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January 30, 2019
Reflection of Most Reverend Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu
Last October I visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Like the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, it documents the horrors of the Nazi regime in its crimes against humanity, especially the six million Jews it put to death. Its purpose is not to keep the evil alive but to remind us of it so that it will never happen again. When this terrible holocaust was going on many people in Germany – seemingly good, decent people -- favored it because it made the world safe for what they considered the superior Aryan race by eradicating those who were different.
Around the same time last Fall there were many Confederate statues and symbols removed from public places because some people felt they were monuments to the racism on which slavery was based, by which people of one race – seemingly good, decent people – considered people of another race as inferior and not human and therefore treated Black people as property. The law of the land permitted it. So the recent anti-Confederate movement’s purpose was to proclaim that all people, of whatever race or color, are equal and deserving of respect and dignity.
We were all horrified years ago with the tribal genocide in Rwanda, when the Hutu tribe brutally murdered members of the Tutsi tribe, thinking them less than human. (They were referred to as “cockroaches.”) These were seemingly good and decent people who had bought into a frenzied mob mentality and justified their horrific actions by claiming superiority and dehumanizing the other.
Yet the same horrific reality of one class of people dominating another to death is not a long-ago, far away memory. It was even celebrated in New York recently when Governor Cuomo had iconic buildings in the City lit pink to celebrate his signing of the most inhumane and brutal abortion legislation. Once again, the death of these innocent children is justified by dehumanizing them and subordinating them by allowing a woman to decide that her welfare, her career, her reputation, or her lifestyle must not be curtailed by a child. These are seemingly good and decent people, but like the Nazis, the slave owners and the Hutus, they have become infected by a mob frenzy, a group-think that believes that because women are often oppressed, they may now have legal permission to become oppressors of their own babies, if they so choose.
Governor Cuomo, who signed and celebrated legislation that would allow the murder of a child up to – and sometimes after – birth, made a point to draw attention to his Catholic faith, a faith that has always stood firm in its defense of innocent life from the moment of conception until natural death. The implication is that one can be a faithful Catholic and still believe in abortion. Unfortunately, he is not alone. And so the Catholic Church has become Public Enemy #1 to the likes of Planned Parenthood and the lucrative abortion industry, and they will do anything they can to disparage the Church, to publicly expose our sins, even as we try to repent of them, and to undermine the authority of the teachers in the Catholic Church, because they simply do not want to hear that abortion is wrong.
Perhaps one day soon there will be a Holocaust Memorial to the millions of babies whose lives were lost in abortion, so that we can say, “Never again!” Perhaps one day soon there will be a dismantling of the structures and ideologies that allow us to think of a baby as a blob of tissue, if that is the way we choose to think of her. Perhaps one day soon there will be a reconciliation commission, so that those women, men and families whose lives were destroyed and tortured by the lie of abortion they bought into can find healing. We pray that the Catholic Church and all its members – as well as many other people of good will – may offer the resistance to evil that it takes to put an end to this modern-day holocaust of abortion. We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who reminds us that great suffering and sacrifice are demanded of those who insist on speaking and living the truth, (see Hebrews 12:2) but that in the end, the truth will set us free (John 8:32).