Last week, our editorial argued that one of the most important lessons pastors of the Church in the United States need to draw from the history of interactions with Senator Ted Kennedy on the sanctity of human life is that a strategy of conscience education alone with “personally opposed,” but publicly “pro-choice” Catholic politicians hasn’t worked. The attempt to engage, teach and help persuade such politicians to conversion didn’t succeed with Senator Kennedy, and it hasn’t succeeded yet with other “pro-choice” Catholic legislators.
To say that it hasn’t succeeded, however, is really not strong enough. It’s possible, after all, to fail a test with a grade of 59; in such a case, a student would be able to take some solace in the fact that, while there are some areas in need of improvement, he was close to minimal success. If a student fails a test with close to a zero, on the other hand, he obviously needs to make some radical changes if he ever hopes to succeed. And that is closer to the candid assessment that leaders of the Church need to make relative to the education-alone strategy during the past few decades.
Let us take an honest look at the numbers. When we survey the long list of “pro-choice” Catholic politicians from both parties—Kennedy, Kerry, Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, Daschle, Dodd, Durban, Leahy, Mikulski, Pelosi, Delahunt, Capuano, Markey, McGovern, Meehan, Granholm, Sebelius, Pataki, Richardson, Cellucci, Cuomo and Biden, to name just a handful—is it possible to say that the strategy has worked with any of them? Over the last three and a half decades, can we point to even one success story?
Read the rest of this fabulous elaboration by Fr. Landry here.