Bloggers note: The point of this blog isn’t to debate Prop 1 in CA (abortion) but to point out the shifting “stance” of the Catholic Church in regard to abortion that I have witnessed firsthand.
It should be a surprise to none of our readers, I am a Knight of Columbus (men’s group sanctioned by the Catholic Church) so I have a front row seat to the goings on and beliefs coming from leadership. One thing that upset me was slightly after the confirmation of Amy Comey Barret to the Supreme Court, I witnessed a sea change in tone at my church and in the media. Let me lay it out.
The media no longer made this a GOP vs Democrat issue, it became organized religion aka the Catholic Church vs everyone else. I use the term “Catholic Church” because most view the Pope as the world’s strongest leader when it comes to organized religion. He is definitely the most recognizable. Notice how the judges were being grouped by “Catholic vs the others”? Barrett was criticized as being Catholic, and heavily religious. This has begun a narrative that in my opinion led to the church changing its tone toward abortion.
I was also in receipt of 2 emails from supreme one telling me as a leader to tell my fellow Knights how to vote. Odd. If you are in a Catholic men’s group, you should know what you are joining, oh well. Followed by a separate email in essence saying you are a Catholic gentleman, vote this way. Yikes! Talk about bad messaging.
I am involved in a welcoming ceremony for the Knights here in California. One of the lines I always listened for is “Regarding abortion, we do not recognize it, and cry out it is a mortal sin!” “This goes for support of all politicians legalizing it as well.” Interestingly enough the ceremony was changed last year, and those lines are gone. Furthermore, abortion is no longer even mentioned. Gone. When I asked, I was told this is how it is, and not following exactly means you are expelled from the order. Pretty harsh!
In addition, it used to be if you were a Knight, you could not be a “Mason” as the Free Masons support abortion access, this was dropped as well. Something, something, membership dropping, something, something.
Then I came church a week or so ago, and the following left me speechless. During the homily or sermon depending on your viewpoint, our head priest wanted to address the congregation about Prop 1. I figured he would address it, likely saying the Bishop says this… etc. Nope he pawned it off to his deacon, a deacon in our church is not a priest but ordained kind of like minister in some ways. Our deacon punted, he basically said the bishop’s remarks are in the bulletin (basically a program) and they moved on. After Mass I looked in the vestibule (gathering area outside the main church) and the anti-abortion pamphlets were gone. Just to re-cap Father passed the baton, deacon punted, and the congregation was likely confused.
To make matters worse, I was told the Spanish Mass got a different variety of homily, there’s was more fire and brimstone about abortion being bad. This leads to one obvious conclusion, it’s about butts in the seats and money on the collection plate (donation plate).
Also leads to another question.
Is the Catholic Church picking and choosing who gets their message based on the crowd? I say yes. Why would you avoid the issue at the Masses with white/more affluent/progressive types, yet go all in at the Spanish Mass occupied by more traditional types? I believe it’s just a matter of which audience they want to hear the message. The earlier Masses are sparsely filled and tend to be far more democratic in their viewpoints, so tell them check out the program. The more traditional crowd? Hit them with the red meat and let them chew on it.
There has been a massive sea change in this country and make no mistake, its Catholics Vs Everyone on CA’s ballot in November. I expect 70% to vote in favor of making abortion legal permanently. I cannot hide my disappointment in the church or the Knights for turning their back on these issues. Just like the GOP does out here, when they start winning on an issue they immediately run for cover, scared and afraid.
Oh, and like William’s church, my church plays the same music, “They will know we are Christians by our love” and we play “all are welcome in this place” I guess all are welcome. Who cares about beliefs…like you know, the Bible says. Ouch.
Editor’s Note: The first email never even said how to vote or came out against Prop 1, it had this milquetoast admonition. “As you may be aware, the California Bishops have made a recommendation on Proposition 1 …” Two days later, a more substantive email was sent. The resources contained in it are actually very good. The Bible warns us “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8 On this issue, the Church definitely falls under that condemnation.