Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Disagree but don't be Disagreeable

02-21-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

The USSR-California branch in January enacted a law that requires Crisis Pregnancy Centers that offer alternatives to abortion to post the following:

"California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number]."

Failure to do so results in fines of $1000 for each offense. If a center sees 50 clients a week the fines can add up pretty quickly. What the State is doing is telling Pro-Life Centers to either do the opposite of your stated purpose and compromise your values or be fined to the point of closure.

So in the State's thinking all women should be given information about all options. Then why aren't Abortion Clinics required to post or give notice to women that there are free Crisis Pregnancy Centers that offer options to abortion and assistance to mothers? Why can't women have the full range of choices available to them so that they can make an informed decision? Why is the State so preferential to abortion and so punitive to Crisis Pregnancy centers? The conclusion seems to be that California wants to demonstrate a preferential option for abortion and total disdain for Pro-Life Centers.

Another great blow to upholding the sanctity of life ethic in our country was the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Over the last 30yrs he supplied the intellectual and legal foundation of the sanctity of life ethic post Roe. His jurisprudence challenged the Court to be consistent with its original abortion ruling namely that the states had a right to place reasonable restrictions on abortion. And that is where the gains have been made in great strides. While Scalia would have liked to overturn Roe v. Wade but was never able to be supplied the legal basis for many of the abortion restrictions that are in place today.

While his Pro-Life bonafides are stellar and leave a great legacy it really was his personal life animated by his Catholic faith that is his greatest legacy. As is well known he and his wife of 55yrs have been best friends with the Ginsburg's. Justice Ginsburg was usually the polar opposite of Scalia when it came to jurisprudence. She is one of the Court's most consistent defenders of unrestricted abortion rights. Yet the two of them were the closest of friends.

Whether it was intentional or not, I do not know but what Justice Scalia's example can teach us is that we as Christians are to love our enemies, love those we disagree with, love those who hold positions opposed to ours. In the end God will judge each of us individually. What we do not want to hear on Judgment Day is for the Lord to say: "Well done, you courageously defended human life from conception to natural death but you held your brother or sister in contempt and treated them with disdain. Does not my sun rise on the good and the evil? Does not my rain fall on the just and unjust?" That would not make one a recognizable disciple of Jesus. In God compassion and justice are always connected. Justice Scalia's example is a powerful reminder to those who defend the sanctity of life ethic that we cannot forget to uphold and love the life of all people even those we disagree with most forcefully and who actively oppose us.

If we want to honor his legacy we need to do so not only in word but in deed as well.

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven." Mt. 5:44

May a true son of the Father, Antonin Scalia rest in peace.

Love, Fr. John B.