The Tablet* writes:
Archbishop Nichols' words [at his installation sermon at Westminster Cathedral] might be construed as calling for the Catholic Church to be given a fair hearing, whereas Mr Obama was implicitly addressing his critics within the Catholic Church in America who condemn him as pro-abortion (and therefore condemn Notre Dame for honouring him). But Archbishop Nichols goes on to say: 'In these matters we ourselves in the Churches have so much to learn and do.' This sounds more like an appeal to his fellow Catholics to consider how they themselves engage in public controversy, in which case he is implicitly reinforcing Mr Obama's plea for respectful mutual comprehension."I completely disagree with The Tablet. The right response to Barack Obama and his unprecedented execution of pro-abortion policies since being elected President is strong condemnation and peaceful resistance. As Father Frank Pavone (pictured), the national director of the US's Priests for Life puts it: "We have to stop trivialising abortion". Speaking about the students protesting against Notre Dame's honouring of Obama, Fr Frank writes:
"Everyone can imagine people they would protest speaking at a commencement: an avowed racist, anti-Semite, or advocate of terrorism. So the failure to object to one who is unwilling to call for an end to abortion is the failure to see that abortion is as bad or worse than those other evils. We have to stop trivializing abortion.
"Moreover, the university gave the President an honorary law degree. Law exists to protect human rights; but this president has admitted that he doesn’t know when a child receives human rights. How can he defend human rights when he doesn’t know who has them? ..." ... Now dialogue with our opponents on this issue is something we at Priests for Life specialize in. I maintain friendships with abortion advocates and practicing abortionists. The clarity of our own convictions never means we despise, demonize, or shut out other people. And yes, we are willing to collaborate with others in morally legitimate ways to reduce the numbers of abortions.
"But the President’s remarks had a glaring omission. While willing to dialogue and to promote adoption, he gave no indication of any willingness to protect the children in the womb. And that’s the crux of the issue. In his remarks, he referred to the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation. Certainly, his call for open minds does not include openness to reconsider the segregation issue. There’s a right answer to it, period.
"So it is with the protection of the unborn."
The latter part of 20th century history shows again and again that the appropriate response to fundamental human rights abuses on the part of the State is organized peaceful resistance on the part of citizens - and strong condemnation on the part of the Church, as Pope John Paul II reminded us in Evangelium Vitae:
"The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: 'Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator'." (EV, 3)
*The Tablet describes itself as an international Catholic weekly but, editorially, it opposes Church teaching on fundamental issues relating to the sanctity of human life.