I don't often repost other people's blogs or articles here. I generally like my content to be largely my own and relevant to the very specific, narrow purpose of this blog, albeit heavily supported with abundant links. Also, I decided when I started this blog that I'll write when I have something to say. (Although I often have plenty to say but no time to write!)
That said, occasionally I think it is worthwhile to bring your attention to others' writing. Today is just such a day. Lest you think that Texas Right to Life and their supporters - like myself - maybe you think especially myself - are just a bunch of blowhards playing the victim and making a mountain out of a molehill, I think it would be useful for you to read what others are writing.
One such person is John Zmirak, who is quite well-known among the "conservative" Catholic blogosphere. He writes an interesting essay on The Stream comparing and contrasting the California Bishops' Conference with the TCCB. I know, right? Gasp! In Texas, we all pretty much assume nothing good comes from California - or Oklahoma - but for different reasons. I jest. A little. So when someone writes that the Bishops' Conference in Cali got it right, we Texans (and others) should take notice. Texas Bishops, listen up.
In that situation, the California Bishops opposed a bill there that "could result in the ban of books aimed at helping people with unwanted same-sex attractions" according to a LifeSiteNews article. The California Catholic Bishops issued a statement opposing the bill. Then it tweeted against the bill:
National Review's David French also covered the sweeping nature of this bill and the censorship it would unleash including the outright banning of the sale of certain books. Really? It is still 2018, isn't it? Indeed, it apparently is. Next they'll be burning books in public ceremonies. Welcome to the Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451.
Zmirak notes that the California Bishops worked "with, not against pro-family groups." (Emphasis added.) Imagine that. He then lauds them and turns right back toward Texas and states: "So bravo for California's bishops. You know who could learn something from them? The Catholic bishops of Texas." He quotes from Jason Jones' piece praising disunity in the pro-life movement because, to put it simply, there are a number of ways to reach the same goals.
(Of course, this assumes, and I will assume here merely for the sake of argument, that we all actually share the same goals. The truth is - and I'm just going to say it - I am far from convinced that Texas Right to Life and activists like myself share the same goals with these other organizations in Texas. You hear me, TAL, TCCB, and Texans for Life Coalition? I'm not the only one questioning this. As I've been saying on this blog and elsewhere on social media: by their fruits you will know them. The sour, often bitter, fruit coming from these organizations (and make no mistake, it is coordinated) is doing more to explain the problems with them than I ever could here.)
Then we get to the meat of Zmirak's piece as far as I'm concerned and I will quote it all here:
Texas Bishops Declare War on Texas Right to Life
I wish the Texas bishops took Jones’s approach. Instead, they have decided that their differences are irreconcilable. They filed for a divorce.
They announced that to every Catholic in Texas. The bishops sent a statement sent to be printed in every parish bulletin. It called on Catholics to stop supporting Texas Right to Life. That’s a shocking step for bishops to take toward such an organization. Have the bishops issued similar statements about pro-choice labor unions? About pro-immigration groups that back same-sex marriage? Not that I ever saw in my parish bulletin.
Surely Texas Right to Life has gone nuts, then. Right? Not at all. In the advisory, the bishops make their case. They cite some differences of approach on legislative strategy. And on how to score Texas representatives on life issues. Big deal.
Killing the Next Alfie Evans … in Texas
The next issue is more serious. The bishops have backed an end-of-life law that Texas Right to Life considers dangerous. As Texas Right to Life wrote in its detailed response to the bishops:
Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA) grants hospitals and doctors unilateral authority to remove life-sustaining treatment from patients with a mere ten days notice, which has sped the death of hundreds of patients in Texas. TCCB vilified Texas Right to Life in the Parish Advisory for working to reform the draconian law that is worse than any statute in Britain. While TCCB’s lobbyist wholeheartedly agrees with the bishops in Britain in that doctors and hospitals should have the final authority to make life-ending decisions for patients, Pope Francis’ defense of Alfie mirrors Texas Right to Life’s patient advocacy efforts in which we work to transfer patients to willing providers in more appropriate care settings.
Churchy progressivism serves as a Gospel replacement serum. It soothes those who’ve lost their faith.
The Houston Press (not a pro-life paper) summed up TADA’s impact this way: “In Texas it doesn’t matter what instructions you’ve previously given or what your relatives say: If you’re in critical condition, you’re dependent on machines to survive and hospital officials decide it’s time to pull the plug, you will die. And it’s completely legal.”I’m no bioethicist. But I did follow the Alfie Evans case very closely. Who were the fiercest advocates for Alfie and his parents? Not local bishops. (The Bishop of Liverpool backed the hospital.) They were lay pro-life advocates. Good people like the members of Texas Right to Life.
Bravo, John Zmirak! He's not even here in Texas, but can clearly see from the outside looking in that there are big problems here that make no sense at all. None whatsoever. From TADA itself to the TCCB, things are not making sense in Texas and the implications are that lives will continue to be lost and souls will continue to be scandalized. To what end? Most objective people no longer question that these other groups and the TCCB are opposing true pro-life legislation and reform. They don't question the what anymore. They do question the why. I've been trying to figure that out for at least the last five years and I still can't answer that. What I do know is that it is not enough for them to take alternative positions on legislation; it's not enough to take anti-life positions and call them pro-life; it's not enough for them to support candidates that will not protect all life; they must try to take down the only organization that is fighting for all the Alfie's in Texas. And be clear on this as well, they aren't helping people navigate the mess that is TADA that they continue to enable. But they would sure like to get rid of the only organization that is. Why? Ask them. I would only be speculating.
I have come to truly understand what the adage "it is always darkest before the dawn" means. It is getting darker here in Texas and around the world for orthodox Catholics, authentic pro-lifers, and especially those fighting the Culture of Disposal, the Culture of Death that is euthanasia. But that means that the dawn is getting closer as well. You can help in that effort to bring about the dawn. If the bishops won't see the light, maybe you can make them feel some heat. Write your bishops. Tell them they are wrong. Withhold giving until they right this ship and tell them why. Support truly pro-life organizations and their efforts. In Texas that is easy - you have one choice - Texas Right to Life. Educate your neighbors, friends, and even clergy. Vote for the right people at the right time, then hold their feet to the fire when the legislature meets. Keep up with things, make calls. Go down to Austin and tell your legislators what you want, testify about legislation, go to town hall meetings. Respectfully correct your pastors and bishops on these matters. (It is no sin to walk out of a bad homily where error is being taught and scandal committed.) You must try whether you think they'll listen or not. You are responsible for what you do; they are likewise responsible for what they're doing, not doing, and the effects of their acts and omissions. Their souls are at stake as well. Remember Matthew 18:6-9, 15-19 and Luke 17:1-3.
Be aware, be prayerful, be involved, be in it to win it and for the long haul. Have frequent recourse to the Sacraments. It is a difficult time. I know. But there is strength in numbers, in faith, in truth, and in believing and doing what is right.
Thanks for reading!