Although it went unnoticed by the media, hundreds of young Catholics recently attended Mass in reparation for New York’s abortion law.
On Feb. 6, young adults filled the pews at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Mass in New York City. The monthly Mass as well as a novena were held for a special intention: as an “act of reparation and begging God for mercy” after the “horrible” passage of New York’s abortion law, the Reproductive Health Act (RHA).
They’re not alone – polls hint that both New Yorkers and Americans are in agreement against the law’s provisions.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, a self-described Catholic, signed the RHA into law on January 22. Among other things, the RHA broadly permits abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy “at any time” for the sake of the “patient’s life or health.” The law also repealed protections for babies who survive failed abortions.
Because of the RHA’s extreme measures, Catholic leaders called for Cuomo’s excommunication as he celebrated his law by lighting the One World Trade Center pink. So far, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, has resisted.
Still, New York Catholics are speaking out.
In a rare move for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or for any Catholic church, the main celebrant for the Mass of reparation, Fr. Roger Landry, criticized current abortion legislation during his homily.
“New York in 2019 is like Nazareth,” the Massachusetts priest, who serves on the Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations, said. That’s because Nazareth was a “tale of two towns.” While the Virgin Mary said “yes” to conceiving baby Jesus in Nazareth, Nazarenes later rejected him as an adult in their synagogue.
The unborn child today is not unlike Christ, he said.
“Whenever a child is conceived, the drama of Nazareth is replayed,” the priest continued. “Jesus was emphatic in the Gospel that ‘whoever receives a little child in my name receives me’ … He wanted us to recognize that he identifies with every person, especially every child, and particularly the least and littlest of his brothers and sisters in the womb.”
That’s why Fr. Landry found it necessary to condemn the “evil and execrable actions that took place” when Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act into law. He detailed Cuomo’s Catholic background, from his baptism to his “sixteen years of Catholic education.”
According to Fr. Landry, “even if the bishops who have the responsibility to weigh that question [of whether Cuomo should be excommunicated]decided to do it, it would not be adequate.”
That’s because, he explained, “what our circumstances require is that voters politically excommunicate such politicians from public office and replace them with people who respect and defend the dignity and lives of all.”
“The question is,” he added, “What’s it going to take for voters, especially Catholic voters, to conclude that those who celebrate the destruction of human life in the womb … do not represent their values?”
This abortion law might be the answer.
A Siena College poll released Monday found that Cuomo’s favorability rating dropped to 43 percent from 51 percent in January.
And that was the “good news,” according to New York Times Albany bureau chief Jesse McKinley. He reported Feb. 11 that the poll showed only 35 percent of voters said Cuomo was “doing a ‘excellent’ or ‘good” job.’”
In all, the poll represented Cuomo’s “lowest approval ratings in his more than eight years in office.”
McKinley also pointed out Catholics: “Catholics, for instance, who oppose abortion rights, had an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Cuomo” at 53 percent.
A separate poll by YouGov, in partnership with pro-life group Americans United for Life, was also released Monday. The survey, conducted two weeks after the New York abortion law passed, found that 66% of pro-choice Americans “oppose abortion in the third trimester.”
That’s in addition to a Marist poll published in January that discovered 75% of Americans wanted abortion restricted to the first three months of pregnancy.
Catholics and Americans – both pro-lifers and abortion supporters – share common ground in that they want restrictions on abortion. That’s something the media don’t say as they cover and defend proposed abortion legislation across the country.
Still, there’s always hope that, one day, the media will fulfill their journalistic responsibility to represent all Americans and give “voice to the voiceless.”