Dear Catholics: Are You Really Pro-Life? ‘Cause I Doubt It.

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I’m a pro-life activist and a convert, and I’m not convinced. I write this as a Catholic father of seven, three of whom will be confirmed in just a few days.

My family and I went to our old parish for Sunday Mass on Mother’s Day in order to celebrate the holiday with a young single mother we are ministering to. We were excited to see old friends. We shuffled into our old pew, when we saw state senator Will Espero, advocate of the culture of death, slither into church with his girlfriend.

This is the same Espero who, when the Hawaii Democrat Party chastised one of its own for even suggesting there could be room for pro-life Democrats in the party, said that abortion was a “non-negotiable plank of the platform,” openly acknowledged that pro-choice women were the “foundation of the Democratic Party for decades,” and lauded the fact that Hawaii was the first state to legalize abortion, said nothing.

Yes, the same Espero who, when the same party released its 2016 platform openly affirming the “right” to have abortions paid for by state and private actors, said nothing.

And just recently, the same Espero who said nothing in response to these blatant affirmations of death actually spoke up and said something—in support of physician-assisted suicide, which he voted against sixteen years ago, but apparently finds acceptable now.

Life is not some side gig of the Catholic Church. The Church is the mystical Body of Christ. It is by nature full, and affirming of life. The Gospel is the gratuitous giving of God’s divine life to us so that we might live. The source and summit of that life is the Eucharist, the very Body and Blood of Christ, which from the days of Saint Paul we have been warned to never receive while in mortal sin or scandal: “You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.”

The Church’s teaching on life could not be clearer. Saint Pope John Paul II declared it to be “unchanged and unchangeable.” The same is true of its teaching on suicide, assisted or otherwise.

Paragraph 2287 of the Catechism is likewise crystal clear: “Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged.”

And in case the Scriptures or the 2,000-year-old Tradition of the Church aren’t clear enough, Section 915 of Canon Law leaves no room for doubt: “Those…obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

On many matters, Catholics are allowed “prudential judgment.” Not on abortion. Not on assisted suicide. Not on the matters on which Will Espero has either been a cowardly mute, or a ravenous advocate.

Matters of life and death are not political. They go to the core of what it means to be a human being made in the Image of God. The Church is not a political party whose positions on fundamental issues can change or evolve. It is the Bride of Christ, and for 2,000 years, it has stood for the sanctity of human life.

And yet, so many Catholic Bishops and clergy are silent when the time comes to do their duty.

I wasn’t always a Catholic. When I was a young man, I was an atheist. I was also, even then, in the pro-life movement.

But I despised the Catholic Church. I saw the laity and the hierarchy as aiding and abetting the cause of abortion. Sure, there were kind and pious old men and women who joined the pro-life movement. But the Bishops, Catholic elected officials, and the “beautiful Catholics” (my euphemism for the rich and powerful permitted to sit at the WASP table) were all mealy-mouthed at best, or aggressively pro-abortion at worst.

My road from passionate atheist to overzealous, Christian, hyper-evangelical Catholic was a long one with many twists and turns.

Along the way I reinvented several heresies. It turned out that my favorite one had a name: Arianism. But wrestling with Arianism led to the final turn in the road: reading the Church Fathers. I was especially inspired by Athanasius, a rabble rouser who was kicked out of his church multiple times by the Arians for standing up for the deity of Christ.

The key event in my life, which you can read about here, launched me into a career of full-time pro-life work. The short version is that I was an irreligious high school drop-out, army enlister, and had a pregnant girlfriend from a prominent Catholic family—whose father forced her to get an abortion.

In the battle for life, I wish I could say I finally found myself surrounded by trusty allies when I entered the Church. But, as this Mother’s Day reminded me, that the battle rages on right in the pews at Mass.

On Sunday I personally approached Espero to ask him not to present himself for communion, and to publicly repent for betraying the most vulnerable members of our human family—the child in the womb, the elderly, the disabled, and the sick.

He refused.

So here I was, the father of a child aborted thanks to the cruelty of a powerful Catholic man, watching as another Catholic enemy of the unborn received the Eucharist–directly under my parish’s banner that reads “We Respect Life from Conception to Natural Death.”

This happens all over the country.

The hierarchy must end this false compassion for politicians whose careers are often based on violating the dignity of the most vulnerable. Whether they are powerful like Joe Biden, or petty like Will Espero, such politicians who receive the Eucharist commit sacrilege, and bring grave scandal upon the conscience of every post-abortive woman, and the other brave souls who are fighting against the spirit of the age.

Perhaps it’s time for the laity, like Athanasius of old, to stand up against the Esperos of this world, and draw a line in the sand.

The Eucharist isn’t a weapon, but neither is it a participation trophy. It is the source and summit of the Christian life.

Woe to us if we forget this.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Jason Jones is the Founder of Movie to Movement and producer of films such as Bella and Crescendo.

12 Comments

  1. Jason,

    I wish I was there not only to stand by you, but to also explain to Espero that he is committing a sacrilege and should refrain from receiving the Body & Blood of Our Lord.

    I write this reply with teary eyes knowing how important our “Parish Banner” means to me personally and to many other members of our Parish, to see this blatant disregard for the over 2000 year old Church fundamental by Espero .

  2. Excellent, Jason,
    Indeed, too many of us are without the courage to confront those who are making a sacrilege of receiving our most Precious Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
    Good for you!
    Knowing you, I know you will continue the fight until your departure from this good earth.
    Respectfully,
    Your K of C Brother and friend,
    Chuck

    • Thank you for your comment here.

      I wasn’t able to see where Jones made reference to the death penalty in his article.

      In my opinion, there is a distinction to be made between any possible support for the premise of capital punishment and the crux of the piece here, which involves a Catholic politician who works actively to support and maintain procured abortion while presenting himself for receipt of the Holy Eucharist at Mass.

    • I’ve struggled for many years with the death penalty. It seemed like every time I got close, another monster would commit an atrocity so vile, that I couldn’t help but think it was the only fit punishment. You can certainly make a better argument in support of the judicial killing, with all of the safeguards and appeals in place, of a wanton killer, than could possibly be made for the private killing of an innocent, unborn child! That being said, I will decline to pass judgement on any Catholics who still support the death penalty, but I have myself finally crossed that line to opposition. Not because the guilty are any less deserving of it, but because I realized that my support came more from anger and revenge, than from justice.

      Far more indefensible is that I’ve encountered so-called Catholics in the “peace and justice” movement who oppose the death penalty while supporting abortion! For that line of reasoning, no possible argument can be made.

      • Okay. So answer me this, please. You have the sense that the death penalty is more about revenge and anger than justice, then how do you support the idea of an eternal torment of hell for sinners, which from what I have read, seems to come from God getting “revenge on His enemies.”?

        I find it interesting that a vast number of Catholics are against the death penalty here on earth as being unjust, but see no problem of justice with an eternal death penalty which is far, far more severe. Suffering ends here on earth, but the suffering of hell (as preached in the Catholic Church) goes on forever. Yet, in the eyes of justice, what sin is worth an eternal punishment?

        Wonder if someone would like to comment on this.

        • IMO, speaks to the belief that God judges us and it is not our role to judge (condemn) our fellow man.

          There you go.

  3. I don’t believe that the laity is in position to bring action against Mr. Espero themselves. Jones makes no mention here of any appeal to the Bishop on this. The Bishop is the person who would initiate an Canon Law actions against Mr. Espero.

    • Considering only two bishops have ever done it (diocese of springfield), I highly doubt his Bishop would do anything.

      • Any Catholic who participates or abets procured abortion incurs automatic excommunciation as it is (Code of Canon Law, #1398).

        Unlike some offenses that require the competent authority to impose the penalty of excommunication (technically termed ferendae sententiae), the penalty here is automatic (technically termed latae sententia).

        Anything the Bishop might do would be perhaps extraneous.

  4. Please, also call to the mat your pastor and priests who willingly give him Communion each week instead of refusing him. It is their job to uphold Church Teaching and the sacredness of the Eucharist. And also call out your Bishop, for I’m sure he knows about Espero, too. Thank goodness there are some strong priests and Bishops who HAVE called out pro- death government officials and refused to administer Communion to them. Keep up the good fight. I AM Pro-life.

  5. This is spot on. Well written and I particularly like the statement that Communion is not a participation trophy which unfortunately the sacred body and blood of Christ is sometimes perceived that way. Right on my man. Keep up the good fight. We stand behind you.

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