The Enemy of my Enemy...

03-03-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Sometimes help comes from unexpected sources… Recently some members of the AZ Legislature put forth a bill that would have basically repealed all the restrictions on abortion in AZ that we had worked to put in place over the last 44 years, including the mandate to provide life giving care to infants who survive an abortion. The proposed bill came up pretty quickly, which was by design to catch us off guard and ram it through stealthily. Fortunately, within 48 hours the Pro-life Community organized and hundreds of people showed up for the Committee Hearing. Because of that effort, the Bill died in committee! The Catholic Pro-life contingent was well represented but so was a good contingent of Mormons. Who could have imagined back in 1973 after Roe v. Wade was forced upon the country that Catholics and Mormons would be working together to defend the sanctity of human life? Even though our theology and ecclesiology are not exactly on the same page, both Catholics and Mormons understand first principles and why they must be defended before

all else.

Over on the Federal side, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would have required any medical practitioner in attendance to provide immediate medical care to an infant who had survived a late-term abortion. Party of Death lives up to its name. Their reason for not supporting the bill was that it would interfere with a women’s right to have an abortion. Well actually no it doesn't, the abortion was performed but failed to kill the child. But on second thought that’s the point, isn’t it?

On a different topic, we are all familiar now with the push to remake our reality to accommodate transgender people. The bathroom wars continue to be fought and now transgendered women are insisting on the right to compete as a woman in women’s sporting competitions. Not so fast says the tennis star, Martina Navratilova, who identifies as a lesbian. She made the statement that trans women should not be allowed to compete in women’s sporting events because of obvious physiological differences. For that comment, she was expelled from membership in an LGBT advocacy group. Other lesbians, such as professor and author Camille Paglia, have pointed out how detrimental equating trans women with biological women can be. Case in point, the trans woman who was convicted of raping several women, and placed in a women’s correctional facility where he raped another woman. On this issue, I am standing with the lesbians and all women. How strange that many of those who pushed feminism and fought to dismantle the “patriarchy” are now seemingly simpatico with a backdoor being opened for men under the title of “trans” to undermine women.

I’m not sure if this next one is a case of help from unexpected sources or a case of strange bedfellows but democrats and republicans in the US Congress agreed on something! What they agreed on was to give assistance to religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East who have been displaced by ISIS. The new law authorizes the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide direct support to Syrian and IraqiChristians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities who were the victims of ISIS genocide. The official policy of the State Department going back to the Obama Administration was that these groups were not victims of ISIS oppression and genocide and hence did not qualify for assistance (though the State Dept. did acknowledge the genocidal nature of ISIS actions in 2016). The charge to change the policy was led by the Knights of Columbus. The Knights themselves have provided millions of dollars (along with Aid to the Church in Need and Samaritan’s Purse) in assistance to the displaced Christians, Yazidi’s, non-Sunni Muslims and other smaller religious and ethnic groups that had been targeted by ISIS and forced to flee their homelands. In the past, the Knights also led the charge to assist victims of the Armenian Genocide and lobbied (unsuccessfully) for President Roosevelt to protect European Jews during WWII. The Knights have been on the forefront to protect religious liberty for all people and bring attention to the plight of those who are targeted because of their religious beliefs. They finally, after years of lobbying, convinced the Congress and the President to change course and provide assistance to these communities that have nearly been wiped out by ISIS terrorists.

Catholics, Mormons, Lesbians and the Knights of Columbus may seem to be strange bedfellows but in these instances, they all clearly see the reality before us and the damage that living in unreality can cause. We can agree to disagree because we recognize our common humanity and oppose those things that attack our shared humanity. No surprise that standing up for first principles brings help from unexpected sources.

Fr. John B.

PS Keep in your prayers this weekend our RCIA catechumens and candidates who are on Retreat making final preparations for their reception into the Church and the Sacraments.