At the recent fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Robert J. Hermann, the administrator for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, declared that for any bishop it would be a “privilege to die tomorrow to bring about an end to abortion.” He has further explained that Catholics' response to abortion in our country should be proportionate to the scale of the tragedy.
At the bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, Bishop Hermann had said:
"We have lost 50 times as many children in the last 35 years as we have lost soldiers in all the wars since the Revolution.
"I think any bishop here would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow to bring about an end to abortion.”
“If we are willing to die tomorrow, then we should be willing to, until the end of our lives, to take all kinds of criticism for opposing this horrible infanticide."
Speaking with the archdiocesan newspaper the St. Louis Review, the bishop commented:
“I think that the way abortion has been presented over the past 35 years so often is that this is something that’s horrible, and we need to stop it. But it seems to me that people do not realize that it is 50 million children that we have killed. We have campaigned to save the baby whales, and yet we vote in pro-abortion politicians — which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”
Bishop Hermann also described how bishops can look to the example of soldiers.
“If American youth are willing to go to war and lay their life down to defend our freedoms, then every bishop should be willing to give up his life, if it meant putting an end to abortion. And if we’re willing to do that, then we should be totally fearless of promoting this cause without being concerned about political correctness, without trying to build coalitions with pro-choice people,” the bishop said in an apparent reference to those Catholics who have recently begun to give up the fight to outlaw abortion.
He proposed an “awareness- raising campaign” to help people realize “the destruction that we’ve brought about” and “the atrocities that we’re committing.”
“There should be 50 more million Americans in our midst, and anyone under 35 can look around and say, ‘Where are they?’ And, ‘I’m very lucky to be alive.’”
Bishop Hermann reported that after he made his comments one or two bishops started clapping, but the meeting then moved on to other business. Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, along with other bishops, personally thanked him afterwards.
He reported that about 95 percent of the popular responses to his remarks have been positive, with some people consulting him about how they ought to deal with past voting habits. Bishop Hermann said many people have been conditioned to act as if God does not exist.
“I have great empathy and great compassion for people who are influenced by society and are taken in by the big lie that God does not exist. My job is to raise their awareness to, yes He does (exist), and it does make a difference what you believe. It makes a big difference in what you do.
“We also have to be aware that our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and the powers and the spirits of this world of darkness, as Paul tells us in Ephesians.
“Therefore, behind Planned Parenthood, behind the abortion issue, is the evil one,” Bishop Hermann stated. “I often see human beings caught up in this as victims of the evil one who need my prayers and who need my compassion and who need my love. We don’t only want to save our children from destruction; we also want to save our adult brothers and sisters from eternal destruction.”
The bishop expressed concern about President-elect Barack Obama’s support for Planned Parenthood, which he claimed targets blacks with abortion information and facilities in their neighborhoods.
Turning to possible problems under a pro-abortion rights Obama presidency, he called the proposed Freedom of Choice Act “dangerous” because “it would be undermining all the efforts for the past 35 years of trying to limit the destructive effects of abortion.” He also noted the possibility Obama could appoint two more Supreme Court justices, which he claimed could secure the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision “for many, many years.”
Responding to a common criticism that bishops and priests place such importance on abortion, he noted that other rights and political issues “mean nothing if the fundamental right to life is not guaranteed.”
“When someone is denied life, then all the other rights don’t mean anything. That’s the reason the Church places such a high priority on that.
“For an individual to have a proportionate reason to vote for a candidate who supports abortion would be very hard to come by. The only way I could see that happening is if we had one candidate who supports abortion and another one who may mandate abortion ... as they do in China.”
Bishop Hermann closed his interview with the St. Louis Review by encouraging Catholics to study Church documents such as Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae and Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, “so they can clearly understand the nature of man and woman and the sacredness of God’s calling for man and woman.”
“The more they study that and begin to live those teachings, the more they’re going to come into freedom to promote the Gospel of Life,” he concluded.