Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento has something to say to pro-abortion
politicians who claim to be Catholic. So does Doris Gordon, an atheist and the
founder of "Libertarians for Life."
On January 22, 2003, Bishop Weigand preached the following words:
"As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone — politician or
otherwise — who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in
very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with
the Church. Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and
choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has
a change of heart."
He made explicit that fact that his words have direct application to Gray
Davis, the Governor of California, who is pro-abortion and says he is Catholic.
The bishop s homily made national news. And many of the faithful are saying
It s about time.
Yet to speak this way is the duty of a bishop. More surprising to many is
that an atheist would say the same. My friend, Doris Gordon, founded
"Libertarians for Life" (www.L4L.org) and recently wrote an article, "A
Libertarian Atheist Answers ‘Pro-Choice Catholics.’" She issues this challenge:
"The Church holds that such children are human persons with rights, yet
the "personally opposed" hold that it should be a woman s choice to destroy
them. If there is a credible reason for such a position, what is it? Opposition
to legal abortion cuts across the religious and political spectrum. I m an
atheist. I was born and raised Jewish. Catholicism had nothing to do with my
coming to understand why abortion is a wrong, not a right, and why it should not
Both Bishop Weigand and Doris Gordon are calling for consistency. If
one claims to be Catholic, he/she should accept the teachings of Catholicism.
It s as simple as that. Holy Communion, moreover, reinforces the need for
consistency. Communion means "union with." To receive Communion is not
magic. It is, rather, the summit and source of all our efforts to think,
desire, choose, and live in union with Jesus Christ. When one
knows the definitive teaching of Jesus as expressed in the Church, and
deliberately refuses to accept it, he/she rejects "communion" at that moment.
It no longer makes sense to receive physically the One whom you have rejected by
clinging to your own conflicting doctrine.
Moreover, both the bishop and the atheist are saying that abortion is wrong
not because the Church says so, but because of what abortion is. The taking
of a child s life is simply not a civilized act. Nor is stealing. The Church
teaches against stealing, but we don t hear people complain that laws against
stealing are an imposition of religious doctrine. They realize that stealing
does not only violate religious doctrine; it violates basic human rights. So
does abortion. That truth isn t so hard to understand. But if we forget, then
fortunately, we have both bishops and atheists to help us.