Matt C. Abbott
Young, Catholic and ... clueless?; N.O.W. it's finally over!
By Matt C. Abbott
May 2, 2014

Michael Voris' April 30 edition of "The Vortex" is eye-opening, albeit depressing. He talks about a new book titled Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults In, Out of, and Gone from the Church, published by Oxford University Press.

Says Voris:
    [The book] is a massively in-depth analysis of American Catholics aged 18-23, what it labels as 'emerging Catholics,' referring to them becoming adults... [T]hey examined a number of interviews with young Catholics for five years; here is what they found:

    • 17 percent had become apostates, meaning [they] totally abandoned the Church, their Catholic identity, had joined no other religion, and were critical of the Church

    • 12 percent they labeled as 'switchers' – thrown in the towel on Catholicism and joined some other faith

    • 27 percent they labeled as 'estranged' – they hold onto a self-proclaimed Catholic identity, but are critical of teachings and distance themselves from the Church

    In case you are keeping track of the running total, we are now at 56 percent of young Catholics who are no longer visibly attached to the Church. Fifteen percent are counted as 'nominal' – they have a Catholic social identity, but do not practice the faith....

    Running total for the curious? Seventy-one percent. Seventy-one percent of 18-23 year old Catholics are out of the Church to one degree or another. But the survey results continue. Researchers label 29 percent as engaged, meaning they embrace their Catholic identity and find faith to be important and meaningful, but – wait for it – don't believe all the Church's teaching.

    So back to our counter: 71 percent from before, plus this 29 percent, equals 100 percent.

    But there's another category the researchers created: devout. They defined this category as those 18-23 year old Catholics who practice their faith consistently, are able to articulate Church doctrine, believe the teachings and expect to remain Catholic. While not a precise theological definition of devout, it will certainly pass for a sociological one.

    Problem is – and here is the quote from the researchers – there were 'none we could categorize as devout.' Yep. Out of the six categories of devout, engaged, nominal, estranged, switchers and apostates, none could be found, none, who were devout....
Click here to read the script of "The Vortex" in its entirety.

Granted, we know there are some faithful Catholic youth in society, but it's painfully obvious that the number is relatively small. Way too small. So who, or what, is to blame for this loss of faith? I think the blame can be shared by the young people themselves (they're adults, after all); their parents, some of whom (but certainly not all) are as clueless as their kids; the culture, which is rotten to the core in every respect; and years of weak, sissified Church leadership – with some notable exceptions, of course.

The solution(s)? Other than even more prayer, sacrifice and faithful witness, God only knows.

Some good news from the exemplary Thomas More Society (via spokesman Tom Ciesielka):
    Yesterday [April 29], just over one month short of its 28th anniversary, the historic, marathon litigation, N.O.W. v. Scheidler, culminated in yet another unanimous, decisive pro-life victory for the defendants, Joseph Scheidler, Andrew Scholberg, Timothy Murphy and the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League.

    A unanimous federal appellate panel roundly rejected any and all objections raised by the abortion plaintiffs, N.O.W., and a pair of abortion providers representing a nationwide class of all abortion providers in the United States to the federal trial judge's award of $63,391.45 in reimbursable, out-of-pocket costs to said pro-life defendants.

    Judge Frank Easterbrook penned a sharply-written, seven-page opinion in which he seemed almost to scoff at the objections raised by the abortion lawyers' quibbles over the pro-lifers' claims, which he deemed 'modest for a suit that entailed discovery, a long trial, many motions in the district court, and appellate proceedings that span a generation.'

    In fact, he dismissed the abortion lawyers' arguments as 'preposterous' and quipped that, 'The costs amount to less than $2,300 per year of litigation.' Judge Easterbrook closed his opinion in a pair of terse sentences that resonate deeply and dramatically with those who fought this often-agonizing litigation over many years, going back to June, 1986: 'This litigation has lasted far too long. At last it is over.'

    N.O.W. v. Scheidler brought about the birth of the Thomas More Society in March, 1997 – some sixteen years ago – just a few months after Tom Brejcha, a partner in a Chicago law firm, was told by his managing partner at a firm meeting that he would either have to 'quit the case or quit the firm.' Tom Brejcha quit the firm to carry on in defense of the case that will go down as a landmark in the annals of American law.

    N.O.W. v. Scheidler went before the U.S. Supreme Court for full dress briefing, hearing, and disposition on three separate occasions, which may well have been unprecedented, as no legal historian has yet to find another case so well-traveled up and down all three tiers of the federal judicial system.

    The first appeal was brought by the abortion plaintiffs after Brejcha's motion to dismiss all charges – under the federal antitrust, racketeering (RICO) and extortion laws – was granted by Judge Holderman in 1991. That dismissal was then affirmed on appeal by the 7th Circuit without a dissenting vote, but the Supreme Court agreed to review the RICO dismissal and reversed by a 9-0 count, in January 1994, holding that RICO applied to non-profit enterprises equally as to for-profit activities.

    The case was then remanded and reassigned to newly appointed Judge Coar, who presided over a lengthy RICO jury trial in March-April and June-July 1998, after which Judge Coar entered judgment on a verdict for plaintiffs in July 1999, awarding treble damages against defendants for over $257,000, with attorney's fees yet to be added onto that sum. Joe and Ann Scheidler then mortgaged their home to post security to an appeal, but the 7th Circuit affirmed the judgment in 2001.

    The following April, in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court again agreed to review the case and reversed the judgment in early 2003, by a decisive 8-1 margin. On remand, however, the 7th Circuit panel whose earlier affirmance of the RICO judgment had been reversed by the Supreme Court, ruled rather surprisingly that the Supreme Court had overlooked part of the RICO verdict and that, therefore, the lawsuit should be reexamined by Judge Coar to determine if the overlooked portions of the verdict alone would support relief for the abortion plaintiffs.

    Defendants then promptly sought a third hearing before the Supreme Court, and the Justices voted to hear the case a third time. This time they reversed the 7th Circuit a third time, in spring 2006, by unanimous count, 8-0 (Justice O'Connor having resigned after oral argument but before the decision was issued), and this time they specifically directed that the case be dismissed on its merits.

    Thereafter, the pro-life defendants filed to recover some $70,000 in costs – all that they could back up with invoices and receipts after so many years of litigation. Judge Coar, while allowing what he deemed a late filing, did not act on the costs petition for several years before retiring from the bench. Finally, the case was transferred to Judge Norgle, who awarded defendants most of the costs they sought. But the abortion plaintiffs refused to pay and instead took another appeal. That appeal was briefed, argued just over a week ago on Good Friday, and decided April 29, 2014 in defendants' favor.

    'Today we celebrate a long-awaited, hopefully final victory for millions of pro-lifers here and around the country,' said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. 'The abortion plaintiffs had been claiming that the heroic leaders whom we defended were leaders of a vast nationwide conspiracy comprising as many as a million members, thereby putting a black cloud over pro-life efforts to advocate against abortion as if these efforts to save human lives were some horrific enterprise bent on 'extortion' and 'racketeering.'

    'After nearly 28 years of litigating and three trips to the U.S. Supreme Court, we are proud to declare that pro-lifers' First Amendment rights to free speech and association are once again secure and protected by law. Banding together with fellow citizens to advocate for the sanctity of each and every human life – born and unborn, wanted or allegedly 'unwanted' – are precious rights of all American citizens.'
© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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