re apparently too busy with more pressing matters.)
Fr. Graebe is the pastor of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in lower Manhattan and was describing how the parish, for the last 10 years, has offered monthly Witness for Life Masses to pray for the protection of the unborn. About 200 people generally attend the liturgy, with most walking down the street afterward to pray the Rosary in front of a nearby Planned Parenthood. You know, America’s abortion champions whose annual report states the organization has provided in excess of 354,000 abortions. (The number is buried on page 35, but it’s there.)
Usually, a handful of abortion-rights protestors show up at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fr. Graebe said. This last week, it was way more than a handful. It was an angry outburst of passion by a mob of nearly 100, up in arms about what is perceived to be the expected overturning of Roe v. Wade.
New York City police advised the priest that it would be in the church’s “best interests not to have the procession.
“They recognized many of the faces in the crowd as what they termed ‘professional agitators’ and warned that our safety and protection could not be guaranteed,” Fr. Graebe said.
In the Diocese of Phoenix, Fr. Rob Clements sent a Friday email blast to members and supporters of All Saints Newman Center in Tempe where local police had warned of “credible threat of our Masses being disrupted this weekend by protestors.
“Even though the disruption of the Holy Mass is a grave offense to every person of faith, we will continue worship of God and exercise charity towards others in any case,” the email read in part.
Newman Center staff took extra precautions to protect the safety of Mass-goers and no incidents were reported.
Other dioceses put out the word to be on guard against protestors upset over the Catholic Church’s unchanging stance on the evils of abortion. Marches in Salt Lake City, Washington, D.C., San Diego and elsewhere showcased the anti-Catholicism and fury of those devoted to abortion rights. Earlier in the week, a church in Boulder, Colo., sustained substantial vandalism and abortion-endorsing graffiti. Security was beefed up at Catholic churches across the nation as, ironically, the country prepared for Mother’s Day.
From defacing church property to hurling insults to comparing pro-lifers to the Taliban, the rage exhibited by those devoted to unborn-baby killing is quite telling really.
And that raises some questions for abortion-rights advocates: What are you so afraid of? Why are you so devoted to this “right” and how far are you willing to go to ensure the ripping apart of tiny unseen humans remains legal?
To those whose biggest moral dilemma is whether or not they can purchase cage-free eggs and how they’ll manage to recycle the empty jar of mayonnaise without wasting too much water cleaning it (and The Soulful Catholic offers these examples as one who believes in both cage-free eggs and the importance of recycling), the sheer magnitude of the millions babies legally killed by abortion since Roe ought to make us quake. God will not be mocked. His justice will prevail.
Over the last two decades, the Church has been rocked by scandal after scandal. In the last two weeks, it’s become apparent that in spite of so many failures, we can be proud of the fact that the Catholic Church has unswervingly defended the right to life of the most innocent among us. We can be proud of the fact that Catholic Supreme Court justices have seen through the falseness of the Roe decision and seem poised to upend it.
To those who claim the abortion debate is more nuanced than simply life or death, that precious rights to self-determination are at stake, the Catholic Church offers the fact that life begins at conception and is deserving of the protection of law.
At a time in history when many — including regular Mass-going Catholics — don’t regard the sanctity of life as a pre-eminent issue and are more intent on finding loopholes in traditional morality to excuse immoral behavior, the Catholic Church offers this bold principle:
We are anti-slaughtering babies. We are pro-life and we won’t be intimidated. We won’t be silenced.
We’re not going away.