Robert Vasa, Bishop of Baker, Oregon has published a vehement essay charging that those who profess to love God, but back abortion, are “liars” who lack love for the unborn child.
His essay, published on Tuesday in the bishop’s diocesan newspaper the Catholic Sentinel, discussed Christians’ duties to the unborn while warning about the proposed Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).
Bishop Vasa began by quoting a passage from 1 John 4:
“Beloved, we love God because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from Him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
The bishop said it was hard to believe a Catholic in good standing could say he or she does not love God, adding: “But the inspired scriptures tell us that whoever does not love his brother or neighbor does not and, indeed, cannot love God.”
He added that every Catholic, especially Catholic legislators, must declare that “the pre-born child is our brother, our sister, our neighbor!”
“It may sound a little strong to state that legislators ‘hate’ the pre-born child but hate is an absence of love and love means to wish another well,” Bishop Vasa explained. “There is nothing about abortion that wishes the pre-born child well.
“The preservation of abortion ‘rights’ is already an absence of love for the pre-born child but the passage of FOCA could be construed as nothing less than active and positive disregard, even hatred, for these our brothers and sisters.”
Bishop Vasa described FOCA as a proposed Congressional bill that would establish abortion as a federal right and preclude state limitation or regulation of abortion.
“Further, since abortion would be a federally protected right, it is very possible that even Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Physicians would be mandated to provide this heinous service,” the bishop warned.
The bishop then noted the U.S. bishops’ postcard campaign to stop FOCA, saying the proposal “is not an action which would limit or alter present permissive abortion laws, which some so-called Catholic pro-choice persons might object to, it would simply preclude a dramatic expansion of that permissiveness. Thus it would be very difficult for any Catholic, no matter how much in favor of abortion itself, to find a reason to refuse to participate in this campaign.”
“At the same time, I do not see how any Catholic senator or representative could vote for the passage of FOCA without recognizing that such a vote would constitute a direct and intentional declaration of their disdain for Catholic teaching,” Bishop Vasa continued. “Such a vote would be tantamount to a public declaration of their intention to abandon the Catholic faith.”
While preserving abortion rights is already “an absence of love for the pre-born child,” Bishop Vasa wrote, “the passage of FOCA could be construed as nothing less than active and positive disregard, even hatred, for these our brothers and sisters.”
He then paraphrased St. John: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but votes for FOCA, thus showing a disregard for his pre-born brother or sister, he is a liar.”
The bishop also said that Catholics have an obligation to participate in the anti-FOCA campaign, which he described as a “concerted effort to show love for the tiniest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters.”
He said it seemed “particularly incumbent” for supporters of President Barack Obama’s candidacy to make clear their opposition to FOCA. As a candidate, President Obama has pledged to pass FOCA as his first official act.
Bishop Vasa, writing in his column, also noted diocesan pro-life activities and Masses to “pray for the two-fold victims of abortion, the child and the mother.”
“Regardless of how many years have passed since the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision and regardless of how prevalent and routine abortion has become in this country, the simple truth remains, it is an act of extreme violence to the pre-born child and to the distressed mother,” Bishop Vasa’s column concluded.
“Thus, if anyone says, ‘I love God’ and still favors abortion, he is, to quote St. John, a liar. May we all live out faithfully what it means to love God.”