Monica Doumit: Those damn Catholics who won’t shut up

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All ages were present but the young made up a massive percentage of Sunday’s crowd 16 September pro-life rally in Sydney. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Bernard Nathanson was a US abortionist who performed about 5000 abortions, including the abortion of his own child, and presided over tens of thousands more as an abortion clinic director.

On top of these, he was co-founder of the US association that successfully lobbied for the repeal of abortion laws across the United States, making him – at least indirectly – involved in the abortion of millions of other babies who died as a result of those laws.

In the late 1970s, he saw the error of his ways and became a pro-life advocate. In 1996, he became a Catholic, and fought and wrote against abortion until his death in 2011.

Possibly his most famous work is his autobiographical book, The Hand of God. In it, he not only tells the story of his life, but also the story of the successful campaign to liberalise abortion laws across the United States.

“…that Authority had to have a familiar form, a discernible shape, a clear and preferably noxious identity, and if at all possible a shamefully malevolent past to point to.”

There’s one part about that campaign that stands out.

In the book, Nathanson explained that for the campaign to work in the tsunami of anti-authoritarian sentiment that washed across the land during the sexual revolution, pro-abortionists needed to identify an authority that would be seen as the enemy.

He wrote: “…that Authority had to have a familiar form, a discernible shape, a clear and preferably noxious identity, and if at all possible a shamefully malevolent past to point to.

“What better than the Roman Catholic Church? … we attacked at every opportunity. Our favourite tack was to blame the church for the death of every woman from a botched abortion.”

Bernard Nathanson was a US abortionist who saw the error of his ways and became a pro-life advocate. Photo: Open Media Ltd./Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
Bernard Nathanson was a US abortionist who saw the error of his ways and became a pro-life advocate. Photo: Open Media Ltd./Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

It is 50 years since that abortion campaign, but the tactics of anti-lifers are still the same, and we can see it so clearly in the pro-euthanasia movement.

The Catholic Church has once again been set up as the enemy.

Here is a quote from Andrew Denton’s most recent podcast, released on Friday. Denton says: “If you were to name the single biggest obstacle to assisted dying legislation in Australia, it would be the Church, by which I mean chiefly the Catholic Church. While every major denomination stands in opposition to assisted dying, it is they who, more than any other, work to influence this debate in Australia.”

Denton then goes on to describe the bishops, the parishes and parish priests, Catholic politicians, academics and finally the healthcare sector itself as the big, powerful, institutional Catholic enemy to his euthanasia push.

“The basis of the worldview of any other person with an opinion or a vote in parliament is not mentioned because it is not considered relevant. It’s only the Catholics.”

It’s not just the institutions, it’s the individuals as well.

The only time the religious background of a person involved in this debate is mentioned is when they are Catholic.

The basis of the worldview of any other person with an opinion or a vote in parliament is not mentioned because it is not considered relevant. It’s only the Catholics.

Just one example of this occurred on the weekend, with a disappointing feature piece in The Weekend Australian. I normally appreciate the fine journalism found in The Australian, but this was an unfortunate exception.

If you were to name the single biggest obstacle to assisted dying legislation in Australia, it would be the Church, by which I mean chiefly the Catholic Church, says Andrew Denton. Photo: Seven Network/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
If you were to name the single biggest obstacle to assisted dying legislation in Australia, it would be the Church, by which I mean chiefly the Catholic Church, says Andrew Denton. Photo: Seven Network/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

More than two dozen people were quoted or otherwise mentioned in the piece, but it was only the Catholics who were described by their religious belief.

The religious beliefs (or lack of religious beliefs) of any other person in the story were not deemed relevant to report.

Why? Because just like the abortion movement before it, the euthanasia movement has set up the Catholic Church as its enemy.

Identifying those who oppose these lethal laws by their Catholic faith implicitly invites people to dismiss their views because they are seen to be part of “the Authority.”

“I want the Catholic Church to be forever known as the enemy of euthanasia and assisted suicide across this country.”

Watch as this debate unfolds in South Australia and Queensland in the next couple of months, and then in New South Wales later this year.

Watch the insidious way in which euthanasia activists will make this not a campaign in favour of euthanasia, but against the Catholic Church. Watch them unashamedly use identity politics even when it comes to matters of life and death. Watch, but don’t back down. Don’t let their anti-Catholic rhetoric shame you into hiding your Catholic faith.

I want the Catholic Church to be forever known as the enemy of euthanasia and assisted suicide across this country. I want every pro-euthanasia campaigner to consider the opposition from the Catholic Church to be their biggest threat at the moment.

And at a time in the future, when – like Nathanson – euthanasia doctors and lobbyists have repented and turned into pro-life advocates, and these euthanasia laws have been abolished by a civilised society that recognises them for the atrocity that they are, I want history to record that it was the Catholic Church that fought, and never backed down.

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