WHY DOES THE ABORTION ISSUE INTIMIDATE SO MANY CATHOLICS?
What are the specific social pressures bearing down upon us as
bystanders on the abortion issue? What are the sociological
pressures that influence Christians - Catholics and Knights in
particular - not to engage in traditional and highly visible
forms of community activism against abortion?
The following reasons could possibly serve as explanations for
the lack of strong public protest that one would expect to get
when some 2,000 Canadian babies are being destroyed every week in
their mothers` womb.
1) Is something wrong? Because abortion is carried out in
designed isolation (as is the Morgentaler abortuary in
Fredericton - behind a high fence at the end of a dead-end
street), people may be lulled in thinking everything is all
2) Is it an emergency? If others, especially in the Christian
community, are not reacting, then perhaps what`s taking place
isn`t an emergency. People don`t like to intervene because
socially those who protest abortion are pariahs often portrayed
as crackpots or fanatics on the extreme fringes of society -
hardly an example to emulate. Subconsciously, many of us think:
"If abortion were really that evil, wouldn`t there be lots of
'normal people' out there protesting?" Also there is a great
deal of ambiguity, as an opinion survey of Catholics has shown,
in which nine issues ranked ahead of abortion in importance.
3) Is it my responsibility to act? The response seems to be to
defer to the expert: if doctors, nurses, and clergymen don`t seem
all that upset about abortion, then what business is it of mine?
4) How do I help? Here, the idea of personal risk intrudes most
harshly; that is, what are the possible negative consequences if
I intervene? In some cases the protester must be willing to risk
not only personal pain and disgrace, but also financial lost and
possibly separation from family and friends, as some have been
forced to do in British Columbia and Ontario. When such costs
are weighed with the ambiguities which many Christians already
feel about abortion, it is no wonder that many Christians are
reticent about engaging in such active forms of intervention. As
some of us Knights in Fredericton who regularly picket the
Morgentaler "Clinic" and the Everett Chalmers Hospital have
discovered, dislike of pro-lifers can run deep and loud.
Fortunately, however, police intervention here is and still
remains very sympathetic to the men and ladies prayerfully
demonstrating at these two locations.
Because of the general silence on the evil of abortion, the
avenues open for Christians to actively protest abortion are
being slowly, yet inexorably, choked - as is becoming evident
from the current situation in B.C., Quebec and Ontario. In one
instance, an elderly lady has been in an out of prison for most
of the last two years for peacefully and silently protesting at a
Morgentaler abortion mill in Toronto. In another case, a father
of a young family was hauled off to Bordeaux Jail, in Montreal,
for silently marching in front of another Morgentaler death
clinic, displaying a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It is our governments and courts, our elected leaders themselves,
who are actually guarding the abortion clinics and protecting
abortionists. As a result, the Christian bystander is faced with
enormous social pressures not to intervene, not to resist the
pressures of social conformity. And the longer bystanders wait,
the less likely they are to intervene. This is why, as time
passes, intervention on a mass scale by Catholics and their
Christian brothers will be less and less likely. And, in all
likelihood, euthanasia will follow the same depressing scenario
of public compliance we now see for abortion in the Christian
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