Commentary on two recent items: the retirement of Richard Doerflinger and the Little Sisters of the Poor. No matter the appearance, nothing is ever lost.
Images above: The Little Sisters of the Poor outside the US Supreme Court (L) and Richard Doerflinger (R)
Pastor's Corner: May 8, 2016
One of the key laymen working for life at the level of the US Bishops’ Conference is now retiring. Richard Doerflinger has worked as a legal assistant for forty years. Armed with a doctorate in systematic theology from the Catholic University of America, he found his legal battles flowed naturally from his theological background.
I long felt the Church’s teachings on life issues were compelling. I found I was applying what I learned on an abstract level to some very serious and worthwhile issues. It was exciting. I called it practical theology.”
He helped lead the U.S. Church’s response to federal legislation, and advised and assisted state legislative efforts on issues like healthcare conscience rights, physician-assisted suicide, stem cell research, and human cloning. He said a high point came in 2010 when the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Affordable Care Act to prevent federal funding of abortions in health plans. Doerflinger said this solved a problem with the measure related to conscience rights, but he added with a mournful laugh, “one of the low points was watching the Senate strip all that out”. When asked for advice for pro-life advocates on fighting the good fight, he said, “Keep talking about these issues, but keep living them. We teach more by example.”
Little Sisters of the Poor
Another news article has been published this week on our website about the Little Sisters of the Poor. Readers may get a glimpse of their struggle to preserve their faith against government pressure to force Obamacare onto their conscience. The article concludes thus:
Pope Leo XIII wrote: ‘Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless.’ A Catholic mind instinctively knows that our political questions are always (essentially) theological questions. The secular (godless) State is its own religion that enforces its own theology. The great program of “religious liberty” protects the government’s right to provide its godless services, but it cannot protect the unborn baby, preserve the sanctity of marriage, nor safeguard against activity prohibited by sincerely held religious belief.”
After the heroic resistance of Joan of Arc before the English tribunal, and the plea of Prof. Lejeune to save Down syndrome children, since he discovered the Trisomic gene, we are again confronted with similar examples. These are men who, from the start, know that the battle for life and God is lost. Is it a useless battle? To his adversaries who blamed his pointless gesture, General Charette, who headed the counter-revolutionary movement of the Vendée, told them prophetically: “Nothing is ever lost!” This is the titanic battle of the “two cities” described by St. Augustine, and, no matter what the outcome, we cannot drop the fight under pretext that we are the only ones. God’s side needs new Davids against the incoming Goliaths. Others will be awakened and more generations will follow under the banner of Christ the King, whatever the cost.